Tombstone Silver

Morgan Earp's Death

Morgan was killed on March 18, 1882. This is what the Epitaph printed about his death.


Introduction

Morgan Earp was assassinated at the Campbell & Hatch Billiard Parlor as he played a game of billiards with Bob Hatch, a friend and the owner of the business. The shot that killed Morgan was fired from an alley through a glass pane in the parlor's back door. There have been countless words written and scores of movies and videos depicting Morgan's death. This article reproduces the account of the event published in the Tombstone Epitaph on March 27, 1882.


The Deadly Bullet.

The Assassin at Last Successful in His Devilish Mission.
Morgan Earp Shot Down and Killed While Playing Billiards.

At 10:50 Saturday night, while engaged in playing a game of billiards in Campbell & Hatch's billiard parlor, on Allen street, between Fourth and Fifth, Morgan Earp was shot through the body by an unknown assassin. At the time the shot was fired he was playing a game of billiards with Bob Hatch, one of the proprietors of the house, and was standing with his back to the glass door in the rear of the room that opens out upon the alley that leads straight through the block along the west side of A. D. Otis & Co.'s store to Fremont street. This door is the ordinary glass door, with four panes in the top in place of panels. The two lower panes are painted, the upper ones being clear. Anyone standing on the outside can look over the painted glass and see anything going on in the room just as well as though standing in the open door. At the time the shot was fired deceased must have been standing within ten feet of the door, and the assassin, standing near enough to see his position, took aim for about the middle of his person, shooting through the upper portion of the whitened glass. The bullet entered the right side of the abdomen passing through the spinal column, completely shattering it, emerging on the left side, passing the length of the room and lodging in the thigh of Geo. A. B. Berry, who was standing by the bar inflicting a painful flesh wound.

[Note: a few lines of this story are obscured at this point by a black bar that seems to be a piece of scotch tape that darkened over the years.]

His brother Wyatt, Tipton and Mc.Masters rushed to the side of the wounded man and tenderly picked him up and moved him some ten feet away, near the door of the card room, where Drs Matthews, Goodfellow and Miller, who were called, examined him, and after a brief consultation pronounced the wound mortal. He was then moved into the card room and placed on the lounge where in a few brief moments he breathed his last surrounded by his brothers Wyatt, Virgil, James and Warren, with the wives of Virgil and James and a few of his most intimate friends. Notwithstanding the intensity of his mortal agony, not a word of complaint escaped his lips, and all that were heard, except those whispered into the ears of his brother and known only to him, were: "Don't, I can't stand it. This is the last game of pool I'll ever play." The first part of the sentence being wrung from him by an effort to place him upon his feet.

His body was placed in a casket, and sent to his parents at Colton, Cal., for burial, being guarded to Contention by his brothers and two or three of his most intimate friends. The funeral cortege started away from the Cosmopolitan hotel about 12:30 yesterday, with the fire bell tolling out its solemn peals of "Earth to earth, dust to dust."


Location

The original Campbell and Hatch Billiard Parlor building was located at 412 E. Allen Street. It now houses the Red Buffalo Trading Company and there is a painted sign on the front window of that business indicating that is where Morgan was killed. Because the business is on a part of Allen Street that is closed to traffic, the Goodenough Historic Trolley Tour does not pass the location, but I point it out near the beginning of the tour and encourage my guests to visit it later.