On October 28, 1881, a coroner's inquest concerning the death's of Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers in Tombstone was conducted by a panel of citizens. The Tombstone Daily Nugget reported the events the following day, October 29, 1881:


Testimony of Witnesses of the Late Tragedy.

Yesterday at 10 o`clock the Coroner's Jury, composed of R.F. Hafford, D. Calisher, T.F. Hudson, M. Garret,S.B. Comstock, J.W. Conwell, J.C. Davis, Thos. Moses, Harry Walker, C.D. Reppy, C.H.Haskell, and W.S.Goodrich, met at the District Court room for the purpose of inquiring into the causes and circumstances attending the death of Tom and Frank Mclowry and Billy Clanton. As the testimony had to be taken without the assistance of a short hand reporter the examination was necessarily slow and tedious, and possibly may not be finished for several days. The following is the testimony of the witnesses sworn:

John H, Behan, Sheriff, sworn, testified: As I was in the barber shop getting shaved; the barber was talking about the probability of there being a fight between the Earps and the cowboys; I told him to hurry up, that I didn't intend there should be any trouble; when I left the shop I went across the street to Hafford's corner where Virgil Earp was, and said: "I want you to stop this, as it is your duty." He said he would not do it, "if they want a fight they can have it;" Earp said, 'some of the s- of b-s want a fight and they can have it;' I then went down and saw Frank Mclowry; he was in the street holding a horse; I said I wanted him to give up his arms; he said he would not unless the others, Earp, Holliday, etc., did; he said that he had done nothing and did not want to make any fight; I looked down Fremont street and saw the Clanton Brothers and Tom Mclowry; I said 'Frank, come down with me; he went down to where the boys were killed; I said to them, 'I have to arrest you all and want you to come up to the Sheriff's office and lay off your arms; Frank Mclowry rather demurred giving up and gave his reasons, said he wanted the other party disarmed as well; just after that time I saw Marshal Earp, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday coming down the street and ordered them back; told them I was there for the purpose of disarming this party; they paid no attention; I appealed to them several times not to go down; they passed me, said something, I now forget what, but to the effect that they would not go back; when they got to the party of cowboys they drew their guns and said: 'You s- of b-, you have been lokking for a fight and you can have it;' some one of the party said 'throw up your hands,' and then the fight commenced; they fought there until some twenty-five or thrity-shots were fired; all the time I was talking to the parties, to the Earps and Holliday and the others to put up their guns and not to shoot; I heard one man say, 'Don't shoot me, I don't want to fight;' it was Billy Clanton, I am sure; I afterward saw Billy Clanton shooting while he was on the ground; he was lying on the ground with his legs crossed; Tom Mclowry threw his coat open and said 'I have got nothing;' this was instantanious with the shooting, almost at the same time; then the shooting began; after the fight was over Wyatt Earp said to me, 'you have decieved me, you said you had disarmed them; 'I said I did nothing of the kind, and repeated what I had said: that's all; I put my hand around Ike Clanton, he had nothing; Tom Mclowery showed me he had nothing; Ike Clanton said they were getting ready to leave town; Mclowry and Billy Clanton were the only ones armed; Frank Mclowry and Billy Clanton had their horses ready, leading them; they were five or six standing around; one of them; Billy Claiborne, said I am not one of them; there were six, including myself; I can't say who fired the first shot; it was a nickle-plated pistol; there were two shots pretty close together; it was on of the Earps, on of the four Earps, and Holliday; I can't say which, but it was one of the EArp crowd that fired first; the Earp party had a shotgun, Holliday had it, he tried to conceal it, I can't say I saw the shotgun fired off; I think it was, I say Billy Clanton fall and Frank Mclowry. Frank Mclowry had not his pistol drawn when Marshal Earp ordered them to throw up their hands; I considered they, the Mclowry party, under arrest, but could not say whether they would pay any attention; I left them for the purpose of stopping the Earp party; I saw them coming at the time.

W.C. Claiborne, sworn:

"I was present on the 26th at the time of the shooting between certain parties; am acquinted with the parties to it, Frank Mclowry, two Earps, W. Clanton, Ike Clanton, Morgan Earp; I was present at the time the shooting took place; I was standing there with Mr. Behan, Frank Mclowry and Ike Clanton: I was there when behan came up; I was talking to Billy Clanton. The day this thing happened I down to Doc Killingham's office with Ike Clanton to assist him in getting his head dressed, then I walked up fourth street; I met Billy Clanton and Frank Mclowry, and Billy asked me where was Ike; he said, 'I want him to go out home.' He said, 'I did not come here to fight anyone, and no one wants to fight me.' Then we went down to Johnny Behan's stable and got Calnton's horse, and went through the OK-corral and some other corral, to get his brother's horse; then Billy Clanton said to his brother he wanted him to get his horse and go home to the ranch; his brother said he would go directly; then Mr. Behan came up and was talking to the boys; I did not hear what was said; I was talking to Billy; Behan was talking to Ike Clanton and Frank Mclowry; then behan turned his back and walked up the street. The next thing I saw was Morgan Earp, his two brothers and Doc Holliday; and Marshal Earp said: 'You s- of a b-, you have been looking for a fight, and you can get it;' and Marshal Earp says; "throw up your hands!' Ike Clanton, Billy Clanton, and Frank Mclowry did, and Tom Mclowry took hold of the labels of his coat and said" 'Boys, I have got nothing.' Just then the shooting commenced by Doc Holliday and Morgan Earp; the first shot taking Tom Mclowry, was fired by Doc Holliday, the next was fired by Morgan Earp, taking Billy Clanton; Billy Clanton was shot with his hands up, and raised in front. He (Billy Clanton) said: Don't shoot me; I don't want to fight.' He said it after the shot was fired. That was the last I saw of Billy Clanton alive; then Mr. Behan put me in the photograph gallery in the room; I wanted to get there, out of the way; he said: stay here until I get back; I stayed there ten or fifteen minutes; that is all I saw except the bodies afterwards; yes; I saw the bodies afterwards, in the street; I recognized the bodies to be the bodies of Frank Mclowry, Billy Clanton, and Tom Mclowry; I knew them about four years, all of them; I was sworn that night by the Coroner, and the statement made to the jury at that time was under oath. That is all I know about it. While I was standing in the side of the street near the photograph gallery about ten feet below it; their faces were turned up street; I think one of the Mclowrys had a horse leading him; I and Billy Clanton were standing in a vacant place, leaning against a building; we were about four feet or a little more from the other boys; I did not hear any conversation with the sheriff; Billy might, I don;t know or not; Billy was talking to me about 15 minutes; I think he left me a minute or two before the shooting; Billy went up towards the other boys after the Sheriff had left and joined them, when the Earp party came up they had their pistols in their hands; I saw Billy Clanton draw his pistol after he was shot down; I saw Frank Mclowry draw his; there were about six shots fired by the Earps before he drew his; I am positive that Doc Holliday and Morgan Earp fired the first two shots; Mclowry staggered back a piece after the first-it was Tom Mclowry; I did not see him fall; Tom Mclowry had nothing to fire a shot with; he had no weapon of any kind; this was before I went into the photograph gallery; there was about sixteen shots fired before I went in; I was out in one end of a vacant place; i was struck with a bullet through the pants leg; Ike Clanton got away by the time seven or eight shots were fired; I could not see what he was doing, dodging around , I guess; I think the sheriff was down there about twenty minutes; Behan asked me if I was one of the crowd; I said, no sir, I was not; the boys told him I was not, also; I think the distance between the parties was not over four-feet; Doc Holliday fired the first shot with a nickle-plated sixshooter; Billy done the shooting afterwards; I was not armed; I left my left my arms at Kellog's house; I think I saw the Sheriff when he met the Sheriff (marshal) coming down; it was about twenty feet from the other party, perhaps a little more; I think I saw a shotgun in the fight; Ike Clanton threw his hands up at first; when the first two shots were fired by Morgan Earp and Holliday the other Earp was behind them, or near the side of them; I did not see the sheriff at that time; don;t recollect seeing him until after he went to see the Earp boys; I was put in the house after the killing; I think there were two shots fired after I was in the house; I think there were twenty-eight or thirty shots fired; at the time I was standing with the Clantons they were talking about going home; were not talking about a fight; that was partly while Behan was there; I saw the other Earp brothers shoot also; Billy Clanton was in town only half an hour before the shooting; Frank came in with Billy, so I understood; don't know how long Tom had been in; it was an eigth of a second after the first shots were fired; I know that the other two Earps began firing before Billy Clanton and Frank Mclowry commenced firing."

W.A. Smith, sworn: Excused.

W.M. A. Cuddy, sworn:

"Was present two or three minutes previous to the shooting. I was standing at the post office and Mr. Kenealy told me of trouble between the Clantons, Earps and other men whom he termed 'cowboys.' Mr. Page told me that the cowboys were down at Fly's gallery. I walked down as far as Fly's house; there I saw Sheriff Behan and four farmers; as I approached one of them, William Clanton, put his hand on his pistol as if in fear of somebody; he then recognized me and removed his hands; Sheriff Behan's back was towards me. I then heard Mr. Behan say "I won't have no fighting, you must give me your arms or leave town immediately.' Ike Clanton answered, 'They will have no trouble with us, Johnny; we are going to leave town now.' I then addressed Mr. Behan 'Good day, Johnny,' and passed on through the lots towards Allen street; crossed over a fence at the corner of Allen street; walked quickly up Allen street and got opposite the Mexican dance house when the shooting began. I looked towards were I had left the sheridd and saw Ike Clanton exit through the back door of the little house; he passed me on Allen street and ran across into the dance house. I begun calling out 'The sheriff is killled!' I then went back and saw the dead bodies. One of the men had a horse, I heard the sheriff say to Wyatt Earp, 'I will have to arrest you.' Earp replied. 'No-man can arrest me now.' 'There is no hurry in arresting this man; he has done just right in killing them, and the people will uphold them.' (Refering to a remark made by Juryman Comstock.) Wyatt Earp said, 'We had to do it, and you threw us, Johnny you told us that they were disarmed.' I then left; the sheriff said they were disarmed; Behan then went to explain, and some one said there is no use in talking about it now. Behan said he was not afraid to arrest Earp; Earp said as soon as the excitement was over, he was willing to be arrested. It seems to me that there were but four; might have been more but I don't remeber seeing them. it was not less than three nor more than five minutes when I saw them before the fighting. Billy Clanton was in the group with the other party; I left the Sheriff standing there the last I saw of him; I passed quickly by; Billy Clanton and one of the other two had on a cartredge belt and seeemed to be armed. Ike Clanton had his hands in his pockets; did not see the others armed. It appeared to me that Claiborne was around there; something appears to me that he was in connection with that affair. I add that was the only place where I seen any of these parties in connection with this affair, with the exception of the dead bodies and Wyatt Warp and Sheriff Behan."

Claiborne recalled:

Says: "I think I saw Mr. Cuddy pass by while I was standing in a vacant place; I was not talking with anyone."

Ham Light sworn:

"I was in Tombstone on the 26th, in the afternoon; I saw a portion of the shooting between the Earps and Doc Holliday and the Clantons and Mclowrys; I know the Earps and Doc Holliday; I saw Holliday since, and recognize him as one of the party doing the shooting; I was in the barber shop before the shooting; the barber told me that there was likely to be trouble between the Earps and the cowboys; he said the Earps had just passed down the street with their guns; I passed them on the way down to my house, at the corner of thrid and fremont; was in my house; I heard two shots as quick as one, two, an instant apart; I jumped for the side window, looking up fremont street; saw several men in act of shooting; that instant I saw a man reel and fall on the corner of Fremont and Third, right at the corner; don;t know who the man was; I looked up the street and they were standing nearly at an angle, probably fiften feet apart, nearly in the center of the street; they were facing Fly's photograph gallery; a man with a horse stood between them and a vacant lot next to the next building; then I saw a man leaning against the building next to Fly's Photograph Gallery; there appeared to be three men firing at the man with the horse; that man appeared to be struck by the motions he made; he fired one shot at the lower man-at the northwesterly man; that shot appeared to take effect; he turned partially around; I then looked at the man against the house, expecting to see him fall; he was in the act of falling; at that instant the horse ran; the lower man fired, apparently, up the street; then I turned my attention to the man who had slid down; he was laying on his back, he had his pistol across his leg, he fired two shots, he attempted to fire a third shot, but was apparently too weak to do so; the shot went in the air. There was a tall man. with gray clothes and broad hat, standing in the middle of the street, fired two shots at the man leaning against the house; then there appeared to be a man firing in the direction where this man lay; the man at the corner of the street fired but three shots his pistol appeared to be disabled. The next thing I saw was two men standing near the wounded man in the corner of the street, a tall man. with black clothes, with a rifle; he said 'take that pistol away from him or I'll kill him,' the man was dying anyhow. At this time the shooting was all over with; it took altogether fifteen or twenty seconds. The tall man was not one of the participants, he had balck whiskers. It seemed to me that there was six parties shooting, one with the horse and one on the south side of the street, and the four others. I recognized the man with the gray clothes as Doc Holliday; there must have been twenty or thrity shots fired; did not see a shotgun fired; was about 130 or 140 feet away at the time; the two reports I think were pistol shots; think there was on report from a shotgun. The man never stirred after he fell at the corner of the street; it seemed to me that he was the first man shot; I did not see the man fire any shot; both of the two first shots came from two pistols; could not be fired from one pistol; could not have had time; the man who fired the second shot must have been prepared; that is they must have had their pistols; these two shots were fired before I got to the window; it did not take me a second to get there." At conclusion of Ham Light's testimony the jury was excused until 10 o`clock to-day.

Tombstone Daily Nugget

October 30, 1881


Further Testimony Regarding the Late Tragedy.

The Coroner's jury summoned for the purpose of inquiring into the death of William Clanton and Thomas McLowry and Frank McLowry, met at 10 o`clock yesterday and continued the examination, by taking the testimony of the following witnesses:

B.H. Fallehy, sworn, and testified:

I heard some stranger ask Ike Clanton what is the trouble; he said there would be no trouble; then Ike Clanton went over to Dolan's saloon; I then looked over and saw the Marshal standing at Hafford's doorway; then saw the Sheriff going over to where the Marshal and Sheriff were talking; the Sheriff says, "What's the trouble;" the Marshal says, "Those men have made their threats; I will not arrest them but will kill them on sight;" Virgil Earp said this; the Sheriff asked the Marshal in for a drink; did not see them afterward, as I crossed over the street to the other side; when I got over there I saw one of the Earp brothers, the youngest one, talking with Doc Holliday; looked across the street; saw the Marshal again; some one came up to him and called him aside; when this gentleman got through talking with the Earps; saw three of the Earps and Doc Holliday go down the street together; they keep on the left side of the street on Fourth; I was on the right side; when I got to the corner of Fremont and Fourth I started to go across to the southwest corner of Fremont; when I got mid-way between in the street I saw the firing had commenced; I keep my eyes on the Earps and Holliday until the shooting commenced; I saw Doc Holliday in the middle of the street; the youngest of the Earp brothers was about three feet from the sidewalk; he was firing at a man behind a horse; Holliday also fired at the man behind the horse, and firing at a man who ran by him on the opposite side of the street; then I saw the man who had the horse let go, he was staggering all the time until he fell; I never saw the two elder Earps; I do not know where they were situated; I then went to the young man lying on the sidewalk and offered to pick him up; he never spoke except the movement of his lips; I picked up a revolver lying five feet from him; then I saw Doc Holliday running towards where the young man was lying, still having a revolver in his hand, making the remark, 'the s- of a b- has shot me and I mean to kill him;' could not say who fired the first shots; I didn't see a shotgun go off; I didn't see a shotgun after I walked down the street: I didnt' see any one with their hands up, I was too far away to see that.

Ike Clanton, sworn:

"Am a cattle dealer; was present on the 26th of the month, and am a brother of William Clanton who was killed on that day; saw the whole transaction, the killing; well the night before the killing went into the Occidental lunch saloon for a lunch; while in there Doc Holliday came in and raised a row with me; was abusing me; he had his hand on his pistol; called me a s- of a b-; he told me to get my gun out; I told him I had no gun; I looked around and saw Morgan Earp behind him, they began to abuse me, when I turned and got out doors; Virg. Earp, Wyatt and Morgan were all up there; Morg Earp told me that if I wanted to fight to turn myself loose; they all had their hands; I told them again that I was not armed; Doc Holliday said, 'You s- of a b- go and arm yourself; I did then go and arm myself; I went back, saw V. Earp and T. McLowry; Virg. Earp was playing poker with his pistol on his lap; we were playing poker; we quit at daylight; I followed him and said, I was abused the night before and was still in town, he said he was going to bed; the reason I followed him up was I saw him take his pistol out of his lap and stick it in his pants; I came back and passed in my chips; staid around until 8 or 9 o`clock;

I Staid to meet Doc Holliday;

The next thing they, Virg. and Morg Earp, slipped up and disarmed me; shortly after I met my brother; he asked me to go out of town; just then I met the man who had are team; I told him to harness up; then I left to go get something left by my brother; We then went to where are team was; met the Sheriff there; he told us that he would have to arrest us and take are arms off. I told him that we were just going to leave town; that I had no arms on me; he then told Billy, my brother, to take his arms up to his office. Billy told him he was just leaving the town; he, the Sheriff, then told Frank and Tom McLowry to take their arms off. Tom McLowry then opened his coat and said, 'Johnny, I have nothing. Frank said that he was leaving town, and he would disarm, if the Earps would; that he had business that he would like to do before he left town. Just at that time Doc Holliday and the Earps appeared on the sidewalk; the sheriff stepped out to meet them; he told them he had the party in charge; they walked right by him, I stepped out and met Wyatt Earp; he struck his sixshooter at me and said, "Throw up your hands!" The marshal also told the other boys to throw up their hands; Frank McLowry and Billy Clanton threw up; Tom McLowry threw open his coat said he had nothing; they said you s- of b-s came here to make a fight; at the same instant Doc Holliday and Morgan Earp shot; Morgan shot Billy Clanton, and I don't know which of the boys he shot; I saw Virg shooting at the same time; I grabbed Wyatt Earp and pushed him around the corner and then ran through the photograph gallery; at the same time I saw Billy Clanton fall; when I got away.


Except, Tom McLowry, who threw open his coat, saying he had nothing. There was some trouble between myself and the Earps prior to this; there was nothing between the other boys and the Earps; Doc Holliday had said that I had used his name; I said I hadn't; I never had any trouble with the Earps; they don't like me; we once had a transaction, myself and the Earps; I know of no threats made by the Clantons and the McLowrys that day; I made no threats, only as I formerly said; they, the Earps, met Billy Clanton 15 minutes befoe they killed him and shook hands with him and said they were glad to meet him; Billy Clanton and Frank McLowry were only half an hour in town; I might have made threats as said, as I felt that way, I made no worse threats then they did with me; I didm't expect Wyatt, I expected


Our crowd did not expect an attack until someone told us; at the time they made the attack I had no arms; the Earp brothers had my arms; Virg. Earp had them; it was a sixshooter; it was two days prior since I saw Billy or Frank McLowry until that morning; had never had a word of conversation with either of them in my life; I don't know whether the party had a shotgun; Virgil Earp was about six feet from me; they were three or four feet distant when they fired; I did not see my brother or either of the Mclowrys fire a shot; there were four or five shot fired before I left the ground; at the time Sheriff was talking to us; Billy Clanton and Billy Claiborne were standing together; the McLowrys and myself were standing five or six feet to the left; the Clantons came up from Antelope Springs for a load of frieght, that is the McLowrys; I don't know how near Claiborne was to me at the time of the shooting; I don't know whether Morgan or Doc fired first; it was a nickle-plated pistol by one of them; there weapons were down when they came up; the Sheriff, after he had ordered us to give up our arms I did not think we were under arrest; he said it was alright if we left town; Behan had a conversation with Frank McLowry; I know where the Sheriff's office is; we could not have gone up to the sheriff's office after he left us before the Earps came up; the Sheriff told us to stay where we were until he came back; I would not have staid there had I not had orders from the Sheriff, after I saw the Earps armed; the Sheriff was with us four, five or six minutes.

M.J. King, sworn:

Resides in Tombstone; occupation housekeeping; I was coming from my home to the meat market, Mr. Bauer's, to get some meat for dinner; I saw quite a group of men standing on the sidewalks with two horses, near the market; I passed into the shop; the parties inside seemed quite excited; did not seem to wait on me; I inquired what was the matter, and they said there was going to be a fuss between the Earp boys and cowboys; then I stepped to the door; I heard some talking then but did not understand what was said, then these parties seem to seperate, and the man with the horse seemed to be leading, as the man who was talking with them turned from them; one of them said, "If you wish to find us, you will find us down there;" then the man went up towards the post office; he was a tall man; then stepped into the market; the butcher was in the act of cutting the meat, when some one said, "There they come;" Then I stepped to the door and looked up the sidewalk, when I saw four men coming down the street; I saw and know one of the parties, it was Doc Holliday; there were three others of the party which were pointed out to me as the Earps brothers; Mr. Holliday was next to the buildings on the inside; he had a gun under his coat; I stood in the door until these men passed; till they got to the second door; what frightened me and made me turn back? I heard the man on the outside kind of stop or look at Holliday and said "Let them have it;" Holliday said, "All Right;" then I thought there would be shooting; from what these parties said; and ran for the back of the shop; but before I reached the middle of the shop I heard shots, and don't know what happened afterwards.

R.J. Coleman, s