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Manuel "Lone Wolf" Gonzallus was born in Cadiz, Spain, on July 4, 1891, to a father of Spanish and mother of German ancestry. His parents were American citizens visiting Spain at the time. Manual was destined to become the only man of Spanish descent to become a captain in the Texas Rangers.

He joined the Texas Rangers on October 1, 1920 at the age of twenty nine. As a child, he had a hero to look up to. That man was Captain John R. Hughes, the "Border Boss." He was frequently seen riding his horse down the streets of El Paso, Texas. Here was a law officer who had a reputation for honesty and fair play on both sides of the river throughout the border country. Hughes had joined the Ranger force on August 10, 1887. Hughes was no doubt a strong influence on Gonzaullas as he grew into manhood.

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This portrait by Keith Martin of Captain John R. Hughes in his older age hangs in the Texas Ranger Museum in Waco, Texas. Hughes was a boyhood idol of Gonzaullas. (Courtesy Texas Hall of Fame and Museum.)

By the time Gonzaullas arrived at Kilgore with his fellow ranger during the oil boom, he already had experienced many arrests, gunfights, investigations and the oil boom fever in West Texas. He was a seasoned veteren of the kinds of situations found in Kilgore, as was his associate, J. P. Huddleston.

His first method of restraining criminals was what he called his trotline. "because the crude jail was too small to accomadate the number arrested, the "Lone Wolf" brought out what he called his "trotline". It was a long, heavy-duty chain , onto which trace chains were securely fastened at intervals. At the outer end, each trace chain had a padlock that could be used to fasten it around the ankle or neck of the prisoner. That was before the days of E.R.A., so male and female prisoners were treated differently. The trace chains were locked around the neck of the men and around an ankle of the women, a mark of courtesy toward the latter." "Lone Wolf" Gonzaullas, Texas Ranger by Brownson Malsch

"Lone Wolf" found an abandoned church to house the prisoners, the old First Baptist Church which the congregation had left because of transients sleeping there at night. Shotgun-carrying guards, policemen from Chief P. K. Mcintosh's force, were on duty twenty-four hours a day. The prisoners were humiliated when people looked in the windows and jeered at them. Some with petty misdemeanors were released after they promised to leave town and never return. Thus the "trot line" made room for more.

The gathering of evidence and leads by Gonzaullas and Huddleston paid off on the afternoon of March 2, 1931. Captain Hickman and eight Rangers arrived and began a widespread roundup of criminals.

"By suppertime, around four hundred men and women had been rounded up and arrested. They were marched down the street, which was the Henderson highway, headed towards the jail in the old Baptist Church. The street was lined with spectators to watch the parade pass, their judgement being that it was the most amusing they had ever seen. In the church-jail, all of the prisoners were fingerprinted and charged. Other raids followed until Kilgore was temporarily purged of crime." "Lone Wolf" Gonzaullas, Texas Ranger by Brownson Malsch

After the Captain and his men withdrew, Bob Goss replaced Huddleston to work with Gonzaullas. They continued to work with the local aurthorities in various East Texas towns to route out crime.

One of the most astounding and amusing raids happened late at night close to Kilgore. Gonzaullas and Goss, Kilgore Chief of Police P. K. McIntosh and five of his officers participated. They had no idea how large this raid was going to be! This was what was called the "Monte Carlo" of the oil field.

"The operation was set up in the open air in a three-acre grove at a remote location near Laird Hill about two and one half miles from Kilgore. It was evident that management felt secure, because the place was well lighted. Beef, veal, pork and fish were being barbecued over a long pit, the tantalizing odor filling the air. Illegal whiskey and beer were offered in quantity. The estimated four hundred men and women, both black and white, were busily engaged in the various forms of entertainment when the lawmen arrived near midnight."

"Upon the alarm being sounded, a rout ensued to the accompaniment of shouts and screams. In panic, more than half of the gamblers rushed off into the darkness like fear-crazed soldiers of a defeated army. Their disorganized flight resulted in many minor injuries as they crashed into tree trunks, the long harness racks and unseen pieces of oil field equipment scattered about on the ground. Most of those who took to their heels managed to get away, some with broken noses, skinned arms and legs and lacerated scalps. The officers did corral 123 people, of whom 23 were women and 10 were white men. They were searched and relieved of such miscelaneous items as knives, straightedge razors and a few handguns. The gambling equipment was completely wrecked before departure of the raiders, the beer and whiskey containers smashed. Those arrested were finally turned over to Sheriff Bill McMurray of Rusk about five o'clock in the morning." "Lone Wolf" Gonzaullas, Texas Ranger by Brownson Malsch. Eight law officers against four hundred would be criminals and gamblers.

Many more raids and arrests kept the Rangers and local authorities busy as more and more wells were being drilled. Longview, Gladewater and other East Texas towns had their share of outlaws, gamblers and other criminals arrested. Eventually, the full time drilling of wells flooded the market and Governor Sterling had to declare martial law and call in the Texas National Guard. Gonzaullas had anticipated this and had already been working on finding a place for the Guard to encamp. It took several years of turmoil in the oil industry and eventually Federal intervention to bring order out of the chaotic situation.

Gonzaullas continued to work in East Texas for quite some time. He eventually became the superintendent of the Bureau of Intelligence directing all undercover operations and a Captain in the Texas Rangers. He worked on famous cases and in the field, chasing murderers, bank robbers, and all manner of criminals, and occasionally getting in gun fights.

 

 

These photos and much of the quotes come from the book "Lone Wolf " Gonzaullas, Texas Ranger by Brownson Malsch. This exciting book can be found at Amazon.com.
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Gonzaullas' bulletproof vest on display at the Texas Ranger Museum in Waco, Texas. "Lone Wolf" told the story that the holes in the outer layer were made when he had an associate test the vest by firing at him. (Courtesy Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.)
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Reverse sides of richly embellished, gold-plated Colt .38 Detective Special revolvers used by Gonzuallas. The pistols were ornamented with a gold, miniature Texas Ranger captain badge and with emblems of organizations of which Gonzuallas was a member. (Courtesy Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.)

One confrontation was amusing and showed the true nature of how strong Gonzaullas' reputation had become.

"Gonzaullas was in a Tyler hotel trying to get some needed rest just past midnight when his sleep was interrupted by a great amount of commotion below. There was loud talking, raucous laughter, boisterous yelling and general racket. Thinking it would soon cease, he laid a pillow over his head, but that had little deadening effect. When it became evident that there would be no immediate letup in the noise, he got out of bed, went to the window and stuck his head out of it, calling to them to "pipe down." Because of impatience, he was sharp in tone.

That did it. Members of the group were incensed that anyone would have the gall to admonish them to be quiet. One of them snarled at him to "mind your own business." That ws no more acceptable to Gonzaullas than his complaint had been to them, so he carried the matter a bit further by offering to come down and force them to stop.

In a bellicose manner, one of the group shouted, "You don't have to come down here. We'll come up there." So, up the stair they tramped in a body and commenced banging loudly on the door to his room. He open the door and admitted them did a double take and recognized him. "My God, boys," he shouted, "it's the Lone Wolf.' Let's scram", and they did just that. The silence that ensued was total." "Lone Wolf" Gonzaullas, Texas Ranger. by Brownson Malsch

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On one occasion, he pumped five slugs into an escaped convict who had nicked his shoulder while playing possum in the floorboard of a bullet riddled car at a road block. As Gonzaullas opened a door to the car, his partner shouted to Gonzaullas and he ducked just in time before the man fired. Unknown to the Rangers until they approached the car, the criminal had been untouched by a hail of bullets until Gonzaullas shot and killed him at close range. Another escaped convict had already been killed when the two fugitives refused to surrender to the several officers waiting for them.

In the summer of 1950, the "Lone Wolf" told the notorious racketeer Mickey Cohen to get out of Texas. Word had reached Homer Garrison, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety which the Rangers had become a part of, that Mickey Cohen wanted to extend his gambling empire into Texas. Gonzaullas was ordered to eject him and two associates from Texas. Cohen and two associates had just arrived in Texas and Gonzaullas and three other Rangers tracked them to Wichita Falls. Waking them up in the early morning hours of August 31, they started the three undesirables on their journey out of the state through a series of plane flights. Harry Brooks was permitted to go to Ohio. Cohen and Dennis Morrison were put on a Los Angelos bound flight. Gonzaullas and the three Rangers kept the two men under observation until the plane left the airport.

"A short time later, a large box of extra-fancey California fruit was delivered to the Gonzaullas' residence in Dallas. It was a gift from Mickey Cohen. Gonzaullas promptly returned the box, unopened, freight charges collect." "Lone Wolf" Gonzaullas, Texas Ranger by Brownson Malsch.

Captain Gonzaullas retired from the Rangers on July 31, 1951 at the age of sixty after a long and colorful career. He had already made plans on going to Hollywood and becoming a consultant for a new radio and television series "Tales of the Texas Rangers." He had worked for two years on material for the series and would still live in Dallas with his wife of over 30 years but travel between Hollywood and Dallas. He would be a technical advisor to producer Stacy Keach. All the scripts were submitted to Gonzaullas and DPS Director Homer Garrison for review. "Let's keep the record straight at all times." Gonzaullas said. Actor Joel McCrea, a genuine cowboy in his own right; starred in the radio version of "Tales of the Texas Rangers."

He had a large retirement party at Athens, Texas on July 10, 1951. There were 200 top law officers from around the state plus 150 Texas business leaders. Many accolades were paid to him from friends and associates who admired his dedication to making Texas a safer place to live. Newspapers throughout Texas carried stories of his retirement and his exploits during his career. The Houston Chronicle carried a full page article.

After five years of cummuting between Dallas and Hollywood, his work ended as a consultant. He settled down and enjoyed his retirement. He and his wife kept busy in church and civic affairs. He was involved in the Texas Rangers Association and the Texas Ranger Commemorative Commission. They were involved in the building of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame in Waco, Texas. Gonzaullas was a busy man right up to the end of his life. Knowing he was weakening from cancer, he started giving some of his collection of guns and other weapons to his friends and associates. He turned over some of his personal items to the Homer Garrison Memorial Museum. Some are now housed at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame in Waco, Texas At the age of eighty-five on Sunday, February 13, 1977 he passed away quietly from cancer with his wife at his side. A man of integrity and honesty, totally dedicated to his job as a law officer; he truely made an indelible mark on the State of Texas.

There were many more famous Texas Rangers down through the years, some have written their own books of their exploits or others have written about them. Much of the information here came from the the book "Lone Wolf" Gonzaullas by Brownson Malsch. This is an excellant book! There are many more stories in the book about this remarkable man. We're justifiably proud of the men, and now women, that wear the badge of the Texas Rangers in our state.

My own father was a motorcycle policeman in East Texas cities, including Kilgore, for several years when I was a child and later on after I was grown, he was a deputy sheriff and met some of these men. He told of fast draw law officers who could draw and shoot anything they saw from just the corner of their eyes. How? They shot barrels full of shells practicing, and used their practice in actual gun fights. My father had some colorful incidents too with chasing gamblers and others criminals. On his large Harley, he once chased a bigtime gambler through the East Texas city of Gladewater at over 100 miles an hour at night. The gambler wouldn't stop his new Cadillac until my dad put a bullet through his trunk. The gambler was taken to a judge and paid a stiff fine and was told to keep on going out of town.

As a deputy, he had to go into dance halls and beer joints which dotted the area with just his long time partner and he answering calls, which could be dangerous work. He didn't talk much about all of this, although there were times when he had to physically subdue criminals and shot at some of them. I now have his Smith & Wesson .44 Police Special which he used as a deputy, which he purchased from an old time famous law officer. This gun was the same kind he used years before when he was a policeman. He also used .45 automatics, although he didn't like the way they sometimes jammed. He had sold his original guns when he quit as a policeman.

Since prohibition ended, much of East Texas has been wet for decades. During the 1930s and 1940s, there were areas such as "Whiskey Bend" and others that florished with drink and sometimes illiegal gambling and crime. Although pretty law-abiding now, East Texas still has some ghosts of the times past when the oil boom was king and the modern wild west tried to move into the area.

 

 

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Company "B" Rangers at Gonzuallas' retirement party in 1951. Front row, left to right; John T. Cope, S. H. denson, M. T. Gonzaullas, Robert A. Crowder, Bob Badgett and L. C. Rigler. Back row, left to right; G. M. Roach, Jay Banks, Jim Geer, Dick Oldham, Stewart Stanley, and Ernest Daniel. (Courtesy Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.)
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