The Life & Times of...
Frank & Tom McLaury

Tom & Frank McLaury were sons of Margaret Rowland (1812-1859) and Robert McLaury (1811-1893). Their mothers side came from a Scottish Irish family that had specialized in raising pure-bred sheep. Robert McLaury was a successful attorney.

Together they had eleven children:

Ebenezer (1833)

Margaret Findley (1836)

Hugh (1838)

Edmund (1840)

Mary (1842)

William Rowland "Will" (1844)

Marjorie Agnes (1846)

Robert Findley "Frank" (1848)

Christiana (1851)

Thomas Clark "Tom" (1853)

Sarah Caroline (1855)

McLaury, MacLaughry, or McLowery?

Some people believe that the McLaury’s real last name was actually MacLaughry and would later be changed to McLaury on tax records, by a close friend and Deputy Sheriff named Billy Breakenridge. Also, newspaper editors sometimes misspelled their name as McLowery.

Frank McLaury is born...

March 3, 1848

Robert Findley "Frank" McLaury was born in Courtright Center, N.Y. in the foothills of the Catskills.

Tom McLaury is born...

June 30, 1853

Thomas "Tom" McLaury was born in Courtright Center, N.Y. in the foothills of the Catskills.

The McLaury Family moves to Iowa...


The family moved to Iowa, settling in Belle Plaine. It was here in Belle Plaine, that Frank and Tom got their education at a local common school or academy, both studied pre-law. Oldest brother William or "Will" received his degree in law and later became a superior court judge in Fort Worth, Texas.

Mrs. McLaury dies...


After the death of their mother in 1859, during a typhoid epidemic, the eleven children of the family made their home with their grandfather.

Frank and Tom move to Arizona...


Frank and Tom McLaury moved to Hereford, Arizona, where they built a windowless, door less, shelter. It was at this time that the two McLaury brothers became close friends and business associates with the Clanton family. The two McLaury brothers were always known as fine dressers.

Finding profit in the cattle business...


Frank and Tom spent most of their time with a herd of Mexican steers they purchased with money they brought with them from Iowa. After selling off the herd for a good profit, the two McLaury brothers saw an opportunity to continue profiting from the cattle business. The brothers pre-empted land at Soldiers Holes, west of the new town of Tombstone. Here they built a an adobe house and labored hard and long hours laying out irrigated alfalfa fields. They were the pioneers of alfalfa growing in this region.

Tarnishing their good reputations...

Frank and Tom McLaury worked hard, were of excellent reputation, did not go often to Tombstone and seemed to stay out of the bright lights. However, because they lived on a ranch outside of town, they became friends and business associates with not so good cattle men passing by like Curly Bill Brocius, that began to tarnish their good reputations.

Frank and Tom are arrested when their friend shoots the Marshal...

October 27, 1880

On this night in Tombstone, Frank and Tom McLaury were arrested at the scene of the accidental shooting of Tombstone Marshal Fred White. Frank and Tom were amongst a group "mischief seeking" cowboys that were shooting their guns at the moon and having a good time on sixth street, when Marshal Fred White appeared on the scene to stop the disturbance. When the Marshal tried to disarm Curly Bill Brocius, he jerked Curly Bills cocked 45 caliber pistol barrel first, at which time Curly Bill accidentally pulled the trigger shooting Marshal White in the stomach. Before Marshal White eventually died of from these wounds, he admitted that it was an accident. Curly Bill was cleared of murder.

Early in 1881

Sherman McMasters, the outlaw who had been Wyatt Earps friend in Dodge City, stole a valuable thoroughbred horse from E.B. Gage, the general manager of the Contention Mine in Tombstone. After a tip from Ike Clanton, Sheriff Billy Breakenridge recovered the stolen horse from a corral at the McLaury Ranch. It was at this time, that Sheriff Breakenridge openly accused the two McLaury brothers of hanging out with bad blood. Curly Bill Brocius and other accused outlaws were present when Breakenridge arrived at the McLaury ranch. The McLaury’s responded to Breakenridges accusations with, "Nobody goes hungry when they stop by our ranch."

Frank and Tom are murdered...

October 26, 1881

Frank and Tom McLaury are murdered by the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday, in a vacant lot behind the OK Corral in Tombstone. Both are buried side by side in Tombstone’s Boothill Graveyard next to Billy Clanton, who was also murdered.

Brother "Will" McLaury seeks the truth...

November 8, 1881

Frank and Tom’s oldest brother, attorney, William or "Will" McLaury arrives in Tombstone to find out how and why his brothers and young Billy Clanton were murdered. After the Earps and Doc Holliday were set free and cleared of the murders, many historians believe that Will McLaury was the person who organized the "Vigilante Justice" that shot and crippled Virgil Earp and murdered Morgan Earp.



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