John Philip Clum was born on September 1, 1851 on a farm near Cleaverack, New York. In 1873 he was offered the position of Indian agent at the San Carlos Indian Reservation which was in the heart of Apache Country. In 1877 Clum resigned when the Department of the Interior and the War Department sent U.S. Troops to supervise the Apaches. It was Clum who convinced Geronimo to surrender in 1877. Geronimo was later freed and did not surrender again until 1886.
Clum and his wife then moved to Tucson, Arizona and purchased Tucson Citizen, a weekly newspaper. Later Clum relocated to Tombstone, Arizona and began publishing the Tombstone Epitaph. There he helped organize a law and order league to end the lawlessness in Tombstone, which later enabled him to be elected as Mayor. He became a lifelong friend of Wyatt Earp as well as his greatest supporter. In 1898 he moved to Alaska and became a post master until he left for California and bought a citrus ranch in San Dimas. In 1928 he moved to Los Angeles where he lived until his death in 1932.