Richard Clayton Ware (1851 – 1902)

Richard Clayton Dick Ware
Added by: Rick Calvert

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WARE, RICHARD CLAYTON (1851-1902).  Richard Clayton Ware, Texas Ranger, sheriff, and United States marshal, the oldest son of Benjamin F. and Mary Jane (Price) Ware,was born November 11, 1851, on the family plantation near Rome, Georgia.

In 1870 he came with his family to Texas and settled near Dallas.  Ware joined the Frontier Battalion on April 1, 1876, and was assigned to Company E under Lt. B.S. Foster.  He continued to serve in the company under lieutenants Nelson O. Reynolds and C.L. Nevill.

In July 1878 Ware was among the rangers sent to accompany Maj. John B. Jones to Round Rock to intercept Sam Bass and his gang.  Ware was in a barbershop being shaved when the outlaws entered the town and killed Deputy Sheriff A.W. ‘High’ Grimes.  He rushed from the shop only partially shaved and fired his gun at the fleeing outlaws.  One shot killed Seaborn Barnes, and another, it is thought, was the bullet that fatally wounded Sam Bass.  Although Lieutenant Nevill’s official report, based on the coroner’s verdict, credited George Herold (or Harrell) with the fatal shot, several eyewitnesses, including fellow ranger  Chris Connor, attributed it to Ware.  Even the dying Bass declared that the man who felled him had lather on his face.  The controversy over who really killed Sam Bass was never entirely resolved.

In 1880 Ware was transferred to Company B of the Frontier Battalion under Capt. Ira Long and sent with them to Hackberry Springs in Mitchell County.  Ware resigned from the company in 1881 to become the county’s first sheriff.  He had won that job by a single vote, and not long afterward his opponent was killed by Ranger Jeff Milton while resisting arrest.  Ware was re-elected until November 11, 1892, when his deputy defeated him.

President Grover Cleveland appointed Ware U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Texas and on May 11, 1893.  He held that office at Colorado City headquarters until January 26, 1898, when the McKinley administration replaced him.

Ware was a Mason, an Oddfellow, and a lifelong bachelor.  He moved to Corpus Cristi or his health and later to a Fort Worth hospital in 1902.  He developed heart trouble, which resulted in his death on July 2, 1902.  He is buried in Colorado City.

Source:  The Handbook  of Texas Online at

Article compiled and written by H. Allen Anderson.


Richard Clayton Ware (1851 – 1902) — 1 Comment

  1. This Ware lived the dangerous life of a Texas lawman during a period of time when everyone carried a deadly six shooter, expecially in the state of Texas. Many stories have been written and movies made of the famous Texas Rangers. Great article.


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