|The History in an Ammo-Shell
Tombstone, Arizona...founded in 1877 by a prospector named Ed Schieffelin. Ed was staying at what was then called Camp Huachuca (wa-chu-ka) as part of a scouting expedition against the Chiricahua (chir-i-cow-uh) Apaches. During his time there he would venture out into the wilderness "looking for rocks", all the while ignoring the warnings he received from the soldiers at the camp. They would tell him, "Ed, the only stone you will find out there will be your tombstone". Well, Ed did find his stone. And it was Silver. So, remembering the words of warning from the soldiers, he named his first mine The Tombstone.
It wasn't long before word spread about Ed's silver strike. Soon prospectors, cowboys, homesteaders, lawyers, speculators, gunmen and business people flocked to the area in droves. In 1879 a town site was laid out on the nearest level spot to the mines, known at that time as Goose Flats, and was appropriately named "Tombstone" after Ed Schieffelin's first mining claim.
By the mid 1880's Tombstone's population had increased to around 7,500. This figure counted only the white male registered voters that were over 21 years of age. If you take into account the women, children, Chinese, Mexicans and the many "ladies of the evening" the estimates are that the population was between 15,000 and 20,000 people. At its peak, it is said to have been the fastest growing city between St. Louis and San Francisco. There were over one hundred saloons, numerous restaurants, a large red-light district, an even larger Chinese population, schools, churches, newspapers, and one of the first public swimming pools in Arizona (which is still used today).
The most famous event in Tombstone's history was the famed Gunfight at the OK Corral, which didn't actually happen at the corral, but in a vacant lot on Fremont Street. On October 26, 1881, members of the "Cowboys" had a run-in with Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp with help from Wyatt's friend Doc Holliday. 24 seconds and 30 shots later, Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury were mortally wounded. In many peoples opinion, it was this one event that has kept Tombstone alive for all these years.
What an exciting little place with all of it's history and colourful characters. It was really lawless for a few years after the OK Corral incident.
Many of the local male residents dress up in period clothing, pack guns, have lots of whiskers and hair, talk tough and generally swagger around the town. The ladies do their part too, lots of skirts, gloves, high buttoned shoes, hats and feathers. They really enjoy themselves and certainly entertain the tourists. It's the weekend so there are hundreds of people here from all over the states (and Canada) taking in and appreciating their efforts.
We watched the gunfight between Doc Holliday and the Earp brothers against the Cowboys...it always ends badly for the cowboys. It was a good show, lots of gunfire and gunsmoke!
Gorgeous day out here in the desert...around 70F out of the wind...a little less in the wind, but brilliant blue skies. I made country ribs for dinner tonight...spicy and rich! Beats eating out...We watched the movie 'Troy' with Brad Pitt.. all about Helen of Troy and the events ensuing her departure from Greece.
We push on tomorrow to Casa Grande or Apache Junction...not sure but it won't be far. Love the short days! Night now, be good! Love one another!