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APRIL 1882

After resting in Silver City, the Earp posse sold their horses and saddles then took the stage to Deming, and a train from there to Albuquerque where they remained for two weeks. Some stories say that in Albuquerque Doc and Wyatt had a disagreement and the group split. According to Doc’s mistress Kate Elder, Doc discovered that Wyatt had worn a “steel vest” when they met with the cowboys at Iron Springs, the reason he had not been injured in the fight with Curly Bill. Doc, on the other hand, was unprotected and could have been killed in that shooting melee. Angered at Wyatt’s disloyalty, Doc left Wyatt behind and headed on to Colorado with Dan Tipton.

Photo: Downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1880’s

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APRIL 1882

Now fugitives from Arizona, Doc and Wyatt and their men rode east again to Silver City, New Mexico Territory. They spent one night in the home of a friend, some say a Jewish merchant. One story says that Wyatt stopped to honor the mezuzah at the family's door before he entered the home, sign that he had some understanding of Jewish customs. His action may have been influenced by his interest in Sheriff Behan’s Jewish former fiancé, Josephine Marcus.

Photos: Actress Dana Delaney as Josephine Marcus in the film "Tombstone," and the Centennial Saloon, Silver City, New Mexico.

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Posts

From author and historian Peter Brand. Enjoy!

Thanks to Hollywood, most people think that the so-called “Vendetta Posse” was assembled after the death of Morgan Earp in March 1882. Wyatt, however... The myths surrounding...
truewestmagazine.com

APRIL 2, 1882

On March 25, the Tucson Grand Jury had indicted Pete Spence, Frank Stilwell, Florentino "Indian Charlie" Cruz, Frederick Bode, and "John Doe" Fries for Morgan Earp's murder. By the time the case came to trial on April 2nd, both Florentino Cruz and Frank Stillwell were already dead, victims of Wyatt Earp's vendetta, and Fries and Bode had disappeared.

Pete Spence was the only defendant left to try, having turned himself in to Behan's jail, but the trial ended qui...ckly when the prosecution called Mrs. Marietta Duarte Spence to the stand. The defense objected that her testimony was hearsay and that as a spouse she could not testify against her husband. Without her testimony, the prosecution had insufficient evidence and dropped its case, leaving the last of Morgan Earp's murderers to go free.

Photo: The Pete Spence House in Tombstone, Arizona, across the street from Wyatt Earp's home.

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MARCH 30, 1882

The Vendetta Ride Continues:

After laying over at the Sierra Bonita, Doc and Wyatt and their men headed east. They stopped at Camp Grant before they left the Arizona Territory and Wyatt signed some property over to his sister. Colonel James Biddle told the Earp party that warrants had been issued for their arrest and he would have to hold them, but invited them to stop for a meal. When they finished eating, they found fresh horses ready for them to continue the...ir ride out of the Arizona Territory.

Photo: The officers' quarters at Camp Grant, Arizona, where Doc and Wyatt dined.

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MARCH 27, 1882 Sierra Bonita

On the morning of March 27th the Earp party arrived at the Sierra Bonita Ranch, owned by Henry Clay Hooker, a wealthy and prominent rancher. Hooker congratulated Wyatt on killing Curly Bill Brocius. He fed the men and Wyatt told him he wanted to buy fresh mounts, but Hooker would not take his money.
Early that same morning, Dan Tipton caught the first stage out of Tombstone and headed for Benson, carrying $1,000 from banker E.B. Gage for the posse.... The Nuggett reported that Tipton left on the 5 o'clock stage to catch up with the party. The posse also received some money from Lou Cooley, a stage driver and possibly a Wells Fargo operative, who gave funds from the express company.

When Behan's posse was spotted in the distance, Hooker suggested Wyatt make his stand there, but Wyatt moved into the hills about three miles distant near Reilly Hill. When Sheriff Behan and his posse arrived at the Sierra Bonita ranch, Hooker refused them assistance. One report said Hooker told Behan where to look for the Earps but the posse left in the opposite direction.

Photos: Charlton Heston as Henry Hooker in the film "Tombstone" and the real Henry Clay Hooker.

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MARCH 26, 1882 Escape

On March 26 the eight-man Earp posse rode out to Dragoon Summit Station. They stopped an eastbound train at 1 p.m. and searched the carriages, but found nothing. It is not known what they were hoping to find. The party moved north to the Percy Ranch, but were not welcomed by Hugh and Jim Percy, who feared retribution from the Cowboys.

Photo: Dragoon Summit, near the railroad station where Doc and Wyatt searched the cars. (Facebook posted the picture twice and won't remove the duplicate. Guess it likes the image!)

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MARCH 25, 1882

On March 25, the Tucson Grand Jury had indicted Pete Spence, Frank Stilwell, Florentino "Indian Charlie" Cruz, Frederick Bode, and "John Doe" Fries for Morgan Earp's murder. By the time the case came to trial on April 2nd, both Florentino Cruz and Frank Stillwell were already dead, victims of Wyatt Earp's vendetta, and Fries and Bode had disappeared.

Pete Spence was the only defendant left to try, having turned himself in to Behan's jail, but the trial ended quickly when the prosecution called Mrs. Marietta Duarte Spence to the stand. The defense objected that her testimony was hearsay and that as a spouse she could not testify against her husband. Without her testimony, the prosecution had insufficient evidence and dropped its case, leaving the last of Morgan Earp's murderers to go free.

MARCH 24, 1881 Walking on Water

After killing Florentino Cruz, the Earp party rides into the Whetstone Mountains. Their plan is to wait near Iron Springs where they will meet Charlie Smith who is bringing cash from Tombstone about 20 miles to the west. As they near the springs, they stumble upon a group of Cowboys including Curly Bill Brocius, Pony Diehl, Johnny Barnes, Frank Patterson, Milt Hicks, Bill Hicks, Bill Johnson, Ed Lyle, and Johnny Lyle, cooking dinner alongside t...

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Two Doc Hollidays in Tombstone this summer: Val Kilmer and Dennis Quaid (this year's Grand Marshal). Isn't that a daisy?

Last year's Hollli-Days drew 10,000 people to see Val Kilmer, returning for a second year
myheraldreview.com

MARCH 22, 1882 The Vendetta Ride Begins

On the morning of March 22, a portion of the Earp posse including Wyatt, Warren, Doc Holliday, Sherman McMaster and "Turkey Creek" Johnson rode into Pete Spence's woodcutting camp in the South Pass in the Dragoon Mountains. Unknown to the Earp posse, Pete Spence was in jail, but at the wood camp, the posse found Florentino "Indian Charlie" Cruz. The Arizona Weekly Star had previously identified "Florentino Saiz as "the 1878 murderer of ...two U.S. Marshals", and they may have been the same person.

According to witnesses in the wood camp, as the Earp posse arrived, Cruz ran and the Earp posse chased him, firing several shots, then a final shot. Earp later said that he got Cruz to confess to being the lookout, and that he identified Stilwell, Hank Swilling, Curly Bill and Johnny Ringo as Morgan's killers. After the confession, Wyatt Earp shot Cruz, telling his biographer J. H. Flood that he had given Cruz a pistol, and told him to draw. The coroner's inquest identified him as Florentino Cruz. Tombstone’s Dr. George Goodfellow testified that he found that Cruz had a minor wound to his arm, a wound in his thigh, a serious wound in his groin and pelvis, and a shot in the side of his head. The coroner thought either of the last two shots would have been fatal.

Photo: Florentino Cruz in the movie, "Tombstone."

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MARCH 21, 1882 Wanted Men

By the time the Earp group arrived in Tombstone in the early hours of March 21st, a warrant had been issued for the arrest of Wyatt Earp, Warren Earp, Doc Holiday, "Turkey Creek" Jack Johnson and Sherman McMasters as suspects in the murder of Frank Stillwell in the trainyard in Tucson.

From the Arizona Daily Star:...
"Following is the verdict of the Coroner's jury in the case of the assassination of Frank Stillwell, found lying dead north of the Southern Pacific Railroad depot. The deceased was a native of Texas, aged about 27 years; that he came to his death on the 20th day of March, 1882, in the city of Tucson, at 7:15 p.m. of that day, by gunshot wounds inflicted by Wyatt Earp, Warren Earp, Sherman McMasters, J. H. Holliday, and one Johnson."
Following the Coronor's vedict, Pima County justice of the peace Charles Meyer sent a telegram to Sheriff Johnny Behan in Tombstone indicating that the men should be arrested. But the manager of the telegraph office was a friend of the Earps and showed the message to Wyatt before delivering it to Behan, then agreed to hold on to it for a little while, allowing the Earp group some time to get out of Tombstone.

Behan got the telegram just as the Earp party were leaving town, and approached Wyatt saying that he wanted to see him. Wyatt's reputed reply was, "Johnny if you're not careful you'll see me once too often." Later, it would be said that Earp's group had resisted arrest and pulled their guns on Behan as they made their way out of town. It was the start of what would later be called The Vendetta Ride."

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MARCH 20, 1882 Reckoning

With Morgan’s body safely out of the territory, Wyatt, his younger brother Warren, Doc Holliday and two other hand-picked men accompany Virgil Earp (who is still weak from an assassination attempt in December) and his wife Allie to Tucson.

Guarded by Wyatt and his men, Virgil and Allie are transported by buckboard to Contention City where they board the train....

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MARCH 19, 1882 "Smells like someone died..."

Sunday the 19th was Wyatt's 34th birthday, as he and brother James Earp and a group of friends took Morgan's body to the railroad station in Contention. After loading it onto a train, James and two or three close friends accompanied it to Colton, California. Morgan's wife, Louise Houston Earp, was already in Colton, where she had traveled for safety before Morgan was killed.

While Wyatt and James were traveling to Contention with M...organ's body, Tombstone Coroner Dr. D.M. Mathew held an inquest into Morgan's death. During the Coroner's Inquest, Pete Spence's wife, Marietta Duarte, implicated her husband and four other men in Morgan's murder. She testified that along with her husband, Frank Stilwell, a man named "Fries" (later identified as Frederick Bode), and two Indians later identified as Hank Swilling and Florentino Cruz took part in the killing. She testified that four days before the shooting she and her mother were standing at Spence's house when Morgan walked by. "The Indian then started down the street, & got ahead of him to get a good look at him." She also stated that on the night of the shooting she and her mother heard the shots, and a few minutes later Stilwell and "Charley" came into her home, followed shortly by Spence, Bode and the other Indian. Marietta recalled that the men were excited, and the next morning her husband threatened her with violence if she told what she knew. "Spence didn't tell me so, but I know he killed Morgan Earp", she said. Additional witnesses said they saw Frank Stilwell running from the scene.

The coroner's jury concluded that Pete Spence, Frank Stilwell, Frederick Bode, and Florentino "Indian Charlie" Cruz were the prime suspects in Morgan Earp's death. Pete Spence immediately turned himself in to the protection of Johnny Behan's jail. The others would reap the whirlwind of Wyatt's vengeance.

Photo: Johnny Ringo in the movie "Tombstone," watches as Morgan Earp's body is escorted out of town.

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Southern Son: The Saga of Doc Holliday by Victoria Wilcox
Book

MARCH 18, 1882 The Murder of Morgan Earp

On Saturday evening, March 18, Tombstone's Scheifflin Hall was host to Stolen Kisses, a play by William Horace Lingard and Company. Wyatt warned against going, but Morgan, Doc Holliday, and Dan Tipton attended. Benjamin Goodrich cautioned the men, "You fellows will catch it tonight if you don't look out." Afterwards, Doc went to his room and Morgan and Tipton headed for Hatch's Saloon and Billiard Parlor, which had become their unoffic...

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Southern Son: The Saga of Doc Holliday by Victoria Wilcox
Book

MARCH 8, 1879
Las Vegas, New Mexico

Before Tombstone, the gambling dentist Doc Holliday was having troubles elsewhere. On the 8th of March, 1879 Doc was caught by the New Mexico Territory’s newly enacted gambling laws and fined $25 for keeping a Monte table. So he and his mistress, Kate Elder, packed up and took the Barlow & Sanderson stage north to the new town of Otero, recently raised to welcome the advancing tracks of the Atchesin, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad.

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FEBRUARY 18, 1882
From the Tombstone Nugget

"Wyatt and Morgan Earp, Doc Holliday, 'Texas Jack,' Smith, McMasters, and one or two others left the city yesterday afternoon for where, no one apparently knows, but when in the vicinity of Waterville, they separated, four of the party going in the direction of San Simon Valley, to arrest, it is claimed, Pony Deal and one or two other well known characters, and the remainder to Charleston. It is supposed they are acting in the capac...ity of U.S. Deputy Marshals, their resignations not having been accepted or their appointments revoked by U.S. Marshal Dake, as was generally supposed some time ago."

Photo: The San Simon Valley, Michael Greene, www.wildmoments.net

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