New Dawn at Twin Arrows - Excerpt
Clarisse was born, Clarisse Emilie Farris to sheriff Buddy Farris and his wife Annie in the fast-growing town known as Twin Arrows, Arizona, in the summer of 1885.
Buddy Ferris had met Annie on a trip to Tombstone, Arizona, after receiving a telegram from his good friend Wyatt Earp. Earp had been the marshal of Tombstone for a short spell and was requesting Buddy's help in taking care of the riffraff and outlaws who thought Tombstone was up for grabs.
Tombstone was growing, exploding at the seams with the discovery of silver. With that growth came all the low lifes and outlaws from all around, some were trouble makers and gunslingers, some were gamblers and some were honest businessmen looking to start up new businesses. Tombstone was getting a bad reputation as being the town you stayed out of unless you wanted to take your life into your own hands.
Tombstone was the right name for this town. If you came here you could expect nothing more than a tombstone. Some silver was mined here for a short period then the veins ran out and the town was left to dry up.
With all the outlaws, miners and gunslingers coming into the area, the town folk and business owners were demanding something to be done to protect them and their businesses.
Gunfights would break out and leave an innocent victim lying dead, or barroom fights would destroy property and make it so the locals wouldn't even go inside for fear of getting their heads broken open by some drunken cowboy brandishing a chair or the butt end of a pistol.
Tombstone had no law and order because every time they voted on a sheriff or brought in a county marshal they would end up getting shot down. Tombstone didn't lack gunslingers that were out to make a name for themselves by gunning a sheriff or marshal.
Outside of the saloon, Doc Benjamin and Pablo Sanchez were the next busiest men in town. Many times a gunfight would break out and leave someone for Doc Benjamin to patch up or a stiff for undertaker Pablo Sanchez to plant in Boot Hill.
Pablo, who was probably in his early sixties, stood six foot tall, had leathery looking skin with big bushy eyebrows that made his eyes look like slits. He wore an old grimy sombrero which sat low on his head. Patches spotted his shirt along with his pants. Pablo was not a real undertaker but he could construct a good looking pine box and had a strong back for digging a grave. He was paid two dollars for the pine box and fifty cents for digging the grave. When someone died or was killed you could find ole Pablo out in the cemetery in the cool of the night diggin'. Just about everyone in Boot Hill was planted there by ole Pablo.
The town wouldn't pay for a grave marker, so unless the person being buried had some kin to purchase a marker, the grave was just marked with stones. There was a hand-drawn map of the cemetery that was kept in the sheriff's office with grave locations and names of the occupier.
To stem down on the gunplay, Wyatt wanted to instigate a "no gun policy" in city limits and had called upon his dear friend Buddy Farris to help him do this.
All during her youth, Clarisse would never grow tired of hearing about Tombstone and her Pa's good friend Wyatt Earp. Somewhere around the age of ten, she decided that someday she would follow in her Pa's footsteps and pin on a badge and fight the bad guys.
Although Buddy would voice his disagreement at her wanting to become a lawman, he was secretly proud and knew he would support her decision when that day came.
Wyatt Earp had also sent telegrams to his brothers Virgil, Morgan and James and his friends Bat Masterson and John Henry, better known as Doc Holiday. Wyatt was surrounding himself with some tough gunmen as he expected a lot of trouble with this new policy.
These men Wyatt called upon had reputations near and far as being number one with a gun. It was that reputation that Wyatt Earp was hoping would make some of these wild cowboys and outlaws stand-up and take notice before causing any trouble in Tombstone.
Wyatt knew this was not going to be an easy chore and would meet with some face to face resistance where only a gun would settle the matter. Wyatt was preparing for some tough times ahead and was counting on his brother Virgil and his friends to stand by his side to accomplish this.
Before putting the no-gun law into effect Wyatt attempted to keep law and order the old fashion way, but he was always being criticized by the town fathers or reprimanded by the mayor because he had to break someone's skull open to stop a fight.
Having to face down men on the street himself, Wyatt was looking for something he could do to stop the violence and killings in his town. Over the years, Wyatt had built up quite a reputation for himself and that brought some anxious young cowboy's to Tombstone looking to make a name for themselves.
Wagon teamster, saloon-keeper, bouncer, were only a few of the many jobs Wyatt would have throughout his early life. It was in Wichita, Kansas, as a deputy marshal he gained his reputation as a solid lawman. Following that career he went on to Dodge City as an Assistant Marshal for his brother James. Along the way, he made his share of enemies and Tombstone would prove to be no different. Tombstone would become his greatest challenge and would also be the end of his lawman days.
At the height of Tombstones heydays between 1879-1890, it boasted a population of over fourteen thousand citizens, one hundred and ten saloons, two banks which were always full of money, making them a prime target for robbers, fourteen gambling halls and many other businesses to accommodate all who came to Tombstone. The wildest, wickedest place of all was known as The Bird Cage.
More lowlifes congregated here than any other place in Tombstone. It was here that Wyatt focused most of his attention. Most of the other establishments in town had their own strongmen to keep the peace and order. If needed, Wyatt would be called.
It was really difficult to see anyone new coming into town. There was a stack of wanted posters on Wyatt's desk that he hadn't even looked at, that's how fast Tombstone was growing.
Many nights, after Clarisse and her sister Savannah had cleared off the supper table, they would go out and sit on the front porch, have a piece of their mom's pie, and listen to the many stories their Pa would tell them about his younger years and the many places he had been before settling in Twin Arrows, Arizona.
Clarisse's favorite stories revolved around his days in Tombstone and his friend Wyatt Earp.
"Pa," Clarisse asked one night as they sat about on the porch enjoying the evening's cool air, "Do you think we will ever travel to Tombstone and meet Wyatt Earp?" It was a question Clarisse had asked on many occasions and always drew the same answer.
"I don't imagine so." Buddy would say kinda staring off into the night's sky, "I don't suppose Wyatt is there anymore." Buddy had heard that Wyatt had made his way to California.
Clarisse would go to bed and in her dreams, she would met Wyatt Earp, learn all about lawing and would become as famous as he was.
These stories captured her thoughts. Many days would go by where nothing else would occupy her thoughts than those of becoming a lawman.
Days passed into weeks, weeks into years, as the young Clarisse blossomed into a young woman, growing close to her sister, and learning to ride and more important how to handle a gun.