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IMG_9743.JPG - Allen R. English

Allen R. English, flamboyant and "silver-tongued" spellbinder who worked magic on juries.

Born in Saginaw, Michigan in 1860, Allen English was the son of wealthy and influential parents. At age 20, English ventured to Tombstone. At first, he worked in the mines, but soon began to use the law degree he earned at the age of nineteen, proving himself something of a prodigy.

A brazen young attorney, English and law partner, Marcus Aurelius Smith, defended clients with great success. English, an alcoholic, imbibed before trial (it was said that he was more effective as the day wore on, as he had more time to "oil" his tongue) making the proceedings high entertainment rather than a somber occasion. Courtroom audiences loved his rougish attitude and humorous oratory, making him one of the more popular attorneys of the day.

"His command of language of the florid type was astonishing," said one biographer. A judge stated, "In his prime, he was a powerful figure in the trial...being especially effective before a jury, but outstanding before the court." In 1887, English became Cochise County district attorney, a post he held for three consecutive two-year terms. Evidently, this august position did not dampen his behavior.

Allen English continued to live in Tombstone even during its decline. Though he had become wealthy in mining and professional practice, and had been married three times, he was alone and penniless when the end came on November 8, 1937. "The West will not see his like again," said one friend.

The following stories are attributed to him:

"That will be twenty-five dollars for contempt of court," said the judge. "Your Honor," replied English, "twenty-five dollars wouldn't pay for half the contempt I have for this court."

In June of 1900, Allen English bet that if it rained on the 24th, San Juan's Day, he would stand stark naked under the downspout at Billy King's saloon. (According to local Mexican tradition, it always rains on this saint's day.) Sure enough, it rained on San Juan's Day, and true to his word, English stood naked under the falling water.
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