|Virgil Earp from
generally kept close contact with one
another, and often trailed along together to different living locations.
|Virgil Walter Earp (July 18, 1843
– October 19, 1905) was a veteran of the American Civil War and was a Deputy
U.S. Marshal for south-eastern Arizona Territory and Tombstone City Marshal
at the time of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, in October 1881. Two months
after that shootout, outlaw Cowboys ambushed Virgil on the streets of Tombstone,
shattering his left arm, leaving him maimed for life. His brother Morgan
Earp was assassinated in March 1882 and Virgil left Tombstone for Colton,
California, to live with his parents and recuperate.
Virgil held a variety of jobs throughout
his life, though he primarily worked in law enforcement. His younger brother
Wyatt, who spent most of his life as a gambler, became better known as
a lawman because of writer Stuart N. Lake's fictionalized 1931 biography
Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal and later portrayals of him in movies and
fiction as Old West's "toughest and deadliest gunmen of his day."
Virgil Earp was born in Hartford,
Kentucky, the second son of Nicholas Earp and Virginia Ann Cooksey. In
February 1860, while living in Pella, Iowa, 16-year-old Virgil eloped with
18-year-old Dutch immigrant Magdalena C. "Ellen" Rysdam (born November
25, 1842 in Utrecht, Netherlands - died May 3, 1910 in Cornelius, Oregon).
They remained together for a year in spite of her parents' (Gerrit Rysdam
and Magdalena Catrina Van Velzen) disapproval. Virgil and Ellen had a daughter,
Nellie Jane Earp (January 7, 1862 - June 17, 1930).
On September 21, 1861, 18-year-old
Virgil enlisted in the Union Army. He served with the 83rd Illinois Infantry
from July 26, 1862, to June 24, 1865. Virgil's older brother James had
previously enlisted, but returned home in late 1861 after he was badly
wounded during a battle near Fredericktown, Missouri. Virgil's older half-brother
Newton also enlisted with the Union and served throughout the war.
In the summer of 1863, Ellen learned
from her parents and the Earps that Virgil had been killed in Tennessee.
She left Pella with her parents and daughter for the Oregon Territory.
She married John Van Rossem, who died shortly afterward, and married once
again in 1867 to Thomas Eaton in Walla Walla, Washington Territory. Virgil
was reconnected with Ellen and their daughter 37 years later.
In 1868, Nicholas Earp took his
family east again, eventually settling in Lamar, Missouri. When Earp was
discharged from the military on June 26, 1865, he returned to Iowa but
could not find his wife and daughter. Virgil worked on a local farm and
helped operate a grocery store before leaving for California to join the
rest of the Earp family. He married Rosella Dragoo (born in France in 1853)
on August 28, 1870 in Lamar, Missouri. His father as justice of the peace
married them, but there are no further records of Rosella.
Virgil later met Alvira "Allie"
Sullivan from Florence, Nebraska in 1874. They never married but remained
together the rest of his life. During his life Virgil worked at many jobs,
including Sheriff, farmer, rail construction in Wyoming, stagecoach driver,
a sawmill sawyer in Prescott, Arizona Territory, mailman, and later in
life, prospector. A tight-knit family, the Earps
Virgil Walter Earp
||July 18, 1843
||October 19, 1905
||Union soldier, Constable, Deputy U.S. Marshal for the
Arizona Territory, Marshal, farmer, rail construction, stagecoach driver,
sawyer, mailman, prospector, saloon-keeper
||Deputy U.S. Marshal, Tombstone, Arizona, and the Gunfight
at the O.K. Corral
Alvira "Allie" Earp
Virginia Ann Cooksey
Virgil spent some time in Dodge
City, Kansas, in 1877 with his younger brother Wyatt, though it is not
certain if Virgil ever held any law enforcement position there. From Dodge
City, Virgil and his wife moved to Prescott in July 1877, then the capital
of Arizona Territory. There, in October 1877, Virgil Earp was deputized
by Yavapai County, Arizona Sheriff Ed Bowers during a street gunfight.
During the fight, Virgil killed one of the robbers, shooting him twice
through the head with a Winchester rifle. In 1878, Virgil served in Prescott
as a village night watchman for a couple of months, and was later elected
as a constable in Prescott.
While in Prescott, Arizona, Virgil
was appointed Deputy U.S. Marshal for the eastern portion of Pima County
on November 27, 1879 by U.S. Marshall Crawley Dake. He was asked by Dake
to move to Tombstone to help resolve ongoing problems with lawless Cowboys.
In an interview after he left Tombstone, Virgil noted that "The first stage
that went out of Prescott toward Tombstone was robbed. Robberies were
frequent and became expensive." Virgil joined his brothers Wyatt and Jim
in Tombstone in December 1879.
On October 30, 1880, after town
marshal Fred White was shot and killed by outlaw and gunman "Curly Bill"
Brocius, Virgil was also appointed acting town marshal of Tombstone. Virgil
now held both the local town marshal position and a federal law enforcement.
But less than two weeks later Ben Sippy beat Virgil for the town marshal
job in a special election. When Tombstone was incorporated as a city on
February 1, 1881, Virgil chose not to run against Sippy.
However, Sippy was known to be in
financial trouble. He requested a two-week leave of absence on June 6,
1881, and the city council once again appointed Virgil as temporary city
marshal. On June 22, the center section of Tombstone was devastated by
a fire. Virgil kept looting under control and chased off lot jumpers who
tried to take over property. On June 28, it was learned that Sippy had
left about $3,000 in bad debt and financial improprieties in his office.
Virgil was appointed by Tombstone Mayor John Clum as the permanent city
marshal and paid $150.00 per month.
Conflict with Cowboyst
To reduce crime in Tombstone, the
City Council enacted an ordinance in April 1881 that prohibited anyone
from carrying a deadly weapon. Anyone entering town was required to deposit
their weapons at a livery or saloon soon after entering town. The ordinance
led directly to a confrontation that resulted in a shoot out with local
On October 26, 1881, Virgil learned
that several Cowboys who had been threatening the Earps for several months
were in town and armed in violation of the ordinance. Assisted by his deputy
Morgan Earp and temporary deputies Wyatt Earp and John "Doc" Holliday,
Virgil went to disarm Frank and Tom McLaury, Ike and Billy Clanton, and
Billy Claiborne. That confrontation turned into a shoot out that is now
known world-wide as the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
The gunfight and later media portrayals
made Wyatt Earp a legend. He is often depicted as the central lawman, but
he was only Virgil's temporary assistant. Wyatt had acted as city marshal
the week prior when Virgil was out of town. Virgil was the city marshal
and Deputy U.S. Marshal. Although Wyatt had previously served in Wichita,
Kansas and Dodge City as a lawman, Virgil had three years of Civil War
service which had given him more combat and shooting experience. He had
also served as a lawman off and on since the war.
Before the Gunfight at the O.K.
Corral, Wyatt had been in only one shootout and Morgan had never been in
any gun battles. Billy Claiborne had been in one gunfight prior to the
shootout and was the only member of the Cowboy faction that had prior gunfighting
experience (not counting the Skeleton Canyon massacre, in which the McLaurys
and Clantons took part). Doc Holliday, despite his reputation, had no documented
gunfights to his credit, other than a couple of drunken brawls, and only
his own tales of fights with unnamed men he claimed to have shot.
During the gunfight, Virgil Earp
was shot through the calf (he thought by Billy Clanton). Three days after
the O.K. Corral gunfight, the city council suspended Virgil as City Marshall
pending outcome of the preliminary hearing. Virgil was eventually exonerated
of wrongdoing, but his reputation suffered thereafter.
daily, anonymous letters, warning them to leave town or suffer
death, supposed to have been written by friends of the Clanton and McLowry
boys, three of whom the Earps and Holliday killed and little attention
was paid to them as they were believed to be idle boasts but the shooting
of Virgil Earp last night shows that the men were in earnest."
|After the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral the Earps relocated
their families to the Cosmopolitan Hotel for mutual support and protection.
At about 11:30 pm on December 28, 1881, three men hidden in the upper story
of an unfinished building across Allen street from the hotel ambushed Virgil
from behind as he walked from the Oriental Saloon to his room. Virgil was
hit in the back and left arm by three loads of double-barreled buckshot
from about 60 feet (18 m). The Crystal Palace Saloon and the Eagle Brewery
beyond Virgil were struck by nineteen shots, three passed through the window
and one about a foot over the heads of some men standing by a faro-table.
George Parsons wrote that he heard "four shots in quick succession." Seriously
wounded, Virgil staggered into the hotel. Wyatt, assuming that Virgil was
dying, telegraphed U.S. Marshal Crawley P. Dake.
|Tombstone, Arizona Territory, December 29, 1881
Virgil Earp was shot by concealed assassins last night.
His wounds are fatal. Telegraph me appointment with power to appoint deputies.
Local authorities are doing nothing. The lives of other citizens are threatened.
Dr. George E. Goodfellow removed 4 inches (100
mm) of shattered humerus bone from Virgil's left arm, leaving his arm permanently
crippled, and twenty buckshot from his side. While the doctor worked on
his arm, Virgil told his wife Allie, "Never mind, I've got one arm left
to hug you with."
Commenting on the telegram received by Dake from Wyatt
Earp, the Weekly Arizona Miner wrote about the repeated threats received
by the Earps and others. "For some time, the Earps, Doc Holliday, Tom Fitch
and others who upheld and defended the Earps in their late trial have received,
The Longhorn Restaurant is located in what used to be
the Bucket of Blood Saloon, the Holiday Water Company, and the Owl Cafe
and Hotel. Virgil Earp was shot from the second floor.
The suspected shooters were later identified as Phin Clanton,
Ike Clanton, Johnny Barnes, Johnny Ringo, Hank Swilling and Pete Spence.
Although Ike Clanton's hat was found near the shooting, the evidence was
circumstantial, and the men were acquitted. On January 31, Ike and Phin
were brought before Judge William H. Stilwell on suspicion of shooting
Virgil. The district attorney asked that bail be set at $5,000, but the
judge released both men on $1,500 bond, indicating he thought the prosecution's
case was weak.
On February 2, 1882, Clanton's attorney brought in seven
witnesses who testified that Clanton was in Charleston at the time of Virgil's
shooting. Ike was acquitted and released.
Departs for California
After his shooting, Virgil spent the next three months
recuperating in bed. He was just starting to get back on his feet when
on Saturday, March 18, 1882, Virgil's younger brother Morgan Earp was killed
in another ambush. On March 19, Wyatt's 34th birthday, he and James accompanied
Morgan's body to Benson, where it was loaded aboard a freight train for
California, watched over by James and two or three friends. They took Morgan
to the Earp family home in Colton, California. It was not practical given
Virgil's injuries to transport him and his wife Allie out of Tombstone
at the same time as Morgan.
On Monday, March 20, Virgil and Allie left Tombstone for
California under heavy guard. They were escorted by Wyatt and deputies
Warren Earp, Doc Holliday, Sherman McMasters, and "Turkey Creek" Jack Johnson.
Wyatt reported later that he received word in Contention that Ike Clanton,
Frank Stilwell, Hank Swilling, and another cowboy were watching the passenger
trains in Tucson with the aim to kill Virgil. The group drove two wagons
to the New Mexico and Arizona Railroad terminal 25 miles (40 km) away in
Benson and boarded the train to Tucson. Virgil was so weak he had to be
carried up the steps of the train.
Wyatt and his deputies had initially planned to travel
only as far as Benson, but when they learned that Stilwell and others were
looking for Virgil, they remained with Virgil and Allie through to Tucson.
The men were well armed with pistols, rifles and shotguns. McMaster wore
two cartridge belts. Allie wore Virgil's pistol belt during the journey
so it would be handy. Virgil told the San Francisco Examiner two months
later that upon getting off the train in Tucson, "Almost the first men
we met on the platform there were Stilwell and his friends, armed to the
teeth." "They fell back into the crowd as soon as they saw I had an escort,
and the boys took me to the hotel to supper." Guarded by his brothers and
the deputies, Virgil and Allie had dinner at Porter's Hotel in Tucson.
Their guards helped them board the train for California, and once they
were safely seated, kept a watch for the Cowboys.
As Virgil's train was pulling out of Tucson on its way
to California, gunfire was heard. Witnesses gave contradictory accounts
about the number of men seen near the tracks and numbers of shots fired.
Some said the Earps were armed after leaving Porter's Hotel and others
said they were not. Witnesses saw men running with weapons but could not
identify anyone in the dark. Wyatt said later that he and his deputies
spotted Frank Stilwell and another man he believed to be Ike Clanton armed
with shotguns lying on a flatcar.
Wyatt, quoted in the Denver Republican, said "I ran straight
for Stilwell. It was he who killed my brother. What a coward he was! He
couldn't shoot when I came near him. He stood there helpless and trembling
for his life. As I rushed upon him he put out his hands and clutched at
my shotgun. I let go both barrels, and he tumbled down dead and mangled
at my feet."
When Wyatt and his men approached, the two men ran. Stilwell
may have stumbled or been wounded, allowing Wyatt to reach him. Wyatt later
said he shot Stilwell as Stilwell attempted to push the barrel of Earp's
shotgun away. He said Stilwell cried "Morg!" before he was killed. Stilwell's
body, riddled with buckshot from two shotgun rounds, one in his leg and
the second in his chest with powder burns, and four other bullet wounds,
was found the next morning near the tracks. Ike Clanton got away. When
the Tucson sheriff learned who was responsible for Stilwell's death, he
issued warrants for the lawmen's arrest.
Clanton gave an interview afterward to the newspapers
in which he claimed that he and Stilwell had been in Tucson to respond
to federal charges about interfering with a U.S. mail carrier, stemming
from his alleged involvement in robbing the Sandy Bob line of the Bisbee
stage on September 8, 1881. Clanton said that they had heard that the Earps
were coming via the train and they had plans to kill Stilwell. According
to Clanton, Stilwell disappeared from the hotel before he was found several
blocks away, shot dead by the tracks.
Later life and death
After receiving his injuries in Tombstone, Virgil spent
the next two years recovering from his injuries, primarily at his parents'
home in Colton, California. He sought treatment for his wounds in San Francisco
and was interviewed on the Southern Pacific train by a reporter whose story
was printed in the San Francisco Examiner on May 27, 1882. The reporter
described Virgil's appearance:
|" His face, voice and manner were prepossessing. He is
close to six feet in height, of medium build, chestnut hair, sandy mustache,
light eyebrows, quiet, blue eyes and frank expression. He wore a wide-brimmed,
slate-colored slouch hat, pants of a brown and white stripe, and a blue
diagonal coat and vest, both the latter with bullet holes in them, bearing
testimony of a recent fight when he was shot in the back, the bullet coming
out of the front of his vest. His left arm was carried in a sling, also
a memento of his last fight, when he received a bullet in his arm, since
causing the loss of about six inches of bone which crippled him for life.
The wounded arm is the cause of his visit to this city, where he seeks
surgical aid in hope of so far recovering its use that he may be able to
dress himself unaided."
Despite the use of only one arm, Virgil was hired by the
Southern Pacific Railroad to guard its tracks in Colton's famous "battle
of the crossing". Virgil joined in the frog war as the Southern Pacific
attempted to stop the California Southern Railroad, a subsidiary of the
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, from installing a crossing over
the Southern Pacific tracks in Colton to gain access to California. Governor
Waterman deputized a posse from San Bernardino, California and came down
in person to enforce construction of the crossing, ending the Southern
Pacific's railroad monopoly in Southern California.
In 1884 Virgil's father, Nicholas Porter Earp was elected
justice of the peace. Two years later, Virgil Earp opened a private detective
agency, which by all accounts was abandoned in 1886, when he was elected
village constable in July.
When Colton was incorporated as a city, Virgil was elected
as Colton's first City Marshal on July 11, 1887. He was paid $75 a month
and was re-elected to another term in 1888. Among other duties, he was
reported to have cleared blocked sewers and kept track of the electric
light bulbs Virgil and Allie's Colton home still stands at 528 West "H"
In 1888 Virgil resigned as city marshal and he and Allie
left Colton for San Bernardino. Five years later, in 1893, he and his wife
moved to the short-lived mining town Vanderbilt, California. According
to his wife, he owned and operated the only two story building in town,
Earp Hall, a saloon and meeting hall used for public gatherings and even
the town's church services. His business success in Vanderbilt did not
match his success in politics, and he lost the election for town constable
In 1895, Virgil and Allie traveled to Colorado where they
met Virgil's brother Wyatt. They stayed briefly and soon moved back to
Prescott in Yavapai County, Arizona where Virgil became involved in mining.
They moved south after that and began ranching in the Kirkland Valley.
Virgil was nominated as a candidate for Yavapai County, Arizona Sheriff
in 1900, but pulled out of the election for health reasons.
Reunites with first wife
In 1898 Virgil received a startling letter from a Mrs.
Levi Law. After returning from the Civil War as a young man, his wife Ellen
and daughter Nellie had disappeared, having been told that Virgil had been
killed in the war. Mrs. Levi Law was Virgil's daughter. The next year,
encouraged by his wife, Virgil traveled to Portland, Oregon where he was
reunited with Ellen and Nellie Jane Law. On April 22, 1898, The Oregonian
reported that Virgil "...is now enjoying a very pleasant visit with her
and his two grandchildren at her home, which is near that of Mrs. Eaton,
in North Portland." He also met three grandchildren he never knew existed.
Nellie Jane visited her father and Allie in Arizona the next year. Later
that year, according to her letter to The Oregonian, Nellie Jane visited
Virgil and Allie Earp at their home in Arizona.
Death in Nevada
Before 1904, Earp returned to Colton where city records
show that he along with three others unsuccessfully petitioned the city
leaders to repeal a temperance law that only allowed one saloon in town.
In 1904, he left California for the last time and joined Wyatt in the boom
town of Goldfield, Nevada, where he became a deputy sheriff for Esmeralda
County, Nevada. After suffering from pneumonia for six months, Virgil died
on October 19, 1905, leaving his brother Wyatt as the last surviving participant
of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
At the request of his daughter Nellie Jane Bohn, Allie
allowed his remains to be sent to Portland, Oregon, and buried in the River
View Cemetery there. After the death of her husband, Allie (Alvira "Allie"
Packingham Sullivan Earp) returned to California to be near Virgil's family,
where she lived for forty-two years. She died at the age of ninety-nine
in 1947. She is interred in San Bernardino.
The actor John Anderson played Virgil Earp in five episodes
(1960-1961) of the ABC western television series, The Life and Legend of
Wyatt Earp, with Hugh O'Brian in the starring role.
|Morgan Seth Earp from
|Morgan Seth Earp (April 24, 1851 – March 18, 1882) was
the younger brother of Deputy U.S. Marshals Virgil and Wyatt Earp. Morgan
was a deputy of Virgil's and all three men were the target of repeated
death threats made by outlaw Cowboys who were upset by the Earps' interference
in their illegal activities. This conflict eventually led to the Gunfight
at the O.K. Corral, during which Morgan was wounded. All three lawmen along
with Doc Holliday were charged by Ike Clanton, who fled the gunfight, for
murdering brothers Tom and Frank McLaury along with his own brother Billy
Clanton. During a month-long preliminary hearing, Judge Wells Spicer exonerated
the men, concluding they had been performing their duty.
Virgil was gravely wounded in an ambush on December 28,
1881, and Morgan was assassinated on March 18, 1882 by a shot through the
window of a door while he was playing billiards. The Cowboys suspected
were let off on technicalities or for lack of evidence. Wyatt Earp felt
he could not rely on civil justice and decided to take matters into his
own hands. He concluded that only way to deal with Morgan's murderers was
to kill them. Wyatt assembled a posse that included their brother Warren
Earp and set out on a vendetta to kill those they felt were responsible.
Morgan Earp was born in Pella, Marion County, Iowa, to
Nicholas Porter Earp (1813–1907), a cooper and farmer, and his second wife
Virginia Ann Cooksey (1821–1893).
When elder brothers Newton, James, and Virgil went off
to the American Civil War, they left their young teenage brothers Wyatt
and Morgan to tend the family farm. James and Morgan grew up close, with
a shared wish for adventure and a dislike of farming. Before adulthood,
teen-aged Morgan followed James Earp up to Montana for a couple of years.
Later he was with Wyatt on the Western frontier.
In 1875, Morgan departed the Earp clan living in Wichita,
Kansas, and became a deputy marshal under Charlie Bassett at Dodge City.
In late 1877, Morgan took his common-law wife Louisa A. Houston to Montana,
where they lived until March, 1880.
At different times in Arizona, both Wyatt and Morgan worked
as shotgun messengers for Wells Fargo & Co., deputy sheriffs for Pima
County, and as deputies under Tombstone's Chief of Police Virgil Earp,
their older brother. During early 1882, Morgan was appointed to the federal
position of Deputy U.S. Marshal, an office subservient to Wyatt Earp, who
had been given the position by the U.S. Marshal C. Dake, after Virgil was
wounded, and had authority to deputize.
Morgan Earp, about 1881, in Tombstone
||April 24, 1851
||March 18, 1882 (age 30)
||Marshal and Deputy
|| Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
Morgan has gained an undeserved reputation for being a
hot-tempered man, but this appears to be on the basis of incidents related
in the book The Earp Brothers of Tombstone purportedly written by Virgil
Earp's wife Allie. However, the incidents in the book involving Morgan,
like much else in the book, are almost certainly fabricated. From the rest
of what is known of Morgan's life, he normally showed the same even temper
and cool reactions to danger as did his brothers.
Gunfight at the OK Corral
On Wednesday, October 26, 1881,
the tension between the Earps and the Cowboys came to a head. Ike Clanton,
Billy Claiborne, and other Cowboys had been threatening to kill the Earps
for several weeks. Tombstone city Marshal Virgil Earp learned that the
Cowboys were armed in violation of a city ordinance and had gathered near
the O.K. Corral. Morgan was a deputy to his brother Virgil and on October
26, 1881, responded with Virgil and Wyatt to reports that Cowboys were
armed on the streets of Tombstone. Ike Clanton had repeatedly threatened
the Earps and he was backed up by Cowboys Tom McLaury, Frank McLaury, and
Billy Clanton. Virgil asked Wyatt and Morgan and Doc Holliday to assist
him, as he intended to disarm them. At approximately 3:00 p.m. the Earps
headed towards Fremont Street where the Cowboys had been reported to be
They confronted five Cowboys on
Fremont Street in an alley between the Harwood House and Fly's Boarding
House and Photography Studio, the two parties were initially only about
6 to 10 feet (1.8 to 3.0 m) apart. Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne fled
the gunfight. Tom and Frank McLaury, along with Billy Clanton, were killed.
Morgan was clipped by a shot across his back that nicked both shoulder
blades and a vertebra, although he was able to continue to fire his weapon.
Virgil was shot through the calf and Holliday was grazed by a bullet.
Two months after the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, in December
1881, Virgil Earp was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt that
left him with a permanently crippled left arm. By February 1882, Morgan
grew wary of the danger to the Earps in Tombstone and sent his common-law
wife Louisa Houstin Earp to the Earps' parents in Colton, California. However,
Morgan chose to remain in Tombstone to guard Virgil, support Wyatt, and
continue to work in law enforcement.
At 10:50 p.m. on Saturday, March 18, 1882, Morgan was
ambushed after returning from a musical at Schieffelin Hall. He was playing
a late round of billiards at the Campbell & Hatch Billiard Parlor against
owner Bob Hatch. Dan Tipton, Sherman McMaster, and Wyatt watched, having
received threats that same day.
The assailant shot through a glass-windowed, locked door
which opened onto a dark alley between Allen and Fremont Streets. Morgan
was struck in the right side and the bullet shattered his spine, passed
through his left side, and lodged in the thigh of mining foreman George
A.B. Berry. Another bullet lodged in the wall over Wyatt's head. Several
men rushed into the alley but found the shooters had fled. After he was
shot, his brothers tried to help him stand, but Morgan said "Don't, I can't
stand it. This is the last game of pool I'll ever play." Dr. William Miller
arrived first, followed by Drs. Matthews and George Goodfellow. They all
examined Morgan. Even Goodfellow, recognized in the United States as the
nation's leading expert at treating abdominal gunshot wounds, concluded
that Morgan's wounds were fatal.
Wyatt was quoted by Lake in Frontier Marshal as saying
that Morgan, before dying, whispered to Wyatt, "I can't see a damned thing."
Wyatt said that they had promised each other to report visions of the next
world when at the point of death. Virgil and Allie, and James and Bessie
arrived, but Warren was out of town. Morgan died on a lounge in an adjoining
card room less than an hour after he was shot. (The Campbell and Hatch
Billiard parlor and card room, two lots east of Hafford's Saloon on 4th
Street and Allen, burned in a fire in May 1882.
Goodfellow described Morgan's wounds:
|He was in a state of collapse resulting from a gunshot,
or pistol wound, entering the body just to the left of the spinal column
in the region of the left kidney emerging on the right side of the body
in the region of the gall bladder. It certainly injured the great vessels
of the body causing hemorrhage which, undoubtedly, causes death. It also
involved the spinal column. It passed through the left kidney and also
through the loin.
Morgan was laid out in a blue suit belonging to Doc Holliday.
The Earps took his body by wagon the next day to the New Mexico and Arizona
railroad station in Contention. From there, his older brother James Earp
accompanied Morgan's body to Colton, California where Morgan's wife and
parents were waiting. Morgan was first buried in the old city cemetery
of Colton, near Mount Slover. When the cemetery was moved in 1892, Morgan's
body was reburied in the Hermosa Cemetery in Colton.
Accused go free
While Wyatt and James were traveling to Contention with
Morgan's body, Coroner Dr. D. M. Mathew held an inquest into Morgan's death.
Pete Spence's wife, Marietta Duarte, had been abused by her husband and
was ready to talk. She testified that the day before her husband and Indian
Charlie were on the front porch when they saw Morgan Earp walk by. She
said Pete Spence told Indian Charlie (Florentino Cruz), "That's him; that's
him," and the Indian walked ahead of Earp to get a good look at him. The
night of the shooting, her husband was away. Around midnight Indian Charlie
and Frank Stilwell showed up, armed with pistols and carbines, and her
husband arrived soon after with Fries (Frederick Bode) and a fifth unidentified
man, all carrying rifles. They talked in low and excited tones. The next
morning her husband struck her and her mother, and threatened to shoot
Marietta if she told what she knew. Witnesses said they saw Frank Stilwell
running from the scene.
The coroner's jury concluded that Spence, Stilwell, Frederick
Bode, and "Indian Charlie" were the prime suspects in Morgan Earp's death.
|Morgan Earp... came to his death in the city of Tombstone
on the 18th day of March, 1882... by reason of a gunshot or pistol wound
inflicted at the hands of Pete Spence, Frank Stilwell, a party by the name
of Freis, and two Indian half-breeds, one whose name is Charlie, but the
name of the other not ascertained.
When the prosecution called Marietta Duarte to testify
at the preliminary hearing, the defense objected because her testimony
was hearsay and because a spouse could not testify against her husband.
The judge agreed and the charges were dismissed.
Even though the charges were dismissed, Spence immediately
turned himself in, protected in Behan's jail. On the day of the inquest,
two of Behan's deputy sheriffs arrested two of the suspects for other reasons.
Cochise County Deputy Sheriff William Bell brought Indian Charlie from
Charleston and placed him under arrest in the Tombstone jail for shooting
a man in Charleston. Separately, Cochise County Deputy Sheriff Frank Hereford
arrested "John Doe" Freeze.
Wyatt Earp felt he could not rely on the court system
and decided to take matters into his own hands. He concluded the only way
to deal with Virgil's shooters and Morgan's murderers was to find and kill
the Cowboys they felt responsible.
|James Cooksey Earp from Wikipedia
The New Mexico and Arizona Railroad ended about 25 miles
(40 km) away in Benson, Arizona. On Sunday, March 19, Wyatt and James Earp
accompanied Morgan's body in a wagon to Benson where it was loaded onto
a freight train for immediate shipping to Colton. Morgan's wife was already
in Colton, where she had traveled for safety before her husband was killed.
James Earp and two or three close friends accompanied the body to California.
Virgil and his wife Addie Earp followed the next day on a passenger train.
|James Cooksey Earp (June 28, 1841 - January 25, 1926)
was the little known older brother of Old West lawman Virgil Earp and lawman/gambler
Wyatt Earp. Unlike his brothers, he was a saloon-keeper and was not present
at the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral on October 26, 1881.
Civil War service
Earp was born in Hartford, Kentucky, and was reared in
a tight-knit family environment. In 1861, at 19, he enlisted in the Union
Army at the outbreak of the American Civil War, joining Company F, 17th
Illinois Infantry in May, 1861. His brothers, Virgil and Newton Earp, also
enlisted. His service was cut short when he was wounded in the shoulder,
having lost the use of his left arm, in a battle near Fredericktown, Missouri,
on October 31, 1861. He was discharged in March, 1863. Newton and Virgil
served until the end of the war.
Life in the West
Following the war, James moved around quite frequently,
an Earp family trait. He lived in Colton, California, Helena, Montana,
Pineswell, Missouri, and Newton, Kansas, before he wed the former prostitute,
Nellie "Bessie" Ketchum, in April 1873.
For some time thereafter, he worked in a saloon in Wichita,
Kansas, and then as a deputy marshal in Dodge City, Kansas, under Marshal
Charlie Bassett, who had replaced Ed Masterson after Masterson's murder.
In December 1879, he and his wife moved to Tombstone in
Cochise County in southern Arizona, along with his brothers Wyatt and Virgil.
His brothers Warren and Morgan and his wife Louisa joined them there in
late 1880. The three younger brothers became involved in law enforcement
in Tombstone, while James managed a saloon and worked in gambling houses.
He was not present at the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
on October 26, 1881. On December 28, 1881, his brother Virgil Earp was
ambushed, shot three times with a shotgun. He survived, but only two months
later on March 18, 1882, his brother Morgan Earp was assassinated in a
James C. Earp c. 1880
||June 28, 1841
||January 25, 1926 (age 84)
San Bernardino, CA
||Nellie "Bessie" Ketchum
Wyatt Earp and James' youngest brother, Warren—with gambler
Doc Holliday and gunmen Sherman McMasters, "Turkey Creek" Jack Johnson,
and Texas Jack Vermillion—then hunted down those they held responsible
for the attacks during the Earp Vendetta Ride.
Morgan was buried in Colton, California. James then lived
for a short time in Shoshone County, Idaho, until settling permanently
by 1890 in California.
James Earp died of natural causes in San Bernardino, California,
on January 25, 1926. He is interred there at the Mountain View Cemetery.
In 1955, the actor John Smith, prior to his lead roles
in Cimarron City and Laramie, played the part of James Earp in the film
Wichita, starring Joel McCrea and Vera Miles.
|Warren Baxter Earp from Wikipedia
|Warren Baxter Earp (March 9, 1855 – July 6, 1900) was
the youngest brother of Wyatt, Morgan, Virgil, James, and Newton Earp.
Although he was not present during the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, after
Virgil was maimed in an ambush, Warren joined Wyatt and was in town when
Morgan was assassinated. He also helped Wyatt in the hunt for the outlaws
they believed responsible. Later in life, Warren developed a reputation
as a bully and was killed in an argument in 1900.
Warren was born in Pella, Iowa. Little is known about
his early life. Like Wyatt and Morgan, he was too young to take part in
the American Civil War, as his older brothers James, Virgil, and Newton
did. He was eighteen years younger than Newton. He joined his brothers
in Tombstone, Arizona in 1880, and worked occasionally as a deputy for
Virgil collecting taxes and for periodic guard duty. Wyatt landed the Faro
concession at the Oriental Saloon. Virgil was the Deputy Marshall and in
mid-1881 became the Tombstone city marshal as well. James was his deputy.
The Earps had ongoing conflicts with a loose federation of outlaws known
as The Cowboys, who were implicated in ongoing livestock thefts and had
repeatedly threatened to kill the Earps if they interfered.
Warren was at his parents' home in Colton, California
at the time of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral on October 26, 1881. On
December 28, 1881, the Cowboys ambushed Virgil Earp, maiming him. Warren
returned to Tombstone and was deputized by Wyatt. On March 18, 1882, Morgan
Earp was murdered while playing billiards. On March 20, 1882 he joined
a posse guarding Virgil and Allie as they were transported to Tucson to
catch a train for California. At the station, Frank Stilwell was spotted
lying in wait for Virgil and was killed. Pima County Justice of the Peace
Charles Meyer issued warrants for the arrest of Warren, Wyatt, Doc Holliday,
"Turkey Creek" Jack Johnson, and Sherman McMaster. The men returned to
Tombstone where Cochise County Sheriff Johnny Behan found the men in the
lobby of the Cosmopolitan Hotel, heavily armed, getting ready to leave
town. He told Wyatt he wanted to see him. Deputy Marshal Wyatt replied:
"Johnny, if you're not careful you'll see me once too often." On Friday
the Tucson Grand Jury returned indictments naming all five men. The men
were never tried or convicted. They left Tombstone that night and during
the next week killed three more Cowboys they believed responsible for attacking
their brothers in a vendatta across Cochise County.
Warren Baxter Earp
||March 9, 1855
||July 6, 1900 (aged 45)
||Lawman, stagecoach driver
||Nicholas Porter Earp, Virginia Ann Cooksey
Later life and death
Following the vendetta ride, Warren left Arizona for a
time. He returned in 1891, and worked as a mail stage driver on the route
between Willcox and Fort Grant. He may have worked briefly as a range detective
for rancher Henry Hooker in Cochise County, Arizona. Modern depictions
of Warren Earp portray him as being slightly naive and youthful. After
the shootout in Tombstone, he gained a reputation as a bully, playing off
the reputation of his older brothers.
His brother Virgil was sure Warren's temper would get
him killed. Virgil was reunited in 1898 with his first wife Ellen and daughter
Nellie who had been told he had been killed in the Civil War. They visited
twice, and Nellie told The Oregonian that during their visit, "My father
said then, 'If Warren ever dies he will be shot. He is too hasty, quick-tempered
and too ready to pick a quarrel. Besides he will not let bygones be bygones,
and on that account, I expect that he will meet a violent death.'"
On July 6, 1900, Warren became involved in an argument
with Hooker's range boss, Johnny Boyett, inside Brown's Saloon in Willcox.
Boyett and Warren had been involved in verbal disputes before that night,
and rumor was that their mutual dislike stemmed from affections for the
same woman, possibly a local prostitute. However, the Tombstone Epitaph
says that the incident began out of Earp's constant bullying of Boyett.
Later that night, the two men, both drunk, began arguing.
Bystanders said they "never heard any man take such abuse." Warren Earp
is alleged to have said "Boyett, get your gun and we'll settle this right
here. I've got mine, go and get yours". Boyett left and returned shortly
thereafter with two .45 caliber Colt handguns. Boyett called out for Earp,
who walked in from another doorway. Immediately upon seeing Earp, Boyett
fired two rounds, but both missed.
Earp stepped calmly outside of the saloon onto the street
without producing a weapon, just as Boyett fired two more rounds, missing
again with both. Earp entered the saloon again and walked towards Boyett,
opened his coat and vest. "I have not got arms. You have a good deal the
best of this". Earp continued walking toward Boyett, talking the entire
time. As Boyett warned him several times to halt, Boyett appearing slightly
frightened but angry. When Earp did not stop, Boyett fired a fifth round,
this time striking Earp in the chest, killing him almost instantly. Boyett
claimed that he feared for his life, and that by allowing Warren Earp to
get too close, he believed his life was in danger. Warren Earp was found
to have been unarmed, though he had an open pocket knife in his fist. No
arrest was made.
Lynn R. Baily, the daughter of rancher Henry Hooker, wrote
in Henry Clay Hooker and the Sierra Bonita that "Virgil Earp sneaked into
Willcox under an assumed name, checked into the hotel near Brown's Saloon,
and began interviewing witnesses. He concluded his brother's death was
"cold blooded murder even if Warren was drunk and abusive at the time."
Boyett was arrested for the shooting. The coroner's inquest
confirmed that he killed Earp. Boyett sought protection from the local
sheriff, fearing retribution from the Earp brothers. He returned to work
on Hooker's ranch, staying out of Willcox for a long period of time. Wyatt
did not get involved in the incident, nor did James or Newton. It was later
falsely reported that the Earps avenged Warren's death by killing Boyett.
Boyett eventually retired in Redlands, California. He later died in Texas.
Warren Earp was buried in Willcox at the Pioneer Cemetery.
The Tombstone Epitaph reported the following on July 9,
|“ Warren Earp, the youngest of the four Earp brothers
whose names twenty years ago were synonymous with gun fighting on the Arizona
frontier, "died with his boots on" here. He was shot through, the heart
in a saloon by Cowboy Johnny Boyett, and died almost Instantly. The shooting
occurred early in the morning and grew out of a feud that had existed between
the two men ever since the bloody fights between the Earp's and Arizona
cattle rustler about Tombstone In the early eighties [1880s]. Earp had
habitually bullied Boyett for months past, and the latter always tried
to avoid a quarrel. A few days ago Earp cornered Boyett in a saloon, and,
pressing a revolver against Boyett's stomach, made him promise that if
they ever quarreled again the one should kill the other. The two men met
in a restaurant and Earp began his abuse. Boyett went Into an adjoining
saloon, followed by Earp. The latter said: "Boyett, go get your gun and
we'll settle the matter right here. I've got my gun; go get yours." Boyett
was willing and agreed to return in a few moments and fight it out. Earp
also left the saloon. Boyett returned very soon and finding Earp gone warned
all loungers in the saloon to clear out, emphasizing his warning by shooting
into the ceiling. Earp shortly appeared through a back door. He started
toward Boyett, throwing open his coat and saying: "Boyett, I am unarmed;
you have the best of this," advancing as spoke. Boyett warned him not to
come nearer, but Earp did not heed the words, and when within eight feet
Boyett fired, shooting Earp through the heart and killing him instantly.
Warren Earp was the youngest brother of the Earp family. He was well known
by Uncle-Sheriff Paul of Tucson, who was Sheriff of Pima county in the
eighties when trouble occurred between the Earps and the Clanton gang.
Earp came to this country about the time of the beginning of the feud from
Colton, Cal. He was one of the original brothers and took an active part
in their fights after he arrived. Morgan Earp was killed In 1883 In Bob
Hatch's saloon in Tombstone, being shot from the back as he was playing
billiards. Virgil Earp later was shot in the arm and seriously wounded
and the killing of Frank Stilwell occurred In Tucson not long after, when
he attempted to shoot Virgil through a car window. Stilwell was shot by
Wyatt Earp. Warren came here when his brothers got into trouble at Tombstone
with the Clanton gang and he has remained here since. He was driving stage
from Willcox to Fort Grant and had done freighting.
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