Today In Western History: John Henry Holliday Is Baptised

March 21 —


Today in 1852, a baby boy is baptized with the name of John Henry in Griffin, Georgia.  No birth record has ever been found for John Henry, but that doesn’t make him any less legitimate.  This boy will be very educated, and will turn to a professional career.  He will become a doctor, John Henry will, and his medical career will start off with a promising future.  But that will be cut short by a very serious, and ultimately terminal, illness.  Along the way, John Henry will discover another passion in his life, and that is gambling with the pasteboards.  He will become a very good gambler, and with a terminal illness, he takes more risks than most, and has less to lose.  This makes our John Henry a very danger-ous man, as more than one man discovered.  But John Henry has another virtue, and that is loyalty.  When he makes friends with a man, he sticks with him.  And there is one man he has made a friend of, and he will risk everything for this friend…and his friend’s two brothers.  

John Henry is baptized in 1852, and he dies of his illness on November 8, 1887, in Glennwood Springs Sanitarium, in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.  When he passes, his last reported words are ”That is funny”.  No one knows what he meant.  His friend, legendary lawman Wyatt Earp, said of John Henry, John Henry “Doc” Holliday, that “He was my friend.”

John Henry Holliday, dentist, gambler, alcoholic and gunfighter.
John Henry Holliday, dentist, gambler, alcoholic and gunfighter.

The picture shown above is the picture most often used to portray Doc Holliday,  but the problem is that it hasn’t been authenticated by any reliable source or researcher due to a lack of provenance.   It looks like it should be him, but…..

John Henry Holliday (age 20) last confirmed photograph
John Henry Holliday (age 20) last known confirmed photograph

The last known picture of John Henry Holliday (above) is from when he is 20 and before his rise to fame, or before his descent to infamy, depending upon where you stand.


To purchase a signed copy of Larry Auerbach’s novel “The Spirit of Redd Mountain”, Click Here

 Photo courtesy of