Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Real "Doc" Holliday...!

Sometimes we think that we know a person from long ago, when what we really know is myth and tall tales.

This was the case with "Doc" Holliday! Some of what we think we know is truth, and the rest is shadowy at best! I guess that happens when the true is not as fancy as the untrue.

In some cases, though, both are very close to being the same. Maybe that's why the facts so often are fuzzy at best!

Nov 8, 1887:
Doc Holliday dies of tuberculosis

On this day, Doc Holliday--gunslinger, gambler, and occasional dentist--dies from tuberculosis.

Though he was perhaps most famous for his participation in the shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, John Henry "Doc" Holliday earned his bad reputation well before that famous feud. Born in Georgia, Holliday was raised in the tradition of the southern gentleman. He earned his nickname when he graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery in 1872. However, shortly after embarking on a respectable career as a dentist in Atlanta, he developed a bad cough. Doctors diagnosed tuberculosis and advised a move to a more arid climate, so Holliday moved his practice to Dallas, Texas.

By all accounts, Holliday was a competent dentist with a successful practice. Unfortunately, cards interested him more than teeth, and he earned a reputation as a skilled poker and faro player. In 1875, Dallas police arrested Holliday for participating in a shootout. Thereafter, the once upstanding doctor began drifting between the booming Wild West towns of Denver, Cheyenne, Deadwood, and Dodge City, making his living at card tables and aggravating his tuberculosis with heavy drinking and late nights.

Holliday was famously friendly with Wyatt Earp, who believed that Holliday saved his life during a fight with cowboys. For his part, Holliday was a loyal friend to Earp, and stood by him during the 1881 shootout at the O.K. Corral and the bloody feud that followed.

In 1882, Holliday fled Arizona and returned to the life of a western drifter, gambler, and gunslinger. By 1887, his hard living had caught up to him, forcing him to seek treatment for his tuberculosis at a sanitarium in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. He died in his bed at only 36 years old.

Legend or not, folks like ol' Doc just seem to often die alone. But, as the saying goes..."gone, but not forgotten!" Now if we can just decide if what we remember is fact or fiction. Guess what really matters is the memory itself, ya think?

Now, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee and sit outside.OK by you?


Gorges Smythe said...

The important thing is to never let the truth get in the way of a good yarn!

JoJo said...

Good Post, They him into such romantic man too. With some girl friend at his side all the time.
But a legend all the same I guess.

Coffee on your patio sounds better than coffee on my porch where the temp is 34 degrees.

Ben in Texas said...

Another lesson and The Rest Of The Story.
Thanks for filling in the blanks

HermitJim said...

Hey Gorges...
Guess that is as good a way to say it as any!

Seems like the more a tale is repeated, the more embellished it becomes! It finally gets to the point where the myth becomes accepted as truth!

Hey, that sounds a lot like politics!

My friend, I really thank you for dropping by today!

Hey JoJo...
I guess the guys that spent most of their time in saloons always had a lady friend hanging on!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming by today!

Hey Ben...
I'm pleased that you found the story of Doc Holliday interesting!

I appreciate the link you sent! I truly love reading about this stuff!

Thanks, buddy, for dropping by this morning!

My name is Earl said...

As the line goes in the movie The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, "When to legend becomes fact, print the legend."

My name is Earl said...

When the legend becomes fact, print the legend!

HermitJim said...

Hey Earl...
The legend always seems to be more exciting to read about!

Makes you wonder just how that translates in today's world!

Thanks for the visit today!

Bob Mc said...

Thank Hollywood for making heros out of so many characters who were far from it. Billy the kid, Jesse James, etc, etc.

Mayberry said...

The movie "Tombstone" was pretty close then. Val Kilmer made that movie as Doc Holliday!

"I got two guns, one for each of ya." Classic!

linda m said...

Very interesting post. Thanks