Testimony of E. F. Boyle
in the Preliminary  Hearing in the Earp-Holliday Case,
Heard before Judge Wells Spicer

November 17 and 23, 1881

E.F .Boyle


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

E. F. Boyle, November 17, 1881. Barkeeper. To questions, relates that he knows Ike and that he met Ike in front of the telegraph office, about 8:30 or 9 A.M., October 26. They had a talk. Ike had a pistol with him.


(Q) State what if any threats were then made by him in respect to Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp, Morgan Earp or Doc Holliday, and if any threats were made, whether or not you communicated the same to W. Earp, V. Earp, M. Earp or Doc Holliday before the difficulty [later in the day]. Objected to. Objection sustained. Unanswered.


[Signed] E. F. Boyle


E. F. Boyle, a barkeeper, of Tombstone, November 23, 1881.

(Q) As to any threats he had heard from Ike. Objected to by prosecution. [Overruled.]

(A) After I went off watch at 8 o'clock in the morning, I met Ike Clanton in front of the telegraph office in this town. His pistol was in sight and I covered it with his coat and advised him to go to bed. He insisted that he wouldn't go to bed: that as soon as the Earps and Doc Holliday showed themselves on the street, the ball would open-that they would have to fight. He started to Kelly's saloon and I went down to Wyatt Earp's house and told him that Ike Clanton had threatened that when him and his brothers and Doc Holliday showed themselves on the street that the ball would open. Then I left and went home to bed.

(Q) Did you see any weapons [on Ike] except the rifle?

(A) Yes the pistol.

(Q) Do you know Tom and Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton?

(A) I know them all.

(Q) Do you know their reputation for courage and how expert they were in the use of firearms?

(A) Only by hearsay.

(Q) To what extent is that hearsay?

(A) The hearsay is that they are the finest in the country.



(Q) [Not written].

(A) Ike Clanton was the only one present at the time of our conversation.

(Q) [Not written].

(A) Learned of their reputation last year before the difficulty.

(Q) [Not written.]

(A) Knew Tom McLaury about 18 months, never knew him to be in a difficulty with anybody. Learned of Tom McLaury's reputation from old James Sweeny of Pick-'Em-Up. I learned that Tom was one of the best shots in the country. I never questioned his courage.

(Q) Now tell me, who else told you about his reputation as a courageous and fine shot?

(A) Well, there [were] several sitting together down at Pick-'Em-Up, and Jim Sweeny and Ned Fielder were speaking of his courage and being a fine shot, all I know of his reputation is from these men.

(Q) [Not written].

(A) Knew Billy Clanton about the same length of time. Never was on intimate terms with him. Never knew him to be in any difficulty.

(Q) How do you come to state he had a general reputation for courage and was an expert shot?

(A) From the association of men he traveled with.

(Q) [Not written].

(A) I can't tell any of the men from whom I heard their reputation. I have known Ike Clanton about two years. Knew Frank McLaury about 18 months. Ed Shipman, he now lives in Los Angeles, and it is from his statement that I got his general reputation, and no other.

(Q) [Not written].

(A) Will Hicks and Frank McLaury were in Kelly's saloon and a man named Smith that keeps a store in Galeyville and Frank McLaury went out. This all happened one morning about two months ago. I came to open up the saloon for Kelly, and when I opened the saloon, I met this big [sic] Ed Byrnes, Frank McLaury, and John Ringo; and Byrnes started to tell me what-[all crossed out with lines, but no notation of the same.]

(Q) Did you ever of your [own] knowledge know of Frank McLaury to be in any difficulty?

(A) No sir.


[Signed] E. F. Boyle

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