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Johnny Ringo

AKA John Peters Ringo

Born: 3-May-1850
Birthplace: Greens Fork, IN
Died: 13-Jul-1882
Location of death: Sulphur Springs Valley, AZ
Cause of death: Suicide
Remains: Buried, Sanders Ranch, West Turkey Creek, AZ

Gender: Male
Religion: Methodist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Criminal

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Old West gunslinger

Traveling west to California with his family in his early teens, Johnny Ringo was said to have survived an Indian attack, witnessed a murder, and suffered a serious injury when his foot was run over by a Conestoga wagon. His father was killed by a self-inflicted rifle shot to the head, though a witness claimed that it was an accident. With his widowed mother, Ringo and his siblings then lived in San Diego for several years, until he left home at 19. He first made his name in Texas, where he was among the vigilantes of the Mason County Range War (also known as the HooDoo War) and was said to have murdered one man in cold blood and killed another by accident.

By his late 20s Ringo owned property in New Mexico with Ike Clanton, and was a frequent visitor in Tombstone, Arizona. He had a reputation as a quick draw, marksman, and a man of short temper, and though his exploits were no doubt exaggerated, he was described in local newspapers as the "King of the Cowboys". He was rumored to have been involved in a bloody heist on 1 August 1881 that left several Mexicans dead and a large quantity of gold nowhere to be found, and less than two weeks later five of Ringo's associates were ambushed and killed, presumably in retaliation for the gold robbery. Some two months thereafter three of Ringo's closest friends -- Billy Clanton and Tom and Frank McLaury -- were murdered in the gunfight at Tombstone's O.K. Corral. Ringo was not present that day, but all who knew him said the events troubled him deeply. In the weeks that followed, he challenged two of his friends' killers, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, to duels (they declined). He was rumored to have been involved in the 17 March 1882 retaliatory killing of Morgan Earp.

With almost all of his friends dead, Ringo returned to his family in San Jose, but his fame as a gunslinger was so great that he was turned away by his devoutly Christian sisters. He then came back to Tombstone, where he was said to be drunk nearly constantly. He was found dead in nearby Sulphur Springs Valley on 14 July 1882, shot through the head like his father. His death was quickly deemed a suicide, though his corpse had been wearing a gunbelt upside-down and his shirt had been tied around his legs. His body was buried where it was found.

Ringo's maternal aunt, Augusta Peters (1823-1910), was married to Coleman Purcell Younger (1809-1890), the uncle of Cole Younger.

Father: Martin Albert Ringo (b. 1-Oct-1819, d. 30-Jul-1864 gunshot)
Mother: Mary Peters Ringo (b. 13-Nov-1826, m. 5-Sep-1848, d. 16-Jul-1876, two sons, three daughters)
Brother: Martin Albert Ringo, Jr. (b. 28-Jan-1854, d. 29-Aug-1873)
Sister: Fanny Fern Ringo Jackson (b. 20-Jul-1857, d. 13-May-1932)
Sister: Mary Enna Ringo (b. 2-May-1860, d. 27-Jun-1941)
Sister: Mattie Bell Ringo Cushing (b. 28-Apr-1862, d. 20-May-1942)

    Shot Sulphur Springs Valley, AZ (13-Jul-1882)
    Dutch Ancestry
    Risk Factors: Alcoholism, Depression

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