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.

 George M. Easton came in from Colton, recalling that it was the Earp boys who were called into Colton 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.

 Bill 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 Dodge City 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.

SHOOTING REMEMBERED

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 there in Tombstone 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.

Major 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 Tombstone and surrounding territory.  That was in 1991, Major Clum’s and Wyatt’s trails crossed again up in the Yukon in 1898 and in Nome in 1900. The major was extending the postal service in Alaska at the time and Wyatt was gold hunting.

 Wilson Mizner, another pallbearer and J. P. Browner, knew Earp up in the Klondike 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 Tombstone, Charles Welch, Fred Dornberge, and Jim Mitchell.

MANY ASSEMLE

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.

 HE KNEW PLAINS

 “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 Los Angeles.

 Reproduced with permission of the Los Angeles Times.


AMERICAN GHOST TOWNS ©2003-2008 of AMERICAN GHOST TOWNS.US and PASCHALL PUBLISHING, Redlands, CA. All images are the property of Paschall Publishing and may not be copied, duplicated or transmitted by any means without the express written permission of Paschall Publishing.

For information regarding this site email: Ron@americanghosttowns.us