Hysterical Journey To Historic Places

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March 2nd 2013
Published: March 2nd 2013
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From Willcox take Hwy 186 southeastward about 35 miles clear down past Chiricahua National Monument where Hwy 186 joins Hwy 181. When you get to Turkey Creek Road the highway makes a sharp turn to the west. Turn left on Turkey Creek Road. Ringo's grave is on private property about 4.5 miles to the east. The property owner lives at the ranch just east of the grave. He has been generous with access to the grave, but ask him for permission. Watch out for snakes.

There are two ghosts plainly visible in this photograph. They are in the shadows just to the right of the headstone. One is Ringo, and the other standing over him may be his gay lover, Billy Claiborne. The outlaw, Johnny Ringo was found shot through the head on July 14, 1882 up in West Turkey Creek Canyon. He was on his way back to Galeyville after a Fourth of July toot that began in Tombstone with Buckskin Frank Leslie and Billy Claiborne as drinking companions. Ringo’s death appeared to have been a suicide and the coroner’s inquest ruled it so, however no investigation of his death was ever done. The authorities simply accepted the word of those who found the body and buried it that the death was a suicide. Historians have been arguing about it ever since. Some think that Wyatt Earp came back from Colorado with Doc Holliday and they killed him, but that is an absolutely ridiculous assertion. Some of Ringo’s friends claim that the tinhorn gambler Johnny-Behind-The-Deuce killed him, but that hardly seems likely. Billy Claiborne thought that Buckskin Frank Leslie had murdered Ringo. Buckskin Frank had to shoot Billy down in the streets of Tombstone because of that allegation. John Ringo was his own worst enemy. He was a morose drunk with thoughts of suicide. At the time of his death he was really bad drunk. His feet hurt from wearing a new pair of boots that he had to take off and tie onto his saddle. He was remorseful because his sisters had disowned him for being an outlaw, and a sniveling queer. He came to the creek and found a nice shady spot to water his horse and rest a bit. When he woke up after his nap the horse had wandered off to graze and he was going to have to go barefoot to find him. He only got as far as wrapping his feet in strips torn from an undershirt before he realized that there was nothing for him Galeyville. It was being shut down, and he was tired and sick and hungry and his feet hurt, and his horse had deserted him. He was all alone and just decided to end his own misery. Nobody knows for sure just what happened to Ringo, or who that other ghost is.


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