This section lists the known members of the John Kinney Gang, which was also known as the Rio Grande Posse and was the premiere rustling gang in New Mexico Territory. Although they primarily functioned out of Dona Ana County and the cities of La Mesilla and Las Cruces located within this county, in mid-June of 1878 District Attorney W. L. Rynerson, a personal friend of J. J. Dolan and J. H. Riley, hired the gang to serve as gunmen for Dolan and they moved, temporarily, to Lincoln County. Once there, Kinney was deputized by Sheriff George Peppin and his gang was made an official posse, giving them freedom to run rampant and pillage. After the war, most of the gang soon left Lincoln County for their more familiar Dona Ana County. A few gang members, however, remained in Lincoln County and joined up with John Selman and his gang (called Selman's Scouts), which recently arrived from Texas for the purpose of taking advantage of Lincoln's state of anarchy. After a brief period of terrorizing the county, Selman's Scouts were all quickly killed or fled the territory. As for the Kinney Gang, they continued to flourish until Kinney was arrested in April 1883 for rustling. He was convicted and sent to prison, only to be released in 1886. By that time though, his gang had long since dissipated and was nothing more than a memory.
The John Kinney Gang