SCALP MOUNTAIN (an excerpt)

By Julia Robb


Chapter Thirteen

Report to Major Lou Phillips, Austin headquarters, from Texas Ranger Capt. W.E. Henry


           Sir: I have the honor to report the death of Mage Higgins, the man who shot down Sheriff Dell Rogers. After Higgins, we also trailed the gang stuck up the Round Rock bank and recovered the money.

Events preceding Sheriff Rogers’ death are as follows: Ranchers took a prisoner from Rogers’ jail in Parker, Cottonwood County, and lynched him. The prisoner was a cow thief. Higgins, the prisoner’s half brother, believed Sheriff Rogers’ responsible for his brother’s demise and swore revenge.RangersBridge

Higgins found Sheriff Rogers on the street in late July and shot him in the back with a breech-load shotgun. Then he poked the gun into the pool hall and killed a second man, someone he believed helped hang his brother, putting a permanent end to that man’s game.

I took three Special Force rangers on a scout. We found Higgins at his place near the Llano River, but when he saw us coming, he ran to the barn, mounted his horse and left on a dead run. He was a splendid rider. We pursued him to the river, and caught up as his horse ran out a pecan grove and into the shallows. I gave him fair warning, I told him I wanted him and if he didn’t surrender, I would kill him.


He turned and fired and I let him have it, fulfilling La ley de fuga (the flight law); you run, you die. We toted his body to Parker and dumped it in front of the judge, who holds court under a live oak tree on the square; no courthouse yet.

Your telegram regarding the Round Rock bank robbery caught up with me in camp.

We rode to Round Rock and found the bandits took $3,000, not much for those cutthroats. We had papers on all of them, including Pink Odum, who shot a negro in a bar for daring to come in for a drink, and Volney Bruton, who killed six vaqueros and stole their herd. I saw the place where the vaqueros are buried. The locals call it “Volney Bruton’s graveyard.”

Striking sign on the Prairie Dog Fork of the Red River, we then crossed into Indian Territory, pursuing them to the Choctaw11066452-1 nation. We found them sitting outside a cabin playing cards and rode toward them, pistols in hand. When the bandits saw us coming, they dashed into the barn and opened fire. I yelled out and told them they had five minutes to surrender or we would kill all of ‘em. They wouldn’t listen and shot Private John Wesley Ransom when his horse went crazy and he couldn’t hold ‘er, sending him right in front of the barn.

We charged. I am enclosing a list of the deceased and their wanted papers.

Private Ransom died. Bullet shot his jaw off and he bled to death. He was a steady man and will be missed. We also lost two good horses to enemy fire. I have appropriated the outlaws’ horses, which are the best they could steal in Texas and Indian Territory.

Am sending this report by Sgt. Plunk Hanszen, as I am off on a personal scout. I will return to duty in the next few months.

Note: Please send receipt for enclosed $3,000 , Henry



Julia Robb is the author of Scalp Mountain and Saint of the Burning Heart, both ebooks available at (Click here). She can be reached at,,, Twitter, Facebook, and pinterest.


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