Many of these shady ladies of the night had regular male companionship, even occasionally were married. These two following gals have become some what famous by the popular fictionalization of events around the men they were associated with. Both have been portrayed in a number of movies. The most notable within the last decade or so being, “Wyatt Earp” with Keven Costner and “Tombstone” with Kirt Russel. I of course am referring to “Mattie” Blaylock and Kate Elder.
Celia Ann “Mattie” Blaylock, romantic companion to Lawman/Gambler Wyatt Earp, was born in Wisconsin, raised in Fairfax, Iowa. Mattie ran away at the age of six-teen, and began working as a prostitute in Scott city, Kansas. She later moved to Dodge City, Kansas where she met Wyatt Earp in 1875. Like most women associated with the Earp brothers she continued to work as a prostitute off and on during their early years together. While Mattie claimed to have married Wyatt, it has never been documented. For some time she live with Wyatt as a common-law wife, and the 1880 U. S. Census list Mattie as Wyatt’s wife.
Said to have suffered from severs headaches in Tombstone, Arizona. Mattie became addicted to Laudanum, a commonly prescribed opiate and pain killer. Things proceeded as usual until Wyatt met and be came enamored with a traveling actress named Josephine Marcus. At first Mattie seemed to be obvious to the affair. but later it is reported that the two had at least several heated altercations.
Following the assassination of Morgan Earp on March18, 1882, Mattie left Tombstone with the Earp Family. Wyatt and his youngest brother, Warren stayed behind to carry out what has come to be called the “Earp Vendetta Ride”
Mattie waited in vain, in Colton, California, for a telegram from Wyatt for her to rejoin him. Finally accepting the fact Wyatt would not be sending for her she decided to return to Arizona. She traveled to Pinal City, supposedly there was a big silver strike there. She planed to earn her living by returning to prostitution. Upon her arrival she discovered the strike had played out and the mining population gone.
Making a decent living there proved difficult. On July 3, 1888, Mattie took a lethal dose of laudanum and alchol the mixture proved fatal. Mattie’s death was ruled suicide. She is buried in the Pinal City Cemetery. Pinal City is now a ghost town just west of the former cement and mining town of Superior, Arizona.
“BIG NOSE KATE” alias KATE ELDER
Born in Budapest, Hungary around 1850 Mary Katherine Harmony came to America with her parents during the Civil War. Not much is known about her until her arrest in1874 in Kansas for prostitution.
She claimed to marry Gambler/Dentist, John Henry “Doc” Holliday in 1876. “Doc” never acknowledged the union and no records have been found. Their union was a tumultuous one at best. Frequent fights and separations seemed to result in their reconnecting some how.
Doc and Kate moved to Tombstone, Arizona in late 1880. Doc participated in the famed gunfight at the O K Corral during this time. After a reported disagreement with Wyatt Earp in 1882, Doc left Tombstone without Kate.
Kate bounced around Arizona until 1888 when she married a blacksmith named Cummings. Kate soon left him because of his drinking. She then worked as a housekeeper until 1910 when she moved into the Arizona Pioneer Home in Prescott. In 1930 Kate passed away and is buried in the Pioneer Home Cemetery.
How did Kate come to be called “Big Nose”? I had read somewhere that she was extremely noisy and that was the source to the title. However in doing the research on this chapter, I came across several grainy photos and her nose did seem quite large. So who knows?
Both of these unfortunate women started out their adult life’s in a profession that led them to men who cast them aside at their will. In another time and place maybe I’ll dwell on these two cad’s and their adventures. At this point I will offer that Wyatt Earp was not the sterling individual that old Hugh O’Brian portrayed in the late 1950′s series.
I still have a few more of these early women I am eager to draw your attention to. Until then I feeling meaner then a cowboy with hemorrhoids (_*_)! Don’t you know he would have been someone to steer clear of on a bad day???
Gone for now!