I’ve always liked cowboys. I married one. He never branded a cow or roped a steer, but he happens to be an 1800’s kind of a guy. Cowboys and outlaws and men of the west were always considered to be quite adventurous as they made their fortunes in one way or another. My husband fills the bill even today.
Wyatt Earp was born on this day in 1848 in Monmouth, Illinois. His family settled in Iowa when he was only a year old. By the time he was a young boy, he was eager to join his brothers who were fighting in the Union Army. He ran away from home several times to do so, but was always retrieved and brought home.
Wyatt moved to Lamar, Missouri in 1870. He married Urilla Sutherland and became a local constable. His wife soon became pregnant. He lost her to Typhus along with her unborn child. At that point his life turned into turmoil. He took to drinking heavily and was accused of embezzlement. He made a quick get away from Lamar and moved on to Peoria, Illinois. He had several run ins with the law and was arrested for horse stealing. His life was literally a mess. He was at his lowest point. Eventually his dark past led him to become a lawman.
We’ve all heard the story of the gunfight at the OK Corral. It was the final result of a long standing feud between the Clantons and the Earps. Virgil, Morgan, Wyatt and their sick friend, Doc Holiday, went up against the Clanton gang and within 30 seconds the gunfight ended, but the feud continued. In those days they settled their family feuds with guns.
Brother Morgan was fatally shot while playing billiards. Wyatt went on an avenging tirade in search of his brother’s killer. He, along with Doc Holiday and a small posse, roamed the frontier on a killing spree. Taking on the wild west cowboy culture, made headlines around the country. He became a hero of sorts and fodder for many dime novels.
After Wyatt left his common law wife, Mattie Blaylock, he took up with Josephine Marcus, a saloon entertainer. They remained together for the remainder of his life. His final years were spent as a bartender in various saloons in California and Nome, Alaska. He never achieved the fortune he wanted, but his fame lived on after his death. He died January 13, 1929, at his Los Angeles home. Josephine claimed they were married in 1892 but there is no record of a marriage license.
It must’ve been horrible living in the old west, with crime in the streets and gunfights happening on a daily basis. Sounds kind of like the streets of many of our cities today.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WYATT EARP!