Monday, April 27, 2009


I am really behind in posting to this blog. But I'm going to try and get caught up in the next couple of days. Wish me luck.
These are the streets of Tombstone. It really is a tourist town but still a lot of fun. I mean really - any place that has an Elvis impersonator singing in the saloon can't be all that bad.

Love the sign. What do you think Dad?

What a group.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


We spent the afternoon in Tombstone and went to the reenactment of the shootout at the OK Corral. Quite melodramatic but lots of fun.

Depending on which side of the story you listen to, the Earps and Doc Holliday are either heros or murderers. But the tale goes as follows:

In October 1880, Virgil Earp became city marshal of Tombstone and soon afterwards he recruited his brothers, Wyatt and Morgan as "special deputy policemen". The following year the Earps came into conflict with two families, the Clantons and the McLaurys.


Ike Clanton, Phineas Clanton, BillyClanton, Tom McLaury and Frank McLaury (known as The Cowboys) sold livestock to Tombstone. Virgil Earp believed that some of these animals had been stolen from farmers in Mexico. Wyatt Earp was also convinced that the Clanton brothers had taken one of his prize horses. Although the animals were not found, it put bad blood between the Earps and McLaurys.

Wyatt Earp also came into conflict with John Behan, the sheriff of Chochise County. At first this started as a quarrel over a woman, Josephine Sarah Marcus. She had lived with Behan before becoming Earp's third wife. Earp also wanted Behan's job and lanned to run against him in the next election. The two men also clashed over the decision by Behan to arrest Doc Holliday on supicion of killing a stagecoach driver during an attempted hold-up outside of town. Holliday protested his innocence and he was eventually released. In September 1881, Virgil Earp retaliated by arrestng one of Behan's deputies, Frank Stilwell, for holding up a stagecoach. The McLaurys and Clantons were friends of Stilwell and had helped put up his bail.


The night before the gunfight, Doc Holliday and Ike Clanton had words in the Alhambra Saloon and Doc challenged Ike to a duel. But Ike declined the offer because he was not armed and walked off.

The next morning Ike Clanton armed himself and went looking for Doc Holliday. Before Clanton could find Holliday, Virgil andMorgan Earp snuck up on him and pistol whipped him. He was taken to court and fined $27.50 fo carrying firearms in city limits. After being disarmed and released, Ike and Tom McLaury joined Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury, who had just arrived in town. The men gathered at a place called the OK Corral in Fremont Street. Frank McLaury begins to get very angry when he learns that his brother Tom has also been pistol whipped by Wyatt Earp for supporting Ike's claims of self-defense.

Sheriff Behan heads down Fremont Street towards the vacant lot where the Cowboys have gathered. The Sheriff tells The Cowboys "I don't wnat any trouble boys, let me have your wearpons." Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury respond and show the Sheriff that they are unarmed. Billy Canton is armed but tells the Sheriff he's getting ready to leave town. Frank McLaury is angry and tells the Sheriff that he won't give up his weapons until the Sheriff disarms the Earps because they had threatened to kill him.

The Earp Brothers and Doc Holliday come walking down Fremont Street. To no avail, Sheriff Behan tries to stop them from going down to the vacant lot. He pleaded with Virgil Earp not to get involved in a shoot-out but he was brushed aside as the four men carried on walking towards the OK Corral.

The gunfight at the O.K. Corral took place at 3:00 pm on Wednesday, October 26,1881. It began in the 18 foot wide lot behind the O. K. Corral next to C. S. Fly's Boarding House and Photo Studio. The inevitable showdown over control of Tombstone climaxed months of threats, romatic rivalries, stage robberies, pistol whippings, and arrest.

Nobody knows for sure who shot first. But Tom McLaury, Billy Clanton, and Frank McLaury were all killed while Ike Clanton was able to run away. Virgil Earp, Morgan Earp, and Doc Holliday were all wounded but did not die from their wounds.

Sheriff Behan arrested the Earps and Doc Holliday for the murder of Billy, Tom, and Frank. However, after a 30 day trial it was determined that the Earps acted within the law.

The Lawmen
Wyatt Earp was 33 at the time of the gunfight and died of old age in 1929.
Doc Holliday was 30 and died of tuberculosis in 1887.
Virgil Earp was 38 and died of pneumonia in 1905.
Morgan Earp was 30 and was murdered March 18, 1882.

The Only Remaining Cowboy was Ike Clanton who was 34 and ran away from the gunfight. He was killed by Detective Brighton in 1887.

The famous gunfight did not actually occur at the O.K. Corral. It occurred in a 15-20 foot space between Fly's Lodging House and photographic studio, and the MacDonald assay house west of it. The end of the gunfight took place in Fremont Street. Some of the fighting was in Fremont Street in front of the vacant lot. About 30 shots were fired in 30 seconds. Although only three men were killed during the gunfight, it is generally regarded as the most famous gunfight in the history of the Old West.


Enjoy these beautiful pictures of the desert just starting to bloom. These were taken in Saguaro National Park down by Tucson, AZ.

This fellow (or gal) showed up just as we were leaving the park. Have no idea what kind it is; but it's a snake and this is the time of year for lots of them around. You have to really watch for them everywhere including the RV parks.


At my Aunt Happy's apartment complex are several resident ducks. These little fluffs were born the day before Easter and we were able to watch them when we took her out for Easter dinner. Mother is standing on her head in the water. They are sooo cute.

Friday, April 10, 2009


We had the opportunity to attend the Easter Pageant on the Mesa Temple Grounds. I cannot begin to put into words the beauty of this performance. The Spirit of the Lord was with us and I would recommend that everyone attend this pageant. It is the largest annual outdoor Easter Pageant in the world. We also had the opportunity to visit with one of the 450 volunteer performers. She, her husband and their two teenage children, are all performing this year. I hope you enjoy the following pictures of the pageant.


Arizona became a territory under the signature of Abraham Lincoln in 1863. When the Civil War ended two years later, the U. S. Cavalry came to protect the new territory from bandits and marauding Apache. Farmers soon settled the banks of the Gila River. Familes from Mexico moved north to escape wars in northern Mexico as settlers came from the east seeking fortune and adventure. So began Florence.
Florence was established in 1866 by Colonel Levi Ruggles, who moved to Arizona after the Civil War as an Indian Agent. Silver was discovered at the Silver King Mine and Florence boomed as wagonloads of ore passed through town. Single men swarmed to work the mines and spend their money in Florence, while cowboys from local ranches celebrated payday.

Single men from Boston, New York, and Ohio found the senioritas who had been educated in Mexican convents very enchanting. Descendants of the resulting marriages still live in town. As stage lines came to Florence and news of the abounding opportunities spread, Florence grew. Businessmen from Mexico and the United States established themselves and prospered. Eventually, early Victorian ladies ventured west to live on the frontier.

The good people in town finally demanded law and order. Florence became the county seat of Pinal County in 1875 and a new brick courthouse and jail was built. The local "Vigilance Committee" stormed the sheriff's office in this building in 1888, dragged two men from their cells and hanged them in the corridor of the jail. The two had been charged with holding up a stage and killing Johnny Collins, the guard. A coronor's jury later found that the two prisoners had met their deaths "at the hands of parties unknown." A short time later, the same "vigilance" group attempted to lynch four other prsoners under the same circumstances but were thwarted in its efforts when Michael Rice, the jailer, armed the prisoners, took them upstairs and faced down the mob from the windows about the street. The Sheriff's wife, Pauline Cushman was positioned downstairs.

While miners and cowboys whooped it up and the ex-sheriff and his ex-deputy shot it out on Main street, the more sedate citizens tried to bring civility, culture and religion to Florence. There were always dances at the courthouse or music recitals at Mrs. Clarke's house. Townsfolk worshipped at the chapel of the Gila or gathered for Protestant services at the courthouse.

By 1891, the town constructed an early fired red brick American Victorian courthouse. The building ran over budget and funds for the clock in the tower were diverted to build a new jail. The clock face is only painted on and always reads 11:44. Three notorious women were brought before the court in this building. In 1899, Pearl Hart committed whatwas likely the last stagecoach robbery in the U. S. Eva Dugan was convicted of a brutal murder and had the istinction of being the only woman hanged at the State Prison. Winnie Ruth Judd, the "Trunk Murderess," defended by Ernest W. McFarland, was found to be insane by the court. She had been found guilty of killing her two roommates, dismembering their bodies, and shppingthem to Los Angeles in trunks.
In 1908, the territorial prison was moved from Yuma to Florence. Inmates were shipped from Yuma by train to build the prison and lived in the surrounding desert during its construction. They have a prison outlet store where prisoner's can sell their crafts and artwork. Had some very beautiful articles for sale. Florence was the setting for the motion piture Murphy's Romance. It is also the home of the annual "Country Thunder" music festival. (I hope to be able to attend next year.)


If I were to ever get a golf cart - this would be the one.