Southern Arizona Leisure travel van Tour 2021 – Day Four & Five: tombstone

On day four of our southern Arizona tour we visited the infamous town of Tombstone. Known for the notorious, “Shootout at the O.K. Corral.”

Reenactment of the shootout at the O.K. Corral.

But how did Tombstone get its name? Well, there are two versions to the story:

Version one – A prospector and scout for the U.S. Army headquartered at Camp Huachuca, Ed Schieffelin, was searching the wilderness in southern Arizona for any mineral deposits suitable for staking a mining claim. At the time three people had been killed by Indians in the area, when a friend and fellow Army scout, Al Sieber, told Ed, “The only rock you will find out there is your own tombstone.” When Ed Schieffelin filed his first silver mine claim in 1877, which became the largest productive silver district in Arizona, he named it “Tombstone.” The town of Tombstone was built right above the mine that produced $40-$85 million in silver bullion. The town of Tombstone grew from 100 people to around 14,000 in less than 7 years. (Ref., Wikipedia)

In version two: Ed Schieffelin was hired by the U.S. government to survey the wilderness around the Army Camp Huachuca. As Ed Schieffelin was leaving Camp Huachuca one of the guards (perhaps it was Al Sieber) at the gate yelled out to him, “The only thing your going to find out there is your own tombstone.” (Ref., Terry C Barber)The rest is history…

The mining operation came to an end when the silver mines penetrated the water table under Tombstone in the mid 1880s causing catastrophic flooding of the mine. The mining companies made significant investments into specialized water pumping facilities, but a fire in 1886 destroyed the water pumping facilities making it unprofitable to rebuild the costly pumps thus ending the illustrious silver mining operations in Tombstone. It is said that there’s still plenty of silver to be had in those mines, and that now the town of Tombstone is slowly sinking into the old mine, fractions of an inch a year…

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LTV owners (From Left) Kerry & Maureen Johnson and MaryAnn Barber on the streets of Historic Tombstone. The Bird Cage Threatre was a very popular brothel in Tombstone.
The wooden steps leading upstairs to the working girls were worn almost paper thin by all the male customers during those nine years.
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Tombstone was exactly the kind of place history and Hollywood portrays it to be – full of lawlessness and debauchery.
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One of the many show reenactments in historic Tombstone. This particular show is advertised as hilarious! It lived up to its advertisement.
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LTV owners (From the left) Me, Jim Douglass and Kerry Johnson. We were thrown in jail for spitting in the street. Not really.
Friendly place!
I was shot down in my prime by the Sherriff for spitting in the street! MaryAnn is saddened by my demise…
Stage coach rides in Tombstone.
The more accurate version of the shootout. The gunfight actually occurred in an empty lot on Freemont street.
Our LTV’s look sooo much better then that big honking class A, don’t you think. This is RV parking in Tombstone.
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The infamous Boot Hill Graveyard.
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Boot Hill Graveyard.
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Interesting epitaph.
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1882 was not a good year to be living in Tombstone, most of the headstones were marked death in 1882.
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A very peace loving, family oriented town.
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Great epitaph for an American hero! At Boot Hill Cemetery.

The event known as the “Shootout at the O.K. Corral actually didn’t happen at the O.K. Corral, it happened a short distance away in an empty lot on Freemont street. Some of the underlying tensions that caused the shootout were political, stemming from the Civil War, 1860-1865. (Ref., Wikipedia)

The mining capitalist and the towns people were largely Republican from the northeast and many of the ranchers (some of whom participated in criminal activity) also known as the “Cowboys,” were Confederate sympathizers and Democrats. (Ref., Wikipedia)

The famous shootout consisted of Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp and their friend, Doc Holiday against a band of outlaws called the Cowboys. The Cowboys included: Ike and Billy Clanton, Frank and Tom Mclaury, and Billy Claiborne. The shootout occurred after months of threats from the Cowboys upon the lives of the Earp brothers and Doc Holiday, then on October 26, 1881 it all came to shooting…

The outcome: Virgil and Morgan Earp – wounded, Doc Holiday grazed by bullet, Tom and Frank Mclaury and Billy Clanton killed and buried in the Boot Hill Cemetery in Tombstone.

In our next post day four of our tour will continue in Bisbee, Arizona…

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