Leander McNelly had the distinction of serving as a captain of both the Texas State Police and a special force of the Texas Rangers. It was a measure of the respect people had for him.
The state police was formed by the Republican Governor Edmund Davis in 1870, primarily to enforce new laws protecting black citizens and their rights. When it was disbanded, the Democrat Governor Richard Coke assigned McNelly and company to fight Mexican bandits along the Nueces Strip in the southern part of the state. He did so until he retired for his health in 1876.
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