Concept

Josephine Earp

Summary
Josephine Sarah "Sadie" Earp (née Marcus; 1861 – December 19, 1944) was the common-law wife of Wyatt Earp, a famed Old West lawman and gambler. She met Wyatt in 1881 in the frontier boom town of Tombstone in Arizona Territory, when she was living with Johnny Behan, sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona. Josephine was born in New York to a Prussian Jewish family. Her father was a baker. They moved to San Francisco, where Josephine attended dance school as a girl. When her father had difficulty finding work, the family moved in with her older sister and brother-in-law in a working-class tenement. Josephine ran away, possibly as early as age 14, and traveled to Arizona, where she said she went "looking for adventure". Much of her life from about 1874 to 1882 (when she lived in the Arizona Territory) is uncertain; she worked hard to keep this period of her life private, even threatening legal action against writers and movie producers. She may have arrived in Prescott, Arizona as early as 1874. The book I Married Wyatt Earp (1967), based on a manuscript allegedly written in part by her, describes events she witnessed in Arizona that occurred before 1879, the year she claimed at other times to have first arrived in Tombstone. There is some evidence that she lived from 1874 to 1876 in Prescott and Tip Top, Arizona Territory under the assumed name of Sadie Mansfield, who was a prostitute, before becoming ill and returning to San Francisco. The name Sadie Mansfield was also recorded in Tombstone. Researchers have found that the two names share extremely similar characteristics and circumstances. Later in life Josephine described her first years in Arizona as "a bad dream". What is known for certain is that she traveled to Tombstone using the name Josephine Marcus in October 1880. She wrote that she met Cochise County Sheriff Johnny Behan when she was 17 and he was 33. He promised to marry her and she joined him in Tombstone. He reneged but persuaded her to stay. Behan was sympathetic to ranchers and certain outlaw Cowboys, who were at odds with Deputy U.
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