|Curly Bill Brocius - ?-1882|
|Curly Bill Brocius was born somewhere in
1840 - an ugly gunslinger who'd kill a man on the least provocation and
laugh over a card game an hour later. He rode into Tombstone from
where he met up with one of the Clanton boys. He was invited out to the
ranch at Lewis Springs, just up the San Pedro from Charleston, where
Man Clanton, leader of the famed Clanton rustling empire, sat in his
stuff ed horsehair chair and ruled. From that day onward, with young
telling his old man what a gunslinging go-getter Curly Bill was, the
was one of the fold.
Curly Bill had real character. He'd cut a man in two for a dollar, or, as they used to say, steal a Camp Rucker mule for a glass of whiskey. Curly Bill soon learned to hate the guts of Marshal Wyatt Earp as he raised hell on Allen Street of nights with Frank Patterson, Frank and Tom McLowery, Ike and Billy Clanton, Pony Deal, John Ringo, and others. When Wyatt told them to unbuckle their guns and store them behind the bar, they'd laugh in his face. Curly Bill liked this sort of play.
Old Man Clanton took a real shine to the kinky haired boy after he saw him in action once or twice. He liked the way this muscular six-footer took the lead and made his boys jump to it whenever they robbed the Wells Fargo or rustled a thousand head of cattle down into Old Mexico or in Pima County. He was a born leader for sure, and it was Clanton who always said that some day Curly Bill Brocius would take over the leadership from him, and undoubtedly cut down law man Wyatt Earp when the big showdown came.
Curly Bill killed Marshal White one night while drunk and reeling noisily out on Allen Street. Marshal Earp cracked him over the skull and hauled him off to the calaboose, however. Curly would never forgive Wyatt for that. He had been drunk, this much was true, but when White grabbed for his gun it had accidentally gone 6ff, he said, and struck the lawman in the belly. Curly Bill couldn't help that, Earp didn't have to hit him.
With more than four hundred men (renegades all) working indirectly,under Old Man Clanton in water- ** Ur B Birth (?)-1882 hole camps from Tombstone down into New Mexico, it was a big job and Curly Bill was a big help as he rode out over this vast rustling empire-the largest America has ever seen. They stole cattle from ranches all over southern Arizona, horses from army posts, and long horns from Old Mexico, one thousand, sometimes two, at a clip. Their disregard for the international border was a subject of hot debate in Mexico City, and in Washington, President Garfield demanded that they be wiped out at any cost. The Arizona Cattlemen's Association brought pressure to bear.
Curly Bill was a fast gunslinger and many men had died who faced up to him both in Tombstone and in Fort Thomas. It was Curly Bill who, with Old Man Clanton, led his renegades into Skeleton Canyon where they robbed seventy-five thousand dollars from the mule-train and left slaughtered Mexicans scattered up the canyon toward the San Simon-a veritable massacre in Arizona history. This was nothing more than a big joke to Curly Bill. He had a dozen or more slugs in his big body from gunfights from Abilene and Texas to Tombstone and put no importance on them whatever. Money was what counted.
This six-shooting star from the Texan galaxy was doomed. His wanton killing as a county tax collector was too much for Wyatt Earp to bear, along with the death of his lawman brother, Morgan Earp, who was gunned down in a poolroom in Tombstone.
In March, 1882, shortly after the famous OK Corral shoot-out, Wyatt Earp formed his famous posse and rode out after Indian Charlie, Curly Bill and others, and at Iron Springs waterhole came upon some of them by surprise. He saw Curly Bill as the outlaw was squint ing at him over the barrel of a sawed-off shotgun. There was an explosion and Wyatt felt his coat skirt jerk as the shot struck it, then Curly Bill let out a yell and hurled the gun at him, which fell at the feet of his rear ing horse. In the next instant Earp let go with a double load of his Wells-Fargo gun and 18 buckshot almost tore Curly Bill in two as he was struck in the abdomen. He screamed in agony and fell dead. The west was rid of one of the worst outlaws in Arizona history.