Josephine Earp
American actress and dancer, wife of Wyatt Earp
Josephine Earp
Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp was an American part-time actress and dancer who was best known as the wife of famed Old West lawman and gambler Wyatt Earp. Known as "Sadie" to the public in 1881, she met Wyatt in the frontier boom town Tombstone, Arizona Territory when she was living with Cochise County Sheriff Johnny Behan. She became Earp's common-law wife for 48 years.
Biography
Josephine Earp's personal information overview.
{{personal_detail.supertitle}}
{{personal_detail.title}}
{{personal_detail.title}}
Photo Albums
Popular photos of Josephine Earp
Relationships
View family, career and love interests for Josephine Earp
Show More Show Less
News
News abour Josephine Earp from around the web
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Josephine Earp
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1944
    Age 83
    Josephine died on December 20, 1944, at 4004 W. 17th Street in the West Adams district of Los Angeles.
    More Details Hide Details She was 83 years old and died penniless. Sid Grauman of Grauman's Theater and cowboy actor and long-time friend of Wyatt Earp William S. Hart paid for her funeral and burial. Although she was never active in her Jewish faith, her service was conducted by a rabbi. When Wyatt died, she secretly buried him in the Marcus family plot in the Jewish Hills of Eternity Memorial Park in Colma, California. Her body was cremated and buried next to Wyatt's remains. They are buried near her parents and her brother Nathan. In their later years Josephine worked hard to eliminate any mention that Josephine had been Johnny Behan's mistress or of Wyatt's previous common law marriage to the prostitute Mattie Blaylock. She successfully kept both women's names out of Stuart Lake's biography of Wyatt and after he died, Josephine may have threatened litigation to keep it that way. Lake corresponded with Josephine over several years, and he claimed she attempted to influence what he wrote and hamper him in every way possible, including consulting lawyers.
  • 1929
    Age 68
    After Wyatt died in 1929, Josephine traveled to Boston, Massachusetts to try to persuade the publisher to stop the release of the book.
    More Details Hide Details
  • THIRTIES
  • 1896
    Age 35
    With the controversy over the boxing match dogging him, Earp gave up managing race horses in San Francisco and on December 20, 1896 he and Josie left for Yuma, Arizona.
    More Details Hide Details On August 5, 1897, Earp and Josie once again joined in a mining boom and left Yuma, Arizona for San Francisco, where they boarded the steamship Rosalie for Nome, Alaska to join in the Alaska Gold Rush. Wyatt and partner Charles Hoxie built the Dexter Saloon, the largest in Nome. Josephine gambled so recklessly that Wyatt cut her off and asked other gambling houses to do the same. She also gambled on the boats to and from Alaska. In February 1902, they arrived in Tonopah, Nevada, known as the "Queen of the Silver Camps," where silver and gold had been discovered in 1900 and a boom was under way. He opened the Northern Saloon in Tonopah and served as a Deputy U.S. Marshal under Marshal J.F. Emmitt. After Tonopah's gold strike waned, Wyatt staked mining claims just outside Death Valley and elsewhere in the Mojave Desert. In 1906 he discovered several deposits of gold and copper near the Sonoran Desert town of Vidal, California on the Colorado River and filed more than 100 mining claims near the Whipple Mountains. Wyatt and Josie Earp summered in Los Angeles and lived in at least nine small Los Angeles rentals as early as 1885 and as late as 1929, mostly in the summer. They bought the only home they ever owned, a small cottage in Vidal, and lived there during the fall, winter and spring months of 1925 – 1928, while he worked his Happy Days mines in the Whipple Mountains a few miles north.
  • 1892
    Age 31
    Josephine wrote in I Married Wyatt Earp that she and Wyatt were married in 1892 offshore by the captain of Lucky Baldwin's yacht.
    More Details Hide Details Raymond Nez wrote that his grandparents witnessed their marriage off the California coast. No public record of their marriage has ever been found. Wyatt and Josie never had any children. Josie had two miscarriages during her life and was apparently unable to have children. She maintained a relationship with Johnny Behan's son, Albert Price Behan, whom she had grown to love as her own son. They moved frequently, even when living in the same town. From 1891 to 1896, the Earps lived in at least four different locations in the San Francisco: 145 Ellis St., 720 McAllister St., 514A Seventh Ave. and 1004 Golden Gate Ave. After moving to southern California in about 1903, they also lived in several different locations. According to those who knew them, their relationship was not peaceful. Wyatt had a mischievous sense of humor. He knew his wife preferred the name "Josephine" and detested "Sadie", but early in their relationship he began calling her 'Sadie'. Josephine frequently griped about Wyatt’s lack of work and financial success and even his character and personality. Wyatt would often go on long walks to get away from her. He was furious about her gambling habit, during which she lost considerable sums of money. Each may have engaged in extramarital affairs. Josephine could be controlling. Grace Spolidora was a teenager during the Earp's many visits to her family's home near Needles, California and sometimes went to San Diego with them.
  • 1891
    Age 30
    The Earps moved back to San Francisco in 1891 so Josie could be closer to her family.
    More Details Hide Details Earp developed a reputation as a sportsman as well as a gambler. He held onto his San Diego properties but their value fell, but he could not pay the taxes and was forced to sell the lots. He continued to race horses, but by 1896 he could not longer afford to own them but raced them on behalf of the owner of a horse stable in Santa Rosa that he managed for her.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1888
    Age 27
    Mattie resumed life as a prostitute and committed "suicide by opium poisoning" on July 3, 1888.
    More Details Hide Details In addition to Josephine's concealing Wyatt's past relationship with Blaylock, modern researchers think she may also have been trying to conceal her own past as a "sporting lady" or prostitute. While prostitutes were ostracized by "respectable" women, many madams and prostitutes had more control of their lives and greater independence than other women. Josephine always sought excitement in her life. In the book I Married Wyatt Earp (1967), based on a manuscript which she purportedly wrote, author Glenn Boyer quotes her as saying, "I liked the traveling sort of man... better than the kind that sat back in one town all his life and wrote down little rows of figures all day or hustled dry goods or groceries and that sort of thing... My blood demanded excitement, variety and change." The type of work available to most women in that era was as laundresses, seamstresses, or other dull work which Josephine avoided.
  • 1883
    Age 22
    In early 1883, Josephine—or Sadie as Wyatt called her—and Wyatt left San Francisco for Gunnison, Colorado, where Earp ran a Faro bank until he received a request in April for assistance from Luke Short in Dodge City.
    More Details Hide Details In December 1883, they visited Galveston, Texas, and in March 1884 they were in Salt Lake City. Josephine and Wyatt traveled through various western states hunting for gold and silver mining they could invest in. In 1884, Wyatt and his wife Josie, his brothers Warren and James, and James' wife Bessie arrived in Eagle City, Idaho, another new boomtown that was created as a result of the discovery of gold, silver, and lead in the Coeur d'Alene area. (It's now a ghost town in Shoshone County). Wyatt followed the crowd looking for gold in the Murray-Eagle mining district and paid $2,250 for a diameter white circus, in which they opened a dance hall and saloon called The White Elephant. After the Coeur d'Alene mining venture died out, Earp and Josie briefly went to El Paso, Texas before moving in 1887 to San Diego where the railroad was about to arrive and a real estate boom was underway. They stayed for about four years, living most of the time in the Brooklyn Hotel. Earp speculated in San Diego's booming real estate market. Between 1887 and around 1896 he bought four saloons and gambling halls, one on Fourth Street and two near Sixth and E, all in the "respectable" part of town.
  • 1882
    Age 21
    Sadie Mansfield reappeared in Tombstone when she was noted in the July 1882 Tombstone census, but Josephine Marcus and Josephine Behan were not.
    More Details Hide Details Sadie and John Behan lived at different addresses. Josephine's life after Tombstone and with Wyatt Earp is not well known, although it isn't as obscured by stories of her life in Tombstone that she told to hide facts. The San Diego Union printed a report from the San Francisco Call on July 9, 1882 that Virgil Earp was in San Francisco (receiving treatment for his shattered arm) and that Wyatt was expected to arrive there that day. During the same time period Josephine began using the name of "Josephine Earp". Wyatt took a job managing a horse stable in Santa Rosa. Earp developed a reputation as a sportsman as well as a gambler. He was reputed to own a six-horse stable in San Francisco, although it was learned later that the horses were leased. At Santa Rosa, Earp personally competed in and won a harness race. The Sacramento Daily Record reported on October 20, 1882, that Virgil had arrived in town from Tombstone to greet his brother Wyatt arriving from the east.
    Earp's former wife, Mattie Blaylock traveled with other Earp family members in April, 1882, to Colton, California, waiting for Wyatt to telegraph her and invite her to join him.
    More Details Hide Details Wyatt never sent for her and she moved to Pinal, Arizona, where she resumed life as a prostitute, eventually committing suicide by taking an overdose of laudanum.
    Sadie, traveling as either Mrs. J. C. Earp or Mrs. Wyatt Earp, left Tombstone for her family in San Francisco via Los Angeles on March 25, 1882.
    More Details Hide Details This was one week after Morgan Earp was assassinated and five days after Wyatt set out in pursuit of those he believed responsible. After the Earp Vendetta Ride ended in April, 1882, Wyatt left Arizona for Colorado.
    In March 1882, Sadie sent a postal money order to her mother, Mrs. H. Marcus, in San Francisco.
    More Details Hide Details She didn't use either Marcus or Behan as her name, but asked a friend to send the postal order for her.
    She went to San Francisco in March 1882 and was joined that fall by Wyatt, with whom she remained in a common-law marriage for 46 years until his death.
    More Details Hide Details Josephine and Wyatt moved throughout their life, from one boomtown to another, until they finally bought a cottage in the Sonoran Desert town of Vidal, California on the Colorado River, where they spent the cooler seasons. In the summer they retreated to Los Angeles, where Wyatt struck up relationships with some of the early cowboy actors, including William S. Hart and Tom Mix. Josephine Earp and her relationship to Wyatt became known after amateur historian Glenn Boyer published his book, I Married Wyatt Earp, based on a manuscript allegedly written in part by her. Boyer's book was considered a factual memoir, and cited by scholars, studied in classrooms, and used as a source by filmmakers for 32 years. In 1998, reporters and scholars found that Boyer could not document many of the facts he wrote about the time period in Tombstone. Some critics described the book as a fraud and a hoax, and the University of Arizona withdrew the book from its catalog.
  • 1881
    Age 20
    Josephine is quoted in I Married Wyatt Earp as saying that on October 26, 1881, the day of the shootout at the O.K. Corral, she was at her home when she heard the sound of gunfire.
    More Details Hide Details Running into town in the direction of the shots, Josephine was relieved to see that Wyatt was uninjured. After the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Ike Clanton filed murder charges against the Earps and Doc Holliday. During a month-long preliminary hearing, Judge Wells Spicer heard testimony from a large number of witnesses. The Tombstone Epitaph reported on November 11, 1881 that "S. Mansfield" from San Francisco had passed Colton, California (where Wyatt Earp's parents lived) en route to Arizona, a few days before Wyatt's testimony at the Spicer hearing. During the next few months, until April 1882, Sadie Mansfield is recorded in various newspapers as traveling back and forth between Tombstone and San Francisco several times. The Epitaph reported on February 27, 1882 that S. Mansfield of Tombstone was returning from the west with other passengers, passing through Colton, California.
    The next month, in July 1881, Josephine Behan was reported to be leaving Tombstone by stage.
    More Details Hide Details But in August a Tombstone newspaper reported a letter waiting at the post office for Sadie Mansfield. Sadie was apparently no longer claiming to be Behan's wife. At some point during August and September, Sadie and Wyatt may have become friends and perhaps more seriously involved. Writer Alan Barra suggests that Behan and Earp knew of their mutual attraction to the same woman before the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, which may have contributed to their animosity.
    In June 1881, Sadie sent a postal money order to her mother using the name Josephine Behan, and Wyatt Earp was still living with his common-law wife Mattie Blaylock.
    More Details Hide Details
    Some modern writers report that Wyatt Earp moved in with Josephine after she kicked Behan out. But, in April 1881, less than eight months after Behan and Sadie built the house, she rented it to Dr. George Emory Goodfellow.
    More Details Hide Details A letter written by former New Mexico Territory Governor Miguel Otero appears to indicate that Earp had strong feelings for Josephine shortly after leaving Tombstone in April 1882. Following the Earp Vendetta Ride, the Earp posse went to Albuquerque, New Mexico for two weeks. While there, Wyatt stayed with prominent businessman Henry N. Jaffa, who was also president of New Albuquerque’s Board of Trade. Jaffa was also Jewish. Wyatt and Holliday had been fast friends since Holliday saved Earp's life in Dodge City during 1878. During their stay in Albuquerque, the two men ate at The Retreat Restaurant owned by "Fat Charlie". Ortero wrote in his letter, "Holiday said something about Earp becoming 'a damn Jew-boy.' Earp became angry and left…. Henry Jaffa told me later that Earp’s woman was a Jewess. Earp did mezuzah when entering the house." Earp's anger at Holliday's ethnic slur may indicate that his feelings for Josephine was more serious at the time than is commonly known. The information in the letter is compelling because at the time it was written in the 1940s, the relationship between Wyatt Earp and Josephine Marcus while living in Tombstone was virtually unknown. The only way Otero could write about these things was if he had a personal relationship with some of the individuals involved. The Earp party split up in Albuquerque, and Holliday and Dan Tipton rode on to Pueblo, while the rest of the group headed for Gunnison.
    In early 1881, Josephine returned to Tombstone after a trip to San Francisco.
    More Details Hide Details One version of the story is that she had taken Behan's son Albert, who was hearing impaired, to San Francisco for treatment. Upon their return, they arrived late in the evening and a day earlier than expected, at the house built with her father's money. Finding Behan in bed with the wife of a friend of theirs, she kicked him out. How and when she and Wyatt Earp began their relationship is unknown. Tombstone diarist George W. Parsons never mentioned seeing Wyatt and Josephine together and neither did John Clum in his memoirs. While there are no contemporary records in Tombstone of a relationship between them, they certainly knew each other, as Behan and Earp both had offices above the Crystal Palace Saloon. In his book, The Tombstone Travesty (later republished as The Earp Brothers of Tombstone), Frank Waters quotes Virgil Earp's wife, Allie, as saying that "Sadie's charms were undeniable. She had a small, trim body and a meneo of the hips that kept her full, flounced skirts bouncing. Sadie was an attractive woman, with thick, dark hair, vivid black eyes, and was well-endowed.
    Josephine left Behan in 1881, before the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, during which Wyatt and his brothers killed three Cowboys.
    More Details Hide Details
  • TEENAGE
  • 1880
    Age 19
    In Josephine's version of her life story, she left San Francisco to join Behan to Tombstone in October, 1880, and was hoping he would fulfill his promises to marry her.
    More Details Hide Details When he delayed, she was ready to leave him. Josephine is quoted in I Married Wyatt Earp that she received a letter and $300 from her father, urging her to return to San Francisco. The money was to cover her return trip, and it was ten times what she needed for the fare, and there is no record of him having sent the money to her. Rather than leave Tombstone, Josephine later wrote that Behan convinced her to use the money to build a house for them and continued their relationship. At the time, her parents, her sister Henrietta, and her brother Nathan were all living in a lower-class neighborhood south of Market Street in San Francisco with their daughter, her husband, their four children, and a boarder. Her father worked as a baker. It is unlikely that he was a "wealthy German merchant" as she described him.
  • 1879
    Age 18
    Considering that Josephine reported in later life at having first arrived with the Markham Troupe on December 1, 1879, and that Josephine joined Behan in Tombstone that same year, her reference to "my bad experience of a few years ago" means she must have been in Arizona for some time before 1879.
    More Details Hide Details Sadie Mansfield left Gillete, near Tip Top, and arrived in Phoenix on February 13, 1880. During the same week, Behan registered at the Bank Exchange Hotel in Phoenix, and on March 5 the Prescott Weekly Journal Miner reported that Sadie had returned to Gillette from Phoenix on March 2. On June 2, 1880, the U.S. census had recorded Sadie Mansfield, whose occupation was "courtesan", as living in Tip Top. On June 1 or 2, 1880, William V. Carroll, the census enumerator for the 9th ward in San Francisco, visited the Marcus home. He lived about two blocks from the family, so he likely already knew the family. He recorded Josephine as a member of the Marcus household, information that may have been offered by her parents. But Josephine said that her parents hid her activities, and they may have been covering for her when the census taker appeared on their doorstep. In a set of extraordinary coincidences, Sadie Mansfield and Sadie Marcus had very similar names and initials and were known by their friends as "Sadie." Both made a stagecoach journey from San Francisco to Prescott, Arizona Territory; both traveled with a black woman named Julia; both were sexual partners with Behan; both were 19 years old, born in New York City, and had parents from Germany. The only difference noted in the 1880 census is their occupation: Sadie in San Francisco is listed as "At home", while Sadie in Tip Top is recorded as a "Courtesan". (In the 1920 census, Sadie reported to the census taker that her family was from Hamburg, Germany, bordering Prussia.)
    The opening date of the Baldwin Hotel is much earlier than the date Josephine said she left for Arizona with the Pauline Markham Troupe in 1879.
    More Details Hide Details Josephine wrote much later that "The fear and the excitement, the weeks of exhausting travel, chagrin over my own foolishness, all together proved too much for my strength. I developed St. Vitus Dance and was unable to attend school very much again. After a time however I very much improved in health so that within two years after my experience I was once more a normal healthy girl." If Josephine, as she said, left San Francisco at age 18, it's unclear why she would still be attending school upon her return two years later. Like cerebral meningitis, St. Vitus Dance is a form of a streptococcus infection. The symptoms of St. Vitus Dance and meningitis are somewhat different, but both can be contracted from the same strain of bacteria through saliva. Both of Behan's children, Henrietta and Albert, were ill with meningitis around 1877, and in July of that year, Henrietta died from the disease.
    She said the girls arrived with the troupe in Tombstone on December 1, 1879 for a one-week engagement.
    More Details Hide Details This was the same date that Wyatt Earp and his brothers arrived. After a week in Tombstone, the Markham troupe finished their engagement and headed north to Prescott. They performed H.M.S. Pinafore more than a dozen times from December 24, 1879 through February 20, 1880. Josephine said she left the acting troupe in February 1880, just after the Markham troupe ended its initial run of performances in Prescott. Author Roger Ray thoroughly researched Josephine's story about joining the theater company and found many inconsistencies. The Markham troupe was documented as leaving San Francisco on board the Southern Pacific Railroad, not a ship nor a stagecoach, in October 1879 for Casa Grande, Arizona, the end of the line. Josephine or Sadie Marcus’s name was never included among those on the Markham troupe’s rolls in 1879.
    In the Cason manuscript, which was partly a basis for the book I Married Wyatt Earp, Josephine says she and her friend Dora joined the Pauline Markham Theater Company in 1879, when it visited San Francisco on its Western tour.
    More Details Hide Details Markham already had a national reputation as a burlesque dancer and songstress. She often appeared on stage and in publicity photos wearing a corset and pink tights: shocking attire for the 1870s. Josephine wrote that Dora was hired as a singer, and she was hired as a dancer. Josie said the two of them sailed with the other six members of the Pauline Markham troupe from San Francisco to Santa Barbara, where they stayed for a few days, performing in San Bernardino before leaving for Prescott, Arizona Territory, by stagecoach.
  • 1876
    Age 15
    Josephine told the Earp cousins that she returned to San Francisco before the grand opening of Lucky Baldwin's luxury Baldwin Hotel and Theater on the northeast corner of Powell and Market St., which opened on March 6, 1876.
    More Details Hide Details
    In January 1876, Josephine or Sadie left Prescott, stopped at a Los Angeles hotel, and returns to San Francisco before March 6.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1875
    Age 14
    She also told the Earp cousins that Pauline Markham had a maid named Julia.) On October 20, 1875, the Weekly Miner Journal of Prescott, Arizona noted that among the passengers en route from San Francisco were "Miss Saddie sic Mansfield... and Mrs. Julia Barton, a servant."
    More Details Hide Details Sadie was a well-known nickname for Sarah, and it was common for prostitutes of that time period to change their first name. Josephine may have used the name Sadie after she left San Francisco.
    Behan and his wife were divorced in June 1875.
    More Details Hide Details Behan moved for a time to the northwest Arizona Territory, where he served as the Mohave County Recorder in 1877, and then deputy sheriff of Mohave County in Gillet in 1879. In November 1879, Johnny Behan built a saloon in the silver mining boom town of Tip Top, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory. The town already had five saloons with five courtesans, but Johnny's new saloon had none. During the next year Behan was counted in the 1880 census in Tip Top, Arizona as a saloon keeper. Nineteen-year-old Sadie Mansfield, whose occupation was given as "Courtesan", the same person his former wife Victoria had named in their divorce five years earlier, was also living in Tip Top. In retelling her life story, Josephine Marcus retold many elements of her experience that corroborated facts in Sadie Mansfield's history. These facts may explain why Josephine later thought of this time in her life as "a bad dream." She said, "the whole experience recurs to my memory as a bad dream and I remember little of its details. I can remember shedding many tears in out-of the way-corners. I thought constantly of my mother and how great must be her grief and worry over me. In my confusion, I could see no way out of the tragic mess."
    The paper also reported on April 9, 1875, that a letter was waiting for her in the post office. In 1875, Behan's wife Victoria filed for divorce, complaining that Behan "at divers times and places openly and notoriously visited houses of ill-fame and prostitution at said town of Prescott."
    More Details Hide Details Victoria cited liaisons with several woman, but specifically mentioned a "Sadie or Sada Mansfield", a 14-year-old "woman of prostitution and ill-fame" as co-respondent in the divorce action. The divorce also cited Behan's threats of violence and unrelenting verbal abuse. Behan claimed their daughter Henrietta wasn't his, and a request for support for Henrietta was stricken from the divorce petition.
    On February 6, 1875, criminal charges were filed against Sadie Mansfield for petty larceny, accusing her of stealing two German silver spoons worth $126.00.
    More Details Hide Details The charges against her reported that "one set of German table spoons were stolen from the store of H. Asher and Company in the village of Prescott, Yavapai, A.T." Sheriff Ed Burnes searched Mansfield's residence and confiscated the spoons. The case was tried the same day with only one witness for the defense, Jennie Andrews. The nine-man jury found her not guilty. The Weekly Arizona Miner of Prescott reported on February 5, 1875, that Sadie Mansfield won a prize in the "Grand New Year Gift Enterprise".
  • 1874
    Age 13
    He began campaigning for the office, and the Prescott Miner reported on October 6, 1874 that "J.H. Behan left on an 'electioneering' tour toward Black Canyon, Wickenburg and other places" north and east of present-day Phoenix.
    More Details Hide Details Later that same month, on October 24, 1874, the Arizona Miner reported, "Al Zieber, Sergeant Stauffer and a mixed command of white and red soldiers are in the hills of Verde looking for some erring Apaches, whom they will be apt to find." Three days later, Sieber and Sgt. Rudolph Stauffer found the Apaches that had escaped the reservation at Cave Creek and fought them. Josephine said that when she and her friend Dora arrived in Arizona she learned that "some renegade Yuma-Apaches had escaped from the reservation to which they had been consigned and had returned to their old haunts on the war-path." She wrote that the famous Indian fighter Al Sieber was tracking the escaped Apache. She said that Sieber and his scouts led her stagecoach and its passengers to a nearby adobe ranch house. The group spent 10 days sleeping on the floor. Josephine first met John "Johnny" Harris Behan at the ranch house, who she described as, "young and darkly handsome, with merry black eyes and an engaging smile. My heart was stirred by his attentions in what were very romantic circumstances. It was a diversion from my homesickness though I cannot say I was in love with him. I am under the impression that he was a deputy sheriff engaged on some official errand." Harris was on the surface an upstanding citizen, married with two children, Albert and Henrietta.
    Based on the story she told the Earp cousins, when correlated with other sources, Josephine may have left her parent's home in San Francisco for Prescott, Arizona, as early as October 1874, when she was 13 or 14 years old, not 1879 as she told everyone later on.
    More Details Hide Details Cason says she and her sister "finally abandoned work on the manuscript because she Josie would not clear up the Tombstone sequence where it pertained to her and Wyatt." Hattie Wells owned a brothel on the 1000 block of Clay Street in San Francisco, a district known for prostitution, and only one block from Josephine's school on Powell Street. Wells also owned a brothel in Prescott, Arizona. Josephine had to walk past the brothel everyday on her way to school. To her the women appeared not as "soiled doves" but nicely dressed women living a life of leisure. In 1879, five prostitutes lived there. In I Married Wyatt Earp, Josephine wrote that one day, "I left my home one morning, carrying my books just as though I was going to school as usual." She said that at the age of 18, she ran away with two friends, Dora Hirsch, daughter of her music teacher, and a girl named Agnes, who had a role in Pauline Markham troupe's production of H.M.S. Pinafore in San Francisco. Author Sherry Monahan questions why an 18-year-old woman would be carrying books to school and find it necessary to "run away."
    During 1874, when Josephine was 13, production of gold and silver from the Comstock Lode had fed a feverish stock market, leading to a great deal of speculation.
    More Details Hide Details When the Comstock Lode production began to fade, San Francisco suffered. Her father Henry’s earnings as a baker fell. The family was forced to move in with Josephine's older sister Rebecca and her husband Aaron in the tenements on the flatlands "south of the slot" (south of Market Street). It was a working-class, ethnically mixed neighborhood, where smoke from factory chimneys filled the air. The 1880 census places the family in that area, known as the 9th Ward, between San Francisco Bay, Channel, Harrison and Seventh streets. In early 1880, Henry was living with his son-in-law Aaron, who was employed as a bookkeeper. They lived four blocks south of Market at 138 Perry Street between 3rd and 2nd at Harrison. As a girl, Josephine loved going to the theater. "There was far too much excitement in the air to remain a child." She apparently resented treatment by her teachers in the San Francisco schools, describing them as "inconsistent of a tolerant and gay populous acting as merciless and self-righteous as a New England village in bringing up its children." She described the harsh discipline meted out, including the "sting of rattan" and "being slapped for tardiness". Josephine said that she matured early and developed large breasts.
    There is some evidence that she lived in Prescott and Tip Top, Arizona Territory under the assumed name of Sadie Mansfield, and worked as a prostitute from 1874 to 1876, before becoming ill and returning to San Francisco.
    More Details Hide Details The name Sadie Mansfield was also recorded in Tombstone. Researchers have found that the two names share extremely similar characteristics and circumstances. Later in life Josephine described her first years in Arizona as "a bad dream". What is known for certain is that she traveled to Tombstone using the name Josephine Marcus in October, 1880. She wrote that she met Cochise County Sheriff Johnny Behan when she was 17 and he was 33. He promised to marry her and she joined him in Tombstone. He reneged but persuaded her to stay. Behan was sympathetic to ranchers and certain outlaw Cowboys, who were at odds with Deputy U.S. Marshal Virgil Earp and his brothers, Wyatt and Morgan.
    She may have arrived in Prescott, Arizona as early as 1874.
    More Details Hide Details
    Much of her life from about 1874 to 1880 is uncertain; she worked hard to keep this period of her life private, even threatening legal action against writers and movie producers.
    More Details Hide Details
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1869
    Age 8
    In March 1869, Behan married Victoria Zaff, the 17-year-old daughter of Yavapai County Sheriff John P. Bourke in San Francisco, the girl's home town.
    More Details Hide Details The couple moved back to Prescott, Arizona Territory, where John had been working, and less than 9 months later, on June 15, 1869, they had their first child, Henrietta. During 1871-73, Johnny Behan had been Yavapai County Sheriff. On September 28, 1874, Behan was nominated to run for election once again as Yavapai County sheriff at the Democratic convention.
  • OTHER
  • 1860
    Born
    Born in 1860.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
All data offered is derived from public sources. Spokeo does not verify or evaluate each piece of data, and makes no warranties or guarantees about any of the information offered. Spokeo does not possess or have access to secure or private financial information. Spokeo is not a consumer reporting agency and does not offer consumer reports. None of the information offered by Spokeo is to be considered for purposes of determining any entity or person's eligibility for credit, insurance, employment, housing, or for any other purposes covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)