July 19, 1879
DOC HOLLIDAY KILLS FOR THE FIRST TIME!
Doc Holliday commits his first murder, killing a man for shooting up his New Mexico saloon.
Despite his formidable reputation as a deadly gunslinger, Doc Holliday only engaged in eight shootouts during his life, and it has only been verified that he killed two men. Still, the smartly dressed ex-dentist from Atlanta had a remarkably fearless attitude toward death and danger, perhaps because he was slowly dying from tuberculosis.
In 1879, Holliday settled in Las Vegas, New Mexico, where he opened a saloon with a partner. Holliday spent his evenings gambling in the saloon and he seemed determined to stress his health condition by heavy drinking. A notorious cad, Holliday also enjoyed the company of the dance hall girls that the partners hired to entertain the customers–which sometimes sparked trouble.
On this day in 1879, a former army scout named Mike Gordon tried to persuade one of Holliday’s saloon girls to quit her job and run away with him. When she refused, Gordon became infuriated. He went out to the street and began to fire bullets randomly into the saloon. He didn’t have a chance to do much damage–after the second shot, Holliday calmly stepped out of the saloon and dropped Gordon with a single bullet. Gordon died the next day.
The following year, Holliday abandoned the saloon business and joined his old friend Wyatt Earp in Tombstone, Arizona. There he would kill his second victim, during the famous “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” in October 1881. During the subsequent six years, Holliday assisted at several other killings and wounded a number of men in gun battles. His hard drinking and tuberculosis eventually caught up with him, and he retired to a Colorado health resort where he died in 1887. Struck by the irony of such a peaceful end to a violent life, his last words reportedly were “This is funny.”
Doc is “featured” in The Gunsmith series written by J.R. Roberts
415: THE FUNERAL OF DOC HOLLIDAY
The death of the legendary Doc Holliday brought Clint Adams to an impromptu wake following the funeral in Colton, California. The mourners in attendance would have made any outlaw shake in their boots: Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp, Bat Masterson, Luke Short, “Turkey Creek” Jack Johnson and Sherman McMaster. After the funeral everyone left town, but Clint stayed to help Virgil—who was the Marshal of Colton—with a problem involving a group of cowboys. When Clint asked if there was going to be another O.K. Corral, Virgil said no, and assured him that the two of them could handle it. He shouldn't have said that, because he didn't know what kind of trouble was heading their way. If the the Gunsmith and the lawman didn't resolve matters, they weren't going to have much of a future …
Purchase your copy: