The the only known photograph of nineteen year old William Harrison "Billy" Clanton as he lay in state after being murdered behind the OK Corral by the Earps and Doc Holliday on October 26, 1881. Through the years, photos have surfaced that people claim to be Billy, but to date, all have been discredited.

The life and times of...

 Billy Clanton 1862-1881

Billy Clanton is Born...

1862

William Harrison "Billy" Clanton is born in Hamilton County, Texas. He joins three older brothers, John, Phin and Ike and two sisters, Mary Elsie and Ester Ann.

1865

The wars ends and the Clanton family moves to Fort Bowie, Arizona Territory.

 Billys mother d.ies...

1866

The Clanton family moves to San Buena Ventura, California. Somewhere along the way young Billyís mother Mariah Kelso Clanton d.ies leaving Newman Clanton with four boys and two girls to care for.

 Interesting fact...

Many books and articles, through the years, have said Billy Clanton's last words before he died were "Please take off my boots, I always promised my mother Iíd never die with my boots on!" The fact is, Billy, was only four years old when his mother passed.  Do you really think this sounds like something a four year old would say? NOT!

  1871

Newman Haynes Clanton moves his family to what is known today as Port Hueneme, California. Billy was nine years old.

1873

Newman Haynes Clanton plans to start his own farming community, so he moves the entire family back to Arizona. The family settled in Gila Valley near Camp Goodwin. For four years, the Clantons farmed the land trying to show other settlers the place to live and farm was Clantonville!

1877

The Clantons throw in the towel on Clantonville! The oldest son, John Wesley, moved his family back to California while the rest of the family moved down on the San Pedro River, up river from Charleston.

1877

Fifteen year old Billy Clanton helps his family build a large adobe house in Lewis Springs, about five miles south of Charleston. This would later be known as the Clanton Ranch.

1877

Edward Schieffelin discovers rich veins of silver in Goose Flats, about 12 miles north of Charleston. Later this boom town would be renamed Tombstone.

  Billy in the 1880 census...

June 16, 1880

Inhabitants in the village of Charleston, Pima County, State of Arizona enumerated by me on the 16th day of June, 1880. Signed P.M. Hurmand.

N.H. Clanton age: 64 Occupation: Keeping dairy

Phineas Canton age: 35 Occupation: Freighter

Wm. Clanton age: 18 Occupation: Keeping dairy

(note: Brother Ike is not listed. He was probably in New Mexico)

  Trouble in Tombstone...

October 27, 1880

Tombstone Marshall Fred White is accidentally shot by William "Curly Bill" Brocius. After the incident, Wyatt Earp buffaloed "Curly Bill" to the ground and a.rrested him along with Pony Diehl, Frank Patterson, Tom & Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton. This was the first real confrontation with the Earps.

 Billy is caught riding Wyatts Earps stolen horse...

Late in 1880

Wyatt Earp catches eighteen year old Billy Clanton riding his stolen horse down in Charleston. Billy gave the horse back to Wyatt with out incident.  Wyatt dropped the issue. Note: Wyatt might have had some sympathy for young Billy, because he himself was once arrested for stealing  a horse!

 Murder on the stage...

March 15, 1881

A robbery attempt takes place against the Kinnear & Co. Stage at Drew Station. Driver Bud Philpot and a passenger named Peter Roerig were m.urdered in the failed attempt. A posse was quickly formed and that same night a man named Luther king was captured at a near by ranch.  He admitted his involvement and named his accomplices as Bill Leonard, Harry Head and Jim Crane. After Luther King was captured, he was brought to back to Tombstone, but quickly escaped into thin air. By this time, the news was sweeping the town that Doc Holliday had been one of the murderers.

 Docís confession to Billys brother Ike...

March 1881

A few days after Bud Philpot was murdered, Ike Clanton ran into Doc Holliday in Tombstone. When Holliday asked Ike if he had seen "Will" Leonard and his party, Ike told him he had. Holliday then began describing in detail what took place when Philpot was killed. Holliday knew that Ike had already heard Bill Leonardís version of the attack. Doc told Ike that he shot Bud Philpot through the heart. Before Holliday was finished with his description, Ike told him not to take him in confidence, that he didnít want to hear anymore about it.

  Tempers begin to flare...

April 13, 1881

Doc Holliday is arrested in Tombstone. The charges are for making threats against someoneís life. It sure seems Holliday's temper was starting to get the best of him over these murder accusations.

May 30, 1881

Doc Holliday is indicted by a grand jury for participating in a s.hooting affray. It seems Doc was really losing himself over these murder accusation. At this time, it was still only talk or rumors, still nobody could prove Hollidays involvement in the stagecoach murders.

 Wyatt Earps deal with Billys brother Ike...

June 1, 1881

Ike Clanton met with Wyatt Earp in the Eagle Brewery Saloon on the corner of Allen and fifth Street in Tombstone. Wyatt offers Ike $6000 in reward money to help him capture or kill the men involved in the attempted stage hold-up and murders. Ike thinks about it, but declines a couple of days later.

June 23, 1881

The Arizona Daily Star of Tucson reports that Bill Leonard and Harry Head, two of the alleged stagecoach murderers have been killed in Eureka, N.M. by the Haslett brothers.

 Docís girl blows his cover...

Doc Hollidays live in girlfriend known as Big Nose Kate, signs an affidavit implicating Doc in the stagecoach murders.

 Doc is arrested for M.urder...

July 5, 1881

A warrant was issued and Doc Holliday was arrested and charged with complicity in the murder of Bud Philpot and the attempted stage robbery near contention on March 15, 1881. Wyatt Earp and a local Tombstone saloon keeper quickly posted the $5000 bail.

  "Doc" Gets away with murder...

July 10, 1881

On or around this date, Doc Hollidays murder hearing took place. His alibi was that he had ridden to Charleston for a poker game, when the stagecoach murders took place. His alibi must have been believed because he was acquitted and released.

 Billys brother Ike keeps the heat on...

After Doc Holliday gets away with murder, Ike Clanton begins his own search for justice! Ike knows the truth about Hollidays involvement in the stagecoach murders and begins expressing his opinions publicly. Plain and simple, this was making Doc Holliday really mad and also very nervous.

August 1, 1881

A mule train of M.exicans carrying $4000 in coins and bullion was ambushed and killed in Skeleton Canyon. Rumors have it, that several cattle workers of "Old Man" Clantonís were involved in the killings.

 Billys father "Old Man" Clanton is murdered...

August 13, 1881

Newman Haynes "Old Man" Clanton was gunned down in an ambush by Mexicans in Guadalupe Canyon, Animas Valley, New Mexico. Also killed were William Lang, Dixie Lee Gray, Charley Snow, and Jim Crane. Billey Byers and Harry Ernshaw both survived the attack. Was this ambush revenge for the murders of the Mexicans 12 days prior in Skeleton Canyon?

 Really important fact...

August 13, 1881

Jim Crane, the last surviving man accused of the stagecoach murders was also k.illed with "Old Man" Clanton in Guadalupe Canyon. Really important fact!! This means their were no more accomplices who could testify as eye witnesses against Doc Hollidayís involvement in the stagecoach murders!

Oct 3, 1881

Ike and Billy Clanton are depositing large amounts of money into their bank accounts?  Watch the video below from the Haunted Saloon "Live" webcast.


Ike is making large depsoits of money into the Tombstone Agency Bank?

Billy has breakfast with his brother Ike...

October 25, 1881

Billy Clanton has breakfast a few miles outside of Tombstone at Jack Chandlers milk ranch with his brother Ike and the two McLaury brothers. After breakfast Ike and Tom McLaury headed towards Tombstone.  Billy and Frank McLaury rounded up cattle in the Stockton Hill area. All agreed to meet the next day at the Grand Hotel in Tombstone.

Doc threatens Billys brother Ike...

October 26, 1881

At around 1 a.m. Ike Clanton was having a sandwich in a lunch house in Tombstone, when Doc Holiday came in an dared Ike to go for his g-u-n. Ike was unarmed. Both Doc Holliday and the Earp brothers threatened Ike with this statement, "The next time we see you Ike, you better be armed, cause were gonna kill you." Later this same morning Ike played poker with Virgil Earp.

  Ike is pistol whipped...

October 26, 1881

In the morning, Ike Clanton armed himself, in self defense only, to be arrested by Virgil and Morgan Earp for carrying weapons in city limits. Ike who is now bleeding from the head, paid a fine of $27.50 and was released.

 Billy rides into Tombstone...

October 26, 1881

In the afternoon, nineteen year old Bill Clanton and Frank McLaury ride into Tombstone to meet their brothers Ike and Tom. Billy quickly learns of the trouble the night before with the Earps and Doc Holliday and about his brother being arrested for carrying firearms in the city limits.

 Billy tries to calm brother Ike...

October 26, 1881

Billy tells Ike to go back to the ranch before there is anymore trouble. Billy was a.rmed with a six-gun but he was all right legally because it was legal to have on a firearm if you getting ready to leaving town. While in Tombstone, Billy's and Frank's horses were tied in a vacant lot to the rear of the OK Corral.

 Bullets begin to fly behind the OK Corral...

2:30 p.m. October 26, 1881

The most famous gunfight of wild west history gets under way in a vacant lot officially known as Lot #2, Block 17, in Tombstone, Arizona. The Earps, Wyatt, Morgan, and Virgil, along with Doc Holliday open fire on nineteen year old Billy Clanton, Tom, and Frank McLaury. Unarmed Ike Clanton escaped death by running for cover into Fly's Photo Studio.

 Courageous to the end...

October 26, 1881

After the Earps and Doc Holliday started shooting, young Billy Clanton already hit by one of the first bullets, pulled his six shooter from his belt in self defense and started shooting back. Billy was shot through his right gun hand, when the courageous teenager switched hands and emptied his six-gun left handed. Billy was absolutely riddled with bullet holes when the fight came to an end thirty seconds later.  Billy, now lying up against the Harwood house, pleaded with eyewitness Camillus Fly to give him more cartridges as Camillus took the g.un away from him.

  Billy's final moments...

October 26, 1881

After the gunfight, Billy was taken to a nearby house where he was screaming in agonizing pain, "They've murdered me! They've murdered me!" Minutes later Billy was shot full of morphine by Dr. Goodfeller to kill the pain.

As revealed to Dr. N. S. Gibberson on Oct. 26, 1881 and reported in Gibberson's testimony in the Lotta Crabtree desposition in 1925: "Doc, if only I ould get my teeth into that son of a bitche's [presumably Wyatt Earp] throat, I'd die happy." Apparently something of a vampire in 17-year old Billy. Courageous to the end. Over 100 persons testified, many from Tombstone, including Wyatt Earp. They testified in Calif. and in Boston. The testimony is at the Houghton Library at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass.

 Billy's last words on earth...

October 26, 1881

In the last minutes of Billy Clanton's life, he was desperately trying to get air, as people were scrambling around everywhere as he was yelling, "Give me air" His last words on earth were, "Drive the crowd away."

The final results of the gunfight...

October 26 1881

Nineteen year old Billy Clanton, Tom, & Frank McLaury were murdered. Virgil and Morgan Earp were seriously wounded. Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday escaped without injuries. As soon as the smoke cleared, Ike Clanton wanted the Earps and Holliday arrested for the murders.

Young Billy Clanton is buried in Boothill...

October 28, 1881

The largest f.uneral in Tombstone history takes place. Over 2000 people show up to show their last respects for Billy Clanton, Tom, and Frank McLaury. The three murder  victims are laid to rest in Boothill Graveyard in Tombstone, Arizona.

  Billy's headstone in Boothill
 
 

Tombstone Nugget Newspaper article

October 28, 1881

AN IMPOSING FUNERAL.

The burial of the D.ead Cowboys- An Immence Procession, Etc.

"While it was not entirely expected, the funeral of Billy Clanton and Thomas and Frank McLowery, yesterday, was the largest ever witnessed in Tombstone. It was advertised to take place at 3 o'clock, but it was about 4 o'clock before the cortege moved, yet a large number had gathered at the undertaker's long before the first time mentioned. The bodies of the three men, neatly and tastefully dressed, were placed in handsome c.askets with heavy silver trimmings. Upon each was a silver plate bearing the name, age, birthplace and date of the death of each. A short time before the funeral, photographs were taken of the dead. The procession was headed by the Tombstone brass band playing the solemn and touching march of the dead. The first wagon contained the body of Billy Clanton, followed by those of THE MCLOWRY BOYS. A few carriages came next in which were friends and relatives of the deceased, among whom were Ike and Finn Clanton. After these were about three hundred persons on foot, twenty-two carriages and buggies and one four horse stage, and the horsemen, making a line nearly two blocks in length. The two brothers were buried in one grave, and the young Clanton close by those who were his friends in life and companions in death. The inscription upon the plates of the c.aske-s stated that Thomas McLowry was 25 years of age, Frank McLowry 29 years of age, both natives of Mississippi, and that William H. Clanton was 19 years of age and a native of Texas. "Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep."
 

Wyatt and Doc are arrested for Billys m.urder...

October 29, 1881

Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday were arrested for the m.urders of Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers. Morgan and Virgil Earp were not a.rrested because they were confined to their beds with very serious gunshot  wounds.

October 1881

An interesting fact: Between Oct. 3, 1881 and Nov. 3, 1881 Billy Clanton's brother Ike made $3200 in bank transactions at the Pima County Agency Bank, in Tombstone. In fact, $1800 of these transactions were made on Billy's bank account by his older brother.

November 9-12, 1881

Ike Clanton testifies at his brother Billy's murder trial.

 Charges are dropped against the Earps and Holliday...

November 29, 1881

The pre-t.rial was concluded and Judge Wells Spicer made his decision to not hold the Earps or Doc Holliday for a murder t.rial. The following statement was the judges conclusions:

"In view of all the facts and circumstances of the case; considering the t.hreats made the character and position of the parties, and the tragical results accomplished, in manner and form as they were, with all the surrounding influences bearing upon the result of the affair, I cannot resist the conclusion that the defendants were fully justified in committing these homicides that it was a necessary act done in the discharge of official duty."

  Cowboy R.evenge...

December 15, 1881

The Benson stage is attacked at Malcombís Water Station, 4 miles from Tombstone on Contention Rd. This was an alleged attempt on the life of Earp family friend John P. Clum.

Ike and Phin Clanton a.ccused of shooting Virgil Earp...

December 28, 1881

Tombstone Chief of Police Virgil Earp was a.mbushed while crossing Fifth Street in Tombstone. He would survive the attack, but his left arm was crippled for life.  Ike and Phin Clanton were arrested for the a.mbush but released because witnesses confirmed they were in Charleston when the attack occurred.

 Wyatt and Doc are a.rrested, again...

February 9, 1882

Despite the first release of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday on m.urder charges, Ike Clanton again filed a second murder charge against them, this time in Contention City, a few miles from Tombstone. Wyatt and Doc were again taken into custody. Virgil and Morgan Earp were still confined to their beds due to the injuries they sustained in the gunfight.

February 11, 1882

The defendants (Earps and Holliday) filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus petition, stating that: Judge Smith in Contention City had no right to hold them after the grand jury and Judge Spicer had released the murder charges on November 29, 1881 in Tombstone. Judge J.H. Lucas ruled that Judge Smith did have the authority to incarcerate them. They would have to appear before Judge Smith.

  Charges against the Earps and Holliday are dropped, again...

February 15, 1882

Judge Smith adjourned the trial to Tombstone and a second Writ of Habeas Corpus petition was filed by the Earps and Doc Holliday. Immediately this same day Ike Clanton filed yet a third murder charge, this time in Judge Lucasís court, but the Writ of Habeas Corpus was granted and the Earps and Doc Holliday were discharged from custody. The following is what Judge Lucas stated:

"Unless new evidence or circumstances occur subsequent to the first examination, it would only duplicate the first hearing."

  Do you think the Earps and Doc Holliday were guilty of murdering Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury?
 
 

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