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.
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  • 1944
    Age 83
    Josephine died on December 20, 1944, at 4004 W. 17th Street in the West Adams district of Los Angeles.
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  • 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.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 1891
    Age 30
    The Earps moved back to San Francisco in 1891 so Josie could be closer to her family.
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  • 1888
    Age 27
    Mattie resumed life as a prostitute and committed "suicide by opium poisoning" on July 3, 1888.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    In March 1882, Sadie sent a postal money order to her mother, Mrs. H. Marcus, in San Francisco.
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    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.
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  • 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.
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    The next month, in July 1881, Josephine Behan was reported to be leaving Tombstone by stage.
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    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.
    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.
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    In early 1881, Josephine returned to Tombstone after a trip to San Francisco.
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    Josephine left Behan in 1881, before the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, during which Wyatt and his brothers killed three Cowboys.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
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    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.
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    She said the girls arrived with the troupe in Tombstone on December 1, 1879 for a one-week engagement.
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    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.
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  • 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.
    In January 1876, Josephine or Sadie left Prescott, stopped at a Los Angeles hotel, and returns to San Francisco before March 6.
  • 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."
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    Behan and his wife were divorced in June 1875.
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    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."
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    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.
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  • 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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    She may have arrived in Prescott, Arizona as early as 1874.
    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.
  • 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.
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  • 1860
    Born in 1860.
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