This lime kiln was used in the processing of limestone into quick lime for mortar, whitewash, plaster and agricultual ground sweetening and cleansing purposes .
Details of the brick duplex built by John D Lee using handmade bricks from his own brickyard and mortar from quick lime the lime kiln processing of still in existence, for the two youngest wives, Emma and Ann.
Robert LeRoy Parker (later alias, Butch Cassidy) was born on April 13, 1866, in the small town of Beaver, Utah. He would be the first of 13 children born to Mormon-immigrant parents Maximillian and Ann Parker. The Parkers lived in Beaver until 1879, when they moved to Circleville.
Life as a criminal
1880-1887 — first incidents, becoming a robber
Parker’s first offense was minor. About 1880, he journeyed to a clothier’s shop in another town only to find the shop closed. He entered the shop and took a pair of jeans and some pie, leaving an IOU promising to pay on his next visit. However, the clothier pressed charges. Parker was acquitted at a jury trial.
He continued to work on ranches until 1884, when he moved to Telluride, Colorado, ostensibly to seek work but perhaps to deliver stolen horses to buyers. He led a cowboy’s life in Wyoming and in Montana, before returning to Telluride in 1887. There he met Matthew Warner, the owner of a race horse. The men raced the horse at various events, dividing the winnings between them.
1889-1894 — early robberies, going to prison
The same trio, together with an unknown fourth man, was responsible for the robbery on June 24, 1889, of the San Miguel Valley Bank in Telluride in which they stole approximately $21,000, after which they fled to the Robbers Roost, a remote hideout in southeastern Utah.
In 1890, Parker purchased a ranch near Dubois, Wyoming. This location is close to the notorious Hole-in-the-Wall, a natural geological formation which afforded outlaws much welcomed protection and cover, and so the suspicion has always existed that Parker’s ranching, at which he was never economically successful, was in fact a façade which operated to conceal more clandestine activities, perhaps in conjunction with Hole-in-the-Wall outlaws.]
In early 1894, Parker became involved romantically with female Old West outlaw and rancher Ann Bassett. Bassett’s father, rancher Herb Bassett, did business with Parker, supplying him with fresh horses and beef. That same year, Parker was arrested at Lander, Wyoming, for stealing horses and possibly for running a protection racket among the local ranchers there. Imprisoned in the state prison inLaramie, Wyoming, he served 18 months of a two-year sentence and was released in January 1896, having promised Governor William Alford Richards that he would not again offend in that state in return for a partial remission of his sentence. Upon his release, he became involved briefly with Ann Bassett’s older sister, Josie, then returned to his involvement with Ann.
1896-1897 — Leaving prison and forming the Wild Bunch
Upon his release he associated himself with a circle of criminals, most notably his closest friend Elzy Lay, Harvey “Kid Curry” Logan, Ben Kilpatrick, Harry Tracy, Will “News” Carver, Laura Bullion, and George Curry, who, together with others, formed a gang known as the Wild Bunch, and with this his criminal activity increased considerably. Despite the Wild Bunch often being portrayed as mostly non-violent, in reality the gang was responsible for numerous killings during their robbery activities.
On August 13, 1896 Parker, Lay, Kid Curry and an unknown fourth man robbed the bank at Montpelier, Idaho, escaping with approximately $7,000. Shortly thereafter he recruited Harry Longabaugh, alias “The Sundance Kid”, a native of Pennsylvania, into the Wild Bunch.
In early 1897, Parker was joined at “Robbers Roost” by his off and on girlfriend Ann Bassett, Elzy Lay, and Lay’s girlfriend Maude Davis. The four hid out there until early April, when Lay and Parker sent the women home so that they could plan their next robbery. On April 21, 1897, in the mining town of Castle Gate, Utah, Parker and Lay ambushed a small group of men carrying the payroll of the Pleasant Valley Coal Company from the railroad station to their office, stealing a sack containing $7,000 in gold, with which they again fled to the Robber’s Roost.
On June 2, 1899, the gang robbed a Union Pacific overland flyer near Wilcox, Wyoming, a robbery that became famous and which resulted in a massive man hunt. Many notable lawmen of the day took part in the hunt for the robbers, but they were not found.
During one shootout with lawmen following that robbery, both Kid Curry and George Curry shot and killed Sheriff Joe Hazen. Noted killer for hire and contract employee of the Pinkerton Agency, Tom Horn, obtained information from explosives expert Bill Speck that revealed that they had shot Hazen, which Horn passed on to Pinkerton detective Charlie Siringo. The gang escaped into the Hole-In-The-Wall. Siringo was assigned the task of capturing the outlaw gang. He became friends with Elfie Landusky, who was by then going by the last name Curry alleging that Lonny Curry, Kid Curry’s brother, had gotten her pregnant. Through her, Siringo intended to locate the gang.
On July 11, 1899, Lay and others were involved in a train robbery near Folsom, New Mexico, which Parker may have planned and may have been directly involved in, which led to a shootout with local law enforcers in which Lay, arguably Parker’s best friend and closest confidante, killed Sheriff Edward Farr and posseman Henry Love, leading to his imprisonment for life in the New Mexico State Penitentiary.
The Wild Bunch would usually split up following a robbery, heading in different directions, and later reunite at a set location, such as the Hole-in-the-Wall hideout, “Robbers Roost”, or Madame Fannie Porter’s brothel, in San Antonio, Texas. The Hole-in-the-Wall hideout has been assembled at Old Trail Town in Cody, Wyoming. It was built in 1883 by Alexander Ghent.
Failed attempt at amnesty
Perhaps as a consequence of the loss of Lay, Parker appears to have approached Governor Heber Wells of Utah, which had joined the Union in 1896, to negotiate an amnesty, but Wells appears to have recoiled from this, advising Parker to instead approach the Union Pacific Railroad to persuade them to drop their criminal complaints against him. Possibly because of bad weather, however, this meeting never took place. The Union Pacific Railroad, under chairman E. H. Harriman, did subsequently attempt to meet with Parker, through Parker’s old ally Matthew Warner, who had been released from prison. On August 29, 1900, however, Parker, Longabaugh and others robbed a Union Pacific train near Tipton, Wyoming, violating Parker’s earlier promise to the governor of Wyoming not to offend again in that state, and effectively ending the prospects for amnesty.
Meanwhile, on February 28, 1900, lawmen attempted to arrest Kid Curry’s brother, Lonny Curry, at his aunt’s home. Lonny was killed in the shootout that followed, and his cousin Bob Lee was arrested for rustling and sent to prison in Wyoming. On March 28, Kid Curry and Bill Carver were pursued by a posse out of St. Johns, Arizona, after being identified as passing notes possibly from the Wilcox, Wyoming, robbery. The posse caught up with them and engaged them in a shootout, during which Deputy Andrew Gibbons and Deputy Frank LeSueur were killed. Carver and Curry escaped. On April 17, George Curry was killed in a shootout with Grand County, Utah, Sheriff John Tyler and Deputy Sam Jenkins. On May 26, Kid Curry rode into Moab, Utah, and killed both Tyler and Jenkins in a brazen shootout, in retaliation for their killing of George Curry, and for the death of his brother Lonny.
Parker, Longabaugh, and Bill Carver traveled to Winnemucca, Nevada, where on September 19, 1900, they robbed the First National Bank of $32,640. In December, Parker posed in Fort Worth, Texas for the now-famous Fort Worth Five Photograph, which depicts Parker, Longabaugh, Harvey Logan (alias Kid Curry), Ben Kilpatrick and William Carver. The Pinkerton Detective Agency obtained a copy of the photograph and began to use it for its latest wanted posters.
Kid Curry rejoined the gang, and together with Parker and Longabaugh they robbed another Union Pacific train near Wagner, Montana. This time, they took over $60,000 in cash. Again the gang split up, and gang member Will Carver was killed by one pursuing posse led by Sheriff Elijah Briant. On December 12, 1901, gang member Ben Kilpatrick was captured in Knoxville, Tennessee, along with Laura Bullion. On December 13, during a shootout with lawmen, Kid Curry killed Knoxville policemen Willian Dinwiddle and Robert Saylor, and escaped. Curry, despite being pursued by Pinkerton agents and other law enforcement officials, returned to Montana, where he shot and killed rancher James Winters, responsible for the killing of his brother Johnny years before.
1901 — media exposure, travel to South America
As Rural Bandits Parker and Longabaugh then fled east to New York City, and on February 20, 1901, together with Ethel “Etta” Place, Longabaugh’s female companion, they departed to Buenos Aires, Argentina, aboard the British steamer Herminius, Parker posing as James Ryan, Place’s fictional brother. There he settled with Longabaugh and Place in a four-room log cabin on a 15,000-acre (61 km²) ranch that they purchased on the east bank of the Rio Blanco near Cholila, Chubut province in west-central Argentina, near the Andes.
1905 And his last years—his biggest robbery, evading the law
On February 14, 1905, two English-speaking bandits, who may have been Parker and Longabaugh, held up the Banco de Tarapacá y Argentino in Río Gallegos, 700 miles (1,130 km) south of Cholila, near the Strait of Magellan. Escaping with a sum that would be worth at least US $100,000 today, the pair vanished north across the bleak Patagonian steppes.
On May 1, the trio sold the Cholila ranch because the law was beginning to catch up with them. The Pinkerton Agency had known their location for some time, but the rainy season had prevented their assigned agent, Frank Dimaio, from traveling there and making an arrest. Governor Julio Lezana had then issued an arrest warrant, but before it could be executed Sheriff Edward Humphreys, a Welsh Argentine who was friendly with Parker and enamored of Etta Place, tipped them off.
The trio fled north to San Carlos de Bariloche where they embarked on the steamer Condor across Lake Nahuel Huapi and into Chile. However by the end of that year they were again back in Argentina; on December 19, Parker, Longabaugh, Place and an unknown male took part in the robbery of the Banco de la Nacion in Villa Mercedes, 400 miles (650 km) west of Buenos Aires, taking 12,000 pesos. Pursued by armed lawmen, they crossed the Pampas and the Andes and again reached the safety of Chile.
On June 30, 1906, Etta Place decided that she had had enough of life on the run and was escorted back to San Francisco by Longabaugh. Parker, under the alias James “Santiago” Maxwell, obtained work at the Concordia Tin Mine in the Santa Vela Cruz range of the central Bolivian Andes, where he was joined by Longabaugh upon his return. Their main duties included guarding the company payroll. Still wanting to settle down as a respectable rancher, Parker, late in 1907, made an excursion with Longabaugh to Santa Cruz, a frontier town in Bolivia’s eastern savannah.
The facts surrounding Parker’s death are uncertain. On November 3, 1908, near San Vicente in southern Bolivia, a courier for the Aramayo Franke and Cia Silver Mine was conveying his company’s payroll by mule when he was attacked and robbed by two masked American bandits whom were believed to be Parker and Longabaugh. The bandits then proceeded to San Vicente where they lodged. Three nights later, on November 6, their lodging house was surrounded by a small group of police comprising of the local mayor and some of his officials, plus three soldiers dispatched from their company to look for the Aramayo robbers. When the three soldiers approached the house where the two bandits were residing, they opened fire on the soldiers, killing one and wounding another. A gunfight then ensued. At around 2 a.m., during a lull in the firing, the police and soldiers heard a man screaming from inside the house. Soon, a single shot was heard from inside the house, in which the screaming stopped. Minutes later, another shot was heard. The standoff continued as locals kept the place surrounded until the next morning when, cautiously entering, they found two dead bodies, both with numerous bullet wounds to the arms and legs, one with a bullet hole in the forehead and the other with a hole in the temple. Both bodies were removed to the local San Vicente cemetery where they were buried close to the grave of a German miner named Gustav Zimmer. Although attempts have been made to find their unmarked grave, notably by the American forensic anthropologist Clyde Snow and his researchers in 1991, no remains with DNA matching the living relatives of Parker and Longabaugh have yet been discovered.
However, there were claims, such as by Parker’s sister Lula Parker Betenson, that he returned alive to the United States and lived in anonymity for years. In her biography Butch Cassidy, My Brother, Betenson cites several instances of people familiar with Parker who encountered him long after 1908, and she relates a detailed impromptu “family reunion” of Parker, their brother Mark, their father, and Lula, in 1925.
In 1974 or 1975, Red Fenwick, a diligent, reliable senior citizen columnist at The Denver Post, told writer Ivan Goldman, then a reporter at the Post, that he was acquainted with Parker’s physician, a woman. Fenwick said she was a person of absolute integrity. She told Fenwick that she had continued to treat Parker for many years after he supposedly was killed in Bolivia. There is no mystery as to why Parker’s father might deny he had been visited by his fugitive son after 1908.
There is anecdotal and circumstantial evidence that Longabaugh also returned to the United States and died in 1937.
In his Annals of the Former World, John McPhee repeats a story told to geologist David Love (1913-2002) in the 1930s by Love’s family doctor, Francis Smith, M.D., when Love was a doctoral student. Smith stated that he had just seen Parker, that Parker told Smith that his face had been altered by a surgeon in Paris, and that he showed Smith a repaired bullet wound that Smith recognized as work he had previously done on Parker.
Western historian Charles Kelly closed the chapter “Is Butch Cassidy Dead?” in his 1938 book, Outlaw Trail, by observing that if Parker “is still alive, as these rumors claim, it seems exceedingly strange that he has not returned to Circleville, Utah, to visit his old father, Maximillian Parker, who died on July 28, 1938, at the age of 94 years.” Kelly is thought to have interviewed Parker’s father, but no known transcript of such an interview exists.
While Kelly said that all correspondence from both Parker and Longabaugh ceased after the San Vicente incident, some correspondence has been published that is dated 1930, 1937 and 1938 and said to have been written by Parker
Hills of Eternity Memorial Park
Colma San Mateo County California,
USA GPS (lat/lon): 37.67587, -122.4533
Satellite View: Hills of Eternity Cemetery, Colma, CA
On Tuesday October 25, 1881, Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury drove the 10 miles into Tombstone from Chandler’s Milk Ranch at the foot of the Dragoon Mountains. They were in town to get supplies, and rode in a spring wagon (a light horse-team drawn wagon, often with removable seats to increase cargo-carrying area), arriving about 11 A.M. That evening, shortly after midnight, Clanton had a verbal run-in with Doc Holliday and Morgan Earp. Wyatt and Morgan Earp watched the confrontation, and Wyatt suggested that Morgan, as a city police officer, do something about it. However, no arrests were made; Virgil threatened to arrest Doc and Ike if they didn’t stop, and finally Wyatt got Doc in hand and took him back to his boarding house to sleep it off. Some accounts claim that Ike Clanton ended up threatening Doc Holliday and all the Earps, as soon as he was armed, while other accounts claim that it was Holliday that threatened Clanton. Meanwhile, Wyatt had gone home to bed. Virgil Earp, the City Marshal (Chief of Police), in order to try to calm things down overnight, spent the night playing a long card game with Ike Clanton, Tom McLaury, Cochise County sheriff Johnny Behan and a fourth man unknown to Ike Clanton and to history. The previous weekend Holliday had been out of town, gambling at a fiesta celebration in Tucson. Morgan Earp had gone to get him for the trouble with the Cowboys which he saw coming. In the small hours of the morning of the 26th, Clanton was confronted by Holliday who walked into the 24-hour “lunch-counter” where Clanton was eating, and tried to provoke Clanton into drawing his gun; the reasons for this confrontation would vary by the witness.
Ike Clanton later testified that Virgil sat through the game with a revolver on his lap, which caused Ike to be upset.
In the morning, around dawn at about 6 or 7 A.M., the card game broke up and Behan and Virgil Earp went home to bed. Tom McLaury and Ike Clanton were still awake, with nothing to do. For some reason neither of them rented a room to get sleep. Ike was drinking heavily. By later in the morning Ike had reacquired both his rifle and revolver, having gotten them (so he testified later) from the West End Corral, where the wagon was and where weapons brought into the city by Ike and Tom the day before should by law have been left.
By noon on Wednesday, October 26, Ike was publicly bar-hopping while fully armed, still saying he was looking for Holliday or an Earp. Not long after noon, Virgil and Morgan Earp (who had been bothered in their sleep by various people reporting Ike Clanton’s threats) came up behind Clanton on 4th Street, grabbed Clanton’s rifle, and gun-whipped Ike. The Earps then took Clanton to court for violating the city’s ordinance against carrying firearms after arrival in the city.
Mountain View Cemetery
San Bernardino County
Plot: The Bubah Plot, across from the old mausoleum
GPS (lat/lon): 34.13786, -117.277
Clanton court hearing and following events
Ike’s death threats against all the Earps got under Wyatt’s skin during the hearing. While extremely agitated as he left the court that was trying Ike, Wyatt almost walked into Tom McLaury, who was headed the other way. Witnesses would agree that Wyatt was headed toward the court while Tom was headed away, but regardless of the directions of the men, the trial apparently had already happened. The two men were brought up short nose-to-nose. Wyatt immediately instigated an argument with Tom. Tom, as an ordinary citizen who had arrived in town the day before, was not supposed to be armed. Wyatt, however, saw that Tom had a revolver under his shirt, tucked into the waistband of his pants. Wyatt was armed in his capacity as temporary deputy for his brother.
Hermosa Memorial Gardens Colton
San Bernardino County
Plot: Southwest corner of the cemetery, near a large tree
GPS (lat/lon): 34.07436, -117.34811
At this point the Earps had had enough of armed Cowboys in town, and Virgil, who was the city marshal and also the deputy federal marshal for the area, deputised Holiday, and possibly said something about active service for Wyatt as well, although the latter was never clear. Wyatt said in the deposition that he had been acting as temporary city marshal for Virgil the week before the gunfight, while Virgil was in Tucson for the Pete Spence and Frank Stilwell trial. Wyatt would say that he still considered himself a deputy city marshal, and Virgil would later confirm that. However, it is apparent from Wyatt’s behavior at the time that he thought that arresting Tom for the misdemeanor infraction of carrying a firearm within city limits, or searching Tom for a concealed revolver (neither of them federal crimes) would best be done by Virgil Earp in his capacity as city-marshal, or by one of Virgil’s paid city-police deputies – which recently had come to include Morgan Earp and possibly Warren Earp, but not Wyatt, who was only a temporary and unpaid deputy with no badge. Wyatt was ready for a gunfight – preferring an open fight when he was ready for it. Under the circumstances, however, the only thing Wyatt could do to provoke a fight was to attack Tom and force him to draw his weapon. Wyatt (according to witnesses) drew his own revolver from his coat pocket (or at least through the pocket from his pants) and gun-whipped Tom McLaury with it. This put Tom prostrate and bleeding in the street, but it did not accomplish Wyatt’s goal: Tom would not draw a weapon, either because he would be immediately killed for doing so or because of a herculean force of will to avoid violent retribution. Since Wyatt (as an off-duty temporary deputy) could not legally search or arrest Tom for possessing a revolver (which would have been a misdemeanor), and Tom would not draw a weapon for a gunfight, Wyatt was finally forced simply to walk away.
(Exact Location Unknown)
Possibility of a concealed weapon on Tom McLaury
Whether Tom McLaury actually did have a concealed revolver in his pants at the time of his beating by Wyatt remains a historical mystery. It is known from the later testimony of saloon-keeper Andrew Mehan at the Spicer Hearing that at this same time of the beating, between 1 and 2 P.M., Tom McLaury did deposit his revolver at the nearby Capital Saloon on the southwest corner of Fremont and 4th Street. Further, one of the witnesses to Tom’s beating (A. Bauer) would testify that he saw Tom AFTER the beating, at the Capital Saloon. Thus, unless Tom visited the Capital Saloon both before and after his beating by Earp, he left the revolver there after the beating and therefore was armed during the beating by Wyatt, just as Wyatt believed him to be. Wyatt, from this actions, thought Tom was possibly carrying a weapon to back up his friend Ike. However, it is possible that Tom was merely carrying the revolver as protection from robbery, since he intended to receive $3000, some of it in cash the next day, from sale of beefstock. Because of Wyatt’s beating, he ended up doing this without the weapon, however.
Depositing his revolver at the saloon was an act that, according to city ordinance, Tom should have performed the previous day when he first arrived in town. The fact that Tom left his revolver at the Capital Saloon on the 26th, and not at the West End Corral on the 25th when he arrived in town more than 24 hours earlier, shows that Tom McLaury did indeed carry his revolver as a concealed weapon into town for some time, contrary to city ordinance which required weapons to be deposited immediately upon arrival. Tom’s reason for leaving his revolver at the saloon after being beaten by Wyatt would appear that he wished to give Wyatt no further excuse for violence. However, the Earps had no way of knowing that Tom had gotten rid of the weapon.
In any event, Tom’s revolver, like Ike Clanton’s arms, remained at a nearby saloon during the O.K. Corral gunfight.
By the time Ike and Tom had seen doctors for their head wounds, it was getting into the early afternoon. The day was chilly, with snow still on the ground in some places. Neither Tom nor Ike had slept, but had spent the night gambling. Now they were both out-of-doors, both wounded from head beatings, and at least Ike was still drunk. Their ability to organize an ambush in their condition has been questioned.
More Cowboys enter town
At about this time (1:30 to 2:30 P.M. or so, but after the gun-whipping of Tom) fresher men with more willingness to fight arrived in town. Ike’s younger brother Billy Clanton (aged 19) and Tom’s older brother Frank McLaury had heard from Ed “old man” Frink that Ike had been stirring up trouble in town overnight, and they had ridden into town on horseback to back up their brothers.
They had come from Antelope Springs, 13 miles east of Tombstone, where they had been rounding up stock with their brothers and had had breakfast with Ike and Tom the day before. Both Frank and Billy were armed with revolver and rifle, as was the custom for lone riders in the wild country outside Tombstone. Apache warriors had engaged the U.S. Army near Tombstone just three weeks before the O.K. Corral gunfight, so the southeast Arizona Territory country was far from tame.
Billy and Frank stopped first at the Grand Hotel on Allen Street, being greeted there warmly by practical joker Doc Holliday, where almost immediately they were told of the beatings of both of their brothers by Earps within the previous two hours – an item which was the big news in town. Immediately, Frank and Billy left the saloon without drinking.
Burial: Hills of Eternity Memorial Park
ColmaSan Mateo CountyCalifornia,
USA GPS (lat/lon): 37.67587, -122.4533
By law and custom, both Frank and Billy also should have left their firearms at the first corral or hotel at which they stopped in town, in this case the Grand Hotel. Instead of doing that, they remained fully-armed about the Western part or “horse end” of town. At some point, they even ventured up to Spangenberger’s gun and hardware store (on 4th Street) to buy ammunition, where they were observed by Wyatt Earp who was smoking his cigar outside Hafford’s saloon nearby.
Wyatt and Virgil Earp’s reactions
Wyatt still had the problem of having no legal authority to question their holding of weapons, and so did nothing but move Frank McLaury’s horse off the sidewalk where it had strayed. Earp gave the excuse for handling the horse that he still considered himself a city police deputy, but he was still overplaying his role. Earp’s handling of his horse provoked Frank to come out of the store, but not to draw his revolver from its holster. Again, things were at a draw.
Wyatt Earp thought that the Cowboys, including Ike, were arming themselves in the store. Ike would testify later that Tom was not in the store, but Wyatt could not tell who was there and who was not. Ike would say that indeed he had actually tried to buy a new revolver in the store, but the owner, observing his head bandages (and possibly his drunken state) refused to sell him one. If Ike did indeed try to buy a revolver, it would have meant that he had not heard (or had not believed) Virgil Earp, who had put Ike’s weapons exactly where he had said he would for Ike to pick up before leaving town.
Meanwhile, Virgil Earp, in charge of enforcing city law, was trying to avoid a confrontation with Frank and Billy by not going to where Virgil thought Frank and Billy were. These armed men, newly arrived in the city, were pushing at two fuzzy borders in the city law. One issue was how far east into town a newly-arrived traveler might go while carrying a firearm; the three main Tombstone corrals were all at the west end of town, a block or two away from where the Cowboys were buying ammunition. It was generally understood that newly-arrived travelers could pass through town while armed, if on their way directly to a hotel or saloon. The other question was how long, after arriving in town, might a traveler legally keep his firearms if he still had his horse with him. The latter would mean he was still in the process of “arriving” while surrendering a horse or wagon at a corral/livery stable automatically meant surrendering firearms with it.
Johnny Ringo State Historical Landmark
Along West Turkey Creek
Today…The actual tree is still there only much larger and the grave is graced by a nearby Arizona Historic Marker. The site near Wilcox, Arizona is spectacular, located along West Turkey Creek on private property which is part of the Coronado National Forest.
The Earps apparently thought that Tom and Ike had arrived the previous day at the Dunbar Corral on Allen Street, where they were known friends of the owners, including Sheriff Behan. They naturally assumed that newly arrived “reinforcements” Frank and Billy would leave their horses and arms there also, if they meant peace. Thus, when Virgil heard that the Cowboys had gone to the O.K. Corral (across from Dunbar’s, but still close to it) he made the decision, stated in the presence of witnesses, that he would seek to disarm the Cowboys only if they left the vicinity of the corrals while still armed. That would have meant that they intended openly violating the town law against weapon-carrying after arrival or while not preparing to leave town. Unfortunately, unknown to the Earps, Ike and Tom had actually left their horse and wagon at the West End Corral on Fremont Street a block north of the O.K. Corral. If they prepared to leave town, it would be from a place a block north of where the Earps assumed it would (and should) be.
Actions near Fremont Street directly before the fatal fight
When Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton began to gather on Fremont Street while still saddled and armed, Virgil Earp suspected they were getting too far from the corrals he assumed they and their brothers had arrived at.
Unfortunately for them, the Cowboys had gathered in a lot a block away from the O.K. Corral entrance on Allen Street. It was unluckily also west of Fly’s where Doc Holliday had a room in the Harwood house, and also between the position of the Earps and their homes just two blocks further west on Fremont Street. The lot was then owned by William A. Harwood, forced from office as Tombstone’s second mayor . It was residential property and had nothing to do with the Benson and Montgomery owned O.K. Corral. Ordinarily, Mr. Harwood used the lot to store lumber but it was vacant at that time. Jersey’s Livery Stable was also nearby. All of this constituted a physical threat to the Earps and Holliday which they could hardly ignore, especially in light of Ike Clanton’s verbal threats.
On Fremont and 4th Street, Behan tried to disarm Frank McLaury, and here Frank made the fatal error of resisting disarmament by Behan (who was the sheriff), insisting that Virgil Earp (the chief of police) and his brothers disarm first. Instead of leaving town, as Ike Clanton now planned to do, Frank McLaury insisted on staying in town to do some business. However, there is no evidence to suggest that he intended on confronting the Earps. A letter written by his older brother, William McLaury, who was a judge in Fort Worth, Texas, claimed that both Frank and Tom were trying to tie some loose ends up business-wise, before leaving town to visit him in Fort Worth. Billy Clanton was intending on accompanying them.
Meanwhile, having heard that the newly arrived Cowboys were now on Fremont Street, bearing weapons, and now a block away from the entrance to the O.K. Corral where they were legally entitled to hold weapons, Virgil Earp decided to act. While Wyatt was confronting Frank McLaury at Spangenberg’s, Virgil had collected a shotgun from the Wells Fargo office around the corner on Allen Street, in case of trouble. This would have been a very short-barreled “messenger” or coach gun type weapon, double-barrelled and likely 12-gauge (though possibly 10-gauge), loaded with buckshot. Returning to Hafford’s, and not wanting to alarm the citizenry of Tombstone by carrying the shotgun through the streets, Virgil gave the shotgun to Doc Holliday to hide under his longer overcoat. (The Earps carried revolvers in their coat pockets or in their waistbands; there is some evidence that Holliday was using his longer coat that morning to conceal a revolver holster). Virgil took Holliday’s walking-stick in return, which he carried in his right hand to use for emphasis. Then the Earps and Holliday walked west down the south side of Fremont street toward the Cowboys’ last known position, keeping out of sight of the Cowboys.
Along the way, the Earps met Sheriff Behan coming up Fremont street from the Cowboys. Behan told the Earps (or so Wyatt and Virgil heard him say) that he had disarmed the Cowboys and that no trouble was necessary. The Earps brushed by Behan, only slightly put off their guard. But when the Earps moved out into the middle of Fremont street and came into full view of the Cowboys in the vacant lot west of Fly’s boarding house, they found two horses with saddles and rifles in the lot, and Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton still near their horses, wearing their revolver belts and still fully armed. Later, Wyatt would especially blame Behan for telling what he took to be a lie about leaving the Cowboys disarmed. Behan would testify that he’d only said he’d gone down to the Cowboys “for the purpose of disarming them,” not that he’d actually done it.
As the Earps and Holliday headed south into the alley between Fly’s Boarding House and the Harwood house, they came upon Ike Clanton as he was talking to Billy Claiborne in the middle of the lot. Behind them, against a house to the west (the Harwood house), stood Tom and Frank McLaury, Billy Clanton, and the horses of Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury. The precise arrangements of the men and animals would be debated by witnesses, but the Coroner’s inquest and the Spicer hearing produced the following blackboard sketch. The Cowboys stood from left to right facing Fremont Street, Frank McLaury, Billy Clanton, Tom McLaury and Ike Clanton, with Frank and Billy next to the Harwood house and Tom and Ike roughly in the middle of the alley. Opposite them were Morgan Earp facing Frank near the Harwood House, Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp in the middle of the alley facing south and Virgil Earp holding the left end of the line opposite Ike Clanton. This set-up meant that to open the fight, Morgan and Doc fired across one another at Billy and Frank, respectively.
The roughly 30-second gunfight that ensued at about 3:00 P.M. that afternoon of October 26, came to be known in the 1950s (after a movie title) as the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral — arguably the most famous gunfight in the history of the Old West. It has been the subject of many books and movies. Who started the shooting remains a mystery, with partisan factions telling conflicting stories, and independent eyewitnesses who did not know the participants by sight unable to say for certain.
Of the participants, and contrary to popular belief, none but Virgil Earp had any extensive experience in shooting situations. Virgil’s years of service during the Civil War had given him ample combat experience going into the fight, although it was an experience of a different sort than street fighting. Virgil had also been involved in a police shooting in Prescott, Arizona Territory . Wyatt Earp, despite his reputation and although becoming famous due to the fight and the Earp vendetta ride following it, had only been involved in one shooting before the O.K. Corral, and was not widely known at the time. In that one shooting (in Dodge City, 1878), Wyatt Earp always claimed to have been the one to shoot a retreating horseman named George Hoy, who died later as a result of the gunshot wound to his arm. However, many lawmen, including James Masterson and his brother Bat Masterson, were involved in shooting at Hoy. History does not record that Morgan Earp had any experience at gunfighting prior to this incident, though he frequently rode shotgun as a stagecoach guard. Doc Holliday had been mixed up in a few altercations here and there, mostly while drunk, but details of those are sketchy and may not have been extensive. He may have killed one man in a gunfight prior to Tombstone, in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and in the presence of gunman and friend John Joshua Webb.
As for the Earp faction’s opposition, short of a few minor earlier instances, this encounter seems to have been the first actual shootout for any of them, except for Billy Claiborne, who had been in at least one gunfight, over which he was later arrested for killing a man. However, Claiborne did not fire a shot at the O.K. Corral, and fled the scene, claiming that he had been unarmed at the time. The closest thing to a shootout in which the McLaurys and Clantons were possibly involved was the Skeleton Canyon Massacre, but no witness to that (there were two survivors) recalled anyone other than Mexicans at that fight.
Virgil Earp deputized Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday to support him and Morgan Earp in preparation for the gunfight. Wyatt spoke of his brothers Virgil and Morgan as the “marshals” while he acted as “deputy.” Virgil carried a cane in his right hand to signify his intent to avoid a fight, but gave his short double-barrelled shotgun to Doc Holliday, who concealed it under his longcoat.
Ike Clanton, Billy Claiborne, and other Cowboys had been spoiling for a fight, and the Earps and Holliday were determined to give it. Martha J. King, who was in Bauer’s Butcher Shop on Fremont Street when the Earp party passed, testified that one of the Earps [Morgan] on the outside of that party looked around and said to Doc Holliday, “…let them have it!” to which Holliday replied, “All right.” When the Earp party reached the alley between the MacDonald House and Fly’s Boarding House, the Cowboys came out to meet them, so that both sides were drawn up in rough lines facing one another at extremely close range. According to Addie Bourland, a seamstress who witnessed the fight from across the street, a man who was probably Holliday stepped forward and poked a “large bronze pistol” (probably Holliday’s nickel-plated revolver shining in the sun) into a cowboy’s belly (probably Frank McLaury’s), then took a couple of steps backward. No hands were seen to be raised by Bourland, who was questioned during the hearing about this point. Virgil Earp immediately commanded the Cowboys to “throw up your hands!” But as people began to reach for weapons and he heard hammers clicking behind him, Virgil yelled: “Hold! I don’t mean that!” Almost immediately, however, general firing commenced.
The first two shots were so close together that they were almost indistinguishable. There was then a gap of a few seconds before firing begame general from both sides. According to Tombstone old-timers, these shots came from Doc and Morgan. Yet Wyatt would testify that the first two shots came simultaneously as he shot Frank McLaury in the abdomen, and Billy Clanton shot at Wyatt, but missed (Wyatt was not hit at all in the fight). This claim was meant to refute the prosecutors’ charge that the Earps had opened fire on the Cowboys in cold blood. Various other people would testify as to who opened the fight, with Cowboy partisans stating it was the Earp faction, and Virgil backing up Wyatt’s story. Independent witnesses generally did now know the fighters by sight, and could not say for sure which side fired first. Ham Light, a business partner of Pete Spence (and thus a Cowboy partisan), heard the first two shots from his room at the Aztec House across the corner from the fight, and went to the window in time to see all but the first two shots fired. According to Light, at that time Tom McLaury was already running from the fight, although other eyewitness accounts placed Tom’s flight later.
This is the only known photo of 19 year-old Billy.
In fact, Billy Clanton was hit in the right wrist as he was drawing his revolver, probably by Morgan Earp, making his gun hand useless, but he gamely shifted his revolver to his left hand and kept firing until he had emptied his gun. A shot from behind the Earp party drew their attention, and either Tom (Tom may have been using Frank’s horse for cover and trying to retrieve Frank’s carbine from its scabard) or Frank McLaury used that instant to fire over the back of the horse behind which he had taken cover, hitting Morgan Earp in the back, who had turned to answer the shot fired from ambush.
As Tom McLaury half-turned to run from the fight and down Fremont Street, Doc Holliday emptied Virgil’s shotgun (which up until then he had been concealing under his longcoat) into Tom’s left side. Tom staggered farther down the street, where he collapsed and died at the corner in front of the Harwood house. He lay there during the fight. After this, Holliday tossed away the shotgun and unholstered his revolver, continuing to fire at Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton.
The firing continued with Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury wounded but still fighting with their pistols (both had horses with rifles, but neither was able to reach a rifle, and the rifles were found with the unwounded horses up the street after the fight). Either Billy or Frank hit Virgil Earp in the calf. Frank was hit in the abdomen, but was still able to move, and went into the street with his horse, which he lost after firing near it. Frank and Doc squared off in the street and Frank hit Doc glancingly in the left hip (Holliday was the only man on the Earp side with a holster, and he suffered only a bruise.). Morgan Earp fell over a mound which was a buried waterline, but was back up and still firing, and he, Doc and Wyatt all attested to firing at Frank, who had lost his horse and was by that time on the sidewalk across Fremont street. Morgan and Doc each thought he had fired the killing shot, which hit Frank in the base of the skull below the ear. General firing did not end until Billy Clanton finally went down from the fatal shot to his left breast, crying out for more cartridges when relieved of his pistol by Fly, who had emerged from this house with a rifle.
Wyatt’s testimony at the Spicer hearing was in writing (as was permitted by law, which allowed statements without cross-examination at pre-trial hearings) and Wyatt, therefore, was not cross-examined. Wyatt testified that he and Billy Clanton began the fight after Clanton and Frank McLaury drew their guns, and Wyatt shot Frank in the stomach while Billy shot at Wyatt and missed. No witnesses confuted Wyatt’s testimony that Ike Clanton had run up to him and protested that he was unarmed. To this protest Wyatt had responded, “Go to fighting or get away!” Thus, the unarmed Ike Clanton escaped the shooting unwounded, as did the allegedly unarmed Billy Claiborne. Wyatt Earp was not hit in the fight, while Doc Holliday, Virgil Earp, and Morgan Earp were hit. Billy Clanton, Tom McLaury, and Frank McLaury were killed.
Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury were openly armed with revolvers in gunbelts and holsters, but possibly, although it is not known for certain, due to their close proximity to the corral believed themselves safe in being armed. Whether Tom McLaury was armed during the fight is unknown, but there is circumstantial evidence he was not. Certainly, some of the Earps believed he was, and that he had “sneaked” a shot over the horse he was hiding behind when a shot from behind the Earps distracted them. In response to this perceived threat, Doc Holliday emptied both barrels of Virgil’s shotgun into Tom. However, Light saw a man shooting near his horse in the center of the street and so did another witness, after Tom had already run away from the fight and fallen, so it is possible that this shooting was Frank McLaury using his own horse or that of Billy (the only horses available).
The Cowboys claimed that Tom McLaury was unarmed, and indeed Tom’s revolver was at a saloon half a block away, where the barkeep would later testify Tom had deposited it hours before the fight (shortly after being beaten by Wyatt). But none of the Earps had any way of knowing this had happened, and the testimony does mean that Tom had been armed through the night and into the next day, and through his altercation with Wyatt. Josie Marcus (as edited by Boyer) said flatly that someone had spirited Tom’s revolver away after he dropped it, probably Johnny Behan. Wyatt also believed that Tom had had a gun, and that somebody had taken it after he was shot. Josie may, in fact, simply have been repeating Wyatt’s views of this part of the fight. Sheriff Behan’s testimony on this point was equivocal. He stated that his own search of Tom McLaury for a weapon prior to the gunfight was not thorough, and that McLaury might have had a revolver hidden in his waistband, covered by the long blouse and vest worn over his trousers, and not tucked in. Behan’s testimony was significant, since he was a prime witness for the prosecution. One would have expected him to lie outright on this point to convict the Earps. In his own testimony, Wyatt stated that he believed Tom McLaury was armed with a revolver, but his language, too, contained equivocation. The same was true of Virgil Earp’s testimony. Both Earp brothers left themselves room for contradiction on this point, but neither one was equivocal about the fact that Tom had been killed by Holliday’s shotgun blast, and this fact was borne out by the coroner’s exam.
The various injuries
Wyatt’s reputation as a gunfighter came from the fact that he was the only man to emerge from the gunfight unscathed, while Virgil had been shot through the right calf, Morgan through the upper back above his shoulder blades (by a single bullet), and Holliday had been grazed on the hip.
Virgil thought he had been shot by Billy Clanton. Morgan thought he had been shot by Frank McLaury. Holliday was sure that his hip wound, late in the fight, was from Frank, and exclaimed as he crossed the street “That son of a bitch has shot me and I am going to kill him.”
Billy Clanton, Frank McLaury and Tom McLaury died from their wounds. Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne ran through the middle of the fight and escaped uninjured (Ike briefly exchanging words with Wyatt, by both men’s accounts, before escaping).
Frank McLaury was shot in the abdomen near the navel, early in the fight (Wyatt Earp testified in writing at the trial to firing this shot, saying at the same time Billy Clanton had fired at him, but missed). Doc Holliday (identified later from his coat and hat) was seen by witness Bourland putting a “large bronze revolver” against one of the cowboys (Bourland knew none of the men by sight), then stepping back a few steps before the firing opened. This “large revolver” may have been Holliday’s short shotgun, since he would not have used a revolver while carrying a shotgun. There is other evidence that since Tom McLaury was hit early in the fight, and since the coroner’s evidence showed Holliday and nobody else shot Tom, this shotgun blast would have been one of the early shots in that scenario.
Tom McLaury, fatally wounded from the double-barreled shotgun blast delivered by Holliday, was seen by witness C.H. Light running or stumbling westward, away from the action. This occurred after the first few shots in the fight and while shooting was still going on, and while Frank and Billy were still standing. As Tom fell, Lake’s biography of Earp states that Wyatt shot Tom in the abdomen, but no such wound was found by the coroner. Tom fell at the telegraph pole at the corner of Fremont and 3rd Street (see left-most mark on photo at right). The coroner’s report showed that Tom had been hit only with a dozen buckshot, high in the side of his chest near the right armpit (the pattern being so tight that the coroner could cover it with a hand). He died without speaking, a few minutes after being carried into the Harwood House, on the corner. Light testified that Tom, who was already running when Light began observing, fell and lay at the corner during the entire fight, and did no shooting.
Frank McLaury stumbled into the street trying to recover his rifle from his horse, and firing his revolver, only to lose the frightened horse before he could withdraw the rifle from its scabbard. A number of witnesses observed a horseman leading a horse into the street and firing near it, but Wyatt thought this was Tom McLaury. Frank crossed the street (Fremont) and fired twice more before he was felled at the end of the fight by a revolver bullet hitting him at the base of his skull under his right ear. This shot was fired by Morgan Earp, or by Holliday, both of whom were firing at him at the time. The newspaper account mentions a mortal chest wound to Frank, which would have had to have come at the end of the fight, and which would have meant that both Holliday and Morgan fired final fatal shots. However, the coroner’s report, made after careful examination of the stripped bodies of all the dead men before they were delivered to the undertaker, did not find any chest wound in Frank, so this is probably a false report. In any case, Frank died where he fell, on the sidewalk on the opposite side of Fremont street from the vacant lot. A passerby stopped to help and observed him move his mouth, but he died before he could be moved.
Billy Clanton had been shot through the wrist at the outset of the fight (possibly by Morgan Earp; Keefe testified the bullet passed through the arm from “inside to outside,” entering the arm close to the base of the thumb, and exiting “on the back of the wrist diagonally” with the latter wound larger), in the right chest (through the right lung; again possibly by Morgan), superficially at the right arm, and in the abdomen (under the twelfth rib; possibly by Virgil). He fell near his original position, near the corner of the MacDonald house, in the empty lot. There his empty revolver was taken from him by Camillus “Buck” Sidney Fly, owner of the Fly Gallery. He died last, having put up the greatest fight from the Clanton side, dying after being carried to the Harwood house where Tom had also been taken. It probably didn’t make sense to the onlookers to take both men to different adjacent houses, and the Harwood house, on the corner adjacent to the lot, was chosen for both. Billy lived long enough to be seen by a doctor and be injected with morphine. He spoke a few words, saying he’d been murdered, and indicating he couldn’t breathe. Shortness of breath following a penetrating chest wound is a classic finding of a pneumothoracic perforation.
How the fighters may have been armed
No revolver was found on Tom after the fight, by any witness. As noted, Tom’s usual revolver remained unclaimed during the fight at the bar at the Capitol Saloon, on 4th Street and Fremont less than a block east of the gunfight. This revolver was exhibited and identified by the barkeep and by Ike Clanton as being Tom’s revolver, at the Spicer Hearing. Wyatt Earp, to the end of his life, would believe that the revolver Tom had used in the gunfight had been removed from the scene by a Cowboy confederate. At least two witnesses thought Tom had obtained a revolver in a butcher shop on Allen street just before the fight, for he was seen leaving the shop with a newly-bulging pants pocket. However, he would have had to walk past the very saloon where his own revolver had just been deposited and was stored, to have carried this second revolver to the fight. The bulge in Tom’s pants pocket noted by witnesses before the fight may have been the nearly $3000 in cash and receipts found on his body (he had probably actually picked up these at the butcher’s shop immediately before the fight, as it makes little sense that he’d spent all night carrying around this much cash).
Even if Tom wasn’t armed with a revolver the question remains about whether or not he tried to get a rifle. Virgil Earp testified Tom attempted to grab a rifle from a horse (this would have been Frank or Billy’s horse) before he was killed. Wyatt thought Tom fired a revolver over “his” horse (actually it would have had to be Billy’s horse, because Frank had his own and Tom had none). It’s very possible Virgil was mistaken about which McLaury brother used his horse in the fight, as Wes Fuller saw Frank in the middle of the street shooting with a revolver, and attempting to get a Winchester from his own horse, and failing (the very action attributed to Tom). However, Wes Fuller was a member of the Cowboy Gang, and could have said that to make the Earps appear as murderers.
Billy’s revolver was taken from him empty by C.S. Fly, who emerged from his boarding house at the end of the fight to disarm Billy.
Frank’s revolver, with two unfired rounds remaining in it, was recovered on the street a few feet away from Frank by a bystander, and placed next to Frank’s body as it lay on the sidewalk. Frank’s revolver was then taken by the coroner, Dr. H.M. Mathews, and laid on the floor of the Harwood house while he examined Billy and Tom (this would cause some confusion later, but both Billy and Frank’s weapons would later be positively identified as their own, by witnesses). Both Frank and Billy were armed with Colt Frontier Six-Shooter model revolver (identified by their serial numbers at the hearing later) and presumably their Winchester rifles were Model 1873 weapons to match this .44-40 cartridge. What weapons the other participants of the fight were carrying cannot be acertained from primary documentation, and remains an open question.
The two saddled horses of Billy and Frank escaped from the fight and were later caught a few hundred feet up the street, both with Winchester rifles still in place in their scabbards.
The Earps and Holliday were generally considered heroes. The funerals for Clanton and the McLaurys (who were relatively wealthy men) were the largest ever seen in Tombstone. The fear of the Cowboys caused many Tombstone residents and businesses to reconsider their calls for the mass killing of Cowboys. Also, Billy Clanton was fairly popular around town, and although rowdy, the Cowboys brought substantial business into Tombstone.
Also, the fear of Cowboy retribution and the potential loss of investors because of the negative publicity in large cities like San Francisco started to turn the opinion somewhat against the Earps and Holliday. Stories that Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury were unarmed, and that Billy Clanton and Tom McLaury even threw up their hands before the shooting, now began to make the rounds. Soon, another Clanton brother (Phineas “Fin” Clanton) had arrived in town, and some began to claim that the Earps and Holliday had committed murder, instead of enforcing the law.
The Spicer hearing
The participants in later history
A few weeks following the grand jury refusal to indict, Virgil Earp was shot by hidden assailants from an unused building at night – a wound causing him complete loss of the use of his left arm. Three months later Morgan Earp was murdered by a shot in the back in Tombstone by men shooting from a dark alley.
After these incidents, Wyatt, accompanied by Doc Holliday and several other friends, undertook what has later been called the Earp vendetta ride in which they tracked down and killed the men whom they believed had been responsible for these acts. After the vendetta ride, Wyatt and Doc left the Arizona Territory in April 1882 and parted company, although they remained in contact.
Billy Claiborne was killed in a gunfight in Tombstone in late 1882 by gunman Franklin Leslie. In less than six years, Doc Holliday died of tuberculosis in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Virgil Earp served as the “Town Marshall”, hired by the Southern Pacific RR, in Colton, California. He lived without the use of his arm, although continued as a lawman in California, and died of pneumonia at age 62 in 1905, still on the job as a peace officer.
Wyatt Earp traveled across the western frontier to Goldfield, NV in the company of Josephine Marcus, working mostly as a gambler, and eventually died in Los Angeles of infection, in 1929, at the age of 80. Johnny Behan failed even to be re-nominated by his own party for the sheriff race in 1882, and never again worked as a lawman, spending the rest of his life at various government jobs, dying in Tucson of natural causes at age 67 in 1912. Ike Clanton was caught cattle rustling in 1887 and shot dead by lawmen while resisting arrest.
- Table Of Contents:
- About The Authors
- Africanized bees or killer bees
- Backcountry Equipment Checklist
- Hiking In The Desert & Desert Survival
- Hiking Etiquette in the Desert
- How to Search a Creek Bed for Indian Arrowheads
- How to make Wood Charcoal in the Wilderness
- Driving In The Desert
- Drinking Water in Nature, Hidden Hazards
- If Bitten By A Rattlesnake
- When in Cougar Country:
- Bear Attacks
- Cryptobiotic Soil in the Desert
- Understanding The Anasazi
- Petroglyph’s Rock Art or Rock Writing?
- Understanding Rock Art
- Water Glyph’s
- Hot Springs In The Desert
- Dinosaur Tracks in the Desert
- Petrified Wood Formation
- Caving (also called spelunking)
- Desert Varnish Formation
- Desert Pavement Formation
- Desert Playa Formation
- Lichen in the Desert
- Building a primitive shelter: debris hut
- Bow drill fire making
- How to Make Cordage
- How to keep ice cold in the desert
- Locating Fossilized Plants In Nevada
- Locating Fossilized trilobites In Nevada
- Natural Teas From The Desert Floor
- Scorpion Sting Treatment
Individuals Who Shaped The West
- Grave Site : Battle of Piute Pass
- Butch Cassidy
- Jacob Hamblin
- John Wesley Powell
- John D. Lee
- Prehistoric Indians 1300 AD
- Wyatt Earp
- 1895 Historical Maps & Populations
- Grallator (Megapnosaurus)
- Interesting Destinations
- Simple tire repairs in the backcountry
- Emergency Backcountry Fan Belt Repair
- Spare Batteries in a Pinch
- Radiator Leaks in the Backcounty
- How to Make Maple Syrup at Home
- Tips for Visiting Our National Parks
- Dandelion fritters
- Cooking with Cattail
- Preparing Edible Cactus
- Federal Authority Over the Internet? The Cybersecurity Act of 2009
- Looking to Test Your Skill as as an Outdoorsman/woman take the quiz;
Halfway Stage Station
The remains of the Halfway Stage Station are located east of the Dinosaur Trail. The Halfway Stage Station served the traveling public between Moab and the railroad at Thompson. The first passenger train went through Thompson to Salt Lake in April of 1883. The railroad was 35 miles from Moab. The trip from Moab to the train took eight hours for passengers, so travelers stopped at the station for lunch. Slower freighters spent the night on a two day trip.
To reach the stage station , drive 15 miles north of Moab on U.S. 191, then turn left at an intersection just north of highway mile marker 141. Cross the railroad tracks and continue 2 miles on a bladed dirt road At the first intersection turn right and proceed to a dry wash. Turn right on the jeep trail at the wash crossing and continue to the Stage Station.
During a free guided tour of Cove Fort, you can travel back to the days when travel was by horseback and covered wagon, and discover what sort of accommodations a traveler could have expected, note you will also be somewhat educated on the Mormon history their beliefs and although this may make some individuals a bit uneasy worth the effort and a bit necessary to understand the history . A safe haven built in 1867, Cove Fort was constructed at the halfway point between Fillmore and Beaver, Utah. In the 1860s the 60-mile trip between these two towns required two days of travel. Cove Fort was the perfect place to stop for the night to find safety, shelter, fresh water, and plenty of feed for livestock.
Built primarily of volcanic rock and limestone from a nearby quarry, the perimeter walls of the fort are 100 feet square and 18 feet high. The fort’s 12 rooms, 6 on the north side and 6 on the south, have been restored to reflect the 1867 to 1877 period, complete with authentic period furnishings and artifacts. Free parking, picnic areas, and clean restroom facilities are all located on the property. Free guided tours begin every two minutes. Reservations are suggested for groups of 20 or more.
Because of the Black Hawk War, Hinckley built a fort to protect his family and others from the Indians.
The feared attack never came, but Cove Fort became a refuge anyway – for anyone journeying between St. George and Salt Lake.
The old way station has been restored to its original 1870 condition. Guides lead visitors through guest rooms filled with furnishings from the period, a telegraph station and pioneer post office. Stop by and experience the pioneer period for yourself.
HC 74 Box #6500
Cove Fort, Utah 84713
Call 1-435-438-5547 for more information.
April to October 8:00 a.m. to sunset
October to April 9:00 a.m. to sunset
Cove Fort Days
First Friday & Saturday in August
Admission is free.
Little Pinto was an off shoot of Iron town. Little Pinto is also known as Pages Ranch.
PAGE RANCH HOUSE The Page Ranch House was designed by its original owners, Daniel Richey Page and Sophia Geary Page. Construction began in 1898 and was completed in 1900. The builders were Jack and Harvey Fabian of St. George, who made and fired the brick on the site using clay found immediately west of the building location. The house was home for the Page family for thirty-four years. Under the notice “We Keep Travelers,” this house served as an informal hotel for travelers and as a boarding house for men working in the nearby iron ore mines. The Page Ranch was an important stopping point along what was once a major freighting and travel route through Southern Utah. The ranch was originally settled in 1858 by Robert Richey, grandfather of Dan Page and an Indian missionary in the Jacob Hamblin group sent to Southern Utah by Brigham Young in 1854. The ranch was owned by the Richey and Page families from 1858 to 1934. Architecturally, this house is a good example of the Double Cross-Wing, a relatively uncommon house type in Utah.
It was a very small settlement with only a dozen or so people. This house is all that remains of Little Pinto. I have not been able to find to much information about it yet.
Pinto is now considered a ghost town although there are a few year-round residents and many others that keep semi-permanent homes there.
The first settlers on Pinto Creek located where Pinto now is, according to advice from President George A. Smith. The settlers built their houses close together in fort style, making two rows of houses. They had no trouble with the Paiute Indians, but the Navajo Indians, about 1886, stole some stock from the range. The main street of the town follows the general course of the valley from southeast to northwest. The first meeting house at Pinto consisted of a small log house about 15 x 16 feet, built about 1860. A rock meeting house 24 x 34, was built in 1866 and was for many years also used as a schoolhouse.
In 1865 a treaty was made with the Paiute Indians by Colonel O.H. Iries at Pinto on September 18, 1865.
In 1868 the Union Iron Company commenced operations at Little Pinto bringing more settlers to the area. James G. Bleak who was traveling through the area with Erastus Snow and others said of their stop at Pinto on July 22, 1868, “…At this settlement there were nineteen families. It was a thriving place, built in fort style. Richard S. Robinson was Bishop at this time. Pinto continued as a small thriving farming community until 1916. At that time some residents who needed more land and water than Pinto offered bought and homesteaded the land at the mouth of Pinto canyon on the edge of the Escalante desert. They began to farm in the area and vacated the Pinto settlement to found the new town of Newcastle.
Another Ghost Town Located Nearby is Little Pinto
Length: 62.0 miles / 99.8 km
Time to Allow: 4-5 hours to experience this byway.
Restrictions: Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle.
Southern Nevada’s Gold Butte Back Country Byway is just right. Beginning roughly 90 miles outside of Las Vegas and just five miles south of Mesquite, the scenic 62-mile byway is a study in dazzling desert treasures and offers wonderful opportunities for exploring, camping and hiking.
In a pleasurable four to five hours, visitors cruising along the Gold Butte Back Country Byway will be treated to such sights as native desert wildlife, brilliantly colored sandstone, sinkholes, ancient petroglyphs and fantastic formations like the Muddy and Virgin Mountains. Access to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area is also available on the byway, which runs within a few hours of destinations including Hoover Dam and the Valley of Fire State Park. Motorists on the byway will also be treated to a tour through the historic mining town of Gold Butte. The small town, established in 1908, was mined for copper, gold, zinc and lead and is certainly worth a look today. Another unforgettable sight on the byway is an incredible forest of Joshua trees.
Because of the nature of the route, which offers a mix of paved, gravel and unmaintained road, it is recommended that visitors on the Gold Butte Back Country Byway drive high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles.
A good suggestion would be to bring a few good pare tire as with any travel in the desert or wilderness for a matter of fact these roads are hard on your tires, this particular trip afforded us the expense of two new tires after we returned home. Very little remains of the Ghost town although the landscape and the man made historical remains throughout the area make the effort well worth the drive.