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Chapter 9: “My Name is Well Known in Arizona”

Paul Lee Johnson University of North Texas Press PDF

Nine

“My Name is Well Known in Arizona”

The Earp brothers immigrated to southeastern Arizona late in the year

1879. Wyatt had been part of the police force in Dodge City, Kansas, as well as a professional gambler. His older brother, Virgil, had recently settled near

Prescott, Arizona Territory, where he worked for a time in law enforcement.

Wyatt and Virgil’s older brother, James, lived in Fort Worth, Texas, for several years where he tended bar for saloon-keeper Robert J. Winders. Winders left for Tombstone in the spring of 1879 and very publicly invited any of his friends from Fort Worth to join him in the booming camp. Jim Earp was likely the first of the Earp brothers to hear about the excitement at Tombsone and he probably persuaded his younger brothers to join him in going there.

A younger Earp brother, Morgan, lived in Montana until the spring of 1880, and joined his brothers in Arizona in July 1880. 1

Before leaving Prescott, Virgil was appointed a deputy United States marshal by Crawley P. Dake, United States marshal for the Territory. Virgil’s commission was to enforce the federal laws for that region. Of the Earp brothers, he alone held a position as a lawman when they arrived in Tombstone.

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Chapter 31: “They Would Shoot a Fellow to See Him Fall”

Paul Lee Johnson University of North Texas Press PDF

Thirty-One

“They Would Shoot a

Fellow to See Him Fall”

In the aftermath of Judge Spicer’s decision to exonerate the Earps and

Holliday, the feud between factions in Cochise County see-sawed back and forth:

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Threatening letters were sent to a number of city and county officials.

The grand jury failed to indict the Earps and Holliday for murder.

There was a nighttime shooting at a stage carrying Mayor Clum.

Virgil Earp was shot and critically wounded.

Lou Rickabaugh and Wyatt Earp sold out of the Oriental Saloon.

Tombstone municipal elections went heavily against the Earps’ faction.

Two stages were held up—one in broad daylight.

A grim showdown was narrowly avoided in the streets of Tombstone between Doc Holliday and John Ringo. Fighting broke out between other partisans.

Wyatt Earp, deputized in his own right as deputy U.S. marshal, went on a devastating and unsuccessful manhunt. His effectiveness was undermined because —

Earp’s quarry had, for the most part, turned themselves over to the county sheriff.

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Chapter 16: Summer Storms

Paul Lee Johnson University of North Texas Press PDF

Sixteen

Summer Storms

In Tombstone, the unbroken streak of hot weather was underscored by the outbreak of two fires on Thursday, June 22nd. The first fire burned a small tent belonging to a Mexican family in Block 17, north of Allen Street between Fourth and Third, near the O.K. Corral, “but there being little or no wind, the people who rushed to the fire prevented any further calamity than the loss of the tent and some of its contents.” 1

Later that afternoon, a second fire broke out that quickly went out of control. In front of the Arcade Saloon, three doors up from the Oriental on

Allen Street, a whiskey barrel exploded and the alcohol fire spread to the nearby buildings as quickly as the tinder-dry wood of walkways, awnings, doorways, window sills and roofs of adobe buildings could catch. Wooden frame buildings went up wholesale. Embers and sparks wafting high in the air helped spread the fire from one place to another, across Allen Street and even across the intersection of Allen and Sixth. It was their good fortune that there was so little wind to fan the flames or spread them farther.2

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Chapter 18: Deadly Ambush

Paul Lee Johnson University of North Texas Press PDF

Eighteen

Deadly Ambush

At the height of the rumors about cowboy retribution at Fronteras, it was rumored that the New Mexican outlaw “Billy the Kid” organized a gang to go “clean out” the Mexican village. By late July, the entire nation was enthralled by news of his death. He was shot through the heart at midnight by a lawman who had relentlessly hunted him down. The specifics of his life or the context of the lop-sided war within Lincoln County, New Mexico, remained unimportant. A notoriously dangerous killer who was scheduled to hang but made a bloody break from jail, Billy Bonney stole the limelight and his death spawned a legend. The sensational story was repeated again and again. “The

Kid” personified many cowboy outlaws.1

In Cochise County, word of the cowboys’ brush with Mexicans on the border also began to find its way into print, many days after the event.

Typically, the garbling of facts and the assumption that Mexicans were the perpetrators tended to skew the reporting:

… about the 26th of last month, a party of Mexicans from Sonora made a raid into the Animas and adjoining valleys, and rounding up several hundred animals, started with them through the Guadaloupe

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Chapter 30: Habeas Corpus

Paul Lee Johnson University of North Texas Press PDF

Thirty

Habeas Corpus

Will McLaury traveled north to visit his father and sisters in Iowa. He may have wanted to make up for being absent from the wedding of his youngest sister. One of his duties as executor of his brothers’ affairs was to report to the man most directly affected by the settlement of the estates, their father, Robert

H. McClaury. So, with what progress was made while he was in Tombstone,

Will made his report to the sole heir in person. The recent letter from J. R.

Adams to Charles Appelgate surely cast doubts on any future collections.

As Will McLaury traveled north, he encountered what had become a national phenomenon: an outbreak of small pox. Starting in the northeast in the fall of 1881, the disease was spreading west. Having faced one crisis after another—the death of his wife, the death of his brothers, the loss in court, the constant background of threats, and knowledge of plots against the lives of men in Tombstone—McLaury was not prepared to encounter the impersonal threat of a contagious disease. He described his adventure in a letter to the editor of the Fort Worth Democrat-Advance.

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