John Peters “Johnny” Ringo

Johnny Ringo was an American gunfighter and outlaw most commonly associated with the infamous happenings in Tombstone, Arizona. He was often portrayed as the hired gun of the Clanton faction, an antagonist to Doc Holiday, and could be responsible for the kill of Morgan Earp. Although not formally educated, he supposedly quoted Shakespeare and cultivate an image of the refined gunman. Although in Tombstone at the time, and quarreled with Doc Holiday, he did not participate in the gunfight or every mince more than words with Holiday.

John Peters "Johnny" Ringo ( May 3, 1850 – July 13, 1882 )
John Peters “Johnny” Ringo ( May 3, 1850 – July 13, 1882 )

John Peters “Johnny” Ringo is born May 3, 1850 to Martin and Mary Peters Ringo in Greens Fork, Indiana. On July 30, 1864, when Johnny was 14, his family was relocation from Wyoming to California. While en route, Martin Ringo, Johnny’s father was killed when he stepped off their wagon holding a shotgun, which accidentally discharged. The head wound was gruesome and the family if forced to bury him on a hillside next to the trail. On their arrival in California, the family settled in San Jose.

Mason County War

In 1869, Johnny aged 19, left San Jose and moved to Mason County, Texas. While in Texas be befriended a former Texas Ranger Scott Cooley, who was the adoptive son of Rancher Tim Williamson. Williamson is arrested by a hostile mob and killed by Peter “Bad Man” Bader on May 13th, 1875. Following, Ringo and Colley rage a war of terror of those they felt guilty to Williamson’s murder. This became locally know as the “Hoodoo War” or the “Mason County Ware”.

On August 19th, 1875, Scott Cooley and Ringo killed Charley Bader when they mistook him for his brother Pete. The two men are jailed for the murder in Burnet, Texas, but soon escaped.

The Mason County War is over in November 1876 with about a dozen lives lost.

Ringo in Tombstone

Johnny found his way to Tombstone in the winter of 1880. He had a reputation of a bad temper and an alcoholic. He becomes associated with the Cochise County Cowboys alongs with the Clanton’s and may have participated in some of their “activities”. Ringo did not participate in the famous gunfight, however, on January 17th, 1882, he and Doc Holiday traded words and almost had a gunfight before both men were arrested.

Ringo was a fine man any way you look at him. Physically, intellectually, morally. He was six feet tall, rather slim in build, although broad-shouldered, medium fair as to complexion with gray-blue eyes and light brown hair. His face was somewhat long. He was what might be called an attractive man. His attitude toward all women was gentlemanly. He must have been a gentleman born. Sometimes I noticed something wistful about him, as if his thoughts were far away on something sad. He would say, ‘Oh, well,’ and sigh. Then he would smile, but his smiles were always sad. There was something in his life that only he, himself, knew about …. He was always neat, clean, well dressed, showed that he took good care of himself. He never boasted of his deeds, good or bad, a trait I have always liked in men. John…was a loyal friend. And he was noble, for he never fought anyone except face to face. Every time I think of him, my eyes fill with tears.

Mary Katherine Horony Cummings – Big Nose Kate

Following the attacks on Virgil and Morgan Earp, Wyatt Earp blamed Ringo for the ambush and murder of Morgan on March 18th, 1882. Morgans death prompted a “vendetta” ride which sees Wyatt hunting those whom he blamed for Morgan’s death. March 20th, 1882, Wyatt killed Frank Stillwell in Tucson, Arizona. Following, Johnny Ringo is deputized into a possse to search for the Wyatt and Holiday, although they never find them.

Mysterious Death

During Tombstone’s Fourth of July festivities, Ringo drank heavily. Two days letter he left Tombstone with several bottles of liquor. On July 8th, Deputy Billy Breakenridge ran into Ringo at Dial’s Ranch in the South Pass of the Dragoon Mountains. During this encounter “Ringo was very drunk, reeling in the saddle.” He encouraged Ringo to follow him back to the Goodrich Ranch. But, “he was drunk and stubborn and went on his way. I think this was the last time he was seen alive.”

At about 3pm on July 13, ranch hands at a nearby ranch heard a shot.

On July 14th, 1882, Ringo’s lifeless body is discovered by Teamster James Yoast, Ringo is found dead among “a bunch of five large black jack oaks growing up in a semicircle from one root, and in the center of them was a large flat rock which made a comfortable seat.” 

On discovery, Ringos body is already blacked from the hot Arizona sun.

His feet were wrapped in strips of cloth torn from his undershirt. Ringo had lost his horse with his boots tied to the saddle. The coroner’s report noted that “He had evidently traveled but a short distance in this foot gear.” A bullet hole is found at his right temple and an exit wound at the back of his head. The fatal wound was upward at a 45-degree angle between the right eye and ear. His Colt Single Action Army .45 revolver was still in his right hand with the hammer rested on the empty chamber. A knife cut was found at the base of his scalp, as if “someone had cut it with a knife.” His horse was found eleven days later about 2 miles away with Ringo’s boots still tied to the saddle. 

Despite the later claims by Wyatt Earp to have killed him, or movie depictions of Doc Holiday dispatching him and a show down, it is not difficult to image a very drunk Johnny Ringo committing suicide, after falling off and loosing his horse.


NameJohn Peters Ringo
Also Know ASJohnny Ringo, Johnny Ringgold
Birth / DeathMay 3, 1850 – July 13, 1882
Cause of DeathSuicide, Cochise County, Ariona
Side armColt Single Action Army .45 revolver
VictimsJames Cheyney – Killed – September 25, 1875 – Mason County, Texas
Charley Bader – Killed – August 19th, 1875 – Mason County, Texas
Louis Hancock – Wounded – December 1879 – Safford Arizona


Courtney Chauncey Julian

Courtney Chauncey Julian
C. C. Julian

Courtney Chauncey Julian, C. C. Julian, was a businessman and shameless promoter who’s business dealings forced him to flee to California for China. He is noteworthy in his dealing in Death Valley National Park for his promotion of the town of Leadfield. After numerous court battles, he fled to Shanghai, China where he is poisoned or committed suicide.

C.C. Julian launched a newspaper blitz promoting his Julian Petroleum Corporation in 1923. The promotional blitz formed the basis for a ponzi scheme for investment into the JPC. The scandal became known as the “Julian Pete Scandal”. By 1927, it is estimated that Julian sold four million dollars in stock, which was stolen from his investors. Others estimate the value of the scheme at over eight million.

Drama followed the man, as he received death threats, however the nature of this threat is never resolved. It was reported by the United Press on Jan 4, 1924, that gun shots are fired threw the windows of his $100,000.00 house in Hollywood.

Perhaps one of his wierdest altercations came with famed film star Charles Chaplin. Just weeks after the shooting, Julian literally bumped into a table where Chaplin was eating at Club Petrouschka in Hollywood. A fight ensured and Chaplin got the better of Julian and knocked him out.

As one would expect from a thief, Julian had assets seized, by Collector of Internal Revenue, of $250,000.00 in cash and securities for failure to file is earnings from 1919-1923. He is able to maintain his house because it is deeded by his wife.

Julian at the Western Lead Mine located in Leadfield, California - Photo Los Angeles Times
Julian at the Western Lead Mine located in Leadfield, California – Photo Los Angeles Times

The end of Julian Petroleum Corporation stated in 1925. Julian sold his interest in the company to Sheridan C. (S.C.) Lewis and Jacob Berman for the sum on $500,000.00. The following year the company merged with California-Eastern Oil Company. An internal audit revealed the company had issued 4,200,000 unauthorized shares of stock. On May 5, 1927, the Los Angeles Stock Exchange halted trading in Julian Petroleum.

In 1931, Julian was charged with conspiracy to commit fraud in Oklahoma. He jumped bail and fled to country for Shanghai, China. Courtney Chauncey Julian is found dead of suicide in March, 1934.

"The Last Days of C. C. Julian," Los Angeles Times, 29 Sept. 1935
“The Last Days of C. C. Julian,” Los Angeles Times, 29 Sept. 1935

This town was the brain child of C. C. Julian, who could have sold ice to an Eskimo. He wandered into Titus Canyon with money on his mind. He blasted some tunnels and liberally salted them with lead ore he had brought from Tonopah. Then he sat down and drew up some enticing, maps of the area. He moved the usually dry and never deep Amargosa River miles from its normal bed.

He drew pictures of ships steaming up the river hauling out the bountiful ore from his mines. Then he distributed handbills and lured Eastern promoters into investing money. Miners flocked in at the scent of a big strike and dug their hopeful holes. They built a few shacks. Julian was such a promoter he even conned the U. S. Government into building a post office here. 

Desert Magazine – 1971 – Betty J. Tucker


Jackson Lee Davis “Diamondfield Jack”

Jackson Lee “Diamondfield Jack” Davis who was pardoned for murder in Idaho and moved to Nevada where he founded several mining camps. Davis was a hired gun who worked for the cattlemen “protecting” cattle herds and their grazing land from sheep famers.

Jackson Lee "Diamondfield Jack" Davis (12 Aug 1863–2 Jan 1949)
Jackson Lee “Diamondfield Jack” Davis (12 Aug 1863–2 Jan 1949)

In 1895, Davis is hired by the Sparks-Harrell cattle company to keep the sheepherders off of the grazing lands. After an altercation where Davis wounded Bill Tolman in a shooting. Following this incident, he fled south to Nevada to star or of sight. While in Nevada, Davis is known to brad about his exploits.

In February, 1896, Davis returned to Idaho and returned to work for Sparks-Harrell in Idaho. During this time, two sheepherders, Daniel Cummings and John Wilson, are shot and killed. Due to he previous bragging and his being in the area at the time, Davis became a suspect. Davis fled to Arizona and is eventually captured. Upon his capture, he is returned to Idaho, tried, found guilty and sentenced to death for of the shooting.

DiamondField Nevada  - 1904 - Paher
DiamondField Nevada – 1904 – Paher

keep the sheep back. Don’t kill but shoot to wound if necessary. Use what measures you think best. If you have to kill, the company will stand behind you – regardless what happens.

While “Diamondfield Jack” is waiting his execution, two other men, James Bower and Jeff Gray, confess to the killing. During their trial, the two men are found not guilty. Regardless, this trial raised doubt as to the trial and Davis is reprieved one day before his scheduled execution.

Following a series of appeals, Davis is again scheduled for execution on July 3rd, 1901. At this point in time, public opinion no longer supported the death penalty. His execution is rescheduled until the Board of Pardons commutes his sentence to life in prisons. Davis is eventually pardoned on December 17th, 1902.

Following his release, Davis moved south into Nevada. In the spring of 1903, when news of promising gold strikes in Goldfield, Davis travelled to the town. After exploring and prospecting he uncovered promising ore ledges on McMahon Ridge northeast of town.

Within weeks of his discovery, prospectors flooded into the area. “Diamondfield Jack”, ever the opportunist plotted a townsite for the location and build a toll road to the new town from Goldfield. In the fall of 1904, the town reached its apex. At that time, it boasted a Post Office, three saloons, restaurants, general stores, schools, church, livery, butcher shop, blacksmith and union hall for the miners, which is impressive for a town just six months old. Public servants such as a sheriff, notary public and lawyer also maintained offices in the new formed district.

Nevada State Historic Marker #251 Text

This historical marker commemorates the lasting notoriety of flamboyant western gunman Jackson Lee Davis (1870-1949), who was better known by the colorful name, “Diamondfield Jack.” As a young man, after unsuccessfully prospecting for diamonds in the nearby hills, Davis was jokingly called “Diamondfield Jack,” a nickname that he carried the rest of his life.

In the late 1890’s, Davis gained a measure of fame as a gunman for the cattle interests, including rancher John Sparks, who would later become a Nevada governor, that were attempting to restrict sheep ranchers from southern Idaho and northeastern Nevada rangelands. Following a sensational trial in 1896, Davis was convicted of murdering two sheepherders. He was sentenced to be hanged, even after others confessed to the murders.

In 1902, Davis was finally pardoned for the crimes. He moved to the central Nevada mining towns of Tonopah and Goldfield, where he became a successful mine operator. He also helped found several mining camps, including one called Diamondfield. In later years, he drifted into obscurity and died in Las Vegas in 1949 after being struck by a car.

Nevada State Historic Marker #251 Summary

Nevada State Historic Marker251
NameDiamondfield Jack Davis
LocationElko County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude41.9847, -114.6720