Back to Back Issues Page
Irish Immigrants in Tombstone Arizona - Tombstone Tips, Issue #013
April 04, 2018

Insider Info Newsletter

April 2018


~ ~ Irish Immigrants in Arizona

~ ~ March Events/Insider Update Review

~ ~ The Latest at Tombstone Travel Tips


The best reading experience is with HTML email. Without it (if you just have text email) you can't see the photos. Without it you must copy & paste entire links into a browser. If you don't have HTML email - instead the solution is to read Tombstone Tips Newsletter as a webpage.

To do that - Read this newsletter as a webpage: Click Here - if this is a link

Or if not - copy & past this WHOLE URL:

into your address bar, then press ENTER


We had a nice St. Patrick's Day celebration this year in Tombstone. Thinking of that - there were many Irish immigrants that populated early Tombstone AZ. Some of them were quite notable in town.

In the 1880s, Irish immigration was ongoing throughout the "Wild West." Let's investigate some of those local figures & a little of that background.

From The Weekly Arizona Miner
May 14, 1880 - Page 1


(Special To The Miner)

#1 - News For/About the Irish

~ ~ Arizona was interested in the plight of the Irish famine - also called "The Great Hunger." Many died in Ireland. Many others immigrated, escaping to the U.S., Canada & other countries.

~ ~ To their great credit, about half the immigrants were women - 52% exactly! When one family member got here & found employment - they would often send funds to help others get their passage over.

~ ~ To escape the Eastern cities & discrimination, some migrated West. A lot of these Irish migrants ended up in mining camps. One of the most well known was Nellie Cashman.


#2 - Born 1845: Ellen Cashman in County Cork

~ ~ She immigrated to Boston with her mother & sister at about 7 years old. When they migrated to San Francisco Nellie was 20 years old.

~ ~ Apparently her first business was in a Nevada mining town. The 1873 Pioche Daily Record had an ad for the Boarding House of Miss N. Cashman, Proprietess. She left before the town's mines gave out. She seemed to have an instinct for that!

~ ~ Next she went to British Columbia, then Tucson AZ, then Tombstone. As part of the Irish population, she was instrumental in helping fund construction of the Catholic Church - a Historic Site today.

~ ~ She also promoted the Irish Land League, in support of her mother-land. She had numerous business ventures in town, including the Russ House. She tried to stay neutral in the town's political divisions. But her method seemed to include, somehow, playing both sides of the fence! We're planning a biographical page for her on the website.

From The Tombstone Daily Epitaph
Sunday, January 3, 1886 - Page 3

John Behan in 1871

#3 - John Harris Behan

~ ~ Though born in the U.S., his father was born in County Kildare, Ireland. His heritage is half Irish. John was born in Kansas City Missouri.

~ ~ He moved to California as a young man. He worked in mining & with a stage coach company.

~ ~ The Civil War broke out & John worked with Carleton's Column of Union Volunteers, which brought him to Arizona. He fought in the Battle of Apache Pass. Afterwards he stayed, working in Tucson. Then he got a government clerk position in Prescott.

~ ~ In Prescott he got into mining again. Also real estate. He worked sawmills, in bars & with stage lines. He fought an Indian battle, which got him his first lawman position. Later John was elected County Sheriff & then to the legislature. He was in & out of law & politics. He gained a promiscuous reputation, particularly as a married man. He began his association with Josephine Marcus at this time.

~ ~ In 1880 he moved to Tombstone. With his law experience, John was elected Cochise County Sheriff. Here is where he became more notorious by his involvement in the Gunfight at the OK Corral. Plus his association with Ike Clanton, John Ringo & Curly Bill Brocius.

Ned McGowan - the Notorious!?

#4 - A Crazy Career - Ned McGowan

~ ~ Edward "Ned" was born in Philadelphia - his parents were both Irish. He grew up in the East, became a lawyer & got into politics. Pretty much immediately he became controversial. He had a temper & was even in a knife fight in the state legislature! But people also said he was quite the gregarious personality!

~ ~ Ned McGowan (no apparent relation to us - by the way!) went West to California. There he was continually at odds with a vigilante committee running San Francisco. Eventually he had to flee the area. He ended up in British Columbia, East of Vancouver.

~ ~ Again he was controversial. Some SF Vigilance Committee members were also there & continued their feud with him. Area native peoples, miners, Royal troops & local politicians all became involved. Racial & international tensions were also provocative.

~ ~ McGowan led his friends into brawls with opposition instigated by the vigilantes. This event is known as McGowan's War. It was settled in court. There wasn't a single shot fired!

~ ~ Ned left BC in Feb. 1859. He was living in Tombstone AZ by mid July of 1882. He became a well-known local. In Sept. 1882 he was requested as a second for a duel between 2 newspaper editors - one at the Epitaph. Dr. Goodfellow came along for treatment as necessary. A dispute about the chosen firearms deactivated the plan & the duel was canceled on-site with hostility!

~ ~ He worked awhile in the Oriental Saloon on Allen St. - NE corner of 5th. He acted as a Faro look-out. During a game, one player shot another. Ned was there, & saw the whole thing. So he ended up a witness at the trial.

~ ~ In early 1884 Ned moved to Washington DC for a Federal appointment. He returned to California in mid 1889. Ned died in San Francisco at St. Mary's Hospital. He was aged 84. He's buried in Holy Cross Cemetery.

#5 - Other Irish in the Wild West

~ ~ Patrick Joseph Sullivan - born in County Cork. Settled in Caspar Wyoming as a sheep rancher. Became the town mayor & then a Wyoming senator.

~ ~ Billy the Kid was actually named Henry McCarty. He used an alias William H. Bonney, but most know his famous outlaw name. Born in NY, his mother remarried & moved to Silver City NM when he was about 11. A few years later his mother died & he began stealing, getting in trouble. He went to SE AZ, & worked on the Hooker Ranch. (That's also where the Earp Vendetta Posse hid out awhile.) But most of the time Billy the Kid was in NM.

~ ~ Charles L. Cummings - A noted pioneering family name in Tombstone. Charles came to town in 1880. A determined businessman, he first worked for the mines & water company. He owned a mining interest. He opened The Tombstone Pharmacy. He served as the City Treasurer & at the state legislature. He became president of the First National Bank of Tombstone. He is buried in The City Cemetery.

~ ~ Frank & Tom McLaury - These brothers were famously gunned down by the Earps & Doc in Tombstone's gunfight. Their roots show the family's history was in sheep farming - a tradition in rural Ireland. They were both born in upstate NY. Their father was educated, becoming a lawyer, as another brother also did. The family moved to Iowa when Frank & Tom were boys. As young adults, they came to AZ. The rest is history!


From The Arizona Weekly Citizen
Saturday, March 27, 1880 - Page 3

Ned McGowan Meeting a Sad End

Published in The Tombstone Epitaph
Wednesday, June 14, 1893 - Page 2

The Epitaph goes on to say the duel "trouble arose over some newspaper articles" and also states "McGowan was at one time clerk of the 9th legislature at Prescott and was well known all over the territory."

~ ~ Mary & Martin Costello is another Irish heritage pioneering name you'd notice in the Tombstone Cemetery. In fact roaming that cemetery, you'll see quite a few Irish names there. Those buried in the 1880s & early 1900s, down through today.

~ ~ The population in 1882 was itemized as 559 Irish, 423 Hispanics, 245 Chinese. There was also a sizable Jewish & German population.

We hope we'll see you in town, checking out our history. Let us know how you like it here! Tell us what you did. Just reply to this newsletter for easy input! (Let us know if we can use your comments - credit with just a first name & last initial; or only initials; or anonymous.)


St. Patrick's Day

~ ~ The parade was wonderful! You may have caught our Facebook posts. It was also Wild West Days - a tribute to the troops, as well as commemorating St. Patrick's Day. We certainly enjoyed it, as did all the visitors and locals who lined Allen Street.

St. Patrick's Day 2018 in Tombstone - The Parade



* * In a couple of weeks I'll be sending out 1 additional VERY short email to everyone. The reason: A little over a month ago we started offering a free gift for signing up for our newsletter. So if you signed up earlier - you didn't receive that offer. It will go out to everyone, because I can't designate pre-gift offer & post-gift offer in sending out emails. So if you've already taken the offer - just delete that email. If not, just read it & follow the instructions to get your free gift. OK? Any questions, just always easiest to reply to this.

* * Big Iron Shooting Gallery Moved!!

* * Last month we mentioned the remodel. Well, turns out it's more than that! They moved across the street & are in the Watt & Tarbell building. That's the former 1880s morgue, which was recently used for a ghost tour!

* * Bakery Coming Soon!

* * Mario's Bakery Cafe is in the works to open in a couple of months. Great news! We've had some treats from their baker before - delish! Watch for it on the South side of Allen Street, between 5th & 6th.

Looking Forward to the Grand Opening!

* * St. Patrick's Day Parties

* * We had fun that day! Our daughter Shannon came to town, from Tucson. So we saw the parade. Then went to The Crystal Palace, where they had Irish music & a fun time!

Shannon & Karen

Meghann & Isaiah - Hosting You at the Crystal Palace

* * We stopped in at the Tombstone Brewing Company. Jon was bartending & wearing his kilt - see the pic! Then we went over to Johnny Ringo's Saloon to have dinner. Corned beef & cabbage, of course! Steve served up a great meal.

Jon in his Kilt - St. Patrick's Day at the Brewery

* * Finally in the evening we went over to Doc Holliday's Saloon for some karaoke. They had free servings of corned beef & cabbage + St. Patrick's Day style cookies & other treats! All in all it was a fun time. Were you there?


What's going on this month [Some Happening Events in April: Rose Festival & Beers 'n' Balls!] or next month - check out our Events Page:
What's Up Next?

To keep up with what's happening at Tombstone Travel Tips - the latest update on the website - be sure to check in on our blog page:
Click For the Latest

Don't forget to connect with us/follow us or like us on Facebook -
Follow Us!

We always thank you so much for subscribing - and hope you enjoy our newsletter! Please let us know if you have any suggestions - or anything specific you would like to see included. We'll definitely see about that, & put it on our list of possibilities for the future. Reply here, or message us on our About Us page contact form.

Until Next Month,

Karen & Bill McGowan
About Us!

P.S. If you've arrived here, but aren't getting our Tombstone Tips Ezine...

We hope you've enjoyed reading the Tombstone Insider Information we've provided you here!

You don't have to miss out on becoming one of us. You, too, can get our monthly, exclusive updates. All you have to do is fill out our simple form. Then you'll also be on our list to get our monthly newsletter of Tombstone info - called Tombstone Tips.

To get to the form, click the link here: Newsletter Order Page

Back to Back Issues Page