Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What is a "Wild Woman"?

The phrase “wild woman” conjures up all types of images. For the late 19th and early 20th century West, wild women included lady gamblers, show-time cowgirls, rebellious daughters, “soiled doves” and female outlaws. For the purposes of this blog, wild women are defined as individuals who deviated from their culture’s and their era’s expectations of a “proper” woman. Their lives encompassed unusual escapades and often involved quests for freedom, notoriety or wealth. Due to their exploits, many of them entered the lexicon of western myth and legend. A few are less well-known.
As with “wild” western men, their lives have been romanticized and idealized until truth lies hidden behind myth. As outrageous as they might have been, a closer look often reveals less glamour and more devotion to feminine ideals that one might expect.
A number of them left home and challenged their upbringing. Their reasons were diverse. Perhaps, like many men, they sought wealth or a freer way of life. Many not only left home, but became alien and curious to the very parents who raised them.
Today, Americans are still fascinated with wild women, all of whom possessed one or more engaging characteristics: Some were insubordinate, refusing to meet gender expectation. Others were disobedient, going against family teachings or societal morality; many were courageous, endangering their lives to achieve their goals; some were underdogs who triumphed, or competitors who won against tough odds; and a few broke the law, sometimes following male desperados … sometimes acting on their own.
Because the West’s wild women were bold and courageous, willing to take chances, and seldom bothered by what other folks might think, they stand as symbols of the independent American spirit.

VIDEO CLIP ~ The Dalton Girls (1957)

Laura Bullion ~ The Thorny Rose

Laura Bullion was born in Knickerbocker, Tom Green Co., TX to Henry Bullion and Fereby E. Byler. Most sources, as well as Bullion's grave marker, provide December 2, 1876 as the date of her birth. Her mother was German and her father was Native American.

Henry Bullion had been an outlaw and was acquainted with William Carver ("News Carver") and Ben Kilpatrick ("The Tall Texan") both of whom Laura met when she was around 13 years old. Her aunt, Viana Byler, married Carver in 1891, but died soon after the marriage from fever.

At age 15, Laura began a romance with Carver, who for a time after his wife's death had been involved with female outlaw Josie Bassett, sister to Cassidy's girlfriend Ann Bassett. She also worked as a prostitute until reaching the age of either 16 or 17. She is believed to have returned to prostitution from time to time, working mostly in Madame Fannie Porters brothel in San Antonio, TX, a frequent hideaway for the gang.

When Laura first became involved with Carver, he was riding with the Tom Ketchum ("Black Jack Ketchum") gang, and she wanted to join him. He wouldn't allow it at first, so they only saw one another between robberies. While in Utah and on the run from lawmen, Carver became involved with the Wild Bunch gang, led by Butch Cassidy and Elzy Lay. Members of the Wild Bunch nicknamed her Della Rose, a name she came by after meeting Kid Curry's girlfriend Della Moore. She was also referred to as the Rose of the Wild Bunch.

In the early 1890s, she became involved romantically with Ben Kilpatrick ("The Tall Texan"), after Carver began a relationship with a prostitute named Lillie Davis, whom he had met while at Fannie Porter's brothel in San Antonio, TX. As the gang robbed trains, Bullion supported them by selling stolen goods and making connections that could give the gang steady supplies and horses.

By 1901, Laura was again involved romantically with Carver, as well as occasional involvement with other members of the gang. When Carver was killed by lawmen, on April 1, 1901, Bullion became involved romantically with Kilpatrick again, and the two fled to Knoxville, Tennessee. Della Moore and Kid Curry met up with them there, and the four stayed together for a number of months, until in October, when Della Moore was arrested for passing money linked to one of the gangs robberies.

Mugshot, 1901
On November 6, 1901, Laura was arrested on federal charges for "forgery of signatures to banknotes" at the Laclede Hotel in St. Louis. She had $8,500 worth of robbed banknotes in her possession, stolen in the Great Northern train robbery. In an arrest report dated November 6, 1901, her name is filed as "Della Rose" and her aliases are stated to be "Clara Hays" and "Laura Casey & [Laura] Bullion". The arrest report lists her profession as prostitute.
According to a New York Times article, she was "masquerading as Mrs. Nellie Rose" at the time of her arrest. The same article also mentions a suspicion that Laura Bullion, "disguised as a boy", might have taken part in a train robbery in Montana. The paper cites Chief of Detectives Desmond: "I wouldn’t think helping to hold up a train was too much for her. She is cool, shows absolutely no fear, and in male attire would readily pass for a boy. She has a masculine face, and that would give her assurance in her disguise."
On December 12 1901, Kilpatrick was arrested. Curry escaped capture on December 13, 1901, killing two Knoxville policemen in the process. Bullion and Kilpatrick were both convicted of robbery, with Bullion being sentenced to five years in prison, and Kilpatrick receiving a twenty year sentence. She spent three and a half years before being released in 1905. Kilpatrick was not released from prison until 1911.
Kilpatrick stayed in contact with Laura through letters. By the time of his release from prison in 1911, she had become involved with at least four other men, but they never reconnected nor did they ever see one another again. Kilpatrick was killed robbing a train on March 13, 1912. By that time, all the members of the Wild Bunch gang were either in prison, dead or had served a prison sentence and moved on to other things in their lives.
In 1918, she moved to Memphis, where she spent the remainder of her life working as a householder and seamstress, later as a drapery maker, dress maker and interior designer. Claiming to be the war widow of Maurice Lincoln, she lived in Memphis for 43 years under the assumed names of "Freda Lincoln", "Freda Bullion Lincoln" or "Mrs. Maurice Lincoln".
According to her obituary, Laura died of heart disease at the Shelby County Hospital at 6:45 p.m. on December 2, 1961. Her death certificate gives October 4, 1887 as her birthday, making her about ten years younger than she was. On her grave marker at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Memphis, her name is inscribed as "Freda Bullion Lincoln" and "Laura Bullion", her birth name. The grave marker has a decoration of embossed rose vines along the edges. The decoration and her epitaph, The Thorny Rose, refer to Bullion's nickname in the Wild Bunch.
It is unknown who chose the decoration or the epitaph for her grave marker. Laura was the last surviving member of the Wild Bunch gang.

Martha "Calamity Jane" Canary ~ Rowdy Woman of the West

Martha Jane Canary was born May 1, 1852 in Princeton, Mercer Co., MO to Robert Wilson Canary and Charlotte M. Burge. She was the oldest of 6 children, having two brothers and three sisters.

Robert packed his family and moved by wagon train from Missouri to Virginia City, MN in 1865. Charlotte died along the way in Black Foot, MN in 1866 of "washtub pneumonia". In the spring of that year, Robert took his six children on to Utah, arriving in Salt Lake City in the summer. They were there a year before he died in 1867. At the tender age of 15, Martha Jane took over as head of the family, loaded up the wagon once more, and took her siblings to Fort Bridger, Wyoming Territory. They arrived in May of 1868. From there they traveled to Piedmont, WY on the Union Pacific Railroad.

In Piedmont, Martha Jane took whatever jobs she could to provide for her large family. She worked as a dishwasher, a cook, a waitress, a dance-hall girl, a nurse and an ox team driver. Finally, in 1870, she found work as a scout at Fort Russell. Although she had great friends and very positive opinions of the proper things that a girl could enjoy, she soon gained a local notariety for her daring horsemanship and skill as a rifle shot.

Most people thought of her as a hard-drinking woman with a preference for men's clothing. She spoke and behaved bawdily, chewed tobacco and was handy with a gun. During her life she was an army scout, a bullwhacker, a nurse, a cook, a prostitute, a prospector, a gambler, a heavy drinker and one of the most foul-mouthed people in the West.

She earned her nickname in 1872 in a peculiar way. Back then, she was at Goose Creek Camp, SD where Captain Egan and a small body of men were stationed. The Indians were giving a lot of trouble, and there was much fighting. One day Captain Egan was surrounded by a large band. They were fighting desperately for their lives, but were being steadily, but surely slaughtered. Captain Egan was wounded and had fallen off his horse.

In the midst of the fighting, she rode into the very center of the trouble, dismounted, lifted the captain in front of her on her saddle, and dashed out. They got through untouched, but every other man in the gallant company was slaughtered. When he recovered, Captain Egan laughingly spoke of her as Calamity Jane and the name has clung to her ever since.

Before she turned 20, General Cook appointed her as an army scout under Buffalo Bill. In June 1876, she partnered with Wild Bill Hickok as an outrider for Colorado Charlie Utter's wagon train, galloping into Deadwood with a shipment of prostitutes, fresh from Cheyenne.

She had unlimited nerve and entered into the work with enthusiasm, doing good service on a number of occasions. Though she never did a man's share of the heavy work, she went places where old frontiersmen were unwilling to to themselves. Her courage and good fellowship made her popular with every man in the command.

Wild Bill Hickok
That same year, by a daring feat, she also saved the lives of six passengers on a stage coach traveling from Deadwood to Wild Birch, in the Black Hills country. The stage was surrounded by Indians, and the driver, Jack McCall, was wounded by an arrow. Although the other six passengers were men, not one of them had nerve enough to take the reins. Seeing the situation, she mounted the driver's seat without a moment's hesitation and brought the stage safely and in good time to Wild Birch.

The citizens of Deadwood dubbed her the White Devil of the Yellowstone and Saint because she helped nurse the sick during a smallpox plague.

For the remainder of her days, Calamity Jane claimed to have been Wild Bill Hickock’s lover. But his letters home from Deadwood indicate that he was happily wedded. She died on January 8, 1903 and is buried next to Bill Hickcock in Deadwood, SD.

Pearl Hart ~ Lady Bandit of Arizona

Pearl Hart was of French descent, born about 1870 near Toronto, Canada. In her teens she was known for her attractiveness and wit. She was also known for her willingness to date many young men.

Consequently, she married at about age 17, but the marriage was not a happy one. Her husband often abused her and so, at the age of 22, she tried to escape by taking a train to Trinidad, CO. In about 1892 she arrived in Phoenix. There she met her husband again who, in hopes of winning her back, had followed her. For a few years the couple lived a wild life on Washington Street in Phoenix, and it is said that Pearl learned to smoke, drink and even use morphine. However, marital problems started up again and continued until her husband joined the army at the time of the Spanish-American War.

After her husband left, Pearl found it very difficult to survive. She "got along as best she could." Eventually, she grew very depressed and tried to kill herself three or four times. Each time she was prevented by acquaintances.

Finally, Pearl managed to secure a job working for some miners in Mammoth. While there, she met a man who called himself "Joe Boot" (probably an alias). He convinced Pearl that they would do better if they moved to Globe. Unfortunately, on the day they decided to move it began raining heavily. For three days they struggled to pack their belongings over the old Howard and Reduction Toll Road (still visible south of Globe), but they were unsuccessful. It was only after they hired two Mormon boys to help them that they were able to complete the move.

In Globe, Pearl and Joe worked a mining claim for awhile but were unsuccessful. Then Pearl received a letter from her family informing her that her mother was dying. They said she should return home quickly. Pearl later wrote, "That letter drove me crazy ... I had no money. I could get no money. From what I know now, I believe I became temporarily insane." Pearl and Joe decided to rob the Globe-to-Florence stage.

On May 29, 1899, at Cane Spring in the Dripping Springs Mountains, just south of the Pinals, Pearl and Joe stopped a stage which had three passengers: A salesman with $380, a "tenderfoot" with $36 and a Chinaman with $5. Pearl and Joe took it all, even the salesman's watch. Feeling somewhat badly about leaving her victims penniless, Pearl returned to each a dollar ... "enough to eat on." Then the two bandits disappeared to the south.

Shortly thereafter Pearl and Joe were caught by Pinal County Sheriff W. E. Truman. They were placed in the Florence Jail on June 4. The fact that Pearl was a woman bandit immediately caused a great public sensation. The sheriff found the publicity extremely annoying and therefore decided to send Pearl to the Pima County Jail in Tucson, keeping Joe in Florence.

Pearl continued to gain notoriety in Tucson. Some newspaper writers even began to sympathize with her because of what she said were the reasons for the robbery. They also were impressed with her contention that she "would never consent to be tried under a law she or her sex had no voice in making, or to which a woman had no power under the law to give her consent." She had become a strident voice for "women's emancipation."

While in Tucson she also became fond of an inmate trusty called "Ed Hogan" (actually a petty thief named Sherwood). Hogan was allowed to roam freely throughout the jail and grew emotionally attached to Pearl.

On the night of October 12 Hogan cut a hole through the wall of Pearl's cell and allowed her to escape. They both fled to Deming, NM. U.S. Marshal George Scarborough apprehended them there, and Pearl was returned to Florence. Both Pearl and Joe Boot were then placed on trial in Florence, and Pearl was sentenced five years, while Boot got thirty. They were both sent to the Territorial Prison in Yuma to serve out their sentences.

While in Yuma, Pearl's notoriety increased. It is said that guards hung out considerably around her cell, causing "enthusiasm that was harmful to discipline." Newspapermen constantly interviewed her on "the perils of a life of crime," and camera men were always asking her to pose with a six-shooter or a Winchester.

Finally, on December 19, 1902, Pearl was pardoned ... two years before her sentence was to expire. Governor Alexander Brodie explained that the prison "lacked accommodations for women prisoners." The truth, however, was far different: Pearl was pregnant. As the father had to be someone who worked in the prison, the warden was stunned. If the truth were found out, the scandal would be ruinous, so he convinced the governor that she should be released.
After Pearl was released, no one really knows what became of her. Some have said that in 1904 she was living in Kansas City with a gang of pickpockets, but her later whereabouts are completely unknown. She disappeared.

EXCEPT ...  there is a legend in Globe that before World War I Pearl Hart returned to Globe and married a cowboy named Calvin Bywater (in Mexico). They went to live near the old Christmas mine in the Dripping Springs Mountains, not far from Cane Spring. She became a hard-working, law-abiding, stout ranch woman who smoked cigars copiously and punctuated her sentences with salty profanities.

When once asked by a census worker where she was born, she replied, "I wasn't born anywhere." And she was always known only as Pearl Bywater."

Kitty Leroy ~ Lady Gambler & Gunfighter

"Spirits of the good, the fair and beautiful, guard us through the dreamy hours. Kinder ones, but, perhaps less dutiful, keep the places that once were ours." --Poetic editorial in memory of the slain Kitty LeRoy from the Black Hills Daily Times, 1883
A grim-faced bartender led a pair of sheriff’s deputies up the stairs of Deadwood’s Lone Star Saloon to the two lifeless bodies sprawled on the floor. One of the deceased individuals was a gambler named Kitty LeRoy and the other was her estranged husband, Sam Curley.
The quiet expression on Kitty’s face gave no indication that her death had been a violent one. She was lying on her back with her eyes closed and if not for the bullet hole in her chest, would simply have looked as though she were sleeping. Sam’s dead form was a mass of blood and tissue. He was lying face-down with pieces of his skull protruding from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. In his right hand he still held the pistol that brought about the tragic scene. For those townspeople who knew the flamboyant 28 year-old Kitty LeRoy, her furious demise did not come as a surprise.
Kitty was voluptuous beauty who used her striking good looks to take advantage of infatuated men who believed her charm and talent surpassed any they’d ever met. She had dark, striking features, brown curly hair and a trim, shapely figure. She dressed in elaborate gypsy-style garments and always wore a pair of spectacular diamond earrings.

Nothing is known of her early years ... where and when she was born, who her parents and siblings were and what she was like as a child. The earliest historical account of the entertainer, card player and sometime soiled dove, lists her as a dancer in Dallas, TX in 1875.

She was a regular performer at Johnny Thompson’s Variety Theatre. Her nightly performances attracted many cowboys and trail hands. She received standing ovations after every jig and shouts from the audience for an encore. The one thing Kitty was better at than dancing was gambling. She was a savvy faro dealer and poker player and men fought one another, sometimes to death, for a chance to sit opposite her and play a game or two.
Deadwood 1876
In early 1876, after becoming romantically involved with a persistent saloon keeper, Kitty decided to leave Texas and travel with her lover to San Francisco. Their stay in Northern California was brief as Kitty did not find the area to be as exciting as she had heard it had been during the Gold Rush. To earn the thousands she hoped as an entertainer and gambler she needed to be in a place where new gold was being pulled out of the streams and hills. California’s findings were old and nearly played out. Kitty boarded a stage alone and headed for a new gold boom town in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Deadwood Gulch, SD was teaming with more than 6,000 eager prospectors, most of whom spent their hard earnings at the faro tables in saloons. Kitty hired on at the notorious Gem Theatre and danced her way to the same popularity she had experienced in Dallas. Enamored miners competed for her attention, but none seemed to hold her interest. It wasn’t until she met Sam Curley that the thought of spending an extended period of time with another man seemed appealing.

Thirty-five year-old Sam Curley was a cardshark with a reputation as a peaceful man who felt more at home behind a poker table than anywhere else. Kitty and Sam had a lot in common and their mutual attraction blossomed into a proposal of marriage. On June 10, 1877, the pair exchanged vows at the Gem Theatre on the same stage where Kitty performed.
Unbeknownst to the cheering onlookers and the groom, however, Kitty was already married. Her first husband lived in Bay City, MI with her son who was born in 1872. Bored with the trappings of a traditional home life, Kitty had abandoned the pair to travel the west.
When Sam learned that he was married to a bigamist he was upset and the pair quarreled. He was not only dissatisfied with his marital status, but he was fiercely unhappy with the law enforcement in the rough town. He didn’t like Sheriff Seth Bullock’s “strong arm tactics” and within six months after marrying Kitty he left Deadwood Gulch for Colorado.
Perhaps she was distraught over the abrupt departure of her current husband, but Kitty’s congenial personality suddenly turned cold and unfriendly. She was distrusting of patrons and began carrying six-shooters in her skirt pockets and a Bowie knife in the folds of the deep curls of her hair. She moved from Deadwood Gulch to Central City where she ran a saloon. Because she was always heavily armed she was able to keep the wild residents who frequented her establishment under control.
Restless and unable to get beyond Sam’s absence, Kitty returned to Deadwood and opened a combination brothel and gambling parlor. She called her place The Mint and enticed many miners to her faro table where she quickly relieved them of their gold dust. On one particularly profitable evening she raked in more than $8,000. A braggadocios German industrialist had challenged her to a game and lost. The debate continues among historians as to whether Kitty cheated her way to the expensive win. Most believe she was a less-than-honest dealer.
Kitty’s profession and seductive manner of dress sparked rumors that she had had many lovers and had been married five times. Kitty never denied the rumors and even added to them by boasting that she had been courted by hundreds of eligible bachelors and “lost track of the numbers of times men had proposed” to her. Because she carried a variety of weapons on her at all times, rumors also abounded about she had shot or stabbed more than a dozen gamblers for cheating at cards. She never denied those tales either.
By the fall of 1877, the torch Kitty carried for Sam was temporarily extinguished by a former lover. The two spent many nights at the Lone Star Saloon and eventually moved in together.
News of Kitty’s romantic involvement reached a miserable Sam who had established a faro game at a posh saloon in Cheyenne, WY. Sam was furious about being replaced and immediately purchased a ticket back to Deadwood. Hoping to catch Kitty alone with her lover, he disguised his looks and changed his name.
When Sam arrived in town on December 6, 1877, he couldn’t bring himself to face the pair in person. Instead, he sent a message to Kitty’s paramour to meet with him instead but the man refused. In a fit of rage Sam told one of the Lone Star Saloon employees that he intended to kill his unfaithful wife and then himself.
Frustrated and desperate, Sam sent a note to Kitty pleading with her to meet him at the Lone Star Saloon. She reluctantly agreed. Not long after Kitty ascended the stairs of the tavern, patrons heard her scream followed by the sound of two gunshots.
A reporter for the Black Hills Daily Times visited the scene of the murder-suicide the morning after the event occurred. “The bodies were dressed and lying side by side in the room of death,” he later wrote in an article for the newspaper:
Suspended upon the wall, a pretty picture of Kitty, taken when the bloom and vigor of youth gazed down upon the tenements of clay, as if to enable the visitor to contrast a happy past with a most wretched present. The pool of blood rested upon the floor; blood stains were upon the door and walls…. The cause of the tragedy may be summed up in a few words; aye, in one “jealousy.”
A simple funeral was held for the pair at the same location where they had met their end. Although they were placed in separate pine caskets they were buried in the same grave at the Ingleside Cemetery. According to the January 7, 1878 edition of the Black Hills Daily Times, Kitty had “drawn a holographic will in ink on the day prior to her death.” Her estate amounted to $650 dollars. A portion of the funds were used to pay for the service, burial and tombstone.
It seems that Kitty LeRoy and Sam Curley’s spirits would not rest after they were lowered into their shared grave. A month after the pair had departed from his world their ghosts were reportedly haunting the Lone Star Saloon. Patrons claim the phantoms appeared to “recline in a loving embraces and finally melt away in the shadows of the night.”
The editor of the Black Hills Daily Times pursued the story of the “disembodied spirits” and after investigating the disturbances, wrote an article on the subject that was printed on February 28, 1878:
The Lone Star building gained its first notoriety from the suicide, by poisoning, of a woman of ill repute last spring. The house was subsequently rented by Hattie Donnelly, and for a time all went smoothly, with the exception of such little sounds and disturbances as are incident to such places. About the first of December the house was rented by Kitty LeRoy, a woman said to be well connected and possessed of intelligence far beyond her class. Kitty was a woman well known to the reporter, and whatever might have been her life here, it is not necessary to display her virtues or her vices, as we deal simply with information gleaned from hearsay and observation. With the above facts before the reader we simply give the following, as it appeared to us, and leave the reader to draw their own conclusions as to the phenomena witnessed by ourselves and many others. It is an oft repeated tale, but one which in this case is lent more than ordinary interest by the tragic events surrounding the actors.
To tell our tale briefly and simply, is to repeat a story old and well known - the reappearance, in spirit form, of departed humanity. In this case it is the shadow of a woman, comely, if not beautiful, and always following her footsteps, the tread and form of the man who was the cause of their double death. In the still watches of the night, the double phantoms are seen to tread the stairs where once they reclined in the flesh and linger o’er places where once they reclined in loving embrace, and finally to melt away in the shadows of the night as peacefully as their bodies’ souls seem to have done when the fatal bullets brought death and the grave to each.
Whatever may have been the vices and virtues of the ill-starred and ill-mated couple, we trust their spirits may find a happier camping ground than the hills and gulches of the Black Hills, and that tho’ infelicity reigned with them here happiness may blossom in a fairer climate.
The bodies of Kitty LeRoy and Sam Curley were eventually moved to the mountain top cemetery of Mount Moriah in Deadwood and their burial spot left unidentified.

From The Lady Was A Gambler by Chris Enss

Josephine Sarah Marcus ~ aka Josephine Earp

Josephine Sarah Marcus
Josephine Sarah Marcus was the second of three children born in Brooklyn, NY in 1860-61 to German-Jewish immigrants Carl Hyman Marcuse (later Henry Marcus) and Sophie Lewis. When they married, Sophie was 8 years older than her husband and a widow with a 3-year-old daughter named Rebecca. Josephine had an older brother Nathan (August 12, 1857) and younger sister Henrietta (July 10, 1864).
When Josephine was 11, her father was lured by the opportunity afforded in the growing city of San Francisco. They traveled via ship to Panama and caught a second ship to San Francisco, arriving while the city was recovering from the disastrous earthquake of October 21, 1868. Her parents joined the Reformed Temple and her father found work as a baker.

By 1870 San Francisco, the population had boomed to 149,473, and housing was in short supply. Apartment buildings were crowded and large homes were converted into rooming houses. The city was riding on the coattails of the still-expanding economic boom caused by the extraction of silver from the Comtock Lode. Lots of money flowed from Nevada through San Francisco, and for a while the Marcus family prospered. Later that year her step-sister Rebecca Levy married Aaron Wiener, an insurance salesman and a native of Prussia, like her parents.

Henry Marcus made enough money to send Josephine and her sister Hattie to music and dance classes at the McCarthy Dancing Academy, a family-owned business that taught music and dance to both children and adults. In her autobiography I Married Wyatt Earp, Josephine states, "Hattie and I attended the McCarthy Dancing Academy for children on Howard Street (Polk and Pacific). Eugenia and Lottie McCarthy taught us to dance the Highland Fling, the Sailor's Hornpipe and ballroom dancing."

Josephine claimed that she matured early. “There was far too much excitement in the air to remain a child.” She apparently resented how the schools in San Francisco treated her, describing them as “inconsistent of a tolerant and gay populous acting as merciless and self-righteous as a New England village in bringing up its children.” She described the harsh disciplined meted out, including the “sting of rattan" and “being slapped for tardiness”.

In 1874, production of gold and silver from the Comstock Lode, which had brought so much wealth to San Francisco, began to dwindle. San Francisco suffered, and her father Henry’s earnings as a baker fell, forcing the family to move in with Josephine's older sister Sophia and her husband in the flatlands south of Market Street. It was known as “The Slot,” a working class, ethnically mixed neighborhood, where smoke from factory chimneys filled the air.

Pauline Markham
When Josephine was 17 years old, she and friend Dora Hirsh ran away with the Pauline Markham Theater Company. Markham already had a nationwide reputation as a burlesque songstress. She often appeared on stage and in racy publicity photos wearing a corset and pink tights ... shocking attire for the 1870s. In the manuscript that was used in part as a basis for her book I Married Wyatt Earp, Josephine wrote that she and Dora sailed from San Francisco to Santa Barbara with the 6 members of the troupe. [Note: The troupe actually left San Francisco October of 1879 for Arizona on board the Southern Pacific Railroad. The troupe reached Tombstone in December 1879 after which they headed north to Prescott. where they put on more than a dozen performances of HMS Pinafore between December 24, 1879~February 20, 1880.]
John Behan
On September 28, 1874, John Behan was nominated Sheriff at the Democratic convention in Yavapai County. The Prescott Miner reported on October 6 that, “J.H. Behan left on an 'electioneering' tour toward Black Canyon, Wickenburg and other places” north and east of present-day Phoenix, only a few miles distant from Cave Creek where Al Sieber, the famous Indian scout, was looking for Indians. Behan was gone for 35 days, during which he could have met Josephine. She said “my heart was stirred by his attentions as would the heart of any girl have been under such romantic circumstances. The affair was at least a diversion in my homesickness though I cannot say I was in love with him.” Behan returned to Prescott on November 11 but lost the election.

Josephine's record of what happened next, if accurate, says that she and Dora were homesick and returned to San Francisco with the help of Sieber, who she claimed led them to safety. Sieber was German and so was Josephine's father. Sieber is supposed to have contacted Josephine's brother-in-law, Aaron Wiener, who helped arrange transportation home. While Josephine described Seiber in buckskin clothing, he later said he only wore buckskin garments while posing for a photograph. Josephine's story was that Sieber and his scouts led her stagecoach and it's passengers to a nearby adobe ranch house where the group spent 10 days sleeping on the floor. According to Josephine, this is where she first met John Harris, who she described as, "young and darkly handsome, with merry black eyes and an engaging smile."

According to Josephine's story, upon her return to San Francisco, Johnny Behan followed her in order to ask her to marry him. She declined, and he returned to Arizona. Josephine told the Earp cousins that she returned to San Francisco before the grand opening of the Baldwin Theater on March 6, 1876. She wrote that her family told "the younger children (niece and nephew), and our friends were told that I had gone away for a visit.... The memory of it has been a source of humiliation and regret to me in all the years since that time and I have never until now disclosed it to anyone besides my husband (Wyatt)."

Tip Top, AZ ca. 1888
 In November, 1879, Behan had a saloon in the silver mining town known as TipTop, AZ. The fast-growing town already had five saloons with five courtesans, and Johnny's new saloon had none.

According to Josephine, Johnny proposed marriage and she decided to leave San Francisco once again. Johnny’s proposal of marriage was a good excuse to leave home. She wrote, “life was dull for me in San Francisco. In spite of my bad experience of a few years ago the call to adventure still stirred my blood."

Behan arrived in Tombstone in September, 1880. 18 months after the town's founding. He was named by newly elected Sheriff Charles A. Shibell as the Pima County Deputy Sheriff for eastern Pima County. He also bought part interest in the Dexter Livery Stable with John Dunbar.

Josephine moved with Behan to Tombstone. She said years later that she lived with a lawyer while working as a housekeeper for Behan and his ten year old son, Albert. This version of her return has been disputed, as some believe that she was really living with Behan all along after her return to Tombstone. In her conversations about her life with the Earp cousins, she was very imprecise about the timing and exact nature of events during this period. The most she would say is that she returned to Tombstone believing Behan was planning to marry her, and when he kept putting it off, she grew disillusioned.

In the midst of their romantic relationship, Behan continued to see other women. Josephine wrote a letter to her father, who sent her $300 for a return trip to San Francisco. Rather than leaving Tombstone, Behan convinced Josephine to use the money to build a house for them. Josie also pawned a diamond ring to complete the construction.

In April 1881, less than eight months later, the home that Behan and Marcus shared had been rented to Dr. George Emory Goodfellow. However, as late as June 1881, Josephine was still signing her name as Josephine Behan. In the summer of 1881 Johnny Behan became involved in a serious romantic relationship with another woman. Wyatt Earp was still living with his current common-law wife Mattie Blaylock.

Wyatt Earp, Age 33
It is not known exactly when Marcus left Behan or how Marcus and Wyatt Earp began their relationship. Known diarist George W. Parsons never mentioned seeing Wyatt and Josephine together, and neither did John Clum in his memoirs. Virgil's wife, Allie, did write about her, noting that "Sadie's charms were undeniable. She had a small, trim body and a meneo of the hips that kept her full, flounced skirts bouncing. Certainly her strange accent, brought with her from New York to San Francisco, carried a music new to the ears of a Western gambler and gunman." At some point during August and September they became friends and then more seriously involved.

Behan was embarrassed by the public breakup. Most Tombstone residents thought that Marcus and Behan were legally married. Her breakup with Behan and her arrival into Wyatt's life were publicized by the The Tombstone Epitaph, the leading local newspaper. To add to the scandal Earp had been in a common-law marriage with Mattie Blaylock since 1873. Allie Earp, Virgil's wife, wrote that the two women had at least two verbal altercations over the affair between Josie and Wyatt Earp, but her story of the relationship is not believed by some historians.

Tombstone Looking East
The embarrassment suffered by Behan was one of many factors that may have contributed animosity between Behan and Wyatt Earp and to the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Numerous other events between Wyatt Earp and Ike Clanton, and others of the Clanton gang, actually sparked the gunfight; the feud between Behan and Earp was little more than a side show. On October 26, 1881, Josephine Marcus was at her home when she heard the sound of gunfire. Taking a wagon in the direction of the shots, Marcus was relieved to see that Earp was uninjured.

By 1882 Josephine had adopted the name of Josephine Earp, although no official record of their marriage exists. In I Married Wyatt Earp: The Recollections of Josephine Sarah Marcus, Josephine wrote that she and Wyatt were married in 1892 aboard millionaire Lucky Baldwin's yacht. [Raymond Nez wrote that his grandparents witnessed their marriage aboard a yacht off the California coast.] Josephine was friends with Lucky Baldwin and wrote that she received money from him in exchange for her jewelry, eventually selling all of her jewelry to him.

Following what has been dubbed the "Earp Vendetta Ride", she and Earp traveled through various western states hunting for gold and silver. It is also said that they ran horse races in San Diego as well as operating saloons in Idaho and Alaska. During this period, they became a gambling team.

Josephine said of the time from between 1901~1929, "We would wander over the deserts of Nevada, Arizone and California with a camping outfit during the pleasant fall, winter and spring months. The hot summer months would be spent in Los Angeles." In the course of writing the Earp biography Lake learned some other aspects of her life. Wyatt became critically ill in late 1928 and died on January 13, 1929. Before Wyatt's biography was released soon after his death, Josephine traveled to Boston, MA, in an attempt to convince the publisher to stop the release of the book.

Much later in 1939 Josephine tried to stop 20th Century Fox from making a film based on the book, Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal. Under the condition that Wyatt's name be removed from the title, the movie was later released as Frontier Marshal from which she received royalties. In Los Angeles she became friends with many celebrities, including Cecil B. DeMille and Gary Cooper.

After Wyatt Earp's death, Josephine sought to get her own life story published and collaborated with Wyatt's cousins Mabel Earp Cason and Cason's sister Vinola Earp Ackerman. The cousins recorded events in her life but found Josephine was evasive about her early life in Tombstone. Mabel Cason and her sister "finally abandoned work on the manuscript because she (Josie) would not clear up the Tombstone sequence where it pertained to her and Wyatt."
She approached several publishers for the book, but backed out several times due to their insistence that she be completely open and forthcoming, rather than slanting her memories to her favor. Josephine wanted to keep their tarnished history associated with Tombstone private. Josephine finally changed her mind and asked Wyatt's cousins to burn their work, but Cason held back a copy, which amateur historian Glen Boyer eventually acquired the rights to.

The University of Arizone Press published the book in 1967 under the title I Married Wyatt Earp: The Recollections of Josephine Sarah Marcus. It was immensely popular for many years, becoming the university's fourth all-time best selling book with over 35,000 sold. It was cited by scholars and relied upon as factual by filmmakers. Beginning in about 1994, critics began to challenge the accuracy of the book, and eventually many parts of the book were refuted as fictional and inaccurate. Ownership of the book, following Josephine's death, eventually fell to Glenn Boyer, following his obtaining rights from the relatives of Josephine Earp. In 1998, a series of articles in the Phonenix New Times, including interviews with amateur historian Glen Boyer, proved that Boyer invented large portions of the book. In 2000, the University responded to criticism of the university and the book and removed it from their catalog. The book has become an example of how supposedly factual works can trip up researchers, historians and librarians. It was described by the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology in 2006 as a creative exercise that cannot be substantiated or relied on.

Josephine Earp spent her last years in Los Angeles, where she suffered from depression and other illnesses. She died on December 20, 1944, at 4004 W. 17th Street in the West Adams district of Los Angeles, CA. She was believed to be in her early 80s, perhaps as old as 83. Her body was cremated and buried next to Wyatt's remains in Colma, CA in the Marcus family plot at the Hills of Eternity Memorial Park. Her parents and brother are buried nearby.

Edited from information found at Wikipedia