Johnny Ringo – Tombstone Rowdy


Johnny Ringo

Johnny Ringo

Johnny Ringo (1850-1882) – Stories vary as to Ringo’s real name, but he was known to have been born to a good family on May 3, 1850 in Green’s Fork, Indiana. They soon moved to Missouri where Ringo attended college. The family moved again to California, but Ringo headed to Texas in 1869. There, he earned a deadly reputation in numerous gunfights and fought with Scott Cooley in the Mason County War of 1874-1876. For his actions in this feud, he spent almost two years in jail until charges were dismissed.

Afterwards, he settled in Loyal Valley, Texas, where he did a short stint as a constable. His life as a lawman; however, didn’t last long as he next appeared in Arizona in 1879. There, Ringo hooked up with the Clanton Gang, a group of outlaws commonly known as the “Cowboys” around Tombstone. Ringo himself was called “the King of the Cowboys.”

Though he was a known antagonist of Wyatt Earp heavily involved with the Clantons, he was not a participant in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. In 1882, Ringo was found dead with a bullet in his brain. Though his death was ruled as a suicide, his gun was discovered fully loaded, and most believed it to be murder, some say by either Wyatt Earp or Doc Holliday. Ringo is buried a few yards from the tree where his body was found. The grave is located on a ranch southeast of Willcox, Arizona, on private property and can only be viewed with permission.


By Kathy Weiser-Alexander, August, 2017.

Also See:

Outlaws on the Frontier


2 thoughts on “Johnny Ringo – Tombstone Rowdy”

  1. I am reluctant to offer a factual correction for fear of being considered mean spirited. However, precision in language reflects precision in thought. My correction is offered in response to Kathy Weise-Alexander’s quote “Ringo was found dead with a bullet in his brain.” The coroner’s report described the gunshot wound to the right temple of Johnny Ringo, ws in contemporary forensic syntax, would be called a perforating wound as there was an exit wound. A penetrating wound is one without an exit wound and the projectile remains within the body.

  2. Hi guys !! Here I am, immersed in your wonderful, fascinating, informative site, once again !! Can never read just one article.., like potato chips, or Oreo’s, always gotta have just one more !! Gosh, hesitate to ask, as I am sure you are kept very busy as it is, but would Love to see more on the infamous Johnny Ringo..?! THANK YOU, very sincerely, for all your sincere commitment, & invaluable hard work in creating and maintaining such a rich, all inclusive, and ever expanding resource on the wildly diverse and colourful history of our great Country.., Clearly, a true labor of love !!!

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