I will begin to post the Testimony About The Gunfight Near The Ok Corral. The information was mainly taken from the Tombstone Nugget, but the Tombstone Epitaph and the Hayhurst Transcript (which was based on the original that has since been lost)will be used when necessary to fill in gaps. Though every effort was made to copy the testimony verbatim, mistakes in the transcription may be present. I will try to review and correct any mistakes in the posts at some point. The intent is to provide people who are interested in this material an opportunity to look at it.


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.

Coroner's Inquest- Day 2