Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

The Daily Show Meets the Old West

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on February 10, 2014

After I put up that post the other day about Newman Haynes “Old Man” Clanton, I pulled out Casey Tefertiller’s biography of Wyatt Earp, and skimmed the section that deals with the famous gunfight at the OK Corral. It seems the local coroner, one Henry M. Matthews, studiously avoided saying anything of substance about the incident, including (most importantly) whether a crime had been committed:


William Clanton, Frank and Thomas McLaury, came to their deaths in the town of Tombstone on October 26, 1881, from the effects of pistol and gunshot wounds inflicted by Virgil Earp, Morgan Earp, Wyatt Earp and one — Holliday, commonly called ‘Doc’ Holliday.”


The Tombstone Nugget pounced:


Glad to Know
The people of this community are deeply indebted to the twelve [actually eight] intelligent men who composed the coroners jury for the valuable information that the three persons who were killed last Wednesday were  shot. Some thirty or  forty shots were fired, and the whole affair was witnessed by probably a dozen people, and we have a faint recollection of hearing someone say the dead men were shot, but people are liable to be mistaken and the verdict reassures us. We might have thought they had been struck by lightning or stung to death by hornets.





6 Responses

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  1. Bob Nelson said, on February 10, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    To this day, there’s a lot of controversy about the fight at the OK Corral. Years ago — probably back in the 80s — my ex-wife and I visited Tombstone. In fact, I have a photo of Boot Hill. IIRC, the burial sites of Clanton and the McLaurys had hand-painted signs at that time, which read, “Murdered, October 26, 1881.” I suppose they (or replacements) are still there.

    • Roger E Watson said, on February 11, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      They were still there about 6 or 8 years ago and in good condition. I probably have pics – somewhere ?

  2. Craig L said, on February 11, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    I’ll bet it went down just like it was shown on that Star Trek episode. But I thought they had their phasers set on stun.

    • Andy Hall said, on February 11, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      “Spectre of the Gun” was my introduction to the Gunfight at the OK Corral, mumble-mumble-mumble years ago.

  3. Craig L said, on February 14, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    DeForrest Kelley, aka Bones, played Morgan Earp in the 1957 film ‘Shootout at the OK Corral’ alongside Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster. Leon Uris wrote the screenplay.

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