Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Do you recognize this man?

He worked at many professions from a brothel keeper, saloon owner, miner for gold and silver, teamster, buffalo hunter, boxing referee, and professional gambler to name a few. While widely known in the American Southwest, this cowboy spent his early life in Pella, Iowa. He ended up on the wrong side of the law after his first wife died before their child could be born.

 Perhaps it was his depression, perhaps his sorrow, but he began treading the dangerous down hill spiral of amassing a police record. From horse thief, jail escapee, to running a house of "ill fame", he found his name plastered in local papers with the nickname of " old offender" to the  "Peoria Bummer" all of which at that time meant a hustler or bum.

Still looking for a profession, he hope to bring himself out of the gutter by moving to Kansas. There he took on a common law wife and was appointed a constable on the police force. Despite his wife's occupation at a "Soiled Dove", he developed a reputation and earned respect as a solid lawman. This title was to come in handy later in life. Sadly, a fist fight with a political rival ended his tenure on the police force. Leaving his "wife" he found solace with his brothers on the right side of the law.

They moved from boom town to boom town, taking jobs of enforcing the law. In the year 1881 an incident in a boom town in Arizona would change his life forever. Ninety seconds would be all it took, but when the smoke cleared, one brother would be maimed another murdered and he would swear in a federal posse bent on revenge until the last of the outlaws in the gang known as the Cowboys was wiped out.

Still chasing a happier life, he moved from one gold or silver rush to another. From Nome, Alaska to Nevada, he tried to find happiness. Finally, he made his way to the hills of California and staked a claim in Vidal. There, he and his third and final common law wife, Josephine Marcus settled down to mind for riches in the winter and spend the summer in Los Angeles. He became friends with the likes of Tom Mix and other early movie cowboys. His exploits were put on film and later on early black and white TV.

On January 13th, 1920, he passed away peacefully leaving his modern day reputation as the Old West's toughest and deadliest gunman, who was never wounded in a shoot out. Who does this reputation belong too?

Wyatt Earp

Image found http://plainshumanities.unl.edu/encyclopedia/doc/egp.ii.020

Image found https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wyatt_Earp

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