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Outlaws | Vintage Photos

The Phillips Collection featuring

Residents of Boot Hill Graveyard:
Tom and Frank McLaury
and Billy Clanton

By Cathleen Briley
Upon their arrival in Arizona Territory in the late 1870's, brothers Tom and Frank McLaury became "fast friends" with Billy Clanton. New York born Tom and Frank set down stakes in the Territory intending to make their fortunes in the cattle business. Old Man Clanton was the owner of the largest cattle ranch in the area, so it was inevitable that they would meet. Despite the McLaury brothers once being tempted to join the law profession as their father did once their family moved to Iowa, and their older brother did in Texas, Tom and Frank went another direction entirely, inherently and physically.

Alongside Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank got into a mess of trouble in Arizona and on many occasions. It didn't take long for them to develop their reputations as outlaws. As much fun as they may have had when it all first started, they probably never dreamed they'd spend an eternity, interred side by side with their friend Billy, paying for the mistake of going up against the likes of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.

There are several famous "Boot Hill" graveyards across the United States, but the one located in Tombstone, Arizona will be the focus of this fifth Phillips Collection article. It is within that graveyard (that was simply known as the Tombstone Cemetery until the trendy name change in the 1920's) that Tom and Frank McLaury and the notorious Billy Clanton are buried.

After these three men were gunned down by the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday during shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone on October 26, 1881, their bodies were displayed in matching decorative caskets in the undertaker's front window for the residents of Tombstone to view. The bodies were then carried in one of the largest and most elaborate funeral processions that Tombstone had ever seen, ending at their final resting place depicted below.
OK Corral Shootout Graves in Tombstone
Tombstones in Boot Hill 1
Approximately 300 people are believed to have been buried in the Tombstone Cemetery, but only 205 of them were actually recorded. Once the "New Cemetery" was established on Allen Street in 1884, the dead were then interred at that location, making the previous cemetery the "Old Cemetery" until the colorful name change to Boot Hill.2 Boot Hill was severely neglected, likely until it was discovered that it could be capitalized on for tourist dollars when "Old West" enthusiasm took a firm hold in the U.S. That enthusiasm spread to other countries, firmly establishing Old West characters as legendary.
Entrance to Boothill Graveyard in Tombstone

This is the entrance to Boothill Graveyard in Tombstone. 3
Photo courtesy of Google Earth

As fun as it might be to meander through the Boot Hill Graveyard in Tombstone and imagine what it might have been like in days long past, you won't view anything except for a few piles of rocks and wooden markers. It does little to bring you any closer to the McLaury brothers or Billy Clanton. But, photos from the Phillips Collection can do that for you.

For comparison purposes, the photo on the left is of Frank McLaury courtesy of Wikipedia. The photo on the right is of Frank McLaury from the Phillips Collection.
Frank McLaury
Frank McLaury 4
Frank McLaury
Frank McLaury
The following photo of both Tom (on left) and Frank McLaury (on right) is taken from The McLaury's in Tombstone, Arizona - An O.K. Corral Obituary by Paul Lee Johnson:
Tom & Frank McLaury
Tom & Frank McLaury 5
Again, for comparison purposes, the photo on the left is of Tom McLaury borrowed from Wikipedia. The photo on the right is of Tom McLaury from the Phillips Collection.
Tom McLaury
Tom McLaury 6
Tom McLaury
Tom McLaury
The photo of Tom McLaury from the Phillips Collection was taken by Herbert N. Gale who set up what would become a very successful photography studio in Bristol, Connecticut in 1878.

For comparison purposes, the photo of Billy Clanton on the left is borrowed from Southern Arizona Guide. The photo on the right is a photo of Billy Clanton from the Phillips Collection.
Billy Clanton
Billy Clanton 7
Billy Clanton
Billy Clanton
Billy's likeness from the Phillips Collection was captured by a young photographer named Arthur Mitchell who was actually only a few months older than Billy. Before1880, Mr. Mitchell, at the young age of 19, had already set up a photography studio at No. 4 Brewer Block in Westfield, New York.

The following photo of Billy Clanton (in his death pose) on the left is borrowed from Wikipedia and is again provided for comparison purposes. The photo on the right is of Billy Clanton from the Phillips Collection.
Billy Clanton
Billy Clanton 8
Billy Clanton
Billy Clanton
This photo of Billy Clanton from the Phillips Collection was taken by Reed & Bock in Circleville, Ohio who were in business in the 1870's.

When the photographs of Tom and Frank McLaury were taken, the two young men didn't look anything like outlaws. If it wasn't for meeting up with the Clanton family, they may have stayed on the right side of the law. But, fate insisted that it be otherwise. The McLaury brother's association with the Clanton's led to mistakes that would cost them their lives. The three men became legendary, but nevertheless, reluctant and early residents of Boot Hill Cemetery.
1Boot Hill. (2015, July 2). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:00, July 6, 2015, from
2 http://southernarizonaguide.com/anyone-really-buried-boothill-graveyard/ July 6, 2015
Google Earth, July 6, 2015
4 Frank McLaury. (2015, April 24). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:12, July 6, 2015, from
5 The McLaury’s in Tombstone, Arizona – An O.K. Corral Obituary by Paul Lee Johnson, University of North Texas Press, Denton, Texas, 2012
6 Tom McLaury. (2015, May 21). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:15, July 6, 2015, from
7 http://southernarizonaguide.com/gunfight-corral-timeline/, July 8, 2015
8 Billy Clanton. (2015, April 24). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:34, July 8, 2015, from

© Cathleen Briley
July 31, 2015 Feature

The Phillips Collection :

Introduction | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

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