Tombstone Eyewitness

In March of 2010, two employees of the Superior Court in Cochise County, Arizona were reorganizing files in an old part of the jail when they found detailed witness accounts from America's most famous wild west shootout: The Gunfight at the OK Corral.


These records had been lost for decades. Evidently in the 1960s, clerks had retyped many of the original hand-written documents, but misplaced them.

For the past several years, the staffers of the Arizona State Library through the Arizona Memory Project "digitally scrubbed" the documents and have been busy cataloging and making the hand-written and typed documents available online for the public.

About the gunfight--it occurred on October 26, 1881 in Tombstone, AZ. The encounter involved four Marshals (including Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday) and five outlaws--three of the criminals were killed while two law enforcement officers were wounded.

At least, three movies have been made about the incident.

For anyone interested in American history, the collection is fantastic.

The witness statements provide insight into how many shots were fired, what type of weapons were used, and the tactics employed--I was surprised to learn that the gunfight only lasted about 30 seconds.

To see the Gunfight at the OK Corral digital document collection, click here for the Arizona Memory Project.
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Note: The idea for this post came after I read this article by The State Library of Arizona

18 comments:

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

It's awesome that they relocated the old records.

Brian Miller said...

dude...that is pretty cool...would be very neat to read through to get a taste of that moment in history....

Pat Hatt said...

Wow only 30 seconds, movies sure seem to draw it out a lot longer

Stephen Tremp said...

Hey Slamdunk, long time no see. I'm going to mosey on over to that link right now and check out those documents.

Bob G. said...

Slamdunk:
I didn;t know about that...very cool.
Have to use that link and have a look-see.
I had heard the "gunfight" was short in duration, but a fair amount of lead was slung about in that time.
History Channel had a re-enactment a while back...good show.
And a VERY GOOD post.
Thanks for sharing it.

Stay safe out there.

Hilary said...

What a cool find and I'm also surprised that it was only 30 seconds in duration.

messymimi said...

It's always fabulous when we find old documents, especially the ones that help us understand history better. Loss of old documents and books of knowledge makes me sad, and as my Little Girl says, i'm still peeved about the burning of the Library of Alexandria

lisa said...

This is the kind of stuff that makes the past come alive! Such a fascinating time in our nation's history.

Mommy Lisa said...

Cool stuff!

terri said...

Wow! I've never seen any of the movies and I've just learned more from your post than I ever really knew about this famous fight.

Isn't it great that today's technology makes it easier than ever to preserve historic documents?

Stephanie Faris said...

Fascinating! I'll have to read up on that.

Secret Agent Woman said...

That's great that they found the originals.

Maxi said...

I remember this bit of history very well, SD. Even saw the movie back in the day … it will always be infamous.
blessings ~ maxi

ladyfi said...

What a great find.

Theresa Milstein said...

I bet there are a bunch of historians who want to see these materials. I wouldn't be surprised if it lead to another movie too!

Diane Estrella said...

So glad that part of history was finally found.

Shauna Nosler said...

And I found you ... interestingly enough, it doesn't surprise me that the fight was so short - I mean they didn't exactly have guns that held massive amounts of ammunition back then. I love stuff like this - it would be so cool to have discovered those - makes you wonder what else is hanging out there in basements and old buildings, let alone right in front of our eyes.

JJ.in.Phila said...

Not only three movies, but an episode of the original Star Trek. :)