Sunday, May 12, 2024

Doc In Prescott The Gary Roberts Version

 May 12, 2024

   If you have been following along, we have some important, new information about Doc Holliday in Prescott, thanks to Brad Courtney and D. Sue Kissel. This new research will be covered in the next issue of The Tombstone Epitaph and also in True West magazine.

   In addition to this, I also queried the foremost expert on Doc Holliday, Gary Roberts, and he just responded and here is what he has to say:

   "Bob, You've got the chronology about right.  I say 'about right' because most of the dates are approximate.  Unfortunately, Kate didn't help much.  Her details are not very specific and sometimes are off by a few days or incorrect.  In the Mazzanovich version of her recollection, she said that when the Earp party left Las Vegas, New Mexico, for Prescott, Victorio's Warm Springs Apaches were raiding, and they camped for two days 'near the Zuni village close to the Arizona line.'  She said little else about the trip, but the travel was probably pretty slow for them.  It appears that they traveled in two wagons.  Jim and Bessie Earp had one wagon, and Wyatt and Mattie the other.  Kate said that she and Doc traveled in Wyatt's wagon.  It is probable that the party also had a small string of horses.  

   "On October 17, 1879, the Prescott Weekly Miner published a lengthy ad announcing the opening of the Star Line by John A. Walsh of Prescott, following a route from Prescott to Camp Verde, Beaver Head, Pine Spring, Brigham City, St. Joseph, Little Colorado, Horsehead Crossing, Fort Wingate, and 'intermediate places' to Santa Fe.'  The ad reported that passengers and express would travel from Prescott to Santa Fe in four days.  Walsh claimed his route was two days shorter than previous routes.  It also indicated that it would connect to points east at Las Vegas, 'via the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe' railroad which had reached Las Vegas.  The ad also claimed that the fare was $50 cheaper than any other route east.  It is possible that the Earps became aware of this route (given their familiarity with the Santa Fe railroad and Wells Fargo traffic) and the fact that Kate mentioned the Zuni village, which I assume was the Zuni Pueblo at Gallup and near Fort Wingate.  But it is safe to say that the Earps had joined Virgil in Prescott by mid or late October.  The Star Line is most likely the route Doc took when he returned to Las Vegas after Kate went to Gillette.

   "Kate seemed to think, based on her various writings, that when they split up at Gillette, Doc went to Tombstone.  She seems to have been unaware of Doc's return to Las Vegas.  She did mention the letter that Doc received from Wyatt asking him to come to Tombstone.  She obviously had left by the time Doc returned from Las Vegas and moved into the boarding house.  This supports the idea that Doc took Kate to Gillette sometime during the winter of 1879-80.  I'm working on this, hoping I can narrow it down somehow.  The fact that Kate said that her reason for going to Globe was the hold that Wyatt had on Doc is troubling, though.  

   "Doc was back in Las Vegas by early March, 1880, to settle affairs.  He arrived in time for J. J. Webb's trial, took care of a couple of legal matters and had a non-lethal encounter with Charles Wright before heading back to Prescott in May 1880.   Doc did not rush to Tombstone to join Wyatt Earp.  He lingered in Prescott through the summer and made his move to Tombstone in September.  He may actually have been recruited to join other Dodge Citians, including Bat Masterson and Luke Short, who had become involved in a local conflict with rival gamblers called 'the Slopers.'  Three weeks after he arrived, he was already involved in the conflict with one of the Slopers' leader, Johnny Tyler."
—Gary L. Roberts, author of "Doc Holliday: The Life & Legend"

   Meanwhile, here's my take on the Slopers.

"If God will let me live long enough, he will see me."

—Doc Holliday, responding to Kate's message that Ike Clanton has been looking for him on October 26, 1881

BBB Monoprint:

"The Doctor Will See You Now"

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