Is there any truth to the story about cowboys who dug up a corpse and poured whiskey down his throat?

Is there any truth to the story about cowboys who dug up a corpse and poured whiskey down his throat?

Marina Bender
Mesa, Arizona

The bizarre event began at the Wigwam Saloon in Winslow, Arizona, on April 8, 1905. Two cowboys, John Shaw and Billy Smythe, ordered drinks, but decided to hold up a nearby dice game first—then they ran for it before downing the booze.

A posse caught up with them near Flagstaff and in the ensuing shoot-out, Shaw was killed and Smythe captured.

The next evening, some of their pals were drinking in a Winslow saloon and lamenting the fact that Shaw never had the chance to finish his last drink. Loaded to the gills, they boarded a train and headed to Shaw’s last resting place. They dug him up; while one friend poured a glass of whiskey down his throat, another took a photo with a Kodak box camera. The dearly departed sported a death grin, which made it look like he was enjoying the occasion.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian. His latest book is Wyatt Earp: Showdown at Tombstone. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at marshall.trimble@sccmail.maricopa.edu

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian, board president of the Arizona Historical Society and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona’s Outlaws and Lawmen; History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu