Published: December 4th 2012December 4th 2012
CURLY BILL BROCIOUS
Galeyville was torn down and the lumber used to build the neighboring town of Paradise. The Galeyville townsite is on private property and visitors are not allowed in that area. The stamp mill is right beside the road about 0.4 miles north of Paradise.
CURLY BILL BROCIOUS
Curly Bill was a small time cow thief who was fond of raising a little hell when he had been drinking. Although handy with a gun he was not the feared desperado that Hollywood has since made him out to be. He started out as Bill Bresnaham and as a young man drifted into New Mexico and found work as a cowboy on John Kinney’s ranch. Before long he became friends with Bob Martin, one of Kinney’s merry gang ofrogues. On September 12, 1878 Martin and Bresnaham were convicted of killing a buffalo soldier during an attempted robbery near El Paso. They were bound over to the custody of the Texas Rangers pending appeal, but on November 9 they escaped and fled into Mexico. Bill cut a low profile with his rustling and merry making activities until October 27, 1880 when he became involved in an altercation with City Marshal Fred White in Tombstone. Some of his rowdy friends were shooting their guns off in town near the cribs in the area of 6th
and Allen. White and Deputy Sheriff WyattEarp went to investigate and found Bill in an alley on land where the Birdcage Theater was soon to be built. White demanded that Bill surrender his pistol and Bill was complying with that request when Wyatt grabbed him from behind restraining his arms. The gun barrel was pointed at White and when he grabbed for it and tried to jerk it out of Bill’s handthe cocked pistol went off inflicting White with a mortal wound. The gun would not have fired had Wyatt not been restraining Bill’s arms. When the gun went off Wyatt buffaloed Curly Bill from behind. Bill was knocked silly and taken into custody giving his name, perhapsfor the first time officially, as Brocious. He wastaken to Tucson, the county seat, and held for trial. OnWyatt’s testimony the shooting was ruled an accident and Curly Bill was released from custody on December 28, 1880. His gun, incidentally, was found by Wyatt immediately after the shooting to be fully loaded except for the shot that killed White. Curly Billwas seldom seen in Tombstone after the shooting of Fred White, but he built up quite a reputation for celebrating his release in places like Charleston, Contention City, San Simon, Maxey, and Galeyville. On March 8, 1881 Curly Bill was with a group of cowboys playing poker at O’Neil’s saloon in Maxey when the irksome Dick Lloyd got out of control and needed to be shot. The killing of Lloyd was viewed by townsmen as a public service and never prosecuted. In April Curly Bill fired off his pistol inside a saloon in San Simon. The bullet passed through a wall and killed his horse patiently waiting outside. Early in May Curly Bill was persuaded by Cochise County Deputy Sheriff William Breckenridge to assist in collecting taxes in Galeyville. On May 19, 1881 Curly Bill got himself into a drunken dispute with his pal, Jim Wallace. After taking sass all afternoon Wallace got fed up and as Curly Bill was mounting his horse shot him the face. The bullet entered through the left side of Curly Bill’s neck, went through his tongue andout the right side of his jaw taking several teeth with it. It was a near fatal wound, but Curly Bill recovered from it with help from his good friend, Russian Bill Tattenbaum. All of that summer Curly Bill was laid up in Galeyville recovering from thatugly wound. In the fall Curly Bill set off toward New Mexico on the trail of Jim Wallace nevermore to be seen in Arizona. No. Wyatt Earp did not kill him at Cottonwood Springs and would probably not have even recognized him. Earp was a notorious liar about such things. The photo shows the foundation of the stamp mill near Galeyville. It is all that remains of that once lively little town.