Thursday: We will have a few introductory talks about Tombstone and the area and then have our Board Meeting. We’ll finish the day with a show about Tombstone history in Wyatt Earp’s Oriental Saloon after which the bar will be open.
Friday: We’ll start the day with an optional tour of the Goodenough Mine and a Trolley Tour of town by dividing into two groups. One will go to the Goodenough Mine to tour the world under Tombstone while the other takes the trolley and learns about Tombstone above ground visiting a point between the two, Boothill. In the afternoon you’ll get a chance to tour the infamous Birdcage theater and walk Allen St. where you’ll find the OK Corral, the Arizona Ranger Museum, the Tombstone Courthouse, Rose Tree, and the famous Epitaph. In the evening we’ll repair to Tombstone Monument Ranch for drinks at their saloon and our dinner and awards banquet.
Saturday: In the morning you’ll have another chance to visit the town and any museums you missed. Did you see Ike Clanton’s Haunted Tombstone? Or ride the stagecoach? In the afternoon, we’ll drive to Mescal Movie Set for an optional tour of the set where Tombstone, Judge Roy Bean, the Quick and the Dead, Monte Walsh, Dirty Dingus Magee, the Outlaw Josey Wales and many others were filmed. We’ll get a bit of living history as well as movie history.
History of Cochise County: To understand Tombstone, understand it’s place in history. In 1540, conquistador Francisco Vázquez de Coronado passed a few miles south of Tombstone traversing what would become Cochise County on his way to “discover” New Mexico. Around 1690, Padre Eusebio Kino planted a chapel near modern Fairbank. In the 1820s, mountain man James Ohio Pattie trapped beaver in the San Pedro River. In the 1830s, Mexican land grant recipients tried to ranch but were driven out by Apaches abandoning their cattle which, in 1846, were encountered by Colonel Philip St. George Cooke and the Mormon Battalion in the First Battle of Bull Run. In 1848, the United States purchased the southwest (at gunpoint) from Mexico for $17,000,000. In 1850, boundary commissioner John Russel Bartlett struck a bad deal with the Mexicans and gave back the area south of the Gila River which, in 1854, we paid $10,000,000 to get back in the Gadsden Purchase. We needed the corridor through which I-10 runs for a railroad, this being one of the few places trains could cross the Rocky Mountains. Emigrants to California passed along this corridor and along the southern edge of the county. In 1860, Frederick Brunckow was working an old Spanish mine, near what became Charleston, when he was murdered by Mexican laborers. From 1858 to 1861, the southern Overland Mail, known as the Butterfield, ran through Apache Pass to Dragoon Springs where in October 1858, Mexican laborers killed their Anglo co-workers. In 1861, at Apache Pass, Lieutenant George Bascom confronted Cochise of the Chiricahua Apache over the return of Mickey Free, a stolen boy. Things did not go well and 11 years of war followed. In 1862, Cochise and Mangas Coloradas ambushed the California Column at Apache Pass and Fort Bowie was founded to control the pass. Cochise’s Stronghold is near the Sheep’s Head in the Dragoon Mountains visible from town. In 1862, Dragoon Springs was the scene of a fight between Confederate invaders and Apache. It was there, in 1869, that Cochise attacked a stagecoach and cattle herd killing seven folks in events that led to a confrontation at Chiricahua Pass after which 32 soldiers received the Medal of Honor. In 1872, Cochise’s friend Tom Jeffords negotiated a peace treaty and most of the county became Cochise’s Chiricahua Reservation. The peace lasted until 1876 when the reservation was dissolved, and the Chiricahua moved to San Carlos and further wars ensued lasting until 1886 when Geronimo finally surrendered at Skeleton Canyon and was taken to Fort Bowie in Apache Pass. Cochise County, separated from Pima County in 1881, was always the seat of lawlessness. Wyatt and Virgil Earp tried to clean it up but were forced to leave the county. Sheriff John Slaughter tried next returning from manhunts with the word “they left the country” never to be seen again. In 1902, the Arizona Rangers were established under Captain Burt Mossman, the famous 26 Men, to settle outlaws so Arizona could enter the Union. Of the 26, 24 were assigned to Cochise County and Arizona joined the Union on Valentine’s Day in 1912.
History of Tombstone
History of Tombstone. In 1877, with the dissolution of the Chiricahua Reservation nearby Fort Huachuca was established. Having scouted for the Army, Ed Schieffelin rode out from the fort to look for mineral wealth. The soldiers told him that all he would find out there in Chiricahua country was his tombstone and so he named his first strike, the Tombstone. He camped the night before at Tombstone Monument which was built over his grave and stands near Tombstone Monument Ranch. Ed found silver and the town was boom or bust and volatile silver prices rose and fell but never died. Cattle drives came up from Texas bringing meat for the Army and Indian Reservations and eventually for the new towns, Bisbee having been founded about the same time. They left behind a detritus of paid off drovers who spent their money on wine, women, song, and gambling and totally wasted the remainder. Now without prospects of a job and no way to get back to Texas, they turned to doing what they knew, herding other people’s cattle, and supply cut-rate stolen beef to the mines. Families like the Clantons and McLaurys laundered cattle providing “legitimate” origins for beef. No account politicians like Sheriff Johnny Behan arrived to seek government jobs and hired some of the outlaws as deputies who took advantage of legal cover to rob stagecoaches and commit assassinations. The Earps and Doc Holliday stood up to them. And the streets ran with blood. Mills were established on the San Pedro River at Millville and Contention City to work the ore. Authorities at Millville didn’t allow drinking or gambling so Charleston was established just across the stream. At 500 feet, the mines hit water and Cornish Pumps were brought in. At 1000 feet, the pumps caught fire in a labor dispute. The miners had been getting $4 per day, excellent wages for the time, but with the price of silver going down, the owners tried to cut back by offering $3 per day, still excellent wages, but a cut that was not appreciated by the miners. The town burned a couple of times, but the newspapers hardly noticed, concentrating instead on how quickly the rebuilding was taking place and how tidy the town now looked. Silver went bust in the late 1880s, boomed in the 90s, went bust, and boomed after 1900 only to quiet down again. Different ores were mined during WWII and into the 1950s providing “strategic minerals.” The current boom started 30 years ago with the movie Tombstone and is still going strong, a town that has proved again and again that it was just too tough to die.