The Shootout at O.K. Corral
October 26, 1881

“Stormy as were the early days of Tombstone nothing ever occurred equal to the event of yesterday. Since the retirement of Ben Sippy as marshal and the appointment of V.W. Earp to fill the vacancy the town has been noted for its quietness and good order. The fractious and much dreaded cowboys when they came to town were upon their good behavior and no unseemly brawls were indulged in, and it was hoped by our citizens that no more such deeds would occur as led to the killing of Marshal White one year ago. This time it struck with its full and awful force upon those who, heretofore, have made the good name of this county a by word and a reproach, instead of upons some officer in the discharge of his duty of a peaceable and unoffending citizen.

“Since the arrest of Stilwell and Spence for the robbery of the Bisbee stage, there have been oft repeated threats conveyed to the Earp brothers - Virgil, Wyatt, and Morgan - that the friends of the accused, or in other words the cowboys, would get even with them for the part they had taken in the pursuit and arrest of Stilwell and Spence. The active part of the Earps in going after the stage robbers, beginning with the one near Contention, has made them exceedingly obnoxious to the bad element of this country and put their lives in jeopardy every month.

“Sometime Tuesday Ike Clanton came into town and during the evening had some little talk with Doc Holliday and Marshall Earp but nothing to cause either to suspect, further than their general knowledge of the man and the threats that had previously been conveyed to the Marshal, that the gang intended to clean out the Earps, that he was thirsting for blood at this time with one exception and that as the Clanton told the Marshal, in answer to a question, that the McLaurys were in Sonora. Shortly after this occurrence someone came to the Marshal and told him that the McLaurys had been seen a short time before just below town. Marshal Earp, now knowing what might happen and feeling his responsibility for the peace and order of the city, stayed on duty all night and added to the police force his brother Morgan and Holliday. The night passed without any disturbance whatever and at sunrise he went home and retired to rest and sleep. A short time afterwards one of his brothers came to his house and told him that Clanton was hunting him with threats of shooting him on sight. He discredited the report and did not get out of bed. It was not long before another of his brothers came down, and told him the same thing. Whereupon he got up, dressed and went with his brother Morgan uptown. They walked Allen Street to Fifth, crossed over to Fremont and down to Fourth, were, upon turning up Fourth toward Allen they came upon Clanton with a Winchester rifle in his hand and revolver on his hip. The marshal walked up to him, grabbed the rifle and hit him a blow on his head at the same time, stunning him so that he was able to disarm him without further trouble. He marched Clanton off to the police court, fined Clanton $25 and costs making $27.50 altogether. This occurrence must have been about 1 o'clock in the afternoon.”

-The Tombstone Epitaph October 27, 1881

“About 2:30 I was in the barber's shop and heard of trouble between the Clantons and Earps. I went over to Hafford's Corner. I asked Virgil Earp, the marshal, what was the excitement. He said there was a lot of---------in town looking for a fight. He mentioned no names. I said to Earp, 'You had better disarm the crowd.' He said he would not, but give them a chance to make a fight. I said, 'It is your duty as a peace officer to disarm the parties.' I meant any parties connected with the cowboys who had arms. Morgan Earp and Holliday were the ones I was talking to at the intersection of Allen and Fourth. Virgil Earp had a shotgun. I saw no arms on the others. I then went down Fourth Street to the corner of Fremont and crossed to the opposite side of Fourth Street and saw Frank McLaury holding a horse and in conversation with somebody. I told McLaury I would have to disarm him; that there was likely to be some trouble in town and I proposed to disarm everybody that had an arm. He said that he would not give up his gun that he didn't intend to have any trouble. I insisted. About that time I saw Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury down the street below Fly's building. I said to Frank, 'Come with me.' We went down to where Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury were standing. I said to them 'Boys, you must give me your arms,' Billy Clanton and William Claibourne, alias Billy the Kid, were also there. Frank McLaury demurred. Ike Clanton told us he was unarmed. I put my arm around his waist and found that he was not armed. Tom McLaury pulled his coat open and showed that he was not armed. I saw five standing there and asked how many there were in their party. They said four. Claibourne said he was not one of them; that he was there wanting them to leave town. I said, 'Boys, you must go up to the sheriff's office, lay aside your guns and stay until I get back.' I told them I was going to disarm the other party. At that time I saw the Earps and Holliday coming down the south side of Fremont Street. They came by the post office and Bauer's shop. I mean Morgan Earp and Doc Holliday. I said to the Clanton party, 'I see them coming down; wait here; I will go up and stop them.' I walked twenty-two or twenty-three steps up the street and met them as they were coming out from under the awning at Bauer's shop and told them not to go any further, that I was there for the purpose of disarming the Clanton party. They did not heed me. I said, 'Go back! I am not going to allow any trouble if I can help it!' They brushed past me and I turned and went with them or followed them, expostulating. When they arrived within a few feet of the Clantons and McLaurys, I heard one of them say, I think it was Wyatt Earp, 'You sons of bitches, you have been looking for a fight and now you can have it!' About this time a voice said, 'Throw up your hands!' During this timepistols were pointed. I saw a nickel-plated pistol in particular. It was in the hands of the Earp party. I think DOc Holliday. It was pointed, I think, at Billy Clanton. I am not certain that Holliday had it. When the order was given to 'throw up your hands,' I heard Billy Clanton say, 'don't shoot me. I don't want to fight.' At the same time Tom McLaury threw open his coad and said; 'I have nothing,' or 'I am not armed, or words to that effect, making the same remark and gesture he had previously made to me. I don't remember the position of Billy Clanton's hands. My attention was directed on the nickel-plated pistol for a couple of seconds. The nickel-plated pistol was the first fired and almost instantaneously came two shots tight together. The first two shots could not have been fired from the same pistol. They were too close together. The nickel-plated pistol was fired by he second man from the right. After the first two or three shots were fired very rapidly the firing was general. The first two shots were fired by the Earp party. I thought the next three shots came from the same side, but was not certain. It was only my impression. After the words, 'throw up your hands,' immediately the nickel-plated pistol went off. I saw Frank McLaury with one hand to his belly and with his right hand shooting toward Morgan Earp. As he started across the street I heard a couple of shots from the direction in which Frank McLaury went. I looked and saw him running and a shot was fired and he went over on his head. I heard Morgan Earp say, 'I got him.' There may have been a couple of shots afterwards but that was the end of the fight. I did not see the effects of the first two shots that were fired; the only parties I saw fell were Frank McLaury and Morgan Earp. I saw no effects from the next three shots. The first man I thought was hit was Frank McLaury. I saw him staggering and bewildered after the first five shots. I never saw any arms in the hands of any body of the McLaury or Clanton party. Frank McLaury was the first man in whose hands I saw a pistol. After the first few shots Ike Clanton broke and ran. I saw him at the corner of Fly's house running into a back building.

“When Ike Clanton broke and ran I did not know where he went. I found him afterwards in Emmanuel's building on Tough Nut Street. I saw a shotgun with Holliday before the fight commenced, as they were coming down the street. He had it under his coat. I did not see the gun go off and if I heard it, I did not distinguish it from a pistol. I afterwards examined Billy Clanton, before he died, as he was lying in the street. After he was taken in the house all I heard him say was go away and let him die. I saw him lying on the sidewalk and saw him when he shot Morgan Earp. A number were in the room when Billy was carried in. Dr. Giberson said it was no use to give him anything. I left before Billy Clanton died. Tom McLaury's body was in the same room”

Sheriff Johnny Behan November 2, 1881

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