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2017-01-19

First Cattle and Hide Inspectors of Bandera County of the early 1870's

By Raymond V. Carter, Jr., Research Historian ©2017

As it has been well written about throughout the years, there were millions of maverick cattle roaming Texas after the War Between the States. And the starving south, especially Texas, during reconstruction found a way through these mavericks to bring themselves out of the terrible state of depression and ruin. This time was referred to as the "black years" by my grandfather's grandfather, John M. Whitley, who lived through them.
These wild unbranded cattle meant a cash flow to many. As in the gold rushes of the west, some desperate men may have claimed jumped by branding these mavericks they really had no claim to. This started many feuds among neighbors, ending in a lot of killings and murders. Whitley was a witness to and almost became a victim of these cattle wars. All you had to do was be seen "talking" to the wrong person.
Some became cattle barons and some just fed their families. Those were dark times. As, my great-great grandfather told, "he helped bury a lot of men" and had to leave his home in fear of being killed during this feuding period. Out of this period the State of Texas had to react through regulators and legislation.
One such act of legislation was approved on May 22, 1871. This act created the Office of Cattle and Hide Inspectors and was "an act to encourage stock raising and for the protection of stock raisers". Bandera County's first Inspector was Daniel Rugh.
He was appointed by Texas Governor, Edmund J. Davis. Governor Davis (1827-1883) was the 14th Governor of Texas serving from January 1, 1870 to January 15, 1874. He was a Republican and served as a Brigadier General of the Union Army during the war of rebellion.
Daniel Rugh (1812-1899) took office June 29, 1871. Security for his bond was guaranteed by Jose Policarpio Rodriguez and Thaddeus C. Rine, both of Bandera County. Rugh was first married to Mary Stouffer and after her death, married Matilda Reid. Rugh brought his family to Bandera in 1860. He was elected Bandera County Sheriff on August 4, 1862 and sworn in on August 18, 1862; then the Confederate States of America. He and Matilda are buried in the Bandera Cemetery.
The first Deputy Cattle and Hide Inspector was Jose Policarpio "Polly" Rodriguez (1829-1914). He was a true Texan of the "Old West". As his grave headstone in the Priviledge Creek Cemetery proclaims he was "The Old Guide", a " surveyor, scout, hunter, Indian fighter, ranchman and preacher". Not commonly known is that he also served Bandera County as a Justice of the Peace (1864) and County Commissioner (1866), as well as the Deputy Cattle and Hide Inspector, October 24, 1871.
A second Deputy Cattle and Hide Inspector was in place on December 9, 1871. This was Samuel N.(H?) Jones (1848-1876). Jones was elected again on December 9, 1873. He was the son of John A. Jones and came to Bandera in 1864. He was very active in the cattle business and was a member of Jack Phillips' Company of Minute Men, frontier protection. He married Martha Southward. They are buried in the Bandera Cemetery.
Arthur Pue, Jr. (1834-1880) was elected to the Office of Cattle and Hide Inspector and was sworn in on December 31, 1872. He also served along side the writer's Uncle, James Madison Buck (1827-1911), in Captain Wiiliam G. Tobin's Company of Mounted Volunteers (Texas Rangers as I was told), in 1859/1860 during the "Cortina War" at Brownsville, Texas. He was a successful stockman and married Mary Minear in 1868. Pue was shot in the back and murdered on March 23, 1880 in Bandera and is buried in the Bandera Cemetery.
This covered only a small sample of Bandera's history around the men in it's cattle trade and marketing business which help develop the Great Western Cattle Trail.
Sources for the information can be obtained from the writer at: Rvcintexas@yahoo.com