Clanton Fame in Tombstone AZ
You probably heard of the Clantons. 2 brothers were involved in the famous 1881 Shootout here in town. One, Billy, was killed. He’s buried in Boot Hill.
The other was Ike. Ike & Billy Clanton were the best known of the Clantons here in Tombstone. Their father was locally known as Old Man Clanton. His actual name was Newman Haynes Clanton.
It was 1877 when widower Newman Clanton came to the Tombstone area. He brought the family to set up a home along the San Pedro River, about 12 miles Southwest of town. His wife had died soon after the Civil War ended. Helping him on this Clanton ranch were Phineas Fay (called Phin), Joseph Isaac (called Ike), William (called Billy) & daughters Mary & Ann, with their husbands.
Clanton Ranch & Family Gets Established
The Clanton family settled in the area of Lewis Springs. South of nearby Charleston, they found a rise to build an adobe home. They had a viewpoint there from every angle.
By the end of 1878, they seemed settled in. Son Ike, now 31 years old, even opened a restaurant in Charleston. It was around this time Dad was differentiated with the nickname of “Old Man” Clanton.
“Old Man” thought he’d get into Charleston’s bustling business, too. He bought a saloon with a residence alongside. But later was sued for never paying for it. Soon thereafter his sons managed the Lewis Springs Ranch.
Well known cowboy names around Tombstone all did some work at the Clanton Ranch at one time or another: Frank & Tom McLaury, Johnny Ringo, Curly Bill Brocius & Pete Spence.
The Old Man’s Death
Old Man Clanton moved to the Animas Valley. That’s in New Mexico, just over the Southeastern AZ line. And sidling up to the border with Mexico. There’s evidence that he still returned to the Tombstone Clanton Ranch, while Ike helped out in New Mexico.
The Senior Clanton did some wheeling-dealing around Southern AZ. He bought ranch holdings & possibly underhanded cattle dealings. He’d already earned the Earp’s ire. The Clanton family was known around to many as “cow-boys” – And news reports repeatedly talked of cattle raids across the border by cowboys.
On Aug. 31, 1881 Old Man Clanton was killed in Guadalupe Canyon AZ, very near the Mexican border. Responsible parties? Mexican avengers or an Earp posse. Logical trails can support either!
Clanton Ranch in the Beyond…
After Old Man Clanton’s death, other family members began moving away. Daughter Mary married in 1882 & moved North to Springerville AZ. Late that year, her brothers Phin & Ike also went North to Apache County. They obtained land there, but both were soon in trouble with the law.
Twice Ike was charged between late 1885 & mid 1886. Both times the evidence was lacking & charges were dropped. Phin was charged with Ike the 1st time, but sentenced to 10 years – pardoned in 1-1/2 years. He went to Globe AZ, died Jan. 5, 1905 & is buried in Globe.
Jonas Brighton murdered Ike near Springerville on June 1, 1887. He was 40 years old. Billy Clanton was killed at the OK Corral Gunfight. The oldest Clanton boy moved to California years before.
Mary moved South to Naco, AZ after her husband died. She’s buried in Bisbee. Sister Esther stayed in California, where she died & is buried.
Clanton Ranch Eventuality
With Clanton family deaths, troubles with the law & other family members moving away from the area – the Clanton Ranch was abandoned.
Eventually Tombstone became an attraction & Old West History became interesting to many. Some wondered about the true location of the original Clanton ranch. There has been some controversy on the exact placement. Not much exacting documentation.
On November 19, 1998 Terry Ike Clanton wanted to finally solve this question. He’s a Clanton family descendant. He took approx. 20 others searching through the desert & riparian areas adjacent to the San Pedro River. They found a spot Terry felt sure is what’s left of the original Clanton Ranch.
There really isn’t much there. A little of the adobe foundation. A few scattered items in the area. Docent-led hikes to the area are regularly sponsored by the Friends of the San Pedro. It is interesting to go there, though! To imagine what was.
The historical remnants of places where notorious people lived are interesting finds. They spark your curiosity about the true facts of their lives: the people who roamed Tombstone & the Old West.
And we enjoy sharing what we find with you.
We hope we’ll see you in town sometime, seeing areas where they spent time – 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.)