Compilation note: Credits for photos used on this page are to Library of the Wild West a very well done site. Some other photos are also extracted from many other websites and some are taken by the compiler.Use of the photographs should be done by permission of the originators.Submitter: Jeffery Scism
Descendants of Nicholas Porter Earp
Generation No. 1
1. NICHOLAS PORTER8 EARP (WALTER7, PHILIP6, WILLIAM5, JOSHUA4, JOHN3, THOMAS2, THOMAS1) was born September 06, 1813 in Lincoln, NC, USA2, and died February 12, 1907 in Sawtelle, Los Angeles, Ca, USA2.He married (1) ABIGAIL STORM 2 December 22, 1836 in Ohio, Ky, USA2. She was born September 21, 1813, and died October 08, 1839 in Ohio, KY, USA2.
(source of Photo- San Bernardino County SUN - © 12 January 2002)He married (2) VICTORIA "VIRGINIA" ANN COOKSEY2 July 30, 1840 in Hartford, Ohio, Ky, USA2, daughter of JAMES COOKSEY . She was born February 02, 1821 in Ky, USA2, and died January 14, 1893 in San Bernardino, Ca., USA. He married (3) ANN ELIZABETH CADD2 October 09, 1893 in San Bernardino, San Bernardino, Ca., USA2. She was born July 20, 1842 in Preston Bissett, Buckinghamshire, England2, and died September 12, 1931 in San Bernardino, Ca., USA.
Notes for NICHOLAS PORTER EARP :
Source: San Bernardino County Marriages, 1889 - 1892, SB Co. Archives (Third marriage)
Posted by: Woodson Cambell Date: November 11, 2000 at 20:52:24
Nicholas Porter Earp married Virginia Ann Cooksey . Their marriage certificate in Ohio county, Kentucky shows her name as "Victoria" Cooksey, but she used the name Virginia throughout her adult life.
Re: Virginia Ann Cooksey - Wyatt Earp's Mom
Posted by: Woodson Campbell ( © 1999, Woodson Campbell )
Date: April 04, 1999
The following records from Ohio county, Kentucky provide some source information for the father
(James Cooksey) and grandfather (Phillip Cooksey) of Virginia Ann Cooksey (wife of Nicholas P.
This is to certify that the rites of matimony were solemnized between the above bound Nicholas P. Earp & Virginia Ann Cooksey by me on the 30th of July 1840. Given under my hand this 8th day of
Aug 1840 (Rev. J.G. Ward)(Ohio County, Kentucky, Marriage Bond Book B, p. 13, no. 171).
The following is the only known reference to plantation lands owned by Nicholas P. Earp (father of Wyatt):
POWER OF ATTORNEY: 1 Nov 1841 Virginia Ann Earp, wife of Nicholas Earp, of Ohio County, Kentucky gave said Nicholas Earp power of attorney for all matters including the disposition of lands she inherited from her grandfather Phillip Cooksey in the state of Virginia witnessed by William Daniel and L.D. Earp (Ohio county, Kentucky, Deed book I, p.2).
21 Oct 1843 Nicholas P. Earp and Virginia Ann Earp, his wife, relinquish all rights to John Cannon for $55 the rights of Virginia Ann to land which John Raley then resided being the tract of land belonging to the heirs of James Cooksey Senr, deceased, lying in Ohio county, Kentucky on the waters of Caney creek. witness Lorenzo D. Earp and James OK Earp (Ohio county, Kentucky, Deed book I, p.307)
Nicholas Earp and others give bond of John Cooksey, guardian of minor children of James Cooksey dec'd (Margaret Mariah and James Cooksey, minors); Ohio County KY Order Book 5 p.409, 1 Nov 1841.(End of Transcripted message)
1850 Federal census finds Nicholas P. Earp in Marion County, Iowa, as a Cooper. Age 37, Born in North Carolina,
Virginia A., 29 yrs., Born in Kentucky, with
Newton J., age 13,
James C., age 7,
Virgil W., age 6,
Martha E., age 5, and
Wyatt B., age 2.
(Lake Prairie Township, page 290, family #150, LDS Film # 0442962)
1860 census finds them still there, with additional children Morgan and Warren .
Federal Invalid Pension filed by Nicholas on 9 April 1877, at Sterling, Rice County, Kansas. He describes himself as follows:
Born 6 Sep 1813, Cooper (Occupation), 5 feet 11 inches, fair complexion, brown hair, Blue Eyes.
More about NICHOLAS PORTER EARP:
Burial: Los Angeles National Cemetery, Los Angeles, California, USA2
Notes for VIRGINIA ANN COOKSEY:
Posted by: W. Campbell Date: November 11, 2000
Nicholas Porter Earp married Virginia Ann Cooksey. Their marriage certificate in Ohio county, Kentucky shows her name as "Victoria" Cooksey, but she used the name Virginia throughout her adult life. Virginia Cooksey's maternal grandmother was Victoria "Vicy" (Weeks) Smith. According to Ohio county, KY courthouse records, Virginia's father was James Cooksey. This is very likely the name bestowed on her first child James C. Earp.
The name Cooksey is spelled in several ways in older records, including some with the letter "x" (Cuxey). Virginia Ann (Cooksey) Earp died 14 Jan 1893 and was buried at Pioneer Memorial Cemetery, San Bernardino, San Bernardino Co., CA. Her obituary appears in the 15 Jan 1893 issue of the San Bernardino Daily Courier .
More about VICTORIA "VIRGINIA" ANN COOKSEY :
Burial: re-marked grave, southwest corner, Pioneer Memorial Cemetery, San Bernardino, California
Virginia Ann Cooksey married Nicholas Porter Earp at the age of 19 years old on July 30, 1840. Nicholas already had a son Newton from his previous marriage to Abigail Strom (or Storm) who died in 1839. Nicholas and Virginia had eight children; James, Virgil, Martha, Wyatt, Morgan, Warren, Virginia and Adelia. Three of the boys; Newton, James and Virgil served in the Civil War for the North. Two of the girls, Martha and Virginia died at a young age. Only Adelia lived into adulthood. She died at the age of 80. All of her boys served as lawmen at some time in their lifetime. Nicholas and Virginia traveled Iowa to California several times before settling in the San Bernardino area.
Virginia Ann Cooksey Earp died January 14, 1893 at an age of 72. She was laid to rest at Pioneer Cemetery, San Bernardino, California. Her marker is no longer there, however the cemetery knows the area she is buried, but not the exact spot. The E.A.R.P. Society has, (with the assistance of many contributors) acquired a headstone and the cemetery has given us a site to place it.The placement is just off a main path under a tree.
The guest speaker will be Earl Chafin and the Eulogy will be by Pastor William Halliday (aka "The Sinkiller")
The Daughter-in-laws of Virginia said, "She was the most sweetest, kindest and gentlest person" they had ever met.
(Dedication of gravemarker replacement, Pioneer Memorial Cemetery, sam Bernardino, California, 12 January, 2002)
January 1, 2002
On Saturday January 13, 2002, the unmarked Grave of Virginia Cooksey Earp will be marked with a new stone.
The Sun, San Bernardino California, January 11, 2002, Page D-1 and Page D-5
Matriarch of the famous Earp clan will be honored Saturday (1-13-2002) during a local ceremony hosted by The Earp Society
By Priscilla Nordyke Roden, Staff Writer
History was made and lives were shattered when a blaze of gunfire broke out at the O.K. Corral on October 26, 1881 in Tombstone, Arizona.
Frontier lawman Wyatt Earp and his brothers became legends that day. They've been celebrated ever since- in stories, books and films.
But the woman who inspired their grit and courage has been neglected by history, until now.
Their mother, Virginia Ann Cooksey Earp, stalwart pioneer woman and matriarch of the Earp clan, is finally getting the public notice she deserves, more than a century after she died at 73, and was buried in what became an unmarked grave in San Bernardino.
In life, Virginia did what was expected and followed her cantankerous husband, Nicholas P. Earp, wherever wanderlust led. She raised her offspring and a stepson with a healthy respect for authority-sometimes with the aid of a switch-and won the hearts of the women who married her sons.
In death, she kept a low profile. Her burial place at Pioneer Memorial Cemetery in San Bernardino slipped into obscurity after old cemetery records were lost.
A new headstone honoring her life will be unveiled Saturday (January 13, 2002) near where she is believed to be interred. About 300 people are expected to attend, including two dozen Earp family members.
The ceremony is fitting, says Zack Earp, a distant cousin and an organizer with the Earp Society of Saturday's event. "She raised nine kids pretty much by herself… and that had a lot to do with her character."
The Inland Empire was home to the Earp family for many years after Nicholas Earp made his way from Pella, Iowa, where he left his family in 1851.
He had big dreams, to make a fortune in the gold fields and bring his family west. After months of backbreaking labor that yielded so little money he couldn't make expenses, he returned home disillusioned and broke.
On the way back to Iowa, Nicholas passed through San Bernardino and was impressed by its fertile fields, timber and clear streams.
He was a man of many interests and skills. As a young man, he farmed in Kentucky, piloted a riverboat in Iowa, and became an expert cooper. In 1847, he served as a Cavalry Sergeant in the Mexican war, and in 1863 was appointed a provost marshal in charge of recruitments for the Union army. An itinerant lawman in most of the towns he lived in, he also dabbled in politics.
In 1864, as the head of a wagon train made up of other families from Pella he returned to San Bernardino with his family in tow.
The Earps settled down on a rented farm near the banks of the Santa Ana River. Over time, Nicholas Earp would serve as foreman of the grand jury, and Justice of the Peace. The Earp boys would try their hand at a number of endeavors but they would best be known for their law enforcement activities and the gunfight at the O. K. Corral.
"When I think of the Earps I have this mental image of the old west, like Tombstone Arizona," says Zack Earp, 53 of Riverside, a retired educator and chairman of The Earp Society. "But after I did a lot of research, I realized that Wyatt Earp lived until 1929, and he saw a lot of modern development. In later years he was involved in the movie industry".
Ironically, the Earps themselves became the subjects of countless movies and books.
It took only half a minute for Wyatt Earp, brothers Virgil and Morgan, and compatriot Doc Holliday to glaze their way onto the national scene through the epic gunfight at O. K. Corral in 1881. When the fight with five members of the outlaw Clanton gang ended, three of the bandits lay dead. The story made the pages of newspapers across the United States.
But the fight didn't end in dusty Tombstone.
The Clantons took revenge a few months later, blowing away a portion of Virgil Earp's arm while he was on one of his nightly security rounds. Morgan Earp was murdered during a pool game in Northern California.[Site manager's note: the previous statement is in error, the assassination occured in Tombstone, Az.- Jeff]
The family matriarch endured it all with the courage of a woman used to the ups and downs of pioneer life.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the inscription on Virginia Cooksey Earp's headstone speaks volumes. It notes that she was the beloved wife and mother of the Earp clan.
Nicholas Porter Earp died November 12, 1907, and is buried in Los Angeles National Cemetery (in Sawtelle). Other Earp family members are buried in local cemeteries: Brother Morgan in Hermosa cemetery in Colton, Brother James and sister Adelia Earp Edwards in Mountain View cemetery in San Bernardino. Wyatt Earp I interred in Hills of Eternity Memorial Park, in Colma California.
Knowing something of the family's background puts it into perspective, says Larry Fisher, 61, a founder of the Earp Society.
"She had to have perseverance like all the pioneer ladies. She traveled cross-country three times to California, the first time in a covered wagon. She was a firm disciplinarian… and firm in her religion. She knew where her salvation was," he says.
"But what probably speaks best is her Daughters-in-law. They had remarked that she was the sweetest, kindest and most gentle person they had ever met, and that really says something. That sums up the way she was."
Notes for JAMES COOKSEY EARP :
17th Illinois Infantry, Co. F, May 1861- Mar 1863, Private, Disabled and discharged due to loss of use of Left arm, shoulder wound.
S.B. Historical Pioneer Society
ODDYSEY , May-August 1993
Vol 15, No. 2
"James Earp the Forgotten One"
City Directories mention: Earp, Virgil W., Saloon Keeper Earp, Nicholas P., Book Agent, residence: "H" street between 2nd & 3rd.
Born Hartford, Kentucky, June 28, 1841
Relocated to: Monmouth, Illinois c.1843
Relocated to: Pella, Iowa c.1848
Enlisted Union army: May 25, 1861 (Company F, 7th Illinois, infantry)
Wounded left shoulder @ Frederickstown, Missouri, October 8, 1862.
Medical discharge: in Pella Iowa, March 22, 1863. (No use of left arm)
Left Iowa in 1864 with his father's wagon train, but left the train at Austin, Nevada.
Moved to Montana in 1866, became a Gambler.
James moved to Lamar, Missouri and rejoined family in 1870.
Married April 18, 1873 to Nellie Bartlett Ketchum.(Illinois?)
Nellie had two children Frank and Hattie Ketchum from a previous marriage.
1877 Family moved to Temescal, California (near present Lake Elsinore), Wyatt and James moved to Wichita and then Dodge City, Kansas.
"Jim" was a bartender and Wyatt was a policeman.
In 1879 they were invited to Tombstone, Az. Territory, where Virgil Earp, who had been appointed U. S. Deputy Marshal for the Arizona Territory, was residing.
Brother Morgan also came from Montana.
Jim worked in "Vogan's Bowling Alley" and later at the saloon called "Sampling Room".
October 26, 1881, James' three brothers, Wyatt, Morgan and Virgil, with John H. "Doc" Holliday, a dentist, and Gambler, had a shootout near the OK Corral with the "Cowboy gang" consisting of Tom and Frank Laury, Ike and Billy Clanton, and Billy Claiborne. Billy Clanton, and Tom and Frank Laury were killed, and Virgil, Morgan, and "Doc" Holliday were wounded.
The Earp family left Tombstone the following year, after the murder of Morgan.
Jim went to Shone County Idaho with Wyatt. (Feb 1, 1884),
1884 to Eagle City, for mining, and opened the "White Elephant Saloon". After Sept. 1884 they were gone, eventually ending up in San Bernardino, Ca. where Jim drove a "Hack". He then opened the "Club Exchange Saloon" in San Bernardino,which was located on Court Street near the present Bank of America.
January 22, 1887, Nellie Bartlett Earp passes away.
Jim leaves for Missoula and Helena Montana, and later San Francisco, as a Gambler. He is in San Francisco when Wyatt referreed a famous Boxing match.
He returned to San Bernardino, during the early 1900s,with Wyatt.
Ill health debilitated him and he died in Los Angeles, January 25, 1926, and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery, in San Bernardino.
BURIAL AND REMOVAL PERMITS
Earp, James C. 1/25/1926 BOOK: 21 PAGE: 384
Los Angeles AGE: 84
CAUSE OF DEATH: Cerebral apoplexy
James C. Earp twice applied for Pension increases: wrote from Ft. Worth, Texas. on June 18, 1878 and again filed application to increase pension on May 12, 1912.
More about JAMES COOKSEY EARP:
Burial: Mt. View Cemetery, San Bernardino, Ca, USA2
More about NELLIE "BESSIE" BARTLETT :
Burial: 1887, Pioneer Memorial Cemetery, next to Virginia Cooksey.
3. iv. VIRGIL WALTER EARP ,
Image source: Library of the Wild West
b. July 18, 1843, Hartford, Ohio, Ky, USA; d. October 25, 1905, Goldfield, Esmerelda, Nv, USA.
v. MARTHA ELIZABETH EARP2 , b. September 25, 1845, Monmouth, Warren, Illinois, USA2; d. May 26, 1856, Pella, Marion, Iowa, USA2.
m. (2) CELIA ANN "MATTIE" BLAYLOCK2 , 1879;
The following used by permission of Jim Bremner
Digital West Media Inc., Articles by Bob Katz © 2000
Digital West Media Inc.
16855 West Bernardo Drive
San Diego, California 92127
858 673 6001 ext. 101
Fax 858 673 6007
Wyatt spent most of his years traveling and living in the deserts of the Southwest with his four brothers Virgil, Morgan, James and Warren, as well as his wife Josie Marcus. His lifelong passion for mining, gambling and sports led him from one boomtown to another across the span of the western frontier and into the 20th century.
Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp was born in Monmouth, Illinois on March 19, 1848. In 1864 he moved with his parents to Colton, California near San Bernardino, where he was employed as a teamster and railroad worker. Wyatt returned east and married in 1870, but after the sudden death of his new bride, he drifted the Indian Territory working as a buffalo hunter and stagecoach driver.
In 1875 he arrived in Wichita, Kansas where he joined the police force. In 1876, he moved to Dodge City, Kansas where he became a faro dealer at the at the famous Long Branch Saloon and assistant marshal. It was here he met and became lifelong friends with Bat Masterson and Doc Holliday, as well as establishing his reputation as a notable lawman and gambler.
Leaving Dodge City with his second wife in 1878, Wyatt traveled to New Mexico and California, working for a time as a Wells Fargo agent. In 1879 he assembled with his brothers and their wives in the new silver mining town of Tombstone, Arizona.
Wyatt planned to establish a stage line here, but upon discovering that there were already two in town, he acquired the gambling concession at the Oriental Saloon. His brother Virgil became town marshal, while Morgan took a job with the police department. It was here that Wyatt met his third wife Josie (Josephine Marcus Earp), who remained with him until his death.
On October 26, 1881, a feud that had developed between the Earp brothers and a gang led by Ike Clanton culminated in the most celebrated gunfight in western folklore -- the Gunfight at the OK Corral. Three of the Clanton gang were killed, while Ike and another wounded member escaped. The three Earp brothers -- Virgil, Wyatt and Morgan -- along with Doc Holliday survived. Both Morgan and Virgil were wounded, and Virgil was later terminated as marshal for his role in the homicides.
In March, 1882 Morgan Earp was gunned down by unknown assassins. Wyatt, along with his brother Warren and some friends, embarked on a vendetta during which all four suspects were eventually killed.
After being accused of these murders, Wyatt and Josie fled Arizona to Colorado. then made the rounds of western mining camps over the next few years. They turned up in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho and in 1886, settled briefly in booming San Diego, where Wyatt gambled and invested in real estate and saloons.
In 1897 Wyatt and Josie headed for Nome Alaska where they operated a saloon during the height of the Alaska Gold Rush. They returned to the states in 1901 with an estimated $80,000 and immediately headed for the gold strike in Tonopah, Nevada, where his saloon, gambling and mining interests once again proved profitable.
Thereafter, Wyatt took up prospecting in earnest, staking claims just outside Death Valley and elsewhere in the Mojave Desert. In 1906 he discovered several veins that contained gold and copper near Vidal, California on the Colorado River and filed numerous claims there at the base of the Whipple Mountains.
Wyatt spent the winters of his final years working these claims in the Mojave Desert and living with Josie in their Vidal cottage. He and Josie summered in Los Angeles, where they befriended early Hollywood actors and lived off real estate and mining investments.
On Jan. 13, 1929 Wyatt Earp died in Los Angeles at the age of 80. Cowboy actors Tom Mix and William S. Hart were among his pallbearers. Wyatt's cremated ashes were buried in Josie's family plot in Colma, California, just south of San Francisco. When Josie died in 1944 at the age of 75, she was buried there beside him.
Among his enduring legacies as frontiersman, lawman, gambler and prospector, a post office near his Mojave Desert mining claims along the Colorado River on Route 62 bears the name -- "Earp, California 92242."
The Wyatt Earp Story
Pella, Iowa was the home of the Nicholas Earp family and its most famous member--Wyatt. The Earp family's English and Scottish descendants immigrated to America in the early 1700's The Earps came to America for religious freedom.
Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp, named for his father's neighbor and commanding officer in the
Mexican War was born in Monmouth, Illinois, on March 19, 1848. When Wyatt was two years
old, his father Nicholas moved the family to Pella, Iowa. While living in Pella, Nicholas held
the office of U.S. Provost Marshal of Marion County. Wyatt Earp, the famous gun slinging
western marshal, grew up as an ordinary Pella boy, spending most of his spare time working on
his father's farm.
Nicholas Earp's experience as a captain in the Mexican War earned him the
responsibility of training troops for the Union Army. Wyatt's three older brothers enlisted in the
Union Army while Wyatt stayed home and tended the farm. Finally, at the tender age of fifteen,
the lure of the Civil War overwhelmed Wyatt. He ran away from home and enlisted in the army.
As luck would have it, the first person Wyatt encountered among the army ranks was his father,
who promptly sent him home, back to the cornfield.
In 1864 Nicholas' hitch in the army ran out. Although Nicholas was against succession,
he disagreed with freeing the slaves. The elder Earp organized a wagon train of forty families
with similar ideas against emancipation, and headed to California.
Before the Earps started westward, Nicholas gave Wyatt his first firearm. It was a
clumsy weapon--but it proved to be a valuable tool for a wagon train on the move. Wyatt kept
the party well supplied with fresh game. Dangers encountered on this trip changed Wyatt from a
boy to a man.
Wyatt grew into a handsome, rugged, hard-working man. He was six feet and one
quarter inch tall, slender, with powerful flair. Though people knew him to be quiet, good
natured and dependable, anyone questioning Wyatt's capability could later testify to his physical
In 1870, Wyatt worked his way to La Mar, Missouri, where he fell in love and married
Urilla Sutherland. Wyatt Earp's father conducted the wedding ceremony, although, Nicholas
Earp was not a Justice of the Peace. Their time together as husband and wife was short.
Tragedy struck Wyatt's life, his beloved bride died within the first year. Heartbroken and tired
of waiting tables in his father-in-law's inn and serving as Constable of Lamar, Wyatt set out for
the West. He did not remarry for
nearly 40 years.
The following year found Wyatt in trouble and in a Cherokee Nation jail--accused of stealing
However, Wyatt paid his bail and fled before his case came to trial. Later, Earp continued
working as a lawman. Carrying the badges of Policeman, Deputy Sheriff and Deputy U.S.
Marshal, Wyatt kept law and order in many western towns.
Moonlighting jobs as a Faro and Monte card dealer and player supplemented the lawman's
How did an accused outlaw become a sheriff? Anyone able to handle a gun in the frontier,
was a valuable asset for the law. Besides gun handling skill, Wyatt's personality traits--absolute
confidence in himself, strength, proficiency and courage made him an ideal candidate for sheriff.
Above all, Wyatt Earp had a well-grounded faith in his own talents. In 1879, Wyatt and his two brothers, (known as the Fighting Earps), arrived in Tombstone, Arizona. Two years later, the Earps and Doc Holliday, fought the historic gun fight at the O.K. Corral. The shoot out left three dead and three wounded. Only Wyatt escaped unharmed.
During the early days of President McKinley's administration, The government asked
Earp to become United States Marshal of Arizona, a position he declined. At the age of 60 he
married his second wife, Josephine Marcus. Josie and Wyatt headed to Alaska to investigate the
In spite of Wyatt's colorful and eventful life, he lived to the ripe old age of 80. He spent
his last years in Los Angeles and died on January 13, 1929. Wyatt Earp had no
children (NOTE: One child of the second marriage was stillborn) and was buried in the Marcus family plot in a small Jewish cemetery in Colma, California.
Many tales told about Wyatt Earp are undoubtedly true. However, as with any folk hero,
history cannot document some legends. The mists of time have obliterated many facts.
Nevertheless, we do know that a boy, who later became a famous U.S. Marshal, lived in Pella on
the site of the Pella Historical Village.
Frank Stilwell : Another member of the cowboy faction, and Deputy Sheriff of Cochise County under John Behan. Stilwell was arrested by the Earps and was charged along with Peter Spencer for the robbery of the Bisbee Stage. Stilwell was also accused by various sources of being involved in the shooting of Virgil Earp and the killing of Morgan Earp. Stilwell was killed by Wyatt Earp at the Tucson train depot while the Earp family was fleeing to California with an injured Virgil and the body of Morgan aboard. The train had stopped and everyone had left the train to get something to eat. Wyatt noticed Stilwell near the tracks and ran him down and shot him. Earp and his friends claimed that Stilwell was "laying for them" and Stilwell's friends claimed he was just there to meet a witness that was to testify at his trial for the Bisbee Stage Robbery. Wyatt and his party were charged with murder in the death, shortly after which they fled to Colorado.
In Justice's Court, Township No. 1, Cochise County, A.T. - Before Wells Spicer, J.P., Territory of Arizona vs. Morgan Earp et al.
Defendants, Wyatt Earp and John H. Holliday, two of the defendants named in the above action, were arrested upon a warrant issued by me on the 29th day of October on a charge of murder. The complaint filed upon which the warrant was issued, accuses said defendants of the murder of Wm. Clanton, Frank McLaury and Thos. McLaury on the 26th day of last month at Tombstone, in this county.
The case has now been on hearing for the past thirty days, during which time a volume of testimony has been taken, and eminent legal talent employed by both sides.
The great importance of the case, as well as the general interest taken in it by the entire community, demand that I should be full and explicit in my findings and conclusions, and should give ample reasons for what I do.
From the mass of evidence before me - much of which is on collateral matters - I have found it necessary, for the purposes of this decision, to consider only those facts which are conceded by both sides or are established by a large preponderance of testimony.
Viewing it in this manner, I find that on the morning of the 26th day of October, 1881, and up to noon of that day, Joseph I. Clanton or Isaac Clanton, the prosecuting witness in this case, was about the streets and in several saloons of Tombstone, armed with revolver and Winchester rifle, declaring publicly that the Earp brothers and Holliday had insulted him the night before when he was unarmed, and now he was armed and intended to shoot them on sight. These threats were communicated to defendants Virgil Earp and Wyatt Earp. Virgil Earp was at this time chief of police of the City of Tombstone, and charged, as such officer, by the city ordinances, with the duty of preserving the peace, and of arresting, with or without warrant, all persons engaged in any disorderly act whereby a breach of the peace might be occasioned; and to arrest and disarm all persons violating the city ordinances which declare it to be unlawful to carry on the person any deadly weapon within the city limits without first obtaining a permit, in writing.
Shortly after noon on October 26th, the defendant, Virgil Earp, as chief of police, assisted by Morgan Earp, who was also at the time a special policeman in the pay of the city and wearing his badge, arrested and disarmed said Isaac Clanton, and in such arrest and disarment [sic] inflicted upon the side of his head a blow from a pistol. Whether the blow was necessary or not is not material here to determine. Isaac Clanton was then taken to Justice or Recorder [A.O.] Wallace, when he was fined and his arms, consisting of a revolver and Winchester rifle, taken from him and deposited at the Grand Hotel subject to his order.
While at Justice Wallace's court, and awaiting the coming of Judge Wallace, some hot words passed between Isaac Clanton and Wyatt Earp - Earp accusing Clanton of having previously threatened to take his life, and then proposed to make a fight with him anywhere, to which Isaac Clanton assented, and then declared that "fight was his racket," and that when he was arrested and disarmed, if Earp had been a second later, "there would have been a coroner's inquest in town." Immediately subsequent to this, a difficulty occurred in front of Judge Wallace's court room between Wyatt Earp and the deceased Thomas McLaury, in which the latter was struck by the former with a pistol and knocked down.
In view of these controversies between Wyatt Earp and Isaac Clanton and Thos. McLaury, and in further view of the quarrel the night before between Isaac Clanton and J.H. Holliday, I am of the opinion that the defendant Virgil Earp, as chief of police by subsequently calling upon Wyatt Earp and J.H. Holliday to assist him in arresting and disarming the Clantons and McLaurys, committed an injudicious and censurable act; and although in this he acted incautiously and without proper circumspection, yet when we consider the condition of affairs incident to a frontier country; the lawlessness and disregard for human life; the existence of a law-defying element in our midst; the fear of feeling of insecurity that has existed; the supposed prevalence of bad desperate and reckless men who have been a terror to the country and kept away capital and enterprise, and considering the many threats that had been made against the Earps, I can attach no criminality to his unwise act. In fact, as the result plainly proves, he needed the assistance and support of staunch and true friends, upon whose courage, coolness and fidelity he could depend in case of an emergency.
Soon after the conclusion of proceedings at Judge Wallace's court, Isaac Clanton and Thomas McLaury were joined by William Clanton and Frank McLaury, who had arrived in town. In the afternoon these parties went to a gunshop where they were seen by Wyatt Earp, who reported the same to Virgil Earp, chief of police, said Wyatt Earp at the time being a sworn policeman.
After this the Clantons and McLaurys went to the Dexter stables, on Allen street, and shortly after crossed the street to the O.K. Corral and passed through to Fremont street.
With what purpose they crossed through to Fremont street will probably never be known. It is claimed by the prosecution that their purpose was to leave town. It is asserted by the defendants that their purpose was to make an attack upon them, or at least, to feloniously resist any attempt to arrest or disarm them that might be made by the chief of police and his assistants.
Whatever their purpose may have been, it is clear, to my mind, that Virgil Earp, the chief of police, honestly believed that their true purpose was, if not to attempt the death of himself and brothers, at least to resist with force and arms any attempt on his part to perform his duty as a peace officer by arresting and disarming them.
At this time Virgil Earp was informed by one H.F. Sills, engineer from the A.T.&S.F.R.R., then absent from duty on a layoff furlough, and who had arrived in town only the day before and totally unacquainted with any person in town or the state of affairs existing here, that he (Sills) had overheard armed parties, just then passing through the O.K. Corral, say, in effect, that they would make sure to kill Earp the marshal, and would kill all the Earps.
At the same time several citizens and a committee of citizens came to Virgil Earp, the chief of police, and insisted that he should perform his duty as such officer, and arrest and disarm these cow-boys, as they termed the Clantons and McLaurys.
Was it for Virgil Earp, as chief of police, to abandon his clear duty as an officer because its performance was likely to be fraught with danger? Or was it not his duty, that, as such officer, he owed to the peaceable and law-abiding citizens of the city, who looked to him to preserve peace and order and their protection and security, to at once call to his aid sufficient assistance and proceed to arrest and disarm these men?
There can be but one answer to these questions, and that answer is such as will divert the subsequent approach of the defendants toward the deceased of all presumption of malice or illegality.
When therefore, the defendants, regularly or specially appointed officers, marched down Fremont street to the scene of the subsequent homicide, they were going where it was their right and duty to go; they were doing what it was their right and duty to do; and they were armed, as it was their right and duty to be armed, when approaching men whom they believed to be armed and contemplating resistance.
The legal character of this homicide must, therefore, be determined by what occurred at the time, and not by the precedent facts.
To constitute the crime of murder there must be proven, not only the killing, but the felonious intent. In this case the corpus delicti, or fact of killing, is in fact admitted, as will be clearly proven. The felonious intent is as much a part to be proven as the corpus delicti, and in looking over this mass of testimony for evidence upon this point I find that it is anything but clear.
Witnesses of credibility testify that each of the deceased, or at least two of them, yielded to a demand to surrender. Other witnesses of equal credibility testify that deceased Wm. Clanton and Frank McLaury met the demand for surrender by drawing their pistols, and that the discharge of fire-arms was almost instantaneous. There is a dispute as to whether Thomas McLaury was armed at all, except with a Winchester rifle that was on the horse beside him. I will not consider this question, because it is not of controlling importance. Certain it is that the Clantons and McLaurys had among them at least two six-shooters in their hands and two Winchester rifles on their horses; therefore, if Thomas McLaury was one of a party who were thus armed, and were making felonious resistance to an arrest, and in the melee that followed was shot, the fact of his being unarmed, if it be a fact, could not of itself criminate the defendants, if they were not otherwise criminal. It is beyond doubt that William Clanton and Frank McLaury were armed, and made such effective use of their guns as to seriously wound Morgan Earp and Virgil Earp.
In determining the important question of whether the deceased offered to surrender before resisting, I must give as much weight to the testimony of persons unacquainted with the deceased or the defendants, as to the testimony of persons who were companions and acquaintances, if not partisans of the deceased, and I am of the opinion that those who observed the conflict from a short distance and from points of observation that gave them a good view of the scene, to say the least, were quite as likely to be accurate in their observation as those mingled up in or fleeing from the melee. Witnesses for the prosecution state unequivocally that Wm. Clanton fell or was shot at the first fire, and Claiborne says was shot when the pistol was only about a foot from his belly. Yet it is clear that there were no powder burns or marks on his clothes, and Judge Lucas says he saw him fire or in the act of firing several times before he was shot, and he thinks two shots afterward.
Addie Borland, who saw distinctly the approach of the Earps and the beginning of the affray from a point across the street where she could correctly observe all their movements, says she cannot tell which fired first; that the firing commenced at once from both sides upon the approach of the Earps, and that no hands were held up; that she would have seen them if there had been. Sills asserts that the firing was almost simultaneous; he cannot tell which side fired first.
Considering all the testimony together, I am of the opinion that the weight of evidence sustains and corroborates the testimony of Wyatt and Virgil Earp, that their demand for a surrender was met by William Clanton and Frank McLaury drawing or making motions to draw, their pistols. Upon this hypothesis my duty is clear. The defendants were officers charged with the duty of arresting and disarming brave and determined men who were experts in the use of firearms, as quick as thought and certain as death, and who had previously declared their intentions not to be arrested or disarmed. Under the statutes (sec. 32, page 74, of Comp. Laws), as well as the common law, they had a right to repel force by force.
In coming to this conclusion, I give great weight to several particular circumstances connected with the affray. It is claimed by the prosecution that the deceased were shot while holding up their hands in obedience to the demand of the chief of police, and on the other hand, the defense claims that William Clanton and Frank McLaury at once drew their pistols and began firing simultaneously with the defendants. William Clanton was wounded on the wrist of his right hand on the first fire, and thereafter used his pistol with his left. This wound could not have been received with his hands thrown up, and the wound received by Thomas McLaury was such as could not have been received with his hands on his coat lapels. These circumstances being indubitable facts, throw great doubt upon the correctness of the statement of witnesses to the contrary.
The testimony of Isaac Clanton that this tragedy was the result of a scheme on the part of the Earps to assassinate him, and thereby bury in oblivion the confessions the Earps had made to him about "piping" away the shipment of coin by Wells, Fargo, & Co., falls short of being a sound theory, because of the great fact most prominent in the matter, to wit, that Isaac Clanton was not injured at all, and could have been killed first and easiest. If it was the object of the attack to kill him, he would have been first to fall; but, as it was, he was known or believed to be unarmed, and was suffered and so Wyatt Earp testifies, told to go away, and was not harmed.
I also give just weight in this matter to the testimony of Sheriff Behan, who said on one occasion, a short time ago, Isaac Clanton told him that he (Clanton) had been informed that the sheriff was coming to arrest him, and that he (Clanton) armed his crowd with guns and was determined not to be arrested by the sheriff, or words to that effect. And Sheriff Behan further testifies that a few minutes before the Earps came to them that he, as sheriff, had demanded of the Clantons and McLaurys that they give up their arms and that they demurred, as he said, and did not do it, and that Frank McLaury refused and gave as a reason that was not ready to leave town just then, and would not give up his arms unless the Earps were disarmed, that is, that the chief of police and his assistants should be disarmed.
In view of the past history of the country, and the generally believed existence at this time of desperate, reckless men in our midst, banded together for mutual support, and living by felonious and predatory pursuits, regarding neither life or property in their career, and at this time for men to parade the streets armed with repeating rifles and six-shooters, and demand that the chief of police of the city and his assistants should be disarmed, is a proposition both monstrous and startling. This was said by one of the deceased only a few minutes before the arrival of the Earps.
Another fact which rises up pre-eminent in the consideration of this sad affair, is the leading fact that the deceased from the very first inception of the encounter were standing their ground and fighting back, giving and taking death with unflinching bravery. It does not appear to have been a wanton slaughter of unresisting and unarmed innocents, who were yielding, graceful submission to the officers of the law, or surrendering to, or fleeing from their assailants, but armed and defiant men, accepting the wager of battle and succumbing only in death.
The prosecution claims much upon the point, as they allege, that the Earp party acted with criminal haste; that they precipitated the triple homicide by a felonious anxiety and quickness to begin the tragedy; that they precipitated the killing with malice aforethought, with the felonious intent then and there to murder the deceased, and that they made use of their official character as a pretext.
I cannot believe this theory, and can not resist the firm conviction that the Earps acted wisely, discreetly and prudently to secure their own self-preservation-they saw at once the dire necessity of giving the first shot to save themselves from certain death. They acted; their shots were effective, and this alone saved all the Earp party from being slain.
In view of the facts and circumstances of the case; considering the threats made, the character and position of the parties, and the tragical results accomplished, in manner and form as they were, with all surrounding influences bearing upon the res gestae of the affair, I cannot resist the conclusion that the defendants were fully justified in committing these homicides; that it was a necessary act, done in the discharge of an official duty.
It is the duty of an examining and committing magistrate in this territory to issue a warrant of arrest in the first place, whenever from the depositions given there is reasonable ground to believe that the defendant has committed a public offense. (Sec. 87, page 111, of Compiled Laws.)
After hearing evidence, however, the statute changes the rule, and he is then required to commit the defendant only when there is "sufficient cause to believe" him guilty. (Sec. 143, page 111, of Compiled Laws.)
My interpretation is, that the rule which should govern an examining magistrate is the same as that which should govern the conclusion of a grand jury. That rule as prescribed by statute (Sec. 188, page 221, Compiled Laws) is: "The grand jury ought to find an indictment when all the evidence before them taken together is such as in their judgment will, if unexplained or uncontradicted, warrant a conviction by the trial jury."
The evidence taken before me in this case would not, in my judgment, warrant a conviction of the defendants by a trial jury of any offense whatever. I do not believe that any trial jury that could be got together in this territory would, on all the evidence taken before me, with the rules of law applicable thereto given them by the court, find the defendants guilty of any offense.
It may be that my judgment is erronious [sic], and my view of the law incorrect; yet it is my own judgment, and my own understanding of the law as I find it laid down, and upon these I must act and decide, and not upon those of any other person.
I have given over four weeks of patient attention to the hearing of evidence in this case, and at least four-fifths of my waking hours have been devoted all this time to an earnest study of the evidence before me, and such is the conclusion to which I am forced to arrive.
I have the less reluctance in answering this conclusion because the Grand Jury of this county is now in session, and it is quite within the power of that body (if dissatisfied with my decision) to call witnesses before them or use the depositions taken before me, and which I shall return to the District Court as by law required, and to thereupon disregard my findings and find an indictment against the defendants if they think the evidence sufficient to warrant a conviction.
I conclude the performance of the duty imposed upon me by saying, in the language of the statute, "There being no sufficient cause to believe the within named" Wyatt S. Earp, and John H. Holliday, "guilty of the offense mention within," I order them to be released. Wells Spicer, Magistrate, December 1, 1881
vii. MORGAN S. EARP2 ,b. April 24, 1851, Pella, Marion, Iowa, USA2; d. March 18, 1882, Tombstone, Cochise, Az. USA2; m. LOUISA HOUSTON2; b. , Wi., USA2.
Morgan was assassinated by stealth, in Tombstone while performing his duties as Marshal, (March 18, 1882, evening patrol of Tombstone), the aftermath of the OK Corral incident. Wyatt, his brother, avenged this murder while enroute to California, when the train carrying the body of Morgan stopped at Tucson, Wyatt found Frank Stillwell near the tracks, he chased him down and shot him at point blank with a shotgun. This resulted in new murder charges being filed, and the Earps left the state. The Murder charges were still unresolved at the time of Wyatt's death in 1929.
Morgan was buried in the Slover Mountain Cemetery in Colton California, and was reinterred in 1887 in the Hermosa Gardens Cemetery, in Colton, California, when the Slover Mountain Cemetery was moved. A new grave marker was placed on his grave in 1991. His grave location is verified as being under the marker, contrary to stories otherwise,confirmed by the management of Hermosa Gardens Cemetery.
Notes for LOUISA HOUSTON :
She may be related to Samuel Houston, of Texas.
viii. BAXTER WARREN EARP2 , b. March 09, 1855, Pella, Marion, Iowa, USA2; d. July 06, 1900, Wilcox, Cochise, Az., USA2. He was always known as "Warren".
ix. VIRGINIA ANN EARP2 , b. February 28, 1858, Pella, Marion, Iowa, USA2; d. October 26, 1861, Pella, Marion, Iowa, USA2.
4. x. ADELIA DOUGLAS EARP , b. June 16, 1861, Pella, Marion, Iowa, USA; d. January 16, 1941, San Bernardino, Ca., USA.
Generation No. 2
2. NEWTON JASPER9 EARP (NICHOLAS PORTER8, WALTER7, PHILIP6, WILLIAM5, JOSHUA4, JOHN3, THOMAS2, THOMAS1)2 was born October 07, 1837 in Ohio, KY, USA2, and died December 18, 1928 in Sacramento, Sacramento, Ca. USA2.
Notes for NEWTON JASPER EARP :
4th Iowa Cavalry, Company F, 4th Sergeant, 1861-1865
More about NEWTON JASPER EARP:
Burial: East Lawn Memorial Park, Sacramento, California, USA2
Children of NEWTON EARP and NANCY ADAMS are:
i. EFFIE MAY10 EARP 2, b. May 06, 1870, Lamar, Barton, Mo. USA2; d. March 29, 1898, Paradise, Eureka, Nv. USA2; m. ELIAS ERDMAN2, December 25, 1886, Pella, Marion, Iowa, USA.
ii. WYATT CLYDE EARP 2, b. August 25, 18722; m. VIRGINIA2.
iii. MARY ELIZABETH EARP 2, b. August 25, 18752.
iv. ALICE ABIGAIL EARP2 , b. December 18, 1878; m. (1) WARREN E. HURT2 , October 18962; m. (2) JOHN E. WELLS2 .
v. VIRGIL EDWIN EARP2 , b. April 18, 1880; d. 1959, Sacramento, Sacramento, Ca. USA2; m. GRACE J. SCOTT2.
Notes for VIRGIL EDWIN EARP :
Virgil was a quick draw marksman, and showman. He appeared in the "$64,000 Question" show in 1958, and had a guest appearance on the "Andy Griffith" show, which still shows in reruns. He is reputed to have been active as a gunfighter in his youth.
3. VIRGIL WALTER9 EARP (NICHOLAS PORTER8, WALTER7, PHILIP6, WILLIAM5, JOSHUA4, JOHN3, THOMAS2, THOMAS1)2 was born July 18, 1843 in Hartford, Ohio, Ky, USA2, and died October 25, 1905 in Goldfield, Esmerelda, Nv, USA2.
Notes for VIRGIL WALTER EARP:
SOURCE: Patrick Hopper, Roseville, Ca. via San Bernardino County Archives, 777 East Rialto Ave, San Bernardino, Ca.
SOURCE: Gloria Atwater
83rd Illinois Infantry, Co. C, Aug 1862-Jun1865, Private
More about VIRGIL WALTER EARP :
Burial: 1905, Riverview Cemetery, Portland, Oregon, USA2
Cause of Death: Pnuemonia2
Medical Information: 6" Portion of bone in upper left arm missing due to shotgun ambush in 1881.2
Notes for MAGDALENA C. "ELLEN" (1)RIJSDAM :
Posted by: W. Campbell Date: November 11, 2000
The mother of Virgil W. Earp's child was Magdalena C. "Ellen" Rijsdam (original Dutch spelling). Virgil and Ellen said that they were married at Oskaloosa, Iowa, this is very doubtful as no record has been found to confirm this .
Notes for ALVIRA "ALLIE" PACKHAM (3)SULLIVAN :
Cremated and ashes deposited in the Grave of Adelia Edwards, Mt View Cemetery, San Bernardino, Ca
4. ADELIA DOUGLAS9 EARP (NICHOLAS PORTER8, WALTER7, PHILIP6, WILLIAM5, JOSHUA4, JOHN3, THOMAS2, THOMAS1)2 was born June 16, 1861 in Pella, Marion, Iowa, USA2, and died January 16, 1941 in San Bernardino, Ca., USA2. She married WILLIAM THOMAS EDWARDS2 . He was born 1856 in Kansas2, and died 1921 in San Bernardino, Ca., USA2.Burial: Mt. View Cemetery, San Bernardino, Ca, USA2
More about WILLIAM THOMAS EDWARDS:
Burial: Mt. View Cemetery, San Bernardino, Ca, USA2
Children of ADELIA EARP and WILLIAM EDWARDS are:
i. ESTELLE JOSEPHINE10 EDWARDS2 , m. WILLIAM MILLER2.
ii. FLORENCE EDWARDS2 , m. BESSANT2 .
iii. MURL EDWARDS2 , m. SULLIVAN2 .
iv. NICHOLAS EDWARDS2 .
v. MARY VIRGINIA EDWARDS2 , b. 1880; d. 1935.
vi. RAYMOND T. EDWARDS2 , b. 1898; d. 1917, San Bernardino, Ca., USA2.
More about RAYMOND T. EDWARDS :
Burial: Mt. View Cemetery, San Bernardino, Ca, USA2
vii. GEORGE S. (STAPP?) EDWARDS 2, b. 1904; d. 1974, San Bernardino, Ca., USA2.Burial: Mt. View Cemetery, San Bernardino, Ca, USA2
Generation No. 3
5. NELLIE JANE10 EARP (VIRGIL WALTER9, NICHOLAS PORTER8, WALTER7, PHILIP6, WILLIAM5, JOSHUA4, JOHN3, THOMAS2, THOMAS1)2 was born January 07, 1862 in Pella, Marion, Iowa, USA2, and died June 17, 1930 in Oregon, USA2. She married (1) LEVI LAW2 . She married (2) LOUIS BOHN2 .
Children of NELLIE EARP and LEVI LAW are:
i. MAUD11 LAW2 .
ii. EILEEN LAW2 .
iii. GEORGE P. LAW2 .
Child of NELLIE EARP and LOUIS BOHN is:
iv. ELVA IRENE11 BOHN2 .
1. San Bernardino County records,, San Bernardino County Marriages, 1889-1892, (San Bernardino County Archives).
2. Internet resources as indicated in text.
3. Myra Vanderpool Gormley
The following are listed as resources used by others in preparation of the data:
Story of Colton, California,
Colton Woman's Club, 1973 p 6-7, 42-45
Wyatt Earp Museum
DESERT May 1969, p 12-13
Earp, The Man and The Town
DESERT July 1963, pages 32-34
Suprise, Mr. Earp!
W. D. Stephens
DESERT March 1966, pg 36
Earp is Everywhere
John D. Gilchiese (Letter to the Editor)
DESERT, May 1966 (Reference to Stephens Article)
Pardon our Earp (Letter to the Editor)
Verna W. Smith
DESERT, June 1966
Pioneer Days in the San Bernardino Valley
Mrs. E.P.R. Crafts
1906, Pages 38-40
Ingersoll's Century Annals of San Bernardino County (1904)
Page 647, and Pages 260-261 (Virgil and the railroad incident)
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
San Bernardino Sun, May 21, 1960, Pg B-4
Bench and Bar of San Bernardino County
Jesse W. Curtis, Jr.
San Bernardino Bar Association, 1975, pg. 67-68
History of San Bernardino and San Diego Counties
Elliot, 1883, (reprint Riverside, 1965) pg. 96
San Bernardino City and County Directory
Old Martinez Ranch, (typescript) 1937
William H. Frink
Rousseau Diary, Across the Desert to California from Salt Lake City to San Bernardino in 1864
Mrs. James A. Rousseau
San Bernardino County Museum Association, Quarterly, VI:2, Winter 1958 pg. 6 and 9
Tombstone's Religious History is Highlighted
San Bernardino SUN, February 22, 1965
Stolen Tombstone of Wyatt Earp Found
San Bernardino SUN, Oct 1958
Wyatt Earp, The Legend... Wyatt Earp, The Man
San Bernardino SUN-Telegram April 16, 1959
He Owns 400 Windows Into Colton's Past
San Bernardino Sun-Telegram, Mar 23 1975
Famed Earp Family- Well Known in San Bernardino County Area
James M. Saulberry
San Bernardino SUN- April 17, 1957
Town of Wyatt Earp Fame to be Revived
San Bernardino Sun-Telegram, September 10, 1967
Indian Says Wyatt Earp Not Like TV
San Bernardino SUN, May 11, 1961
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Kyle W. Alexander
San Bernardino SUN, December 3, 1961
Following articles by Earl Buie, San Bernardino SUN:
They Tell Me Column:
Nov 25, 1966 Earp Story Clarified
February 24, 1967 Wyatt Earp Rode in San Bernardino
May 23, 1967 Wyatt Earp Biography
November 3, 1967 Gin Rummy Round-up
April 14, 1971 Memory Lane Goes Through Colton
The San Bernardino County SUN, 12 January 2002, page D-1 and D-5,
"The woman and the legend"
Priscilla Nordyke Roden
Following Articles by Belden L. Burr
History in the Making Column, San Bernardino SUN
August 31, 1952 Colton Founded by Railroads, Has Early Industries
November 21, 1954 Diary Tells of 1864 Trek
November 28, 1954 Hardships Grow on Desert End of Lengthy Trek
April 22, 1956 Close friend of Wyatt Earp Tells of Latters Life
June 25, 1961 Wyatt Earp's desert Home Saved for Public
March 3 1963 Turblent Start of Colton Stems From Rail Wars
January 19, 1964 It's Gold!, 'We're Rich as Vanderbilts!'
March 15, 1964 Century Old Way To River May Become State Highway
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