Out in the Hill Country, between Fredericksburg and Llano, is a pretty pink mountain.
Well, it's actually more of a dome. As tall as an eighty story building, it's the second largest granite outcropping in North America. It's called Enchanted Rock.
It was considered a sacred place by the Tonkawa, Apache and Comanche tribes. They called it the Spirit Song Rock, probably because of the sounds it makes when the granite contracts at night after being heated during the day. They believed it was a portal to other worlds. It was said that anyone who spent the night on top would become invisible.
Texas Rangers of the Republic era didn't believe in that sort of stuff. They believed in themselves and in the fancy new five-shot revolver's Mr. Colt had invented.
In those days Rangers where also surveyors. Equipped with trigonometry and unrivaled fighting skills, they were warrior priests of science and reason and Jack Hays set their standard.
Captain Jack was a quiet, wiry, undersized fella. Nothing about his appearance gave away that he was the surest shot, fastest rider and fiercest fighter in a unit that could shoot, ride and fight.
One fall day in 1841, Captain Jack was leading a Ranger party surveying the vicinity of Enchanted Rock. Captain Jack's curiosity got the best of him and he rode off alone to have a look at the big pink dome.
The Comanches were watching. Separated from his party, Hays would be easy prey. The Comanches gave chase.
Hays dismounted and headed up the magic dome. The Comanches fighting tactics in those days was to wait fore the enemy to fire his single shot weapon, then swarm him while he frantically tried to reload. They didn't know about the two Colt five-shooters Captain Jack was bringing to the party.
By the time the Comanches broke of the fight, their number had been reduced by ten (some say more.) The tide had turned on the frontier.
Captain Jack Hays left for California during the Gold Rush, but Texans didn't hold that against him. As a going away present they named a county after him.
When he got to the Golden State he was almost immediately made sheriff of San Francisco County. Later on President Pierce appointed him General Surveyor of California. He platted the City of Oakland.
Interested in the Texas Rangers? Try Jim Gillett's Six Years with the Texas Rangers.