John Peters Ringo better known as "Johnny Ringo" was born May 3, 1850 in Greens Fork, Indiana. He was a legend of the Old West nicknamed "King of the Cowboys. Despite his fame it's ironic that there are no records to indicate he partook in a single classic gunfight. Author Louis L'Amour stated that there was nothing in history to demonstrate that Ringo deserved the reputation of being a noteworthy "badman." Apparently he was mostly a bad tempered man who became worse under the influence of alcohol. His principle claim to fame was that he shot an unarmed man in a saloon for ordering beer instead of whiskey as Ringo had requested.

Earlier in John's life as the Ringo family was traveling through Wyoming, his father's shotgun accidentally discharged, killing him instantly. Ringo helped to bury his father on a hill beside the trail. In the mid 1870's John moved to central Texas and became friends with ex-Ranger Scott Cooley. After the killing of Cooley supporter Moses Baird, Ringo committed his first murder of note. He and and a friend confronted the man responsible for ambushing Baird and shot him on his front porch as he was washing his face. Later on, Cooley and Ringo mistakenly shot the brother of the guy they intended to kill which resulted in both of them being sent to jail. They broke out and parted company so as to evade the law.

Ringo soon showed up in Tombstone, Arizona. For the most part he kept silent and didn't confront Wyatt Earp's faction until January 17, 1882. Two months later the Earp Brothers suspected Ringo of taking part in the murder of Morgan Earp. Ringo was deputized by John Behan to arrest the Earps at the beginning of the vendetta ride. During the summer of 1882 on July 14, Johnny Ringo was found dead in the crook of a tree in West Turkey Creek Valley. There was a single bullet hole in his right temple. Ringo's horse was captured two miles away with his boots still tied to the saddle. The death was officially ruled a suicide. There have been many theories of who might have killed Ringo including Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp however it's entirely possible that Johnny having been despondant over most of his friends being dead and having been rejected by his family members in California actually did take his own life.


Information for this biography was obtained from "Wikipedia"








John's mother Mary Ringo kept a journal of her family's  travels across the prairie. On the day of her husband's death this is what she wrote: "July 30-Saturday-And now Oh God comes the saddest record of my life for this day my husband acidentally shot himself and was buried by the wayside and oh, my heart is breaking."















Johnny Ringo's gravesite





 

You are listening to "Ringo" by Lorne Greene