Gunfight At The O.K. Corral - Earp Conflicts With Cowboys - September Stage Holdup - Stilwell and Spence Arrests

Stilwell and Spence Arrests

Frank Stilwell had just arrived in Bisbee with his livery stable partner, Pete Spence, when the two were arrested by Deputy U.S. Marshal Virgil Earp for the holdup. Both were friends of Ike Clanton and the McLaurys. At the preliminary hearing, Stilwell and Spence were able to provide several witnesses who supported their alibis. Judge Spicer dropped the charges for insufficient evidence just as he had done for Doc Holliday earlier in the year.

Released on bail, Spence and Stilwell were re-arrested October 13 by Deputy U.S. Marshal Virgil Earp for the Bisbee robbery on a new federal charge of interfering with a mail carrier. The newspapers, however, reported that they had been arrested for a different stage robbery that occurred on October 8 near Contention City.

Ike and other Cowboys believed the new arrest was further evidence that the Earps were illegally persecuting the Cowboys. They let the Earps know that they could expect retaliation. While Wyatt and Virgil were in Tucson for the federal hearing on the charges against Spence and Stilwell, Frank McLaury confronted Morgan Earp. He told him that the McLaurys would kill the Earps if they tried to arrest Spence, Stilwell, or the McLaurys again. The Tombstone Epitaph reported "that since the arrest of Spence and Stilwell, veiled threats being made that the friends of the accused will 'get the Earps.'"

Read more about this topic:  Gunfight At The O.K. Corral, Earp Conflicts With Cowboys, September Stage Holdup

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