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Aragorn Storm Miller

RANCK, JAMES E. (1833–?). James E. Ranck, merchant, developer, and state representative, was born in Indiana, in 1833. Ranck immigrated to Texas during the 1850s, settling in Mason County. He played a leading role in community affairs throughout his life. In the late 1850s Ranck worked to attract immigrants and investors to Mason County, earning the nickname the "father of Mason County." In 1860 Ranck established a general store in the county and contributed to the purchase of 5,000 acres of land to lease to cotton sharecroppers. During the Civil War, Ranck served in various militia units in and around Mason County. In 1863 he was elected representative for Mason County to the Tenth Texas Legislature, serving through 1864. Following the war Ranck was an active member of the early Texas Republican Party, which advocated declaring the secession of Texas void ab initio and granting immediate civil rights to freedmen. In January 1866 Ranck represented Mason County in the Radical Union Caucus, a subset of the Texas Republicans. Around 1867 he served as a juror for cases emanating from the Reconstruction authorities at Fort Mason as well as donated a building for the establishment of the community's first public school. Throughout the 1870s he participated in the cattle business with a brother-in-law. His final public role in January 1888 was as a delegate for a convention seeking to extend the Chicago Railroad to Mason County. He was a trustee of Methodist Episcopal Church, Mason County. Ranck died sometime after 1888.


James A. Baggett, "Birth of the Texas Republican Party," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 78 (July 1974). Margaret Bierschwale, A History of Mason County, Texas through 1964 (Mason, Texas: Mason County Historical Commission, 1998). IGI Individual Record, "James Ranck" (, accessed May 13, 2007.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Aragorn Storm Miller, "RANCK, JAMES E.," accessed July 18, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on May 6, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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