Lot #4
Josie Earp Letter

Wyatt dictates to Josie: “Doc was not any pal of mine only an acquaintance...was one of my deputys when I was rounding up horse thiefs was not the bad man they made him out to be. Had his friends as well as enemies”
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Estimate: $10000+

Description

Wyatt dictates to Josie: “Doc was not any pal of mine only an acquaintance...was one of my deputys when I was rounding up horse thiefs was not the bad man they made him out to be. Had his friends as well as enemies”

Lengthy ALS, written by Josie Earp, dictated by Wyatt Earp, signed “Best wishes from both Earps,” four pages both sides, 8 x 10, April 13, 1927. Letter to Wyatt Earp’s authorized biographer John Flood. In part: “I think it is just awful how they are all writing western stories; and all and every one of them are trying to write up Mr. E. You can see by the letter…Burns got…and yet they cannot get to the bottom of it all and want Mr. E to give to them…I should say you know Burns in all of his letters wrote he was protecting Mr. E and kept on saying I am not interfering with his book, and you can see for yourself…Mr. E did write him from here and told him some of the things he wanted to know…Mr. E would rather not have his name mentioned in the book at all. I am so happy that he wrote to him in that effect. He also said I am getting damn tired of it all and to…those old Moss Lacks in and around Tombstone tell a lot of lies and talk about things they know nothing about…just to be talking…he is going to make a big fight tell him Wyatt wrote in his letter that he never did a thing in his life that he was ashamed of and always just would think well as an officer…Now Wyatt wrote him just what I am telling you…He told him the truth. He is tired of it all. He even wrote when Virgil died…You see Wyatt told him he always tried to do the right thing by everyone. Never did a wrong knowingly never had trouble as an officer only when he was compelled to.

Tell him too Doc was not his friend anymore than the rest of them. Only as a sworn-in deputy. Any way get him to understand that he is not going to pull the wool over his eyes…We will have to fight that is all. Wyatt is very angry…Burns wrote to Wyatt and he got the same information then he can get in Tuscon…Tell him Mr. E story is being written and it is correct too. So many lies have been told…Tell him you have no pictures of any of the Tombstone old timers. None of myself. Doc was not any pal of mine only an acquaintance. First met him in Dodge City. He was then practicing dentistry. Met him again in Tombstone came from a prominent family in the South. Was one of my deputys [sic] when I was rounding up horse thiefs was not the bad man they made him out to be. Had his friends as well as enemies. Burns got all the datta [sic] you are asking for. And is now writing a book & am tired of it all. I wish you would please leave me out of it all so many lies have been told that I am going to put an stop to it all.” In fine condition, with central horizontal and vertical fold, and some scattered light creasing and toning.

After a lifetime of false headlines and public speculation about his character and actions, Earp was determined to set the record straight; he hired John H. Flood as his secretary and they began work on his official biography. He never got over the damage done to his reputation after the gunfight at O.K. Corral – the shame of being charged with murder – and refused to go to the grave without clearing his name. In a letter to Burns, another author trying to publish an Earp biography, he wrote that he “never did a thing in his life that he was ashamed of and always just would think well as an officer,” and he “always tried to do the right thing by everyone.” He was also bothered by the widespread misconception, which still remains today, that he and Doc Holliday were lifelong friends and partners. Dictating to Josie, Wyatt discredits the myth and explains the truth of his somewhat inconsequential relationship with Doc: “Doc was not any pal of mine only an acquaintance. First met him in Dodge City…. Met him again in Tombstone… Was one of my deputys when I was rounding up horse thiefs was not the bad man they made him out to be. Had his friends as well as enemies.” This incredible letter cuts through the stories of Tombstone legend and provides an account straight from the hero’s mouth: the Earp-Holliday team was nothing more than a professional relationship, and an unremarkable one at that!

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Gangsters, Outlaws & Lawmen
  • Dates: #392 - Ended September 29, 2012