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Death of Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp, widow of Wyatt

December 19, 1944

Josephine Sarah Marcus, born to German Jewish immigrant parents in Brooklyn, NY, in 1861, grew up in San Francisco. Enchanted by a performance of Gilbert & Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore, she ran away from home at age 18 to join the theatre. On tour in Tombstone, Arizona, she met and married Wyatt Earp, then a deputy U.S. Marshal for the Arizona Territory.

In 1881, Wyatt Earp won lasting fame when he and his brothers fought a gun battle with their political rivals the Clanton gang at the O.K. Corral. Fleeing indictment for murder in the aftermath of the shootings, Wyatt and Josephine moved to Colorado.

The marriage of Wyatt and Josephine lasted another 48 years until Wyatt's death in 1929. During their married years, Wyatt and Josephine moved frequently around the American West, following gold, silver, and copper mining, until they settled in Southern California. There, they invested in real estate and racehorses, wrote Wyatt's autobiography, and drafted a screenplay based on his exploits. After Wyatt's death, Josephine contributed to published and film portrayals of Wyatt's life, helping to establish an enduring American legend.

Sources differ about the exact date of her death, but most hold that Josephine Marcus Earp died on December 19, 1944. She was buried beside her husband in a Jewish cemetery in Northern California, where Wyatt's and Josephine's graves are, today, the primary local tourist attraction.



im a relative to Wyatt Nicholas was my Great Great Great  uncle Josephine was my cousin through Wyatt according to what I’ve researched Josie passed from natural causes old age 

how did Josephine die ? 

Hi Lisa,

I haven't been able to locate this information. What I can tell you is that she died in 1944 around the age of 84 and most likely died penniless. She was the last surviving member of her immediate family and was buried next Wyatt's remains.

Thank you!

how did josehine earp die?

they were in Colorado when he took Doc to Glenwood Springs where Doc died at the young age of 36 yrs old but it was not to avoid to to jail they all were found acquitted which is still on going in law suits from young sidblings from both families

Someone needs to reresearch history. First of all they were never married only common law and second they didn't flee to Colorado to avoid prosecution they were acquitted of the murders in Tombstone.

Was there a last will and testament for Josie Earp? I hear she had a nephew.

Josephine Earp
Full image
Photo thought to be of Josephine Earp.
Courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Death of Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp, widow of Wyatt." (Viewed on November 16, 2018) <>.


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