The Earp Brothers

Virgil Earp: Second oldest full brother to Wyatt. Virgil was born on July 18, 1843 in Kentucky. Virgil secretly married Ellen Rysdam in Iowa on September 21, 1861. After the Civil War, each was convinced that the other was dead. Ellen would remarry and move to the Oregon Territory. Virgil didn't know until 1888, that while he was away at war he had a daughter, Nellie Jane. He and Allie would in later years pay a visit to see his child. In 1870 Virgil married Rosella Dragoo in Lamar, Missouri. Whatever happened to their marriage and Rosella is a mystery. Virgil most likely met Allie in 1874, but it is unknown whether there was an actual ceremony or marriage certificate. In 1877, Virgil and Allie were living in Prescott, Arizona where he worked occasionally in law enforcement prior to moving to Tombstone. Virgil was the Deputy United States Marshal and Tombstone Police Chief when the gunfight at the O.K. corral occurred and thus was the primary law enforcement officer in the incident. Virgil was permanently crippled following the wounds he received in an ambush in Tombstone after the gunfight, forever unable to use one arm. Virgil went on to be the first Marshal in Colton, California and in 1900 was nominated to run for Sheriff of Yavapai County, Arizona on the Republican ticket. He eventually dropped out due to poor health. Virgil was working as a Deputy Sheriff in Esmeralda County, Nevada when he died of pneumonia in October of 1905.

Morgan Earp: younger brother to Wyatt as well as a participant in the OK Corral shoot-out. Morgan was born on April 24, 1851 in Iowa. Morgan, like his brothers worked as a lawman, he was a lawman in Dodge City before Wyatt. Morgan would follow his older brothers to Tombstone, with his wife Louisa, age 25, whom he married in California in 1880. Morgan was involved, and wounded in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Morgan had a hot temper, but was well liked by those who knew him. Morgan went on trial for murder with his brothers after the gunfight, but found not guilty. As a result, Morgan was murdered on the night of March 18, 1882 while playing billiards at the Campbell and Hatch Saloon with brother Wyatt. Wyatt held members of the county rustler ring responsible for Morgan's death. Frank Stilwell, Indian Charlie and William Brocius were believed to be involved in the killing, but nothing was ever proven as Wyatt hunted them all down and killed them (this is why Wyatt is considered by some to be a vigillante). Morgan was buried in Colton, California. Morgan's wife, Louisa, remained in California after his death. She married Gustav Peters in 1885 and died at Long Beach, California on June 24, 1894.

Warren Earp: Full name Baxter Warren Earp, Wyatt's youngest brother. Warren was born on March 9, 1855 in Pella, Iowa. Due to his age, Warren didn't participate in most of his older brother's activities. He was still living at home with his parents when the shooting in Tombstone happened. He had been to Tombstone previously in 1880 and 1881 for visits, hence some of the stories about Wyatt in Tombstone include Warren.

When the family moved to California in l864, Warren made the long trek west with his parents and siblings by wagon train. By l868, this itinerant family traveled back to Missouri, and Warren once again made the long trip. Warren did not get mixed up with his older brother's perils such as law enforcement, stagecoach driving, or operating gambling saloons. He seemed to stick closer to his parents, helping on the family farm or in their grocery store. In l877, he once again moved back to California with the family. And now at 23, he decided to join his older brothers for some adventuring in Tombstone. Warren liked to carry guns, and tried to emulate his big brothers who found odd jobs for him. He seems to have moved back and forth more than once between his brothers in Arizona, and his parents in California.

After hearing the news of the gunfight, he returned to Tombstone to lend a hand to Wyatt; as both Virgil and Morgan were seriously wounded during the shoot-out. He served a short stint as a "policeman," patrolling the streets of Tombstone against looters after the June 22, l88l fire that roared through town.

After the ambush of Virgil and the murder of Morgan, Warren joined Wyatt in what became known as the Earp's "bloody ride of vengeance." During the subsequent hunting and killing of Earp enemies who had wounded Virgil and murdered Morgan, a number of desperadoes met their Maker at the hands of the Earp band consisting of Wyatt, Warren, Doc Holliday and several others who had been loyal to the Earps in Tombstone. After settling the score in March of l882, Warren rode with Wyatt and Doc Holliday as the Earp party fled Arizona. Chased by various old political enemies, the Earps made their escape and got away to Colorado where they disbanded.

On the night of July 5, l900 he rode into Willcox where he made his entrance at the Headquarters Saloon. He was followed shortly thereafter by a cowboy named John Boyett. Boyett was another employee of Colonel Hooker, and he detested Warren Earp. It was thought Earp and Boyett had some long-running feud between them.

Both were fairly drunk by 1:30 a.m., the morning of July 6, 1900. An argument broke out between the two men. Boyett ran next door to the Willcox House Saloon where he got two pistols (his own, apparently checked in at that drinking establishment earlier in the evening) and returned to the Headquarters Saloon, gunning for Warren. Meanwhile, Warren Earp walked outside, but came back indoors to foolishly face Boyett. By now, Boyett allegedly had taken a couple potshots at Earp who continued to advance on Boyett; Earp was not carrying a gun. Finally, one of Boyett's shots turned out to be fatal.

Those first arriving on the scene (including Willcox newspaperman C. O. Anderson) reported finding a small pocket knife in Warren Earp's hand. Anderson himself suspected the knife "may have been placed there after death," since Earp's hand was not gripping the knife as if he had been holding it when he died. This matter has never been settled. Boyett was arrested right away and autopsy was performed on the remains of Warren Earp. The inquest took place a few hours later and Earp was buried that afternoon. Boyett was let go that same day after the Willcox Judge Nichols deemed the unfortunate incident as "self-defense." The coroner's inquest stated that "The bullet having entered two inches below the collar bone and an inch and a half left of the heart the bullet had passed through the heart."

My favorite sites about Wyatt and his Brothers

Wyatt Earp Historical Homepage

Marshall, Wyatt Earp

Wyatt Earp

Wyatt Earp Birthplace

The Story of Wyatt Earp in Pella, Iowa

Wyatt Earp

Virgil and Morgan Earp

Morgan Earp

Virgil Earp Homestead Entry

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