Hysterical Journey to Historic Places


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North America » United States » New Mexico
August 7th 2019
Published: August 8th 2019
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JOHN KINNEYJOHN KINNEYJOHN KINNEY

This is the railroad depot in Rincon. John was a good customer there while the market for stolen beef held up.
JOHN KINNEY

John was born in Hampshire County, Massachusetts in 1847 or so and eventually moved out to Iowa. When the Civil War ended John enlisted in the army and attained the rank of sergeant before being mustered out in 1873. He settled on property near Rincon in Dona Anna County as a rancher, but he soon found out that actually raising cattle has dangerously close to being hard work. The market for beef was booming. Soldiers, the tribes, and the miners all needed beef and liked it on their tables as cheaply as possible. The need for beef was far greater than he was able to raise it himself. The solution was simple. Just supply beef stolen in Mexico. He hired a gang of gun thugs to steal the cattle and bring it to his ranch. Soon he was a cattle baron and when the railroad arrived he could ship butchered meat or cattle on the hoof to more distant markets. When the cattle business was slow, he hired his gun thugs out to the Murphy-Dolan Faction in the Lincoln County War. He sent a posse of them to help quell the El Paso Salt War. His gun thugs were ruthless and vicious, and they would steal lice if there was a profit in it. In 1883 he was arrested for having stolen cattle and languished in prison until he got paroled by the Santa Fe Ring in 1886. By then he had lost the ranch to the Ring, and his gun thugs had all moved on to other pursuits and the cattle market was flat as a Mexican peso. He was forced to go straight. He went into mining with some success around Prescott in Arizona and joined the Rough Riders during the Spanish American War. He died in Prescott in 1919, just after WWI ended.

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