In case you don’t know who I am, my name is John Peters Ringo, but my friends (and enemies too) call me Johnny Ringo.
I was born in Washington, Indiana on May the 3rd, 1850. Like most folks those days, we heard about all the opportunities out West in California, that gold was so plentiful all you had to do was fill up your sacks and claim your fortune, so when I was fourteen my family headed West.
As fate would have it we had stopped in Wyoming on July 30, 1864 and I was watching as my father Martin Ringo, was getting down off the wagon holding our old ‘hair trigger’ shotgun by the muzzle. I was just about to say something to Pops because he had told me himself before to never handle a gun by the business end of it. So, I wanted to say something, but I hesitated for fear of reprisal and just as his feet hit the ground and butt of that old shotgun too, it went off. The blood spattered all over me as I sat in the wagon watching him crumble to the ground.
We buried Dad by the trail on a little rise and continued on, but I was never the same from that point on, none of us were. We lived in constant fear for the remainder of the journey because women without a husband and fatherless boys were easy prey for the opportunists of the day.
Well we made it to California, but the stories of gold free for the picking weren’t true and as I got older I grew restless and in the mid-1870’s I drifted from San Jose, California to Mason County, Texas and that is where I met Scott, Scott Cooley. He was an ex-Texas Ranger and I was pretty impressed with him, he was a bonafide “BADASS”, least ways that’s what I thought. Of course after the Mason County War and a couple of murders later I ended up here in this hell-hole Cochise County, Arizona. I got no idea what ever happened to Scott, we didn’t get the opportunity for proper ‘goodbyes’.
I joined up with a bunch of outlaws that called themselves the Cochise County Cowboys and we rode rough shod all over this country for a spell. We had the county sheriff, Johnny Behan in our pocket, he’d look the other way as long as we didn’t intrude on his play. A couple of the gang and I got pretty tight, like Ike Clanton and Frank Stilwell, we had it made until them dammed Earps showed up, then here comes Doc Holliday soon after.
Trouble in Tombstone
Well we had it out with them boys, we killed Morgan one night and got a good piece of Virgil too. We may of got nicked up ourselves a bit, but them Earps were pretty much done for and eventually packed up and left. Holliday had to get out too, they had a warrant for him for murder, but I know if me and him would have ever squared off I’d put a bullet right between that ‘lungers’ eyes.
So, here I sit after all this bad blood, it’s July 14, 1882 and it’s hot as hell here in Turkey Creek. I’m rode down and at the end of my rope. My friends are dead or scattered, I don’t have a dime to my name and I have half a dozen men just waiting for the opportunity to shoot me down like a mangy dog. But the thing that gets my blood boiling the most, that really pisses me off is that my dam horse run off this morning with my boots still tied in the stirrups and a fella can’t walk two-steps in this country without getting stuck by something. So that’s it, I’m gonna sit here leaned up against this tree in the cool shade, my feet wrapped in strips of red cloth and I’m going to put the barrel of this gun to my right temple and squeeze one off. Kind of fitting really, this is how my dear old Dad went out, looked pretty quick and painless to me. I’ll see all you sons a bitches on the other side, the other side of hell!