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Friday, 29 January 2010

Western iconn - Wyatt Earp


"I am not ashamed of anything I ever did."



IF
Billy The Kid was the West's most famous outlaw then Wyatt Earp was the most famous lawman.


T
he infamous Gunfight at the OK is the first thing people think of when they hear the name of Earp. But that incident, which lasted only seconds, was only one small part of a very big story.

Earp was born in 1848 and died in 1929. His legend lives on and I've tried to detail here a brief outline of his life.

1870-1871 - Earp was a constable in Lamar, Mo. His father Nicholas Porter Earp was the justice of the peace.

1873-Records show that Earp was a policeman inEllsworth. He was involved in the arrest of Ben Thompson during this period.

1874-1876 - Earp is now a policeman in Wichita.

1876 - 1879-Earp is now a lawman in Dodge City. His name becomes well known for the first time when he is mentioned in the National Police Gazette.

1880 - Earp takes on the role of Deputy Sheriff in Pima County. He moves to Tombston with a repitation as a rough but tough man and he soon gets a badge.

1881-1882- Earp now deputy U.S. Marshall for Arizona territory. The gunfight happened during this period.

1882 - Earp is Deputy Sheriff Kooteni County.

1902- Earp serves as Deputy Marshall of Tonopah Nevada.

1903-1929 - Earp is now based in Los Angeles where he will spend the rest of his life operating his Happy Day Copper Mine near Vidal, California. He is also involved as a consultant for the then new motion picture industry. However due to a series of bad deals Earp and his wife, Josephine live out the last few years on their lives in poverty.

Earp hated his fame and commented to his biographer - "Notoriety has been the bane of my life. I detest it."

But Earp always attracted the press. Here follows some of the newspaper articles, dugup by internet research, he inspired:

  1. "On last Wednesday Policeman Erp found a stranger lyning near the bridge in a drunken stupor. He took him to the 'cooler' and on searching him found in the neighborhood of $500 on his person. He was taken next morning before his honor, the police judge, paid his fine for his fun like a little man and went on his way rejoicing. He may congratulate himself that his lines, while he was drunk. were cast in such a pleasant place as Wichita as there are but a few other places where that $500 roll would ever had been heard from. The integrity of our police force has never been seriously questioned." Wichita Beacon, December 15, 1876.
  2. "Last Sunday night, while policeman Erp was sitting with two or three others in the back room of the Custom House saloon, his revolver slipped from his holster and in falling to the floor the hammer which rested on the cap, is supposed to have struck the chair, causing a discharge of one of the barrels. The ball passed through his coat, struck the north wall then glanced off and passed out through the ceiling. It was a narrow escape and the occurence got up a lively stampede from the room. One of the demoralized was under the impression that some one had fired through the window from the outside." Wichita Beacon, Janaury 12, 1876.
  3. "One of our citizens had a brother from a distance call to see him on Monday last . . . they started . . . to have a good time . . . . Taking aboard a good supply of 'forty rod,' . . . Constable Earp found one of them . . . incapable of taking care of himself and took him down to the stone house . . . . As Mr. Earp was turning the key . . . the other came staggering up enquiring for his brother. Mr. Earp opened the door and slid hm in. . . . Mr. Earp met another hard case . . . a tramping butcher, who asked Mr. Earp to purchase him a pencil in place of one he alleged Mr. Earp had borrowed . . . he shared the same fate of the other two." South-West Missourian, June 16, 1870.
  4. "The appointment of Wyatt Earp as Deputy Sheriff, by Sheriff Shibell, is an eminently proper one, and we, in common with the citizens generally, congratulate the latter on his election. Wyatt has filled various positions in which bravery and determination were requisites, and in every instance proved himself the right man in the right place. He is a present filling the position of shotgun messenger for Wells, Fargo & Co., which he will resign to accept the later appointment." Tombstone Daily Epitaph, July 29, 1880.
  5. "From Deputy Sheriff Earp we learn that the man who killed Marshal White is an old offender against the law. Within the past few years he stopped a stage in El Paso County, Texas, killing one man and dangerously wounding another. He was tried and sentenced to ten years in the penitentiary, but managed to make his escape shortly after being incarcerated. The facts leaked out in this way: On the road to Tucson, Byoscins (sic) asked Earp where he could get a good lawyer. Earp suggested that Hereford & Zabriske were considered a good firm. Broscins (sic) said that he didn't want Zabriskie, as he had prosecuted him once in Texas. Inquiry on the part of Earp developed the above state of facts." Tombstone Daily Epitaph, October 31, 1880.

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