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Tombstone Historical Text - Page 3

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May 26, 1881, Arizona Daily Star


"Desperado Gets it in the Neck at Galeyville: The notorious Curly Bill, the man who murdered Marshal White at Tombstone last fall and who has been concerned in several other desperate and lawless affrays in South Eastern Arizona, has at last been brought to grief and there is likely to be a vacancy in the ranks of out border desperados. The affair occurred at Galeyville Thursday. A party of 8 or 9 cowboys, Curly Bill and his partner Jim Wallace among the number, were enjoying themselves in their usual manner, when deputy Sheriff Breakenridge of Tombstone, who was at Galeyville on business, happened along.


Wallace made some insulting remark to the deputy at the same time flourishing his revolver in an aggressive manner. Breakenridge did not pay much attention to this "break" of Wallace but quietly turned around and left the party. Shortly after this, Curly Bill, who it would seem had a friendly feeling for Breakenridge, insisted that Wallace should go and find him and apologize for the insult given.


William M. Breckenridge

William M. Breakenridge




This Wallace was induced to do after finding Breakenridge he made the apology and the latter accompanied him back to the saloon where the cowboys were drinking. By this time Curly Bill who had drank just enough to make him quarrelsome, was in one of his most dangerous moods and evidently desirous of increasing his record as a man killer. He commenced to abuse Wallace, who, by the way, had some pretensions himself as a desperado and bad man generally and finally said, "You d-d Lincoln county s-of a b---, I'll kill you anyhow." Wallace immediately went outside the door of the saloon, Curly Bill following close behind him. Just as the latter stepped outside, Wallace, who had meanwhile drawn his revolver, fired, the ball entering penetrating the left side of Curly Bill's neck and passing through, came out the right cheek, not breaking the jawbone. A scene of the wildest excitement ensued in the town.

The other members of the cowboy party surrounded Wallace and threats of lynching him were made. The law abiding citizens were in doubt what course to pursue. They did not wish any more blood shed but were in favor of allowing the lawless element to "have it out" among themselves. But Deputy Breakenridge decided to arrest Wallace, which he succeeded in doing without meeting any resistance. The prisoner was taken before Justice Ellinwood and after examination into the facts of the shooting he was discharged.

The wounded and apparently dying desperado was taken into an adjoining building, and a doctor summoned to dress his wounds. After examining the course of the bullet, the doctor pronounced the wound dangerous but not necessarily fatal, the chances for and against recovery being about equal. Wallace and Curly Bill have been Partners and fast friends for the past 4 or 6 months and so far is known, there was no cause for the quarrel, it being simply a drunken brawl."

June 9, 1881, Tombstone Epitaph

"What came very near being a serious shooting affray was prevented yesterday morning by the coolness and intrepidity of Virgil Earp, acting City Marshal. Ike Clanton, well-known in the San Simon and San Pedro valleys, and "Denny" McCann, a sporting man, had a difficulty in an Allen street saloon, when the latter slapped the face of the former. Clanton went out and heeled himself, and "Denny" did the same. They met in front of Wells, Fargo's office about 9 o'clock and both drew their guns about the same time, when Earp stepped between them and spoiled a good local item. They are both determined men, and but for the interference of the officer, there would doubtless have been a funeral, perhaps two."


September, 1881 - John Gosper, U.S. Secretary of State

"The cowboy element at times very fully predominates, and the officers of the law are either unable or unwilling to control this class of outlaws, sometimes being governed by fear, at other times by a hope of reward. At Tombstone, the county seat of Cochise County, I conferred with the Sheriff upon the subject of breaking up these bands of outlaws, and I am sorry to say he gave me but little hope of being able in his department to cope with the power of the Cowboys. He represented to me that the Deputy U.S. Marshal, resident of Tombstone, and the city Marshal for the same, seemed unwilling to heartily cooperate with him in capturing and bringing to justice these outlaws.


In conversation with the Deputy US Marshal, Mr. Earp, I found precisely the same spirit of complaint existing against Mr. Behan and his deputies. Many of the very best law-abiding and peace-loving citizens have no confidence in the willingness of the civil officers to pursue and bring to justice that element of outlawry so largely disturbing the sense of security, and so often committing highway robbery and smaller thefts. The opinion in Tombstone and elsewhere in that part of the Territory is quite prevalent that the civil officers are quite largely in league with the leaders of this disturbing and dangerous element.


Something must be done, and that right early, or very grave results will follow. If is an open disgrace to American liberty and the peace and security of her citizens, that such a slate of affairs should exist."

October, 1881 - Tombstone Nugget

"We live mostly in canvas houses up here and when lunatics like those who fired so promiscuously the other night are on the rampage, it ain't safe, anyhow!"



Continued Next Page

Tombstone, Arizona today

The Tombstone of today doesn't look a whole lot different, Kathy Weiser.

This image available for photographic prints and downloads HERE!


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