Today in 1851, Morgan Seth Earp, younger brother of Wyatt, Virgil and James Earp, is born.
His picture is often confused with that of his older brother Wyatt, as they looked remarkably alike. He does follow his brothers into a career in law enforcement, often working beside one or both of his two older brothers. Morgan is not of the same cool headed and even tempered disposition as his two famous brothers, Wyatt and Virgil, Morgan being more emotionally compatible with one of his older brother Wyatt’s best friends. The trait he does share with his brothers is that of family loyalty. Hurt one, you invite an attack by all of them. This unquestioned and unflinching loyalty, along with his quick fire temper, will lead to his death in thirty years, in Campbell & Hatch’s Billiard Parlor, when he is shot in the back, just a month before his 31st birthday. This comes as an aftermath of the most famous gunfight in the frontier, that took place in a vacant lot beside a corral in the booming mining town of Tombstone, Arizona.
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Today, in 1881, the Benson “Sandy Bob” stage sets out from Tombstone, Arizona, and on its way to Benson, it is robbed at Drew Station. Actually, it was an attempted robbery. Although stage holdups are not an uncommon event in this day and time in this part of the west, this one is special. The driver, Bud Philpot, was supposed to be the shotgun messenger on this run, and Bob Paul was to have been the driver. But at some point and for some never to be learned reason, they changed positions, perhaps to give the driver a chance to warm his hands, as March can be chilly in this desert. As the stage slowed for a small incline in the road, a masked bandit appeared in the path of the coach and demanded that the driver pull up. Bob Paul immediately raised his shotgun to resist the attempt, but the gunman fired first, killing Philpot and a passenger named Peter Roerig. The startled horses bolted and the highwaymen took off, losing out on the desired Wells Fargo booty of twenty-six thousand dollars (or $644,180.35 in 2015 dollars) in pure silver. Bud Philpot was well-liked by all. A posse was quickly formed and later that same night a man named Luther king was captured at a nearby ranch. He admitted his involvement and named his accomplices as Bill Leonard, Harry Head and Jim Crane. After Luther King was captured, he was brought to back to Tombstone, but quickly escaped into thin air. By this time, the news was sweeping the town that a local gambler named Henry had been one of the murderers.
Hohn was accused of being involved in this holdup by his jilted on and off again girl-friend, who had something of an un-savory reputation herself. But being accused of something he didn’t do will not sit well with John, as he has a lot of pride. He will nurse a grudge for this injury to his good name. He will find other causes to be angry with the men who really did commit the holdup over the coming months. John has his supporters and loyal friends, all brothers, and they will help him clear his name. In return, Henry will help them when they are threatened by the men who did hold up the stage. This simmering feud will come to a legendary resolution in seven months in a vacant lot between a stable and a photography studio, and it will cause all their names to live forever.
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Photo courtesy of wikipedia.com
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