ZanzibarCoins's Blog

17 May 2019

The Wild West and Its Inspired Coinage, Part 2 (Doc Holliday and Billy the Kid)

| ZanzibarCoins

Hey Y'all! Here is part two of my wild west coinage series! Sorry this is so late after the other one, school has kept me really busy, but hopefully, once summer arrives, I'll be able to be on here a lot more often! :)Part two features Doc Holliday and Billy the Kid!First up is Doc Holliday.His full name was John Henry Holliday, although he was called Doc by those who knew him. He was an American gambler, dentist, and a gunfighter. He was a close friend of Wyatt Earp, and is perhaps best known for his part in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. He gained a reputation for having killed more than a dozen men in shootouts, but modern researchers have concluded that, although it is contrary to popular myths, Holliday killed only 2-5 men. His colorful character however, has been depicted in many books, and portrayed by various well-known actors in multiple movies and even tv series.When Holliday was 21, he earned a degree in dentistry, and set up practice in Atlanta, Georgia. But soon after that, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, which he had gotten when tending his mother, who died of tuberculosis when he was 15, while she was still in the contagious stages of the illness. With the hope that the American Southwest's climate would cure him of the disease, he moved there, and became a gambler, which back then was a very reputable profession. While in Texas, he saved Wyatt Earp's life, and the two of them became fast friends after that. In 1879, he joined Wyatt Earp in Las Vegas, new Mexico, and then rode with him after that to the town of Prescott, Arizona, and then, after that, they rode to none other than the town of Tombstone. While in Tombstone, some local members of the Cochise County Cowboys (they're the outlaws from the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral) threatened him repeatedly (this may have been because his skill with a gun made them very nervous, and made them feel threatened themselves). After that, they began to spread rumors that Holliday had robbed a stagecoach. Then, on October 26, of 1881, Holliday was deputized by Tombstone's city marshal, Virgil Earp. He joined Virgil and the other deputies, including Wyatt Earp, in the gunfight against the five members of the Cowboys: the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.After the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Virgil Earp was maimed by assailants who were hiding in wait, while Morgan Earp was murdered. After being unable to obtain justice via the court system, Wyatt Earp took matters into his own hands. Having been recently appointed as the deputy U.S. Marshal, Earp made Holliday an official deputy, along with several others. As a federal posse, they began to pursue the Cowboys that they believed were responsible for the murder of Morgan. The posse found Frank Sitwell, one of the Cowboys, lying in wait, as Virgil boarded a train that was heading to California. They killed Frank. After that, the local sheriff issued a warrant for the arrest of the five members of the posse, including Holliday. The federal posse refused to be arrested, and killed three other Cowboys during lat March and early April of 1882, dodging the law during this time. After those two months of hunting the Cowboys, they rode for the New Mexico Territory. Wyatt Earp then learned of an extradition request for Doc Holliday, and arranged for Frederick Walker, the governor of Colorado at the time, to deny Holliday's extradition. Holliday spent the last few years of his life in Colorado, and then died of tuberculosis in his bed at the Glenwood Springs Hotel, at the age of 36.Holliday was arrested, and charged, and wanted, for many occasions. In Dallas, he was indicted for illegal gambling. Also in Dallas, he was arrested for trading gunfire with a barkeeper, Charles Austin, but was later found not guilty and released. He killed Ed Bailey with a knife in Fort Griffin, Texas. He was again fined for illegal gambling, in Dallas, so after that he left Texas. In Denver, he possibly killed the gambler Bud Ryan in a knife fight. He severely beat gambler Henry Kahn with his walking stick in Breckenridge, Texas, having returned to Texas to gamble. Later, Kahn shot and seriously wounded the unarmed Holliday. In New Mexico Territory, he had a gunfight with a bartender named Charles White. In South Carolina, he reportedly shot and killed a soldier, possibly Private Robert Smith. He was indicted for gambling in Las Vegas. In a railroad town near Las Vegas, he may have killed army scout Mike Gordon, in defense of the people in the bar, which Gordon was shooting into, after being refused by one of the bar girls. Holliday was fined twice for gambling in that town, and fined once for carrying a deadly weapon. He shot saloon owner Milt Joyce in the hand, when Joyce disarmed him (after hearing the rumors that Holliday had robbed a stage and murdered its passengers), and then refused to give his gun back. (Holliday came back into the saloon after learning that Joyce was now spreading the Stage Robbery Rumors, and demanded his gun back. Joyce refused to return it. Then, Holliday returned again with a revolver. Joyce drew his pistol on Holliday, and Holliday shot the pistol out of Joyce's hand, putting bullet through his palm, and then got his other gun back.) He killed Tom McLaury, and possibly killed Frank McLaury and possibly wound Billy Clanton during the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. In Arizona, he might have killed Johnny Ringo, but this is mostly believed to be a tall tale, especially since Holliday was an incrediblywanted man in Arizona at the time, so the chances of him returning were slim, especially the chances of him returning and killing a man, since he was wanted for murder. In Leadville Colorado, he shot Billy Allen in the arm, although he claimed that this was in self-defense. The list is quite long. Holliday himself said that he had been arrested 17 timesbefore the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, four attempts had been made to hang him, and he had survived ambush five times. He was also shot at an uncountable number of times. And yet, despite the fact that he was an apparent troublemaker, and had quite a hard edge, people saw him as a complete Southern Gentleman. Wyatt Earp said of him "I found him a loyal friend and good company. He was a dentist whom necessity had made a gambler; a gentleman whom disease had made a vagabond; a philosopher whom life had made a caustic wit; a long, lean blonde fellow nearly dead with consumption and at the same time the most skillful gambler and nerviest, speediest, deadliest man with a six-gun I ever knew."Yet at the same time, Bat Masterson, a semi-friend of Holliday's, said "While he never did anything to entitle him to a Statue in the Hall of Fame, Doc Holliday was nevertheless a most picturesque character on the western border in those days when the pistol instead of law determined issues.... Holliday had a mean disposition and an ungovernable temper, and under the influence of liquor was a most dangerous man."Virgil Earp said that "There was something very peculiar about Doc. He was gentlemanly, a good dentist, a friendly man, and yet outside of us boys I don't think he had a friend in the Territory. Tales were told that he had murdered men in different parts of the country; that he had robbed and committed all manner of crimes..." Doc Holliday was both a dangerous man, and a good friend, all at the same time. He had a very interesting life, hence the length of this section on him :),butnow it's time to move on to Billy the Kid.Billy the Kid hasquiteaninterestingstory as well. He was born Henry McCarty on either September 17, or November 23 (that is disputed), and he also calledhimself William H. Bonney. He was an outlaw and gunfighter, who killed eight men in standup gunfights before he was killed at age twenty-one. Not only that, but he murdered others, in fights that either were not gunfights, or he killed them in other conflicts, such as the New Mexico, Lincoln County War, in which he murdered three people. He was orphaned at the age of 14, and he worked for the owner of a boarding house in exchange for a room. He was first arrested at the age of only 16, for stealing food. Ten days later, he was arrested again for robbing a Chinese laundry. He escaped jail only two days later. He became both an outlaw and a federal fugitive after fleeing New Mexico Territory into Arizona Territory. When he was 17, he joined up with Scottish John R. Mackie, and they stole horses from the U.S. Army at Camp Grant. He became known as "Kid Antrim" because of his youth, slight build, clean-shaven appearance, and personality. When he was 18, he took the name William H. Bonney. After he began calling himself this, people began to call him "Billy Bonney" because Billy is a shortened version of William. Then, he became known as Billy the Kid when "Billy Bonney" was combined with "Kid Antrim." When he was still 18, he murdered a blacksmith during a public disagreement, and he became an official wanted man in Arizona Territory. He went back to New Mexico Territory after this and joined a band of cattle rustlers. Then he joined the Regulators and fought in the Lincoln County War. One of the three men that he killed during this was Lincoln County Sheriff William J. Brady, along with one of his deputies. He shot and killed John Grant when he was 20. When he was still 20, in December of 1880, Sheriff Pat Garrett captured him. In April of 1881, The Kid was tried and convicted for murdering Sheriff Brady, and was sentenced to hang in May. He escaped on April 28, killing two deputies in the process, and then evaded capture for more than two months! Then, on July 14, 1881, when he was 21, he was shot and killed by Pat Garrett, in Fort Sumner. Afterwards however, many rumors went around that he had not actually died, that Garrett had not actually killed him, and had staged the murder out of friendship. Then, multiple men came forward claiming to be him. One of them was so convincing, that the only thing that possibly proved it wrong, was the DNA testing, and then I say possibly because even then, the DNA testing did not fully reveal that the man was not Billy the Kid. So, who knows, Billy the Kid may have survived, and lived a long life. He could have died when he was 21, or he could have died when he was almost 76. Only one photo of The Kid is believed to exist (a portrait photo of him standing up, wearing a vest over a sweater, a slouch cowboy hat, and a bandanna, holding a 1873 Winchester rifle, with its butt resting on the floor.) although there may be one other showing him playing croquet with the members of the Regulators and their wives, although that is still disputed.Billy the Kid has also been in many movies and tv shows. One of my all time favorite tv shows, The Young Riders, has a character who calls himself simply "Kid", refuses to tell anyone his real name, and is occasionally called "The Kid" by his friends, and his enemies. Whether or not he is Billy the Kid is never really revealed (and there are a lot of other outlaws from the West that call themselves some sort of "------ Kid". For example, the Sundance Kid.), but he could be. :)I hope y'all enjoyed this backstory for the next two outlaws that are featured on that gorgeous set of Kennedy Halves! The Wild West is so fascinating, and I hope that these two stories were as interesting for you to read as they were for me to research and type up. :)More coming soon!Bibliography:Doc Holliday, WikipediaBilly the Kid, WikipediaDoc Holliday, duckduckgo.comBilly the Kid, duckduckgo.comHollywood's Greatest Westerns

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