Original O.K. Corral inquest notes found

April 22, 2010 at 8:12 PM

PHOENIX, April 22 (UPI) -- The original minutes of the coroner's inquest into the gunfight at the O.K. Corral 129 years ago in Tombstone, Ariz., have turned up safe, officials say.

The handwritten notes from the coroner's inquest, conducted just days after the famous gunfight, hadn't seen the light of day for 50 years when clerks Michelle Garcia and Bonnie Cook came across them recently while cleaning out a closet holding Cochise County court records in Bisbee, Capitol Media services reported Thursday.

The historical documents, found in a manila envelope marked with "keep" and "1881" in a box marked "juvenile," were taken to the state Department of Library and Archives Wednesday for preservation.

The story of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral has long been a quintessential Wild West page-turner, with lawman Wyatt Earp teaming with brothers Virgil and Morgan, along with Doc Holliday, on Oct. 26, 1881, to go up against Frank and Tom McLaury and Billy Clanton, who all died.

While some poor-quality copies exist, the originals shed a few new rays of light on the gunfight, state librarian Gladys Ann Wells said.

"Doc Holliday was carrying his weapon under his coat," she said, not strapped to his hip.

The inquest clerk's note-taking appeared hurried, as if trying to keep pace with the witnesses' testimony, said Denise Lundin, the chief court clerk, adding the documents are "just beautiful."

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