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Tombstone Historical Text - Page 8

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Judge Wells SpicerNovember 29, 1881, Judge Wells Spicer's conclusions after the pre-trail of the Earps and Doc Holliday


"In view of all the facts and circumstances of the case; considering the threats made the character and position of the parties, and the tragic results accomplished, in manner and form as they were, with all the surrounding influences bearing upon the result of the affair, I cannot resist the conclusion that the defendants were fully justified in committing these homicides that it was a necessary act done in the discharge of official duty."


December 8, 1881 – Dodge City Times

"Wyatt Earp, formerly a city marshal in this city, was recently under trial before a magistrate in Tombstone, Arizona, charged with homicide. Great interest was taken in trial which lasted four weeks. From the voluminous testimony taken the Justice makes a long review of the case and discharges the defendant. The following is an extract from his decision: "In view of all the facts and circumstances of the case; considering the threats made the character and position of the parties, and the tragic results accomplished in manner and form as they were, with all surrounding influences bearing upon the res gestae of the affair, I cannot resist the conclusion that the defendants were fully justified in committing these homicides; that it was a necessary act done m the discharge of an official duty."


December, 1881 - Judge Wells Spicer, statement at the trial of Wyatt Earp, Morgan Earp, James Earp and Doc Holliday


"When we consider the condition of affairs incidental to a frontier country, the lawlessness and disregard for human life; the existence of a law-defying element in our midst; the fear and feeling of insecurity that has existed; the supposed prevalence of bad, desperate and reckless men who have been a terror to the country, and kept away capital and enterprise, and considering the many threats that have been made against the Earps. I can attach no criminality to his unwise act."




January 5, 1882 - Dodge City Times

"A Tombstone, Arizona, dispatch of Dec. 29, to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat says when the Clanton and McClary gang were shot by the Earps and Doc Holliday, about six weeks ago, the friends of the cowboys vowed they would have revenge for what they called the cold-blooded murder of their friends. Only a fortnight ago, Mayor John P. Clum, of Tombstone, was shot at in a stage near the city and one bullet grazed his head. Clum was a warm sympathizer with the Earps, and did much to secure their acquittal at the preliminary examination. Wednesday night, just before midnight, an attempt was made on the life of United States Deputy Marshal Earp, as he was crossing the street, between the Oriental Saloon and the Eagle Brewery.


When in the middle of the street he was fired upon with double-barreled shotguns, loaded with buckshot, by three men concealed in an unfinished building diagonally across on Alien street. Five shots were fired in rapid succession. Earp was wounded in the left arm just above the elbow, producing a longitudinal fracture of the bone. One shot struck him above the groin, coming out near the spine. The wounds are very dangerous, and possibly fatal. The men ran through the rear of the building and escaped in the darkness.


Oriental Saloon today

The Oriental Saloon today, Kathy Weiser, April, 2007.


Nineteen shots struck the side of the Eagle Brewery, three going through the window and one passing about a foot over the heads of some men standing by a faro-table. The shooting caused the wildest excitement in the town where the feeling between the two factions runs high."

December 16, 1881, Tombstone Nugget


"An altercation occurred in the Oriental Saloon yesterday. M.E. Joyce was conversing with Virgil Earp [about] the attempted stage robbery of the evening previous. Joyce laughingly remarked to Earp that he had been expecting something of the sort ever since they [Earps and Holliday] had been liberated from jail. Earp became angry at the remark, and immediately struck Joyce with his open hand in the face. The parties were surrounded at the time by four or five of Earps' warmest partisans, all heavily armed. Joyce remarked, that a man would have to be a fool to make a fight single-handed against that crowd."


January 26, 1882, Los Angeles Times


"Reports from Tombstone, A.T., are to the effect that the Earp party were all commissioned as Deputy Unites States Deputy Marshals, and went out to arrest a desperate character named Ringo, who is suspected of being one of the party who lately robbed the stage near Bisbee. He is one of the ringleaders of the cowboys. A few hours after the Earp party left, Ringo came in and delivered himself up to the authorities."


February 2, 1882, Resignation of Virgil W. and Wyatt S. Earp as Deputy Marshals, published in the Tombstone Epitaph


"Tombstone, February 1, 1882


Major C. P. Dake, United States Marshal, Grand Hotel, Tombstone

Dear Sir:

In exercising out official functions as Deputy United States Marshals in this territory, we have endeavored always unflinchingly to perform the duties entrusted to us. These duties have been exacting and perilous in their character, having to be performed in a community where turbulence and violence could almost any moment be organized to thwart and resist the enforcement of the process of the court issued to bring criminals to justice. And while we have a deep sense of obligation to many of the citizens for their hearty cooperation in aiding us to suppress lawlessness, and their faith in our honesty of purpose, we realize that, notwithstanding out best efforts and judgment in everything which we have been required to perform, there has arisen so much harsh criticism in relation to our operations, and such a persistent effort having been made to misrepresent and misinterpret out acts, we are led to the conclusion that, in order to convince the public that it is our sincere purpose to promote the public welfare, independent of any personal emolument or advantages to ourselves, it is our duty to place our resignations as Deputy United States Marshals in your hands, which we now do, thanking you for your continued courtesy and confidence in our integrity, and shall remain subject to your orders in the performance of any duties which may be assigned to us, only until our successors are appointed.

Very respectfully yours,


Virgil W. Earp

Wyatt S. Earp"



February 3, 1882, Tombstone Epitaph


"The trial of Ike Clanton and P. Clanton, charged with shooting Virgil Earp was held before Judge Stillwell last evening. Dr. Geo. E. Goodfellow testified [that he] dressed the wound. Dr. Matthews testified to assisting [the] wounded man. J. W. Bennett found a hat in a building -- the new drug store-immediately after the shooting. [The] hat [was] produced in court. Sherman McMasters . . . asked Clanton about the shooting, at which Clanton replied that he 'would have to go back and do the job over.' [Seven men] testified that defendants were in Charleston at the time the marshal was shot, thereby proving an alibi. Upon the testimony given the court discharged the prisoners."


February 18, 1882, Tombstone Nugget


"Wyatt and Morgan Earp, Doc Holliday, 'Texas Jack," Smith, McMasters, and one or two others left the city yesterday afternoon for where, no one apparently knows, but when in the vicinity of Waterville, they separated, four of the party going in the direction of San Simon Valley, to arrest, it is claimed, Pony Deal and one or two other well known characters, and the remainder to Charleston. It is supposed they are acting in the capacity of U.S. Deputy Marshals, their resignations not having been accepted or their appointments revoked by U.S. Marshal Dake, as was generally supposed some time ago."



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