ask-the-marshallCraig Brewer

Fairdale, New York

Zwing Hunt is one of the more interesting characters in the Tombstone saga, but there is no known photo of him.

He came from Texas and reached Arizona with a cowhand named Billy Grounds (Boucher) around 1880. He was a free spirit, running with Curly Bill Brocius and his bunch.

Absolutely fearless and an excellent shooter, Zwing “would do to go tiger hunting with,” it was said. He and Grounds were suspected of rustling and thought to be involved in a murder.

A posse led by Billy Breakenridge surprised the outlaws at Jack Chandler’s ranch, located about 10 miles from Tombstone. During the fight, Grounds was killed by a blast from Breakenridge’s shotgun and Zwing was hit in the back when he tried to make a run for it. A lawman and two posse members were wounded. Zwing was taken to a hospital in Tombstone where he escaped on the night of April 27, 1882, with the help of his brother Hugh, who loaded him in a wagon and quietly drove out of town. Hugh later claimed Zwing was killed by Apaches; however, there’s a good chance he returned to Texas, rejoined his family and stayed out of trouble.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian. His books include The Arizona Trilogy and Law of the Gun.

If you have a question, write:

Ask the Marshall

PO Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327

or e-mail him at

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