|If his legend wasn’t enough during his short life time, it would soon grow larger when in 1854, the first “fictionalized” account of his life appeared in a San Francisco newspaper and a book by John Rollin Ridge. In The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murrieta.
Ridge portrayed Murrieta as a folk hero who had only turned to a life of crime after a mob of American miners had beaten him severely and left him for dead, hanged his brother, and raped and killed his wife. According to Ridge’s account, Joaquin was a dashing, romantic figure that swearing to avenge the atrocities committed upon his family, committed his many crimes only in an effort to “right” the many injustices against the Mexicans.
According to the tale, Murrieta fled from his claim only to set up a saloon in nearby Hangtown, where miners began to go missing. One by one, the dead bodies of the miners, all who were said to have been part of the killings at the Murrieta claim, turned up with their ears cut off.
After Joaquin’s supposed death, advertising posters were displayed where the head could be viewed, 1853.
|After fourteen miners had been found dead or missing, a Hangtown settler identified Murrieta who fled once again. Before long, he had gathered up his outlaw gang and began to take out his vendetta against the white settlers through robbery and mayhem. However, to his Mexican compatriots he was generous and kind, giving much of his ill gotten gains to the poor, who in turn helped to shelter him from the law.
There is no evidence that Ridge’s version of the tale is accurate; however, similar atrocities were committed on both Mexicans and Chinese who were living in California at the time.
Over the years, the telling of the tale continued to grow until the dead Mexican outlaw began to be called the Robin Hood of El Dorado and take on a symbolized resistance of the Mexicans to the Anglo-American domination of California. And all throughout Gold Country, tales were told of how the outlaw had stayed at this or that hotel, drank in various saloons, and those who claimed to have actually met or was robbed by the man.
As to what happened to Joaquin’s head, it was finally placed behind the bar of the Golden Nugget Saloon in San Francisco, until the building was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake.
|The head itself would become yet a part of another legend – the ghost of Joaquin. Even today, the tales continue of Joaquin’s headless ghost riding through the old gold fields, crying like a banshee – “Give me back my head.”|
Posts Tagged With: Outlaw
Posted: Sunday, February 7, 2016 11:00 pm |Updated: 11:57 pm, Sun Feb 7, 2016.
Another photo said to be of the famous outlaw Billy the Kid — showing a young man posing on a rock, holding one pistol in his right hand and another in his holster — surfaced last week.
It is still unauthenticated and lacks provenance.
But like all the other purported Billy the Kid photos, this one has an interesting backstory.
Two Gun Billy is one of nearly 500 photos in an Old West collection believed to have been owned by Frank Phillips, the founder of Phillips Petroleum.
The photos are now owned by an unidentified couple who traveled in the 1990s to Checotah, Okla., where they stopped at an antique store called the Downtown Antique Mall. The woman, who is an artist, purchased several photos from the store to use in painting profiles.
Both she and her husband are Western enthusiasts and, after comparing the photos to those in their books on the Old West, they went back to the antique store the next day, and the day after that, and spent a few hundred dollars on the collection.
The couple believe that 100 of the photos depict people involved in the O.K. Corral shootout, their family members and others from Tombstone, Ariz.
Because there were photos of Phillips and his family among those the woman purchased, she and others who have examined them concluded that they once belonged to Phillips, whose 3,700-acre ranch in northwestern Oklahoma, called Woolaroc, was only 100 miles away from where the photos were purchased. And the property was adjacent to land frequented by outlaws. The photos came to be known as the Phillips Collection.
Jim Williams, a Western antique dealer with a shop in Springfield, Mo., was hired by the couple to help authenticate the photo called Two Gun Billy and market it. Cathy Briley, Williams’ fiancée, a real estate appraiser and collector of antiques from Palmyra, Neb., said they immediately felt the albumen print was of Billy the Kid.
They didn’t have the resources, Briley said, to hire people with the software to do facial recognition — and besides, they were unsure if it would work because the photo shows the Kid in profile. But they did decide to try to find the location where the photograph was taken, and they were pretty sure the landscape depicted New Mexico.
They came here in December, after studying Google Earth images for weeks and weeks. In New Mexico, everyone gave them different opinions. They failed at first and spent the night in Ruidoso before driving home.
It was there when Briley had an idea that the photo might have been taken at the time of the shootout at Blazer’s Mill between the Lincoln County Regulators and the buffalo hunter Buckshot Roberts. The Regulators apparently were hunting down anyone associated with the murder of John Tunstall, which had set off the Lincoln County War. The confrontation took place three days after the shooting of Sheriff William Brady, a crime for which Billy the Kid was convicted in 1881. The Regulators, including the Kid, were supposedly in Blazer’s Mill to eat at Mrs. Godfrey’s Restaurant.
The connection hit Briley, she said, “like a ton of bricks.”
They now believe the photo was taken on a hillside between Lincoln and Tularosa overlooking a 19th-century village called South Fork. The area subsequently became part of the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation. Williams and Briley believe the photo was taken April 3, 1878, the day before the shootout.
Williams went back to New Mexico and on Jan. 20, Briley said, he found the rock overlooking South Fork on which the Kid had been posed, and matched up the mountains in the background as well as old Indian trails.
Briley said the face looks identical and the body type and size are “perfect” when compared to the authenticated tintype of Billy the Kid purchased by billionaire William Koch for $2.3 million in 2011 at an auction in Colorado.
Furthermore, the figure is wearing patterned suspenders and an unadorned sombrero, and is pictured with the types of guns Billy was known to carry. There’s a bandana wrapped around his leg above his right knee, which could be related to injuries sustained in the Brady ambush, Briley said.
In Koch’s tintype, the Kid looks sloppy, but in this photo, his tie is tucked into his shirt and, according to Briley, he was known as a “snappy dresser.”
Briley said she has seen another photo that surfaced in recent years — one said to show the Kid playing croquet in New Mexico in 1878 — and the National Geographic program that aired about the photo last year. In that case, the photo was bought by a California man for $2 or so from a Fresno County memorabilia shop.
She believes that photo is of the Kid, but she conceded many photos claimed to be of him don’t get received very well. “They get a lot of negative response,” she said. “Western enthusiasts immediately deny them if there’s no provenance attached to the photo.”
So, she said, even though “I do think our photos are the genuine article … we are fighting an uphill battle.”
But that doesn’t stop people who think they have the real deal, she added. “We’re just going to be inundated with photos because people are seeing dollar signs.”
Briley said several photos from the Phillips Collection already have been sold, including those of outlaw Belle Starr and lawman Wyatt Earp’s brother James, and one of Earp himself in a forest with several other people. Two of those were bought by Williams and resold. There are two other photos of the Kid in the Phillips Collection, Briley said.
The original Oklahoma vendor, however, had no idea of their value, she said. Online, Briley called the collection “likely one of the largest historical finds in recent history.”
But Daniel Kosharek, photo curator at the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives in Santa Fe, said the number of Kid photos cropping up is getting to be “almost as bad as Elvis sightings.”
“This one is a pretty good stretch,” he said of Two Gun Billy.
Korsharek said there are many photos that could show the Kid, and even in the Museum of New Mexico collection, he said, he could probably find a half-dozen tintypes that could be of the famous outlaw.
Contact Anne Constable at 505-986-3022 or email@example.com.
FORT SUMNER, N.M. (KRQE) – A flea market treasure could mean big things for New Mexico’s history. A North Carolina man believes he may have a photo of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.
Frank Abrams traveled all the way to New Mexico to learn more about an old tintype he purchased years ago. KRQE News 13 followed Abrams to Fort Sumner, New Mexico to try and get to the bottom of this historical mystery.
Billy the Kid’s legend lives on more than a century since his reported death.
“I knew only Billy the Kid from the movies,” Abrams chuckled. But the North Carolina attorney is learning much more about the western outlaw, especially since he may have a photo that could blow the lid wide open on a piece of history.
“The holy grail might exist,” Abrams told KRQE News 13.
Abrams spent $10 on an old tintype at a North Carolina flea market years ago. He said it was the rough looking cowboys that caught his eye.
The tintype sat hanging in a guest room for years.
Recently, the newly-verified photo of Billy the Kid playing croquet, now appraised at $5 million, got Abrams thinking.
“After I Googled Billy the Kid, I said ‘oh my gosh, he looks like Pat Garrett!” Abrams recalled. “And that’s what got it started.”
Legend has it Billy the Kid was killed by Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett in July of 1881.
Convinced his photo shows Garrett possibly with the Kid, Abrams brought high resolution images of his tintype to meet with local experts.
“The improbability of this situation is such that I need to find out,” Abrams told KRQE News 13.
Abrams and his wife flew to New Mexico, then hit the road to Fort Sumner, home to the Billy the Kid museum and his reported gravesite.
Inside the museum’s walls are rare pieces of history, including Billy the Kid’s gun, his wanted poster, and dozens of old artifacts.
Tim Sweet is the museum’s owner. “The first thing when I looked the photograph, the first one that stood out to me was Pat Garrett,” Sweet told KRQE News 13.
Sweet said he’s 95-percent convinced the man with the mustache in Abrams’ tintype is Pat Garrett.
“If this is the real deal, Frank has got a jewel right here,” said Sweet.
Finding out who the other men are and why they were together is key. Sweet believes if the tintype is a photo of Billy the Kid, it may have been taken when Garrett and a crew took him to be arraigned, and before Billy’s escape.
Sweet said the capture was cause for celebration. “All of them are smoking cigars,” Sweet pointed out.
There are other features that have him thinking. Abrams points out a defined Adam’s apple on the man he believes to be Billy the Kid, compared to the known photo of the Kid. Both photos show a pronounced Adam’s apple.
Still, Sweet said more research is needed, and more experts need to analyze the tintype.
Sweet, along with local historians, would be curious to figure out why Garrett would have taken a picture with Billy the Kid and when.
If Abrams does have a photo of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, Sweet said, “I think it just proves what took place.” It would be the first photograph of the two together, which Sweet admits would be “big.”
Either way, Abrams said his first trip to New Mexico, and the adventure this photo has led him on, is worth it.
“I’m going to do whatever is necessary to find out,” Abrams told KRQE News 13. “This picture would clear up a lot of mysteries, historical mysteries. The truth is the key.”
It took a team of experts more than a year to authenticate the second-known photo of Billy the Kid playing croquet. Abrams said he’s in it for the long haul to get to the truth.
A rare coin dealer in California has concluded that a grainy image of legendary gunman Billy the Kid playing croquet is the real thing and could be worth as much as $5 million.
That is not bad for a photo purchased by Randy Guijarro of Freemont, Calif. for $2 as a part of a miscellaneous lot at a Fresno junk shop in 2010, according to Kagin’s. The company is negotiating a private sale of the photo.
“We have a couple of people who are interested right now,” Kagin’s senior numismatist David McCarthy told FoxNews.com said.
The 4×5-inch tintype – which depicts Billy the Kid and several members of his gang, The Regulators, relaxing in the summer of 1878 – will be the subject of a two-hour documentary airing Sunday on the National Geographic Channel.
Taken just one month after the tumultuous Lincoln County War came to an end, it offers a rare window into the lives of these gunmen. Rather than a threatening outlaw, Billy the Kid seems to be enjoying some downtime following what Kagin’s said was a wedding.
The only other known photograph of Billy the Kid is a portrait of the outlaw taken in Fort Sumner, NM in 1880. It sold for $2.3 million to Palm Beach, Fla., businessman William Koch in 2011 at Brian Lebel’s Annual Old West Show and Auction in Denver. In that photo, Billy is packing a Colt revolver and trademark 1873 Winchester carbine rifle.
When they first got hold of the latest image, McCarthy said they weren’t sure it was authentic adding that “if you do an Internet search, there will be 20 people who have a photo of some guy that looks like Billy the Kid.”
“When we first saw the photograph, we were understandably skeptical – an original Billy the Kid photo is the Holy Grail of Western Americana,” Kagin’s senior numismatist David McCarthy said, in a press release.
“We had to be certain that we could answer and verify where, when, how and why this photograph was taken. Simple resemblance is not enough in a case like this – a team of experts had to be assembled to address each and every detail in the photo to insure that nothing was out of place,” he continued. “After more than a year of methodical study including my own inspection of the site, there is now overwhelming evidence of the image’s authenticity.”
McCarthy said experts began believing the tintype was real after they were able to determine that four people in the photo – using facial recognition software – were those who spent time with Billy the Kid. Then, they began looking for events in which they were all together around that time.
They stumbled upon a diary of Sally Chisum, in which she described a cattle drive featuring all the players in the photo as well as a wedding that took place between Charlie Bowdre (seated on the horse in the photo) and his wife Manuella.
The cattle drive helped researchers narrow the location of the photo to New Mexico and the former ranch of one of Billy the Kid’s employers, John Tunstall. But to confirm the site of the photo, McCarthy actually flew out to the site near Roswell and examined a building that turned out to have been built “over and around” a structure that was actually in the photo.
“I was standing at an angle from the building and I could see the texture of the stucco on the front of the building,” McCarthy said, adding they were tipped off by an investigator who saw what the thought was a building from the photo on ranch. “You could see the vertical wooden supports through the stucco and I
looked at the picture and they were in the exactly the same place. I was amazed. That clinched it.”
Kevin Costner will narrate and produce the two-hour documentary for National Geographic Channel, covering Western Americana enthusiast Randy Guijarro’ s odyssey to authenticate this unique photograph. The documentary will also feature extensive interviews with a variety of experts in digital facial
recognition, antique photography, geographic positioning, and vintage croquet sets.
“The historical importance of a photograph of Billy the Kid alongside known members of his gang and prominent Lincoln County citizens is incalculable – this is perhaps the single most compelling piece of Western Americana that we have ever seen,” Kagin’s President Donald Kagin said, in the press release.
There has been much false information disseminated concerning Johnny Ringo. Much of the mis-information came from writers such as Stuart Lake (Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal), Walter Noble Burns ( Tombstone), and William M. “Billy” Breakenridge ( Helldorado).
These authors make claims of killings and of deadly accuracy with a pistol. Claims were also made by some, such as former Cochise County Deputy William M. “Billy” Breakenridge, that Ringo was an educated man and had an extensive collection of books, the light classics, that he read in the original Latin and Greek they were written in.
But do the facts prove the suppositions presented by any of these men or other “old timers” of the Tombstone era?
One author, John Myers, went on to state in his book Doc Holliday, that “John Ringgold, more commonly called Johnny Ringo…left Missouri for other parts. In Texas, according to some authorities, he had taken part in the Mason County war…”
and then went on to say, “Johnny attended college in a day when only young men of good background normally did so…”
First, Johnny Ringo was never associated with name Ringgold. His family a lways spelled the name Ringo. This myth continues
up to today. Second, as we now know from relatives of John Ringo, he never attended college. He dropped out of grade school to be exact. Of course William Breakenridge, who basically created a rival to upstage Wyatt Earp, a man he detested, also claimed Ringo was a college graduate. However, as history shows, Breakenridge is a very unreliable, if not a completely dishonest source of information. His hatred of Wyatt Earp overrode all honesty and integrity in anything he stated. His book, Helldorado, is more fiction than fact.
John Peters Ringo, named for his mother, was born May 3, 1850, in Greenfork, Wayne County, Indiana. As far as documented records go, We can accurately pick up the story of John Ringo at the age of 14.
His family joined a wagon train west from Liberty, Missouri, in 1864. Through family documentation, their story begins here. Johnny’s father, Martin Albert Ringo, was born October 1, 1819, in Kentucky. On June 7, 1846, Martin enlisted in the Army at Liberty, Missouri, to fight in the war with Mexico. On September 5, 1848, Martin married Mary Peters in Clay County, Missouri, the place of her birth on November 23, 1826.
Mary Peters Ringo kept a diary of sorts while the family joined the wagon train. If one can draw any conclusions at all from her Journal, Mary Ringo was not given to thoughtful observations or to expressing herself very much. Her journal, covering nearly five months, consists of about 36 pages.
In the journal she worries about being “attacted” by Indians, wishes for a “good sermon,” and worries about traveling on the Sabbath. A deeply religious woman, she was quite and reserved with her thoughts and feelings.
On July 30, 1864, Mary Ringo records an event that may very well have helped to shape the person Johnny Ringo was to become. “And now Oh God comes the saddest record of my life for this day my husband accidentally shot himself and was buried by the wayside and oh, my heart is breaking, if I had no children how gladly would I lay me down with my dead…”.
An eyewitness account of Martin Ringo’s death carried in the Liberty [Missouri] Tribune reveals it to have been a horrible one for the family. The account, from “W. Davidson” addressed to “Mr. R.H. Will—–,”reads as follows:
“Just after daylight on the morning of the 30th July Mr. Ringo stepped out…of the wagons as, I suppose, for the purpose of looking around to see if Indians were in sight and his shotgun went off accidentally in his own hands, the load entering at his right eye and coming out at the top of his head. At the report of his gun I saw his hat blow up 20 feet in the air and his brains were scattered in all directions. To see the agony and distress of his wife and children was painful in the extreme…” ( Liberty [Missouri] Tribune, August 26, 1864, and September 18, 1864 )
We do know that the entire family witnessed this awful tragedy. The sisters of Johnny were younger at seven, four, and two and would not recall much later. Johnny, at 14, would remember the event all to well. One can only imagine the trauma this event caused in his life.
In 1869, 19 year old Johnny Ringo headed for Texas. There he would get caught up in the Hoodoo war. The war was an appellation used to describe the vigilantism of what was really the Mason County Range War. It was both complex and confusing.On one side were the Germans opposing the outlaws, on the other was the Americans, who were supporters of the south in the civil war while the Germans were more Republican and had supported the North especially in a moral sense. Becuase of the German Republican leaning, they were hardest hit by outlaws and decided to take matters into their own hands.They elected a Sheriff to stand guard over themselves and their herds of cattle that were being rustled by the outlaws.
On Feburary 18, 1875, a mob forced their way into a jail and removed five rustlers that had been arrested. Only two of the rustlers were rescued.
Tim Williamson, a well-known and well-liked American, was arrested in May of 1875 on an old charge of having stolen a yearling. The arresting officer, Deputy John Wohrle, seems to have led Williamson into a nest of German bushwhackers, where he was murdered by Peter Bader, a German farmer.
The killing of Williamson brought the Scott Cooley gang————–and with it, Johnny Ringo-into the Hoodoo War. During this time, Ringo puts in an appearance as one of the killers of a man named Cheyney, a Mason gambler. The story goes that Ringo and a man named Williams, rode up to Cheyney’s house early one morning and said “hello”. Cheyney came out
and they asked him for breakfast. Cheyney complied and while covering his face with a towel after washing it, Ringo and Williams shot him down and rode back and caught up with the other members of the Cooley gang.
Two newspapers, The San Antonio Express of Oct. 6, 1875, and the Austin Daily Statesman of Oct. 17, 1875, carried the same general story. A year later, a Texas grand jury indicted John Ringo and George Gladden for the murder of “James Chaney”; Williams was not mentioned in the indictment.
Shortly after the killing of Cheyney, Ringo and Cooley killed Charley Bader, the innocent brother of Peter, by mistake. In 1877, Ringo was in a Travis County, Texas jail with gunman John Wesley Hardin. Hardin a well known brutal outlaw and murderer complained of being jailed with someone as mean and vicious as John Ringo. Ringo is said to have broke jail and fled. He of course would end up in Tombstone by 1879.
In 1879, the Earp brothers, Wyatt, Virgil, Morgan and James would arrive in Tombstone along with John Henry “Doc” Holliday. Younger brother Warren Earp would make the trip to Tombstone later on. The Earps, were seeking fortune in the boom town. They were generally in law enforcement and were from the North. As such, they were Republicans while Ringo and other rustlers were staunch Democrats.
Ringo paired up with known rustlers such as Curley Bill Brocius, Ike Clanton and Pony Deal. The rustlers became known in Tombstone as “cowboys”. They were a loosely banded group of rustlers/ranch hands and ranch owners who rustled cattle through the Arizona territory.
The cowboys generally kept law and order advocates rattled and the town in general feared the cowboys. The business owners of Tombstone and the large ranch owners such as Henry Clay Hooker, called for the heads of the rustlers. The Sheriff of Cochise County, John Behan, was considered a friend and ally of Ringo and the cowboys. Wyatt Earp, former deputy sheriff
prior to Behan’s arrival in 1880, and U.S. Marshal was at odds with the weak version of law enforcement practiced by John Behan.
Tombstone city marshal Fred White was shot and killed by Curley Bill Brocius. Within moments of the shooting, Wyatt arrived and smashed Curley Bill over the head with his six shooter and arrested him. The brutal treatment of Curley by Wyatt is what basically sparked the hostilities between the Earps and the cowboy gang.
Following the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, in which cowboy gang members, Billy Clanton,and Tom and Frank McLaury were killed in October of 1881, Johnny Ringo confronted Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday on the street around Fifth and Allen Street. This event occured on January 17, 1882.
Ringo is said to have been drunk and challenged Doc Holliday and Wyatt to a shoot-out. Some reports have Doc, ever ready to quarrel, stating, ” I’m your huckleberry”, a popular phrase in the 1800’s generally meaning I’m your champion. Officer James Flynn, however, grabbed Ringo from behind and ended the hostility. On March 18, 1882, two months after this near shoot-out, Morgan Earp was shot in the back and killed. Thus began Wyatt Earp’s Tombstone vendetta and Johnny’s world would never be the same.
Ringo had rustled cattle with Ike Clanton, the McLaury’s, Pony Deal and Curley Bill Brocius will in Tombstone. He was involved in the killing of at least two men in the Hoodoo War in Texas while riding with the Cooley gang, and attempted to kill Louis Hancock, after Hancock turned down Ringo’s invitation for whiskey saying he prefered beer. There is enough documented evidence to suggest that Ringo was a cold blooded killer.
Following the killing of Moragn Earp, many of Ringo’s associates in the cowboy faction, Curley Bill, Frank Stillwell, Florentino Cruz, a.k.a. Indian Charlie, Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers had all been killed By Wyatt Earp and his associates and another rustler, Johnny Barnes lay dying from gunshot wounds received at the hands of Wyatt at the same battle in Sulpher Springs were Wyatt killed Curley Bill.
Just as it was when he was 14, Johnny Ringo was vulnerable. He attempted to return home in 1882 but his sisters refused to allow him in their homes. A devout Methodist family, they were very ashamed of John Ringo and did everything possible to hide him and to deny he was kin to them for a long time. Upon this rejection by his family, Ringo would return to Tombstone.
Ringo is said to have been generally drunk and suicidal at most times. On July 14, 1882, Ringo was found shot through the head in Sulpher Springs, near Turkey Creek. His body was found sitting against a tree with his head flung to the right, his .45 gripped in his right hand, and was shot through the right temple. To add to the mystery, he appeared to have been partially scalped. He was buried behind the tree. His cartridge belt was on upside down and his shirt had been ripped off and was tied around his feet. His boots were later found strung across his horse.
The men who found his body wrote out the following details concerning his death:
“There was found by the undersigned John Yoast the body of a man in a clump of Oak trees 20 yards north from the road leading to Morse’s mill and about a quarter of a mile west of the house of B. F. Smith. The undersigned viewed the body and found it in a sitting posture, facing west, the head inclined to the right. There was a bullet hole in the right temple, the bullet coming out the top of the left side. There is apparently a part of the scalp gone including a small portion of the forehead and part of the hair, this looks as if cut by a knife. These are the only marks of violence visible to the body. Several of the undersigned identify the body as that of John Ringo, well known in Tombstone. He was dressed in light hat, blue shirt, vest, pants and drawers, on his feet were a pair of hose and undershirt torn up so as to protect his feet. He had evidentially traveled but a short distance in this footgear. His revolver he grasps in his right hand, his rifle rested against the tree close to him. He had on two cartridge belts. The belt for the revolver cartridges being buckled upside on down.”