Testimony of William Allen
in the Preliminary  Hearing in the Earp-Holliday Case,
Heard before Judge Wells Spicer

November 1, 1881

On this first day of November, 1881, on the hearing of the above entitled cause of the examination of Wyatt Earp and J. H. Holliday; William Allen, a witness of lawful age, being produced and sworn, deposes and says as follows:

The deposition of William Allen. He resides in Tombstone. He is not in any business at this time. He knew all the participants in one degree or another. He says that on the morning of the difficulty he heard there had been some trouble between Isaac Clanton and Doc Holliday. He says he walked down the street and saw there was, "Quite a stir." On meeting Henry Fry, he learned Tom McLaury had been hit with a pistol by Wyatt Earp. [Objected to by the Defense. Sustained.]

I first saw Frank McLaury on that day pretty near the Grand Hotel as they were riding in. Frank McLaury, Bill Clanton, and an old gentleman who I am not acquainted with. This was about 2 o'clock in the afternoon. At first, Doc Holliday went out and shook hands with one of them in a pleasant way, and said, "How are you?" or something of that kind. Holliday left them there and Frank McLaury, Billy Clanton, and the old man went on to [the] Grand Hotel. I left them then. This was near the middle of the street, nearly opposite the Alhambra Saloon. I crossed the street, and went over to them. The boys were about to take a drink, and asked me to join them. I called Frank off to one side and asked him if he knew what was going on. [Objection and motion to strike.]

The boys, Frank McLaury, Billy Clanton, and the old gent, after the statement I made to them, got on their horses and rode down the street. I have heard the old gentleman's name was Frick.

After I told them what I had heard, that Tom McLaury had been hit on the head by Wyatt Earp, Frank says, "What did he hit Tom for?" I said I did not know. He says, "We won't drink.” That is the last words I ever heard him say. They got on their horses and rode off. Before that he said, "I will get the boys out of town." The glasses were on the counter when he said this. They did not drink. I saw them after they crossed the street, going through the O.K. Corral. I was going down Allen Street. [Defense moves to strike.]

He continues to relate that he saw the boys walking, one of them leading a horse. They were crossing the street from the direction of the Dunbar Stable [Behan and Dunbar Stable], going through the O.K. Corral. He says he went on and passed through the O.K. Corral with Mr. Coleman. He then saw Doc Holliday and the Earp party coming down the sidewalk on Fremont Street. He says he followed in behind the Earps. He saw Ike and Billy Clanton and Tom and Frank McLaury and Johnny Behan near Fly's building. He heard Behan tell the Earps not to go down to the Clan tons. He did not use any very great exertions, but he told them not to go.

When the Earp party got down to the Clantons, the Earp party said "You sons-of-bitches, you have been looking for a fight!" The same instant, Virgil said, "Throw up your hands!"

Tom McLaury threw his coat open and said, "I ain't got no arms!" He caught hold of the lapels of his coat and threw it open.3 William Clan­ton said, "I do not want to fight!" and held his hands out in front of him [witness shows how]. He had nothing in his hands when he held them in this position. I did not notice what Frank McLaury did. I did not notice him or Ike. Just as William Clanton said, "I do not want to fight!" and Tom McLaury threw open his coat and said, "I ain't got no arms," the firing commenced by the Earp party.

I think it was Doc Holliday who fired first.  Their backs were to me. I was behind them. The smoke came from him. I could not tell who fired the second shot; they came in such quick succession. I think the first was a pistol shot and the next a double barrel shotgun. These two shots were from the Earp side, before any other shots were fired.

At the time the first shots were fired, Frank McLaury was holding his horse. He had no gun in his hand. He had a gun on him. I saw it. A pistol on him. I think it was Frank McLaury. At the moment of the first fire, I cannot tell whether Billy Clanton had the horse or Frank [both men had horses]. I think he was standing on the ground [meaning standing in the vacant lot]. I have stated that Billy held out his hands, in this position, and said,"I do not want to fight!" He was in this position when the firing commenced. I saw Thomas McLaury when the first two shots were fired slap his hand on his breast, like this, and went onto the vacant lot by Fly's building, where I could not see him. I went in this side of Fly's building. Billy Clanton dropped down at [the] first two shots.

I kept in between the building after this. I saw Frank McLaury across the street when he fell. I picked Tom McLaury up and carried him in the house, where he died. He must have walked clean around the house. I did not see any guns in the hands of any of the Clan tons or McLaurys shotguns or rifles, I mean. I saw sometime before the shooting-I saw Virg with a shotgun at the gunsmith's on Fourth Street. Next time, he was standing in the door.

I could not see whether the Earp party had guns on their persons down Fremont Street. They passed down too quick. The first I saw of weapons was when the fight commenced.

I picked up Thomas McLaury and helped carry him into the house. I did not see any weapons on him. No cartridge belt. I pulled his shirt down to see where he was shot. He was breathing yet. I got in between the buildings after the two first shots were fired and did not see anymore of the shooting. If the McLaurys shot at all, it was after I got in behind the building.

I do not recollect of any reply the Earps made to Behan when he told them to go back-did not hear any remarks afterwards.



Discusses Tom McLaury's wounds. "It was a buckshot wound." It was an hour or an hour and a half or two after I met the boys at the Grand Hotel, where we proposed to take a drink but did not, that the shooting took place. Did not see Isaac Clanton at the Grand Hotel nor after that time of the difficulty, except as I saw him pass the street to the O.K. Corral with the others-not to speak to him. The first time I saw Thomas McLaury was at a distance as they crossed the street, about twen­ty minutes or half an hour before the shooting. At the time, I was on Allen Street walking down the street between third and fourth. Thomas McLaury was crossing the street from Dunbar's Corral. I think it was him. Only knew him by sight-no personal acquaintance. The other parties were with him-meaning Ike Clanton, William Clanton, Frank McLaury and another man they call Billy the Kid.5 I think Frank McLaury was leading a horse, or Billy Clanton, one of the two, was leading a horse.

After seeing them pass through the O.K. Corral, I stood on the side­walk awhile with Mr. Coleman, then told him I did not want to see it. He said, "Come on, let’s go see it." And so I went into the O.K. Corral and passed through it with Coleman onto Fremont Street.

When I reached Fremont Street, I walked down to the upper corner-the corner of Fly's building, the photograph gallery-to a point eight or ten feet from the sidewalk on the street. I stopped only about a minute on the way there.

When I reached Fremont Street, the Earps were between Fly's building and the next house on the vacant lot between. The Earps had already passed down Fremont Street when I came onto the street.

I was standing in the little place near Bauer's butcher shop, just this way from it, when I heard Behan tell the Earps not to go down there. The Earps were near the front of this butcher shop when Behan told them not to go down, and had already passed me.

When I first saw the McLaurys and Clantons, they were on the vacant lot next to Fly's building. Thomas McLaury was-I could not tell how they stood. They were pretty much together. I think Billy was off to the right. I won't be sure. The horse was right there. One of them had him on the bridle. Billy Clanton or Thomas McLaury had the bridle. I think it was one of the two [Billy Clanton]. I think the horse was facing towards the lot. At the time I heard Thomas McLaury say, "I haven't got any arms." I was standing ten feet away, in front of Fly's building. I could not state how McLaury and they with him were standing. I could place them [possibly on the diagram the court had]. When Thomas McLaury said, "I haven't any arms," he held the lapels of his coat open. I think he was facing in towards Fly's building. They were between the two buildings. Billy Clanton, then he said, "I don't want to fight with them," I cannot state where they were standing. He was facing towards Fly's building, when he held out his hands. The man who held the horse was facing towards Fly's building. All three men were about 20 feet from me at the time-20 or 25 feet.

The Earps and Holliday at this time were close to the other por­tion. The Earps were 15 feet or so from me. I have told where I was and where the other party was. I was in front of Fly's building at [the] time, ten feet out, and both the other parties were around the corner, by the corner of Fly's building, on the vacant lot. I think Wyatt only got to the corner. [Follows more opinion as to where the various combatants stood.]

He says the first shot was from a pistol. "The shot came from the Earp party. The smoke came from Doc Holliday." More talk about where they stood. He says he saw Doc swing his hand up and then saw the smoke come from him, and from the sound believes the first shot came from the Earp party-from hearing the shot and seeing the smoke.

I did not see it, but I know from the sound that the second shot was fired from a shotgun. He says when the shotgun went off, Tom McLaury threw his hands up to his breast. Tom McLaury was then only four or five feet from the nearest of the Earp party-might have been Morg. I did not see anyone with a shotgun then. After these "two first" shots, he ducked between the buildings. I got out of the way quick.

At the time I said to Mr. Coleman that I did not want to see it, I meant I did not want to see the quarrel. I knew there would be one. At least I considered there would be one from the appearance of things, and I did not want to see it. But I went with Coleman.

I have resided in Tombstone two years. My relations with the Earps have been the best, always-always friendly. Before I came here, I lived in Colorado-Denver-Cheyenne-Georgetown-Cheyenne in Wyoming. I have never had any other name than William Allen. They have called me other names, but this is my true name here. A man gets a nickname around the mountains.

(Q) Did you not call yourself by, and pass under, another name than William Allen in Colorado?

(A) I decline to answer.

[The court instructs the witness of his legal right to decline to answer. The attorney's for the prosecution objected to the question on the grounds of being irrelevant, etc. Overruled, exceptions noted.]

(Q) Did you not, when residing in Colorado, and during your residence there, call yourself, and pass by the name of L. Brand? And were you not under that name indicted in Georgetown, Colorado, for larceny? And did you not immediately after such indictment escape and flee from Colorado and come from there to Tombstone?

(A) I never went by that name and never [heard] it.

[Same objection as above.]

(Q) Were you not indicted in Colorado for larceny prior to your coming to Arizona? [Overruled and excluded. Defense accepts.] The question is again asked. The Court refuses to put it to the witness. Defense accepts. Deposition is read over to the witness, and he adds that by guns he meant pistols, in that connection.


Signed] William Allen 6

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