Parker County Today June 2017 - Page 14

Continued from page 8 The 14 th Posse Member The newly formed organization needed a constitu- tion, a charter and bylaws. Young local lawyer Jack Borden seemed like a good fit, and became the 14 th Posse member. He was joined by Walter Caraway, Barney Phillips, Ferd Slocum, Ray Smyth, H.K. Wylie and S.A. Wheeler. The 14th Posse Member, Jack Borden. Photo Courtesy of the Parker County Sheriff's Posse. 12 Saunders (a rancher) and Borden (an attorney) were given the honor of writing the charter, by-laws, constitu- tion and obtaining and filing all of the paperwork with the state to make the formation of the organization offi- cial. “I think they invited me to join just because they needed a member that was a lawyer and I did the work for them,” Jack Borden told this reporter once. He was half-joking. “But I joined because I thought it was a good idea and the people doing it were good men who wanted to do good things. “I had to make a living. If you look at the Captains, they were bankers or people who owned their own busi- nesses and had sons or people who could run their busi- nesses for them. I had a law practice that I had to take care of,” said Borden. According to published reports, Borden helped more than the Posse organization over the years, he also “has been called to help rambunctious members out of minor scrapes or misunderstandings with the law.” Saunders had been instrumental in writing bylaws for several other organizations so he was volunteered to work alongside Borden on drawing up the necessary documents and filing the vital paperwork. They must have done something right. “A number of groups began to spring up across the state, patterned after our Sheriff’s Posse,” Borden said, in an interview with Parker County Today in 2006. Numerous counties in the southwestern United States still hold on to the tradition by having an active sheriff’s posse, but few possess the business acumen, community involvement and leadership of the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse and even fewer managed to achieve the level of influence and prestige reached by the local Posse. “Our Posse is about public service, coupled with an inter- est and concentration on the history of Parker County,” Borden said. “Knowledge and love of great horses was part of the foundation of the Posse.” According to its charter the Posse was created, “... to foster interest among its members in keeping alive the true traditions of the Old West, a sacred heritage of all Texans; to promote good fellowship, good sportsman- ship and a greater interest, both social and civic, in their community; to assist the High Sheriff, upon his request, to quell a riot, a disturbance or any emergency deemed necessary by the sheriff in calling upon this Posse to assist in the protection of his jurisdiction.” While the Posse is in the process of keeping alive the heritage of the Western lifestyle, they always look rugged- ly dapper. During the first year of the Posse’s existence, the leadership decided that a big part of fulfilling their creed to keep alive the western heritage was traveling to other communities and riding in their rodeo parades and grand entries. In an inspired moment, the Posse agreed on a uniform of sorts and they agreed on a timelessly great look consisting of a simple white western shirt with a black ribbon tie, worn in a square knot. Pants were to be blue denim, hats were to be a grey or silver belly hat. Eventually, a denim jacket for winter and a straw hat for summer were approved as well as chaps for parades. After 70 years, the Posse uniform still looks splendid on posse members of any age and of any body style. It never goes out of fashion and it never looks tired. The Posse has been called out numerous times over the past 70 years to assist in emergencies of various degrees. “The KKK threatened to blow up the Parker County Courthouse in the early 1950s and the Posse was called to help guard the courthouse,” said Posse Member Bill Ward. “Most recently we were called out when a young lady was missing, a single mom from Palo Pinto County and we went out and rode for days looking for that girl. We helped the Palo Pinto Sheriff’s Office search for her. The Palo Pinto County Sheriff’s Posse also came out and searched. Combing some ranch land we rode six feet apart from each other— 40 to 50 riders looking for any sign of her.” That was three years ago. The members of the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse have taken to heart the charge of keeping alive the tradi- tions of the Old West and the promotion of their commu- nity. What began as a “civic-minded organization of ranch- ers and businessmen” grew to mean so much more to the residents of Parker County. The original group of 13 has grown to 142 active members with a colorful history and a link to Parker County’s western past. The Posse current- ly has a membership cap of 150, according to O’Neal.