Here reproduced in authentic facsimile is the now very rare List of Fugitives from Justice, the 227-page booklet which the Texas Adjutant General published in 1878 for distribution to the Texas Rangers. Known by the Rangers as “The Book,” the list provided a quick reference by county of persons wanted, their crimes, and often a brief physical description of the fugitive. Ranger Sergeant James Buchanan Gillett, who had joined the Rangers in 1876 and quickly distinguished himself before leaving the Rangers in 1882 to become City Marshal of El Paso and later sheriff of Brewster and Presidio counties, had his copy of “The Book” bound along with blank notebook paper into a buckled leather case to carry with him in his saddlebags for quick reference while on the move. Gillett made penciled entries whenever a fugitive was killed or captured; in the index by the entry for John Wesley Hardin, for example, he wrote “in the pen.” On the blank notebook pages Gillett listed and described numerous other fugitives from justice, including Sam Bass and his gang. Now proudly owned by the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame in Waco, Gillett’s personal copy of “The Book” and his handwritten notebook annotations provide a fascinating glimpse into the life of a Texas Ranger and the state of “law & order” in Texas in the 19th century.
A foreword by Michael D. Morrison, Mayor of the City of Waco, places The List and James B. Gillett into historical perspective. Accurately reproduced along with the illustrations of reward posters, Gillett’s calling cards, and other ephemera found tucked into his personal copy of “The Book,” Fugitives from Justice is an important contribution to the history of the Texas Rangers and of Texas.