Wyatt Earp Contemporary Image

Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp Biography

Lawman and gunfighter, is one of the heroic figures of the American West. The fourth of seven children, Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp was born in Monmouth, Illinois on March 19th, 1848. By his late 20's he had been a wagoner, stagecoach driver, buffalo hunter and peace officer throughout the west and had also won himself the reputation as a gambler and a gunfighter.

On October 26, 1881 he took part in the famous shoot-out near the OK Corral in an empty lot between C.S. Fly's Photography Studio and the Harwood House in the city of Tombstone, Arizona Territory. The real OK Corral was on Allen Street and none of them ever made it that far. Wyatt Earp and his brothers, Morgan and Virgil, along with Wyatt's close friend "Doc Holliday" (Dr. John Henry Holliday), acting in the name of the law, met in a gun battle with five men, members and associates of the Clanton family, whom the Earps had labeled as outlaws. The Clantons were members of a faction in Tombstone that opposed the Earp's. Three of the outlaws were shot to death in the duel, which was widely reported and the Earp's came to symbolize the romantic violence associates with the Old West. The Gunfight at the OK corral has been celebrated in several Hollywood films, with the Clantons always the villains. But historians remain divided about the Earp's true Motives.

In 1883 Wyatt left Arizona Territory after having killed several well-known outlaws in gunfights to avenge the ambush slaying of his brother Morgan. He finally settled in California where he spent his remaining years in a variety of occupations including saloon keeper, and rancher. Earp's encounters with bad men have undoubtedly been exaggerated, but despite the embellishments of legend, there is little doubt that his contemporaries regarded him as an excellent marksman and a gunfighter. He died on January 13th, 1929 at home in the Earp's small apartment in Los Angeles California and is buried in the Marcus' family plot at the Hills of Eternity Jewish cemetery in Colma, California. When Jose died in 1944 she was buried next to Wyatt...

Enscription on Wyatt and Josie's head stone