Tombstone Divided After Earp-Holliday Decision
>The Old West's most famous gunbattle lasted all of about thirty seconds, but it left three men dead, three other men shot, and enough questions to occupy historians for more than a century. The gunfight also led to criminal charges being filed against the three Earp brothers (Wyatt
, and Morgan
) and Doc Holliday
who, near the O. K. Corral on October 26, 1881, decided to enforce the law against four notorious "cowboys." The hearing that followed the shoot-out considered the question of whether the Earps and Hollidays killed out of a justifiable fear for their own lives or simply to rid themselves of troublemakers and personal enemies. After listening to weeks of testimony, Judge Spicer
gave his answer--but whether his answer was the right one remained a subject of considerable debate long after the silver mines that gave birth to Tombstone, Arizona
In 1877, in the dry washes of the San Pedro Valley at the foot of the Huachuca Mountains in southern Arizona
about thirty miles from the Mexican border, a prospector discovered an outcropping of high grade silver. Soon that same summer another prospector named Ed Schieffelin would venture into the same hot, dry Apache country after being warned by a soldier, "The only rock you'll find out there will be your own tombstone!" Schieffelin found more than that--though the warning he received would inspire the naming of a town laid out less than two years later near his silver strike.