Wednesday, February 15, 2017

MORETON FREWEN: FIRST RANCHER ON THE POWDER RIVER

          I first learned of Moreton Frewen when reading Elisabeth Kehoe’s book, Fortune’s Daughters: 
Moreton Frewen, Courtesy Moreton Frewen Collection,
American heritage Center, University of Wyoming
the Extravagant Lives of the Jerome Sisters
(Grove Atlantic, Ltd., 2004). Frewen, son of a wealthy and well-connected Sussex squire, married the eldest sister, Clara, in June, 1881.  While the Frewen family had inhabited the same manor house for 300 years at Moreton’s birth in 1853, and Moreton could count the Prince of Wales among his many titled friends, he was not considered suitable for Clara. The Jerome family was wealthy enough and certainly snobbish enough to originally turn their noses up at the younger son of the Duke of Marlborough as a suitor for their middle daughter, Jennie (who would be mother to Winston Churchill), so when, in 1879, the penniless Moreton Frewen began to make his suit, he was hardly in the running. Like many younger sons of such families, he could not expect much of an inheritance as his father’s extensive properties were entailed under primogeniture to the oldest surviving son.  Moreton, as a gentleman by birth, would normally be expected to enter the clergy, the Services or politics.
          But fate took a hand.  In 1878 Frewen went to Texas with John George Adair, a wealthy Irishman who had half-interest in Charles Goodnight’s JA ranch in the Llano Estacado.  Frewen was mesmerized; an adventurer by nature, he became enthralled by the savagery and history of the place and most of all by the idea of the West’s cattle industry. Back in England, he squandered the remains of his £16,000 (approx.$80,000 at the time) inheritance, most of it on a single horse race. Disheartened but never defeated, Moreton went on to Wyoming with brother Dick to seek out the land to establish Frewen Bros. Cattle Co. The Frewens searched for range in a very inhospitable climate. One adventure was helping a band of Shoshoni kill enough buffalo for their winter food. The brothers then decided to use the buffalo herd as snowplows, stampeding them through a mountain pass to flatten the snowdrifts so that they themselves could get through. The range they eventually discovered and settled was a swathe of the Powder River Basin extending eighty miles north and south and fifty east to west; their headquarters were more than two hundred difficult miles from Rock Creek station, which was on the branch line of the Union Pacific.
          The ranch house that Moreton built avoided the mosquitoes and took advantage of an outcrop
Big Horn Ranche, "Castle Frewen',
 Courtesy Moreton Frewen Collection,
American heritage Center, University of Wyoming
of coal. It was purportedly the first two story residence in Wyoming and had a solid walnut staircase and woodwork imported from England, a minstrel’s gallery so that musicians could entertain the guests in the dining room, which could seat twenty comfortably, or in the main room which was forty ft. square. Materials for a telephone line were brought, and this ran twenty miles from the headquarters to the Frewen Bros. store at Powder River Crossing.  A piano was imported from Chicago along with chintz hangings and chair coverings, a library was well-stocked, and the walls were papered.  There were, of course, living quarters for servants. It cost Frewen around $900 a month to run and was named Big Horn Ranche (sic); the cowboys called it ‘Castle Frewen.’  And it was all built on borrowed money.
          The herd was started with 4500 head bought from the ‘76’ brand; it would eventually increase to ten times that amount with 9000 sheep and some 450 horses. Sadly for Frewen, the number of herds on the Powder River would also increase. While the first round-up in Wyoming in 1874 required only two divisions, in 1884 there were no less than thirty-one divisions and the round-up system had become law in the Territory. In one division alone, 200 cowboys with 2,000 horses worked 400,000 cattle over a six week period, with Reps visiting other divisions to get any cattle that may have strayed.  Pre-rodeo, three ropers could succeed branding 166 cows in eighty minutes!
          Moreton, of course, won Clara eventually and the couple were married in high society’s Grace Church in NYC.  Unfortunately for Moreton, the Jerome fortune was somewhat diminished by then, and there was no dowry such as had been settled on sister Jennie—just a thirty-diamond necklace as a present from her father for Clara. Clara made the arduous journey out to the ranch where the Frewens had a long list of lords and ladies who came for rather opulent hunting parties, scouted by ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody, in the autumn. But when Clara joined one group and became ill, thereby suffering a miscarriage, she returned to New York never to set foot in Wyoming again. 
          By August,1882, Moreton had bought out his brother and formed the Powder River Cattle Company whose Board of Directors read like Burke’s Peerage with himself as manager.
 The company was not to last long. From a 24% dividend one year, by 1885 the company was in deep trouble. Two bad winters had brought losses that were greater than ‘book count’ (as opposed to a head count). Rustlers, raiding Indians, wolves, grasshoppers and prairie fires had taken their normal toll, greatly exacerbated by low prices offered by Chicago meatpackers, and overcrowded ranges—reduced by a growing number of homesteaders. Ranchers had a policy of filing only for land for water rights or their own homesteads or line camps, often counting on employees to file sections and re-sell to  their outfit in due course. The open range between these filings was now encroached upon in great numbers, and a dry summer followed by a bad winter left too little grass for far too many cattle.
           Frewen had innovative ideas for increasing the company’s income by shipping cattle directly to England bypassing the Chicago consortium, or by building a refrigeration facility for beef at Sherman station between Laramie and Cheyenne, where the temperatures rarely went above freezing any night of the year. He also invested in land at Superior for fattening cattle before shipping. But every venture took money he had to borrow and the creditors began knocking at his door while the Powder River Company was losing money, partially due to his mismanagement.  At a time when ocean crossings took twelve days, Moreton was rarely at the ranch (he claimed to have made 100 crossings in his lifetime). Finally, in 1885, he was dismissed from his position, his own shares worthless, while the Board tried to take whatever money they could before the company was dissolved.  The most horrific winter of ’86-’87 with cattle losses between 50-75% put an end to the era of the large cattle companies and their open range policies.
           While Moreton Frewen had many ideas for money making, bad luck plagued him perpetually. And Frewen and his wife simply could not live in any style less than that to which they were accustomed.  Even when the bailiffs were in their English home, Clara, who had never lived with less than seven servants, paid one of the bailiffs ten shillings to polish mirrors and answer the door. Yet Frewen was also a man before his time.  He foresaw the Panama Canal thirty-five years before its completion and the St. Lawrence Seaway some seventy-four years in advance. He was an ecologist before the word was invented, never permitting wanton killing of wildlife (and Territory law prohibited killing except for food), reprimanding a guest who had killed a bull buffalo, stopping the cutting of the scarce timber in the valley, and moving for additions to Yellowstone Nat’l Park. He was daring to the point of foolhardy: once when his horse went lame on the way to Rock Creek, he made the last forty miles on foot, a journey of twenty-six hours through snowdrifts and mountains. He also removed a bullet from his own leg, riding fifty miles into Calgary in heavy snow. And, of course, he was virtually the first settler on the Powder River when the only white men who lived there were hunters and skinners.  He had foreseen the overcrowding, forecasting that between two and three million cattle would have to be removed from the Basin, and had started to move his own herd up to Alberta. Called “hopelessly visionary” by his father-in-law, the nickname given to him by his brother Stephen’s regiment was “Mortal Ruin”.            
           Moreton Frewen died, aged seventy-one, in England in 1924 with an estate estimated under £50. When his daughter visited the site of his ranch in the 1930s, all that remained was a single Bakelite casing from the telephone line.

My thanks to John R. Waggener, Associate Archivist and the staff of the American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, Laramie.
An earlier, longer version of this post appeared on my website at https://andreadowning.com/2011/11/27/moreton-frewen-mortal-ruin/

My own version of the British ranchers is in my book, Loveland, available via Amazon Encore at https://www.amazon.com/Loveland-Andrea-Downing-ebook/dp/B014RUQ746/  and in papaerback from http://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/search?controller=search&orderby=position&orderway=desc&search_query=Loveland&submit_search= 



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Introducing...Brides for All Seasons

So the tale begins...

Like any other romantic, I like to think mail order brides traveled west, met their handsome husbands and lived happily ever after.  And that is what I based my new series, Brides for all Seasons on.  I made a choice to hitch my fictional wagon to the dreams the women had for betterment and for a fresh start.



For many it was.  It was the opportunity to have families, to escape poverty or the social stigma of spinsterhood.  From what I've researched the majority of these marriages worked.  The couples remained married for life, raising a family and even falling in love.  It makes my heart happy to know this.




However, I am not so presumptuous to claim that some women did not end up in worse circumstances then before going west.  There are stories of disappearances, outlaw husbands and of women ending up working in brothels or saloons to support themselves after their marriages either never happened, or didn't work out.




The westward move caused by the gold rush and the end of the civil war, when thousands of men traveled to the untamed territory in search of riches, adventure or to start a new life brings so many rich ideas for authors.  How can we not romanticize men yearning for wives during a time of scarcity of the fairer sex?




Many of you are not familiar with my writing. So I am including an excerpt from Big Sky Blue, the first book in the Shades of Blue series, which is free on all retailers!

Hat in hand, Hank walked outside toward Mrs. Dawson's wagon and turned in the direction of the barn. Next to a tree not far from the side of his house, a woman was bent at the waist petting his herding dogs. Both animals fought for attention, seeming to relish the scratch behind the ears she gave them. Her soft words lulled him closer to hear what she said.
"There, there, don't worry, I'm going to pay equal attention to both of you," she told the dogs who continued to press against each other. He could not make out her features as long golden brown hair fell forward hiding them from him.
Most women kept their hair pulled up, but he preferred to see it loose like this woman wore hers. Seeming to sense his presence, she straightened and brushed the hair away from a stunning face. Brilliant, green eyes widened at him and her pouty lips fell open. She reached out her hand towards him and then quickly retracted it. "You?"
Hank glanced over his shoulder, but there was no one. "Hello, miss, I'm Hank Cole. Missus Dawson, your aunt, cares after my boy."
Her brows came together and she studied him, her eyes shifting from his face to his shoulders and across the chest. Of course, Mrs. Dawson had said the woman was in shock after a disturbing loss. Hank wondered if that explained her strange actions and words.
"Would you please come inside? I'll bring your things in," Hank offered his arm which she took.
She flushed and pressed her lips together before speaking. "I'm sorry, I forget my manners. You must be Hank Cole. I'm Elizabeth Dawson. Excuse my astonishment, it's just you look so familiar. You remind me of someone..." She left off not finishing her thought.
Ah, so he favored someone she cared for. Of course, that explained her reaction. "Is this man from Montana?" he asked just to make conversation.
"Oh no, he's not from anywhere..." her hand flew to her mouth. "You must think me mad. I'm sorry. What I meant to say is, no, he is not from Montana. What a lovely view." She changed the subject abruptly. She stopped when they reached the porch and looked across the land to the fields where part of his herd fed. "I will stay here until you return with the bags, Mister Cole. I only have two small bags."
"Call me Hank."
"Thank you. I will, Hank." Her attention returned to the view and, for a moment, he looked in the same direction feeling pride in what he'd accomplished in such a short time.

And thus a very interesting relationship begins as fate proves it does have a sense of humor by bringing two total opposites together! 


If you haven't tried my books, please give me a read.  I hope that you'll fall in love with my heroes!

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Happy Reading!! 







Friday, February 10, 2017

Destiny's Purpose: Book One of The Destiny Series

     Good Morning family! Today I will introduce you to my first book, Destiny's Purpose by Letisha Stanton. Chasing a freedom as big as the Mexican sky, Destiny Grey finds himself on the run from a cruel and unjust system. There is a life to be had in Mexico, if he is able to withstand the brutal climates, the Renegade Natives, the unforgiving land, and his own heart. Trinity Jones doesn’t help his plight when she shows up wild and half beaten to death. Unable to ignore her suffering, he decides to rescue her from her captors, and from the prison of her own mind. Soon he discovers, however, that she is the one who will rescue him.



     Exert:

Trinity tossed the saddle aside and stormed over to him, this time standing on eye level with him since he was still sitting down. She put one hand up on her hip and one finger in his face.
"I know this man you have become is not the man I know you want to be. You are not even the same man who rescued me. What happened to you? How did you become such a coward?" she asked again.
He was tired of hearing that too. "You want to know what happened to me," he yelled. "You want to know what happened to me! You happened to me! I was dead when I met you! I was gonna deliver Jolene here, see her settled into a more secure life with a new husband, and then I was gonna fade away! Then you come along and I see you fightin' for yo life when you should be dead and it tore me apart! I saw another dead soul like mine only I knew you could fight for yo life. You survived when you shouldn't have ... I shouldn't survive," he finally stopped and shook his head.
"You've done somethin' to me and I can't undo it," he continued. "I want to push you away. I want Jolene to find a proper husband. I want things to fall into their rightful place so I can turn to dust and join Judith..."
He stopped talking as Trinity lowered her finger from his face and looked at him. She looked so vulnerable. "I don't deserve you in my life," he said honestly.
Trinity looked at him in a way she had never done before. The tender regard in her eyes nearly broke him. It was as if she really understood what he was trying to say, for the first time. She brought her hand up toward his hair and he flinched.
"Don't," he warned as he looked away from her. "I need to keep my distance."
She shook her head. "No. You don't," she responded. She was about to touch him again when he rose from his chair and nearly tipped it over as he backed away. She did not follow him.
"I never asked for you, Trinity," he said, looking at her small trembling frame.
"Do you know what I have thought all these months?" she asked him as she let her arm drop to her side.
He closed his eyes and shook his head. He tried to conjure an image of Judith but she was not there. Not even the ugly yellow nightgown would come to mind. All he could see was a scarred body he had kissed everywhere.
"I have been thinking all these months you saw my scars and then didn't want me anymore," she confessed. His eyes flew open at that statement and he saw a tear make its way down her face. He tried to keep the same refrain he had before, tried not to feel her, see her, but he couldn't do it.
He closed the distance between them in a few strides and picked her up into his arms. "How could you be so beautiful and ever think a man wouldn't want you," he asked smoothly.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Sour Puss



Valentine’s Day is usually associated with giving small tokens of affection to a loved one or friend, most often in the form of a card and often said with chocolate. The tradition of bestowing tokens of affection to one’s love interest is centuries old. Before the mass production of cheaply manufactured cards in the early 1800s, that token was often a hand-written note or poem. The earliest surviving example of a valentine dates to the 15th century.




Sorry. Not the scandalous one
However, it was during the Victorian period that commercially making and then sending a valentine card really took off. The availability of cheap paper, relatively inexpensive postage, and newer printing techniques allowed for this explosion of card sending. Mailing a valentine granted anonymity to the sender and some of the cards were very racy for the time period. One card from the period allows the recipient to raise the cover’s crinoline and reveal a scandalous red-stockinged ankle.




There is one tradition of the valentine from the Victorian era that might seem surprising today—and one that there are times some of us might have wished for still—and that is the “vinegar valentine.” The vinegar valentine finally seemed to die away by 1940.


Definitely not politically correct






These valentines were also a product of the anonymity of the post and were often very vulgar and in some cases downright cruel. While looking for these images, I even found one that someone wrote up for an Army surgeon during the Civil War. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A Valentine Serenade

by Shanna Hatfield

With Valentine's Day rapidly approaching, it got me thinking about all things romantic (not that my thoughts don't drift there with alarming frequency, anyway).

But as I thought about Valentine's Day and love songs and cowboys in the old west who wanted to woo their girl, I started wondering what songs they might have sung to their sweethearts.




I could just picture some lonesome ol' cowpoke sitting beneath a sweet girl's window, singing her one of these love songs from an era gone by.









And the song from Perry Como:





You can listen to Bing Crosby croon this one here:

   

However you celebrate Valentine's Day next week, I hope it fills your heart with love.

USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with relatable heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”
Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic is out to make it happen one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.

Find Shanna’s books at:

Shanna loves to hear from readers. Follow her online at:


Monday, February 6, 2017

Fort Bowie

By Kristy McCaffrey

Fort Bowie in 1886.
Fort Bowie—located in southeastern Arizona—would become one of the most important military posts in the Arizona Territory. It not only guarded Apache Pass and its important water supply, it was situated directly in Chiricahua Apache country.

Apache Pass is a shallow saddle that separates the southeastern Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains from the Dos Cabezas. When the United States acquired the area from Mexico, they inherited a corridor that became nationally prominent as the Southern Overland Mail Road, connecting the eastern U.S. to California. Unfortunately, Apache Pass lay in the heart of Apacheria. Because there was a fairly reliable water source at Apache Springs (at the pass), this location was frequented by the Chiricahua Apache Indians.

Fort Bowie in 1893.

The first Fort Bowie—named for Colonel George Washington Bowie, commander of the regiment that established the fort—was built at Apache Pass in 1862, consisting of a 4-foot high stone wall that was 412 feet long. The wall surrounded tents and a stone guard house. During the next six years, patrols attempted to subdue the Apache, who raided and killed travelers not escorted by the military. Living conditions at the fort were undesirable: isolation, bad food, sickness, crude quarters, and the constant threat of Apaches led to low morale and frequent troop rotation.


In 1868, construction began on a second Fort Bowie and encompassed barracks, houses, corrals, a trading post and a hospital. In 1876, most of the Chiricahua Indians were taken to the San Carlos Reservation, but Geronimo escaped, launching the start of a 10-year battle known as the Geronimo War. During this time, Fort Bowie was the center of military operations against the Chiricahua. Geronimo’s final surrender came in 1886. After that, Fort Bowie settled into a more peaceful existence. It was finally closed in 1894.

Geronimo departing for Florida.
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Fort Bowie is featured in my book THE BLACKBIRD.



Bounty hunter Cale Walker arrives in Tucson to search for J. Howard “Hank” Carlisle at the request of his daughter, Tess. Hank mentored Cale before a falling out divided them and a mountain lion attack left Cale nearly dead. Rescued by a band of Nednai Apache, his wounds were considered a powerful omen and he was taught the ways of a di-yin, or a medicine man. To locate Hank, Cale must enter the Dragoon Mountains, straddling two worlds that no longer fit. But he has an even bigger problem—finding a way into the heart of a young woman determined to live life as a bystander. 

For two years, Tess Carlisle has tried to heal the mental and physical wounds of a deadly assault by one of her papá’s men. Continuing the traditions of her Mexican heritage, she has honed her skills as a cuentista, a storyteller and a Keeper of the Old Ways. But with no contact from her father since the attack, she fears the worst. Tess knows that to reenter Hank Carlisle’s world is a dangerous endeavor, and her only hope is Cale Walker, a man unlike any she has ever known. Determined to make a journey that could lead straight into the path of her attacker, she hardens her resolve along with her heart. But Cale makes her yearn for something she vowed she never would—love.


A steamy historical western romance set in 1877 Arizona Territory.

2015 Laramie Award ~ BEST in Western Romantic Fiction

“With dastardly villains, plenty of action, a strong heroine, surprising twists and turns, and a sexy cowboy, all underlined by a sensual love story, this historical western romance has something for everyone.” ~ InD’tale Magazine

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Connect with Kristy

Friday, February 3, 2017

Love Triangle at the OK Corral

Gunfight at the OK Corral
(by By Johnseiferth - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35365871)

The Gunfight at the OK Corral lasted thirty seconds. The combatants, the Lawmen and the Cowboys, faced off in an area I'd have trouble making a three point turn in (but to be fair I have trouble making three-point turns anywhere). The event is not a pivotal point in our history. It was almost forgotten until a book about Wyatt Earp came out, inspiring John Ford to make the movie My Darling Clementine in 1946. It's hard to say why the gunfight captures so much attention: A confluence of time, setting, and personalities. The Civil War was over, but the toxic feeling it left stayed on like a bad hangover and migrated westward to towns like Tombstone, Arizona. Tombstone itself springing to life in the middle of nowhere and attracting characters like Doc Holliday, the Earp brothers, and Bat Masterson to name a few. It is quite a story.

But to paraphrase a famous quote, behind every great story is a great woman and the gunfight took place amid a background of domestic drama. There are actually a lot of interesting women and love stories going on here at this time: Doc Holliday and his on again, off again love affair with "Big Nose" Kate Horony, and the five handsome Earp brothers and their wives and girlfriends living in each other's pockets in Tombstone (the Earp brothers had eleven documented wives between them). The more I read about that town, the more it sounds like a soap opera. Before these guys even had to face off against the Cowboys, they already had a lot on their plates.

But, I'll leave those stories for now and focus on the love triangle that framed events leading to and following the Gunfight at the OK Corral. The love triangle featuring Wyatt Earp, Josephine Marcus, and Johnny Behan. There are even triangles within the triangle here as both men were married at the time they first met Josephine.

Josephine Marcus

Johnny Behan
Wyatt Earp




















Who was this woman at the head of the triangle? Josephine Marcus was born in New York City in 1860 to Prussian Jewish immigrants. The family migrated to San Francisco and that's where Josephine's western adventures begin. She ran away from home at the age of 14, because as she said, "There was far too much excitement in the air to remain a child." She joined a touring theater company in a production of the H.M.S. Pinafore, under the name May Bell, which ended up in Arizona

In Arizona she renames herself Sadie Mansfield. In later years she couldn't keep her story straight and there are whole years she refused to comment on, this period being one of them. It's believed she became a prostitute during these early Arizona years and there is an arrest for larceny in that name. "The whole experience recurs to my memory as a bad dream, and I remember little of its details. I can remember shedding many tears in out-of-the-way-corners," she said of this time.

Bat Masterson describes her as such, "An incredible beauty--belle of the honky tonks, the prettiest dame in 300 or so of her kind." In other words, her kind were prostitutes.

"Sadie" met Johnny Behan when she was 17 and he was 33. Johnny, who was the sheriff of Cochise Co, started spending too much time at the brothel in the company of one particular soiled dove. His wife divorced him, naming one "Sadie Mansfield" as the cause. Johnny built a house for himself and Sadie and promised to marry her. He strung her along like this for some time until she returned early from a trip to San Francisco and found him in bed with another women (I told you there was a lot of drama in Tombstone that didn't involve guns). Incidentally, she had gone to San Francisco with Behan's young son, Albert, in hopes of getting him treatment for his hearing impairment.

It's not certain how Sadie and Wyatt's affair began. Wyatt and Johnny knew each other. In fact, Wyatt was running for sheriff against Behan to add another twist to the story (I imagine Behan thinking, "Give me one more reason to hate you, Wyatt."). Some accounts say the citizens of Tombstone never saw Sadie and Wyatt interact and nobody had a clue an affair was going on. Others say Sadie and Mattie Blaylock, who was Wyatt's common-law wife, had shouting matches over him in the streets.

Mattie was also a prostitute who continued to turn tricks even after moving in with Wyatt. So, here's to Mattie, a woman who didn't put aside her career for her husband. She also had a massive laudanum addiction (who wouldn't under the circumstances?).

Okay, so this is the backdrop for the famous gunfight. When the gunfight does take place, Sadie hears the shots and runs out of the house. She said she was relieved to find Wyatt standing when she got to the spot. Later there is a trial. The Lawmen, led by Wyatt, claim the Cowboys drew first and it was self-defense. Sheriff Behan testifies that the Lawmen shot first (surprise, surprise) and it was murder. The Earps and Doc Holliday are acquitted despite the sheriff's testimony.

Though we don't know how the romance between Wyatt and Sadie started, we do know how it ended. Five days after Morgan Earp was assassinated in retaliation for his part in the Gunfight at the OK Corral, Sadie gets the hell out of Dodge, so to speak, and goes back to San Francisco. Wyatt goes off on his revenge ride and kills the two men who wounded one brother and killed another.

After this last incident the Earps and their harem decamp to California. Wyatt sends Mattie off with his family with the promise he'll send her a telegram instructing her where to meet him. Instead Wyatt ends up in San Francisco with Sadie. Mattie never got that telegram. Wyatt ghosted her. To add insult to injury, later when Mattie asked Wyatt for a divorce so she could marry another, he said no, he didn't believe in divorce. Mattie's sad life comes to an end when she kills herself with an overdose.

Wyatt and Sadie stayed together for the next 46 years until his death. They traveled from boom-towns to mining camps for much of that time. Sadie said they were married offshore in a ship by the captain, but there's no record of this marriage taking place. Were they happy? They did stay together, but supposedly each had extramarital affairs. Sadie developed a gambling problem, which ate up any income the couple had. It was also reported she turned into a shrew who berated Wyatt for his lack of success. It is also said that Wyatt took a lot of long walks. Friends complained that when Wyatt was on his deathbed, Sadie wouldn't cook or otherwise take care of her husband.

Wyatt and Josephine Earp


This interesting woman's story might have been lost to history except for Wyatt taking on celebrity status later in life. He became a Hollywood darling, mixing with the likes of Tom Mix and Gary Copper after a novel about his life, Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal, became a bestseller. He was the go-to guy for anyone making a western.

About this time, folks began to wonder about his wife. Josephine/May/Sadie spent the rest of her life trying to stop publications which put her and Wyatt in a bad light, and putting out stories like Wyatt never drank or took up with prostitutes. She also tried to suppress any stories about Wyatt's previous wife. When two cousins' of Wyatt interviewed Josephine for a book, they had to abandon the project when her stories began to contradict each other, and there were whole years she couldn't remember a thing--like 1880 to 1882, the years surrounding the gunfight. It seems she didn't want some things to come to light such as any speculation she'd been a prostitute.

One final thing about the enigmatic Josephine, there is a photograph of her which surfaces often in articles about her. Except the woman in the in photo isn't her! Josephine would have been in her 50's when this portrait was shot. She died penniless in 1944 and is buried next to Wyatt, who she had secretly buried in her family's plot.

Not-Josephine