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1881 Tombstone Epitaph Newspaper SHOOT OUT OK CORRAL


1881 Tombstone Epitaph Newspaper SHOOT OUT OK CORRAL

June 28, 1881 Tombstone Epitaph Newspaper
An Efficient Man in the Right Place
One of pleasing features of journalism is in being able to pay a deserved tribute to an efficient, faithful and brave public officer. It is such a duty that we now attempt to perform. Mr. Sippy, late Chief of Police, did the public of Tombstone one very great service when he asked for leave of absence for two weeks and insisted that Mr. Virgil Earp be appointed to fill the vacancy, that was believed by most people at that time, to be merely temporary. We might go further and say that he did the people two great favors--first in taking himself away and second in the nomination of his successor. The peace and good order of Tombstone has never before been so perfect as now, and that too under the most trying circumstances that have ever occurred in this community. The first duty Mr. Earp performed after assuming command of the police department was to familiarize himself with the conduct of the force, for which purpose he patrolled the streets two whole nights, during which time he saw sufficient to satisfy himself that there was something rotten not in Denmark, but in Tombstone. He quickly weeded out the suspected and replaced them by men he could depend upon, the result being that on Wednesday last his force, with the assistance of the Sheriff and his deputies, kept perfect order and protected life and property in a manner that deserves the highest praise. Yesterday he caused the arrest of late officer Cornelison, whom he had dismissed from the force on the 18th of the month, for grand larceny, the proof being overwhelming. This was for the breaking open and robbing a trunk that was taken to Cornelison's house for safe keeping during the fire. Inasmuch as the examination of the late officer will take place tomorrow and all the evidence will come out, we forbear further remarks on this occasion. Again, after the fire, the next day when jumpers appeared on the burned district, Mr. Earp solved the whole problem by using the power vested in him for preserving the public peace, by rein stating the owners to their possessions and compelling all to respect each other's rights. After the first two days there was no confusion and no more efforts to jump or dispossess those who were in quiet possession before the fire. It would be easy to call to the public mind other important services Mr. Earp rendered this community at an earlier day, but this must suffice for this time. It is to be hoped that our city council will confirm, by permanent appointment. Mr. Earp in the position he so efficiently and honorably fills. We have no doubt but what they will, for in the language of the immortal Lincoln, we do not believe the council will "swap horses in the middle of the stream," and that is just where we now are in the guardianship of the public peace and order of the town. Find Old West Clothing online


September 10, 1881 Tombstone Epitaph Newspaper

Stage Robbery

The Bisbee Stage Robbed by Three Masked Men
Thursday night, about 10 o'clock, as the stage was nearing Bisbee, being some four miles or five miles this side in the broken ground, it was stopped by three (some say four) masked men, who, with pistols leveled at the driver and passengers, demanded Wells, Fargo & Co's treasure box. The box was thrown out when they went through the passengers, getting eight dollars and a gold watch from one and about six hundred dollars from another. From the treasure box they got a fat haul, there being $2,500 in it. The report is that they also went through all the baggage and the mail sacks, but this is rather doubtful. About 9:30 yesterday morning two messengers rode into Tombstone with their horses upon a lope, halting in front of the Wells, Fargo & Co's office, dismounted and went in. Those seeing the men come in such hot haste, at once surmised something wrong, and in a short time the robbery was the talk of the street. Marshal Williams, agent for W., F. & Co., immediately notified the Sheriff's office, and in a few hours himself, Deputy Breakenridge, Wyatt and Morgan Earp were in the saddle or on the way to the place of the robbery, from whence they will take up the trail and do their best to overhaul the robbers. This, we fear, is a hopeless task, as so much valuable time was lost by the messengers riding from Charleston into Tombstone, when they might better have telegraphed and had the whole thing managed in secrecy.


"Tombstone's look has changed since it was captured in this photograph. Once it was a hard-scrabble mining town prone to fire and drought. Today tourists visit the city to relive the history and pioneer spirit that it embodies. Many still travel to various tropical destinations in Punta Cana Dominican Republic or Jamaica vacation packages, but those that have a love of history, western culture, and desire to learn more about the American past still travel to Tombstone and the sites of early western history."


September 13, 1881 Tombstone Epitaph Newspaper

Important Capture

A Deputy Sheriff Arrested on a Charge of Robbing the Bisbee Stage

Wyatt and Morgan Earp, Marshall Williams and Deputy Sheriff Breakenridge, who went to Bisbee to arrest the stage robbers, on Sunday evening brought in Deputy Sheriff T. C. Stillwell and P. Spencer, whom the evidence strongly points out as the robbers. They were examined before Wells Spicer, Esq., yesterday, and were admitted to bail in the sum of $7000 each--$5,000 for robbing the mail and $2,000 for robbing D. B. Rea. The evidence against Deputy Sheriff Stillwell is circumstantial, and rests principally upon the tracks made by his boot heels in the mud, which corresponded with those he had removed by a shoemaker upon his return to Bisbee. The Epitaph has no desire to pre-judge the case, but if it turns out as now anticipated, that the officers of the law are implicated in this nefarious business, it would seem to be in order for Sheriff Behan to appoint another deputy.


September 13, 1881 Tombstone Epitaph Newspaper

The Stage Robbery Arrest of the Supposed Culprits

As before reported, Morgan and Wyatt Earp, Marshal Williams, Fred Dodge and Deputy Sheriffs Breakenridge and Nagle started out last Friday, immediately after receiving information of the robbery of the Bisbee stage, and arrived at the place where the robbery was committed at about dark. By that time all the tracks had become obliterated except one that of a bare-footed horse which had evidently been ridden in the direction of this place. From there they proceeded to Bisbee and at about _____ o'clock Sunday morning. Frank Stillwell, Deputy Sheriff at that place and Peter Spencer, a resident of Tombstone. but engaged in business in Bisbee, were arrested upon a warrant sworn out by Marshal Williams, agent for Wells Fargo & Co., and brought here and placed in jail. When taken before Justice Spicer yesterday, they were rearrested by United States Deputy Marshal Wyatt Earp, charged with robbing the United States mail, upon a warrant sworn out by Marshal Williams. They will have an examination upon the first charge next Thursday and upon the last next Monday.


September 18, 1881 Tombstone Epitaph and Clothing

The Cow-boy Nuisance.

Tombstone Sept. 16--Has anyone stopped for a moment to consider the present state of affairs in Arizona, and what the end will be? It has come to pass in this county that life and personal property are unsafe; even in the town of Tombstone it seems as if one of the leading industries is to be destroyed. There is not a teamster to-day who is not in fear and dread of the cow-boys, or so-styled "rustlers" depriving him of his hard earnings (I say hard earnings, for if there is a man who gains his living by the sweat of his brow, it is the man who from early morn till late at night pulls and tugs along through mud and rain, dust, and heat, with a six or eight mule team, or the man who shoulders a bull whip and tramps all day long yelling and pounding seven or eight yoke of oxen) How must such men feel to be robbed by a hand of thieves and cutthroats, who take pride in announcing to the public that they are "rustlers!" Where is the teamsters protection? Can you find any officers who will follow, arrest and recover your property? If you can, I would like to see him. And how do teamsters act to one another in such matters? They stand still, for the "rustlers" tell them, "you won't be troubled if you leave us alone." So they take the man's cattle ahead of you, and you won't help him, for you have had an understanding; and then they take yours; the man behind you won't help you for he is "solid," having had an understanding with them; and then they take his, and so it goes. Another thing, teamsters are afraid; they follow, intending to fight, they get close to their stock, are met and told to go back, and back they go. These chaps seem to have no difficulty in evading the law, while others, not inclined to work, daily join the band and they are increasing fast in numbers. Our town is filled with spies watching every move of the officers and imparting their information to their comrades. Just let a stage be robbed and in less than twelve hours no less than twelve "rustlers" will come and go. It is having a dreadfully depressing effect upon all kinds of business. Men who come to examine different mines outside of town, when they learn how the cow-boys stand fellows up, do not wish to run such risks; they quietly take the road they came and get into civilization as soon as possible. Just look at the number of oxen stolen in the last six weeks between here and Morse's Mills; and, to cap off with, they stopped what was left of the train they had robbed, and told the owners; "Travel this no further: if you do we will kill you and take your oxen," and they there and then forced them there and then unyoke. That was done within four miles of this town on last Sunday morning. I think it is time the people did something. There are men not afraid of them, but those men are in various employments. They won't quit work and go on the trail unless the people will make it an object. Ten armed men, well mounted, can, in sixty days, bring to justice many a "rustler." Put the right men in the field and give them the proper leader, and see how soon peace will be restored to the community, and business will resume its happy and prosperous course again. CHIRICAHUA (Written one month before the Shootout in Tombstone) They wore Old West Clothes.


"Looking south...Don Perceval's 1965 Gunfight at the OK Corral painting...Above copy courtesy McLelland Collection
An interesting look at the scene through the picture frame of the artists interpretation
L-R...Papago's Cash Store...OK Corral north entrance (see OK sign)...small white adobe....C.S. Flys Boardinghouse & Photo Gallery...Harwood House R-5/10/13

October 27, 1881 Tombstone Nugget Newspaper

Marshal Virgil Earp, Morgan and Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday Meet the Cowboys...Three Men Killed and Two Wounded, One Seriously...Origins of the Trouble and its Tragic Termination.

The 26th of October, 1881, will always be marked as one of the crimson days in the annals of Tombstone, a day when blood flowed as water, and human life was held as a shuttlecock, a day always to be remembered as witnessing the bloodiest and deadliest street fight that has ever occurred in this place, or probably in the Territory.

The origin of the trouble dates back to the first arrest of Stilwell and Spencer for the robbery of the Bisbee stage. The co-operation of the Earps and the Sheriff and his deputies in the arrest caused a number of cowboys to, it is said, threaten the lives of all interested in the capture. Still, nothing occured to indicate that any such threats would be carried into execution. But Tuesday night Ike Clanton and Doc Holliday had some difficulty in the Alhambra saloon. Hard words passed between them, and when they parted it was generally understood that the feeling between the two men was that of intense hatred. Yesterday morning Clanton came on the street armed with a rifle and revolver, but was almost immediately arrested by Marshal Earp, dismissed and fined by Justice Wallace for carrying concealed weapons. While in the Court room Wyatt Earp told him that as he had made threats against his life he wanted him to make his fight, to say how, when and where he would fight, and to get his crowd, and he (Wyatt) would be on hand.
In reply, Clanton said: "Four feet of ground is enough for me to fight on, and I'll be there." A short time after this William Clanton and Frank McLowry came into town, and as Thomas McLowry was already here the feeling soon became general that a fight would ensue before the day was over, and crowds of expectant men stood on the corner of Allen and Fourth streets awaiting the coming conflict.
It was now about two o'clock, and at this time Sheriff Behan appeared upon the scene and told Marshal Earp that if he disarmed his posse, composed of Morgan and Wyatt Earp, and Doc Holliday, he would go down to the O.K. Corral where Ike and James Clanton and Frank and Tom McLowry were and disarm them. The Marshal did not desire to do this until assured that there was no danger of attack from the other party. The Sheriff went to the corral and told the cowboys that they must put their arms away and not have any trouble. Ike Clanton and Tom McLowry said they were not armed, and Frank McLowry said he would not lay his aside. In the meantime the Marshal had concluded to go and, if possible, end the matter by disarming them, and as he and his posse came down Fremont Street towards the corral, the Sheriff stepped out and said: "Hold up boys, don't go down there or there will be trouble: I have been down there to disarm them." But they passes on, and when within a few feet of the the Marshal said to the Clantons and McLowrys: "Throw up your hands boys, I intend to disarm you."
As he spoke, Frank McLowry made a motion to draw his revolver, when Wyatt Earp pulled his and shot him, the ball striking on the right side of his abdomen. About the same time Doc Holliday shot Tom McLowry in the right side using a short shotgun, such as is carried by Wells-Fargo & Co.'s messengers. IN the meantime Billy Clanton had shot at Morgan Earp, the ball passing through the point of the left shoulder blade across the back, just grazing the backbone and coming out at the shoulder, the ball remaining inside his shirt. He fell to the ground but in an instant gathered himself, and raising in a sitting position fired at Frank McLowry as he crossed Freemont Street, and at the same instant Doc Holliday shot at him, both balls taking effect either of which would have proved fatal, as one struck him in the right temple and the other in the left breast. As he started across the street, however, he pulled his gun down on Holliday saying, "I've got you now." "Blaze away! You're a daisy if you have, " replied Doc. This shot of McLowry's passed through Holliday's pistol pocket, just grazing the skin.
While this was going on Billy Clanton had shot Virgil Earp in the right leg, the ball passing through the calf, inflicting a severe flesh wound. In turn he had been shot by Morgan Earp in the right wrist and once in the left breast. Soon after the shooting commenced Ike Clanton ran through the O.K. Corral, across Allen Street into Kellogg's saloon and thence into Toughnut street where he was arrested and taken to the county jail. The firing altogether didn't occupy more than twenty-five seconds, during which time fully thirty shots wree fired. After the fight was over Billy Clanton, who, with wonderful vitality, survived his wounds for fully an hour, was carried by the editor and foreman of the Nugget into a house near where he lay, and everything possible was done to make his last moments easy. He was "game" to the last, never uttering a word of complaint, and just before breathing his last he said, "Goodbye boys; go away and let me die." The wounded were taken to their houses, and at three o'clock next morning were resting comfortably. The dead bodies were taken in charge by the Coroner, and an inquest will be held upon them at 10 o'clock today. Upon the person of Thomas McLowry was found between $300 and $400 and checks and certificates of deposit to the amount of nearly $3,000.
During the shooting Sheriff Behan was standing nearby commanding the contestants to cease firing but was powerless to prevent it. Several parties who were in the vicinity of the shooting had "narrow escapes" from being shot. One man who had lately arrived from the east had a ball pass through his pants. He left for home this morning. A person called "the Kid" who shot Hicks at Charleston recently, was also grazed by a ball. When the Vizina [mine] whistle gave the signal that there was a conflict between the officers and cowboys, the mines on the hill shut down and the miners were brought to the surface. From the Contention mine a number of men, fully armed, were sent to town on a four-horse carriage. At the request of the Sheriff the "Vigilantes," or Committee of Safety, wre called from the streets by a few sharp toots from the Vizina's whistle. During the early part of the evening there was a rumor that a mob would attempt to take Ike Clanton frm the jail and lynch him, and to prevent any such unlawful proceedings a strong guard of deputtes was placed around that building and will be so continued until all danger is past.
At 8 o'clock last evening Finn Clanton, a brother of Billy and Ike, came to town, and placing himself under the guard of the Sheriff, visited the morgue to see the remains of his brother, and then passed the night in jail in company with the other.
Ominous Sounds
Shortly after the shooting ceased the whistle at the Vizina mine sounded a few short toots, and almost simultaneously a large number of citizens appeared on the streets armed with rifles and a belt of cartridges around their waists. These men formed in line and offered their services to the peace officers to preserve orderin case any attempt at disturbance was made, or any interference offered to the authorities of the law. However, no hostile move was made by anyone, and the quiet and order was fully restored, and in a short time the excitement died away.
At the Morgue
The bodies of the three slain cowboys lay side by side, covered with a sheet. Very little blood appeared on their clothing, and only on the face of young Billy Clanton was there any distortion of the features or evidence of pain in dying. The features of the two McLowry boys looked as calm and placid in death as if they had died peaceably, surrounded by loving friends and sorrowing relatives. No unkind remarks were made by anyone, but feeling of unusual sorrow seemed to prevail at the sad occurrence. Of the two McLowry brothers we could learn nothing of their previous history before coming to Arizona. The two brothers owned quite an extensive ranch on the lower San Pedro, some seventy or eighty miles from this city, to which they had removed their band of cattle since the recent Mexican and Indian troubles. They did not bear the reputation of being of a quarrelsome disposition, but were known as fighting men, and have generally conducted themselves in a quiet and orderly manner when in Tombstone.

December 30, 1881



It will be remembered that about the middle of March, last, an attempt was made to stop and rob the down stage to Benson near Drew's Station, and the murdering fiends shot and killed the driver, Bud Philpot. That event created a great sensation in Tombstone, and the sheriff, with a posse of men, among whom were Marshal Williams, Virgil Earp, Morgan and Wyatt Earp, started in pursuit. Marshal Williams remaining with the party for five days and returning with King, one of the gang, whom they captured somewhere down the San Pedro, the remainder of the party being absent for eighteen days, following the trail into New Mexico, but failing to capture more of the outlaws. It will also be remembered that King, while in custody of the under sheriff here in Tombstone, was permitted to escape and was never captured.


But a few weeks elapsed after this event before word was brought to the Earps and Marshall Williams by friends on whose integrity they could rely, that the gang had sworn vengeance on them and would kill them on the first opportunity. Some time in April Mrs. Williams had arranged for a visit to her relatives in the East, also, these gentlemen decided to take a private carriage, and in company go with their wives to Benson. At the last moment Mr. Williams with his wife took the stage, leaving Mr. Fickas and his wife the sole occupants of the carriage. When about two and a half or three miles this side of Benson, five horsemen, armed with rifles and revolvers, dashed past the carriage, wheeled around and opened ranks for the carriage to pass. The side curtains being down, they leaned over upon their horses to get a view of the back seat, and seeing no one thereon, rode off with a shower of curses. This startled Mr. Fickas, who could not account for the rudeness of the party. When this event was related to Mr. Williams by Mr. Fickas he very naturally drew inference that the party were looking for him. So long ago as June last, Virgil Earp told a friend that he and his brothers had received repeated warnings by those who came in contact with the gang that they were planning to come to town to clean out the Earp crowd, and further said they did not know at what moment they would be shot in the back as they were going home of a night.


It will also be remembered that when the Bisbee stage was robbed, on the 8th day of September, that Morgan Earp, Wyatt Earp and Marshal Williams accompanied the sheriff and helped to make the arrest of Stilwell, who is now under bonds awaiting the action of the United States grand jury for robbing the United States mail. This naturally further aggravated the cow-boy gang, and the threats became still more plentiful and open. Matters rapidly culminated, the rupture being made by Ike Clanton coming into town and walking the streets with revolver and Winchester rifle hunting for Virgil Earp, threatening to shoot him on sight. What followed is all too fresh in the minds of the people to need recapitulation here.


We now wish to call the reader's attention to the statement of a most estimable lady, reprinted from the columns of the Kansas City Daily Star, which will throw light upon several points heretofore obscured in mystery, and that is as to the shots alleged to have been fired at the officers from behind a horse. She also says in the most emphatic manner, and without the fear of intimidation brought to bear upon her, that the Clanton party opened fire the moment the marshal called upon them to throw up their hands. Another feature of this lady's statement we wish to call attention to, and that is, that two separate raids, deliberately planned for murder and plunder, were providentially frustrated by alarms of fire, at which many of the Citizens' protective league turned out with their rifles, prepared for any emergency. This fact was known to many of our citizens at the time, but the inside history was not so clear as since her statement appeared.


During the examination of the Earp-Holliday case before Judge Spicer there was a certain room in the Grand hotel occupied by Clanton and his friends, the shutters of which were never opened like the others on that floor, which was a matter of frequent comment. The examination before Judge Spicer was one of the most searching and thorough in the annals of justice's court, lasting as it did for nearly four weeks, with able counsel on both sides. The judge, in a most clear and concise review of the evidence, held that the marshal and his party were acting in the discharge of their legal duty, therefore very justly, discharged them. This event only the more intensified cow-boy element, who now added to their list of proscription and death, judge Spicer, Tom Fitch, and Mayor Clum. The blinds of the mysterious room still remained closed. About two or three days previous to the departure of Mayor Clum, a man, whose name can be given if necessary, happened to go to his den and found a man standing at the window with a Winchester rifle, full cocked, at his shoulder, drawing a bead upon some one on the opposite side of the street. (We should have before stated that for convenience of observation and other purposes a slat in one of the blinds had been removed.) The new-comer sung out to the gunner, "What in h__l are you doing there?" he replied, "I'm going to shoot that d__d son of a B____, Rickabaugh!" It was Mr. Rickabaugh, partner of Wyatt Earp in the Oriental saloon, who was, unconscious of danger, walking down the opposite side of the street. The new-comer forbid the deed to be done, saying, as reported to Mr. Rickabough, "Don't you do that; he has never injured us. He has only spent his money for his friends, the Earps, and that is what either you or I would do for our friends." It was in this room that it is reported that Milt Hicks, Ringo and four other men were closeted the night and day previous to the fire in the rear of the hotel, which fact forms a link in the chain of circumstantial evidence corroborating the statement of Mrs. Colyer, above referred to, it being stated upon good authority that they made their escape from the room about the breaking out of the fire.


On the night of the 14th instant, John P. Clum, mayor of Tombstone, took the stage for Benson on his way to Tucson. When about four miles below town, it was attacked by armed men, whose shots frightened the team so that the driver could not hold them, and they ran a quarter of a mile or more, when one of the leaders which had been struck in the neck fell from loss of blood, and soon expired. It was well known fact that this stage carried neither mail nor treasure: therefore robbery could not have been the object of the band of highwaymen who attempted to stop it. Knowing the deep and murderous threats of the gang against his life, but one logical inference could be drawn, and that was, the party only wanted the life of Mr. Clum.


The events of the last twenty-four hours prove conclusively that the information briefly given in the above narration of facts was true in every particular. having miscarried in every one of their hellish plots against lives of those whom they hated or feared, three of the gang crept into the town under the cover of darkness, last night, and like the midnight assassins that they are, shot in the back United States Deputy Marshal Virgil Earp, thinking, no doubt, that from the five loads of buckshot they poured at him that he was dead beyond all recovery. Here again the hand of God is manifest in frustrating the damnable actions of these vicious murderers: for, though dangerously wounded, he will not die.


The recitation of the foregoing facts has not been a pleasant task; for we are aware that many honest citizens of Tombstone will say that it were better that these things should be kept from the public, that they are ruinous to the business interests of the town, and that by reminding the public of them it will deter immigration. It is not the province of a respectable journal to delude the public by a cry of peace, nor to ridicule or make light of the public danger when the people are daily treading upon a slumbering volcano. There are three things in this community as dangerous to the permanent peace and prosperity of our city as the cow-boys themselves. These are-first, the apathy, or the inability of our public officials to cope with with the evil complained of; second, the general indifference of the better class of society to the present state of things; and third, the openly expressed sympathy of a certain class with those outlaws from society, giving them aid and comfort in various ways, thereby emboldening them to make this city their headquarters. The cure for this state of things can be speedily and surely worked if our people will lay aside personal jealousies and antagonisms and stand more fully by the legally constituted authorities in the enforcement of the laws against this organized band of outlaws. An active, manful spirit on the part of our citizens will inspire confidence in the officers that they have a substantial backing in their efforts to rid the country of this overshadowing evil. There need be no violation of law on the part of citizens or officers, if public spirit is properly aroused. There are those, who will, no doubt, ridicule what we are writing for the public good, as they have ridiculed in the past the danger of those who have for months been walking in the shadow of death



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