November 11, 2011One hundred and thirty one years ago tomorrow, Wyatt Earp signed on as a "Flagman" on a survey crew. Having been a rear chainman for several years myself in high school and college (mostly as a summer time job), the idea of Wyatt Earp hauling the chains and yelling out "Chain!" when the end of the 200-foot-measuring-metal-tape ripped by in the creosote bushes, is, well, kind of amazing and hilarious, to me.
A friend of mine, Patrick Neal, gifted me the original papers from the survey notes of the Mountain Maid Mine in Tombstone. The mine was filed on along with his brother Virgil and James. Here is the first page of the report:
And here's another page with Wyatt listed as "Flagman":
Now historians want to know how the legendary lawman, gambler and pimp could have sunk so low as to work as a surveyor. If you've ever worked on a crew, I think you understand it's just mind boggling.
"Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp, brave, courageous and cold. Long live his measurements and long live his chains, and long may his story be recorded at the courthouse."
—Future theme song for Wyatt Earp, Flagman!