HAYS, JOHN COFFEE (1817-1883). John Coffee (Jack) Hays, Texas Ranger extraordinary and Mexican War officer, son of Harmon and Elizabeth (Cage) Hays, was born at Little Cedar Lick, Wilson County, Tennessee, on January 28, 1817. His father, of Scots-Irish descent, fought with Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston in the War of 1812. Hays became the prototypical Texas Ranger officer, and he and his cohorts-John S. (Rip) Ford, Ben McCulloch, and Samuel H. Walker-established the ranger tradition. Hays joined the Texas Rangers in the formative years of their role as citizen soldiers. His rangers gained a reputation as mounted troops with revolvers and individually styled uniforms, who marched and fought with a noticeable lack of military discipline. This rough-and-ready image of an irregular force left its imprint on the chronicles of ranger history.
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