Little Bits of History

Tombstone, Arizona

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 28, 2010

City Marshall Virgil Earp

City Marshall Virgil Earp

October 26, 1881: Wyatt, Morgan, and Virgil Earp along with Doc Holliday meet up with Frank and Tom McLaury, Billy and Ike Clanton, and Billy Claiborne in a vacant area called lot 2, in block 17 behind the corral. A year before, Virgil Earp became the city marshal of Tombstone. The Earp brothers were recently deputized.

The McLaurys and the Clantons sold livestock in Tombstone. The Earps believed that the animals were stolen. Wyatt also believed that the Clantons had stolen one of his prize horses. Wyatt and John Behan, a sheriff in Cochise County, Arizona, argued in the past over an arrest of Doc Holliday. He was arrested on suspicion of killing a stagecoach driver during a robbery. Holliday denied any involvement and was eventually released. Virgil then arrested one of Behan’s deputies, Frank Stilwell, for robbery of a stagecoach.

On October 25, Holliday got into a barfight with Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury and invited them to “step outside” but they declined. The next day, Virgil arrested the two men for carrying weapons within the city limits which was illegal. They were disarmed and released. Clanton and McLaury were joined by their brothers who had just arrived in town. They met at the OK Corral.

The Earps and Holliday headed for the OK Corral, Behan, also in town, tried to disarm the Clantons and McLaurys, but they did not give up their weapons. The marshal and his posse arrived at the Corral. Wyatt and Billy Clanton opened the battle. Holliday shot Billy in the chest, then cut Tom McLaury down with buckshot. Ike was running from the scene when Doc shot at him, but missed. Frank shot and slightly wounded Doc and Doc’s return shot killed him. In less than 30 seconds three were dead, three were wounded. Wyatt was the only one unscathed. The Earps and Holliday were brought before Judge Spicer and found to be not guilty of murder.

“Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.” – Wyatt Earp

“The greatest injustices proceed from those who pursue excess, not by those who are driven by necessity.” – Aristotle

“Justice! Custodian of the world! But since the world errs, justice must be custodian of the world’s errors.” – Ugo Betti

“There is no such thing as justice – in or out of court.” – Clarence Darrow

Also on this day, in 1861 the Pony Express stopped – Whoa!

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