Warren was born on March 9, in Pella, Iowa. Due to his age, Warren didn't participate in most of his older brother's activities. He was still living at home with his parents when the shooting in Tombstone happened. He had been to Tombstone previously in and for visits, hence some of the stories about Wyatt in Tombstone include Warren.
When the family moved to California in l, Warren made the long trek west with his parents and siblings by wagon train. By l, this itinerant family traveled back to Missouri, and Warren once again made the long trip. Warren did not get mixed up with his older brother's perils such as law enforcement, stagecoach driving, or operating gambling saloons. He seemed to stick closer to his parents, helping on the family farm or in their grocery store. In l, he once again moved back to California with the family. And now at 23, he decided to join his older brothers for some adventuring in Tombstone.
Warren liked to carry guns, and tried to emulate his big brothers who found odd jobs for him. He seems to have moved back and forth more than once between his brothers in Arizona, and his parents in California. After hearing the news of the gunfight, he returned to Tombstone to lend a hand to Wyatt; as both Virgil and Morgan were seriously wounded during the shoot-out. He served a short stint as a "policeman," patrolling the streets of Tombstone against looters after the June 22, l88l fire that roared through town. After the ambush of Virgil and the murder of Morgan, Warren joined Wyatt in what became known as the Earp's "bloody ride of vengeance.
Chased by various old political enemies, the Earps made their escape and got away to Colorado where they disbanded.
The Earp Brothers: Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp
On the night of July 5, l he rode into Willcox where he made his entrance at the Headquarters Saloon. He was followed shortly thereafter by a cowboy named John Boyett. Boyett was another employee of Colonel Hooker, and he detested Warren Earp.
It was thought Earp and Boyett had some long-running feud between them. Both were fairly drunk by a. An argument broke out between the two men. Boyett ran next door to the Willcox House Saloon where he got two pistols his own, apparently checked in at that drinking establishment earlier in the evening and returned to the Headquarters Saloon, gunning for Warren.
Meanwhile, Warren Earp walked outside, but came back indoors to foolishly face Boyett. By now, Boyett allegedly had taken a couple potshots at Earp who continued to advance on Boyett; Earp was not carrying a gun. Finally, one of Boyett's shots turned out to be fatal. Those first arriving on the scene including Willcox newspaperman C. Anderson reported finding a small pocket knife in Warren Earp's hand. Anderson himself suspected the knife "may have been placed there after death," since Earp's hand was not gripping the knife as if he had been holding it when he died.
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Virgil held a commission as a deputy U. Wyatt was a Pima County deputy sheriff during the last half of and a detective for Wells Fargo; he would be a deputy U. Thus, the Earps were the only law enforcement in and around Tombstone. But even honest citizens were benefitting from the low price of rustled beef. So the law-enforcing Earps became the bad guys, while the Robin Hood outlaws became the good guys. The resulting confrontations became known as the Earp-Cowboy feud. The cases in which Morgan was involved are largely routine in connection with working as a deputy for his brothers.
On July 25, , two days before Wyatt took an oath as a Pima County deputy sheriff, rustlers stole a half-dozen U. Army mules from Camp Rucker, 50 miles east of Tombstone. Lieutenant J. Hurst and a mixed posse of four soldiers and four civilians, including Deputy U. Caught red-handed, the thieves made a deal with Hurst: They would turn over the mules to him only if he first ordered the Earps back to Tombstone.
This confrontation was the first of many between the Earps and the Cowboys. Wyatt rode shotgun for Wells Fargo express shipments until he was appointed Pima County deputy sheriff, on July Marshal Virgil Earp would become an oft-repeated task.
Marshal Virgil Earp, Morgan and Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday Meet the Cowboys.
The September 11 Epitaph reported that Morgan had been riding shotgun on a stage to Benson when he discovered the rear boot had torn open and two bars of silver had fallen out. Backtracking, Morgan and the driver found the bars lying in the road. The incident may have planted a seed for later accusations by the antiEarp faction that the brothers were behind many area stage robberies.
The gun went off, and White fell mortally wounded. Wyatt buffaloed Curly Bill over the head and stuck him in jail. Morgan and Wells Faro undercover man Fred Dodge then stood guard as Wyatt rounded up the other drunks. When Wyatt took Brocius to Tucson for trial, Virgil and Morgan rode shotgun part of the way, as they feared a lynch mob might try to hang him. And so we begin to get a picture of Morgan Earp in Tombstone—pinning on a badge whenever asked, but also gambling at the tables whenever he could.
Marshal Virgil Earp continued to call on Morgan in Ironically, they often played cards with some of the Cowboys. Meanwhile, rustling and stage holdups were increasing in frequency and violence. The cauldron began to boil over on the night of March 15, , when four holdup men killed driver Budd Philpot and passenger Peter Roerig during a bungled attempt to rob the Tombstone-to-Benson stage.
Deputy U. Worse still, the Cowboys accused Doc Holliday of being behind the robbery attempt. Wells Fargo secretly gave Wyatt carte blanche to put an end to the stage robberies, and on June 28 Virgil was appointed chief of police of Tombstone on top of his deputy U. A showdown with the Cowboys was inevitable, and Morgan Earp stayed eagerly in the midst of the action. Some historians believe Wyatt, Morgan and Warren Earp and Doc Holliday were involved in the killings, which would have inflamed tensions.
Nevertheless, in October when Geronimo and his renegade Apache warriors went on the warpath, threatening the Tombstone outskirts, a man Earp posse that included Morgan had an oddly peaceful exchange with Curly Bill Brocius at the McLaury ranch in the Sulphur Springs Valley on the 6th. Apparently, at that point, everyone was more concerned about the Apaches.
Wyatt had previously made a secret deal with Clanton to set up some of his stage-robbing friends for arrest, and Clanton thought Wyatt had betrayed that confidence to Doc. But anti-Earp historians believe Wyatt sent for Doc to set up a climactic showdown with the Cowboys—resulting five days later in the gunfight. On the night of October 25, a drunken Ike Clanton got into a mouthing match with Holliday at the Alhambra.
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Morgan and Wyatt separated the pair, and then Virgil arrived, threatening to arrest both Doc and Ike. The next morning, the 26th, Ike was back spouting threats and drunkenly walking the streets with a six-gun and a Winchester rifle.
When Virgil confronted him, Ike tried to pull his sixshooter. In court Wyatt and Morgan got into another verbal barrage with Ike, Morgan mockingly offering Ike his own six-gun and daring him to use it. Judge A. And as the still-fuming Wyatt left the courtroom, he ran into Tom McLaury, buffaloed him and left him dazed and bleeding in the street. Ike Clanton had finally blown the lid off the stewpot.
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At about p. They went there to disarm any Cowboys illegally carrying guns. Perhaps neither side expected the confrontation to erupt into a gunfight, but it did, with about 30 shots fired in 30 seconds. Billy Claiborne and Ike Clanton ran.