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Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp

Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp led a life equally as colorful as her famous lawman husband, but struggled for the right to define her own story. Raised in San Francisco, Earp ran away from home at the age of seventeen to join the Pauline Markham Theater Company, a travelling acting troupe. Before her parents found and retrieved her from the Arizona Territory, she fell for Johnny Behan, a bankrupt rake, who persuaded her parents to let her join him. She travelled with him to Tombstone, Arizona in 1880, where she left Behan and fell in love with Wyatt Earp during the tumult of the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral, marrying him and accompanying him to different boomtowns throughout the West and Alaska. Through this period, the Earps tried to promote a movie on Wyatt Earp’s life and write his memoirs, with Josephine battling journalist Stuart Lake after Wyatt’s death due to Lake’s using the unpublished manuscript to write his own biography of Wyatt Earp that differed wildly from Josephine’s version of events and painted her in an unflattering light. Her own story, I Married Wyatt Earp, edited by Glenn Boyer, was published in 1967.

More on: Acting, Theater, Memoirs
Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp
Full image
C. S. Fly cabinet card portrait of Josephine Sarah Marcus. She was for a time Cochise County Sheriff Johnny Behan's mistress and after she left she became Wyatt Earp's common-law wife for 46 years.
Date of Birth
1861
Place of Birth
Brooklyn, New York
Date of Death
December 19, 1944
Occupations

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp." (Viewed on October 23, 2014) <http://jwa.org/people/earp-josephine>.

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