Sunday, March 28, 2021

Bonus Blog: More Doc Holliday Insights About the Las Vegas photo

 March 28, 2021

   Here is the person who I would trust on the alleged new photo of Doc Holliday:

Is That Doc Holliday to the right of the guy in shackles?

J.J. Webb in shackles and Doc Holliday?

"What we do know is that Doc was in Las Vegas at that time for his own court dates and to settle some business matters besides. We also know that Doc and Webb knew each other well.  They knew each other in Dodge.  They were together in the Royal Gorge affair as part of the Santa Fe Railroad's force.  During the encounter at Pueblo, Webb lost a tooth, but when the group reached Dodge, Joshusa was sporting a new gold tooth—not surprising since one of his companions was a dentist who had won awards in Texas for his gold work.  In fact, when Webb did finally escape, several men were arrested as Webb but released because they didn't have a gold tooth!   Some sources also say that Holliday's Saloon was one of his hangouts in Las Vegas.  It is safe to say that they knew each other well and were on friendly terms.  I find it consistent with Doc's character that he would have visited Webb.
   "Dodge City was interested in Webb's case, and Michael Sutton left for Las Vegas with a petition on Webb's behalf on March 11, returning on March 14 to advise Dodge Citians that the case had been appealed. 
   "In April Dave Rudabaugh and John Allen made their failed attempt to help Webb escape, although Webb appears to have attempted to help the jailor who was shot (and killed) by Allen rather than attempt to run. (I think he still hoped he would be pardoned or his sentence shortened at the time).
   "Looking at the photo itself, notice the rather stark difference between the rumpled clothing of most of the men in contrast to the dapper and well-fitted attire of the man we think could be Doc. This is something consistently commented on by observers of Doc through the years--his immaculate style.    "Doc was less than six-feet in height, how much depending on the observer.  In 1882 the Denver TIMES described as being "delicate, gentlemanly man, apparently not weighing more than one hundred and thirty pounds . . .  ."  The Pueblo CHIEFTAIN described him as "a man of slight weight, rather tall, smoothly shaven, and is always well dressed."  The Denver TRIBUNE called him a "thin, spare man," and the Denver REPUBLICAN wrote, "Holliday is a slender man, not more than five feet six inches tall and would weigh perhaps 150 pounds."  He was described later as a "mild-mannered little fellow."  At the time of his Leadville fracas with Billy Allen, he said that he weighed 122 pounds.
   "His spare figure and better fitted clothes may actually make him seem smaller.  Webb was definitely heavier, but he's not that much taller in the photo.  Remember that six-footers were less common then than now (it is one of the things that seemed to separate the Earps in newspaper descriptions.
   "I'm not a photo expert, but this is a place that he could well have been, and he stands out in this photo in precisely the same ways that 19th century reporters described him.  Are any other of the persons in the photo identified?
   "I don't have a definitive answer, but I wouldn't bet against it being him."
Gary Roberts

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