Number 63 on Gilchriese's map, which is directly in line with the O. K. Corral, is labeled, "Vacant. Sometimes used as back entrance to O. K. Corral." There's more to his description, but this is the key part. My copy of his map also includes an arrow pointing toward the O. K. Corral. Number 62 is Bauer's. Number 64 is the Papago Cash Store. Number 63 is on a straight line with the Allen Street entrance.
There are some errors on Gilchriese's map. This isn't one of them. Your characterization that Gilchriese did not know what he was doing is also unmerited. Gilchriese worked with Bob Mullin in the preparation of the map which was the first serious attempt to provide a map of Tombstone, circa 1881-82, in decades. Look at the Mullin map done in 1949(which I believe you have a copy of) and you'll see the baseline format from which Mullin and Gilchriese went on to build Gilchriese's 1971 map. And don't gainsay Gilchriese and Mullin for not anticipating the changes that other researchers have made to the map of Tombstone over the forty years since. Their research enlarged and improved our understanding of Tombstone, but they did have the benefit of the Mullin-Gilchriese map in the preparation of their own.
In my book, I was one of those who had the Clantons walking through to Fremont and turning down the street to the vacant lot. I now believe that was an error I should not have made. In his book, Casey had the cowboys split up, with the McLaurys and Ike Clanton moving through the rear entrance to Fremont Street, then splitting up with the McLaurys going to the Union Market and Ike walking down Fremont toward the vacant lot. In the meantime, "The two Billys, Clanton and Claiborne, passed through the open corral and entered the rear of a vacant lot next to the two buildings that made up Fly's Photo Gallery and rooming house."--LBL, p. 120.
I think Casey--and Gilchriese--had it right. Since I finished my book, and due in part to discussions on this board, I've modified my view. In fact, I have come to doubt that Tom McLaury was with the cowboys when they passed through the corral, but was, in fact, already on Fremont Street conducting business. Some will doubtlessly disagree with me on that. The evidence indicates that Billy Clanton and Will Claiborne, the young guys, were walking behind the others carrying on a separate conversation.
The vacant lot appears to have been a rendezvous point. Frank was going to take care of business (and, I think, to look for Tom). Frank didn't just go to Bauer's, but walked back toward Fourth Street all the way to the corner. Ike may have also been looking for Tom. In fact, he may have been the one who found him, considering that Ike and Tom both arrived at the lot before Frank showed up with the sheriff.
The youngsters, Billy and Will, with nothing to do but wait on the others, turned behind the businesses on Fremont and walked through an open area and turned again into the vacant lot between Fly's and Harwood's. Claiborne testified that he and Billy went directly from the O. K. Corral "to where the difficulty occurred."--NUGGET, November 9.
Claiborne indicated that he and Billy continued their conversation in the vacant lot. He told the coroner's inquest that they were still talking for fifteen minutes after the others, including the sheriff, showed up. Billy left Will only "after the Sheriff went away in about two or three minutes, and joined the other boys" presumably to find out what was going on.
I won't argue that the "back route" to the vacant lot interpretation is not subject to challenge, but it makes the most sense to me. I'm not even sure that it matters all that much whether they approached the lot from Fremont Street or from behind the buildings. What is clear, though, is that the young Billys were the first to arrive at the vacant lot. Claiborne's testimony makes it clear that he and Billy Clanton were engrossed in conversation from the time they passed through the O. K. Corral until fifteen minutes AFTER Behan showed up. That's fascinating within itself. What were they talking about?
Steve to what Gilchriese says was their route as most seem to believe they went on through the O. K. Corral and out onto Fremont? I don't know. Gilchriese map shows no Fremont entrance to the O. K.... more
Look at Gilchriese's map again Gary Roberts,Wed Apr 18 07:51
Mullin or Gilchriese notes any source material about where they got the information on the Cowboys' route through the rear of the corral. Do they mention any source material on this in any other... more
Honestly, I'm not sure how Mullin and Gilchriese arrived at their conclusion about the route. Shillingberg, who knew Gilchriese and his work as well as anybody, has the cowboys walking together to... more
Without some digging I don't know. John Behan died on June 7, 1912, so Hayhurst would have been young if he did know him. What I do know is that Hayhurst knew several of the Tombstone old-timers and... more
Gary In Hayhursts file at AHS he comes across as the consumate historian. In other places he does not. Knowing several Tombstone old timers that might be a hint where he might have come up with his... more
I suggested Gilchrieses map and the back route as a possibility for discussion by putting up the first post and after I said he might not know what he was doing, I added “but who knows?” I think that ... more
Tom, This will have to be brief. For one thing, I have to be somewhere shortly, and for another, I don't have time to review the testimony the way I need to in order to give you the kind of answer... more
This was not like the Beatles crossing Abbey Road. Gary, This is a great conversation. I think it is important. You have just done what few do, by making individuals of these ranchers. I found while... more
Robin "So, for Billy Clanton and Billy Claiborne to take an easier and shorter route to their rendezvous seems very possible and very probable to me." I have asked everyone I can think of to show... more
Hi Tom, What evidence is there that the two Billy's came out at the Fremont Street O.K. Corral exit? Who saw them there? Who testified to that? Billy Allen and Reuben Coleman, in a sense, followed... more
Robin However I note it is a position held by few for which no actual evidence is presented that I have been able to find from those who advocate for it Almost every person who has written about this ... more
Nick, I can't know for sure, because we can only speculate about what might have happened if Sheriff Behan hadn't shown up. My general belief has been that Billy was anxious to leave and that the... more
Since it appears from photographs that there were no hitching rails on the street, it was a misdemeanor to tie your horse to a tree, and I get the impression that people were encouraged to take their ... more
Gary, This morning I reviewed Billy Claiborne's testimony before the Coroner's Inquest and at the Spicer Hearing to see if there was anything I had previously overlooked that might clarify the route... more
Jerry, My guess is that Coroner Matthews initiated preliminary interviews with potential witnesses in order to determine which witnesses should later be called at the Coroner's Inquest. Exactly how... more
Matthews talked to the people that were on the scene that day, and based on those initial conversations put together a witness list for the inquest. The most curious thing about the coroner's inquest ... more
Gary, Two possibilities arise as to why the police involved in the shooting were not called to testify in the Coroner's inquest: 1.) Behan successfully managed to manipulate Matthews in the selection ... more
Gary I understood there was no information on how the cowboys proceeded once in the OK Corral but Coleman gave a clue. As you know Sills is the only one who testified to seeing the cowboys standing... more
Gary. Tom had business that he transacted earlier at the Eagle Meat market on Allen - that was when the witnesses (Gardner and Bilicke) saw him emerge with a bulge in his pants pocket. He certainly... more
If you look at the old photos of Bauer's you get a sense that it was a small building with no awnings, a large window in front, and a small porch/sidewalk. King says that she stepped into the outer... more
Those old photos of "Bauer's" have been deceiving many of us for quite some time. The building that was there at the time of the gunfight was much larger. About a year and a half ago, Gary McLelland... more
The usually used photos of Bauer's are of the rebuilt store taken many years later (see the one in Lake's book, for example). Mrs. King was pretty explicit as to where she was. She said that the... more
Somewhere I've seen a map that shows the area that was destroyed in the 1882 fire. Been looking for it, but can't find it. As I remember, the fire stopped west of Bauer's(which it destroyed), but... more
I was going through some of Bob Bell's books and found a picture of the original Oriental bar before the fire. It had several very tall doors that seem to stand open to allow easy in and out access.... more
Yes, I've seen those photos. The great photo Gary McLelland provided was taken from quite a distance, so it was not easy to see in detail. To me, it looked like there were two doors in the center of... more
I counted a set of 4 doors along the front of the building, and one at the corner. Think two on the side of 5th street from a drawing of the building. That was a large open air gambling den, easy in... more
Yes, the high doors, over 10ft high, I think there was two doors facing main street, and of course the corner door that Claiborne was waiting in front. Years ago I was standing at the side entrance... more
Geraldo I guess they did that because they thought the fight was in the entrance of the O.K. Corral and they knew fly's was involved. Thus i guess they merged those two thoughts, maybe? Interesting... more
Tom, Many, many, many years ago, when I was just a pup, I remember seeing similar photos in books about "The Old West" in the public library. I remember that the caption under one picture stated,... more
to the "threat" well before the cowboys reached Fremont Street. All of the movements on Allen and Fourth, as well as the reports that the cowboys as a group had moved into the O. K. Corral were the... more