Wyatt Earp Grew up in Colton and the true story of the OK Coral Gunfight.

If you have ever watched movies about Wyatt Earp you are always of the impression that he and his brothers came from the East or the Midwest....Truth be known his family had moved to Colton when Wyatt, James and Virgil were very young....They went east to find there fortunes....what they found was fame, death and some gold and silver along the way....This is the story of the Earps Of Colton.
Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp was born to Nicholas Earp and Virginia Earp in Monmouth, Illinois on March 19, 1848.....His father was a lawyer and a farmer who had served in the Army.....Older brothers James and Virgil were ages seven and five by the time Wyatt came along.....He also had an older sister named Martha who was three.

In 1864 the family moved to Colton.....Along the way, Wyatt was given his first weapon, a combination shotgun and rifle, to help protect the family against attacking Indians.....Young Wyatt soon acquired a six-gun and practiced every day, becoming a deadly marksman.

In the 1870's Wyatt, James and Virgil headed for Texas to do some cattle driving, a little gold hunting and what ever else suited there fancy....Wyatt and James had a knack for getting into trouble and fled Texas for Arizona to escape the long arm of the law....Along the way they managed to make some friends and a lot of enemies....Doc Holiday and Big Nose Kate were among the friends....The Cowboys of South West took an instant dislike to the Earp Brothers, for reasons that will become self evident as you read on....And even though the Gunfight at the Ok Corral took place in Tombstone Arizona, The Brothers and there wives all came back to Colton and San Bernardino.

Fast forward to Tombstone Arizona....1881....The day the legends were born....All of the characters are real, there stories a part of the fabric of the western frontier.....

On Tuesday, October 25th, Ike Clanton spent the day getting drunk, moving from one saloon to the next, and making threats against the Earps and Holliday to any who would listen......That night, he made his way to the Occidental Saloon for a card game with Tom McLaury.

An angry Doc Holliday, who had heard of the boasts, confronted him. "I heard you’re going to kill me, Ike," he said. "Get out your gun and commence." Virgil, a US Deputy Marshal, Wyatt, and an appointed an acting city marshal by Virgil, and Morgan, also a sworn officer, were present during this confrontation. Virgil told Doc and Ike that he would arrest both of them if they continued the argument. Though boasting violence throughout the day, Clanton was unarmed and finally, Virgil drew Holliday away. But Clanton followed, promising "to kill you tomorrow when the others come to town."

Spotting Wyatt on the streets, the fired-up Clanton continued. "Tell your consumptive friend, your Arizona nightin’gale, he’s a dead man tomorrow!" To which, Wyatt just turned and replied "Don’t you tangle with Doc Holliday, he’ll kill you before you’ve begun."
Ike’s parting shot was "Get ready for a showdown!"

Wednesday, October 26, 1881 was an overcast and windy day....The Earps, woke early....As Virgil watched from his hotel window, he saw Billy Clanton ride into town, accompanied by Billy Claiborne. They met the McLaury brothers and Ike Clanton on Allen Street......Ike was looking for Holliday but before he could find him, Virgil and Morgan confronted him....Ike, bracing a shotgun, exchanged words with the two but when Clanton raised his rifle, Virgil subdued him, impounded his rifle, and dragged him before Justice of the Peace Wallace, who fined Ike $27.50 for carrying firearms in the city.

Wyatt and Tom McLaury, both hearing what had happened, met at the judge’s door at the same time, literally bumping into each other.,,,,Though Wyatt apologized, McLaury insulted him and, in return, Wyatt brought his gun down on McLaury's head.
Later that morning, the cowboys met at Spangenbergs, a gunsmith shop. Then Frank McLaury rode his horse onto the boardwalk, frightening pedestrians off its path outside the gunsmith shop.....Wyatt grabbed the reins of the horse, leading it to the streets as McLaury yelled profanities......After this latest confrontation, the outlaws retreated in a group around the corner off Allen Street, next door to the OK Corral.....With all of the tension, there was bound to be a fight......Several members of the town’s Citizens’ Committee offered their assistance to the Earp brothers, but thanking them, Wyatt said it was his and his brothers’ responsibility as law officers to take care of the Cow Boy Gang.

Then John Behan, the County Sheriff, who just happened to be insanely jealous of Wyatt because of his like for Josie, the young actress he had claimed for himself since she first came into town by stage, appeared pronouncing, "Ike Clanton and his crew are on Fremont Street talking gun-talk." Evidently, Ike Clanton, the two McLaurys, Billy Clanton and Billy Claiborne were meeting at the OK Corral, planning to kill Doc Holliday, which turned out to be a lie..
Virgil, as Chief Marshal, agreed to go down there to break them up, but contended that Behan should accompany him. Behan only laughed. "Hell, this is your fight, not mine."

However, the cowboys were surprised when the Earps showed up and Doc was with them.....As they made their way to the OK Corral, witnesses said that the three Earp brothers were all dressed in black with firm, mean grimaces on their faces while Doc was nattily clad in grey....Where the two forces finally met was actually 90 yards down an alley from the OK Corral.....The actual gunfight took place off Fremont Street between Fly’s Photo Gallery and Jersey’s Livery Stable....The Earps passed by the OK Corral, but cut through the alley where they found the troublemakers waiting at the other end.

"You are under arrest for attempting to disturb the peace," Virgil announced......He displayed only a non-threatening walking stick, having given his shotgun to Doc to carry.....The rustlers stood ready for a fight and Morgan and Doc did the same. "Hold on, I don’t want that!" Virgil yelled out.
The shooting started when Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury cocked their pistols..... Doc’s bullet was the first to hit home, hitting Frank McLaury's in the belly and sending McLaury’s own shot through Wyatt’s coat-tail....Billy Clanton fired at Virgil, but was hit when Morgan shot him through his rib cage before he could do any more damage.
Billy Claiborne ran as soon as shots were fired and was already out of sight. Ike Clanton, too, panicked and threw his gun down, pleading for his life......"Fight or get out like Claiborne!" Wyatt yelled and watched Ike desert his brother Billy, as he ran towards the door of the photography shop......But, Ike then withdrew a hidden gun firing one more round towards Wyatt before disappearing. The sound distracted Morgan, enough so that Tom McLaury sent a bullet into Morgan's shoulder.....Doc returned fire, blowing Tom away with blasts from both barrels of his shotgun.....Billy Clanton fired blindly into the gun smoke encircling him, striking Virgil's leg. Wyatt responded by shooting Billy 7 more times.

Then it was silent and the townspeople ran from their homes and shops, wagons were to convey wounded Morgan and Virgil to their respective homes, and doctors followed.....The entire event took about 30 seconds.
The shootout left Billy Clanton, Frank McLaury and Tom McLaury dead.....Virgil Earp took a shot to the leg and Morgan suffered a shoulder wound.....As Wyatt stood, still stunned, Sheriff Behan appeared advising him he was under arrest.....Wyatt just stood and looked at the Sheriff and told him to go to hell....Beham arrested all of the Earps and Doc Holliday the next day with the aid of several Cowboys made deputies and had them tried for murder but none of the picked jury would convict the Earps nor Doc....They said the men had all acted within the law.
On March 18, 1882, the cowboy gang struck again while Morgan Earp was playing pool at Campbell and Hatch's Saloon. A shot was fired from the darkness of the alley striking Morgan in the back killing him Instantly. After the Funeral, Morgan's body was shipped to his parents in Colton, for burial. All of the Earps, wives and Mattie, Wyatt long time girl friend party, made the pretense of accompanying Morgan's body back to Colton....However, in Tucson, Wyatt, Warren and Doc Holliday hopped off the train in search of Frank Stilwell, who supposedly worked in the railroad yards.....The train went on to California without them.
Spotting Stilwell, Wyatt chased him down the track, killing him with his double shotgun.....Sheriff Behan once again set up a Coroner's Jury and had them name Wyatt and Warren Earp, Doc Holliday, Texas Jack, and Bat Msterson as the men who killed Stillwell and had warrants issued for their arrests.

Earp sought vengeance on the men who shot Virgil and killed Morgan and killing Stillwell was just his first step and Doc Holliday rode beside him all the way......Wyatt heard that Pete Spencer was at his wood camp in the Dragoons and on March 11, 1882, he and his men quickly headed out, finding not Pete Spencer, but Florentino Cruz.....The frightened Cruz named all the men who had murdered Morgan, himself included. Earp and his men filled Cruz with bullet holes.....The Earp "posse" rode out once again and on March 24, 1882, they ran into Curly Bill Brocius and eight of his men near Iron Springs.....A gunfight ensued where Curly Bill was killed and Johnny Barnes.

In just over a year, the Earp "posse" along with Doc Holliday eliminated "Old Man" Clanton, Billy Clanton
, Frank McLaury, Tom McLaury Frank Stilwell, Indian Charlie, Dixie Gray, Florentino Cruz, Curly Bill, Johnny Barnes, Jim Crane, Joe Hill, Luther King, Charley Snow, Billy Lang, Zwing Hunt, Billy Grounds and Hank Swilling. Pete Spencer turned himself in to the authorities where he could "hide" in the penitentiary.

In May, 1882, Wyatt and Doc left Tombstone, swearing they would never return, but still vowing vengeance on Ringo, Clanton, Spencer and Swilling if they could ever find them.....Riding their horses to Silver City, New Mexico, they sold them, rode a stage to Deming, and boarded a train for Colorado......Josie soon joined Wyatt in Denver where they were married.

Though Mattie had traveled with the Earps to California where they joined up with Wyatt's parents, at some point she left them and ended up in Globe, Arizona where she lived a life of prostitution.....Tragically, she died of a laudanum overdose on July 3, 1888 in Pinal, Arizona.
While in Colorado, Wyatt initially worked as a private investigator and as a driver for Wells Fargo.....He and Josie also occasionally prospected in the mountains......Sometimes Bat Masterson would visit the couple and the pair would see Doc Holliday who had settled down in Leadville, Colorado, when they could.....Eventually, Wyatt and Josie made their way to his parents home in Colton.

On November 8, 1887, Doc awoke clear-eyed and asked for a glass of whiskey.....It was given to him and he drank it down with enjoyment.....Then, looking down at his bare feet he said, "This is funny", and died.....He always figured he would be killed with his boots on.

Spending several years in California, Wyatt and Josie spent time with the Earps in San Bernardino, where Virgil was Sheriff, at his family home in Colton and Josie’s family in San Francisco.....Never wanting to put on a badge again, Wyatt acted as a referee in boxing matches, continued to gamble, and invested in real estate, saloons and a race horse.
In 1897 the gold fever broke in Alaska and the couple headed to Nome where they opened a Saloon during the height of the gold rush. The pair also panned for their own gold throughout the Yukon, and did very well. They returned to California 1901 with an estimated $80,000. However, their stay was short lived when they heard about the gold strike in Tonopah, Nevada.

Taking up prospecting in earnest, Wyatt staked several claims in the Mojave Desert, where he discovered several veins of gold. Near Vidal, California he discovered copper, where they spent winters in a small cottage.

Spending summers in Los Angeles, he befriended several early Hollywood actors and became an advisor for several Hollywood westerns during the silent movie days.

On Jan.13, 1929 Wyatt Earp died in Los Angeles at the age of 80 of prostate cancer. Cowboy actors Tom Mix and William S. Hart were among his pallbearers. Wyatt's cremated ashes were buried in Josie's family plot in Colma, California, just south of San Francisco.....When Josie died in 1944 at the age of 75, she was buried there beside him.

As to the other Earp brothers, Virgil was taken to the family homestead in Colton, California where he recovered from his wounds suffered at the OK Corral. Later he prospected with his wife and, still later, was elected city marshal of Colton.....He then returned to prospecting with his wife Allie and died of pneumonia in Goldfield, Nevada in 1905.....Virgil is buried in the Riverview Cemetery in Portland, Oregon.
When Morgan was killed, James traveled with Virgil and the Earp women to Colton, California for Morgan's burial. Later he lived in Shoshone County, Idaho before settling in permanently in California in 1890. James Earp died on January, 25th 1926 and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery, in San Bernardino, California.

Additional Source: Legends of America, and personal visits with my dad to the grave sites of the Earps and there Wives.



There is a road that goes right by the Earp homestead. If you take interstate 10 to Riverside Avenue, go south and you run into it... Go East and his House is on the right Its down ways.
Maybe its about 2 miles

Thanks. That would put the Earp homestead about 1 1/2 miles from the house I live in. From Riverside Ave, you would turn left on Agua Mansa and drive past the cemetery on the left.

I am a Inland Empire Historian, and have researched the Earp's now, for 47 years, and I was raised in Colton, not far for the Virgil Earp home, located at 528 W. H. Street. He lived in the house, only for 4 years, from 1888 to 1892. After being Colton's first marshal, Virgil sold the house, and went to Goldfield, Nevada, where he later died, in St. Mary's County Hospital in 1906. Virgil Earp is now buried in "Riverview Cemetery" in Portland, Oregon, with his daughter.

The Earp family had 3 houses in Colton....(528 W. H. St); another house near La Cadena & K street (now gone, due to the 10 freeway); and a house, on Mt.Vernon Avenue, at the East end of the railroad yards, between it, and the Santa Ana River (which is long gone also).

When the Earp's first came to California......they first settled on a ranch, in Redlands, on December 24, 1864. They were "sharecroppers" by trade, coming from Pella, Iowa. The approximate location of the ranch home, is in Redlands, at the intersection, of Citrus Avenue, and Opal Avenue. A ranch could be very big, and extended down to the Santa River, at the time. The house(s) there now, might not be the original ones, due to the land development, over the years. Allot can happen since 1864.

Allot of people, over the years, have thought that either Morgan, or Virgil Earp, were buried in the Agua Manza Cemetery! That is a total falsehood, and myth! Morgan was first buried in the old original Colton Cemetery, which was located at the Eastern base of Slover Mountain. Morgan's body, along with everyone else's bodies, where exhumed, due to the Southern Pacific Railroad, was going to put a spur line set of tracks, through the cemetery. Morgan's body was transferred to the Hermosa Cemetery, and is buried in the Southwest section, near a tree.

Wyatt was not a regular resident of Colton. He came & went, as he pleased. His visits varied. He spent allot of time in San Diego, with Josephine Sarah Marcus. They also went to None, Alaska, which was during the 1890's. In the early 1900's, Wyatt, finally had a home built, which was the only home they owned (other residences, were rented), which was located in Vidal, CA. The small town of Vidal, is about 8 miles South, of "Vidal Junction", which allot of people mistake for "Vidal". The town of Earp, was named for Wyatt, after he died. The original name of the town, was called: "Drennen". Northeast of where he lived in Vidal, he had his campsite, and his mines, which were named the: "Happy Days" mines. He mainly was mining copper, at the time. That area is, about 5.3 miles West of Earp, on Highway 62, then it's up a wash, about 1.5 miles, to the campsite, and the mines, are just over the hill, from his campsite. I've been there.

I saw above, some one remarked about Wyatt......what about his children? Wyatt never had any children! He almost did, with his first wife, Urilla Southerland, in the Mid-West, but while she was carrying the baby, she contacted Thyroid Fever, and both mother, and baby died. Wyatt had no children when was with Mattie Blaylock, or with Josephine Sarah Marcus, who he was with for years, before he died, at age 80, on January 13, 1929, in Los Angeles. The cause of Wyatt's death was: "Chronic Cystitis", and secondary reason was: "Hypertrophied Prostate". How do I know? Because I am looking at his death certificate right now, I also have Josephine Sarah Marcus' death certificate too, next to his, in a binder, on the Earp's, that I have researched.

I thought I would share a little. I could go on & on. I have been told to write a book, by many people, but I know, there are over 13 authors, with known books on Wyatt, and the family already. Some of the books have good facts in them, and some books don't, as to what really happened to Wyatt Earp, and to the Earp family! For the common reader, that leaves allot of speculation, of what's really s real, and what is myth!

Who is the Inland Empire Historian?

What is the historical record and facts that Wyatt lived in Calico in the 1880's?

Do you know the exact address of the house that Wyatt Earp died in.

Wyatt Earp did NOT grow up in Colton. He lived there for a while after he left Tombstone. His folks, a brother or two and his sister lived in Colton/San Bernardino area.

When I taught Media Writing courses at the local university, I always emphasized the importance to the reader of adding the "state" abbreviation (AP style not Post Office, unless one is mailing) to the mention of any city. This article is a good example of why that rule is important. I live in Colton. Colton, Wash. Bummer that it took me some of my life to learn that this is Colton, CA. B

..Unless you're posting on a website with a limited geographic scope like the Inland Empire of Southern California..
I didnt have to blow thousands of $ on college to figure that out. All I had to do was read the big words at the top.

Well, genius, if you were you would know that the Inland Empire is the name given the region of eastern Washington state.

Maybe if you had "blown" money on college you would have recognized that. Ah well. Too late for you


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