Lot 525: WYATT EARP'S SKETCH OF THE SHOOTING OF FRANK STILWELL AND THE GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL
October 9, 2010
Stamford, CT, USALive Auction
WYATT EARP'S SKETCH OF THE SHOOTING OF FRANK STILWELL AND THE GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL
WYATT S. EARP (1848 - 1929) American frontier lawman and gunfighter, with two of his brothers and Doc Holliday fought the legendary gun battle with the Clanton and McLaury brothers at the OK Corral on October 26, 1881. Historic original pencil drawings on both sides of a quarto sheet, Los Angeles, Sep. 15-17, 1926, sketches entirely in Earp's hand of aerial schematic views of the revenge shooting of Frank Stilwell at the train station in Tucson, Mar. 20, 1882, and the shoot-out on Fremont Street in front of the OK Corral in Tombstone on Oct. 26, 1881. These sketches were drawn by Earp as he discussed the famous shooting in a lengthy face-to-face meeting with his close friend and personal secretary John Flood. The Stilwell sketch depicts the train station, a corral, passenger and freight lines, and the general direction of Tucson. Flood has added captions and also identified the locations of Frank Stilwell, Ike Clanton, and possibly another shooter, impossible to decipher. At bottom he notes "Diagram by W.S.E. - Writing by J.W.F., Jr. showing station, trains, etc. at Tucson, Arizona at the time Frank Stilwell was killed".Of particular interest are the many small pencil "dots" and "squiggly" lines above the railroad station, clearly made by Earp as he discussed with Flood the evolution of the gunfight. Following the OK Corral vendetta murder of Morgan Earp and wounding of Virgil Earp in Tombstone, brother Wyatt, Doc HolIiday and several others decided to accompany Virgil on his trip to Colorado to recuperate. They had good reason, as Stilwell and Ike Clanton had boasted that they would kill all of the Earps. According to Wyatt's recollections, at Tucson, he noticed two men approaching the engine. He alerted Holliday, and as Clanton fled, Stilwell was brought down in a fusillade of shotgun, rifle and pistol fire. On the verso, Earp sketches a full-page diagram of the gridwork layout of the area surrounding Fremont Street and the OK Corral in Tombstone, sketching the corral and an adjoining alleyway where the infamous gunfight took place. The elderly gunfighter numbers adjoining lots, and also draws a thin line which may have been his approach to the alleyway before the gunfight. At bottom Flood notes: "Tombstone Arizona - Diagram by W.S.E. - Showing location of corral and alley or vacant lot in which street fight took place on October 26, 1881. Wednesday, September 15, 1926 - 11:30 AM - 5:30 PM at 4000 1/2 West 17th Street, Los Angeles W.S.E. - J.H..F., Jr. ". In his later years, Earp (and to a lesser extent, wife Josie) formed a close relationship with the young John Flood. While he started out as Earp's personal secretary, Flood ultimately became the son Wyatt never had, and to whom the ageing gunfighter revealed his life story in full detail. Before his death in 1929, Earp also gave many of his personal possessions to Flood. Likewise, prior to his own death in 1958, Flood turned over most of his Earp material to his confidant, researcher and collector John Gilchriese from whose collection this item emanates. An historic item symbolic of the Old West and its most notorious gunslinger!