EARP BURIED BY OLD WEST
from the Los Angeles Times, 17 January 1929
Pioneer Folk gather at Rites of Peace Officer Whose
Life Molded Frontier History
Wyatt Earp’s funeral was
conducted down at Pierce Brother’s chapel yesterday and it was like a reunion of
the sturdy men and women who knew Wyatt as a wiry, six-foot tow-gun officer of
the law in mining towns, cow camps and almost anywhere along the frontier where
trouble was apt to pop loose.
M. Easton came in from
recalling that it was the Earp boys who were called into
to help clean up that town at a time when outlawry was so rampant that
desperadoes used to ride into town at night and knock out the lamps in houses
with their guns.
Hart, no novice in the ways of the West himself, came in from his place and was
one of the pallbearers. Bill, as a little boy, knew Wyatt in
when that town was going good on the frontier. Movie Star Tom Mix was there and
as a friend of the deceased was a pallbearer.
There was Mrs. Roma Thorndyke,
widow of Melburn Thorndyke, who was numbered among the mourners. Tears filled
her eyes when she told how she remembered as a little girl 7 years of age back
in 1881, the day that Wyatt shot it out with the Clantons. As a child would, she
ran out into the street the minute she heard the shooting start, but someone
grabbed her and threw her flat on the floor in the grocery store.
John P. Clum, one of the well-known figures of the West of earlier days, was one
of the pallbearers. Major Clum is a long time friend of the Earps. Why, he was
the first Mayor of Tombstone and Wyatt Earp was Chief of Police. The major was
founder and editor of the Tombstone Epitaph, a newspaper whose history is
wrapped in the history of the Southwest, and is still reporting the doings of
and surrounding territory.
That was in
1991, Major Clum’s and Wyatt’s trails crossed again up in the
in 1898 and in
in 1900. The major was extending the postal service in
at the time and Wyatt was gold hunting.
Mizner, another pallbearer and J. P. Browner, knew Earp up in the
country also. They met Major Clum again, for the first time since then, at the
funeral yesterday. Other pallbearers included George W. Parsons, formerly of
Charles Welch, Fred Dornberge, and Jim Mitchell.
Out from the colorful past of the old West stepped
these friends of Wyatt Earp, their numbers increased by others until extra
chairs had to be brought into the chapel to seat them all. There they sat, this
colorful company of actors from the melodrama of the older days, bronzed of
face, and those who were not white haired were bald headed. Many of them carried
canes and they were not for mere ornament either. Some wore business suits and
some wore heavy jackets of wool or leather: some with large long overcoats made
to “turn the wind” that has a habit of driving the chill into the bones when one
is getting old.
There was a sprinkling of younger folks there, too.
Sitting there in the
chapel before Wyatt’s bier banked high with flowers, while from somewhere came
the music of a harp, these men and women no doubt let their thoughts drift back
to the happy, though turbulent days when the man in the casket there before them
was among them helping to lay the foundations for the West of today.
When Dr. Harper of the
Wilshire Blvd. Congregational Church began to speak, these veterans snapped out
of their reverie and leaned forward. Some of them rested their elbows on their
canes as they cupped their hands over their ears.
“We are here to pay our
respects to one who has journeyed across the plains of life for a long time,”
said Dr. Harper. Yes, most of those before him know just what that journey
meant. One ruby-faced neighbor of old eased in through the door and dropped into
a seat in the back row. He wore a pink carnation in his lapel. He meant to be
quiet, but when he was settling down he recognized the man next to him as one he
had not seen in years, and he slapped him on the shoulder and said quite
audibly, “Well, old timer, how are you!” They mumbled along during most of the
sermon, apparently swapping comments.
The brief services over,
the mourners passed by the coffin and as they came out through the side door
they were plenty whose yes were red. Among those who were present were Tom Grady
and M.C. Beckwith and Dr. D.K. Dickinson, who knew Earp in Tombstone many years
ago: Jack Cochrance, who knew him in Alaska: Dr. George B.Calnan, who knew him
in El Paso, Joe Treest, who knew him in Tonopah and Goldfield: E. A. Speegle of
Tombstone days and Frank E. Cline, a friend of his for the past twenty years in
permission of the Los Angeles Times.