“It was a wonderful and solemn occasion,” said Christine Moore Bushong. She was referring to the “Trail of Crosses” program that honored five former Texas Rangers held June 26 in the Blanco Historical Cemetery.
Former Texas Ranger, Sgt. Ray Martinez, explained to those gathered that the Former Texas Ranger Association provides free of charge to Ranger descendants special metal crosses that bear the symbol of the world renowned Texas Rangers. A cross can be installed at the gravesite of anyone who served as a Ranger no matter where he or she might be buried.
The five honorees were Private William N. Trainer, Private Samuel E. Trainer, Private David J. Trainer, Captain William A. Blackwell and Corporal Henry C. Lindeman. Each one served just prior to or immediately after the Civil War in the 1860’s. “Living on the frontier,” said Bernice West “was fraught with many dangers. Companies of Texas Rangers were organized to protect settlers from the recurring depredations of Indians, outlaws and to protect the borderlands.”
She went on to explain that William Neil Trainer was one of the first settlers in the Blanco Valley in 1853. He enlisted in 1861 as a private in a company of Rangers or Minutemen in Blanco County with William A. Blackwell, another honoree, serving as captain and commanding officer. He served for 22 days. “Short periods of service were not uncommon in those days,” said Ranger descendant Page Warren. “After recruits had taken care of the immediate contingency, they returned to their homesteads to protect and to provide for the needs of their families. They may have signed up on numerous occasions for a long or short term.”
Gail Moore McClellan reported that Private David Trainer served for 18 days under Captain William A. Blackwell in 1861 and went on to fight for the Confederacy where he participated in several major battles and was twice taken prisoner by Union troops. Records indicate that Samuel E. Trainer enlisted in a cavalry company for twelve months at age 24 in January of 1862. He, too, fought in the Civil War for the Confederacy. His burial place is uncertain so his Ranger Cross was placed next to his mother’s grave, that of Hannah Owen Trainer, in the Blanco Cemetery.
Corporal Henry Christian Lindeman also served under the command of Captain William A. Blackwell having signed up on May 4, 1861, at age 20. Ranger descendant Charlene Lindeman Singleton said, “My father, Alton Lindeman, told me that he was just seven or eight years old when grandfather died (in 1914) but that he remembered him well.”
Henry C. Lindeman was born in Prussia in 1841, arrived in the U.S. in 1846 and settled in Blanco County in 1854. Ms. Singleton went on to say that Corporal Lindeman fought on behalf of his state or country on three different occasions for short periods of time.
During the program, Bernice West, of Blanco was given a special “Rusty Spur” award as “Historian Extraordinaire” of Blanco County. Dennis and Kenneth Moore led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Salute to the Texas Flag. Dorothy Dillon directed the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Texas, Our Texas.”
Douglas Trainer gave a heartfelt reading of the “Texas Ranger Prayer” and other prayers were offered by Ranger descendants James Armke and Charles Moore. The posting of the colors was by a color guard comprised of Grant Weaver and Janos Arnosky, Eagle Scouts from local Troop 497. A highlight of the program was the playing of “Taps” by Rebecca Downlearn, an accomplished music student at Blanco High School.
In attendance representing the Former Texas Ranger Association, besides Sgt. Ray Martinez, were Bob Bailey, Richard Payne, Clark McKinley and Cristina McLauren. They were dressed in period costumes befitting their roles as “Old West Rangers.” With the possible exception of Ms. McLauren, each one was “packing iron.”
Blanco County History by John Stribling Moursund provided much historical information about the former Texas Rangers honored in the program. Blanco County Heritage, published in 1987 by Blanco County News, expanded on the content of that book. The latter has been long out of print but a second edition is in the works. Anyone interested in ordering a copy at the pre-publication price may do so by contacting Dennis Moore of Blanco (830-833-4706) or Charles Moore of Marble Falls (512-756-7011).