Thursday, July 7, 2016

American Biography: Doc Holliday

Doc Holliday was a man who ran both sides of the law.  And he really was a doc, a doctor of dentistry.  However when he contracted tuberculosis not many people wanted to see him any more.  He was advised to head west to drier climates to prolong his life.  That is what brought him West.  He became a gambler, and a drinker, and used laudanum, and had a very bad temper.  He was never convicted of a crime, but was arrested 17 times.  His love was Mary Katherine Horony "Kate" or "Big Nose Kate."  She too was hot tempered.  Soon after they hooked up, she got to break him out of jail after he killed another gambler who was cheating.  He befriended Wyatt Earp and his family.  He was terribly loyal in this friendship, and help Earp escape several tight situations.
Of course both he and Wyatt Earp are best known for a gun fight in Tombstone, Arizona.  This involved the Earp brothers, Marshals in the local town against a criminal gang known as "The Cowboys."  The sheriff supported the Cowboys, who were cattle rustlers.  The area was close to the border with Mexico and they played both sides.  Several of the Cowboys threatened Earp.  This lead to Earp and his brothers, Virgil and Morgan and Doc Holliday going to a vacant area by the OK Corral to disarm the gang. When Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury went for their guns, Virgil Earp said, "I don't want that." but it was already too late.  Shots rang out, in fact over 30 shots.  When it was over three of the Cowboys were dead, and the fourth ran off.  Morgan and Virgil were both wounded.  Doc Holliday had been hit in the hip, but the leather from his belt prevented a wound.  Virgil was untouched.  When the sheriff approached Wyatt to arrest him, he just said, 'I won't be arrested today."
This killing set off a feud war.  The town eventually became too dangerous for the Earps.  Morgan Earp was shot and killed.  But bodies of the Cowboy Gang seemed to be piling up.  The gang was decimated.
Later Doc moved to Colorado, and the Earps to California.  However Wyatt came to visit Doc and he was much thrilled by the visit.  The consumption was over taking Doc and he was dying.  He spent his last two months in bed, and died in his stocking feet.

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