Charlie Miller: A Texas Original

Charlie Miller 1911 Tied Grip Safety Sheriff Jim Wilson
One of the most colorful Texas Rangers of the 20th Century was Charlie Miller (1893?-1971). He was born in Frio County, Texas, but they aren’t really sure about the year of his birth. You see, Charlie kept changing it when mandatory retirement drew near. But we do know that he was a Texas Ranger, off and on, from 1919 to 1968. He’s the one, you’ll remember me telling you, that was of the earliest Rangers to carry a Colt 1911. And he always tied down the grip safety with a piece of rawhide, as illustrated on my own 1911 that is pictured above.

I don’t want you to think that Charlie was tough, or anything, but Ranger Bob Favor told me about visiting him after Charlie retired. They were standing around, out by the barn, looking at some horses when one of Charlie’s teeth got to hurting him. Favor said that Charlie went into the tack room, grabbed some pliers and pulled the tooth, right then and there. Now that’s tough!

Anyway, here’s another Charlie Miller story…

No one ever told me what year it was, but Charlie was after a crook along the Rio Grande, out west of Del Rio somewhere. Charlie jumped the outlaw down in the vega of the river and they both went to shooting. Charlie hit the outlaw and the outlaw hit Charlie. They both went down in the brush.

Charlie said that he lay there for a while and then hollered over to the outlaw. He told him that he knew he had hit him and that Charlie was hit, too. Were they both going to lie there and bleed to death, or were they going to stand up and finish it like men?

Charlie said, “And you know, that dumb son-of-a-bitch stood up!”

And then there was the time that a cafe wouldn’t serve Charlie a cup of coffee, so he just shot a hole in their coffee urn and served himself. But we’ll save that one for another time…

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92 Responses to Charlie Miller: A Texas Original

  1. Pingback: Charlie Miller: A Texas Original | Sheriff Jim Wilson | Gun Free Zone

  2. …When men were men and women were women and we all knew the difference!
    When what a man, “thinks” and what he, “says” and what he, “does,” are all the same – that’s “INTEGRITY!”
    Honesty, Honor, and Truth, are good areas to measure when desiring to determine true standing of a man’s integrity!
    Personally, I’m more troubled that Americans today seem like they no longer require them in their “Leaders” than that there are fewer and fewer men who actually possess them!
    Robert Buckner from my website: “Freedumb In America”

    • J.Ripps says:

      When the standards had to be lowered so everyone short, tall, skinny, fat, female, lacking proper sense and education, black, brown,pink or green could become a law enforcement officer; the quality and tuffness of officers began to sorta slack off. Now you can call me sexist, racist, bigot, or whatever….but it’s true. I went through the DPS academy with the first female, and we carried her through….literally! I realize some race’s of people didn’t have equal educational opportunities, but to lower standards was the wrong recruitment technique…..they should have raised the salary to attract the better ones who were worth more. Now don’t get me wrong, we have some fine officers wearing the badge, but don’t expect what we had to return….and it has nothing to do a certain generation….it’s about standards and attitudes .

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  4. Ted Langworthy says:

    I have a SAA engraved “Charlie Miller, Texas Ranger”. Does anyone know who presented this pistol to him? It really is beautiful.

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  6. Jonathan Couch says:

    They cleaned up that “coffee” story. I’m related to a very close friend of Charlie’s who was also a Texas Ranger and has also passed. Charlie was a common topic growing up in our house. It wasn’t coffee or a cafe but serving himself a beverage by planting a few rounds in the “urn” is entirely true. He became well known in the area for that.

  7. I have memories or Charlie when I started in LE in 1963. He taught me more about criminal inv, than any school. Always enjoyed working with Charlie.

  8. Bob Favor says:

    Jim, you need to back off on trying to telling Charlie Miller stories. You are really miles off on accuracy. When Charlie retired in 1968 his spot remained vacant until Oct 1 1969 when I moved from Co, D to Brady Co, F. Capt Albers directed me to visit with Charlie on a regular basis and transport him where ever he needed to go. As a result Charlie shared numerous incidents with me. I agree with my good friend Milton Jung he was a dandy and a personal friend of mind. I was honored to serve as a pall bearer at his funeral when he passed away in 1971. I pinned my Ranger badge on him for his funeral service. I retrieved it just prior to closing his casket

    • Kelly Tomlinson says:

      My parents were at that funeral. Charlie Miller was my Great Uncle. Thank you for your service.

  9. Judy Gunn says:

    If you read some of the autobiographies of former Texas Rangers, you’d know the facts regarding Charlie Miller. Bob Favor’s reply to your “stories” says it best. My father was also a Texas Ranger with Charlie Miller and Bob Favor in Co. F. From my father’s recollections, Miller was also known as a man who kept the poor in shoes during the winter months, and never let anyone go hungry.

    • Keith G. Brooks says:

      Both Charlie Miller and Bob Favors were good friends with my Dad when was Sheriff of Mills County. I can remember them both as a kid,,Remember Mr. Miller in my parents house giving y father an autographed pic of him. Bob Favors done several things for and with my Dad.

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