VIRGIL WALTER EARP - ANNOTATED DOCUMENT SIGNED 09/19/1881 - HFSID 350458
Exceedingly rare signature by Virgil Earp while acting as tax collector of Tombstone Arizona.
Annotated Document Singed "V W Earp". 1 page, 5 x 7. September 19, 1881, Tombstone Arizona. Framed to an overall size of 32 x 18½. In full: "Received of City Auditor, for collection, City Licenses numbered from 581 to 590, both numbers inclusive. V W Earp / City Tax Collector." Minor chipping on corners of frame. Fine condition. Accompanied by an unsigned stock photograph of Virgil Earp.
Virgil Walter Earp (1843-1905). As City Tax Collector for the frontier town of Tombstone in the Arizona Territory, Virgil Walter Earp signed this document in September 1881, just one month before he and his brothers Wyatt and Morgan fought in the infamous shootout at the O.K. Corral on October 26. At 2 p.m. on that fateful day, the feud between the Earps and a gang of cattle-rustling cowboys led by Ike Clanton erupted into bloodshed. As Tombstone's Chief of Police and Deputy United States Marshal, Virgil deputized his two brothers and their friend John "Doc" Holliday. The four met Ike, Billy Clanton, Frank and Tom McLaury on Freemont Street. After one minute of vicious gunfire, Billy Clanton and the McLaurys lay dead. Virgil had been shot in the leg, Morgan in the shoulder and Holiday in the hip. Only Wyatt and the cowardly Ike - who had fled the scene - remained unscathed.
The townspeople of Tombstone were furious over the killings, which many considered cold-blooded murder, and Virgil was relieved as Deputy Marshal and Chief of Police. While Virgil and Morgan recovered from their wounds, Wyatt and Doc stood trial for the killings but were acquitted in 30 days. In December, Ike and his friends sought revenge and shot Virgil in an ambush; one bullet shattered his left arm, and another went through his body, but he remarkably escaped death. Three months later, Morgan was shot in the back and killed while playing pool. Virgil Earp continued his career as a lawman, moving to California and serving as Marshal in Colton. He later became a Deputy Sheriff in Goldfield, Nevada.
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