50 Chapters
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Chapter 21. “we have seen that he lied”

David Johnson University Of North Texas Press ePub

CHAPTER

21

“we have seen that he lied”

MORE THAN ONE ANALYST DOUBTED that Wyatt told the truth in his testimony.1 The reaction of the citizens is telling. The bodies of dead men lay on display in a store window until their funeral. The Epitaph summed up the feelings of the community.

The funeral of the McLowry brothers and Clanton yesterday was numerically one of the largest ever witnessed in Tombstone. It took place at 3:30 from the undertaking rooms of Messrs. Ritter and Ryan. The procession headed by the Tombstone brass band, moved down Allen Street and thence to the cemetery. The sidewalks were densely packed for two or three blocks. The body of Clanton was in the first hearse and those of the two McLowry brothers in the second, side by side, and were interred in the same grave. It was a most impressive and saddening sight and such a one as it is to be hoped may never occur again in this community.2

Nearly 2,000 people attended the funeral, a testimonial hardly expected for three outlaws. Clum did not recognize the seriousness of the Earps’ position, but his ignorance was short-lived. Elections were two months away, and the political climate swung dramatically away from the Earps and their supporters.

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Chapter 6. “The people he fell in with were fighters”

David Johnson University Of North Texas Press ePub

CHAPTER

6

“The people he fell in with were fighters”

HOW LONG RINGO REMAINED in Missouri is unknown. One early myth, not confirmed by school records, has him attending William Jewell College.1 Yet primary sources indicate Ringo had a better than average education. Logically he must have found a means to study, albeit informally. One who may have assisted was Elizabeth Wirt Ringo. The inventory of her husband’s estate listed numerous books, including the Life of Henry Clay, Xenophon’s Anabasis, Dickens’ Pickwick Papers, Doniphan’s Expedition, three volumes of Oliver Cromwell’s letters and speeches, and Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress among others.2 It was a remarkable collection that could provide any intelligent and interested reader with the makings of a good education. People raised on the frontier, as most of John’s later associates were, likely assumed his education came from college.

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Chapter 16: “A Shocking and Lamentable Sequel”

David Johnson University of North Texas Press PDF

chapter 16

“A Shocking and Lamentable Sequel”

As 1877 drew to a close, those involved in the feud continued to make news. Caleb Hall, having liberated himself from the jail at

Menard, was seen in Mason County in early September.1 A. G. Roberts, accused by Barler of starting the feud, was now serving as a deputy sheriff in Burnet County. In late September, he and J. J. Strickland were in San Antonio “bearing papers for the conveyance of Isbell, charged with murder in Arkansas, to the authorities of that State.”2

In Burnet, the men who had helped free Ringo and Cooley proved equally capable of liberating themselves. On September 23 James

Polk Mason and Ed Brown escaped from the Burnet jail. Some believed that the guard allowed the men to escape.3 John Baird was also in the news, having reportedly been arrested in Shackelford County by the Rangers.4 The man proved to be one Crusoe Beard who was wanted in another county.5 John C. Sparks reported in October:

On Oct. 11th Sergt. T. M. Sparks with 17 Privates

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Chapter 5: “Another Horrible Murder”

David Johnson University of North Texas Press PDF

chapter 5

“Another Horrible Murder”

The lynchings in Mason County inaugurated the violence of 1875.

Writing from Camp Saline, Lieutenant Dan Roberts reported on March

1, “The mob has been operating some in Llano County lately. Killed one man named Wages—ordered several more to leave the county.

As yet they’v[e] harmed no good man.”1

The man killed in late February was William Wages. Like many others involved in the feud, little is known of Wages’ background. In late 1874 he had been charged with killing cattle in Mason County.

Ironically, Wages was defended by George W. Todd, who only weeks previously had prosecuted A. G. Roberts and his men. He was convicted and fined twenty dollars, twice the amount of the cows’ value.2

Beyond this, virtually nothing is known of the man.

What criteria Roberts used for determining who was a “good man” is unknown, but from the existing correspondence Roberts appears to have given tacit support to the mob during his involvement in the feud. An eyewitness to the lynching, Roberts made no move to investigate the incident or arrest any of the mob. There is also an ominous silence in the official reports filed by Lieutenant Roberts during this time regarding both the Baccus lynching and the killing of

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Chapter 14. “and a stray cat”

David Johnson University Of North Texas Press ePub

CHAPTER

14

“and a stray cat”

RINGO WAS ALREADY FACING a charge of assault with intent to commit murder. The shooting in November was inexcusable. A March 11 entry in the docket books notes, “On motion of Hugh Farley, Esq., Dist. Atty. It was ordered that as Deft. Had failed to appear during this session of the Grand Jury that his Bond be, and this same is herby declared forfeited, and that a Bench Warrant be issued for the arrest of said Deft.”1

Ringo did have good cause for not appearing, however, and made a serious attempt to prevent the bond’s forfeiture. On March 3, 1880, he wrote to Sheriff Charles Shibbel from the San Simon Valley, New Mexico:

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[.] [I]f 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 very anxious that there is know [sic] forfeiture taken on the Bond.2

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