Inspector John S. H. "Jack" Howard

Inspector John S. H. "Jack" Howard

United States Department of the Treasury - Customs Service, U.S. Government

End of Watch Wednesday, February 12, 1913

John S. H. "Jack" Howard

In February 1913 mounted Customs Inspectors Jack Howard and Joe Sitter (a former Texas Ranger) and J. A. Harvick, a brand inspector for the cattlemen’s association (and future Special Ranger), were scouting along the Rio Grande near the settlement of Pilares. There they found Francisco “Chico” Cano, one of a band of Mexicans who had been smuggling horses and mules. The officers arrested Cano and left the next morning to take their prisoner to Marfa to appear before the U. S. Commissioner. They had gone about a mile and a half and were riding single file through a deep canyon. Hidden behind the boulders were five or six Mexicans, members of the gang of smugglers, two of them brothers of the prisoner.

When Inspector Howard reached a point directly below them, the ambushers opened fire, at a range of about fifty yards. Howard was hit in the chest and his horse was killed; Harvick and Sitter were shot off their horses. Harvick was shot through the left thigh, while Sitter took a grazing bullet that entered above his left temple and existed behind the ear. Despite their wounds, the officers drew their weapons. Howard retrieved his rifle from his dead horse but was too badly injured to use it. Sitter and Harvick were able to return fire, although they couldn’t spot their attackers among the boulders. For half an hour the Mexicans did their best to kill the officers. The ambushers finally left, as did Cano, who had bolted to freedom when the shooting started. The three wounded lawmen lay in the mountains for 15 hours until they were transported to a general store in Pilares. A posse and a doctor arrived the next day. Howard died on the night of February 12. Sitter and Harvick survived.

Howard was survived by his wife, Mary. He was buried in the Howard Cemetery in Boerne, Kendall County, Texas.

On May 24, 1915, Customs Inspector Joe Sitter and Texas Ranger Eugene Hulen were shot and killed by the same bandits led by Cano. Cano again fled into Mexico and died peacefully on August 28, 1943.

Bio

  • Age 41
  • Tour 12 years, 1 month
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Texas
  • Incident Date Monday, February 10, 1913
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender escaped

Most Recent Reflection

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Rip inspector John s. H "Jack Howard you will never be forgotten you are a hero. And to that guy inv Texas born non relation has no respect at all and his comment is very rude

James Morris Vistor to pay respects to fallen officers.

February 13, 2017

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