DOC HOLLIDAY

Another of the legendary characters of the Old West is John H. (Doc) Holliday, born 14 August 1851 in Griffin, Georgia. From his earliest days he seems to have been a most curious character. It is interesting to realize that even before Holliday came West he was involved in unsavory pursuits, for example, taking part in a plot to blow up the courthouse in Valdosta, Georgia. Nevertheless, he also tried to acquire a more favorable image by becoming a dentist in Atlanta. Wouldn't it be interesting to think that your great-great grandaddy might have had his tooth pulled by this "legend?"

Anyway, Holliday eventually moved to Dallas, Texas, and developed a taste for whiskey and gambling. He was also involved in several fights in Texas. Then he moved to Wyoming and South Dakota, where he continued his wanton ways.

In 1878 Holliday claimed Fort Griffin, Texas, as home. It was there that he associated quite a lot with Wyatt Earp, although he may have met Earp earlier in Kansas. It was also in Fort Griffin, Texas, that he met Kate Elder, better known as "Big Nose Kate." (Big Nose Kate lived in Globe at the time of the O.K. Corral fight, but was actually in Tombstone when it happened. She watched it through the window of Doc's room at Fly's Boarding House.) When Earp went to Dodge City Holliday also was there.

In late 1878 or 1879 Holliday was in Las Vegas, New Mexico, but by 1880 he was in Tombstone, Arizona, with the Earps. He also met his destiny near (NOT at) the O. K. Corral on 26 October 1881. Both Tom and Frank McLaury met their demise there, as did Billy Clanton. Ike Clanton wounded Virgil and Morgan Earp, but escaped. (Ike later became a feared rustler in northeastern Arizona. He was eventually killed at Eagle Creek, near Blue River.) Another Clanton brother, Phineas, also escaped the troubles that day. He was not in the fight, but he often did support his brothers. Phineas later ran a goat ranch near Sleeping Beauty Mountain, just north of Globe. He died there of pneumonia 5 January 1906.

A short time after the big fiasco in Tombstone Doc helped the Earps kill Frank Stillwell in Tucson on 18 March 1882. Two days later Holliday helped kill "Indian Charley" (Florentino Cruz).

When the Earps moved to Colorado in 1882 Holliday went also. Arizona attempted to have Holliday extradited for his crimes in that state, but Colorado refused to extradite him. He died of tuberculosis 8 November 1887 in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. His last words were: "This is funny."

A good book to read about Doc Holliday is:

Boyer, Glenn G. Illustrated Life of Doc Holliday. Glenwood Springs, Colorado: Reminder Publishing Co., 1966.


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