Tom Waters (TJ Waters)

Tom Waters

On July 24, 1880, Tom Waters found himself the brunt of good-natured gibes from several men in Tombstone over the new black and blue plaid shirt he was wearing.  After a while of drinking in Corrigan's Saloon, Tom no longer found the jokes funny.  "I'll knock down any man who opens his mouth about my shirt again!" Tom reportedly said, just as his friend E. L. Bradshaw entered the saloon and felt obligated to comment on the colorful, new shirt.  Tom knocked him down as promised and left Corrigan's with an unconscious Bradshaw on the floor.

 A bruised, bandaged, angry and armed Bradshaw later met Waters outside Vogan's Alley and asked, "Why did you hit me?"  Tom, quite drunk and abusive from a day of shirt jokes, responded with a severe verbal attack.  Bradshaw, in turn, responded with a severe attack of bullets, striking Waters under the left arm into the heart, a shot to the head and two shots into the back.

Bradshaw stood trial for the shooting but was acquitted.

Boot Hill - F.M. Light & Sons

Father of Eva Waters, and believed to be T.J. Waters.

The following day, July 25, 1880, the Tombstone Epitaph published this account of the Waters shooting:

"A Fatal Garment
About 7 o'clock last evening the pistol was used with fatal effect on Allen Street, resulting in the death of T.J. Waters from gunshot wounds from a weapon in the hand of E.L. Bradshaw. The causes which led to this unfortunate tragedy are brief. Waters was what is considered a sporting man, and has been in Tombstone several months. He was about forty years of age, powerful build, stood over six feet in height and weighed about 190 pounds. When sober he was a clever sort of man but quite the opposite when under the influence of liquor. Yesterday he won considerable money and had been drinking a great deal, hence was in a mood to be easily irritated. Bradshaw was an intimate friend of Waters but a very different character, being a man of medium size, over fifty years of age and very reserved and peaceable in his disposition. We understand that these two men had prospected together and when Waters first came to Tombstone he lived in Bradshaw's cabin. Yesterday morning Waters purchased a blue and black plaid shirt, little dreaming that the fated garment would hurl his soul into eternity before the sun had set. It so happened that several good natured remarks were made about the new shirt during the day until Waters had taken sufficient liquor to make the joking obnoxious to him, and he began to show an ugly resentment and was very abusive, concluding with, 'Now, if anyone don't like what I've said let him get up, G-d d-n him. I'm chief. I'm boss. I'll knock the first s--- of a b--- down that says anything about my shirt again.' This happened in the back room at Corrigan's saloon and as Waters stepped into the front room Bradshaw happened in, and seeing what his friend was wearing made some pleasant remark about it, whereupon Waters, without a word, struck Bradshaw a powerful blow over the left eye which sent him senseless to the floor. Waters then walked over to Vogan & Flynn's, to see, as he said, ‘if any s--- of a b--- there didn't like this shirt.’ He had just entered the street when Ed Ferris made some remark about the new shirt, which Waters promptly resented in his pugilistic style. After some more rowing Waters went back to Corrigan's saloon. As soon as Bradshaw recovered from the knockdown he went into the back room, washed off the blood, went down to his cabin, put a bandage on his eye and his pistol in his pocket. He then came up to Allen Street and took his seat in front of Vogan & Flynn's saloon. Seeing Waters in Corrigan's door, Bradshaw crossed towards the Eagle Brewery, and walking down the sidewalk until within a few feet of Waters, said: "Why did you do that?" Waters said something whereupon Bradshaw drew his pistol and fired four shots, all taking effect, one under the left arm probably pierced the heart, two entered above the center of the back between the shoulders and one in the top of the head ranged downward toward the neck, any one of which would probably have resulted fatally. Waters fell at the second shot and soon expired. Bradshaw was promptly arrested and examination will be had in the morning before Justice Gray.”

Tom Waters is buried in the Boothill Cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona. Reportedly, Edward Bradshaw was acquitted of killing Waters in September, 1880.