Legendary Lawman Morgan Earp

Having seen depictions of Morgan Earp in movies (never the most accurate accounts) and reading of him in The Earp Brothers of Tombstone, supposedly written by Virgil Earp's wife Allie, I was compelled to find out more about this little known Earp...

All this violence left the townspeople with a real distaste for the Earp family and on December 28th Virgil Earp was shot and seriously wounded in the left arm. Most of the family decided it was time to depart Tombstone but Morgan and Wyatt were determined to stick around to take care of Virgil during his recovery. On Saturday March 18th, 1882 at approximately 10:00 PM while playing billiards with Bob Hatch (one of the proprietors) in the Campbell & Hatch's Billiard parlor, Morgan was gunned down through a glass door. A second shot was fired and lodged in the wall above the head of Wyatt Earp who was watching the game. Morgan’s injury was to his spinal cord and he would only last an hour. Morgan Earp was 30 years of age. He was transported to his parent’s estate in Colton, California where his wife awaited his arrival.

Pete Spence turned himself in because he feared retribution as his wife was going to testify that he, Frank Stilwell, "Indian Charlie" Cruz, Frederick Bode, and a “half-breed” named Fries were in their home bragging about the shooting an hour afterwards. Witnesses claimed they saw Frank Stilwell flee the scene following the shooting. Although nothing was ever proven, it is believed that Wyatt took it upon himself to find justice for Morgan’s death. Three days later Frank Stilwell was found dead.


About The Author:

Charles Bennett was born in our Nation's Capital and grew up in the Maryland suburbs. Mr. Bennett has been working in all aspects of the publishing industry since the late 1980s primarily in the fields of commercial photography and magazine production. Moving to California in 1992 to attend college resulted in B.F.A and Masters degrees. California also supplied Mr. Bennett with his wife. The two of them are avid sports persons and participate in shooting, scuba diving, surfing, running and bicycling. As a long time hobby Mr. Bennett has studied the legends of American law enforcement which led to his writing these columns.

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