As a girl in Kingman, Arizona, I took music lessons from Mrs. Cole, whose husband Walter told me he had been The Tombstone Epitaph editor and that he coined the phrase “Tombstone: The Town Too Tough to Die.”

ask-the-marshall.Marcella Bloomfield

Middleton, New York

Bill Kelley, editor of the Epitaph, organized the first Helldorado Days in 1929. The following year, he sold the newspaper to Walter Cole, who, along with Mayor Krebbs, continued the celebration.

Tombstone historian Ben Traywick says Cole actually said, “A Spirit that will Never Say Die,” and the locals changed it to “Town Too Tough to Die.”

Marshall Trimbleis Arizona’s official historian. His books include The Arizona Trilogy and Law of the Gun.

If you have a question, write:

Ask the Marshall

PO Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327

or e-mail him at

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