The Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
June 28, 2001
RINGGOLD COUNTY - NAMESAKE WAS MILITARY HERO
Ringgold County in Iowa was named for Major Samuel RINGGOLD Jr., a hero of the Spanish-American War.
He was born Saturday, October 16, 1796 to a brigadier general of militia and wife who were living at Fountain Rock, a
17,000-acre farm outside of Hagerstown, MD. He entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. on
October 24, 1814 as a cadet. He graduated fifth in his class of 24 in 1818 and served at numerous posts primarily in
artillery. He was then requested by the secretary of war to assist in rewriting the military manual for artillery.
On May 8, 1846 while commanding artillery in Texas against a Mexican force, a cannon ball struck Ringgold while
astride his horse, Davy Branch. The horse had been used for racing to supplement Ringgold's income and was considered
by some to be the fastest horse in the Army. The cannon ball, most likely a 4-pound, tore through Ringgold's thigh
just above the knee. He refused to be taken off the field during the battle. Only when it was ended was he removed.
He survived for 60 hours and died on May 11, 1846.
Eulogies all over the country gave a significant boost to the morale of the West Point cadre. Ballads, stage plays,
poetry, and songs were all made in his honor.
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, January of 2009