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In the Tombstone Novel:



Curly Bill Brocius – with “dark, kinky hair’ under a wide-brimmed sombrero” the “tall rugged” Texas cowhand William Graham sported twin forty-fours on criss-crossed gun belt, was known as Curly Bill Brocius after coming to Arizona in 1878 with a trail herd for the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. Moving to the Tombstone area soon after, Curly Bill fell in with the outlaw faction led by Newman H. Clanton. (Helldorado page 185

May 1881 – Jim Wallace drew his gun on a constable named Goodman in Galeyville when asked where he got his horse. After being nearly shot, Goodman left as soon as possible. Breck arrived in town soon afterward. While sitting on a saloon porch, Wallace asked Breck if he was after his horse. Breck told him no as he was riding a better horse than Wallace’s. Wallace started to draw his gun but Breck grasped his hand while at the same time placing his own gun into Jim’s stomach. Breck ordered Jim to drop his weapon which he did. Breck handed the gun back to Jim and told him he was making a fool of himself and to put the gun away. Breck then turned his back on him and went into the saloon.

Curly Bill was informed of the matter. Curly was half drunk and took Wallace to task for having tried to pick a fuss with a peace officer. Every time Curly looked out the door at Wallace’s white -aced horse, he threatened to shoot it.

Later Wallace went to see Breck telling him that Curly Bill was very angry with him and he’d been told to apologize to Breck. Jim asked Breck to go with him to see Curly at the saloon so he could straighten everything out. Breck and Jim went to the saloon and in from of Curly apologized to Breck. For some reason Curly, who was even more drunk, still threatened to shoot Jim’s horse.

After Curly crossed the street to Babcock’s he went to get his horse saying he was returning to camp. Wallace followed him and they had some heated words. Curly told him to leave him alone and not come back or he’d shoot Jim and his horse. Later, after Curly left Babcock’s saloon and stepped off the porch, Wallace stepped up behind him and shot him. The bullet hit him in the cheek, knocking out a tooth, coming out his neck without nicking the artery.

Breck was informed Curly had been shoot and went to the doctor’s office where he met up with some men carrying Curly Bill. He could talk and asked, “Billy, someone shot me. Who was it?” Breck promised to find out and returned to Babcock’s where he was pointed in the right direction. Breck told the cowboys he wanted Wallace and they told him they’d already arrested him and had taken away his pistol and belt. Wallace was taken to the justice of the peace and was later acquitted as an act of self-defense. Wallace asked Breck to get his gun which he did, and then Wallace left town. Later Breck saw him on the road out of town where he was waiting to find out if Curly Bill had died. Breck told him to get on the next stage and leave the area for good, which he did.

Curly Bill was laid up for only about two weeks and was as good as ever. (Helldorado page 277)

The Earps rode into Mescal Springs where they were to meet a man who was to give them some money from Tombstone. The members of the party claim that as they road into the spring they found Curly Bill with nine or ten other rustlers camped there and that all but Wyatt rode away. But Wyatt, who was out in front rode up to within 30 feet of the outlaws where they were camped behind an embankment and getting off his horse opened fire on them killing Curly Bill. According to Wyatt he engaged in a shotgun duel with Curly Bill at less than ten yards. The supposed shootout took place on March 24, 1882 at Iron Springs (later Mescal Springs) about 20 miles west of Tombstone. On word from Earp’s posse the event was reported in the Tombstone Epitaph March 25, 1882. The outlaws returned fire killing the horse of Texas Jack and hitting the pommel of Wyatt’s saddle, but although they were only a short distance away and all expert shots, and fired 12 of 15 shots, they didn’t hit Wyatt and he got on his horse and rode away.

A short time later two cowboys Pink Truly and Alex Arnold, came into Tombstone and told a different version of the fight. They said Curly Bill wasn’t there having gone to Mexico two months previously and not yet returned. As the Earp party rode into Mescal Springs the four cowboys took cover behind the embankment. All of the party except for Wyatt rode off. Wyatt rode up rather close, dismounted, raised his rifle and fired on the cowboys. They returned fire. Arnold reported that Wyatt was wearing a white shirt which was a splendid target. He said he was close to Wyatt and fired. Wyatt turned partially around and staggered back as if hit. He then mounted his horse and rode after the others in his party. Both Truly and Arnold claimed that Wyatt had a steel vest under his shirt. They also said they shot the horn off Wyatt’s saddle and killed Texas Jack’s horse. Jack then mounted with one of the others and rode off.

Later one of the deputy sheriffs was at the McKittrick Ranch about 12 miles north of Willcox when the Earp party rode in. The deputy reported that he could plainly see that Wyatt’s overcoat had a bullet hole through each side of the font of it and he heard them say, “The steel saved you that time.”

A reliable merchant and rancher living at Stafford told Breck that two weeks after the Earp party reported killing Curly Bill, Curly himself came to his home and said he’d just gotten back from Old Mexico and that he was leaving the country and going to Wyoming where he was going to get work and try to lead a decent life, as he was tired of being on the dodge all the time. The merchant gave him a good saddle horse to ride away on.

Ten years later a Mr. Vaughn saw Curly Bill on a train coming through Benson bound for Texas.. He stopped off there to visit the postmaster who was a friend. (Helldorado page 291)










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