Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Meet the Clantons -- VII

After Virgil Earp got wounded from ambush, Wyatt took a posse to the Clanton ranch to arrest Phin and Ike on a charge of assault with intent to murder. They were not successful.

The Clantons sent word that they were willing to answer to the charge, but would not surrender to the Earps, as the Clantons were sure the Earps would kill them.

Finally, a duplicate warrant was issued to John H. Jackson, who took a big posse commanded by Charlie Bartholomew and Peter Spencer to arrest the Clantons, who meekly surrendered. When the posse arrived back in Tombstone, Clantons in tow, Judge Stillwell adjourned his court so he could sit as an examining magistrate. The evidence against the Clantons was slim at best. It seems Sherman McMasters made a statement that he heard Ike Clanton say that he “would have to go up and do the job over again.” Right.

On the other hand, seven men testified that Ike was in Charleston on the night of the attempted murder. Case dismissed.

Ike then had the Earps and Doc Holiday arrested for the murder of Billy Clanton. They were released on a writ of habeas corpus and nothing ever became of the charges.

“Ranching” in Apache County

Phin and Ike moved to Apache County, taking out homesteads of 160 acres each. Sister Mary Else and her second husband Eben Stanley joined them. Notice that Phin and Eben were indicted by a grand jury on five, count them, five counts of improper branding and marking of calves and at least one trial was held. The verdict has been lost to history.

Still, the Clantons were continually in trouble. On the morning of June 1, 1887, Detective J.V. Brighton and Deputy Sheriff Miller carried warrants for Ike Clanton and others. The charges were cattle rustling. They rode to Wilson’s ranch on Blue River, where they saw Ike Clanton coming their way. Clanton recognized the lawmen and turned to ride away. As his horse turned, Ike drew his Winchester from its scabbard. The lawmen commanded Ike to halt. He did not, and Brighton fired, killing Ike Clanton instantly.

Phin Clanton served a prison term, and died on January 5, 1906, after suffering extreme exposure in a snow storm. The cause of death was congestive chills and fever. He was buried in Globe. His ranch was still in existence as of 1982, run by the son of Phin’s step-son.

From the files of the now-extinct National Association of Outlaw and Lawman History

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