Private Ben L. Pennington

Private Ben L. Pennington

Texas Rangers, Texas

End of Watch Friday, October 11, 1918

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Ben L. Pennington

Private Ben Pennington died after contracting the Spanish Flu while assigned to assist with quarantine efforts in El Paso, Texas.

As Spanish Influenza killed millions throughout the world, officials in El Paso requested assistance from the Texas Rangers. Private Pennington and Private Robert E. Hunt were dispatched to keep order. Both men contracted the influenza. Private Pennington became ill on October 7th, 1918, and died on October 11th, 1918. Private Hunt died on October 16th, 1918.

Private Pennington was a well known officer and over his career had been shot 16 times and lost an eye in various gun battles. He was survived by his wife. He was buried in the Jackson Cemetery in Bell County.

Private Pennington had served in law enforcement for a total of 20 years. He had served 12 years as city marshal of Holland, in Bell County, and eight years as an elected Precinct 3 Bell County constable. On October 4th, 1917, at age 56, he enlisted as a Texas Ranger and was posted to Brewster County in far West Texas.

From 1918 to early 1919, the Spanish flu pandemic infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the planet’s population—and killed approximately 675,000 Americans. Many officers contracted this virus due to the requirements of their job.


  • Age 57
  • Tour 20 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Duty related illness
  • Incident Date Monday, October 7, 1918

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I’ll say it again, Texas police as tough as they get.

Judge / Magistrate Sheridan Lynn (former
Aiken County, S.C.

October 11, 2019

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