Charles T. Ray, aka: Pony Deal or Diehl
(1849-1887?) - Though not nearly so well known as other gunfighters of
West, Ray, who is far better known in history as "Pony Deal,"
rode with, met, and fought with some of the most infamous characters of
the West, including names such as Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp,
Ike Clanton, and numerous others.
Hailing from Rock Island,
Ray, first appears in history, going by the name of Pony Deal, as a
member of the
John Kinney Gang
New Mexico in the 1870's. The
members of this gang were successful cattle rustlers and hired gunmen that
operated in the area of Dona Ana County. On December 31, 1875, Deal,
along with gang leader, John Kinney, Jesse Evans,
and Jim McDaniels entered a saloon
in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where they became involved in a
brawl with US Cavalry
When the outlaws
lost the fight they were thrown out of the saloon,
but the vengeful men couldn't let it go. They soon returned to the saloon
and opened fire through the windows, killing two soldiers and a civilian, and wounding two more
soldiers and another bystander.
Deal rode with
Kinney Gang through 1875, and in early 1876, he
left the gang to join with Jesse Evans,
who had departed to start his own gang.
This gang was actively involved in cattle rustling and armed robbery, and for a while
Billy the Kid
rode with the gang. They were soon enlisted by the
faction in their feud with
John H. Tunstall in Lincoln,
At this time, Billy the Kid
quit the gang, as he was a friend of Tunstall. After the killing of John
Tunstall by the
Evans Gang, it sparked the Lincoln County War,
during which Evans and his gang would match up against their
former partner Billy the Kid
and his "Regulators."
After the end of the Lincoln County War,
Pony Deal drifted on to
where he met and became associated with Ike Clanton,
"Curly Bill" Brocius,
becoming part of the
involved in various events that led up to the
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. He was suspected of being involved
in numerous robberies and cattle rustling, as well as being involved in
the theft of US Army mules, alongside
After the assassination attempt on Virgil Earp,
in which Virgil lost the use of one arm, the Earps suspected Ike Clanton, Phin Clanton, and Pony Deal in the murder
attempt. He was sought after by Wyatt Earp during the Earp Vendetta Ride but wasn't found.
Later, he would claim to have killed
John O'Rourke in 1882, after O'Rourke allegedly killed his
friend, Johnny Ringo.
That same year, he was running from the law when a warrant was issued for
his arrest relating to a stagecoach robbery. Again, he avoided capture. He then
drifted around, spending some time in El Paso, Texas
and rustling cattle again for John Kinney. He was finally captured and sentenced
to five years in prison at Santa Fe, New Mexico. He escaped in February, 1885, but
was free for only four days before being recaptured. Returned to prison, he was
released in March, 1887, after which time he disappeared from history, although
some accounts say that he was killed in a gunfight.
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