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Letters from Readers -- April 2007 Wild West Magazine

Originally published on Published Online: January 29, 2007 
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I am writing you after reading John Rose's excellent article "Twenty-Four Hours with Ike Clanton" in the October 2006 issue of Wild West Magazine. The article is one of the best simple synopses I've ever seen of what went on in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, on October 26, 1881. A personal hobby of mine over the past 10-plus years has been to study Virgil Earp's life and his travels in it. Thank you again for the well-researched and well-written article.

Scott R. Kirkman
Dublin, Calif.

I read with great interest your special 23-page report on the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in the October issue. In Lee Silva's fine article "Did Tom McLaury Have a Gun?" there was one missing piece of information. Reference is made to an individual named West Fuller, reportedly a friend of the Cowboys, who supposedly picked up the revolver used by Tom McLaury and put it in his pocket. There is no further reference to this. Has anyone tried to determine whether or not this is true? Does anyone have any idea what happened to the gun, if it was in Fuller's possession? Is there any information on what happened to Fuller? Anyway, I very much enjoyed reading the "special report" issue.

Jim Graves
Katy, Texas

The editor responds: Wesley "West" Fuller, described as a gambler and "sharpshooter" who sympathized with the notorious Cowboys, witnessed the famous street fight on October 26, 1881, and testified for the prosecution at the Spicer hearing. Fuller said that Morgan Earp and Doc Holliday fired the first shots. "I told Wyatt Earp [on November 5] that I thought Holliday was the cause of the fight," he added, but he said nothing about Tom McLaury's gun. In the so-called Earp/Lake Notes in 1928, Earp biographer Stuart Lake wrote that Fuller's father (Henry Fuller) had told Wyatt that young West took Tom's gun. According to Lynn R. Bailey and Don Chaput's 2002 book Cochise County Stalwarts, the younger Fuller died in Nogales, Ariz., at age 67 on March 24, 1923. If a gun was indeed taken, what happened to it remains a mystery.

I commend you for a nice article in the December 2006 issue on the assassination of Jesse James. However, though his essay appears to be factually correct, Ted P. Yeatman does not make much out of one obvious motive for Robert Ford, which was a desire for fame as the slayer of the outlaw. Also helpful to those interested in the subject are T.J. Stiles' 2002 biography Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War and Ron Hansen's 1983 novel The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

As for the two-page "Jesse and Frank James Country" map in the December issue, there were obvious errors, such as putting Kansas City almost entirely in Kansas and placing Platte City, Mo., and St. Joseph, Mo., in Kansas. Hopefully, however, those who visit the James country will rely on good road maps, rather than the suggestions about locations made in the Wild West map.

Edgar L. Chapman, Ph.D.
East Peoria, Ill.

The editor responds: Kansas City, Platte City, St. Joseph and all the other place names were put in their right places initially (by our excellent map maker Joan Pennington), but a mistake in matching up the various layers of the map caused all the place names to shift slightly to the left. That slight shift caused the errors you mention and others (and the "Close to Home" inset map repeated the mistakes caused by the misalignment). Our sincerest apologies. Hope you can still enjoy the Jesse James info provided on the maps.

I am very pleased with your magazine's format and articles. However, I am an avid genealogist and have a comment for Jay and Maria Rockwell. Their article in the August 2006 Wild West was well-written and a tribute to a great ancestor, Orrin Porter Rockwell. Jay's mention of his relationship to Orrin Rockwell as his great-uncle caught my eye. This should have read great-great-uncle or, more commonly great-granduncle. The brother of your father is an uncle. The brother of your grandfather is your granduncle. Ergo, the brother of your great-grandfather is your great-granduncle and not just your granduncle. The words great and grand are synonymous in this context.

Ted Bates
Fort Wayne, Ind.

User Friendly
What a great surprise! I am feeling good now that you have created a "user friendly" publication. That is the way that all magazines should be set up—easy for the reader. Good luck with the "NEW Magazine." I really enjoy the read.

Lawrence Ripplinger
via e-mail

Send letters to: Wild West Editor, Weider History Group, 741 Miller Dr. SE, Suite D-2, Leesburg, VA 20175, or e-mail to WildWest@

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