Thomas Harbo Rynning

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Thomas Harbo Rynning

Nicknames: "Capt. Thomas H. Rynning"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Norway, Came to US age 2, Beloit, Wisconsin, USA
Death: Died in San Diego, San Diego, California, United States
Place of Burial: Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery Plot OS A11, San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of unknown Rynning and unknown Rynning
Husband of Margaret Eve Rynning
Father of Linda Marie Rynning; Margaret Alexandria Rynning and Rosemond Rynning
Brother of Frederik "Fred" Rynning; Martha Rynning and Loivius Ole Rynning

Occupation: Cowboy, Arizona Ranger and Warden of Arizona State penitentiary. Also 2ND LIEUT TRP B 1 U S VOLUNTEER CAVALRY, Spanish American War
Managed by: Della Dale Smith-Pistelli
Last Updated:

About Thomas Harbo Rynning

Born in Norway in 1866, Rynning arrived in the United States when he was just two years old. Joining the military, Rynning served under General Phillip Sheridan during the campaigns against the Southern Cheyenne and the Chiricahua Apaches in 1885 and 1886.

He was present at the capture of Geronimo, and helped in the chase of Sitting Bull and his band as they escaped to British Columbia following the Battle of the Little Bighorn. 1898 found him serving in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of First Sergeant, and rode with General Miles. He served as a Second Lieutenant in Troop B of Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders and was with Roosevelt during the many military engagements that led up to the surrender of the opposition forces at San Juan Hill in Santiago, Cuba, during the Spanish American War. He was also a track and field competitor.

Rynning had been building railroad bridges for the Southern Pacific Railroad when he was recruited to lead the Arizona Rangers following Burt Mossman's resignation in 1902. Several former Rough Riders had joined the Rangers after the war. Rynning was appointed Captain September 1, 1902. In 1906 he lead a force of volunteers assisting the Mexican Rurales to put down the rioting and bloodshed that were taking place in the copper mines of Cananea. During his tenure, he expanded the Arizona Rangers and began a thorough training program before he resigned on March 20, 1907.

Rynning was appointed superintendent of the Arizona State Prison by President Howard Taft and later had the prison moved from Yuma to Florence, Arizona. He also wrote a book entitled Gun Notches, the story of the Arizona Rangers. According to his book, he became an orphan at age 12 and worked in a Wisconsin sawmill for a year before going to live with his sister in Chicago. He spent three years in Chicago working as a stair builder. In 1882, at the age of sixteen, he went to Texas and became a bull whacker outside of Del Rio.

He then hired on as a cowboy on a ranch in Texas' Davis Mountains and made two trail drives to Dodge City. All of his life his ambition had been to become an Indian fighter, and in February of 1885, outside of Del Rio, Texas, he enlisted in Troop D of the US Eighth Cavalry to fight in the Indian Wars.

Private Rynning was sent to Arizona where he rode dispatch for General Crook and then as packer for General Miles. After the Apache wars ended, Rynning fought in Indian skirmishes from Texas to Deadwood, South Dakota, before mustering out as a sergeant when his five year hitch was up. He then made a visit to his boyhood home of Beloit and found his friends all gone and nothing was like he remembered.

He gravitated down to Chicago and worked the Worlds Fair for a while. Turning down an offer from Buffalo Bill to join his Wild West Show, he went into engineering and specialized in building bridges for the Southern Pacific Railroad. This took him back to Arizona where he was when the Spanish American War began and he enlisted with the First Volunteer Cavalry, soon to become known as the Rough Riders.

He was quickly appointed as a sergeant and then promoted to lieutenant when the unit moved to San Antonio. He fought in Cuba side-by-side with Leonard Wood and Theodore Roosevelt and they became fast friends. When Captain Bucky O'Neill was killed at San Juan, Lieutenant Rynning led the charge up San Juan Hill.

After the war he returned to Arizona and his contracting business. In 1901, the Arizona legislature had established the Arizona Rangers to combat all the lawlessness in the territory. Burt Mossman was selected as the first captain and after the first year he resigned. Governor Brodie appointed Rynning as the new captain and he received his commission on August 29, 1902. Under his leadership, he and his dedicated band of Rangers, never numbering more than 25 at any one time, virtually eliminated major crimes in the territory.

They also were called upon to quell union disputes on more than one occasion. He even led a band of Americans into Mexico to dispel a large union uprising a few miles below the border. He served as captain for five years and was then appointed by President Taft as the last warden of the Yuma Territorial Prison. While there he convinced the governor that living conditions were just too poor and that he could build a new prison at Florence, Arizona, using only his contracting skills and prison labor. He was given permission to commence work.

The prisoners were paid in time, for each day the worked they received two days in time. At the completion of the facility an appraiser from Washington gave an appraisal of $1,500,000. The actual cost had been $182,000. He stayed on as warden at Florence until 1911 when a Democratic president was elected and replaced him. He moved to San Diego where he remained until he died.

Bio by Tom Todd. Sources: "Gun Notches, A Saga of Frontier Lawman", by Captain Thomas H. Rynning, as told to Al Cohn and Joe Chisholm, and "The Arizona Rangers" by Bill O'Neal.

According to burial records he was buried at Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, CA, and is listed as a 2ND LIEUT, TROOP B-1, U S VOLUNTEER CAVALRY.

There is a photo of the badge he wore as an Arizona Ranger under the media tab above along with two pictures of him with his horse. A statement on Ancestry.com says about the badge:

“Only three men ever wore this badge" • Burton C. Mossman, 1901-1902, who ended large scale cattle rustling in North America. • Thomas H. Rynning, 1902-1907, Made more arrests and convictions than any man in Arizona. • Harry Wheeler, 1907-1909, “the shootinest Ranger of ‘em all”.

The photo with Thomas Harbo Rynning and his horse has a caption which reads..."Portrait of an Arizona Ranger beside a horse in Arizona. Captain Thomas H. Rynning wears a cowboy hat, a neckerchief, suspenders, a jacket, slacks tucked into tall cowboy boots with spurs, leather gauntlets, and a leather cartridge belt. A horse stands with a lasso tied on his saddle and with a rifle in a scabbard. Date 1903?"

More from Ancestry.com:

Much is written about Tom Rynning. Tom Rollins Lyall (my great-grandfather) was named after him. Tom Rynning & Jesse West Rollins were best of friends and shared many adventures, then Rynning married Jesse's sister Margaret Rollins.

Captain Thomas H. Rynning authored an autobiography (as told to Al Cohn and Joe Chisholm), GUN NOTCHES, The Life Story of a Cowboy-Soldier, was published in 1931 by Frederick A. Stokes Co. of New York. It is a folksy tale of cowboys, Indians, bad guys and Arizona Rangers. He names his friend and brother-in-law Jess Rollins as a great 'tracker'.

Tom Rynning, and Jess too, were a part of the History of Arizona. In addition to his own book many others have been written about Rynning. Plus, there is much on file with the Archives in the State of Arizona. Therefore I will not go into great detail about him here, but will hit a few of the highlights.

1866 - Born in Wisconsin, his parents died when he was twelve. With uncle one winter in Wisconsin lumber camp, with sister in Chicago - apprenticeship as stair builder, built stairs along Mississippi River towns.

Mastered levee folk dances and danced for living at times. Wisconsin - learned how to mount running horse without using his hands. Texas near Pecos - drove Longhorns. Dodge City - in a shooting scrape

1884 - Apaches on warpath - joins Cavalry.

1890(9 ) - Out sprints Harry Bethume (world champ) in informal contest. Longest one horse ride in Military history.

1892 - Buffalo Bill Troupe - Chicago World's Fair, guard at the Chicago Colombian Exposition, windmill salesman, successful building contractor.

1898 - Spanish American War - With Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, San Juan Hill, Cuba (First U.S. Volunteers)

1902 - Captain of Arizona Rangers (2nd Captain). Striking miners threaten to flood mine

Mexican Outlaws in New Mexico Led 300 Americans into Mexico to save Americans under Indian attack.

1907 - Warden Territorial Prison at Yuma, planned and oversees building the new penitentiary at Florence, used convicts, to build prison gave them 2 days off for each day of work.

1911 - San Diego, CA... Under Sheriff to Ralph Conklin for 2-1/2 years

1914 - World War I, back to Arizona to drill Army Troops.

1932 - Retirement in San Diego, California.

SOURCE: http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/13902522/person/18003161232/media/3?pgnum=1&pg=0&pgpl=pid|pgNum

According to the 1940 U.S. Census, a little over one year before Tom died, he was listed as a Deputy Marshall working in Federal Investigations. It says he worked 52 weeks that year and earned $1800. Tom was 74 years old in the census and living with him were his wife, Margaret, 58, and his daughters Linda, 33, and Rosemond, 28. They were living at 4427 Brighton Street in San Diego. Tom passed away the following year in June of 1941, just as another World War was beginning. So ends the life of a very interesting man, who was my second great uncle.

Della Dale Smith

FROM ANOTHER SOURCE: http://www.tomtoddbooks.com/Documents/Thomas%20Harbo%20Rynning.pdf

Tom’s Tombstone Travels: Thomas Harbo Rynning

Tom Rynning was born on February 17, 1866, in Beloit, Rock County, Wisconsin, and became an orphan at age 12. He worked in a Wisconsin sawmill for a year before going to live with his sister in Chicago where he spent three years working as a stair builder. In 1882, at the age of sixteen, he went to Texas and became a bull whacker outside of Del Rio. He then hired on as a cowboy on a ranch in Texas' Davis Mountains and made two trail drives to Dodge City. All of his life his ambition was to become an Indian fighter and in February of 1885, outside of Del Rio, Texas, he enlisted in Troop D of the U.S. Eighth Cavalry to fight in the Indian Wars. Private Rynning was sent to Arizona where he rode dispatch for General Crook and then as a packer for General Miles. After the Apache wars ended, Rynning fought in Indian skirmishes from Texas to Deadwood, South Dakota, before mustering out as a sergeant when his five year hitch was up. He then made a visit to his boyhood home of Beloit and found his friends all gone and nothing was like he remembered. He gravitated down to Chicago and worked the Worlds Fair for a while.

Turning down an offer from Buffalo Bill to join his Wild West Show, Tom went into engineering and specialized in building bridges for the Southern Pacific Railroad. This took him back to Arizona where he was when the Spanish American War began and he enlisted with the First Volunteer Cavalry, soon to become known as the Rough Riders. He was quickly appointed as a sergeant and then promoted to lieutenant when the unit moved to San Antonio. In Cuba he fought side-by-side with Leonard Wood and Theodore Roosevelt and they became fast friends. When Captain Bucky O'Neill was killed at San Juan, Lieutenant Rynning led the charge up San Juan Hill. After the war he returned to Arizona and his contracting business.

On August 27, 1901, Tom married Margaret Eve Rollins. He was 35 years old, and she had just turned 19. They had three daughters. In 1901, the Arizona legislature had established the Arizona Rangers to combat all the lawlessness in the territory. Burt Mossman was selected as the first captain and after the first year he resigned. Governor Brodie appointed Rynning as the new captain and he received his commission on August 29, 1902. Under his leadership, he and his dedicated band of rangers, never numbering more than 25 at any one time, virtually eliminated major crimes in the territory. They also were called upon to quell union disputes on more than one occasion. He even led a band of Americans into Mexico to dispel a large union uprising a few miles below the border.

Tom served as captain for five years and was then appointed by President Howard Taft as the last warden of the Yuma Territorial Prison. While there he convinced the governor that living conditions were just too poor and that he could build a new prison at Florence, Arizona using only his contracting skills and prison labor. He was given permission to commence work. The prisoners were paid in time. For each day they worked they received two days in time. At the completion of the facility an appraiser from Washington gave an appraisal of $1,500,000. The actual cost had been $182,000. He stayed on as warden at Florence until 1911 when a Democratic president was elected and replaced him.

The Republicans returned to power in 1921 and Tom was again appointed as warden and his wife and three daughters returned to Florence. In 1932, the family returned to San Diego permanently, and two years later he was commissioned as a deputy U.S. marshal for the San Diego area where he also served as under sheriff. On June 17, 1941, at the age of 75 he was peacefully working in his garden when he was struck by a fatal heart attack. T om and Margaret are buried side-by-side in the Fort Rosecrans Cemetery on Point Loma in San Diego, California.

FROM ANOTHER SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_H._Rynning

Thomas Harbo Rynning (February 17, 1866-June 18, 1941) was an officer in the United States Army that served with Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War. He was also the captain of the Arizona Rangers, warden of Yuma Territorial Prison, and a United States Marshal in San Diego, California.

Biography - Early life and military career - American Indian Wars

Thomas Rynning was born in Christiana, Norway, on February 17, 1866. At the age of two, his parents emigrated to the United States and settled in Beloit, Wisconsin. By 1885, Rynning was in Texas when he decided to enlist in the United States Army's 8th Cavalry Regiment. His first battle was against the Cheyenne while serving under General Philip Sheridan. After the Cheyenne were defeated, he was transferred with his regiment to Arizona Territory. Under Lieutenant Samuel Fountain, Rynning engaged in Geronimo's War and was present when Geronimo was captured by Leonard Wood. In 1888, Rynning participated in the Great March, the longest cavalry ride in American history, from Arizona Territory to Dakota Territory. In Dakota, the 8th Cavalry relieved the 7th Cavalry and eventually went on to fight in the Ghost Dance War against Chief Sitting Bull. Rynning was honorably discharged in 1891 with a record of seventeen battles against natives. He then went to California, but, two years later, he settled in Tucson, Arizona, where he became a successful building contractor.

Spanish-American War

In 1898, Rynning discovered that the war with Spain had begun and that his old friend, Colonel Leonard Wood, was raising a volunteer cavalry regiment, which later became known as Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders. He enlisted as a private and returned from the war a second lieutenant in Troop B, 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry Regiment. During the Battle of San Juan Heights, Rynning took command of the American line following the death of Captain Buckey O'Neill. A few minutes later he led the Rough Riders up Kettle Hill and was the first American to reach the summit. Under heavy fire from the nearby San Huan Hill, Rynning ordered his men to wave the regiment's flag to rally the others and it was during this time that the flag was badly holed. The flag is now preserved by the Department of Library and Archives in the state capitol building in Phoenix, Arizona. After that, Rynning joined Theodore Roosevelt in the charge up San Juan Hill, which ended the battle with an American victory.

Later life and death

Arizona Rangers

After returning from Cuba, Rynning went back to Arizona and continued working as a contractor. However, in 1902, his friend and fellow Rough Rider, Alexander Oswald Brodie, was elected governor of Arizona and one of his first appointments was making Rynning the new captain of the Arizona Rangers. Rynning was living in Douglas at that time so, after becoming captain, he moved his headquarters there from Bisbee. In 1903, Rynning played an important role in helping keep the peace during the Clifton and Morenci riots.

In 1906, Rynning commanded a large posse of American militia that assisted Colonel Emilio Kosterlitsky in quelling the riot at Cananea, Sonora. In June, authorities received a telegram from mine owner William D. Greene reporting that American citizens were being attacked by rioting caused by a strike among the workers at the Cananea Consolidated Copper Company. A volunteer force of 275 armed men was quickly organized and Rynning, with five rangers and seventy others armed with rifles, boarded a train at Naco and entered Sonora with orders to suppress the rioting and protect American lives and property. Although Governor Rafael Izabal was alerted to the possibility of the escalation of the conflict between the Arizona Rangers and the largely unarmed strikers, the governor simply refused to intervene commenting that the men were "on their own". The fighting had long since ended as a truce had been arraigned by the strikers and local officials by the time of Rynning's arrival. Placed between the strikers and the office buildings of the Cananea Company, Rynning's men guarded the property during negotiations until asked to leave by Mexican officials several hours later.

On September 4, 1906, Rynning led Arizona Rangers and immigration officers in a raid on an underground cell of the Partido Liberal Mexicano during a meeting in Douglas. Discovering dynamite, pistols and banners, seven members were arrested for violation of the Neutrality Law. The group had been gathering weapons and ammunition for a major expedition into Mexico which included capturing custom houses on the border, blowing up railways, cutting telegraph wires and raiding stores for weapons and supplies. The Douglas group had also commissioned Javier Huitemea to negotiate with the Yaqui to support them promising the tribe the return of the land which had been taken from them. Extensive evidence of correspondence with Saint Louis Junta provided American authorities with evidence of other groups operating in Mowry and Patagonia.

Yuma Territorial Prison and Florence State Prison

Resigning his position with the Arizona Rangers in March 1907, he was appointed superintendent of the Yuma Territorial Prison in Yuma by President William Howard Taft. He then immediately began the process of abandoning the old prison complex and building a new one in Florence. Rynning supervised the construction and brought convicts from Yuma to help with the work. When Arizona became a state in 1912, a Democratic government under George W. P. Hunt took over and removed Rynning from his post. However, after Thomas Edward Campbell was elected, Rynning was again appointed superintendent of the prison in 1921.

Death

In his later life, Rynning moved to San Diego, California, where he received a commission as a deputy marshal in 1934. He also served as an under sheriff there. Rynning died in San Diego on June 18, 1941, at the age of seventy-five, and was buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.

In popular culture

Rynning was portrayed by Tristram Coffin (1909-1990) in the 1957-1959 syndicated television series 26 Men. Kelo Henderson co-starred as Deputy Clint Travis.

See also:

Tiburon Island Tragedy

   

Shootout in Benson

Arizona State Prison Complex – Florence

Further reading:

Rynning, Thomas H. Gun Notches: The Life Story of a Cowboy-Soldier. New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1931.

References


http://genealogytrails.com/ariz/rynning.htm

http://www.usgennet.org/usa/az/state/rangers.htm

Hart, John Mason. Revolutionary Mexico: The Coming and Process of the Mexican Revolution. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987. (pg. 67) ISBN 0-520-21531-1

   

Martínez, Oscar Jáquez. U.S.-Mexico Borderlands: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 1996. (pg. 118) ISBN 0-8420-2447-6

Magon, Ricardo Flores. Dreams of Freedom: A Ricardo Flores Magon Reader. Oakland, California: AK

Press, 2006. (pg. 51-52) ISBN 1-904859-24-0

Debs, Eugene Victor and J. Robert Constantine. Letters of Eugene V. Debs. Urbana: University of Illinois, 1990. (pg. 338) ISBN 0-252-01742-0

Preceded by Burton C. Mossman, Captain of the Arizona Rangers, 1902-1907

Succeeded by Harry C. Wheeler

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS FROM FIND A GRAVE.COM:

Thomas was a 2nd Lt. in the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry in the Spanish-American War. He was the husband of Margaret Eve Rynning. He was born in Beloit, Rock County, Wisconsin and became an orphan at age 12. He worked in a Wisconsin sawmill for a year before going to live with his sister in Chicago. He spent three years in Chicago working as a stair builder. In 1882, at the age of sixteen, he went to Texas and became a bull whacker outside of Del Rio. He then hired on as a cowboy on a ranch in Texas' Davis Mountains and made two trail drives to Dodge City.

All of his life his ambition had to become an Indian fighter and in February of 1885, outside of Del Rio, Texas, he enlisted in Troop D of the US Eighth Cavalry to fight in the Indian Wars. Private Rynning was sent to Arizona where he rode dispatch for General Crook and then as packer for General Miles. After the Apache wars ended, Rynning fought in Indian skirmishes from Texas to Deadwood, South Dakota before mustering out as a sergeant when his five year hitch was up. He then made a visit to his boyhood home of Beloit and found his friends all gone and nothing was like he remembered. He gravitated down to Chicago and worked the World Fair for a while.

Turning down an offer from Buffalo Bill to join his Wild West Show, he went into engineering and specialized in building bridges for the Southern Pacific Railroad. This took him back to Arizona where he was when the Spanish American War began and he enlisted with the First Volunteer Cavalry, soon to become known as the Rough Riders. He was quickly appointed as a sergeant and then promoted to lieutenant when the unit moved to San Antonio. He fought in Cuba side-by-side with Leonard Wood and Theodore Roosevelt and they became fast friends. When Captain Bucky O'Neill was killed at San Juan, Lieutenant Rynning led the charge up San Juan Hill.

After the war he returned to Arizona and his contracting business. In 1901, the Arizona legislature had established the Arizona Rangers to combat all the lawlessness in the territory. Burt Mossman was selected as the first captain and after the first year he resigned. Governor Brodie appointed Rynning as the new captain and he received his commission on August 29, 1902. Under his leadership, he and his dedicated band of Rangers, never numbering more than 25 at any one time, virtually eliminated major crimes in the territory.

They also were called upon to quell union disputes on more than one occasion. He even led a band of Americans into Mexico to dispel a large union uprising a few miles below the border. He served as captain for five years and was then appointed by President Taft as the last warden of the Yuma Territorial Prison. While there he convinced the governor that living conditions were just too poor and that he could build a new prison at Florence, Arizona, using only his contracting skills and prison labor. He was given permission to commence work.

The prisoners were paid in time, for each day the worked they received two days in time. At the completion of the facility an appraiser from Washington gave an appraisal of $1,500,000. The actual cost had been $182,000. He stayed on as warden at Florence until 1912 when a Democratic president was elected and replaced him. He moved to San Diego where he remained until he died. (Bio by Tom Todd)

Sources: "Gun Notches, A Saga of Frontier Lawman", by Captain Thomas H. Rynning as told to Al Cohn and Joe Chisholm, and "The Arizona Rangers" by Bill O'Neal

Spouse:

 

Margaret Eve Rollins Rynning (1882 - 1967)

Created by: Kit and Morgan Benson

Record added: Aug 08, 2005

Find A Grave Memorial# 11498382

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Thomas Harbo Rynning's Timeline

1866
February 17, 1866
Came to US age 2, Beloit, Wisconsin, USA
1902
August 26, 1902
Age 36
Safford, Graham, AZ, USA
1905
March 3, 1905
Age 39
Douglas, Cochise, AZ, USA
1912
June 19, 1912
Age 46
San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA
1941
June 18, 1941
Age 75
San Diego, San Diego, California, United States
June 23, 1941
Age 75
San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA
????