BORN: March 19, 1848
DIED: January 13, 1929 (age80)
Los Angeles, California
SPOUSE: Urilla Sutherland (wife)1
Celia Ann Blaylock (companion)2
Josephine Sarah Marcus (wife)3
Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp (March 19,1848 – January 13, 1929) was the third son of Nicholas Earp and Victoria Ann Cooksey. He was name after his father’s commanding officer from the Mexican-American War.
Right after Wyatt was born the family moved to Pella, Iowa. Nicholas had received a grant of 160 acres based on his service in the Mexican-American War. Wyatt had two older brothers, Virgin and James. He also had two younger brothers, Morgan and Warren. Not much is known about his sisters. It has been said that he had 3 sisters Martha, Adelia and Virginia. The family also moved alot back and forthÂ to Pella, Iowa.
Soon the Civil War broke out. James and Virgil joined the Union Army in 1861. Although at Thirteen, Wyatt was too young. He later tried in several occasions to run away and join the army, only to have his father find him and bring him home. When Nicholas was busy recruiting and drilling local companies, Wyatt and his two younger brothers, Morgan and Warren-were left in charge of tending an 80-acre crop of corn. While at war James was seriously wounded and returned home. After James return from war the family Moved to California. On the way to California they encountered friendly and hostile Indians. Not much is known what happened through their journey. In California Wyatt drove wagons from San Bernardino to Arizona during 1965. During the next two years he made trips to Salt Lake City and Julesburg, Colorado.
In 1868 , the Earps settled in Lamar, Missouri where Nicholas become local constable. A year later he resigned to become justice of the peace. Wyatt was appointed constable in his fathers place. Very little information is known about his activities as Lamar’s Constable.
Wyatt first wife was Urilla Sutherland. It was conducted by Wyatt father, Nicholas on January 10, 1870. Urilla was the daughter of of William and Permelia Sutherland, owners of the Lamar Hotel, it is presumed that she lived there for a while. Soon saved enough money and purchased a home for 50 dollars in August 1870, during the same year Urilla died of child birth or Typhus. The date is unknown. After the passing of his wife he sold his home for 75 dollars.
A few years later Wyatt met Bat Masterson (left) in Kansas or while some claim hunting buffalo. In Wichita he was appointed to the police force and was paid a salary of 60 dollars a month. He had many job offers in many cities to became deputy. Later he ended up Dodge City during 1876-1879. For some reason he also ended up in the newspapers either doing good or bad. Many writers have portrayed Earp as a famous lawman. Sometimes he would get jobs that riding shotgun protecting the gold from outlaws. He was probablyÂ one of several men who were employed to prevent roberries and his actions were no more spectacular than the others.
Sometime around October 1880, shots were heard on the streets ofÂ Tombstone. Marshal Fred White quickly responded to the disturbance. He encountered a man near the back of the building and ordered him to surrender his weapon. The man happens to be “Curly Bill” William Brocius. Fred White was shot in the groin.Â Wyatt and Morgan came to his aid, Wyatt hit Brocius over the head with a pistol. Wyatt and a Deputy took him in a wagon the next day to Tucson to stand trial, possibly saving him from lynch mob. White died at the age of 31 on December 27, 1880. Wyatt testified in Tucson court regarding the Brocius-White shooting. According to witnesses it was not intentionally, so the judge had to rule the shooting was accidental and set Brocius free. He remained friend of the McLaurys and an enemy of the Earps.
About a year before the shooting Wyatt and his older brothers James andÂ Virgil moved to Tombstone, Arizona Territory. Virgil prior moving to Tombstone was appointed Deputy US Marshal. Wyatt traveled with Celia Ann “Mattie” Blaylock and James and Virgil with Bessie and Allie. Later on Morgan arrived with Louisa.
Immediately upon their arrival, the Earps began filing mining claims in the area. Months or weeks later the Earps eventually fell back to their familiar careers in saloons and gambling, also riding shotgun for Wells Fargo and of course working as lawmen. Sometime during the summer of 1880 John H. Holliday “Doc” came to Arizona. Before coming to Arizona Doc Holliday had another profession. He was a dentist. Later on he left that job, according to him a more exciting job like gambling and a drinking night life. Doc Holliday traveled with a woman name MaryKatherine “Big Nose Kate” Horony. Doc Holliday was an educated man. On one incident arose after Wyatt heard that one of his branded horses, stolen about a year ago was in the possession of Ike Clanton and Billy Clanton> Wyatt and Doc Holliday rode to the Clanton ranch near t Charleston to recover the horse.Â The Clantons gave up the horses.
During 1881 become part owner, with Lou Rickabaugh and others, in the gambling concession at the Oriental Saloon. Around that period its alleged to have saved a gambler Mile O’Rourke, aka “Johnny Behind the Deuce” from being lynched after the latter was arrested for murdering a miner. This incident would later add to the Earp’s legend as a lawman.
Extreme tension Between the Earps and both the Clantons and McLaurys increased through their stay in Tombstone. While Wyatt and Virgil were out of town for the Spence of Stilwell hearing, Frank McLary confronted Morgan, telling him that the McLaurys would kill the Earps if they tried to arrest Spence, Stilwell or the McLaurys again. The reason for this was that they were all arrested for robery. On their arrival back Virgil requested that Wyatt and Doc Holliday support him and Morgan in preparation to arrest and disarm the McLaurys and the Clantons. They were both deputized for that occassion.
At approximately 3:00pm the Earps began heading to the OK Corral where the Cowboys had been gathering, presumably to engage the Earps. Ike and the Cowbows had been waiting for a fight and the Earps and Holliday were determined to give it to them. A witness said that she over heard one of the Earps. (some think it was Morgan) “let them have it” Holliday replied “ok” Both the Earps, Holliday and the Cowboys were in a face off.Â One witness is to have said that Holliday drew a shotgun shoved it into Frank McLaury’s stomach then took a couple of steps back.
It seem that Virgil wasn’t expecting a fight, maybe that’s the reason why he had Holliday’s cane in his right hand. Right away he commanded the cowboys to draw down their weaponsÂ and to put their hands up. Soon everyone started drawing their weapons, you could also hear Virgil shouting to his men, “hold!”Â Immediately it seemed that Ike panicked once the shooting broke outÂ and fell to the ground toward Wyatt, declaring that he was unarmed. He was pushed to the side and Wyatt turned his attention to the other Cowboys, Ike ran into Fly’s Photography Studio, which was near by an alley. Witnesses have said that Holliday may have fired the first shots and hitting FrankÂ McLaury in the stomach, Morgan fired immediately and hitting Billy Clanton. He was hit in the wrist and then was seen shooting with his left hand. Ike was eventually started shooting from the studio. Holliday shot Tom at close range and died.
The firing continued, Wyatt was not hit in the fight while Holliday, Virgil and Morgan Earp were hit. Billy Clanton, Tom McLaury and Frank McLaury were killed.Â Later while the fight was over they discovered that Tom McLaury had no gun. Some suggestedÂ that SheriffÂ Behan may have removed the his gun from the scene. Josie Marcus said that someone must of take the piston away right after he had dropped it, probably Sheriff Behan.
Around October, Ike Clanton filed murder charges against the Earps and Holliday, Wyatt and Holliday were arrested and brought before Justice of the Peace Wells Spicer, while Morgan and Virgil were recovering from their wounds. The hearing would determine if there was enough evidence to go to trial. One of the cowboys name Allen testified that Holliday was among the first to fire, second came from the Earp brothers. Sheriff Behan testified that Billy Clanton that he heard him say “Don’t shoot me” I don’t want to fight” He also testified that Tom McLaury open his coat and that he was not armed. Sheriff Behan views turned the public opinion against the Earps. Wyatt testimony potrayed a far different gunfight than had been first reported in the local papers. Supporters of the cowboys looked upon the Earps and Holliday as robbers and murderers. On Wyatt’s testimony he had said to Ike Clanton “Go to fighting or get away!” Eventually the Earps and Holliday were freed cause of lack of evidence against them.
Sometime in December, while walking between saloons on the streets of Tombstone, Virgil was attacked by a shotgun fire. He was shot in his left arm and shoulder. The shooter was identified as Ike Clanton, his hat was left behind in back of a building across Allen Street, from where the shots were fired. Wyatt wired U.S. Marshal Crawley Dake asking to be appointed Deputy U.S. Marshal with the authority to select his own deputies. He sold his gambling concessions of the saloon. Wyatt sent Ike Clanton that said he wanted to reconcile their differences. Clanton refused.
Later on March 18, Morgan Earp was assassinated by gunmen firing from a dark alley, through the door window into the lighted pool hall. Morgan was hit in the lower back while a second shot hit the wall just over Wyatt’s head. The fatal shot fired at Morgan passed clean through and bedded i the thigh of a pool hall patron. While a doctor was called Morgan was moved from the floor to a nearby couch. The assassins escaped in the dark, Morgan died about 45 minutes later.
The day after Morgan’s murder, Wyatt, James and a group of friends took Morgans body train. They were going to bury him in California where the rest of the family was at. Virgil and his wife Allie also accompanied him. Word came to Wyatt that the cowboys were ready to ambush him and were waiting for him in Tucson. Among that were with Wyatt was Holliday, Turkey Creek, Jack Johnson and Sherman McMasters took Virgil to the train station.Â As soon as the trained pulled away gunfire was heard. Stilwell body was found near the tracks.
A few days later Wyatt and friends stumbled upon Curley Bill. According to Wyatt Curley jumped into his horse for a fight both Wyatt and Curley Bill traded shotgun blasts and eventually hitting Curley Bill in the chest and almost died instantly. The Earp party survived unharmed throughout the whole time.
Soon later the Earp Party was not allowed in Tombstone. Wyatt soon joined Warren (his younger brother) in San Francisco and joined Josie Marcus (ex-mistress to Behan). Mattie (a former prostitute) died of over dose. of laudanum from the coroners death report. Josie became Wyatt companion for the next 46 years. Holliday died ofÂ Tuberculosis around 1887Â in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. He was 36 years old.
During the next decades he found himself in running saloons and glambling concessions and investing in mines in Colorado and Idaho. In 1886 Wyatt and Josie move to San Diego stayed there a few years running several gambling house in town and also judged prize fights and raced horses. In 1897 soon moved to Alaska’s Gold rush. Eventually Wyatt moved to Los Angeles and met famous actor including a young actor name John Wayne. One of his Hollywood friends happen to be William S. Hart well-known cowboy star. He died in January 13,1929 in his apartment in Los Angeles, California. Western actors William S. Hart and Tom Mix were his pallbearers at his funeral. His wife Josie was unable to attend his funeral cause of her condition. Wyatt was cremated and burried in the Marcus family plot at the Hills of Eternity, a Jewish Cemetary (Josie was Jewish) in Colma, California. Josie died in 1944, her ashes were buried next to Wyatt. The original gravemarker was stolen in 1944, later on replaced.
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