Monday, March 29, 2021

Doc Holliday's Chin Whiskers And Other Crow Considerations

 March 29, 2021

   We're still grappling with an old photo that has a new twist.

J.J. Webb and Doc Holliday?

(colorization by Chris Eveland)

   At first glance it appears that Doc has chin whiskers (perhaps a goatee or a so-called van Dyke), but some have pointed out that it's merely the shadow of his shirt collar. However, if you look closely, his collar line appears rather low on his neck, and the shadow coming off his chin is rather strong and above the edge of the collar. I'm not saying it isn't impossible that it's a shadow from his collar, but it doesn't quite match.

   Now for all you timeline nuts, here is the weird twists in this crazy story which we just covered in the next issue of True West magazine (which goes to press tomorrow). Doc Holliday opened a saloon in New Town Las Vegas (summer of 1879), near the train station (Old Town tried to price gouge the incoming railroad and the railroad basically said "screw you," and bypassed the town, to the east, and a "new" town started up out there called New Town and eventually as the two towns grew together, it became East Las Vegas). Which is where many of the so-called Dodge City gang ended up, including Holliday. Wyatt Earp and his brother James and their wives showed up, via wagons, in September of 1879 on their way to Prescott, A.T. where their brother Virgil and his wife had landed after a stint in the Verde Valley, near Camp Verde. After Doc shot and killed Mike Gordon (the Man With No Nose), on July 19, 1879 and was charged with a few other gambling and liquor infranctions, Doc and his girlfriend Kate decided to join the Earps and go on to Prescott. They all landed in The Mile High City and spent some quality time there, and Doc even had his picture taken.

Doc in Prescott, A.T. late 1879

  And then in November of 1879, the Earps decided to go to the new mining strike in Tombstone, but Doc, instead of joining the Earps, goes back to Las Vegas to settle up debts and do his court hearings. That's when the photo of J.J. Webb outside the Old Town Las Vegas Jail, was taken (March of 1880). So, extrapolating between the Prescott photo and the Las Vegas photo, do the two match? Certainly the double-breasted long coat seems to be a fit, but the possible chin whiskers and his visage, is a tougher call.

   Anyway, it's all fun to consider and we who study this all the time are stunned that this photo is just now getting the attention it deserves.

The Crow Knows

   I heard a caw to the south of our house. And when I went out to look, there he was perched on a dead saguaro, talking up a storm. I heard him loud and clear. "You are one lucky bird," he squawked. "And sometimes the hardest part of being lucky, is knowing you are lucky."

A Crow Who Has Something to Crow About

   I've been channeling my old studio mate for a new graphic novel I'm developing with Juni Fisher.

Daily Whip Out: "Dixxy On The Rim"

   Yes, I poached that color scheme from a good friend of mine. That would be this guy.

Edmundo Segundo in front of an Ed Mell

classic landscape

"The world went to hell when men stopped wearing hats."

—Dave Remo Williams.


  1. The coat worn in the J. J. Webb photo appears to reach "Doc's" knees but the coat on the Prescott photo appears to hit Doc's legs mid-thigh - so I am not sure it's the same coat.
    David Mills True West Maniac 1985

  2. It's clearly a different coat, tho that in itself is not fatal. The basic problem is that the gentleman in the Las Vegas foto does not look like Holliday. Fails the blink test, in my ever so humble opinion. Also, whatever that is on the man's chin, a beard, hamster, or malignant growth, it is not a shadow. The shirt collar is not shadowing his neck, so it can't be shadowing his chin


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