History of the Bar
Adelaida V. “Addie” Borland will always hold a unique place in the storied history of Tombstone Arizona. “Addie” lived in this very house when it was located on Fremont Street across from a vacant lot between Fly’s Boarding House and William Harwood’s home. On the afternoon of October 26, 1881, “Addie” would have the best vantage point to witness what has come to be known as the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
Adelaida V. Borland was born in Maine in 1845. By 1870, she had married Samuel Houston Borland, and the couple relocated to San Francisco, Califirnia. Like so many others, “Addie” and Sam moved to Tombstone after Ed Schieffelin’s discover of silver in the hills nearby. While in Tombstone “Addie” engaged in the business of dressmaking out of her home. She was a very experienced seamstress and according to reports, she had a very successful business. Although she and Sam would divorce in Tombstone, “Addie” remained in this house.
October 26, 1881 was a dreary day. It was cloudy, cold, blowing rain and snow. You can read “Addie” Borlands testimony of the events as she saw them that day as they appeared in both the Tombstone Epitaph and the Tombstone Nugget newspapers on either side of this piece. As youwill find, “Addie” did not see much. She ran to the rear of this house when the first shots were fired. One thing you will also find in these papers is the Wells Spicer visited “Addie” in this house during the recess for lunch. He questioned her here and reacalled her after lunch. Because “Addie” is unable to provide any clear descriptions of the participants or their weapons, one can conclude that there is a distinct probablility that “Addie” was quite nearsighted after years of sewing. This possibility and the inclement weather may have made it even more difficult for her to see the events that unfolded.
“Addie” borland returned to San Francisco shortly after the Earp Inquest. She then appears prominently in the Los Angeles Time newspapers in 1886 again advertising a dressmaking business. She also is listed as a founding member of Crystal Lodge No. 65 of the United Endowment Associates and the Ladies Annex of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce in 1890. It is here that we lose track of “Addie”. To date, we have not located her date of death or burial location. However, the fact still remains that you are standing in the house where she witnessed the beginning of the most famous gunfight in the history of the old West, the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
Research by Anne Collier
Old West Research & Publishing
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