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Andrew Mather

Source: Sunday American-Statesman Magazine ,17 Jan 1926,
in Vertical File, Herman Brown Free Library.
Transcribed by Mary Nell Hodnett.
Updated Sept. 2007

He Introduced "Needle Gun" as Ranger

The first white boy born west of the Old Military Trail which crossed the San Gabriel near Georgetown, and the second white boy in Williamson county, was Andrew Mather, now a resident of Liberty Hill, less than 20 miles from the place of his birth, which event is recorded as June 11, 1851, and at Gabriel Mills, Texas, a small inland town on the Williamson-Burnet county line, which flourished in pioneer days and at one time gave promise of becoming rather a large place, but the coming of the railroad caused it to gradually decline until today Old Gabriel Mills is no more.

Andrew Mather, tall, being six feet four inches, well proportioned, is a typical Texas cow man. Until a few years ago he was rarely seen without spurs on and continues now to wear his trousers in his boot-tops and has the carriage of a man of the range. He is nowhere more at home than on the back of a good horse and the cattle range is a haven of refuge from the crowding civilization about him. The accompanying photograph, taken several years ago, has created interest wherever it is seen. A man from California saw in a restaurant of an admirer of Mr. Mather in Georgetown, a painting made of the old pioneer from this picture and declared that it nearer expressed his understanding of a native Texan than any photograph he had ever known and he expressed to this writer his absolute determination to secure one of the pictures.

Since the mind of man runneth not to the contrary Mr. Mather has been known in Williamson, Burnet and adjoining counties for his continuing [not legible]. [Not legible] heart ever beat beneath the fabric from which clothing is fashioned than Andy Mather's but he is recognized as a man of his word and no one has ever questioned it when he had spoken. He is a square shooter and an honest dealer and in years agone was a terror to the cattle thief and the evil doer. He dresses in strict cowman fashion, or more strictly speaking that of a scout. His hat a large wide brim and the best that money will buy. His hair long and occasionally, more so in former years than now, he wore it down upon his shoulder. With boots and spurs he is indeed all that his record mean, cowman, scout and early Texas ranger.

Not many years before the death of William F. Cody, (Buffalo Bill) the old scout was on a visit to Georgetown and he and the subject of this sketch talked long of their experiences. They looked very much alike, Mr. Mather being considerably the larger of the two but their eyes, form of dress and flowing hair made a very striking resemblance. A friend noticing them talking remarked "There's something between those old boys, isn't there?" And their confidence and seeming mutual understanding as they talked in subdued tones seemed positively to indicate it.

Mr. Mather joined the Texas rangers in 1875 and served under the command of Captain Jeff Mottly. He is a man who talks little but his service in the rangers is said by those who remember it to have been valuable to his country.

Speaking of the guns used by those who were engaged in protecting the frontier against the Indians and lawless element, Mr. Mather states that the rangers used what was known as the "Needle Gun" so named because it fired with a pin and used cartridges instead of the old cap-and-ball method of other makes. The best saddle he ever owned he declared was manufactured by a pioneer saddler, of [not legible] Pippie, located at Belton, Texas. For this Mr. Mather states he paid $50.

[See original article provided Sept 2007 by Doug Duncan, gg-grandson of Andrew Mather, and transcript by Doug Duncan]

Burnet County Texas

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