Frank and Tom McLaury were on the losing end of the most famous shootout in Western history. The Earp-friendly version that has come down to us in books and movies has them as ne'er-do-wells guilty of cattle rustling and probably other crimes. Generally unknown is that they had a brother, Will McLaury, who was a respected if not brilliant lawyer in Fort Worth. Were Frank and Tom gunned down just before leaving town to go to Fort Worth?
When he got the news of his brothers' death, Will rushed to Tombstone to help prosecute their killers. He didn't add much to the prosecution although he spent 2 months in that vain endeavor before giving up and returning to Fort Worth. The rest of the story is a fascinating footnote to the legend of the O.K. Corral. Perhaps if all 3 McLaury brothers had settled in Fort Worth, there would have been no shootout at the O.K. Corral.
Events in Tombstone have been researched endlessly by any number of historians over the years. Every stone it seems has been turned over. The Fort Worth connection has remained buried in old Fort Worth records until now.
Come out on August 16 and follow the story of the forgotten McLaury brother.
Meet Richard Selcer, Ph.D.
Dr. Richard Selcer was born in Fort Worth the same year that Leonard Brothers Department Store installed the city's first escalator and the statue of Will Rogers was dedicated in front of Will Rogers Coliseum (1950). He grew up soaking up the city's history by osmosis and has lived long enough now to be part of Fort Worth history. As an adult he has lived in several foreign climes — Austria, Bulgaria, the Ukraine, South Dakota — but he always returns to his Fort Worth roots.
He received his higher education at Austin College (Sherman, TX) and Texas Christian University (Fort Worth), graduating from Austin College with a B.A. in history in 1972 and an M.A. in education in 1973, and from TCU with a Ph.D. in 1980. He has taught at Tarrant County College, Dallas County Community College, Jarvis Christian College (Hawkins, TX), Cottey College (Nevada, MO), and City University (Austria, Ukraine, Bulgaria). For 30 years he split his time between teaching locally and in Eastern Europe. Most recently he has taught for Weatherford College, Tarrant County College, and Trinity Valley School. He is also a member of the Tarrant County Historical Commission.
Dr. Selcer has authored thirteen books and more than fifty magazine/journal articles. Most of his writing has been on the Civil War, Fort Worth, and the West. His book titles include Hell's Half-Acre: The Life and Legend of a Red-Light District (TCU, 1991), Lee vs. Pickett: Two Divided by War (Thomas Pubs., 1995), Legendary Watering Holes: The Saloons That Made Texas Famous (Texas A&M, 1994), Written in Blood, Vols. 1 & 2 (UNT Press, 2010, 2011), and Photographing Texas: The Swartz Brothers, 1880-1918 (Texas A&M University Press, 2019). His latest title is Fort Worth Stories (UNT Press, 2021). Long term, he is working on a biography of Confederate General George E. Pickett and a history of law enforcement in Texas' bad old days ("Law & Disorder on the Trinity").
Dr. Selcer is also a high-school basketball official and leads walking tours of Fort Worth. His favorite themes on those tours are crime and vice, trail-driving days, the Stockyards, and "Forgotten Fort Worth" (the black community).