Campbell & Hatch Saloon and Billiard Parlor was opened in 1881 by entrepreneurs John Campbell and Robert Small “Bob” Hatch. Their saloon would forever be linked to
Tombstone history when Morgan Earp was assassinated while playing a game of billiards with owner Bob Hatch. The saloon would burn down in the 1882 fire that destroyed more than half the town and would be one of the first to rebuild.
Campbell & Hatch Saloon and Billiard Parlor was opened in 1881 on historic Allen Street in Tombstone, Arizona next to the Alhambra Saloon with a small alley between them.
The saloon became a favorite spot of the Earp brothers, and they would spend a lot of time in the saloon and quickly became friends with the owners.
On October 26, 1881, Bob Hatch saw the Earp’s and Holliday walking down Fremont Street towards a vacant lot behind the O.K. Corel and decided to fallow them. He would go on to witness one of the most famous gunfights in history deemed by the press as the “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.”
There was tension in the air after a night of heavy drinking by Ike Clanton and many threats towards the Earp’s. The Earp’s had received word of the threats that morning by witness that had heard them. Ike Clanton, Billy Clanton, Billy Claiborne, Frank McLaury, and Tom McLaury were in the vacant lot and were armed which was against a city ordinance. Virgil Earp who was the acting sheriff, decided to disarm them.
Billy Claiborne had run off before the fight started and Ike Clanton yelled that he did not want to fight as the shooting started. The gunfight was about 30 seconds. When the shooting stopped, Morgan Earp was hit in the shoulder, Virgil was hit in the calf, Doc was grazed off the hip. Tom McLaury, Frank McLaury, were dead and young Billy Clanton laid dying.
Phineas Fay Clanton, who was not in Tombstone at the time of the shooting, pressed charges against the Earp’s and Doc Holliday.
The Earp party were arrested and brought up on charges for murder. Bob Hatch would testify in the trial as one of the witnesses.
Hatch testified that he had heard Virgil say, “We have come here to disarm you and arrest you!” and a few seconds after, the shoot started. C.S. Fly’s Photography Studio and Boarding House was next to the vacant lot where the shootout took place. According to Hatches’ testimony, C.S. Fly ran out of his studio with a rifle (Henry Rifle) and yelled “Take that pistol away from that man!” referring to Billy Clanton who laid dying.
Hatch replied, “Get it yourself if you want it.” who was now standing next to the dying Clanton. C.S. Fly walked up to Clanton and removed the gun. Hatch also testified when the gun was being removed from Billy’s hand, he mustered enough energy to say, “Give me some more cartridges.”
The Earp party would eventually be cleared of all charges which infuriated the Cowboys.
On March 18, 1882, Morgan Earp attended a Musical at Schieffelin Hall named after the founder of Tombstone, then went to Campbell and Hatch Saloon to play billiards and his brother Wyatt joined him. Morgan and Bob Hatch were engaged in a game of billiards as Wyatt Earp sat a nearby table against a wall watching. The billiard table was in the back of the saloon with two doors that had four windowpanes in each one. Around 10:50pm, Morgan was lining up a shot when two gunshots rang out through the back door windows. One hit the wall above Wyatt and the other struck Morgan in the back shattering his spine. Morgan would die an hour later.
Two months later May 26, 1882, a second devastating fire would start in the bathroom
of Tivoli Saloon, it would burn down more than half the town including the Campbell & Hatch Saloon. The Saloon would be one of the first buildings to rebuild.
Bob Hatch would take on a few jobs like town sheriff and deputy sheriff. No doubt with a little influence from a friend he admired Wyatt Earp. By this time the Earp Family had already left Tombstone.
John Campbell would go on to open a few saloons and would have a seat as a City Council member.
Campbell & Hatch Saloon and Billiard Parlor would remain open until prohibition shut it down in 1914.
In March of 2023 a saloon token issued by Campbell & Hatch Saloon and Billiard Parlor sold at auction for 8,518.17. More than an estimated 3,500 – 5,000 dollars.
The text on one side reads; CAMPBELL & HATCH 25C GOOD FOR A DRINK. The back side is blank.