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Eagle Lake in Colorado County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Zeno Smith

 
 
Zeno Smith Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, August 4, 2021
1. Zeno Smith Marker
Inscription.  

Born in Eagle Lake and known as the last of the Black Hat Rangers, Zeno Smith (1902-1972) worked as a cowboy and rancher, and in his family's meat market. In 1935, he became a Texas Ranger, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and older brother. In a 34-year career he was credited with solving some of the biggest crime cases in South Texas. In 1958, he testified before a U.S. Senate Committee on Labor Crimes. Upon his retirement, a Texas House Resolution highlighted the "Notable Record and Outstanding Service" of this "Dedicated, Loyal, and Capable Officer." Smith served much of his Ranger career in San Antonio. He was known as fair but always direct while serving the Citizens of Texas. He is buried next to his wife, Leona, in Nixon Cemetery in Gonzales County.
 
Erected 2018 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 20084.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AnimalsLaw Enforcement. A significant historical year for this entry is 1935.
 
Location. 29° 35.259′ N, 96° 19.987′ W. Marker is in Eagle Lake
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, Texas, in Colorado County. Marker is at the intersection of East Main Street (Farm to Market Road 102) and Jones, on the right when traveling north on East Main Street. The marker is located on the left side of the building by the sidewalk. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 310 East Main Street, Eagle Lake TX 77434, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Rice Culture in Colorado County (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Rice Area Memorial (about 500 feet away); City Hall – Fire Station – Jail (about 500 feet away); Eagle Lake Settlement Centennial Monument (about 500 feet away); Town of Eagle Lake (about 500 feet away); Hotel Dallas 1912 (approx. 0.2 miles away); E.H. Henry Rosenwald School (approx. 0.4 miles away); Methodism in Eagle Lake (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Eagle Lake.
 
Also see . . .  Texas Rangers.
With the Great Depression (1929-), Ranger fortunes began to ebb. The legislature had to slash the budget, so that during the depression the force complement never exceeded forty-five. As for transportation, the Rangers depended on free railroad passes or their own horses along the border. In the fall of 1932 they made a grave error in judgment: they openly supported Governor Ross Sterling against Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson in the Democratic primary.
Zeno Smith Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, August 4, 2021
2. Zeno Smith Marker
In January 1933, upon taking office, Ma fired every Ranger for his partisanship-forty-four in all. The legislature then slashed salaries and budgets and further reduced the force to thirty-two men. Texas consequently became a haven for the lawless-the likes of Raymond Hamilton, George "Machine Gun" Kelly, and Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. Source: The Handbook of Texas
(Submitted on August 11, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.) 
 
The Zeno Smith Marker is front of the restored Smith Market Building image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, August 4, 2021
3. The Zeno Smith Marker is front of the restored Smith Market Building
The view of the Zeno Smith Marker by the street image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, August 4, 2021
4. The view of the Zeno Smith Marker by the street
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 11, 2022. It was originally submitted on August 10, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 352 times since then and 25 times this year. Last updated on July 11, 2022, by Joe Lotz of Denton, Texas. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 11, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 3, 2024