Sheriff Behan testified that after leaving Virgil Earp at Hafford's, "I then went down Fourth street to the corner of Fremont, and I met there Frank McLowry holding a horse and talking to somebody."
Mrs. King testified that when she approached Bauer's there was a group of men outside. She asked what was going on and was told there was likely to be trouble between the Earps and the cowboys. Then she said, "then this party seemed to seperate and this man who was standing with the horse was in the act of leading the horse when he turned to the other man who was talking to him and looked up to him and said if you wish to find us you will find us just below. That is all I saw at the time the tall man who was talking to the man with the horse walked up toward the P. O. and the man with the horse went down the street then I stepped back into the shop again."--From the original transcript, unedited as to spelling and punctuation.
The NUGGET version was slightly different: "then these parties seemed to separate, and the man with the horse seemed to be leading, as the man that was talking with them turned from them; one of them said, 'If you wish to find us, you will find us down here [sic];' then the man went up town toward the post office; he was, I think, a tall man; then I stepped into the market." NUGGET, October 30, 1881.
You have Turner for yet another version, but the gist is pretty much the same. When Mrs. King got to the shop there were a group of men standing there. Her curiosity got the best of her and she went back to the door in time to see the crowd begin to break up. The man with the horse [Frank McLaury] was talking to the "tall man," who turns away and heads back toward Fourth Street. Frank said as he walked away, "If you wish to find us, we will be down below."
Now, here are my questions:
1. Who was the man Frank was talking to when Sheriff Behan caught up to him at the corner of Fourth and Fremont?
2. Was it the same "tall man" that Mrs. King saw Frank talking to in front of Bauer's?
3. Is it plausible that Sheriff Behan would have called someone as prominent as Mark Smith, "somebody?"
4. Isn't it true that the chronology, based upon Mrs. King's testimony in particular, suggests that Sheriff Behan walked with Frank down the street to Bauer's where the discussion ensued between McLaury and the tall man?
5. Why didn't Behan describe this situation instead of simply reporting that he and Frank walked down the street from the corner to the vacant lot after he saw Ike and Tom "below?"
6. Why would Behan have paused with a group in front of Bauer's en route to the vacant lot? Did he? If not when did this conversation take place?
7. How do we square the description of the conversation in front of Bauer's as described by Mrs. King with her testimony that it was only a matter of minutes before the Earps approached?
The EPITAPH, November 5, 1881, has an interesting version of Mrs. King's testimony. On Direct exmination she described hearing the exchange, "Let them have it," and Doc's response, "All right." Now, note this: "I heard nothing else before that. I heard concerning the other parties what was told me by the butchers. The other parties said: "If they want us, they can find us."
On cross examination, the defense followed up:
"Q. Did you know who was meant by the word 'them' when you heard the words, 'Let them have it?' A. I suppose I did. I saw a man just previous to that holding a horse and heard him say to the other man 'If you wish to find us, you will find us just below here.'
"Q. How long before the man passed the door was it that you heard the man holding the horse say, 'You will find us just below here?' A. I don't think it was more than four or five minutes.
"Q. Where were you when you heard the words to whom these words were spoken? A. I do not.
"Q. Are you able to say positively whether the words you used were, 'You will find us below here;' or 'They will find us just below here?' A. The word 'you' was used.
'Q. Was there more than one man, and if so, how many, in company with the man leading the horse? A. I could not tell have many; there was quite a group, and there were two horses.
. . . . . . . .
"Q. Do you know in what direction they went after that and where they were at the time Holiday and the other party passed the door of the butcher shop? A. The gentleman that had the horse went down, the other one he was talking to particularly went up. I did not watch where the others went. I do not know where they were when Holliday and the other party passed.
"Q. Did you hear anything except the words, "you will find us just below here?' A. No sir.
"Q. Was the hearing of these words the only reason you had for knowing who was meant by the word 'them?' A. No, sir; it was not the only reason.
"Q. What other reason did you have? A. Previous to hearing these words the parties who keep the shop were liostening, and seemed to be excited. I inquired what was the matter, and they said there was about to be a fight between the Earp boys and the cow-boys, and they said that the party who had the horse was one of the cow-boys."
Now, note this curious exchange on redirect: "You stated on your cross-examination that the man holding the horse said to another man, 'You will find us just below here.' Was the man to whom that remark was made one of the party who passed the butcher shop door with Doc Holliday, or Holliday himself? A. I could not say."
This redirect does not appear in either the NUGGET or the Hayhurst. The Hayhurst (Turner) is particularly truncated with regard to the exchange presented in the EPITAPH, and the NUGGET is not as detailed either. The very thought of asking if the comment, "You will find us just below here" was made to Holliday or one of his party is mind-boggling. Why would the prosecution ask such a thing?
Now, I realize we're pretty far afield from Mark Smith, but this a more fundamental matter of the chronology of what happened. There is a certain logic to the idea that whoever Frank was speaking to walking with him and the sheriff toward the vacant lot, their completing their conversation in front of Bauer's and then moving on to the vacant lot after telling the man where they'd be. Beyond that there is quite a jumble here. Mrs. King said she didn't know the sheriff. She mentions a group of men standing in a circle. She mentions two horses. She appears to have the Earp party hard on the heels of Frank (and, by necessity, the sheriff).
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