Wild, Wild West
Frank Hamer

Frank Hamer
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.07

     challenging words:    Navasota, prohibition, rampage, wranglers, resign, unpopular, murderers, best, ferguson, breaker, marshal, notorious, impressed, shotgun, twentieth, wounded
     content words:    Texas Rangers, Frank Hamer, Dan McSwain, When Frank, Rio Grande, Del Rio, Rio Grande River, Gladys Johnson, Senior Ranger Captain

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Frank Hamer
By Mary Lynn Bushong

1     Of the many Texas Rangers over their nearly two hundred year history, many men stand out. One who stands out as perhaps the greatest ranger in the first half of the twentieth century is Frank Hamer [HAY-mer].
2     Hamer was born in Fairview, Texas, on March 17, 1884. His family moved twice before ending up in Oxford, Texas. Frank's father was a blacksmith. Frank began learning that craft but did not find it as interesting as he had hoped.
3     Instead of pursuing that work, he and his brother Harrison decided to try sharecropping with a local farmer, Dan McSwain.
4     Frank had a reputation for being able to handle weapons well. One day McSwain asked him to kill someone. When Frank refused, the farmer threatened him. Two days later he attempted to kill Frank with a shotgun. Harrison helped a wounded Frank escape, and he carried the scars from the attack for the rest of his life. When he was well enough, he returned the favor to McSwain. Frank was 16. Over his career he was involved in at least fifty gunfights.
5     After that, the two brothers worked as wranglers on a couple of ranches. While at the second ranch, Frank offered to catch a horse thief for the local sheriff and did so. The sheriff was so impressed that he recommended the young man to the Texas Rangers.
6     Frank was 22 when he joined the Rangers. He was sent to a place near the Rio Grande, called Del Rio, where he made border patrols for two years. This was not easy because the area was in a constant state of turmoil.
7     In 1902, a new challenge was offered to the young ranger. He had already earned a reputation as a tough, strong-willed law man, and there was a town that needed him. Navasota, Texas, was out of control. Their last marshal had lasted only a week.
8     Hamer left the Rangers and took up the challenge. In three years the young marshal turned the town around and worked himself right out of a job.

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