(1840 - July, 1887)
Robert Clay Allison was born in Wayne County, Tennessee, and joined the Confederate army during the Civil War. In early 1862, he was discharged for having personality problems, a diagnosis that indicated epilepsy. His wide mood swings, drinking and recklessness made him a dangerous person. Later the same year, Clay rejoined the Confederate army and served out the war in Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest's Cavalry Corps.
Clay drove cattle in Texas, ranched in New Mexico, married, finally settling in what is now Loving County, Texas, on the Texas/New Mexico border. It was while he lived in New Mexico, however, that his three known killings occurred.
Clay described himself as a shootist rather than a gunfighter.
On July 3, 1887, while traveling north from Pecos, Texas to his ranch near the old Pope's Wells, Clay was thrown from the buckboard on which he was riding, and his neck was broken; he was 46 years old.
Robert Clay Allison is buried in a park near the West of the Pecos Museum in Pecos, Texas.
Information compiled by Steve Grimm
Drawing by Richard Florence
Books About Clay Allison
Clay Allison: Portrait of a Shootist by Chuck Parsons
Although a little disorganized, this book has good information and documented sources, while relating what I would term 'bizarre' life of Clay Allison.
Clay Allison of The Washita by O.S. Clark
Originally written in 1920, it was reprinted in 1954. This booklet contains stories of Clay Allison by a rancher who knew Allison.
Mace Bowman - Texas Feudist - Western Lawman by James Peters with Chuck Parsons
A self-published book leaning toward an amateur look, this book is primarily geared toward Mace Bowman. However, Bowman was a friend of Clay Allison and it has good info on Allison plus pictures of the Allison family not seen elsewhere.