FEBRUARY 2017

FEBRUARY  2017
The same old bullshit, for 2 hundred years. First it was the Catholics - German, Italian and Irish - and then Asians, and then Jews. Whose next?

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Monday, February 20, 2017

TOMBSTONES Chapter Ten

I know what 31 year old John Harris Behan (above) was thinking that December of 1880, while listening to Wyatt Earp, the ex-under-sheriff for Tombstone, Pima County, Arizona. Johnny Behan, the current under sheriff for Tombstone, was thinking about Johnny Behan, because that was always what Johnny Behan was always thinking about. Wyatt had resigned as under-sheriff to protest the rigged November 1880 election for Pima County Sheriff, in which his friend and fellow Republican, Bob Paul, had come 46 votes short to Democrat Charles Shibell. But Wyatt's act of principle had allowed Shibell to appoint Johnny Behan to replace Wyatt.
Now, both Johnny and Wyatt wanted the lucrative positon of sheriff of the new Cochise County, set to come into existence in early 1881. So that December night, Wyatt offered to withdraw from the race. In exchange, Johnny would appoint Wyatt as his under-sheriff for the town of Tombstone (above), the job Wyatt had just given up. Johnny seemed agreeable, as he always did, and Wyatt left the meeting convinced they had a deal. But with Johnny (below, left), nothing was ever simple.
Johnny Behan's entire career was the monitarization of his sex life. When petite Victoria Behan (above, right)  filed for divorce in 1875,  she cited her husband's addiction to "houses of ill fame and prostitution" mentioning one prostitute in particular, "...Sada Mansfield...." But, as Wikapedia notes, Johnny's numerous liasons included "...the wives of friends and business partners." It raises the question of what kind of a man "counts coup" on his "friends". In October, 1879, the now single Behan opened a saloon in the central Arizona boom town of Tip Top. There were four other taverns in the town of 500, and Johnny's primary draw for customers was the "Courtesan" services offered by 19 year old Sada Mansfield.
Sada (above) or "Sadie" or "Sarah" invented so many stories about herself, it is difficult to pick the ones most likely to be accurate.  She probably ran away from her orthodox Jewish home at the age of 13, fleeing San Francisco in the company of well known madam, Hattie Wells. They arrived together in Prescott, Arizona sometime in 1874, where the young girl went to work in Well's Granite Street brothel. Being a prostitute gave her independence, which she exercised in 1879 by moving to Tip Top with Johnny Behan. By the time she was 20 years old she had borrowed the name of "Josphene Marcus" from an actress in a traveling theatrical troupe. Sadie admitted years later, "My blood demanded excitement, variety and change."
Johnny (above) and Josephine moved to Tombstone in September of 1880. Having served 2 terms as a Republican state legislater for Mohave County, Behan now took a job as bar manager in the Grand Hotel, a hang out for the 'cow boys', who were solidly Democrats. Sadie's talents cemented Johnny's friendships "aross the aisle". At the same time he cemented his Republican ties by investing his earnings from Tip Top in Tombstone's Dexter Livery Stable, owned by John Dunbar, whose family had close ties to the infamous Republican Presidental hopeful , Senator James Blain, "The Continental Liar from the state of Maine".  All of which made Johnny seem the obvious choice as Sheriff of the new Cochise County. Wyatt knew he needed a little publicity if he was going to secure the job as under-sheriff for Tombstone. The opportunity for that good press appeared on Tuesday, 15 March, 1881, when the 6:00pm northbound Tombstone to Benson stage coach was held up.
By about 7:30pm, the coach, carrying 7 passangers, a driver and a guard and a strongbox containing 6 bars of silver bullion worth $26,000 - over half a million dollars today - all pulled by 6 horses, was about a mile passed the cut off to the San Pedro River mill town of Contention City, and just 200 yards short of a hill top station run by the widow Georgina Drew and her 5 children - the half way mark between Tombstone and Benson. As the driver slowed to climb the rise a man appeared in the road, wearing a mask and wig. He waved a shotgun and ordered the coach to "Hold!".
The driver, Eli "Bud" Pierpott, seemed to refuse. Another of the would-be robbers fired from the brush beside the road, hitting Bud in the heart. He fell forward, falling onto the traces between "the wheelers" - the horses closest to the 48 inch wheels - and then under the coach. The gunshot, the loss of pressure on the reins, and the jerk on the load they were pulling, all panicked the horses, who bolted up the hill. The shot gun guard, sheriff candidate Bob Paul, let loose both barrels from his weapon. About 20 shots were fired from the brush as the stage lurched past, one of them hitting the back of a miner riding in the "dickie seat" above and behind the driver, a man named Peter Roerig.

The gunshots, and then the stage racing through the station, alerted Mrs. Drew and her children, who were waiting to change the horse team and sell the travelers a little food and drink for a dollar apiece. They found Bud Pierpott lying dead in the road, and saw 4 men riding off from the scene. A mile north (above)  Bob Paul managed to recapture the 6 reins, and pulled the winded horses to a stop before they capsized the coach. Pete Roerig was in a bad way, but none of the other passangers were injured. So Paul drove the horses and coach hard the remaining 14 miles to Benson, the Southern Pacific railroad and the telegraph. He got there not long before 10:00pm that night.
After seeing to poor Pete Roerig - he would die shortly after reaching Benson - and locking the silver bullion safely in the railroad companies' safe, Bob Paul (above) telegraphed the Deputy Federal Marshall in Tombstone, Virgil Earp.  
By midnight, perhaps the most impressive posse ever formed in the old west - Virgil, Wyatt and Morgan Earp, gambler John "Doc" Hoiday, Wells Fargo agent Marshall Williams and Wyatt's friend and fellow lawman from Dodge City Kansas, Bat Masterson - were all provisioned, mounted and on the road to Drew station, 12 miles north.
Bob Paul was first to return to the scene of the crime. Near the hold up site, he found three masks, and tracks that led east. Now leading the Tombstone posse, Paul followed the trail to sprawling ranch run by Henry and Leonard "Lem" Redfield, where they cornered and captured the unhappy cow boy Luther King. He readily admitted to being involved, but insisted his only task had been holding the horses. But he also identified the other 3 highway men as Harry "The Kid" Head, one time jeweler William "Bill" Lenoard and Jim Crane.  King said that Crane had been wounded in the thigh, although by Paul's hasty shot gun blast or by his own six shooter, is unclear.
The capture of King presented a dilemma. The crime had been committed halfway between Tombstone and Benson. And while Deputy Federal Marshal Virgil Earp had authority throughout the territory, the trial of the killers of Pete Roerig and Bud Pierpott would do Wyatt (above) the most good if held in Tombstone.  So, come sun up on Thursday, 17 March, 1881, the 7 lawmen gave up their search for the other 3 members of the gang, and began escorting Luther King back toward Tombstone. 
It was a stroke of luck, then, when, they ran into Cochies Sheriff Johnny Behan and a deputy, riding north, in search of the gang.  Johnny took possession of Luther King - even insisted on it - freeing Paul, the Earps, Holiday and Marshall to return to the pursuit. They tracked Harry Head, Bill Leonard and Jim Crane for 2 weeks, south and east into the San Simon Valley (above, lower right) , into New Mexico, all the way to the northern mouth of Guadalupe Canyon, just above the Mexican border. Then, short of provisions, and with no funds to obtain more, they were forced to return to Tombstone.
To their surprise, they discovered that although under- sheriff Behan had locked Luther King securely in the Tombstone jail, the cow boy had managed to slip out the back door and disappear. And, poof! All the effort and expense of sweat, leather and horse flesh were for naught. Any hope Wyatt Earp had of becoming sheriff of Tombstone vanished along with Mr. King. Wyatt was going to have to think of something else.
According to the Tombstone Epitaph", it was not long after this, in April of 1881, that "Sadie" Marcus (above and  below) returned home early from a trip and found Johnny in their bed with the wife of a "friend". Who the friend was, is unstated, but that was Johnny's modus operendi. But the Epitath was clear that the 20 year old lady kicked Johnny out of their house, and became a truely independent operator. It must have been about this same time, the self posessed lady met Wyatt Earp.
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Sunday, February 19, 2017

TOMBSTONES Chapter Nine

I am pretty certain what 31 year old Town Marshal Frederick G. "Fred" White (above) was thinking, as he appoached the empty lot near the corner of Sixth and Allen Streets, in Tombstone, Arizona Territory. It was just about 12:30 on the chilly night of Thursday, 28 October, 1880, and Fred had spent most of the evening chasing down and collecting guns from drunken cowboys. None of these intoxicated miscreants wanted to hurt anyone or anything. In the same way a solitary young bull charges about an open field, or adolesent stags butt heads, it is natural that humans, particularly young males, will occasionally want to blow off a little steam. But the difference between a chimpanze thrashing the underbrush with a branch, and a human, is that humans have invented gunpowder and guns and alcohol.
This was why Tombstone made it illegal to carry a gun in the city limits, except when entering or leaving town. As a man of average intelligence - which by all accounts Fred was - and being a friendly and compasionate fellow - as everyone knew him to be - Fred knew that guns plus people plus alchol plus time eventually equals somebody getting shot. As freelance journalist Clara Spalding Brown noted the same idea when writing about Tombstone and its environs - "When saloons are thronged all night with excited and armed men, bloodshed must needs ensue occasionally."
There were half dozen men in the vacant lot between Toughnut and Allen Streets. They were just "shooting at the moon", using their pistols as noisemakers. Fred approached the men quietly but firmly, as he always did. The drunk "Cow Boys" - Frank Patterson (of stolen mule fame), Ed Collins, James Johnson (who worked on the Clanton ranch with his brother Bill), Arthur Ames, Robert Loyd and Curley Bill Brocius - all knew Fred and liked him. And even knowing they faced a $10 fine, they all seemed willing to hand over their guns. Fred must have been certain this would be his last such encounter that night.
The first to surrender his gun was "Curly Bill" Brocius (above). Brocius was pretty drunk, and yanked the weapon out of his pocket. As Fred White grabbed the barrel, the gun went off. The crack shattered the Arizona night. Fred groaned, doubled over and fell. In an instant a new figure appearded out of the dark, and pistol whipped Brocius to the ground.
When the shooting party first started, Wyatt Earp (above) was one block to the east, beneath the tent canvas of Owen's Saloon (below, right), where he dealt faro. Republican friends had recently secured him an appointment as a deputy sheriff for the southern part of Pima County, making him a tax assessor and collector as well. That earned him 10% of everything he collected. But that was "maybe" income, and for Wyatt, dealing faro was a sure thing. 
Still, hearing the gunfire, Wyatt walked away from the table to investigate. He saw Fred White approaching the men, and sensing danger, Wyatt borrowed a pistol from fellow statecoach guard Fred Dodge, and walked down the street to back up the sheriff. When Ed White was shot, it was Wyatt who leapt to the wounded man's defence and disabled the shooter. The other cowboys scattered into the dark of a nearby wash and somebody started shooting at Wyatt. Almost immediatly Wyatt was joined on the street by Morgan Earp and Fred Dodge.
Fred Dodge recalled years later that, "When Morg and I reached him, Wyatt was squatted on his heels beside Curly Bill and Fred White. Curly Bill's friends were pot-shooting at him in the dark...." In his book "Under Cover for Wells Fargo", Dodge explained, "Wyatt said to me, "Put the fire out in Fred's clothes." When he looked, Dodge saw that Brocius' shot had been so close, the muzzel blast had set Marshal White's vest smoldering. Added Dodge in a letter, "Wyatt's voice was even and quiet as usual."
Once the shooting from the aroyo had slackened, volunteers carried Marshall White to the Fifth Street side of the Golden Eagle Brewery building (above), and up the stairs to the second floor office of Doctor H.M. Matthews, who was also the county coroner. At the same time Dodge and the Earps led Curley Bill off to the "lockup", a 10' X 12" windowless structure. All the way there, Billy Brocius kept asking, "What have I done?" The lawmen then proceeded to track down the others in the confrontation. Within hours all 6 of the drunks were safely in the lockup.
According to Dr. Matthews, the bullet from Brocius' gun entered Fred White's body "Four inches below and three inches to the left of the naval.... traveling downward...(and) pierced the small intestine..." Eighty years before the discovery of antibiotics, to all intents and purposes Fred White was dead the instant the bacteria inside his intestines were released into his abdomen. 
Opiats kept Fred White pain free for 2 days, giving him time to dictate a statement that the shooting had been accidental. He died on Sunday, 31 October, with his father and friends at his bedside. The gun belonging to Curley Bill Brocius was picked up in the street. It had only one round fired. Curley Bill had not even been responsible for the shooting that drew Marshall White to the confrontation.
In the morning, in the courthouse at Third and Toughnut Street (above), in front of Tucon's Judge Gray, Frank Patterson pleaded that he had been trying to quiet the shooting party. The others, who paid a $10 fine, each supported his story. Arthur Ames was fined an additonal $30 for carrying a concealed weapon. Brocius asked to have his case held over until he could get an attorney. And given the popularity of Ed White, the Earps thought it best to transport the cowboy to Tuscon to stand trial.
The first result of the shooting was that Deputy Federal Marshal Virgil Earp was asked to tempprorally fill the job as Town Marshall, until a special election could be held on Saturday, 13, November, 1880.  But with the bounty of economically business oportuinites available in Tombstone, the race eventually narrowed to either Earp or the 33 year old miner, Benjamin Sippy.  The financially challenged Sippy won the November ballot, 259 to 311 votes. Editor of the "Epitath", John Clum (above)  chose to be optimistic, suggesting Sippy "...should recieve the support and assistance of all good citizens."  In fact, Ben Sippy would prove to be brave, clear headed and determined, when he was on duty.  He spent his first months in office arresting speeders on the streets of Tombstone.
Later that November, William "Curley Bill" Brocius stood trial in Tuscon for Fred White's death, before Judge Neugass. Fred White's dying statement was read into the record and Wyatt Earp even testified he thought the gun had gone off "half cocked".  
Judge Neugass had little choice, and dismissed the charges. Curley Bill (above) walked out of court a free man.  Even though Wyatt's testimony had helped clear him of the murder charge, Brocius never forgave Wyatt Earp for the pistol whipping. It was yet another firm step on the road to the most iconic 30 seconds of violence in the history of the American west.
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Saturday, February 18, 2017

TOMBSTONES Chapter Eight

I know what Virgil Earp was thinking when he was accosted that August of 1880 in Charleston, Arizona. In response to a challenge by 5 foot 3 inch tall Tom and 5 foot 4 inch tall Frank McLaury, the 6 foot tall Deputy Federal Marshal Earp assured them he had nothing to do with the notice published in the Tombstone Epitaph accusing them of stealing 6 army mules. Despite this Frank warned Marshal Earp, "If I thought you did, I would make you fight right here". Virgil knew the McLaury's threats had worked against previous lawmen. But Virgil was different. He quietly assured Frank that if an arrest warrant was ever issued against either McLaury, "No compromise would be made on my part." The elder McLaury asserted that he would never be taken alive. Calmly, Virgil asked, "Frank, you are not looking for a quarrel, are you?"
Virgil Walter Earp (above) was 37 years old that summer of 1880 with no history of panic. He had returned to Illinois after 3 years Civil War service to find his wife and daughter dead from fever, and her family moved away. After a decade of wandering the American west he fell in love again, with the small feisty 31 year old Alvira "Allie" Sullivan. Virgil referred to her as being "not much bigger than and as sweet as pickle". Three years later Virgil became a stagecoach guard in Precott, Arizona. And there, in October of 1877, unbidden, Virgil backed up U.S. Marshal "Little Bill" Standifer in a shoot out, killing one of the attackers. A month later Virgil was elected town sheriff, and a year after that he was appointed Deputy Federal Marshal, assigned to clean up the troublesome "Cow Boys" in and around Tombstone. He immediately wrote his 4 brothers of the financial opportunities the silver strike offered.
Virgil was not the first Earp to become a lawman. His younger brother, 32 year old (in 1880) Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp (above) had been a deputy sheriff in Dodge City, Kansas , but that was only part time. Wyatt's preferred occupation was the profitable dealing of faro (see last photo in essay). The slight odds favoring the faro dealer could be improved by lightening fast play that disguised crooked shuffles and bottom dealing. Cheating was so common that "Hoyle's Rules of Games" warned it's readers that not a single honest faro game could be found in the United States. And Wyatt Earp was one of the "best" faro dealers in the west.
The Earps gambled on Tombstone, going "all in" on 1 December 1879, when Virgil and Allie, Wyatt and his common-law wife, 30 year old Celia Ann "Mattie" Blaylock, 39 year old James Cooksdy Earp and his "beautiful brunette", 40 year old Nellie "Bessie" Catchim, all arrived by carriage and wagon from the territorial capital of Prescott. Six months later 28 year old Morgan Seth Earp (above) and his wife, the arthritic Louisa Alice Houston, would arrive, along with the Earps' friend and business partner, the temperamental and tubercular John Henry "Doc" Holliday with his Hungarian born common-law wife Mary Katherine "Big Nose Kate" Horony-Cummings.
Which brings up the unpleasant reality of the Earp's world. All the brothers and Holliday based their financial stability on whore houses, as property owners or bouncers from Illinois to Iowa to Kansas to Dakota and Arizona territories. And all the Earp wives - except Virgil's sweet pickle Allie and Wyatt's first wife who died in Iowa - worked as prostitutes, often even after they were married. 
Because the trade could be conducted with little capital investment - a tent or the back of a wagon could suffice - time and again after a financial setback, the women working as "soiled doves" provided the funds the family needed to survive. The sixth and final Earp brother, 25 year old Baxter Warren Earp, would not arrive in Tombstone for another year.
Tombstone, had matured in the two years since the silver strike. Los Angeles widow and freelance newspaper woman, Clara Spalding Brown, also arrived in Tombstone that June of 1880 and reported to the San Diego Union, it was, "an embryo city of canvas, frame and adobe...full of activity." New arrival rancher John Pleasant Gray was disappointed. "I looked in vain for any guns or so-called gunmen. I learned later that it was one of the town’s first ordinances that no guns were to be permitted in any public place, and Tombstone was always a quiet, safe town for the man who minded his own business.” 
John Clum, editor of the Tombstone Epitaph, first published on 1 May, 1880, wrote that he could recall, "...only one deadly street battle and one lynching during the entire 50 years of Tombstone’s existence." That bloody street battle was, of course, the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral.
Tombstone's most respectable street was named, ironically, after Arizona's 5th and largely absentee Territorial Governor - the handsome, arrogant, dashing and vapid John Charles Fremont (above).  In 1848 he had been the famous pathfinder to California, and the first Republican candidate for President in 1856. His wife, the beguiling Jesse Benton Fremont, was twice as smart and four times as ambitious as her husband. But her avidity, his cupidity and the financial panic of 1873 wiped out their fortune. Jesse kept a roof over their heads by writing magazine articles, but by 1878 the privileged couple were destitute. Taking pity, Republican President Rutherford B. Hays replaced the popular and efficient Arizona Territorial Governor John Philo Hoyt with the 65 year old fatuous and frivolous John C. Fremont.
Fremont (above) didn't even show up in Arizona for 5 months. And then he only stayed long enough to be sworn in, sign bills legalizing gambling and creating a state lottery, measures already passed by the 12 man Territorial Council - whose members were approved by the Republican leaning railroad and mining companies - and the 24 members of the Territorial House of Representatives , elected by the mostly ex-southern Democratic voters. Then, in 1879, after arraigning for his paychecks to be forwarded, Fremont and Jesse returned to their mansion on Staten Island, New York.
That left Republican officials in Arizona, on their own. In 1880, Republican appointed U.S. Deputy Marshall Robert Paul (above) ran for Pima County Sheriff, against Democrat Charlie Shibell. The votes from Tombstone and Charleston gave Paul a sizable lead. But his supporters cautioned, "Wait for the returns from San Simon", where "Ike" Clanton and Johnny Ringo were the election inspectors. Out of 12 registered voters in San Simon, 103 voted for Shibell, and only 1 for Paul. The Democrats never even tried to explain where the extra 90 voters had come from. The county election officials quickly awarded Shibell the office. It took 2 years of legal wrangling for that fraudulent election to be overturned, but it illustrated the political battle lines. Ranchers (rustlers), small businessmen and women tended to be Democrats, while the federal power structure, mine owners and managers and railroad officers, tended to be Republicans.
That was why the McLaury brothers felt comfortable in August of 1880, with threatening a Federal Marshall. Sneering at Virgil Earp's question about picking a fight, Frank McLaury told the Marshall that they had intended on killing him. But satisfied with his explanation, they bid Virgil Earp a good day. Watching the two "Cowboys" turn their backs and walk away, Virgil made a vow to never enter Charleston alone again. And to someday, settle the score with the McLaurys.
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Friday, February 17, 2017

TOMBSTONES Chapter Seven


I can't be certain what 28 year old Thomas McLaury (above) was thinking that Sunday afternoon, 25 July,  1880. I'm sure he was anxious and angry, watching 9 strangers approach the ranch he shared with his older brother. But then Tom was often angry, and anger masks thought. At just 5 foot 3 inches tall Tom found a reputation as a hot head to be a leveler in social conflicts. His opponents and even friends never knew when Tom might turn violent, and that hid how smart he was. With his men at hand suddenly outnumbered, and with 5 of the men pulling up outside his corral wearing soldier blue, and with 6 freshly re-branded stolen army mules in his corral, Tom knew he would have to do some pretty fast thinking to avoid a shootout with the U.S. Government in his own front yard.
The mules had been stolen 4 days earlier from Camp Rucker, an outpost in the cool elevations of White Canyon in the Chiricahua (chee-ree-KAH-wah) or wild turkey mountains, about 35 miles east of Tombstone and an equal distance north of the Sonora border. The garrison of 45 soldiers and 100 Indian scouts where supposed to discourage Apache raids, and mules were essential to their existence. Pride and regulations demanded the stolen property be returned, so the next morning Lieutenant Joseph H. Hurst set out with 4 men to locate the missing animals. But the civil war veteran seems to have been pretty certain the thieves were not Apache, because he headed straight for Tombstone. He arrived there on 24 July, seeking out the federal authority, the Deputy United States' Marshal. His name was Virgil Earp.
The McLaury boys - there were 8 of them and 3 girls - were all short and well educated. Their father had been a judge back in Iowa, and all the boys studied law. What interrupted the father's dreams and defined the son's lives was 5 years of bloodletting. Like all wars, the American Civil War left a "lost" generation in its wake - traumatized, emotionally drained, and in varying degrees feeling abused, cheated and betrayed. Only the eldest son, Will, went on to pass the bar. He started his law practice as a carpetbagger in Fort Worth, Texas. His younger brothers, Tom and 33 year old Robert Findley "Frank" McLaury, had intended upon joining him. But in 1878 the lure of quick money around the Tombstone silver strike distracted Frank and Tom McLaury to the Arizona desert.
Marshal Virgil Earp (above) was certain any white thieves could most likely be found in the violent little mill town of Charleston.  He sent a telegraph to an informant there - Dave Estes - and looking for safety in numbers he brought along popular Tombstone town marshal Fred White, as well his own deputized brothers Morgan and Wyatt Earp. On Sunday morning all nine men rode the 8 miles west to where Dave Estes suggested the mules could be found, south of Charleston,  on the west bank of the San Pedro River, along Babocomari creek - on the McLaury ranch.
There were six mules in the corral. Outnumbered, 5 foot 4 inch tall Frank McLaury (above) allowed the animals to be inspected. The brands on their left hind quarters read "D.S.", however the uneven nature of the wounds made it obvious to a skeptic that the brand had been recently altered from "U.S.". The inspection strengthened Lt. Hurst's resolve to reclaim the mules. However Tom McLaury's temper abruptly changed the conversation. Even though he had never met the Earps before - Tom rarely went into Tombstone - he pointed at them and warned, "If they ever again follow us as close as you did, they will have a fight!" As usual Frank stepped in to calm his brother, while neighboring ranch owner Frank Patterson took over the negotiations.
Lieutenant Joseph Hurst was no naive West Point shave tail, easily frightened by threats. He'd been on the frontier for years. Before that he had risen in the ranks in the Army of the Potomac, promoted to first lieutenant for bravery at Fredricksburg in 1863, wounded at Chancellorsville, and again at Spottsylvania Courthouse in 1864.  But he also knew that as a military officer he could not seize the mules, nor arrest civilians. Marshall Virgil Earp could do both, but to arrest the volcanic Tom seemed to run the risk of bloodshed. So Hurst allowed himself to be convinced that Frank McLaury would return the mules later, after Tom McLaury had been distracted. Hurst informed the Earps of his decision and the mule rescue party returned to Tombstone without the mules. However, the next morning, before he returned to Camp Rucker,  Hurst warned Virgil Earp of Tom McLaury's threat.
The delay raises the question of why Hurst did not warn Virgil at the McLaury ranch. It seems likely to me, that the Lieutenant sized up Marshall Earp pretty quickly as another hot head, and realized that Tom McLaury's belligerent threat might very well have pushed the Marshall to confrontation. And the 4 men Lt. Hurst was directly responsible for were not trained or armed for a free for all gun fight. The Earps would later imply that Hurst had been duped by Patterson and Frank McLaury. But I suspect Joseph Hurst just decided 6 mules were not worth his men's lives.  But whatever agreement Lt. Hurst thought had been reached, the mules were not returned.
Not that Hurst could allow the matter to drop. In a notice posted in the Friday, 30 July 1880 edition of the Tombstone Epitaph, the Lieutenant offered $35 for the return of the mules and $25 for the arrest of the thieves, whom he identified as "Pony" Diehl, Augustus S. Hansbrough and Sherman MacMasters. Then he went further, accusing Frank Patterson, Frank McLaury and Jim Johnson of hiding the stolen property. Pointedly he did not challenge Tom McLaury.  Frank respond a week later, in the Thursday, 5 August edition of the rival Tombstone Daily Nugget. Frank claimed to have assured the Army Lieutenant, "I would do what I could to assist him. In the course of the next day I saw Diehl...Diehl replied that he knew nothing of the stock...and I interested myself no farther about it."
But Frank McLaury added that Lieutenant Hurst was "...a coward, a vagabond, a rascal, and a malicious liar." Frank even suggested that Hurst might have stolen and sold the mules himself. "My name is well known in Arizona," Frank wrote, "and thank God that this is the first time in my life that the name of dishonesty was ever attached to me..." Having delivered that line with a straight face, Frank managed to avoid mentioning the central secret which supported the Tombstone money machine - most of the beef consumed daily by the miners of Tombstone, was stolen, and most of that from Sonora. In fact the closest allies and neighbors of the McLaury brothers were the owners of one of most successful ranches in southern Arizona, and thus the one of the largest dealers in stolen beef - the Clantons.
The large Clanton family trickled into Arizona beginning in 1873, by way of Tennessee, Texas and California. They might have stayed in the last two states if they had been willing to fight. Instead both times Newman Hayes "Old Man" Clanton (above) chose the smarter approach and moved his family on.  As the Tombstone mines began drawing hungry miners, in 1877, "Old Man" Clanton took the opportunity to move into moving cattle, even introducing Sonora rustling to his new neighbors, Tom and Frank McLaury.  Where both McLaury brothers were short and dark, the Clantons were tall and described by one who knew them as, "..true blondes (who) rode tall in the saddle...extremely handsome ...and very affable..." And under the calming guidence of the "Old Man", they built a hill top adobe near Lewis Springs, about 5 miles south of Charleston, and 12 miles west of Tombstone. From there "Old Man Clanton" could see for miles in the dry desert air.  No lawmen would ever get the drop on them the way Lt. Hurst and the Earps had surprised the McLaury brothers.
By 1880 "Old Man" Clanton was 64 years old but still active and successful. Most of the labor on the Clanton Arizona ranch was done by second son,  35 year old Phineas "Phin" Fay Clanton, who had several arrests for rustling but no convictions. These days Phin stayed close to the ranch, along with his brother-in-law August M. Smith. Meanwhile both 33 year old Joseph Isaac "Ike" Clanton and 18 year old William Harrison "Billy" Clanton  (above) were well known, if not always welcomed in Charleston, Tombstone, and Sonora.
Newman Hayes Clanton's (above) rustling empire was doing so well,  the Old Man needed legitimate businesses to launder his profits, That November he purchased a house and a saloon in Charleston, on Pioneer Street. 
And with John Peters "Johnny" Ringo (above) he claimed  320 acres in the Animas Valley, New Mexico, at a site called San Simon Cienega. Their stated intent was to grow alfalfa as feed for cattle. It all tied together into what was called the "rustlers trail". 
Running across arid desert from watering hole to watering hole, this production line of stolen beef began at the northern mouth of Guadalupe Canyon on the Sonora border, headed north up the Animas Valley,  then on to the eastern slopes of the Chiricahuas mountains, west through Skeleton Canyon (or Tex canyon) into Arizona, across Sulphur Springs Valley to the Dragoon Mountains, through the South Pass near Tombstone, then southwest to the Soldiers "water" Hole and right to the back door to the Clanton Ranch at the eastern foot of the Huachuca Mountains.
Gathered together in this enterprise were a hardy and hard group of entrepreneurs referred to as the "Cowboys of Cochise County " - Charles "Pony Diehl" Ray,  his life long friend Sherman McMasters.  alcoholic marksman "Curly Bill" Brocius (above),  30 year old John Peters "Johnny" Ringo...
...Billy "The Kid" Claiborne (above), Harry "The Kid" Head, the nervous Billy "The Kid" Grounds, the unlucky Richard "Zwing" Hunt...
... 23 year old occasional lawman Frank Stillwell (above), 30 year old ex-Texas Ranger Elliot Larkin Ferguson AKA Pete Spence, William "Bill" Lang,  Stagecoach robber  and ex-jewelry store owner "Notorious" Jim Crane, gregarious and dangerous Florentino Cruz, Richard "Dixie Lee Grey", Charlie Snow, Bill Byers and gunman Scott Cooley - among others.
Rightly or wrongly, these men would be cast as villains in the story of the October 1881 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. A few weeks after the 1880 confrontation on their ranch, the McLaury brothers spotted Marshal Virgil Earp on the streets of Charleston.  Tom McLaury made it a point to challenge the lawman once again, repeating now in person the threat he had made to Lt. Hurst. Thus the unresolved confrontation over  6 stolen army mules set the McLaury's on a collision course with the Earp family.
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