City History

Before being incorporated, the village was more than likely called Cross Roads and was later named after Major Sam Ringgold.

Few had heard of Major Ringgold until his death on May 11, 1846. Other towns named Ringgold include Ringgold, Louisiana, Ringgold, Virginia, and at one time, a city in Alabama carried the same name.

Ringgold was born in the Washington County, Maryland and appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point from Maryland. He was a cadet at the Military Academy from December 18, 1814 until July 24, 1818, when he graduated and was promoted to a Second Lieutenant, Corps of the Artillery.

Sam Ringgold died on May 11, 1846 after being wounded on May 8, 1846 in a battle the Mexican War. Major Ringgold was the first officer, of any rank, to die in the first battle of the Mexican War.

Ringgold was selected as the county seat of Catoosa County on March 16, 1854.

Before being incorporated, the Ringgold Village Clerk was paid $96 a year plus 25 cents for each summons; 50 cents for each execution; 25 cents for each summons, notice, or rule; 50 cents for levying execution; and $1 for receiving and confining in the calaboose any African American or free person of color. This dollar was to be paid by the master, guardian, or employer, plus 50 cents a day for his meals.

Some of the laws and ordinances passed by the village's first commissioners seem strange given today's laws, but are listed below for general reading and interest:

Sec. 18th. The Chairman and Board shall direct the Marshal to collect of all persons within the corporation limits of said Village, subject to perform road duty, in commutation for working on the streets, the sum of $3 per annum for the use of the Board.

Sec. 19th. Any white person who shall be guilty of quarrelling, fighting, or otherwise acting in a disorderly manner, shall be fined a sum not exceeding $20, upon conviction before the Board; and any person found drunk and acting disorderly, may be, by the Marshal, confined in the calaboose until he or she becomes sober, and then brought before the Board and tried for their disorderly conduct, and fined as aforesaid.

Sec. 20th. Any person or persons who shall provoke to violence, or abuse, or maltreat any intoxicated person in said Village, shall upon conviction, be fined by the Board not exceeding $10, or imprisoned in the calaboose, or both, at the discretion of the Board.

Sec. 22nd. Any person who shall do any work, or cause the same to be done on the Sabbath day, in said Village, except it be a work of necessity, or be guilty of a profanation of the Sabbath day, in a manner calculated to disturb the good morals of the citizens, shall upon conviction, be fined not less than one, nor more than ten dollars.

Sec. 23rd. Any person or persons who may be convicted of keeping a disorderly or lewd house, or house of ill fame, or shall board or harbor a prostitute after notice of her character has been given, shall be fined in a sum not less than $25, nor more than $75, for each and every offense or be imprisoned in the calaboose or both at the discretion of the Board.

Sec. 24th. Any person or persons who shall be convicted before the Board of keeping a gaming house, or a house where-in-gambling for money or other articles of value is allowed, and also, any person or persons who shall deal or bet at Faro, or any other game of chance, shall be fined in a sum not exceeding $25 and for a repetition of the offense, in a sum not exceeding one hundred dollars.

Sec. 25th. Any person guilty of using profane or obscene language publicly or loudly in the hearing of others, in said Village, shall be fined in a sum not less than $1 nor more than $10; and if the provisions of this section be violated in the presence of ladies, the offender shall be fined in a sum not less than five, nor more than twenty dollars for each offense.

Sec. 26th. Any person who shall ride or run any animal through the streets or alleys of said Village, in a dangerous or disorderly manner, shall be fined in a sum not exceeding $10, at the discretion of the Board.

Sec. 37th. No person shall ride, drive, or place any horse or other animal on any side-walk nor stop then at the public crossing places so as to obstruct the free passage of persons, nor hitch them to any private enclosure or shade trees in said Village, under the penalty, or conviction before the Board, of not less than 50 cents nor more than $5, and in case the shade tree or trees are injured by such animal peeling them, or by exposing the roots by pawing or otherwise, the fine shall not be less than five, nor more than ten dollars for each offense.

Sources: "The Official History of Catoosa County 1853-1953" by Susie Blaylock McDaniel and "History in Catoosa County" by William H. H. Clark.