On this nineteenth day of November, 1881, on the hearing of the above entitled cause on the examination of Wyatt Earp and J. H. Holliday; Virgil W. Earp, a witness of lawful age, being produced and sworn, deposes and says as follows:
My name is Virgil W. Earp; I reside in Tombstone, Cochise County, Arizona Territory. My occupation: Chief of Police of Tombstone and Deputy U. S. Marshal.
(Q) State what official position,
if any, you occupied on the 25th
and 26th of October last.
(A) Chief of Police of Tombstone and Deputy
United States Marshal, and
was acting as such on those days?
(Q) State what official
or other position, if any, with respect to the police department of
was occupied on the 25th and 26th of October last by Morgan Earp.
(A) He was sworn in as Special Policeman and
wore a badge with "Special
Police" engraved on it, and he had been sworn and acted as a
"Special" for about a month.
(Q) State what official
or other position, if any, with respect to the police department of
was occupied on the 25th and 26th of October last by Wyatt Earp.
(A) Wyatt Earp had been
sworn in to act in my place while I was in Tucson, and on my return his
[Oriental) was opened and I appointed him a "Special," to keep the
peace, with power to make arrest, and also called on him on the 26th,
me in disarming those parties: Ike Clanton and Billy Clanton, Frank
and Tom McLaury.
(Q) State what position or deputization, if
any, with respect to
assisting you as Chief of Police, was occupied on the 26th of October
anytime during that day by John H. Holliday.
(A) I called on him that day for assistance to
help disarm the Clantons
(Q) State fully all the circumstances of and
attendant upon the difficulty
which resulted in the death of Frank McLaury, Thomas McLaury, and Billy
Clanton, commencing on the day of the difficulty and confining your
the present entirely to what occurred within your sight and hearing on
of the difficulty, on the 26th of October.
(A) On the morning of the 26th, somewhere
about six or seven o'clock, I
started to go home, and Ike Clanton stopped me and wanted to know if I
carry a message from him to Doc Holliday. I asked him what it was. He
"The damned son of a bitch has got to fight." I said, "Ike, I am
an officer and I don't want to hear you talking that way at all. I am
down home now, to go to bed; I don't want you to raise any disturbance
am in bed."
I started to go home, and when I got ten feet
from him he said,
"You won't carry the message?" I said, "No, of course I
won't." I made four or five steps more. He said, "You may have to
fight before you know it." [Here, counsel for the prosecution reserves
right to strike out at the close, any portion of the answer]. I made no
to him and went home and went to bed. I don't know how long had been in
must have been between 9 and 10 o'clock when one of the policemen came
me to get up, as there was liable to be hell.
I did not get up right away, but in about half
art hour I got up. I
cannot tell exactly what time it was. Along about 11 or 12 o'clock I
came up on
the street and met a man by the name of Lynch. I found Ike Clanton on
Street between Fremont and Allen with a Winchester rifle in his hand
six-shooter stuck down in his breeches. I walked up and grabbed the
rifle in my
left hand. He let loose and started to draw his six-shooter. I hit him
head with mine and knocked him to his knees and took his six-shooter
I ask him if he was hunting for me. He said he was, and if he had seen
second sooner he would have killed me. I arrested Ike for carrying
believe was the charge, inside the city limits.
When I took him to the courtroom, Judge
Wallace was not there. I left
him in charge of Special Officer Morgan Earp while I went out to look
Judge. After the examination I asked him where he wanted his arms left,
said, "Anywhere I can get them, for you hit me over the head with your
six-shooter." I told him I would leave them at the Grand Hotel bar, and
done so. I did not hear, at that time, any quarrel between Wyatt Earp
Clanton. The next I saw them, they were, all four; Ike Clanton, Billy
Frank McLaury, and Tom McLaury in the gun shop on Fourth Street. I saw
Earp shooing a horse off the sidewalk and went down and saw them all in
shop, filling up their belts with cartridges and looking at the pistols
There was a committee waiting on me then and
called me away to one side.
I turned to Wyatt Earp and told him to keep peace and order until I
and to move the crowd off the sidewalk and not let them obstruct it.
When I saw
them again, all four of them were going in Dunbar's Corral. They did
long there. They came out and went into the O.K. Corral.
I called on Johnny Behan who refused to go
with me, to go help disarm
these parties. He said if he went along with me, there would be a fight
that they would not give up their arms to me. He said, "They won't hurt
me," and, "I will go down alone and see if I can disarm them." I
told him that was all I wanted them to do; to layoff their arms while
in town. Shortly after he left, I was notified that they were on
Street, and I called on Wyatt and Morgan Earp, and Doc Holliday to go
me disarm the Clan tons and McLaurys. We started down Fourth Street to
turned down Fremont west, towards Fly's lodging house. When we got
somewhere by Bauer's butcher shop, I saw the parties before we got
there, in a
vacant lot between the photograph gallery and the house west of it. The
were Ike and Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury, Johnny Behan, and
Johnny Behan seen myself and party coming down
towards them. He left the
Clanton and McLaury party and came on a fast walk towards us, and once
while he would look behind at the party he left, as though expecting
some kind. He met us somewhere close to the butcher shop. He threw up
hands, like this [illustrating] and said, "For God's sake, don't go
or they will murder you!"
I said, "Johnny, I am going down to disarm
them." By this time
I had passed him a step and heard him say, "I have disarmed them
all." When he said that, I had a walking stick in my left hand, and my
right hand was on my six-shooter in my waist pants [verbatim], and when
he had disarmed them, I shoved it clean around to my left hip and
walking stick to my right hand.
As soon as Behan left them, they moved in
between the two buildings, out
of sight of me. We could not see them. All we could [see] was about
horse. They were all standing in a row. Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury
their hands on their six-shooters. I don't hardly know how Ike Clanton
standing, but I think he had his hands in an attitude where I supposed
he had a
gun. Tom McLaury had his hand on a Winchester rifle on a horse.
As soon as I saw them, I said, "Boys, throw up
your hands, I want
your guns," or "arms." With that, Frank McLaury and Billy
Clanton drew their six-shooters and commenced to cock them, and I heard
them go "click-click." Ike Clanton threw his hand in his breast, this
way [illustrates]. At that, I said, throwing both hands up, with the
cane in my
right hand, "Hold on, I don't want that!" As I said that, Billy
Clanton threw his six-shooter down, full cocked. I was standing to the
my party, and he was standing on the right of Frank and Tom McLaury. He
aiming at me, but his pistol was kind of past me. Two shots went off
together. Billy Clanton's was one of them. At that time I changed my
cane to my
left hand, and went to shooting; it was general then, and everybody
At the crack of the first two pistols, the
horse jumped to one side, and
Tom McLaury failed to get the Winchester. He threw his hand back this
[shows the motion]. He followed the movement of the horse around,
making him a
kind of breastwork, and fired once, if not twice, over the horse's back.
[TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 1881, EXAMINATION RESUMED]
(Q) When you met Lynch on the
morning, or noon, of October 26th, what did he tell you?
(A) He told me to look out for
Ike Clanton that he was hunting me, and allowed to kill me on sight.
(Q) State what threats, if
any, were made by Isaac Clanton, William Clanton, Thomas McLaury, or
McLaury, to you, or in your presence, and what threats if any, by
either of the
aforementioned persons were communicated to you as having been made in
presence of others, giving the name of the persons making the
you, in detail.
(A) The first man who spoke to
me about any threats was Officer Bronk. I was down home in bed when he
He came down after [a] commitment I had for a party that was in jail.
about 9 o'clock I should think, on the 26th of October. While he was
the commitment, he said, "You had better get up. There is liable to be
hell!" He said, "Ike Clanton has threatened to kill Holliday as soon
as he gets up." And he said, "He's counting you fellows in too,"
meaning me and my brothers. I told him I would get up after a while,
The next man was Lynch; I've
stated what he said. The next I met, was Morgan and James Earp. One of
asked me if I had seen Ike Clanton. I told them I had not. One of them
"He has got a Winchester rifle and six-shooter on, and threatens to
us on sight." I asked Morgan if he had any idea where we could find
He said he did not. I told him then to come and go with me, and we
could go and
arrest him, and disarm him.
Several men came on Allen
Street between Fourth and Fifth; miners whose names I do not know. This
after Ike Clanton's arrest and before the fight. There was one man in
particular who came and said, "Ain't you liable to have trouble?" I
told him I didn't know, it looks kind of that way, but couldn't tell.
"I seen two more of them just rode in," and he said, "Ike walked
up to them and was telling them about you hitting him over the head
six-shooter." He said that one of them rode in on a horse [and] said,
"Now is our time to make a fight." This was after the arms of Ike
Clanton were returned to the Grand Hotel.
Just about the time the man
was telling me this, Bob Hatch came and beckoned to me, as though he
speak to me, and said, "For God's sake, hurry down there to the gun
for they are all down there, and Wyatt is all alone!" He said, "They
are liable to kill him before you get there!" The other man told me to
careful, and not turn my back on them or I would be killed, that they
mischief. Lynch remarked [paragraph not completed.
There was a man named W. B.
Murray and a man named J. L. Fonck came at separate times and said, "I
know you are going to have trouble, and we have got plenty of men and
assist you." Murray was the first man to approach me, on the afternoon
the 26th. I was talking to Behan at the time in Hafford's Saloon,
trying to get
him to go down and help me disarm them. Murray took me to one side and
"I have been looking into this matter and know you are going to have
trouble. I can get 25 armed men at a minutes notice." He said, "If
you want them, say so." I told him, as long as they stayed in the
the O.K. Corral, I would not go down to disarm them; if they came out
street, I would take their arms off and arrest them. He said, "You can
count on me if there is any danger."
I walked from the comer of Fourth and Allen
Streets, west, just across
the street. J. L. Fonck met me there, and he said, "The cowboys are
threats against you." And he said, "If you want any help, I can
furnish ten men to assist." I told him I would not bother them as long
they were in the corral; if they showed up on the street, I would
"Why," he said, "they are all down on Fremont Street there
now." Then I called on Wyatt and Morgan Earp, and Doc Holliday to go
me and help disarm them.
Frank McLaury made a threat to me one day on
the street. It must have
been about a month before the shooting and it might have been a week
notice in the paper of the formation of a vigilance committee. Frank
stepped up to me in the street between the Express Office and the Grand
He said, "I understand you are raising a vigilance committee to hang us
boys." I said, "You boys?" He said, "Yes, us and [the]
Clantons, Hicks, Ringo, and all us cowboys." I said to him, "Frank,
do [you] remember the time Curly Bill killed White?" He said,
"Yes." I said, "Who guarded him that night and run him to Tucson
next morning to keep the vigilance committee from hanging him?" He
"You boys." I said, "Now do you believe we belong to it?"
He said, "I can't help but believe the man who told me you do." I
said, "Who told you?" He said, "Johnny Behan,” "Now,"
he says, "I'll tell you, it makes no difference what I do, I never will
surrender my arms to you." He said, "I'd rather die fighting than be
strangled." I made some remark to him, "Alright," or something-and
then left him.
[Counsel for the
Prosecution moves to strike out all the proceeding conversation with
McLaury on the ground that it is irrelevant and contains no threats
this de fen dent. Objection taken under advisement.]
(Q) State any conversation had by you, if any, with Isaac Clanton or Frank McLaury in this town with respect to obtaining information from them, or either of them, that should lead to the capture or killing of the parties suspected to have been engaged in the killing of Bud Philpot and the attempt to rob the Benson Stage.
[Objected to by Prosecution on the ground that
the question is too broad
and enquires into conversations with Frank McLaury which are more
irrelevant and for which no foundation had been laid. Objection
sustained as to
Frank McLaury, but overruled as to Ike Clanton and admitted to
last June, in
Tombstone, Ike Clanton asked me where we could go to have a long talk,
nobody could hear us excepting those who were along at the time. We
around the corner of Allen and Fifth Streets, alongside of Danner and
Saloon. He said, "I've had a long talk with Wyatt in regard to Leonard,
Head, and Crane," and he said, "I believe I can trust you." He
said, "I am going to put up a job for you boys to catch them."
I said, "How can I know you are in earnest and
can trust you?"
"Well," he said, "now I'll tell you all about it." He said
that Leonard had a fine ranch over in the Cloverdale County [New
said, "As soon as I heard of him robbing the stage, I rounded up my
on the San Pedro here, and run them over and jumped his ranch." And he
said, "Shortly after you boys gave up the chase who should come riding
but Leonard, Head, and Crane." And he said, "By God, they have been
stopping around there ever since, and it looks as though they are going
stay." He said, "They have already told me that I would either have
to buy the ranch or get off of it. I told them that I supposed after
had done, they would not dare to stay in the country and I supposed you
rather your friends would get your ranch than anybody else." He said,
"But if they were going to stay in the country he would either get off
buy the ranch. Now you can see why I want these men either captured or
and I would rather have them killed." I said, "There are three of you
and there is only three of them. Why don't you capture or kill them,
would see that you get the reward?" He says, "Jesus Christ! I would not
last longer than a snowball in hell if I should do that!" He says,
"The rest of the gang would think we killed them for the reward and
kill us." "But," he says, "We have agreed with Wyatt to
bring them to a certain spot, where you boys can capture them." And he
said, "As soon as Wyatt gets a telegram he is going to send for, in
to the reward dead or alive, and they will give it, dead or alive,
right after them, to bring them over." I said, "Where will you bring
them to?" He said, "Either to McLaury's ranch or Willow Springs.”
"Now," he said, "I want you never to give us
away or say
a word about it, except [to] the party you take along." There were some
few more remarks made-I don't remember what they were-and we broke up
time. This is about 3 o'clock in the morning after [the]
Clanton had with Wyatt Earp. I had another conversation with him when
Wyatt showed him the dispatch saying that the Wells, Fargo would pay
dead or alive.
(Q) In reference to the statement made by
Isaac Clanton in his
testimony, I ask you: Did you ever, at any time, tell Isaac Clanton to
Billy Leonard not to think that you were trying to catch him when you
running him, or to tell Billy Leonard that you had thrown Paul and the
off Leonard's track when he left Helm's ranch at the foot of the
Mountains, or to tell Billy Leonard that you [had] taken the posse in
of him on to a trail in New Mexico, or to tell Billy Leonard you had
you could for him, or to tell Billy Leonard that you wanted him to get
and Head and get them out of the country, because you were afraid one
might get captured and get all his friends into trouble?
(A) I never did.
(Q) State now, Mr.
Earp, any threats communicated to you that you have omitted to state
(A) There was a man met me on the corner of Fourth and Allen Streets about 2 o'clock in the afternoon of the day of the shooting. He said, "I just passed the O.K. Corral," and he said, he saw four of five men all armed and heard one of them say, "Be sure to get Earp, the Marshal" Another replied and said, "We will kill them all!" When he met me on the corner he said, "Is your name Earp?" and I told him it was. He said, "Are you the Marshal?" and I told him I was. I did not know the man. I have ascertained who he was since. His name is Sills, I believe.
(Q) Where does Sills
live, and what is his business?
(A) I never met him
until that day. I do not know what his business is I don't know where
(Q) At what house in
Tombstone does he live?
(A) I don't know, only
(Q) Can you give us any
information as to where he lives?
(A) I understand he is
stopping at the hospital.
(Q) When did you last
(A) Yesterday. I saw
(Q) Who, if anybody,
was present when he made that communication to you, on the corner of
(A) I don't think anybody was close enough to
(Q) How long did that conversation take place,
before you started for
(A) Somewhere in the neighborhood of a quarter
or half an hour not over
half an hour; it might not have been that long.
(Q) Was it before or after Behan left
(A) To the best of my recollection, it was
(Q) At the time you
took Isaac Clanton's rifle and pistol from him, did you approach in
(A) Behind him.
(Q) Did you speak to
him before you seized his rifle?
(A) I think not.
(Q) With which hand did
you take his rifle?
(A) With my left hand.
(Q) Where was your
pistol when you seized his rifle?
(A) In my right hand.
(Q) Was he facing you, or was his back towards
you when you struck him?
(A) He was turned about halfway around. I
don't know whether his body
was turned; his head was.
(Q) Which of the
Clantons or McLaurys did you see putting cartridges in their belts at
shop on the occasion you have spoken of in your direct examination?
(A) William Clanton,
Frank McLaury was standing right beside him. I don't think I saw any of
others putting cartridges in their belt. It looked like Frank McLaury
helping Billy Clanton.
(Q) Where was Tom
McLaury at the time and what was he doing?
(A) I can't say. They
were all in a bunch, and I could not see what each was doing.
(Q) Were Isaac Clanton and Frank McLaury in
the gun shop at that time?
(A) I am positive that Billy Clanton, Ike
Clanton and Frank McLaury were in there, and am
under the impression that Tom was there.
(Q) Where was Wyatt Earp at the time?
(A) He was standing on the edge of the
sidewalk when I first discovered
him in front of the gun shop.
(Q) Was that during the time that Billy
Clanton and the other persons
you have named were in the guns hop?
(A) It was. I first saw Wyatt Earp as I turned
the comer of Allen and
Fourth Streets, in front of the gun shop, on the edge of the sidewalk.
noticed him step into the crowd and take hold of a horse and "shoo"
him off the sidewalk.
(Q) What crowd do you
(A) There was a dozen
or more on the sidewalk, gathered in a knot. I can't call to mind who
(Q) Where were Morgan
Earp and Holliday at this time?
(A) I don't remember
seeing him at that time. I saw them on the comer of Allen and Fourth
about five or ten minutes before that. I can't say whether Holliday was
at that time. Morgan Earp was.
(Q) At the time spoken of, when you were in
Hafford's Saloon, did you
have a shotgun or rifle?
(A) I had a shotgun and
(Q) When and where did
you get that shotgun?
(A) [Verbatim as in
original document] Got it in the Express Office of Wells Fargo, on
Street, at the time they were down at the gun shop. It had been at my
for six months. No one handed it to me at the time. I got it myself.
(Q) What did you do
(A) When I called
Morgan Earp, Wyatt Earp, and Doc Holliday to go and help me disarm the
and Clantons, Holliday had a large overcoat on, and I told him to let
his cane, and he take the shotgun, that I did not want to create any
going down the street with a shotgun in .my hand. When we made the
said, "Come along," and we all went along.
(Q) You speak of a committee that called on
you when you were in front
of the gun shop. Who composed that committee?
(A) I don't know their
names. They were miners, I should judge.
(Q) At the time when
Behan met you on Fremont Street and said, "For God's sake, don't go
there or they will murder you!" where were Wyatt and Morgan Earp?
(A) They were right
(Q) Where was Holliday?
(A) We were all in a
bunch. I think he was also right behind me.
(Q) You say at the
commencement of the affray, two shots went off close together, and that
Clanton's was one of them. Who fired the other shot?
(A) Well, I'm inclined
to think it was Wyatt Earp that fired it.
(Q) How many shots did
you fire, and at whom?
(A) I fired four shots.
One at Frank McLaury, and I believe the other three were at Billy
Clanton. I am
pretty positive one was at Frank McLaury and three at Billy Clanton.
(Q) What is Lynch's first name, and place of
(A) I don't know his first name. After the fight he was put on the police force.
[Signed] Virgil W. Earp