1881 Tombstone, Arizona--pima County Bank Check--signed 9 Days Before Ok Corral

1881 Tombstone, Arizona--pima County Bank Check--signed 9 Days Before Ok Corral

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1881 Tombstone, Arizona--pima County Bank Check--signed 9 Days Before Ok Corral:

Tombstone, Arizona

Check Signed Oct. 17, 1881

Nine Days Before O.K. Corral Gunfight!

Pima County Bank Check Signed By

Tombstone Merchant.... and .... Miner

Phillip William Smith AND John B. Tamblyn

-- -- -- --

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Phillip William Smith (unk) is key and colorful figure in early Tombstone history. He was a Republican, and considered an Earp "sympathizer." He owned and operated "P. W. Smith's," a popular general merchandise store in Tombstone. Some of his competitors were the Boss Store, Tasker and Pridham's, and Nellie Cashman and Jennie Swift's "Tombstone Cash Store." He also owned "P. W. Smith's Corral," on the corner of Third Street where Wyatt and Doc sometimes stabled left their horses. Furthermore, Smith and partners B. Solomon and J. B. Fried supplied Tombstone with gas for street lights and homes. Clearly, Smith was quite the entreprenuer.

Furthermore, Smith was one of the partners in the newspaper "Tombstone Epitaph," along with mayor John Clum, Charles Reppy, E. B. Gage, and several others. He sold his interest in the paper when Milt Joyce and some other Democratic investors took control and brought in Sam Purdy as the new editor.

In 1879, brothers Barron and Lionel Jacobs partnered with Phillip William Smith to open the Pima County Bank, the first formal financial institution in Tucson. The two brothers were established merchants and suppliers in the Tucson and Tombstone areas, having expanded the family's business from San Bernardino, California eastward into southEastern Arizona. The following year, in 1880, the trio opened the "Agency Pima County Bank" in Tombstone, where it operated out of Smith's mercantile building. Today the Tombstone Visitors Center occurs Smith's former store, and it is a designated historical site.

The bank would undergo several name changes in the next decade: in 1882 it became the "Cochise County Bank," with Smith as President, but it would close in 1890 because of Tombstone's depressed economy following the closure of many of the mines in the area.

Many of Tombstone's legendary lawmen and outlaws regularly did business with Smith; the day before the shootout at the OK Corral -- Oct. 26, 1881 -- outlaws Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury made deposits with Smith at the Pima County Bank, located in Smith's mercantile building, a section of which apparently doubled as a bank. It was later that evening, after hitting the Occidental Saloon and getting drunk, that Ike had his famous run-in with Doc Holliday, which would lead to the gunfight the following day.

Allegedly, a day or so before the gunfight occurred, Wyatt Earp took delivery of a special coat from P. W. Smith's mercantile store: supposedly a mackinaw with lined pockets and made in dark blue heavy jean or canvas. The pockets were supposed to be lined with stiff leather, doubling as "holsters" to hide Earp's pistols. This has been debated for years by Western historians, and apparently has never been proven.

On the day of the shooting, one of Smith's employees -- J. H. Batcher -- was coming back to the mercantile store, walking a few feet behind Wyatt Earp, who was walking in the same direction. He witnessed the famous confrontation between Tom McLaury and Wyatt, which ended when Earp slapped him and then smacked him a second time with the butt of his pistol. This incident, along with Doc Holliday's confrontation with Ike Clanton earlier that day, would touch off the gunfight later that day. Batcher would later be called to testify in court as to what he saw that day.

P. W. Smith -- merchant, banker, publisher and entreprenuer knew and associated with pretty much every major figure involved in Tombstone's early days, and the gunfight at the OK Corral.

Imagine what stories he had to tell!

John B. Tamblyn (1835-1916) is believed to have be a miner working one of Tombstone's silver mines. Little is known about his Tombstone dealings, but after leaving Tombstone, he ended up in Jo Daviess County, Illinois, where he died in 1916, buried in an unmarked grave in the Miner's Chapel Cemetery.

The city Galena is found in extreme northwestern Illinois, and is named after the mineral found locally in the area's lead ore mines. Galena, in the mid-1800s, was producing 80 percent of the lead mined in the United States.

The Founding of Tombstone and the Gunfight at the OK Corral

Tombstone got its start when in the late 1870s when ex-soldier Ed Schieffelin stumbled onto a rich silver vein in southEastern Arizona's Pima County after being told by a friend the only thing he'd find out in the desert was his "tombstone." The news of his find electrified the mining world, and by 1879 a small township -- the Village of Tombstone -- had sprung up. This was also the year the Earps rode into town to stay.

By 1880, ----- the town was right in a hornet's nest of trouble: it was close enough to the Mexican border as to encourage border clashes between Mexican ranchers or badmen, and their American counterparts. Geronimo and his Apache Indians were running wild through the region, and then you had your drifters, gamblers, gunfighters and trouble-makers.

On Oct. 26, 1881, a long-simmering feud between some lawmen and desperadoes erupted into the most famous shootout of the Old West: The Gunfight at the OK Corral. That day, Wyatt Earp, his two brothers Virgil and Morgan, and family friend Doc Holliday would shoot it out with Tom and Frank McLaury, Ike and Billy Clanton, and Billy Clairborne.

While the gun battle is remembered today as "The Gunfight at the OK Corral," it actually happened in a vacant lot behind the OK Corral stables. This vacant lot was owned by William Harwood, Tombstone's first mayor. The lot was bordered by C.S. Fly's rooming house and studio on one side, and the Harwood House on the other. The lot was only 16 to 20 feet wide between the structures, so when the shooting starting, the area was in a somewhat confined space, and could well have been called "The Gunfight at the Harwood House and Lot."

While the exact details of the shoot out are still disputed today, what cannot be denied is the fact that in a 30-second gun battle, Wyatt Earp shot his way into American infamy, and both McLaury brothers and Billy Clanton were dead. The Earps and Holliday all survived. Morgan would be killed a few months later in a revenge killing, and Doc would eventually succumb to the ravages of his tuberculosis. Virgil would recover found a superficial wound, only to be shot again the following year. He would leave Arizona, traveling around the southwest before passing away in 1905. Wyatt would outlive them all, dying in Los Angeles in 1929.

Sometime later in May, I will be saleing on , an "Agency Pima County Bank" check signed by P. W. Smith and William A. Harwood, Tombstone's first mayor, and owner of the lot and boarding house where the gunfight actually occurred.

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Item Description -- Please Read CAREFULLY!

This is an original Tombstone bank check from 1881. It is NOT a modern copy or reproduction of any kind, but an actual 132-year-old bank check. It is from the "Agency Pima County Bank" in Tombstone, Arizona dated "Oct. 17, 1881." This was signed just nine days before the infamous shootout at the OK Corral.

Check is a pale green in color. It is made out to "John B. Tamblyn" in the amount of $100, and signed by the bank's co-owner and manager, Phillip William "P. W." Smith. It is approximately 3 1/8 by 8" in size. It bears a purple ink stamp, and also a gold Internal Revenue two-cent imprint. This does not look like an ink stamp (I've never seen gold ink), but appears to have been imprinted onto the check when it was being made.

On the back is the endorsement/signature of John B. Tamblyn, and a second signature of "E. Townsend," who appears to be a bank official at the Merchants National Bank in Galena, Illinois. Records show that a "John B. Tamblyn" is buried in an unmarked grave in the "Miners Chapel Cemetery" not too far from Galena, so there is a very high probability that the Tamblyn named on this check is the same person who is buried in the cemetery, but I can't say this with 100 percent certainty.

It has some spindle holes and cut cancellations, and what appear to be two tiny pinholes near the left border. Several tiny stains, mostly on the back side. All-in-all, in very nice condition. This would matte and frame very handsomely with a larger photo of Tombstone, or, a photo or illustration showing Wyatt Earp or a scene of the OK Corral gunfight. Please caerfully review all graphics above!

The photos in the graphics are not included.

No return: please email with any questions!

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1881 Tombstone, Arizona--pima County Bank Check--signed 9 Days Before Ok Corral:

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