Wyatt Berry Stapp Eary was born in 1848 in Illinois. He lived for some
time with his family in Iowa. During the Civil War, older brothers
James and Virgil fought while Wyatt and Morgan were left to tend to the
In 1864 the Earp family moved to California. Wyatt
lived in Texas where he met "Doc" Holliday and he also spent some time
as a Kansas City lawmen, but eventually landed in Tombstone with
brother Virgil around 1879. Wyatt held many different jobs in Tombstone
and even had staked mining claims. In Tombstone Wyatt had many
disagreements with men associated with the Old West's large gang, the
"Cowboys". His arguments were against, Frank McLaury, "Curly Bill"
Brocius and others. Anyone associated with these men often were also
not liked by Wyatt, his brothers, and "Doc" Holliday.
In 1880, "Curly Bill" Brocius accidently shot
Marshal Fred White. White was unknowingly reaching for Brocius' already
cocked gun when it went off and shot him. Brocius liked White and later
it was reported he was very sorry for the murder. Wyatt arrested
Brocius and those with him and later Brocius received a "pistol
whipping" from Earp. This event is what really escalated animosity from
both sides of men. Later, one of the men arrest, Billy Clanton was
found with Wyatt's stolen horse, though charges were never made, this
also increased the hate between the men. Tension increased through 1881
and climaxed on October 26, 1881 at the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
Virgil Earp, town marshall, Morgan Earp, a deputy
and Wyatt and "Doc" Holliday, deputized citizens met the McLaury
brothers, Clanton Brothers and Billy Claiborne to take away their
weapons. Ike Clanton had been arrested earlier in the day and as Tom
McLaury went to pick him up, a fight broke out between Wyatt and Tom.
Tom ended up hit over the head by Wyatt. Later that day,
Tom was spotted in a saloon carrying again, which was
against Tombstone law. The Earps and Holliday met the men near the O.K.
Corral in order to confiscate the illegal weapons. However, after
miscommunication, nervous men and the clicking of hammers and the guns,
a 30 second gunfight left three men dead.
Wyatt despite not being a well known gunfighter left
the fight completely untouched. This is the reason for many people
believing now that he was a legendary gunman.
During the trials that followed the gunfight, many
lies were told, stories changed, and accounts fabricated. The truth of
the gunfight, including who shot first will never be completely known.
Only months after the gunfight, two ambushes were
planned to kill the Earps and one was successful. After the loss of his
brother, Wyatt Earp went on his famous "Vendetta Ride". Over two or
three weeks Wyatt, Holliday and a few other men went on a killing spree
to avenge the death of an Earp. After the "Vendetta Ride" was complete
the men left Arizona for good.
In 1882 Wyatt met his family in California. He spent
his life there running saloons and gambling concessions while investing
in mines in several boomtowns.
By 1906 Wyatt settled in Vidal, California, but
eventually moved to Hollywood. Wyatt died at home in L.A. of
chroniccystitis in 1929 at the age of 80. Many Western actors attended
his funeral. Wyatt was cremated and buried with family in California.