Saturday, May 18, 2024

A Machete In Mexico And Kate's Odd Travels With Doc Holliday

 May 18, 2024

   A machete scabbard on a Free's saddle.

Daily Whip Out: "Mickey Free's Saddle" 

   Allegedly from the sketchbook of "Freddy" Remington, circa 1888, done for the graphic novel version of the search for the Apache Kid, 2008.

Well, was it?

   I had fun with this whimsical Sam Elliott illustration which ran in True West magazine a couple years ago.

Unpacking The Doc & Kate at Gillette Mystery

   As I related yesterday, Doc Holliday's feisty paramour, Kate, told a story, late in life, about how the two of them traveled from Prescott as far as Gillette, where she decided she had enough of the Earps and was going to go on to Globe and Doc, she claimed, continued on to Tombstone. She implies they split at this location. The problem with this story is, based on the maps of the day, there really isn't a route from Gillette to Globe, except by continuing on to Phoenix. So, the two of them would have ridden together to Phoenix and then she would have gone east to Superior and Globe, while Doc would have continued south to Tucson and then out to Tombstone. It is possible to go from Globe to Tombstone, but it all seems odd. She makes it pretty clear they split at Gillette. 

   Here is an excellent map by Tom Jonas showing various stage and military routes, with Gillette at the bottom, as they existed in 1880.

Military and Stage Routes To And From Prescott

   And, here is an excerpt from Stuart Rosebrook's thesis on travel from Prescott to Phoenix:

   "In Prescott, in 1880, the Southern Pacific Stage left every day at 5 in the morning arriving in Phoenix about 30 hours later. The road was a rough cut, following the natural contours of the landscape and travel on it was always an adventure. The stage would stop along the route for fresh horses, water and food. When travelers arrived in Phoenix in 1880 the would disembark at M.L Peralta's, a wholesale and retail store at the corner of Washington and Central. The stage passengers, covered and choked with dust, thirsty and hungry, bones and bodies sore and aching, were glad just to be alive. Before leaving Phoenix on the return stage at 7 in the morning, the traveler could stay at the Maricopa Hotel, have a drink, smoke a cigar, throw the dice at the Tiger Saloon, eat fresh oysters at any time of day or night at the Chop House restaurant, and buy a new suit at Peralta's."

Arizona Gazette, Nov 1, 1880; Nov 2, 1880; Nov 6, 1880; Nov 19, 1880; Jan. 3, 1881. 

   It's also interesting to note that in 1880 Phoenix had a population of 2,453.

   The bigger problem with Kate's story is that not only did Doc not go to Tombstone at that time, but he in fact took a stage from Prescott back to Las Vegas, New Mexico—a 536 mile, 86 hour excursion!—to settle up on a debt and support a friend in jail. 
   Then Doc came back to Prescott by the same stage line and shows up in the May 1880 census, and then several months after that he finally goes to Tombstone arriving in September of that year.
   So, what to make of the Kate story? She definitely was with Doc in Prescott and she did go to Globe, while he eventually ended up in Tombstone, where they got back together briefly at Fly's Boarding House and she was there on October 26, 1881. Perhaps unravelling this weird traveling is as simple as Kate left Doc and went to Globe and the Gillette episode was misremembered, or happened at a different time? Or, she in fact stayed there one time and thought it might enhance her story?

Daily Whip Out:
"Doc Even More Enhanced"

"Frankly, I wouldn't trust that woman any farther than I could throw her."
—Old Dentist Saying

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