John Ringo was in Arizona by 1879. The first recorded incident that documents his presence in the Territory was reported in the newspapers in December 1879. Ringo was involved in an altercation in a Safford bar on December 9, 1879. On December 14, 1879, the Arizona Daily Star commented:
"Last Tuesday night a shooting took place at Safford in which Louis Hancock was shot by John Ringo. It appears Ringo wanted Hancock to take a drink of whiskey, and he refused saying he would prefer beer. Ringo struck him over the head with his pistol and then fired, the ball taking effect in the lower end of the left ear, and passed through the fleshy part of his neck, half inch more in the neck, would have killed him. Ringo is under arrest."
Ringo shot Hancock and was arrested. He gave a bond and was released. The result of this criminal charge is not known for sure. He was scheduled to appear before the Pima County Grand Jury in March 1880, but did not. Instead, Ringo wrote out a letter addressed to Sheriff Charles Shibbel on March 3, 1880, explaining why he could not appear.
"Dear Sir, being under Bond for my appearance before the Grand jury of Pima Co., I write to let you know why I can not appear--I got shot through the foot and it is impossible for me to travel for awhile. If you get any papers for me, and will let me know, I will attend to them at once. As I wish to live here I do not wish to put you to any unnecessary trouble, nor do I wish to bring extra trouble on myself. Please let the Dist.-atty know why i do not appear, for I am anxious that there is no forfeiture taken on the Bond."
District Attorney Hugh Farley was not understanding concerning Ringo's reason for not attending the Grand Jury proceedings. He asked the court to revoke his bond and to issue a warrant for his arrrest.
Ringo's Mining Property (April 1880)
In April 1880, New Mexico land records show that John Ringo was trying to sell mining property that he owned. On April 7, 1880, John Ringo and his partner M.C. Blakely sold a mining property to John E. Price for $1000. The property was located in the San Simon mining district, Grant County, New Mexico. The property was described as "about one fourth of a mile north of Fry's peak + commencing at a monument of stones in Robsons gulch + extending fifteen hundred feet in the northwesterly direction."
Three days later John Ringo executed a power of attorney to James B. Price of Missouri. This power of attorney granted Price six months to sell a different mining property that was owned by John Ringo for $2000, and Price could keep any money over that amount. The property was located in the San Simon mining district and was described as the "Sydury Johnson mine."
John Ringo and Ike Clanton file a ranch location notice (November 1880)
On November 26, 1880, an offical land notice was filed by John Ringo and Ike Clanton in Silver City, New Mexico. The notice was for 320 acres of grazing and farming land in the Animas Valley, about 28 miles north of Guadalupe canyon. The notice stated that the 320 acres would be known as the "Alfalfa or Cienega Ranch."
The Jollification of Maxy and Safford (July 1880)
During July 1880, John Ringo, Ike Clanton, Joe Hill and George Turner drove some cattle worth around $2000 to the San Carlos Indian Reservation. After selling the beef the men descended on the town of Maxey, and began having a jolly time. They then went to Safford and continued to create havoc.
The County Ticket (1880)
During October 1880, Ringo was listed as an election judge in San Simon. The Tombstone Nugget on October 19, 1880, commented: "San Simon. J. C. Clanton, inspector; John Ringo and A. H. Thompson, judges; polling place Joseph Hill's house."
Ringo leaves Arizona, goes to Texas and Missouri (April 1881)
Sometime around April 1881, John Ringo left Arizona and went to Texas. He was reported as being at Austin on May 2, 1881. After spending some time in a house in the "jungles" (whore house?) late into the morning hours he began to make his way to his hotel room. While doing this he discovered that he had misplaced his money. Thinking that three young men who were seated in the hallway may have his money he pulled out his gun and commanded them to hold their hands up. He then searched them. Not finding his money he smiled at the men and left to retire to his room. The three men ran to the marshal's office and told him what had happened. Marshal Ben Thompson, a notorious Texas gunman, personally went to Ringo's room. When he got there Ringo refused to open the door. Thompson kicked in the door and arrested Ringo for disturbing the peace and carrying a pistol. Ringo paid a $25 fine plus costs and was released.
John Ringo left Texas and at some point traveled to Missouri. On July 12, 1881, the Tombstone Nugget indicated that Ringo was staying at the Grand Hotel and that he just returned from Liberty, Missouri.
A Game of Draw
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