Biography of Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp

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Biography of Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp

Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp was born on March 19, 1848 in Monmouth, Illinois. His father Nicholas was a lawyer who preferred a life of farming. From an early age, Wyatt learned from his father to stand up for what was right. When Wyatt was two years old, the family moved to Iowa. In 1861, the Civil War broke out, and Wyatt's father and three older brothers joined the Union Army. Soon after, Wyatt ran away to enlist, but his father caught him and sent him back home.

In 1864, Nicholas left the army, and the family set out for the West. It took seven months to travel from Iowa to California. On the way they encountered Indians at Fort Laramie. The Earps settled in San Bernardino, where Nicholas bought a ranch. It was assumed that Wyatt would study to be a lawyer, but instead he became a stagecoach driver for the Banning Stage Line. He traveled between Los Angeles and Prescott, Arizona. In 1868, Wyatt went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad in Wyoming, where he was able to save some money. In 1870, he returned to Monmouth, where he married a girl named Urilla Sutherland on January 10, 1870. Sadly, she died a few months after their marriage from typhoid. After the death of his wife, Earp moved on to Lamar, Missouri, where he worked as the town Marshall for a year.

Ellsworth was mean, and it was ugly. The stench of the its streets fell second to the odor of the unbathed saddle tramps who had just delivered 150,000 cattle from San Antonio to its freight yards. Adding to these smells were the blends of whisky, tanning leather, kerosene and carved carcasses, a revolting combination. Gunfights were spontaneous, either over a woman or a card game. When Wyatt crossed the Smoky Hill River into Ellsworth in 1873, he may have remembered the "rules of the gunman," but had no intention of employing them. The two main “rules of a gunman” were to take his time and always be armed. Although many people had warned him that it would be naive to go westward without being properly armed, Wyatt didn’t own a gun. All he hoped for was to find a peaceable job. But, only hours after hitching his horse in town he began to wonder if perhaps everyone was right. The most boisterous spot in town was Brennan’s Saloon, off Ellsworth Square; its faro and poker tables buzzed 24 hours, bartenders tapped beer and ...

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...rnia. Wyatt Earp died on January 13, 1929, and his fame as a lawman has continued to grow since his death. Wyatt Earp literally shot his way into the hearts of Western America. He is familiar to the nation’s people, young and old. From Ellsworth, Kansas to Tombstone, Arizona, he cleaned the streets of desperadoes in town after town. He shot coolly, he shot straight, and he shot deadly, but only in self-defense. Like any other person whose reputation leaned on firepower, there were those who wanted to test, to see if their draw was a split second quicker or if they could find a weak spot. Wyatt put many of their doubts to rest. When the history of the western lawmen is placed in view, Earp’s name leads the parade of Hickok, Masterson, Garrett, Tilghman and all the rest.


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