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

November 4, 1881

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

Mrs. Martha J. King, a housewife of Tombstone, says she was in Bauer's butcher shop on Fremont Street at the time the shooting com­menced, and heard it. She saw some armed parties pass the door. She could not say they were all armed. "I saw one man, Mr. Holliday, with arms. He had a gun. I mean a gun, not a pistol. I cannot tell the difference between a shotgun and a rifle. Do not know whether he had a shotgun or a rifle."

She identifies Holliday. She says he had an overcoat and his gun on the left side, with his arm thrown over it, and the gun under his coat. "I saw the gun under the coat as he was walking and his coat would fly open." She saw the Earp party first between the butcher shop and the Post Office, going down Fremont Street toward Third Street. She only knew the Earp brothers by sight. She says Holliday was on the side next to the building. She heard them say something. The one on the outside looked around to Holliday and said, "Let them have it!" He [Holliday] replied, "All right." She heard nothing else. She did not see any of the fight. She ran back in the shop. She does not know the Sheriff by sight. She did not see anyone talking to the Earps. She says the one who said, "Let them have it!" has been pointed out to her as one of the Earp brothers.

(Q) Did you know what was meant by the words? "Let them have it!"?

(A) I suppose I did.  saw a man just previous to that holding a horse and he said to another man, "If you wish to find us, you will find us just below here.”

(Q) How long before the men passed the door was it that you heard the man holding the horse say, "You will find us just below here."?

(A) I don't think it was more than four or five minutes. Witness gives more detail of the various positions of the men and where she was [just inside the folding doors of the market]. She did not hear any other words other than those already quoted.

(Q) Was the hearing of those words the only reason you had for knowing who was meant by the word, "them?"

(A) When I first went in the shop, the parties who keep the shop seemed to be excited and did not want to wait on me. I inquired what was the matter, and they said there was about to be a fight between the Earp boys and the cowboys, and they said the party who had the horse was one of the cowboys.

[Objected to. Overruled, exception noted.]

Further questioning as to whether she was frightened. Then to query says she did not see anyone speak to the Earp party to try to stop them. She believes she would have seen any person that had come close to them.

Earp Trial Homepage