Known by his stage name Doc Holliday, the illustrious gambler and gunfighter John Henry Holliday is best known for taking part in the OK Corral gunfight alongside his close friend Wyatt Earp. Although he was a dentist, he gained a reputation for being a card player who was quick on the draw. He carried a TB infection.
He also had a problem with drinking excessively, which hurt his health. He spent much of his time in the Wild West on the gambling trail, where he met Wyatt Earp and was sent to act as a deputy marshal against a gang of cowboys who were causing trouble in Tombstone. He was arrested several times for crimes ranging from the illegal possession of gaming equipment to murder.
Due to tuberculosis, he passed away on November 8, 1887. At the time, he was 36 years old. Despite his notoriety, he was praised as a legend, and his legacy endures to this day.
Despite being a deadly gunslinger, Doc Holliday was respected for his Southern manners and modest demeanor; he was a good friend to his friends. His life and exploits have been the subject of several movies, including Tombstone.
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Who Was Doc Holliday?
Henry and Alice Holliday welcomed John Henry into the world in Griffin, Georgia, on August 14, 1851. His father served as a “Confederate” during both the American Civil War and the Mexican-American War. He was English and Scottish by birth. Francisco was the name of his adopted brother.
John Henry Holliday, also known as Doc Holliday, was a renowned gambler and gunfighter who gained notoriety for taking part in the OK Corral gunfight alongside his close buddy Wyatt Earp. He was a dentist who also developed a reputation for being a brilliant card player and a quick draw.
He was a TB patient. He also consumed a lot of alcohol, which had a negative impact on his health. He spent the majority of his life travelling the gambling route that took him to the Wild West, where he met Wyatt Earp and was assigned to work as a deputy marshal to take on a group of cowboys who were causing trouble in Tombstone.
He was detained several times for a variety of offences, from illicit possession of gaming equipment to murder. Big Nose Kate, also known as Mary Katherine Horony-Cummings, was the only woman Holliday was known to have dated. There is no information about their getting married or having kids, though.
He spent his final days in Colorado in the hopes that the hot springs would heal him, but he passed away from tuberculosis at the age of 36. His storied life in the Wild West has been the subject of numerous films, folk ballads, and novels, all of which have achieved mainstream success.
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Doc Holliday Dentist Career And Gambling
He moved to St. Louis, Missouri, to work as an assistant. His uncle in Atlanta promptly welcomed him into his home. He joined Arthur C. Ford, where he started his training and filled in as necessary.
He got into a battle with some black youths when he was 22 over who got to use a swimming area in the Withlacoochee River, and he’s suspected of firing a shotgun at them. Although other tales indicate that he killed one of the black people, there is no evidence to support these claims.
A TB diagnosis was made for him; his mother and adopted brother had already perished from the disease. On the advice of others, he moved to Dallas, Texas, which was outside of the Wild West, in search of a warmer climate.
In Dallas, he partnered with Dr. John A. Seegar, and the two of them quickly rose to prominence as a dental team. They won many awards, including one for having the best pair of artificial teeth and dental equipment. Holliday started his own practise in Dallas when their joint practise was shut down in 1874.
He started gambling as an easier way to make money because his practise suffered from regular coughing fits brought on by illness. He had already been imprisoned for taking part in a shooting and charged with illegal gambling.
In 1875, he made the decision to go from Dallas and took a stagecoach to Denver, where he operated as a faro salesman under the name “Tom Mackey.” He then engaged in combat with legendary gambler Bud Ryan and badly knifed him in the process.
After a year in Denver, he travelled even further west. He found work as a card dealer in a Cheyenne pub. While playing cards, he made his way to Deadwood during the gold rush and then took the opposite path back to Denver.
He went on to Kansas and then to Breckenridge, Texas, where he was shot and seriously injured. In Fort Griffin, where he eventually met Mary Katherine Horony, he moved after his recovery. In 1878, Holliday and Horony moved to Dodge City and settled down there as Dr. and Mrs. John H. Holliday.
Although he opened a dental practise, he spent most of his time gaming. He quickly delivered Wyatt Earp from a challenging situation. In a saloon, where Wyatt was outnumbered by the cowboys, it is claimed that Doc Holliday pulled a gun on one of them and told them to lay down their guns. Doc and Wyatt have developed a close friendship since that time.
With both cards and a gun, Holliday was known for his magic tricks. He moved to Las Vegas with Horony and continued to gamble while working as a dentist there. Despite the fact that the area’s hot springs were said to be helpful for tuberculosis patients, he fled Dodge City because of the harsh winters and the prohibitions on gambling.
Doc Holliday Death
Doc Holliday reportedly drank one last whisky sip before passing away in bed at the age of 36 and exclaimed, “This is amusing,” as he gazed down at his feet. Doc Holliday passed away after fifteen years of travelling from cow settlements to mining towns and acquiring a reputation as a gunfighter and outlaw that was largely baseless.
After receiving a tuberculosis diagnosis, he believed that if he wanted to survive, he would need to move to a different environment. He did not want to lose his life prematurely as his mother did because she had died of TB when he was fifteen. John was devastated by his mother’s passing. He studied long and hard to get over his loss.
In Philadelphia, he received his dental degree in 1872. While on the road, he made friends with Wyatt Earp and part of his family. He relocated to Tombstone in 1880 so he could fight alongside his comrade Wyatt Earp.
His involvement in the now-famous shootout at the OK-Corral was facilitated by his acquaintance with Earp. A number of men lost their lives and others were injured during the gunfight. One of them, Doc Holliday, was wounded by a bullet.
When Morgan Earp was murdered, a conflict erupted between Wyatt Earp and his brother’s assassins. Years were spent riding for this conflict between Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp. Numerous murders occurred at that time.
At a hotel in Glenwood, Colorado, John “Doc” Holiday passed away from tuberculosis. By that time, his health was failing, and he had split from Wyatt Earp. November 8, 1887, saw his passing.
On the 100th anniversary of Doc Holliday’s passing, Glenwood Springs held a wake and funeral procession in 1987, both of which ominously featured a Doc Holliday imposter in a casket. Additionally, there was a sizable poker party with dealers who were local dentists.
Doc Holliday Last Words
Doc Holliday split up with his companion Wyatt Earp and relocated to Glenwood Springs, Colorado, where he lived until his death a few years later. Holliday sadly contracted tuberculosis, and it only grew worse with each passing year, just like his late mother.
Visit Glenwood Springs claims that on November 8, 1887, Holliday passed away while confined to a bed at the Hotel Glenwood, only moments after allegedly saying his last words, “This is amusing.”
It’s not unexpected that Doc Holliday has his fair share of legend for such a famous character of the Old West. According to legends passed down, Holliday had always claimed to his pals that he was destined to pass away in a hail of gunfire like a real gunslinger.
However, as the days dwindled and he drew ever closer to the point of no return, it became clear that this wasn’t going to be the case. While Doc Holliday didn’t necessarily pass away staring down the barrel of an enemy pistol, he did pass away laughing the entire time and allegedly saying, “This is amusing,” in reference to the circumstance.
According to Visit Glenwood Springs, another account for Holliday’s last words is that he thought he would pass away with his boots on. As a result, in the deathbed scene from the movie “Tombstone,” Holliday can be seen gazing down at his bare feet and saying, “I’ll be damned… This is amusing.”
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