Richard “Zwing” Hunt was a freighter turned outlaw who was killed by Indians.
Born to Thomas W. and Mary Ann Elizabeth Hunt on March 29, 1858, in Burnett County, Texas, Zwing was the first of six children. In May 1880, Zwing and his family learned that his older half-brother, who had begun a freight hauling business between Tombstone, Arizona, and Hillsboro, New Mexico, had been killed by Indians. He then traveled there to bring back the freighting equipment, but on his arrival, he decided to take over the business instead. In short order, he also hooked up with several desperate characters, including the Clanton Gang and a man named Billy Grounds.
On March 25, 1882, he and Grounds attempted to rob the Tombstone Mining and Milling Company in Charleston, Arizona. After being challenged, they shot and killed a man before panicking and taking off without a dime. Within no time, U.S. Deputy Marshal William Breakenridge gathered a posse and began to track the two killers. Finding them at the Jack Chandler Ranch near Tombstone, a gunfight ensued. Though it lasted only seconds, when the smoke cleared, Breakenridge had killed Billy Grounds, and Zwing Hunt had been wounded.
Unfortunately, one deputized man, John Gillespie, was also dead. The other two posse members were wounded but would recover. Due to the seriousness of his wounds, Hunt was placed in a hospital unguarded. In the meantime, the family, concerned over his activities, had sent his brother, Hugh, to bring him home. On April 28, 1882, Hugh helped Zwing escape, and the pair hid in the nearby mountains. However, on May 31st, they were surprised by Apache Indians, who shot and killed Zwing. His brother was able to escape.
© Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated December 2022.
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