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Outlaws | Vintage Photos

The Phillips Collection featuring

Billy Breakenridge
and Dan Tipton

By Cathleen Briley
This is the third article featuring photos from the Phillips Collection. The Phillips Collection is a compilation of over 200 photos purchased from an antique store in Oklahoma nearly 20 years ago by happenstance by Mr. and Mrs. Owner (who wish to remain anonymous for the time being). The photos turned out to be an amazing collection of lawmen and outlaws, their families, and other major players in historical events, including the famous shootout at Tombstone. It is our assumption that the collection once belonged to Frank Phillips, an Oklahoma oilman, with deep pockets and connections, and a well-known and vast interest in all things Old West and “outlaw.” Mr. Phillips certainly had the wherewithal to have amassed such an impressive collection that includes Doc Holliday, Big Nose Kate, Wyatt and Josephine Earp, the Earp family, the Clanton’s, other famous people from Tombstone, Jesse James, the Younger Brothers, etc.

In the first article, I introduced a new photo of Mattie Blaylock Earp from the Phillips Collection, and in the second, I introduced new images of Johnny Behan and John Clum. Now, the focus will be on William “Billy” Breakenridge and Daniel Gordon Tipton. Like Behan and Clum, these two men were on the opposite side of the “Wyatt Earp issue.” Billy Breakenridge was deputy sheriff under the unlikable Johnny Behan. Later in his life, Billy was just as vocal about his opinion of Wyatt Earp as Clum and Behan once were when he published Helldorado in 1928, offering his version of the Tombstone events amongst other rough and rugged memories of his life in the West.

At odds with each other, Clum liberally used his newspaper, the Tombstone Epitaph, to support Earp, and Behan willingly testified in court against Wyatt and Doc after the shootout at the OK Corral. But, Breakenridge and Tipton, on the other hand, were more “men of action” rather than “men of words” during those vital years in the early 1880’s. But please don’t get me wrong - I am not suggesting that Breakenridge and Tipton did not have backbones just because they weren’t shouting from the rooftops. Quite the opposite was true.

Breakenridge had years of experience living in the out-of-doors, dealing with the bitter cold or intense heat, and fighting off Indians. He was an excellent tracker and had no problem at all finding Zwing Hunt and Billy Grounds after they tried to rob the Tombstone Mining and Milling Company in 1882 and killed a man during the attempt. When it was all over, Billy Breakendridge had gunned them down, killing one and wounding the other.

Dan Tipton was a Civil War veteran who served aboard the USS Malvern before eventually making his way west. Tipton didn’t even arrive in Tombstone until early in 1881, having been in California, likely working in a silver mine. But, it didn’t take long for him to figure out what was what in Tombstone and choose a side. He was in the room when Morgan Earp was shot while playing pool, and must have been incensed enough that he joined the Earp-led “Vendetta Ride” posse in March of 1882 (and may have also ridden with the Earp’s beforehand). He must have been a highly trusted member of the posse, because it was Tipton who was chosen to be the carrier of a $1,000 donation to keep the Earp posse funded.1 Neither of these men had any hesitation about doing their part and answering the call.

There has been some speculation as to the spelling of Breakenridge’s name. I think that argument can be put to rest by the man’s own hand. This is William Breakenridge’s signature on a passport application.
William Breakenridge’s signature 2
But, now onto the photographs. For comparison purposes, this is the known photograph of William Breakenridge provided by Wikipedia:
William Breakenridge
William Breakenridge 3
The following is a photo of William Breakenridge from the Phillips Collection:
William Breakenridge
William Breakenridge
Phillips Collection
This photo was taken in Phoenix, Arizona Territory. The identity of this man is unquestionable. In both photos, you can see the distinct nose, eyes, ear, and hairstyle of William. As you can see, there is a woman in the photo with him. Her identity is still unknown. According to available census records, Breakenridge always claimed to be single, decade after decade, and he never mentions anything close to a love interest in his book, Helldorado. So, this lady must have been a temporary sweetheart and never a wife.

The following is a photo of an unhappy-looking Daniel Tipton around the time of his imprisonment and not long before his death. This photo is taken from Wikipedia:
Daniel Tipton
Daniel Tipton 4
The following is the photo of a younger Dan Tipton from the Phillips Collection:
Daniel Tipton
Daniel Tipton
Phillips Collection
Tipton has a distinguishable face. I am left wondering if he had Hungarian blood as he looks so much like a full-blooded Hungarian friend of mine it is uncanny. If that were the case, the Phillips Collection has photos of two Hungarians: Mary Katherine Horony and Dan Tipton. But, since so little is known about the man’s family, that might remain a mystery, at least for a while. In my next article, I will have more photos for you from the Phillips Collection and I will bring you closer two other men who once called Tombstone home.
1 Dan Tipton. (2015, April 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15:32, May 20, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dan_Tipton&oldid=654924877
Billy Breakenridge. (2015, April 23). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15:32, May 20, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Billy_Breakenridge&oldid=658887498
2 United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QV5B-2189 : accessed 18 May 2015), William Milton Breakenridge, 1918; citing Passport Application, Arizona, United States, source certificate #43630, Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925, 621, NARA microfilm publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm.
Billy Breakenridge. (2015, April 23). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15:32, May 20, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Billy_Breakenridge&oldid=658887498
4 Dan Tipton. (2015, April 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15:32, May 20, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dan_Tipton&oldid=654924877

© Cathleen Briley
June 29, 2015 Feature

The Phillips Collection :

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

More Outlaws | Vintage Photos

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