Billy Clanton


Billy Clanton Famous memorial

Original Name William Harrison
Hamilton County, Texas, USA
Death 26 Oct 1881 (aged 18–19)
Tombstone, Cochise County, Arizona, USA
Burial Tombstone, Cochise County, Arizona, USA
Plot Row 2 Lot 2
Memorial ID 2266 View Source

American Folk Figure. Billy Clanton was a reluctant combatant in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. When becoming knowledgeable about the intentions of his older brother Ike to foster a confrontation with city lawmen, he attempted to calm him then persuade him to leave town. Unsuccessful, he would stay and participate in the gunfight while witnessing his brother fleeing from the scene after starting the altercation before dying in a hail of bullets. The number of participants and the manner the shoot out unfolded has propelled the event into the forefront of lore, myth and folk tales of the lawless American west. All of the members involved became legendary due to the enormous publicity generated by books, newspapers and periodicals printing stories, most mainly fabricating mere fiction. Hollywood movie makers cranked out numerous films with dubious and embellished scenes. The conflict was the result of suspicion by Tombstone Marshal Wyatt Earp that the Clanton family and their associates were a gang engaged in rustling and then selling stolen cattle plus the belief that they had stolen one of his horses. On the side of law was the three Earp brothers...Wyatt, special deputies Virgil and Morgan with Doc Holliday. The opposition was the Clanton family... Billy and Ike, McLaury brothers Tom and Frank with Billy Claiborne. Facts and results of the shoot out...McLaury family members Tom and Frank were killed as was Clanton family member Billy. They were embalmed and placed on display in the window of a Tombstone hardware store in an attempt to generate sympathy and initiate murder and malfeasance charges against the Earp's. Both the Clanton and McLaury families were prosperous cattle ranchers and well known in the area. The funeral for the threesome would be a major event in the Arizona boom town and their interment in the town cemetery was attended by hundreds of sympathetic mourners. The McLaury brothers were placed in a single grave with Billy nearby. The casualties on the side of the law were Special Deputies Morgan Earp, wounded in both shoulders and Virgil shot in the right calf while Doc Holliday was only grazed on his hip. Billy was the youngest of three Clanton brothers born into a family of six in Hamilton County, Texas during the civil war to Newman Hayes and Mariah Kelso Clanton. Billy was the youngest of seven children and at age three the family began a relatively nomadic existence with a move to Fort Bowie in the Arizona Territory and quickly uproot and move to Ventura, California. At his age of nine, the family was now living in Port Hueneme, California then his father would move his entire family back to Arizona with a plan of starting his own farming community in the Gila Valley. He would call the site Clantonville and actively farm while trying to entice others to settle here. This venture would end up in failure with the family splitting and the oldest son would move back to California while those remaining would move down the San Pedro River to Lewis Spring near Charleston. The site would become known as the Clanton Ranch and Billy now fifteen would help his father construct a large adobe house. Wyatt Earp apprehended Billy at age eighteen, riding his stolen horse in Charleston. The incident was resolved peacefully with the animal retrieved by his legal owner. In the summer prior to the shoot out, "Old Man" Clanton was ambushed and killed in New Mexico by Mexicans for his involvement in horse stealing. The Clanton family was now without their father and son Ike would became the chief member. The gunfight began in a vacant lot in Tombstone after the lawmen open fire on the McLaury brothers Tom and Frank along with Billy Clanton. The brothers were killed but Billy mortally wounded, was taken to a nearby house where he received some medical treatment before passing away. Interesting stuff about the O.K. Corral area...The name was conceived by movie makers. Much of Tombstone remains today except for a sizable area which burned years ago and a few thousand people call it home. The town sprang up after silver was discovered nearby. It derived its name from the first of the successful mines that operated in the area. Boot Hill cemetery originated in 1878 was the burial place of some 250 early settlers before being closed in 1884. During its period of neglected abandonment, it lost many of its original markers and the location of graves. After extensive research the historic cemetery was slowly restored and replica markers were posted as close as possible to the actual graves. It is located on State Hwy 80. Boot Hill cemetery is often confused with the Tombstone Cemetery. This burial place was begun after the closing of Boot Hill and is located on Allen Street some distance from the business area. It also is the burial place of many early residents. A distant relative of Old Man Clanton claims to have pinpointed the actual location of the Clanton ranch some thirteen miles from Tombstone on the San Pedro River. A small portion of the adobe house which Billy helped construct remains standing. However, the purported graves of Mariah, the mother of Billy and her son Ike are nowhere to be found. Charlestown is located ten miles from Tombstone on the San Pedro River and today is a ghost town in a protected area. A few adobe ruins remain.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 2266
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Billy Clanton (1862–26 Oct 1881), Find a Grave Memorial ID 2266, citing Boothill Graveyard, Tombstone, Cochise County, Arizona, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .