Private Leonard Tillman Sadler

Private Leonard Tillman Sadler

Texas Rangers, Texas

End of Watch Monday, September 16, 1918

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Leonard Tillman Sadler

L. T. Sadler enlisted in the Texas Rangers on May 27, 1918. Two of his brothers and a cousin served with him in Company G in South Texas and another brother served in 1917. The Texas-Mexico border was rife with bandits, smugglers and German spies during World War I. Several rangers and customs inspectors were killed in South Texas near Brownsville during the short service of Sadler. Sadler and two other rangers arrested a man they reported as an alleged smuggler, and they claimed they released the man. When his body was discovered months later, they were charged with murder, but the grand jury no billed them. Shortly thereafter, Sadler and four other rangers, including his brothers and cousin, were involved in a shoot out on the Rio Grande River in which 4-5 bandits were reported to have been killed.

On September 15, Sadler and a detachment of rangers were assigned to search for smugglers along the Devil's River in Val Verde County. One ranger was cleaning his weapons when Sadler approached him from behind. The ranger fired his six gun over his shoulder and accidentally wounded Sadler. He was transported to the hospital in Del Rio where he died the next day. Sadler was married. He was reportedly buried in Devine, Frio County and in San Antonio, Bexar County. His place of burial has not been located.

The Texas Ranger archives reported Sadler as killed accidentally while on duty and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum reports his death as accidental in the line of duty.


  • Age 34
  • Tour 3 months, 2 weeks
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire (Inadvertent)
  • Incident Date Sunday, September 15, 1918

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Rest in peace and know that no passage of time will ever erase your service and sacrifice.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

September 16, 2020

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