San Antonio, Bexar County, and the Texas Rangers: The struggle of prohibition enforcement

May 2023
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The purpose of this study was to examine the enforcement of Prohibition in San Antonio, Texas, both before nationwide implementation and through Governor Pat Neff’s Ranger occupation of the city between September 1923 to January 1925. Due to the challenges of Prohibition enforcement, Governor Neff, during his second term, created a new company of the famed Texas Rangers to police Prohibition within San Antonio with mixed results. This year-and-a-half-long enforcement campaign ended with the court case Neff vs. Elgin and the election of Governor Miriam Ferguson. Major primary sources of this thesis include various newspaper articles primarily from San Antonio, letters from Governor Neff and Rangers from San Antonio, including Captain Berkhead C. Baldwin, and court documents from Neff vs. Elgin. While Neff’s occupation of San Antonio successfully enforced vice laws, the campaign proved difficult to maintain because of the unprofessionalism, uncooperativeness, and violent methods of the Texas Rangers.

History, United States