Wild West Wednesday: The Ruby Murders

WildWestWednesday In 1914 the Ruby Mercantile was sold by Julias Andrews to Philip Clarke, who moved his family to Ruby and built a bigger store up on a hill.

The Clarke family soon discovered the dangers of living in Ruby with its proximity to the Mexican border and the presence of bandits in the area.  According to Legends of America, store owner Philip Clarke and his wife kept guns in every room of their home and store.  Clarke later moved his wife and children to a nearby town while he continued to operate the mercantile.

By 1920 Clarke had purchased substantial acreage and cattle in the area and sold his store to John and Alexander Fraser.  The Fraser brothers were warned about Mexican bandits – to be forewarned was to be forearmed.  They may not have heeded Clarke’s warning, however, because on February 27, 1920 both were found shot inside their store.  Alexander had been shot dead in the back and head and John, still alive with a shot to his left eye, died five hours later.

NOTE:  This article is being re-purposed and enhanced, complete with footnotes and sources, and will be featured in the March 2018 issue of Digging History Magazine.  Purchase your copy at the magazine store (Monthly Issues) or purchase a subscription.

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