Tombstone History Archives

 Chronicles of Tombstone's TurbulEnt Years

Other Newspaper Coverage of The Streetfight




The Daily Exchange - October 27, 1881

A Good Riddance


The People of Tombstone have reason to congratulate themselves that they have not only courageous Marshals but Marshal who are dead shots. That performance yesterday, wherein three cowboys were left dead on the field and one lodged in jail, is among the happiest events Tombstone has witnessed, and especially so as it was attended with so little injury to the law vindicators. Marshal Earp and his assistants deserve well of their fellow citizens, and we hope the Tombstoners appreciate the fact. The cowboy class are the most despicable beings on the face of the earth. They are a terror to decent people and a disgrace to even frontier civilization. Luckily, and thanks to such men as Marshal Earp, they are being thinned out, and the places that once knew and feared them will know them no more. Tombstone is a place of too much respectability and importance in every respect to tolerate these scoundrels within its limits another day, and we hope that the action of this brave and vigilant officer will be followed up by the citizens generally until not a cowboy will dare show his head in Cochise county. Southeastern Arizona with its rich mines, varied resources and increasing civilization and prosperity, should rise up if need be and drive every wretch of them beyond the border.




The Sacramento Record-Union - October 27, 1881

Arizona Cowboys in Tombstone — Desperate Shooting Affray


TOMBSTONE, October 26th — A sanguinary shooting affray occurred on Fremont street this afternoon. Four cowboys had been in town a few days past drinking heavily, and making themselves generally obnoxious by their boisterous conduct. This morning City Marshal V.W. Earp arrested one for disorderly conduct, and he was fined $25 and disarmed in the Justice’s Court. He left swearing vengeance on the Sheriff and Marshal Earp and his brother, Morgan, tried to induce them to leave town, but they were thirsting for gore and refused to be pacified. About 3 p.m. the Earp brothers and J.H. Halilday met the four, who drew upon them at once. when a lively fire commenced from the cowboys against the three citizens. About thirty shots were fired rapidly and when the smoke of the battle cleared away it was found that Jim and Frank McLoury were gasping in the agoinies of death. Bill Clanton was mortally wounded and died shortly after, Morgan Earp was wounded in the shoulder. V.W. Earp received a flesh wound in the calf of the leg, Halliday escaped unhurt but with several bullet holes in his clothing. The streets were immediately filled with resolute citizens, many of whom were armed with rifles and pistols. There was great excitement but no further trouble is anticipated. Ike Clanton, of the cowboys, escaped with a slight wound and is now to jail. The Sheriff’s posse is now under arms. Morgan Earp, after being wounded and fallen struggled to his feet and continued the fight until he had emptied his revolver. His wound is not though to be serious. The citizens are determined to put down the riotous element at all hazards.




Origin Undetermined




Three Die in Minute at OK Corral.

Epitaph, October 27, 1881.


Tombstone, Oct. 26, 1881 - The liveliest street battle that ever occurred in Tombstone took place at 2:30 p.m. to-day, resulting in the death of three persons, one probably fatally [sic]. For some time past several cowboys have been in town, and the fight was between the city marshal, Virgil Earp, his two brothers, Morgan and Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday on one side, and Ike and Billy Clanton and Frank and Tom McLowry on the other.


The Clantons and the McLowery brothers are known as cowboys, and Ike has been in town for the past week drinking pretty freely, and was arrested this morning for carrying concealed weapons, he having appeared on the street with Winchester rifle and a six shooter on. After paying his fine he is reported to have made threats against Marshal Earp and his brothers, and it is known that bad blood has existed between them for some time.


About 2:30 o’clock the marshal requested his brothers, Morgan and Wyatt and Doc Holliday to accompany him to aid in the disarming of the cowboys, as trouble was feared in the evening. They started toward the O.K. Corral on Fremont street, and a few doors below the Nugget office saw the Clantons and the McLowery brothers talking to Sheriff Behan, who had requested them to disarm. The marshal called out, “Boys, throw up your hands; I want you to give up your shooters.”




At this Frank McLowery attempted to draw his pistol, when Wyatt Earp immediately shot him, the ball entering just about the waist. Doc Holliday then let go at Tom McLowery with a shotgun, filling him full of buckshot under the right arm. Billy Clanton then blazed away at Marshal Earp, and Ike Clanton, who it is claimed was unarmed, started and ran off through the corral to Allen street. The firing then became general, and some thirty shots were fired, all in such rapid succession that the fight was over in less than a minute.


When the smoke cleared away it was found that Frank McLowery had been killed outright, with one ball through the torso, one in the left breast, and one in the right temple, the latter two wounds being received in the same instant. Tom McLowery lay dead around the corner of Third street, a few feet from Fremont, the load of buckshot fired by Holliday killing him almost instantly. Billy Clanton lay on the side of the street, with one shot in the right waist and another in the right wrist, and the third in the left breast. He was taken into a house and lived about half an hour in great agony.




Morgan Earp was shot through both shoulders, the ball creasing the skin, Marshal Earp was shot through the fleshy part of the right leg. Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday escaped unhurt.


The shooting created great excitement and the streets were filled with people. Ike Clanton was captured and taken to jail where he now remains. The jail is guarded by a number of citizens to prevent lynching, of which there is no apparent danger. The three dead bodies were removed to the morgue where they now lie.


It is reported that several thousand dollars were found on the bodies. The feeling of the better class citizens is that the marshal and his possee [sic] acted solely in the right in attempting to disarm the cowboys, and that it was a case of kill or get killed. Clanton’s father was killed with four others a few months ago in New Mexico by the Mexicans while driving a band of cattle up to this market. The town is quiet and the authorities are fully able to maintain order.


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