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Sherm McMasters: Foe Into Friend - Tombstone Tips, Issue #20
November 07, 2018

Insider Info Newsletter

November 2018


~ ~ Sherman McMasters

~ ~ October Events/Insider Update Review

~ ~ The Latest at Tombstone Travel Tips


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Rock Island, IL of 1869
Map Artwork by Albert Ruger
About the Time Sherman McMaster Was in High School

#1 - Before Tombstone

~ ~ Sherman McMaster was born in 1853. Raised in Rock Island, IL. His father was a business owner. Sherman didn't want for anything in his youth. He had a good education through high school. When he was old enough to leave home he went West.

~ ~ He was in Dodge City Kansas sometime between 1876 to 1878. It's been reported McMaster shot a man in self defense while in Dodge. This was when Wyatt Earp was there, as well as Doc Holliday. It's when he first made their acquaintance.

#2 - Works as A Lawman

~ ~ From Autumn of 1878 until the Spring of the next year he's in El Paso TX. McMaster was working as a Texas Ranger, a Scout for the 9th Cavalry.

~ ~ During this stint he met Curly Bill Brocius. Curly Bill was held by the Rangers there for a government wagon hold-up. He escaped (suspicious circumstances) in Nov. 1878 - next surfaced in SE AZ.

~ ~ It's been thought that Sherman McMaster was an aid to his escape. They'd struck up a friendship. So that brought suspicion McMaster's way.

Sherman McMaster Served with the Texas Rangers

#3 - New Mexico Next

~ ~ After leaving the Texas Rangers he's next in Las Vegas, NM. There McMaster got with Hoodoo Brown. Hoodoo became a corrupt town leader, as a Justice of the Peace, Mayor & Coroner. He recruited others from Kansas. They all became known as the "Dodge City Gang."

~ ~ Some sources say McMaster went to Arkansas after that. But that's quite sketchy.

#4 - AZ: Still on the Wrong Side of the Law!

~ ~ By the summer of 1880, Sherman McMaster is now in Arizona. He was in contact with Curly Bill again. He probably introduced him to Johnny Ringo. McMaster got involved in a few robberies pretty quickly, at least 1 with Ringo.

~ ~ Through Curly Bill he soon he met Pony Diehl & Johnny Barnes - both known to the Clantons. McMaster now was associated with the Cochise County "Cowboys" - those locally known "trouble-makers."

From The Record Union of Sacramento, CA
Monday, September 12, 1881 - Pg. 1

#5 - Divided Loyalties

~ ~ On the one hand Sherman McMaster had a solid friend-ship with Curly Bill Brocius. A guy with a lawless past.

~ ~ On the other hand he also had met Wyatt Earp, likely had met Virgil. Had developed a friendship with them.

~ ~ He probably knew Doc Holliday. Because he was Wyatt's friend, McMaster would treat him cordially also.

~ ~ Probably there could be some awkward situations. Especially after the Gunfight at the OK Corral in October 1881.

#6 - McMaster Chooses the Law - for the Earps

~ ~ Just after Christmas 1881, Virgil Earp had an attempt on his life on Allen St. His arm was damaged for life. In March 1882, Morgan Earp was gunned down by an assassin at the rear of Campbell & Hatch's. Sherman McMaster was right there with Wyatt & Morgan. He witnessed this murder.

~ ~ Wyatt was full of raging vengeance. He organized a posse to find those responsible. It's known as Wyatt's Vendetta Ride. He asked McMaster to come along. Wyatt made him a federal deputy.

~ ~ The posse was only partially successful. Wyatt killed Frank Stilwell, who was culpable. They hunted down Florentino Cruz (Indian Charlie). Wyatt's description was that he killed him in a draw after he confessed to killing Morgan. But Dr. Goodfellow's autopsy contradicted that, finding multiple gunshot wounds.

From Tucson's Arizona Daily Star
Thursday, March 23, 1882 - Pg. 3

#7 - The Legend Afterwards

~ ~ With these killings: 1)Justice taken into their own hands via Federal Badge... 2)Vigilante justice according to the local County Sheriff... Resulted in warrants out for the posse members.

~ ~ County Sheriff Behan tried unsuccessfully to arrest them. Then rounded up his own posse to hunt them down. Followed them throughout the county for days. The "Earp Party" left Arizona by April 21st, to avoid being subject to the warrant.

~ ~ After that, where did McMaster go? Investigators are onto it still. There are stories around that are just that. Will McLaury, older brother of Tom & Frank, wrote he was killed in a Cowboy shootout in 1884. Wyatt later claimed he was in the Spanish-American War & died in the Philippines - there's no evidence.

~ ~ There's a sibling account - he had 6. A probate record lists his death in Colorado in 1892.

~ ~ There are many reports of his life - many quite inaccurate & fanciful. Others do more accurate research. Even his name has been transformed, an "s" added to the end!

~ ~ We, ourselves, are still looking into it. Eventually we'll have a page for him on our site. A very intriguing character - 2 sides: good upbringing to lawman to law-breaker to law-abiding/law-supporter (sort-of??).

From: Tombstone Weekly Epitaph - Official Complaint of the Court
Monday, March 27, 1882 - Pg. 1

~ ~ We love looking into the interesting people who associated with the Earps & the Cowboys. Who were they, really?

~ ~ And we enjoy sharing what we find with you.

We hope we'll see you in town reliving these people, also. Seeing the environment they spent time in - back in the 1800s.

Let us know if you'll be going to an upcoming event! Tell us how you liked any of them, or what you visited here! 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.)


Our Friend Steve Escorts the Grand Marshal
In His 1919 Nash Touring Car


~ ~ As usual, it was a busy 3 day weekend. We were in town for a time on Sunday. A few local people thought it was busy - but not the busiest Helldorado ever, though.

~ ~ Caught the parade. Saw some people & caught up on "breaking" news (see below).

Here Come the Helldorado Board of Directors

Crazy Annie's Saloon & Bordello BnB


~ ~ Last year we published a limited edition of a 2018 Tombstone Calendar. It was a preview of what we were planning for this year. We now have our 2019 Calendar available.

~ ~ It's on our website. It will be discounted 5% to 15% at certain times (ex.: for Black Friday). But for our subscribers, it will be available through January - at 20% off always only through the special link below. But still - watch for additional savings that may come your way. Even more than for non-subscribers. For Black Friday/Cyber Monday etc. We'll send a special notice... Okay?

~ ~ But check the info out now - as it ships from Massachusetts. If it will be a gift, you want to know the delivery timing. Click the link below for all the details - this link is only for Tombstone Tips subscribers...

2019 Subscribers Tombstone Calendar Offer


~ ~ This year the Crystal Palace had a special Halloween Party. It seemed to be a Preview (maybe?) of an upcoming opening that will be happening across the street ("breaking news").

~ ~ A few other places around town had Halloween parties. So people seemed to be in the mood this time around. Something new happened for kids too - called "Trunk or Treat"

~ ~ Set up in the sports field behind the old high school (now up for sale). Cars were parked in the field & decorated. Local businesses donated treats. Kids could go from car to car to get their treats. This way they're safe & avoid streets with traffic.

Oriental Saloon - Changes Coming...


~ ~ The owners of the Crystal Palace apparently purchased the building which housed the historic "Oriental Saloon." It has been a women's clothing store on one side & a gift shop on the other. The new plans are a whole other concept.

~ ~ We hear they're planning a steak house (has no liquor lic.), with a "can-can" entertainment show. Sale on right now with current biz closing out.


~ ~ We finally checked out the new bakery: Mario's Bakery Cafe. Went in during Helldorado. They were very crowded & the sandwich we would've purchased was sold out. The bakery treats were across the front. We've had them before - prior to the owner opening a shop, when he'd deliver them around town. Yummy - yes! It's not really what I think of when I hear "bakery." Cafe is in the name. That's more of how I'd describe it. They open at 9 am. I'd recommend a try.

Bakery Treats Along the Front Counter


~ ~ A true history event that comes to town once a year. There are speakers, discussion panels, a walking tour, a skit, & audience participation learning events. There's a theme focus. This year it was Stagecoaches. It's sponsored by the Wild West History Association. We were very impressed & joined.


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Karen & Bill McGowan
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