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Calamity Jane from Wikipedia

Martha Jane Canary (May 1, 1852 – August 1, 1903), better known as Calamity Jane, was an American frontierswoman, and professional scout best known for her claim of being an acquaintance of Wild Bill Hickok, but also for having gained fame fighting Indians. She is said to have also exhibited kindness and compassion, especially to the sick and needy. This contrast helped to make her a famous frontier figure.

Early life: 1852–1876

Much of the information about this period of Calamity Jane's life comes from the autobiographical pamphlet she dictated many years later, in 1896. The pamphlet was written for publicity purposes--she was about to begin a tour in which she would appear in dime museums around the country, and the pamphlet was intended to help attract audiences. Thus, some of the information in the pamphlet is exaggerated or even completely inaccurate. Calamity Jane was born May 1, 1852, as Martha Jane Cannary (or Canary)  in Princeton, within Mercer County, Missouri. Her parents, Robert W. and Charlotte Cannary, were listed in the 1860 census as living about 7 miles (11 km) further northeast of Princeton in Ravanna. Martha Jane was the eldest of six children, having two brothers and three sisters. In 1865, Robert packed his family and moved by wagon train from Missouri to Virginia City, Montana. Charlotte died along the way in Black Foot, Montana, in 1866 of "washtub pneumonia." After arriving in Virginia City in the spring of 1866, Robert took his six children on to Salt Lake City, Utah. They arrived in the summer, and Robert supposedly started farming on 40 acres (16 ha) of land. They were there only a year before he died in 1867. Martha Jane took over as head of the family, loaded up the wagon once more, and took her siblings to Fort Bridger, Wyoming Territory. They arrived in May 1868. From there they traveled on the Union Pacific Railroad to Piedmont, Wyoming.

In Piedmont, Martha Jane took whatever jobs she could to provide for her large family. She worked as a dishwasher, a cook, a waitress, a dance-hall girl, a nurse, and an ox team driver. Finally, in 1874, she found work as a scout at Fort Russell. During this time period, Jane also began her on-and-off employment as a prostitute at the Fort Laramie Three-Mile Hog Ranch.

Calamity Jane in 1895 by H.R. Locke
Born  Martha Jane Canary
May 1, 1852
Princeton, Missour
Died  August 1, 1903 (aged 51)
Terry, South Dakota
Other names Calamity Jane
From her autobiography of 1896, Martha Jane writes of this time . 
"In 1865 we emigrated from our homes in Missouri by the overland route to Virginia City, Montana, taking five months to make the journey. While on the way, the greater portion of my time was spent in hunting along with the men and hunters of the party; in fact, I was at all times with the men when there was excitement and adventures to be had. By the time we reached Virginia City, I was considered a remarkable good shot and a fearless rider for a girl of my age. I remember many occurrences on the journey from Missouri to Montana. Many times in crossing the mountains, the conditions of the trail were so bad that we frequently had to lower the wagons over ledges by hand with ropes, for they were so rough and rugged that horses were of no use. We also had many exciting times fording streams, for many of the streams in our way were noted for quicksands and boggy places, where, unless we were very careful, we would have lost horses and all. Then we had many dangers to encounter in the way of streams swelling on account of heavy rains. On occasions of that kind, the men would usually select the best places to cross the streams; myself, on more than one occasion, have mounted my pony and swam across the stream several times merely to amuse myself, and have had many narrow escapes from having both myself and pony washed away to certain death, but, as the pioneers of those days had plenty of courage, we overcame all obstacles and reached Virginia City in safety. Mother died at Black Foot, Montana, 1866, where we buried her. I left Montana in Spring of 1866, for Utah, arriving at Salt Lake City during the summer." .
Accounts from this period described Martha Jane as being "extremely attractive" and a "pretty, dark-eyed girl." Martha Jane received little to no formal education and was illiterate. She moved on to a rougher, mostly outdoor adventurous life on the Great Plains.
Acquiring the nickname

Martha Jane was involved in several campaigns in the long-running military conflicts with Native American Indians. Her unconfirmed claim was that: 

"It was during this campaign [in 1872–1873] that I was christened Calamity Jane. It was on Goose Creek, Wyoming where the town of Sheridan is now located. Capt. Egan was in command of the Post. We were ordered out to quell an uprising of the Indians, and were out for several days, had numerous skirmishes during which six of the soldiers were killed and several severely wounded. When on returning to the Post we were ambushed about a mile and a half from our destination. When fired upon Capt. Egan was shot. I was riding in advance and on hearing the firing turned in my saddle and saw the Captain reeling in his saddle as though about to fall. I turned my horse and galloped back with all haste to his side and got there in time to catch him as he was falling. I lifted him onto my horse in front of me and succeeded in getting him safely to the Fort. Capt Egan on recovering, laughingly said: 'I name you Calamity Jane, the heroine of the plains.' I have borne that name up to the present time."
As reported in the Anaconda Standard (Montana, Apr. 19, 1904): Captain Jack Crawford, who served under both Generals Wesley Merritt and George Crook, stated, Calamity Jane "...never saw service in any capacity under either General Crook or General Miles. She never saw a lynching and never was in an Indian fight. She was simply a notorious character, dissolute and devilish, but possessed a generous streak which made her popular."
 It may be that she exaggerated or completely fabricated this story. Even back then not everyone accepted her version as true. A popular belief is that she instead acquired it as a result of her warnings to men that to offend her was to "court calamity". It appears possible that Jane was not part of her name until the nickname was coined for her.

She certainly was known by that nickname by 1876, because the arrival of the Hickok wagon train was reported in the Deadwood newspaper, the Black Hills Pioneer, on July 15, 1876, with the headline, "Calamity Jane has arrived!"


1885 photos of Calamity Jane
Another unverified story in her autobiographical pamphlet is that in 1875 her detachment was ordered to the Big Horn River, under General Crook. Bearing important dispatches, she swam the Platte River and traveled 90 miles (145 km) at top speed while wet and cold to deliver them. Afterwards, she became ill. Calamity said that after recuperating for a few weeks, she rode to Fort Laramie, Wyoming, and later, in July 1876, she joined a wagon train headed north. The second part of her story is true. She was at Fort Laramie in July 1876 and did join a wagon train that included Wild Bill Hickok. That is where she first met Wild Bill Hickok, contrary to her later claims, and it is how she happened to come to Deadwood.

Deadwood and Wild Bill Hickok: 1876–1881

Calamity Jane accompanied the Newton-Jenney Party into the Black Hills in 1875, along with California Joe and Valentine McGillycuddy. By this time (or shortly thereafter) her youthful good looks were gone; her skin was leathery and tanned from sun and wind, she was muscular and unfeminine, and her hair was stringy and seldom washed.

In 1876, Calamity Jane settled in the area of Deadwood, South Dakota, in the Black Hills. There, she became friends with, and was occasionally employed by, Dora DuFran, the Black Hills' leading madam. She became friendly with Wild Bill Hickok and Charlie Utter, having travelled with them to Deadwood in Utter's wagon train. Jane greatly admired Hickok (much later others alleged to the point of infatuation and also claimed she was obsessed with his personality and his life). After Hickok was killed during a poker game on August 2, 1876, Calamity Jane claimed to have been married to Hickok and that Hickok was the father of her child (Jean), who she said was born on September 25, 1873, and whom she later put up for adoption by Jim O'Neil and his wife. No records are known to exist which prove the birth of a child, and the romantic slant to the relationship might have been fabrication. During the period that the alleged child was born, she was working as a scout for the army. At the time of his death, Hickok was newly married to Agnes Lake Thatcher.

The McCormick claim

On September 6, 1941, the U.S. Department of Public Welfare granted old age assistance to a Jean Hickok Burkhardt McCormick (her third husband), who claimed to be the legal offspring of Martha Jane Cannary and James Butler Hickok, after being presented with evidence that Calamity Jane and Wild Bill had married at Benson's Landing, Montana Territory, on September 25, 1873, documentation being written in a Bible and presumably signed by two ministers and numerous witnesses. However, McCormick's claim has been vigorously challenged because of a variety of discrepancies.

After the death of Wild Bill Hickok

Jane also claimed that following Hickok's death, she went after Jack McCall, his murderer, with a meat cleaver, having left her guns at her residence in the excitement of the moment. However, she never confronted McCall. Following McCall's eventual hanging for the offense, Jane continued living in the Deadwood area for some time, and at one point she did help save several passengers in an overland stagecoach by diverting several Plains Indians who were in pursuit of the stage. The stagecoach driver, John Slaughter, was killed during the pursuit, and Jane took over the reins and drove the stage on to its destination at Deadwood. Also in late 1876, Jane nursed the victims of a smallpox epidemic in the Deadwood area.

Final years: 1881–1903

In 1881, she bought a ranch west of Miles City, Montana, along the Yellowstone River, where she kept an inn. After marrying the Texan Clinton Burke, and moving to Boulder, she again tried her luck in this business. In 1887, she had a daughter, Jane, who was given to foster parents.

In 1893, Calamity Jane started to appear in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show as a storyteller. She also participated in the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. At that time, she was depressed and an alcoholic. Jane's addiction to liquor was evident even in her younger years. For example, on June 10, 1876, she rented a horse and buggy in Cheyenne for a mile-or-so joy ride to Fort Russell and back, but Calamity was so drunk that she passed right by her destination without noticing it and finally ended up about 90 miles away at Fort Laramie.

By the start of the 20th century, Madame Dora DuFran was still going strong when Jane returned to the Black Hills in 1903. For the next few months, Jane earned her keep by cooking and doing the laundry for Dora’s brothel girls in Belle Fourche. In July, she travelled to Terry, South Dakota. While staying in the Calloway Hotel on August 1, 1903, she died at the age of 51 (or 53 or 56). It was reported that she had been drinking heavily on board a train and became very ill. The train's conductor carried her off the train and to a cabin, where she died soon after. In her belongings, a bundle of letters to her daughter was found, which she had never sent. Some of these letters were set to music in an art song cycle by 20th century composer Libby Larsen called Songs From Letters. (These letters were first made public by Jean McCormick as part of her claim to be the daughter of Jane and Hickok – but the authenticity of these letters is not accepted by some, largely because there is no non-McCormick document supposedly written by Jane and there is ample evidence that Jane was functionally illiterate.)

Calamity Jane was buried at Mount Moriah Cemetery, South Dakota, next to Wild Bill Hickok. Four of the men who planned her funeral (Albert Malter, Frank Ankeney, Jim Carson, and Anson Higby) later stated that since Wild Bill Hickok had "absolutely no use" for Jane while he was alive, they decided to play a posthumous joke on Wild Bill Hickok by giving Calamity an eternal resting place by his side.

Calamity Jane was a frequent visitor to and sometimes resident of Livingston, Montana, and towns in the Paradise Valley.

She came up from a very hardscrabble life, unacquainted with bourgeois notions of decorum, she probably never knew financial security but even in poverty she was known for her helpfulness, generosity, and willingness to undertake demanding and even dangerous tasks to help others. She was afflicted with alcoholism and wanderlust (and, perhaps, promiscuity), but, as someone remembered her, "Her vices were the wide-open sins of a wide-open country – the sort that never carried a hurt."


"Calamity Jane", as she became known, lived a very colourful and eventful life but often claimed questionable associations or friendships with notable famous American Old West figures, almost always posthumously. For example, years after the death of Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer, she claimed that she served under him during her initial enlistment at Fort Russell, and that she also served under him during the Indian campaigns in Arizona. However, no records exist to show that Custer was assigned to Fort Russell, and she did not take an active part in the Arizona Indian campaigns; she was given the task of subjugating the Plains Indians.

In 1896 she joined the traveling Kohl & Middleton Dime Museum as a performer, and a 7-page souvenir booklet was sold by that circus, titled The Life and Adventures of Calamity Jane by Herself; it was almost certainly written by someone else, as there is no reliable evidence that Jane could read and write. It is this booklet that is described, rather generously, as her autobiography. The booklet misstates her birth name (as "Marthy Cannary"), her birthdate, misspells "Missourri" repeatedly and refers to "Wm. Hickok". Several of the stories in the booklet are unsupported, or even contradicted, by reliable evidence.

Unlike Annie Oakley, her performances did not involve sharpshooting or roping or riding, merely Jane appearing on stage in buckskins and reciting her adventures—"which metastisized with each telling"—in colourful but clean language; however after about six months her increasing drinking and profanity ended her career as a stage performer.

Her reputation for embellishing her accomplishments, and the willingness of some others to attribute to her even more fanciful adventures (even during her lifetime she was used as a character in works of Western fiction), have made it very difficult to determine the "true facts" of her life. Historians have been unable to locate sufficient information to determine the truth about disputed events, and in many instances independent sources completely contradict her own accounts.

Josephine Sarah Marcos Earp from Wikipedia
Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp (1861-December 19, 1944) was an American part-time actress and dancer who was best known as the wife of famed Old West lawman and gambler Wyatt Earp. Known as "Sadie" to the public in 1881, she met Wyatt in the frontier boom town Tombstone, Arizona Territory when she was living with Cochise County Sheriff Johnny Behan. She became Earp's common-law wife for 46 years.

Josephine was born in New York and moved with her parents to San Francisco as a child. Her Prussian Jewish parents were relatively well-off and she grew up with many advantages. As a teenager, she ran away and traveled to Arizona, where she had an "adventure", although the exact age she left home is not clear. Much of her life up to about 1882 is uncertain, as Josephine protected many details of her life prior to leaving Tombstone, Arizona, even threatening legal action later in life to keep information private.

She may have arrived in in Prescott, Arizona as early as 1874. In a book about her life, I Married Wyatt Earp, she related events that occurred before she said she came to Tombstone in 1880. She may have lived in Tip Top, Arizona under an assumed name where she may have been a prostitute for a period of time. What is known for certain is that she arrived Tombstone, Arizona in 1880 where she became a mistress to Cochise County Sheriff Johnny Behan. Even though he was Sheriff, Behan generally sided with certain outlaw Cowboys who were at odds with Deputy U.S. Marshal Virgil Earp and his brothers, Wyatt and Morgan. Josephine left Behan in 1881, sometime before the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, in which Behan played a key role. She returned to San Francisco in early 1882 and was joined by Wyatt Earp, with whom she remained in a common law marriage for 46 years.

She became well-known when a manuscript about her life was used as a source by amateur historian Glenn Boyer for the book I Married Wyatt Earp, first published by the University of Arizona Press in 1967. The work was considered a factual memoir, cited by scholars, studied in classrooms, and used as a source by filmmakers for 32 years. In 1998, it was found that Boyer could not substantiate many of the facts about the time period in Tombstone, causing some critics to describe it as a fraud and a hoax, and the university withdrew the book from its catalog.

Early life

Josephine Sarah "Sadie" Marcus
at about age 20
 c. 1881, by C. S. Fly
Born Josephine Sarah Marcus
New York, U.S.A.
Died December 19, 1944 (aged 83)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Other names Sadie, Josie
Occupation frontier adventurer
Spouse(s)  Johnny Behan (common-law husband)
Wyatt Earp (common-law husband)

Josephine went by the name of Sadie most of her adult life, especially to her common-law husband Wyatt. She was the second of three children born to Prussia Jewish immigrants Carl-Hyman Marcuse (later Henry Marcus) and Sophie Lewis in New York in 1860. When they married, Lewis was 8 years older than her husband and a widow with a 3-year-old daughter named Rebecca. Sadie had an older brother Nathan (born August 12, 1857) and younger sister Henrietta (born July 10, 1864). When Josephine was 11, her father was lured by the opportunity afforded in the growing city of San Francisco. Leaving their upper-middle class life behind, they traveled via ship to Panama and caught a second ship to San Francisco, arriving while the city was recovering from the disastrous earthquake of October 21, 1868. Her father found work as a baker.

By 1870, San Francisco's population had boomed to 149,473 and housing was in short supply. Apartment buildings were crowded and large homes were converted into rooming houses. The city was riding on the coattails of the still expanding economic boom caused by the extraction of silver from the Comstock Lode. Lots of money flowed from Nevada through San Francisco, and for a while the Marcus family prospered. Later that year, her half-sister Rebecca Levy married Aaron Wiener, an insurance salesman and a native of Prussia, like her parents.

Henry Marcus made enough money to send Josephine and her sister Hattie to music and dance classes at the McCarthy Dancing Academy, a family-owned business that taught music and dance to both children and adults. In I Married Wyatt Earp, Boyer quotes Josephine, "Hattie and I attended the McCarthy Dancing Academy for children on Howard Street (Polk and Pacific). Eugenia and Lottie McCarthy taught us to dance the Highland Fling, the Sailor's Hornpipe, and ballroom dancing." Josephine claimed that she matured early. “There was far too much excitement in the air to remain a child.” As a girl, Josephine's favorite activity was going to the shows in town. She apparently resented how she was treated by her teachers in the San Francisco schools, describing them as “inconsistent of a tolerant and gay populous acting as merciless and self-righteous as a New England village in bringing up its children.” She described the harsh discipline meted out, including the “sting of rattan" and “being slapped for tardiness”.

Runs away

There are conflicting accounts of when Josephine, or Sadie as Wyatt and others knew her, actually arrived in Arizona. Josephine’s memoirs and other sources indicate her departure may have been as early as October 1874. Some accounts state that she arrived as soon as 1874 at age 13 or 14, while Behan was Sheriff for Yavapai County during 1871-73 and while he was married to Victoria Zaff. His wife divorced him in 1875 for consorting with a known prostitute named Sadie Mansfield.:79

Josephine told how upon arriving in Arizona she learned that “some renegade Yuma-Apaches had escaped from the reservation to which they had been consigned and had returned to their old haunts on the war-path.” Josephine wrote the famous Indian fighter Al Sieber was tracking escape Apaches and led them to safety. According to Josephine, she first met "John Harris" during this period. She described him as "young and darkly handsome, with merry black eyes and an engaging smile."

During 1874, production of gold and silver from the Comstock Lode, which had brought so much wealth to San Francisco, began to dwindle. San Francisco suffered, and her father Henry’s earnings as a baker fell. The family was forced to move in with Josephine's older sister Sophia and her husband in the flatlands south of Market Street. It was known as “the slot,” a working class, ethnically mixed neighborhood, where smoke from factory chimneys filled the air. As an adult, Josephine claimed her father ran a prosperous mercantile business, although the 1880 census places the family South of Market in the 9th Ward between San Francisco Bay, Channel Street, Harrison Street and Seventh Street.

Arrival in Arizona

The facts about Sadie or Josephine's arrival and her life in Tombstone are obscured by the fact that later in life she refused to disclose in detail what took place. After Wyatt's death, Josephine collaborated with two of her husband's cousins, Mabel Earp Cason and Cason's sister Vinolia Earp Ackerman, to document her life. The cousins recorded events in Josephine's later life but found she was evasive about her early life in Tombstone.

.H.M.S. Pinafore poster, 1879
In I Married Wyatt Earp, she wrote that one day, "I left my home one morning, carrying my books just as though I was going to school as usual." She was 18 years old and said she ran away with two friends, Dora Hirsch, daughter of her music teacher, and another girl named Agnes who had a role in the San Francisco Pauline Markham troupe's presentation of H.M.S. Pinafore. She wrote that her maid, a black woman named Julia, came with her. She wrote that they took a stagecoach to Arizona, where a band of Indians was on the loose and that the group was forced to hole up in a ranch house for about a week, during which she met Al Seiber and later Johnny Behan. She said that when she and her friend got tired of the acting life in Arizona, they returned to San Francisco in time for the grand opening of the Baldwin Theater on March 6, 1876. She wrote that Johnny Behan followed her and asked her to marry him.

Meets Johnny Behan

Based on Josephine's manuscript and other sources she may have actually left San Francisco as early October 1874, arriving in Arizona at age 13 or 14. On September 28, 1874, Behan was nominated as Sheriff at the Democratic convention in Yavapai County. The Prescott Miner reported on October 6 that “J.H. Behan left on an 'electioneering' tour toward Black Canyon, Wickenburg and other places” north and east of present-day Phoenix, in the same area as Cave Creek where Al Sieber was looking for Indians. Behan was gone for 35 days, during which he could have met Josephine. She said “my heart was stirred by his attentions as would the heart of any girl have been under such romantic 

Johnny Behan in 1871. Josephine said
he was "young and darkly handsome,
with merry black eyes and an
engaging smile."
Pauline Markham

Josephine said she joined Pauline Markham's
theater troupe in 1879 before it toured
to Arizona. Markham was a nationally
known American actress, singer and
burlesque dancer.

circumstances. The affair was at least a diversion in my homesickness though I cannot say I was in love with him.” Behan returned to Prescott on November 11, 1874 but lost the election.

In Arizona, Josephine was known as Sadie. Sadie recollected how she met the famous Indian scout Al Sieber who she claimed led them to safety. During 1890, the year Sadie said she arrived in Tombstone, Seiber wasn't chasing Indians in that region, but on October 24, 1874, the Arizona Miner reported, “Al Zieber, Sergeant Stauffer and a mixed command of white and red soldiers are in the hills of Verde looking for some erring Apaches, whom they will be apt to find.” On October 27, 1874, Sieber and Sgt. Rudolph Stauffer fought a group of Apaches that had escaped the reservation at Cave Creek. In February 1875, Sieber helped close the Camp Verde Reservation and transfer the Yavapais and Tonto Apaches at Camp Verde to the San Carlos Reservation, and Sieber remained in the San Carlos, Arizona Territory, area for the next few years. This area is about 130 miles (210 km) to the southeast of Cave Creek and 200 miles (320 km) north of Tombstone.

While Sadie described Seiber in buckskin clothing, he later said he only wore buckskin garments while posing for a photograph. But Sadie's story was that Sieber and his scouts led her stagecoach and its passengers to a nearby adobe ranch house. The group spent 10 days sleeping on the floor. According to Sadie, she first met "John Harris" here, who she described as, "young and darkly handsome, with merry black eyes and an engaging smile."

Sadie's stay in Arizona

During December, 1874, neighbors witnessed Behan visiting a “house of ill fame” on more than one occasion. The brothel was located on Granite Street near Gurley in Prescott. He had a “relationship with” a 14-year-old prostitute named "Sadie Mansfield" who lived there under the watchful eye of Madam Josie Roland.

On February 6, 1875, criminal charges were filed against Sadie Mansfield for Petty Larceny, accusing her of stealing two German silver spoons worth $126.00. The charges against her reported that “one set of German table spoons were stolen from the store of H. Asher

and Company in the village of Prescott, Yavapai, A.T.” Sheriff Ed Burnes searched Sadie Mansfield's residence and confiscated the spoons. The case was tried the same day with only one witness for the defense, Jennie Andrews. The nine-man jury found her not guilty.

Sadie Mansfield and Johnny Behan remained in the same town through at least 1880, when the U.S. census recorded them both in Tip Top, Arizona Territory. Both Sadie Mansfield and Sadie Marcus were 14 years old. Both were born in New York City to Prussian parents.

These facts may explain why Josephine later thought of this time in her life as “a bad dream.” She later commented, “the whole experience recurs to my memory as a bad dream and I remember little of its details. I can remember shedding many tears in out-of the way-corners. I thought constantly of my mother and how great must be her grief and worry over me. In my confusion, I could see no way out of the tragic mess.”

Sadie or Josephine's record of what happened next, if accurate, says that she and Dora were homesick and returned to San Francisco with Sieber's help. Josephine told the Earp cousins that she returned to San Francisco before the grand opening of the Baldwin Theater on March 6, 1876. This precedes the 1880 arrival date that she gave to Stuart Lake and included in the biography I Married Wyatt Earp. Sieber was Prussian and so was Josephine's father, and Josephine spoke English with an accent. Josephine wrote that she received a message that Al Seiber had wired her sister and her husband, Aaron Wiener, who had sent funds to Prescott liquor dealer Jacob Marks so they could return home. His wife accompanied them back to San Francisco. She wrote that her family told "the younger children (niece and nephew), and our friends were told that I had gone away for a visit.... The memory of it has been a source of humiliation and regret to me in all the years since that time and I have never until now disclosed it to anyone besides my husband (Wyatt)."

According to Josephine's story, upon her return to San Francisco, Johnny Behan followed her and asked her to marry him, persuading her parents to approve their engagement. Some modern researchers question the likelihood that her father, a Reform Jew, would approve his 19 year old daughter's union with Behan, an unemployed office-seeker, 34, a Gentile, and a divorced father. At least later in life, Josie wasn't a practicing Jew and it didn't seem to matter to her that her partners weren't Jewish. Behan tole her family that he could not leave his livery stable business long enough for a wedding in San Francisco, and Josephine thought Johnny’s marriage proposal was a good excuse to leave home again. She wrote, “life was dull for me in San Francisco. In spite of my bad experience of a few years ago the call to adventure still stirred my blood." Considering that Behan left Prescott for Tombstone in 1880, and that Josephine joined Behan in Tombstone that same year, her reference to "my bad experience of a few years ago" means she must have been in Arizona for some time beforehand.

Joins dance group

In her manuscript that was used in part as a basis for the book I Married Wyatt Earp, Josephine says she and her friend Dora joined the Pauline Markham Theater Company when it visited San Francisco in 1879 on its Western tour. Pauline Markham already had a nationwide reputation as a burlesque dancer and songstress. She often appeared on stage and in racy publicity photos wearing a corset and pink tights: shocking attire for the 1870s. Josephine wrote that Dora was hired as a singer and she was hired as a dancer by the troupe. Josephine wrote that they sailed with the other six members of the Pauline Markham troupe from San Francisco to Santa Barbara, where they stayed for a few days and performed in San Bernardino before leaving for Prescott, Arizona Territory by stagecoach. However, the Markham troupe left San Francisco for Tucson, Arizona in October, 1879 on board the Southern Pacific Railroad, not by ship and stagecoach.

After leaving Tucson, the Markham troupe arrived in Tombstone on December 1, 1879, for a one-week engagement, the same date that Wyatt Earp and his brothers arrived, although there is no record that Josephine and Wyatt Earp met at that time. After their engagement in Tombstone the acting troupe headed north to Prescott. The Pauline Markham troupe put on more than a dozen performances of H.M.S. Pinafore from December 24, 1879 through February 20, 1880. Sadie, possibly using the stage name May Bell, may have played Cousin Hebe. University of Arizona Professor Emeritus Pat Ryan identified May Bell as Josephine Marcus in an article Tombstone Theatre Tonight. The city of Prescott, Arizona, fell in love with her and her troupe, and they stayed for nearly six months.

In November, 1879, before Josephine's return to Arizona as a member of the Pauline Markham troupe, Behan owned a saloon in the silver mining town known as Tip Top, Arizona. The fast-growing town already had five saloons with five courtesans, and Johnny's new saloon had none. In February, 1880, just after the Markham troupe ended its initial run of performances in Prescott, a woman named Sadie Marcus left the acting troupe and a woman named Sadie Mansfield arrived in Tip Top.

Behan is listed as a resident of Tip Top in Yavapai County in the 1880 U.S. census. He arrived in Tombstone in September 1880. Josephine or Sadie was jealous of the attention he gave other women, and when she returned from a visit to San Francisco in October where she was enumerated in the census. She was ready to leave him, but she relented and moved in with Behan, resuming their relationship. Soon after Behan's arrival in Tombstone, his ex-wife sent their eight year-old son Albert to live with him. She had divorced him in 1875 because he frequented brothels, and he continued to see other women while living with Marcus. Josephine received a letter and $300 from her father, urging her to return to San Francisco. He sent her the money to pay for her return trip but rather than leave Tombstone, Behan convinced Josephine to use the money to build a house for them.

Josephine said years later that she lived with a lawyer while working as a housekeeper for Behan and his eight year-old son, Albert. Boyer argues that she actually lived with Behan. In her conversations about her life with the Earp cousins, she was very imprecise about the timing and exact nature of events during this period. The most she would say is that she returned to Tombstone believing Behan was planning to marry her, and when he kept putting it off, she grew disillusioned.

Move to Tombstone
Relationship with Wyatt Earp

Sometime during early 1881, Josephine returned to Tombstone after a trip to San Francisco. One version of the story is that Sadie had taken Behan's son Albert, who was hearing impaired, to San Francisco for treatment. Upon their return, they arrived late in the evening and a day earlier than expected. She found Behan in the home they had built with her father's money and in bed with the wife of a friend of theirs, and she kicked him out.

Some modern writers report that Wyatt Earp then moved in, but in April 1881, less than eight months after Johnny and Josephine built the house, it was rented to Dr. George Emory Goodfellow. However, as late as June 1881, Josephine was still signing her name as "Josephine Behan" and Wyatt Earp was still living with his current common-law wife Mattie Blaylock.

Physical characteristics

Frank Waters wrote The Tombstone Travesty (later republished as The Earp Brothers of Tombstone) in which he told tales of terrible, public fights between Sadie and Mattie Blaylock and how the affair was a public scandal. However, Water's book has been criticized as extremely biased for its negative portrayal of Wyatt Earp and for including details not mentioned in Addie Earp's original manuscript. One reviewer described it as "a smear campaign levied against the Earp brothers."

Wyatt Earp at about age 33.

Frank Waters quotes Virgil's wife, Allie, as saying that "Sadie's charms were undeniable. She had a small, trim body and a meneo of the hips that kept her full, flounced skirts bouncing. Josephine was an attractive woman, with thick, dark hair, vivid black, eyes, and was well-endowed. Bat Masterson described her as "an incredible beauty," and as the “belle of the honkytonks, the prettiest dame in three hundred or so of her kind,” which might have been a reference to Josephine's work as a prostitute.

Josephine always sought excitement in her life. In the book I Married Wyatt Earp, author Glenn Boyer quotes her as saying, “I liked the traveling sort of man... better than the kind that sat back in one town all his life and wrote down little rows of figures all day or hustled dry goods or groceries and that sort of thing... My blood demanded excitement, variety and change.” The type of work available to most women in that era was as laundresses, seamstresses, or other dull work which Josephine avoided. Her life as a dancer and actress allowed her greater independence, and she likely enjoyed the social life that accompanied her role. But as an unmarried woman in frontier Tombstone, vastly outnumbered by men, she may have been regarded by some as a prostitute. Modern researchers also think she may have been trying to conceal her past as a "sporting lady". While prostitutes were ostracized by "respectable" women, many madams and prostitutes had more control of their life and greater independence.

Relationship with Wyatt Earp

Josephine apparently ended her relationship with Behan in April 1881, but how and when Josephine and Wyatt Earp began their relationship is unknown. There are no contemporary records in Tombstone of a relationship between Josephine and Earp, but they certainly knew each other. Behan and Earp both had offices above the Crystal Palace Saloon. It's possible that Behan and Earp knew of their mutual attraction to the same woman before the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, which may have contributed to their animosity and antagonism. At some point during August and September Josephine and Wyatt became friends and perhaps more seriously involved. Tombstone diarist George W. Parsons never mentioned seeing Wyatt and Sadie together and neither did John Clum in his memoirs.

On October 26, 1881, Josephine is quoted in I Married Wyatt Earp saying that was at her home when she heard the sound of gunfire. Running into town in the direction of the shots, Josephine was relieved to see that Wyatt was uninjured.[citation needed] Josephine returned to San Francisco in early 1882 and Behan traveled there in March, 1882, possibly still carrying a torch for Marcus.

I Married Wyatt Earp

The original photogravure of a
semi-nude woman used by
Glen Boyer on the cover of
I Married Wyatt Earp. He
insisted it was a picture of
Josephine from 1880 but the
picture is actually dated 1914.
In their later years Wyatt and Josephine Earp worked hard to eliminate any mention that Josephine had been Johnny Behan's mistress or of Wyatt's previous common law marriage to the prostitute Matty Blaylock. They successfully kept both women's names out of Stuart Lake's biography of Wyatt and after he died, Josephine may have threatened litigation to keep it that way. Lake corresponded with Josephine over several years, and he claimed she attempted to influence what he wrote and hamper him in every way possible, including consulting lawyers. Josephine insisted she was striving to protect Wyatt Earp’s legacy. She was also in need of money, and tried to sell a collection of books to Lake while he was writing the book.

After Wyatt Earp's death, Josephine sought to get her own life story published. She sought the assistance of Wyatt's cousins Mabel Earp Cason and Cason's sister Vinolia Earp Ackerman. They recorded events in her life but found Josephine was evasive about her early life in Tombstone. She approached several publishers for the book, but backed out several times due to their insistence that she be completely open and forthcoming, rather than slanting her memories to her favor. Josephine wanted to keep their tarnished history associated with Tombstone private. Josephine finally changed her mind and asked Wyatt's cousins to burn their work, but Cason held back a copy, to which Glenn Boyer eventually acquired the rights.

The University of Arizona Press published the book in 1976 under the title I Married Wyatt Earp: The Recollections of Josephine Sarah Marcus. It was immensely popular for many years, becoming the university's fourth all-time best selling book with over 35,000 sold. It was cited by scholars and relied upon as factual by filmmakers.

Beginning in about 1994, critics began to challenge the accuracy of the book, and eventually many parts of the book were refuted as fictional. In 1998, a series of articles in the Phoenix New Times, including interviews with Glenn Boyer, argued that Boyer invented large portions of the book. In 2000, the University responded to criticism of the university and the book and removed it from their catalog.

Cover of I Married Wyatt Earp,
by Glenn Boyer, based in part on
the so-called "Clum manuscript"
supposedly written by
Sadie before she died. The book
was discredited as largely fictional
in 1999.
The book has become an example of how supposedly factual works can trip up researchers, historians, and librarians. It was described by the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology in 2006 as a creative exercise that cannot be substantiated or relied on.

Life after Tombstone

After the Earp Vendetta Ride, Wyatt left Arizona for Colorado. Earp's former wife, Mattie Blaylock traveled with other Earp family members in April, 1882, to Colton, California, waiting for Wyatt to telegraph her and invite her to join him. Wyatt never sent for her and she moved to Pinal, Arizona, where she resumed life as a prostitute, eventually committing suicide by taking an overdose of laudium.

Sadie remained in Tombstone through early 1882 and left for San Francisco shortly before or after the Earp Vendetta Ride. Wyatt came to San Francisco for her in late 1882. By 1882 Marcus had adopted the name of "Josephine Earp", although no official record of their marriage exists. Marcus and Earp traveled through various western states hunting for gold and silver. They ran horse races in San Diego as well as operated saloons in Idaho and Alaska. Josephine apparently developed a serious gambling habit, and at times they received some financial support from her family.

Josephine wrote in I Married Wyatt Earp: The Recollections of Josephine Sarah Marcus, that she and Wyatt were married in 1892 by the captain of millionaire Lucky Baldwin's yacht aboard his yacht. Josephine was friends with Lucky Baldwin and wrote that she received money from him in return for her jewelry, eventually selling virtually all of her jewelry to him.

Protects privacy

When Frank Waters was writing Tombstone Travesty, originally published in 1934, he returned from a research trip to Tombstone to learn that Josephine had visited his mother and sister and threatened court action to prevent him from publishing the book. Water's work was later found to be critically flawed, "based upon prevarications, character assassinations, and the psychological battleground that was the brilliant, narcissistic mind of its author."

In the course of writing what became a best-selling Earp biography, Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal, Stuart Lake learned some aspects of Josephine's life that she wanted to keep private. At one point in their contentious relationship, Josephine described Lake's book as made up of "outright lies". Josephine and Wyatt went to great lengths to keep her name out of Lake's book and she threatened litigation to keep it that way. Wyatt became critically ill in late 1928 and died on January 13, 1929. Josephine traveled to Boston, Massachusetts to try to persuade the publisher to stop the release of the book.

She was among other things trying to suppress information on Wyatt's common-law wife, Mattie Blaylock, with whom Wyatt was living when Josephine and Wyatt began their relationship. While Wyatt was living with Blaylock, she suffered from severe headaches and became addicted to laudanum, an opiate-based pain reliever in common use at the time. After Earp left Tombstone and Blaylock behind, she waited to hear from him in Colton, California but he never contacted her. She resumed life as a prostitute and later committed suicide. Josephine told Earp's biographers and others that Earp never owned gambling saloons, or that he offered prostitutes upstairs, when both were true.

The Earps' grave at Hills of Eternity

Josephine later came to admire Stuart Lake's book and the two were reconciled. Mrs. Cason says she and her sister "finally abandoned work on the manuscript because she [Josie] would not clear up the Tombstone sequence where it pertained to her and Wyatt." As late as 1936 Sadie took legal action to suppress certain details of her and Wyatt's life in Tombstone.

In 1939 Josephine sued 20th Century Fox for $50,000 in an attempt to keep them from making the film titled Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal. With the provision that Wyatt's name be removed from the title, the movie was later released as Frontier Marshal.

In Los Angeles Josephine became friends with many celebrities, including Cecil B. DeMille and Gary Cooper. She received part of the money made by Stuart Lake's book about her husband as well as royalties from the movie Frontier Marshal

Josephine Earp spent her last years in Los Angeles. One of her few consolations toward the end of her life was the correspondence she kept with Johnny Behan's son, Albert Price Behan, whom she had grown to love as her own son.

Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp died on December 20, 1944, at 4004 W. 17th Street in the West Adams district of Los Angeles, California. She was 83 or 84 years old. Her body was cremated and buried next to Wyatt's remains in the Marcus family plot in the Jewish Hills of Eternity Memorial Park in Colma, California. Her parents and brother are buried nearby.

Pearl Hart Mulhall from Wikipedia

Pearl Hart, née Taylor, (c. 1871 – after 1928) was a Canadian-born outlaw of the American Old West. She committed one of the last recorded stagecoach robberies in the United States; her crime gained notoriety primarily because of her gender. Many details of Hart's life are uncertain with available reports being varied and often contradictory.

Early life

Hart was born as Pearl Taylor in the Canadian village of Lindsay, Ontario. Her parents were both religious and affluent, providing their daughter with the best available education. At the age of 16, she was enrolled in a boarding school when she became enamored with a young man, named Hart, who has been variously described as a rake, drunkard, and/or gambler. (Different sources list Hart's given name as Brett, Frank, or William) The two of them eloped, but Hart soon discovered that her new husband was abusive and left him to return to her mother.

Hart reconciled and left her husband several times. During their time together they had two children, a boy and a girl, whom Hart sent to her mother who was then living in Ohio. In 1893, the couple attended The Chicago World's Fair where he worked for a time as a midway barker. She in turn developed a fascination with the cowboy lifestyle while watching Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. At the end of the Fair, Hart left her husband again bound on a train for Trinidad, Colorado, possibly in the company of a piano player named Dan Bandman.

Hart described this period of her life thus, "I was only twenty-two years old. I was good-looking, desperate, discouraged, and ready for anything that might come. I do not care to dwell on this period of my life. It is sufficient to say that I went from one city to another until some time later I arrived in Phoenix". During this time Hart worked as a cook and singer, possibly supplementing her income as a demimondaine. There are also reports she developed a fondness for cigars, liquor, and morphine during this time.

A story of this period claims that while in Phoenix, Arizona, Hart ran into her husband. He convinced her to come back to him and move to Tucson. Once the money she had saved ran out, he returned to his abusive ways. The story continues by saying that when the Spanish-American War began he volunteered for military service. Hart then shocked observers by declaring that she hoped he would be killed by the Spanish. A variation of this story has Bandman instead of her husband leaving Hart for war.

Life of crime

By early 1898, Hart was in Mammoth, Arizona. Some reports indicate she was working as a cook in a boardinghouse. Others indicate she was operating a tent brothel near the local mine, even employing a second lady for a time.[6] While doing well for a time, her financial outlook took a downturn after the mine closed. About this time Hart attested to receiving a message asking her to return home to her seriously ill mother.

Looking to raise money, Hart and an acquaintance, Joe Boot (name is probably an alias), worked an old mining claim he owned. After finding no gold in the claim the pair decided to rob the Globe to Florence, Arizona stagecoach.

The robbery occurred on May 30, 1899 at a watering point near Cane Springs Canyon, about 30 miles southeast of Globe. Hart had cut her hair short and took the highly eccentric act, for a Victorian Era woman, of dressing in men's clothing. Hart was armed with a .38 revolver while Boot had a Colt .45. One of the last routes in the territory, the run had not been robbed in several years and thus the coach did not have a shotgun messenger. The pair stopped the coach and Boot held a gun on the robbery victims while Hart took $431.20 and two firearms from the passengers. After returning $1 to each passenger, she then took the driver's revolver. After the robbers had galloped away on their horses, the driver unhitched one of the horses and headed back to town to alert the sheriff.

Born Pearl Taylor
c. 1871
Lindsay, Ontario, Canada
Died Unknown
Charges  stagecoach robbery
Possession of stolen goods
Conviction(s) Interference with U.S. mail
Penalty 5 years (2 served)
Conviction Status  Pardoned

Pearl Hart attired in women's clothing

Reports of the next few days vary. According to Hart, the pair took a circuitous route designed to lose anyone who followed, while making their future plans. Others claim the pair became lost and wandered in circles. Either way, a posse led by Sheriff Truman of Pinal County caught up with the pair on June 5, 1899. Finding both of them asleep, Sheriff Truman reported that Boot surrendered quietly while Hart fought to avoid capture.

As of 2010 many Old West historians believe Hart committed the last stagecoach robbery, but in fact two unknown men robbed a stagecoach a year later in 1900, just outside of Bisbee, Arizona; the outlaws escaped the law.[citation needed] A final stagecoach robbery occurred in 1916 Nevada when a drifter named Ben Kuhl ambushed and killed the driver of a small horse-driven mail wagon during the Jarbidge Stage Robbery. About $4,000 was stolen, but Kuhl was caught soon after, though the money was never recovered.

In and out of jail

Following their arrest, Boot was held in Florence, Arizona, while Hart was moved to Tucson, the jail lacking any facilities for a lady. The novelty of a female stagecoach robber quickly spawned a media frenzy and national reporters soon joined the local press clamoring to interview and photograph Hart. One article in Cosmopolitan said Hart was "just the opposite of what would be expected of a woman stage robber," though, "when angry or determined, hard lines show about her eyes and mouth." Locals also became fascinated with her, one local fan giving her a bobcat cub to keep as a pet.

The room Hart was held in was not a normal jail cell, but made of lath and plaster. Taking advantage of the relatively weak building material, and possibly with the aid of an assistant, Hart escaped on October 12, 1899, leaving an 18-inch (46 cm) hole in the wall. She was recaptured two weeks later near Deming, New Mexico.

Hart and Boot came to trial for robbing the stagecoach passengers in October 1899. During the trial, Hart made an impassioned plea to the jury, claiming she needed the money to be able to go to her ailing mother. Judge Fletcher M. Doan was shocked and angered by the jury's not guilty finding and scolded the members for failure to perform their duties. Immediately following the acquittal, the pair were rearrested on the charge of tampering with U.S. mails. The pair were convicted during their second trial, Boot receiving a sentence of thirty years and Hart a sentence of five years.

Both Hart and Boot were sent to Yuma Territorial Prison to serve their sentences. Boot became a prison trusty, driving supply wagons to prison chain gangs working outside the walls. One day while driving a wagon he escaped and was never seen again. At the time of his escape, Boot had completed less than two years of his sentence.

The attention Hart had received in jail continued once she was imprisoned. The warden, who enjoyed the attention she attracted, provided her with an oversize 8 by 10 feet (2.4 by 3.0 m) mountain-side cell that included a small yard and allowed her to entertain reporters and other guests as well as pose for photographs. Hart in turn used her position as the only female at an all-male facility to her advantage, playing admiring guards and prison trusties off of each other in an effort to improve her situation.

Hart while incarcerated at
Yuma Territorial Prison
 Hart's release from prison came in the form of a December 1902 pardon from Governor Alexander Brodie. The reason for this pardon, given on the condition she leave the territory, is unclear. At the time, Hart claimed she was needed in Kansas City to play the lead in a play, written by her sister, about her life of crime. A later rumor emerged in 1964, following the death of all potentially involved parties, alleging Hart was pardoned because she had become pregnant in a manner which would embarrass the prison. There is no evidence Hart ever had a third child so this rumor, if true, may indicate a successful ploy upon Hart's behalf. Upon release from prison, Hart was provided with a train ticket to Kansas City, Missouri.

Later life

After leaving prison, Hart largely disappeared from public view. She had a short lived show where she reenacted her crime and then spoke about the horrors of Yuma Territorial Prison. Following this she worked, under an alias, as part of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. In 1904, Hart was running a cigar store in Kansas City where she was arrested for receiving stolen property. She was acquitted of the charge.

Accounts of Hart's later life are sketchy and contradictory. One common story has her returning to the jail in Tucson 25 years after her imprisonment to visit the jail cell that once held her. Likewise, a census taker in 1940 claimed to have discovered Hart living in Arizona under a different name. Folklore from Gila County claims that Hart returned to Globe and lived there peacefully until her death on December 30, 1955. Competing claims place her death as late as 1960.

In addition to being a staple of pulp Western fiction, Hart's exploits have been featured in other venues. Her adventures are in the early 1900s film Yuma City. The play Lady With a Gun and the musical The Legend of Pearl Hart are also based upon Hart's story. Additionally, Jane Candia Coleman's book I, Pearl Hart is a historical fiction based upon the life of Hart.

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