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Doc Holliday Facts

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Facts about Doc Holliday

Biography Summary: Doc Holliday (1851 - 1887) was famous for being part of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

John Henry Holliday began his adult life as a dentist and profitable one. But having suffered from an early age with tuberculosis, the coughing fits made it difficult for him to sustain his career and so he found had a certain skill for gambling.

He would become friends with Wyatt Earp and found himself deputized to assist Earp in keeping the law.

After the events at O.K. Corral and the maiming and killing of Wyatt Earp’s brothers, retribution was sought and paid lawfully. Holliday’s health rapidly deteriorated in 1887 when he succumbed to the tuberculosis that had plagued him most of his adult life and it is thought his final words, upon seeing his feet without his boots on he said “This is funny” finding this amusing. He had apparently always thought he would die in a shootout with his boots on, not in a bed of lung disease.

Doc Holliday Fact Sheet: Who was Doc Holliday? The following short biography and fact sheet provides interesting facts about the life, times and history of Doc Holliday.

Doc Holliday Fact File: Lifespan: 1851 - 1887 *** Full Name: John Henry Holliday *** Nickname: Doc Holliday *** Occupation: American Dentist, Gambler and Gunfighter and *** Date of Birth: Doc Holliday was born on August 14th 1851 *** Place of Birth: Doc Holliday was born in Griffin, Georgia, U.S. *** Family background: His father was Henry Burroughs Holliday and his mother was Alice Jane McKey. His family originated from England. His father served in the military during the Mexican-America and Civil Wars on the side of the Confederates *** Early life and childhood: Little is known of his early childhood but when he was thirteen the family moved to Valdosta in Georgia. Two years later his mother died of tuberculosis which would also kill his stepbrother Francisco. His father remarried *** Education: Doc Holliday attended the Valdosta Institute where he was educated in a classically secondary education which included mathematics, rhetoric, grammar, history and languages including Latin, Ancient Greek and French ***

Doc Holliday Fact 1: Doc Holliday was born on August 14th 1851 and during the 19th century period in history when slavery would largely become abolished during this century with slave revolts in Britain, Haiti and France. In particular in America the Civil War of 1861 to 1864 saw the abolition of slavery and in England the Slavery Abolition Act saw the British Royal Navy put an end to the global slave trade.

Doc Holliday Fact 2: As a nineteen year old in 1870 he moved to Philadelphia where he began to attend dental school. The following year he graduated.

Doc Holliday Fact 3: Once qualified he moved briefly to St Louis in Missouri where he assisted A. Jameson Fuches, Jr a classmate. He then moved on to Atlanta where he lived with his family and an uncle so he could begin to build his own practice.

Doc Holliday Fact 4: Not long after he began his own practice he became sick and was diagnosed with tuberculosis which he may have caught from his mother. He was told that a warmer and drier climate could extend his life past the few months he was given to live and so he decided to move to Dallas in Texas.

Doc Holliday Fact 5: Once settled in Dallas he became a partner to a friend of his father’s, Dr John A. Seegar, in a dental practice. The pair worked well together and often won awards for their work.

Doc Holliday Fact 6: By 1874 he decided he wanted to open his own practice and although he was an accomplished practitioner his bouts of coughing often arose at unfortunate times which would ultimately cause his practice to fail.

Doc Holliday Fact 7: During this period he found he had an aptitude for gambling and he was able to earn enough money to provide himself with an income on which he could live.

Doc Holliday Fact 8: However, in May of 1874 he found himself indicted for gambling illegally along with twelve other people. Eventually he decided to leave Dallas.

Doc Holliday Fact 9: Heading for Denver he travelled the stage routes and would stop along the way to gamble at either army posts or towns.

Doc Holliday Fact 10: He eventually settled in Denver using the name Tom Mackey and managed to get a job working as a Faro dealer. During a game with a local gambler called Bud Ryan, an argument broke out and subsequently a knife fight as well in which Ryan was left wounded seriously.

Doc Holliday Fact 11: By 1876, he heard gold had been found in Wyoming and so decided to up sticks and travelled to Cheyenne where he found work as a dealer with his previous employers partner who owned a saloon in the town.

Doc Holliday Fact 12: He travelled around from Cheyenne to Dakota, back to Cheyenne before moving on to Denver and then Kansas before returning to Texas and setting up in Breckenridge. In July of 1877 he became involved in a disagreement with Henry Kahn. They were both arrested and fined. Later that same day, Kahn approached Holliday, who was unarmed, and shot him, seriously wounding him.

Doc Holliday Fact 13: The local paper reported that he had been killed but in fact his cousin George Henry Holliday moved out to look after him. Once he was fully fit he moved on to Fort Griffin.

Doc Holliday Fact 14: He met the only woman he would ever get involved with in Fort Griffin. While he was dealing cards in saloon run by John Shanssey he met Mary Katharine Harony. An educated women who preferred her independence she chose to work.

Doc Holliday Fact 15: Holliday first met Wyatt Earp who was acting as a Deputy U.S. Marshall, while he was working for Shanssey when Earp came looking for an armed robber who had passed through Fort Griffin and with who Holliday had played cards with. He told Earp that the guy had said he was travelling back to Kansas.

Doc Holliday Fact 16: Holliday decided to move with Kate to Dodge City where Earp was. He set up his dentistry practice and still worked and it was at this time that he became known as Doc. It was also at this time that he assisted Earp and would save his life.

Doc Holliday Fact 17: Having decided to move town and had chosen Tombstone which was a up and coming town as Dodge City had been, Wyatt encouraged his brother Virgil together with their wives and Doc and Kate they headed for Dodge City.

Doc Holliday Fact 18: Leaving Mary in Dodge City he travelled with a Deputy U.S. Marshall to sort out a local railway dispute. With the money he earned he had a carpenter build him clapboard structure which he called Doc Holliday’s Saloon.

Doc Holliday Fact 19: By 1880 Holliday had met up again with Earp and his brothers, Virgil, James and Morgan with their wives in Tombstone. There is some suggestion that Wyatt Earp actually asked for Holliday’s help as he was good with a gun, with a local problem.

Doc Holliday Fact 20: Holliday together with the Earp brothers were in charge of law enforcement in Tombstone. On one occasion it was reported that a group of men, known as the Cowboys, had entered the town and refused to hand in their weapons which was against the law.

Doc Holliday Fact 21: When they were approached to give up their weapons a gun fight ensued. A preliminary hearing after the event found that Holliday and the Earps had all acted within the law and in their duty as lawmen.

Doc Holliday Fact 22: The overall atmosphere in Tombstone become much worse. In December of 1881 Virgil Earp was permanently injured when he was ambushed and March of 1882 Morgan Earp was assassinated. After these events many of the Earp family left Tombstone. It came to light these events were in retaliation for the deaths that occurred during the gunfight with the Cowboys.

Doc Holliday Fact 23: Earp but together a posse that included Holliday, Sherman McMaster, Turkey Creek Jack Johnson and Warren Earp, they were all deputized.

Doc Holliday Fact 24: The posse eventually located the Cowboys responsible for the killing and maiming of the Earp brothers and were brought to justice.

Doc Holliday Fact 25: After matters were settled Holliday relocated to Colorado where his health deteriorated to the point that on November 8th 1887 he died aged thirty six years. His body laid to rest in Linwood Cemetery overlooking Glenwood Springs in Colorado.

Influence & Legacy: Doc Holliday was known for shooting his opponents either in the arm or the hand in order to disarm them rather than fatally shooting them which was also a way of avoiding capital punishment. Although he had been arrested on various occasions for serious offences he was found not guilty.

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