Steve Gatto
Was John Yoast Ringo's Killer?
Mon Jul 05, 18:40


I am not aware of any information that places John Yoast in the Mason County area from 1874 to 1878 or of any information that he participated in the feud himself. Even if John Yoast knew John Ringo in Texas from Mason County, having a German surname (or is it Dutch?) does not mean that Yoast had an allegiance to the German faction or was part of the German faction during the Hoodoo War. In fact, John Yoast’s father, Francis Yoast, was reportedly born in 1820 in Virginia and his grandfather, Frances Yoast, was born in 1800 in Pennsylvania (his grandmother, Nancy (Owens) Yoast, was born in 1798 in Virginia). It is entirely possible that the Yoast family could very well have been completely Americanized by the time John was born in 1857. If so, even if Yoast has a German surname, he may not have recognized himself as a “German,” but rather as a Texan or American. Without more knowledge of the family and John Yoast’s upbringing, and without any evidence of his participation in the Hoodoo War or sympathies to one faction or the other, it is difficult to simply accept that he had an underlying hatred toward John Ringo for his actions against the so-called Germans in the feud. It has been known for years that Yoast reportedly was “acquainted” with Ringo both in Arizona and Texas – information that Yoast himself likely provided to the newspaper. For me, the word “acquainted” seems to imply interaction (even friendly interaction) between the two men both in Texas and Arizona.

The fact that he married a woman in Llano County, Texas, which abuts Mason County, during 1883 and had a baby while residing in Loyal Valley in 1884, where Ringo resided as late a 1878, does not provide evidence that Yoast had sympathies with the German faction in the Hoodoo War. John Ringo must have felt he had strong support in the Loyal Valley area since he chose to reside there after the feud and since he even won an election for constable for Precinct No. 4 (Loyal Valley) by a 2/3 margin. If anything, John Yoast's "acquaintance" with John Ringo in Texas and Arizona, and his later residence in Loyal Valley might suggest his sympathies leaned toward Ringo's side of the Hoodoo War.

Years ago, I wrote: “No matter who their favorite perpetrator might be, all of the murder theorists must somehow account for the appearance of a suicide at the death site.” Well, Kevin Hogge certainly does his best to set forth an explanation for how there could appear to be a suicide at the death site despite John Ringo being murdered. However, in my opinion, Hogge’s theory is speculative at best and provides little in the way of supporting evidence that John Yoast killed John Ringo.

Once you've had a chance to read Hogge's book, let me know your thoughts on his theory of John Ringo's death and whether you agree with me that there is no evidence (at least based on what was presented in the book) to support the theory.

  • Yo-Yoing on Yoast as Ringo's killerBob Cash, Thu Jul 01 8:23
    In the thread below on the possibility of John Yoast, the discoverer of Ringo's body, also being his killer, it is stated that he was German and on the other side of the Mason County War from Johnny. ... more
    • Was John Yoast Ringo's Killer? — Steve Gatto, Mon Jul 05 18:40
      • Thank you, Steve.Bob Cash, Tue Jul 06 8:47
        Your opinion is always appreciated and highly regarded. If Hogge presents no evidence of Yoast's participation in the Mason County War or even living in the area during Ringo's tenure there, even with... more
        • Jeff AkeRobert Buckley, Thu Jul 08 20:31
          Jeff Ake, whose brother, William”Bill” Ake who fought alongside Ringo in the Mason County War, said it was long suspected that Hiram Yoast killed Ringo . Jeff Ake had known the Yoast brothers back... more
    • Wrong about Loyal ValleyBob Cash, Thu Jul 01 12:50
      Re-reading Mason County War books and articles, Loyal Valley had a large German population, after all, even if it did elect Ringo constable.
      • Eugene Manlove RhodesRobert Buckley, Fri Jul 02 8:28
        Eugene knew both John and Hiram Yoast. He wrote about Hiram in several of his writings. In the Bibliography of Eugene Manlove Rhodes, " A Bar Cross Liar ", it is mentioned that John Yoast, who fou... more
        • A Wyatt Earp AnthologyRobert Buckley, Sat Jul 03 5:14
          Roy B. Young has more details on the Yoast brothers, John and Hiram, and their relationship with Eugene Manlove Rhodes in his article “ Wyatt Earp Talks Pretty”: A look at Wyatt Earp’s Interaction wit... more
          • Re: A Wyatt Earp AnthologyBob Cash, Sat Jul 03 13:06
            Robert, some time back, I was intrigued by the section of the article that Roy Young mentions John Yoast, but I was under the impression that Yoast supported the anti-Earp faction, and was more intere... more
    • Re: Yo-Yoing on Yoast as Ringo's killerRobert Buckley, Thu Jul 01 10:15
      Yost is an anglicized spelling of the German surname "Jost". At the time, the families with this surname in the eastern U.S. would spell the name "Yost". As these families moved west, they added an"a"... more
Click here to receive daily updates