The Clanton Gang

1304 Words3 Pages

In the middle and late part of the nineteenth century, the West was a harsh and dangerous place to live. Bar fights and murders were being committed in every town. This was acceptable behavior however in those days. Men settled their problems face-to-face, and normally, the slower man ended up dead. Gunfighting in the West was started and carried on by a group of men known as the Clanton Gang. Old Man Clanton was the leader and founder of gunfighting, his sons carried some of his fights and continued with their own fights, and his last surviving son parted with gunfighting and started his own successful business.

Gunfights were common and took place regularly. The earliest gunfighters, or gunslingers, were born in the early 1800’s, and most men got recognition as slingers in the 1850’s. The founder of gunfighting was “Old Man Clanton”, or N. H. Clanton. In 1816, Newman Haynes "Old Man" Clanton was born in Davidson County, Tennessee. On January 5, 1840 Newman Clanton married Mariah Sexton Kelso in Callaway County, Missouri and together they had five boys and two daughters. John Wesley, Joseph Isaac, Phineas Fay, William Harrison, Alonzo Peter, Mary Elise and Ester Ann made up the Clanton Gang. He did not participate in many gunfights though he instigated many of them. Old Man Clanton took care of business swiftly. If he did not like somebody, he would simply point them out, and one of his sons would provoke an argument and shoot the man down in “self defense”. Old Man Clanton had formed a “cowboy party” which consisted of some of the deadliest men in the West. Curley Bill, John Ringo, Tim and Frank McLaury, Joe Hill, Pony Deal, Jim Hughes, Frank Stillwell and many other lieutenants, who had over four hundred frontier outcast under them, formed this group. He stole over $100,000 from ranchers in the south, and anyone who opposed was quickly exterminated. Old Man Clanton’s final days ended with a stolen-cattle drive. While he was passing through Guadeloupe Canyon, he and six other men were ambushed and shot dead out of their saddles. "Old Man" Clanton was buried where he fell in Guadalupe Canyon, New Mexico.

Although the leader of the Clanton Gang was dead, the family carried on. Billy and Ike Clanton were two of the participants in the most famous gunfight of all. The ...

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...oseph G. and Collins, Richard.

The Taming of the West: Age of the Gunfighter: Men and Weapons of the Frontier 1840-1900.

London, England: Salamander Books Ltd, 1993.

2. William C. Davis, Joseph G. Rosa.

The West: From Lewis and Clark and Wounded Knee: The Turbulent Story of the Settling of Frontier America.

London, England: Salamander Books Ltd, 1994.

3. “Phin Clanton Family History”.

(The Notorious Clanton Gang). 1996-1997. February 20, 2002.


4. “Billy Clanton Family History”.

(The Notorious Clanton Gang). 1996-1997. February 20, 2002.


5. “Ike Clanton Family History”.

(The Notorious Clanton Gang). 1996-1997. February 20, 2002.


6. “O.K. Corral Gun Fight”.

(American Western History Museums). 1999. February 20, 2002.


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