The Earp Family and Their Nevada History By Frank Adams

Volume 3, Issue 3
The Earp Family and Their Nevada History
Special Dates of Interest:
 July 4, 2011 parade in Virginia
City. 12:00 noon.
 July 15-17 in Ontario, CA.—
National Police Collector Show
 May 5, 2012 in Virginia City ,
Police Memorial week Parade
and Restored Emergency Vehicle
Inside this issue:
The Earp Family and Nevada
Survivor’s Reception
Police Week Parade
An Evening with Glock
Collectors and Restored Emergency Vehicle Show
Thank You
Audio Tour System is Here
When people think
about Wyatt and Virgil Earp,
they often think about the
Wild West; in particular the
1881 “Shoot Out at the OK
Corral” in Tombstone, Arizona. The Earp’s reputations as
lawmen, gamblers and prospectors are known to most
western folklore fans who
have studied their exploits.
What most people are not
aware of is the Earp family’s
long history here in the State
of Nevada.
The Earps’ first exposure to Nevada was in
1864. On May 12 of that year
Nicholas Porter Earp and
family left Pella, Iowa and
joined a wagon train heading
to California. While in route,
the wagon train made a brief
stop in Austin, Nevada. It
was here his son, James
Cooksey Earp, made a decision to leave the trek west.
James later showed up in
Montana where he was
known as a card dealer and
gambler. It may have been in
Austin where he honed his
skills as a gambler.
The rest of the Earp
family continued on to California but several years later
returned east to Lamar, Missouri. Sometime before 1880,
Nicholas moved his family
again to California and settled
in San Bernardino. By this
time, James Cooksey had
Summer 2011
By Frank Adams
Virgil Earp’s Esmeralda County deputy Sheriff Commission, 1905
married and rejoined the family. However, he and his wife
soon moved on to Tombstone,
Arizona. Encouraged by reports of the economic prospects there, some of the other
Earps joined them.
It was here on October 26, 1881, that several of
the Earp brothers embarked
on their famous or infamous
“Shoot out at the OK Corral”.
Wyatt, Virgil, Morgan and of
course their partner, Doc Holiday, made their stand against
the Clantons. This “shoot
out” would become one of the
most written about Wild West
episodes in American history.
When the Earps moved on
from Tombstone they spread
throughout the west and some
ended up in Nevada.
March of 1897, Wyatt and his
close friend Bat Masterson,
showed up in Carson City for
prize fight. Wyatt was working as a reporter for “The
New York World” at time.
Upon arrival in Carson City,
Bat Masterson was appointed
by Chief of Police Kenney to
head a squad of men to work
the fight. It was rumored that
Wyatt was one of these special officers. Wyatt and Bat
were seen armed and escorting the fighters to ring the day
of the fight. From here, Wyatt and his wife Josephine
headed for Nome Alaska in
search of gold. (cont. Page 2)
Page 2
The Silver Star
The Earps Nevada History
Also in 1897, Newton
Jasper Earp, Wyatt’s stepbrother,
is on record as living in Paradise
Valley, north of Winnemucca
with his family. While there, he
was elected Constable and hired
his son Wyatt Clyde as his deputy. His younger son Virgil Edwin
married a young lady from Paradise Valley and they made a life
there for several years. Newton’s
daughter Effie May and wife
Jennie died on March 29, 1898
while the family was still in Paradise Valley.
Wyatt and his wife Josie
returned to Nevada in 1902, settling in Tonopah. Here he financed a saloon known as the
“The Northern”. He also did a little prospecting, unsuccessfully. In between the
saloon and chasing gold, he worked as a
deputy for U. S. Marshal J. F. Emmitt,
mainly serving civil process. He did convince his brother Virgil and his wife to
come to Goldfield in the summer of 1904.
When Virgil arrived, he was promptly
commissioned a deputy sheriff for Esmeralda County. His main job was security at a local saloon. Virgil contracted pneumonia and passed away on October 19,
1905. The Earps were not heard of in Nevada again till the middle of the century.
In 1954, a young man donned the
blue uniform of the Las Vegas Police Department, raised his right hand and swore
an oath to up hold the laws of the City of
Las Vegas, the State of Nevada and to the
protect the Constitution of the United
States. That young man was Walter R.
Earp Jr. He was the grandnephew of Wyatt. Several years later, the Colt Firearms
Company reproduced the “Buntline Special”, a .45 caliber long barreled handgun
which Wyatt and other western lawmen
used in the late 1800’s. One of these reproduction handguns was presented to Officer Earp in 1959. After a distinguished
career as a police officer in Las Vegas, he
retired as a lieutenant from what is now the
Las Vegas Police Metropolitan Police Department in 1975.
As the Earps’ family history will
forever be tied to Tombstone, Arizona and
the “Shoot out at the OK Corral”, Nevada
will also always be part of that family history.
Police Memorial Week Parade by Doug Gist
Our annual Police Memorial
Week Parade took place on
Saturday, May 14, 2011. Sixty
entries made this the largest
parade yet and certainly the
only law enforcement dedicated
parade around. Law enforcement agencies along with participants of the Comstock Restored Emergency Vehicle Show
fascinated a packed C Street
crowd on a beautiful May day.
Pipers Rick James and Robert
Bledsaw played the bagpipes
behind a combined color guard
and honor guards representing
the Washoe and Storey County
Sheriff’s Offices and Nevada
Department of Public Safety.
Northern Nevada law enforcement agency participation included Reno PD, Sparks PD,
The 2012 parade is May 5th.
shouldn't your agency participate?
Washoe School District PD,
Washoe, Carson City and Storey
County Sheriff’s Offices as well
as Nevada DPS to name a few.
The South Lake Tahoe PD and
Sierra County Sheriff’s Office
represented the State of California this year.
The Police Week Parade for
2012 will take place on Saturday, May 5th to better coincide
with local area law enforcement
memorial events. We look forward to a greater California and
Nevada agency participation for
2012. Please spread the word
and get your agency involved.
See our event poster elsewhere in this newsletter.
Volume 3, Issue 3
Page 3
Comstock Police Collectors and Restored Emergency Vehicle Show by Doug Gist
The Comstock Police Collectors
and Restored Emergency Vehicle Show took place on Saturday, May 14th in Virginia City.
Vehicles, owners, and collectors
from a number of states attended.
Awards were presented in several categories for both events.
From the collector show, the
Ron Donoho Memorial Best of
Show award went to Mike
McCarthy for his very nice San
Francisco PD display. The Best
Badge award went to Gary Hoving while Best Historical was
awarded to Gary Teragawa.
Carson City collector Roy Semmens was awarded the Best
Patch award.
the best law Enforcement Vehicle for his beautiful 1963 Ford
Mayberry tribute car. Every one
of the entries were award worthy and that fact made judging
very difficult. We thank them all
for participating and hope to
see all of these vehicles next
TOP: A few of the restored emergency vehicles at the show.
ABOVE: Richard and Susan Lund proudly show their Best Fire Apparatus Award.
RIGHT: Mark Butterfield poses with his award in front of his Mayberry tribute car.
BELOW: Mike McCarthy accepts his Best of Show Award from Doug Gist and his very fine SFPD display at right.
Chris Hagen took home the
Best of Show award on the vehicle show side for his 1973
Dodge Coronet Monterey County Sheriff’s Office patrol car.
The attention to detail and historically correct equipment in
his vehicle was outstanding.
Richard and Susan Lund of
Sparks were presented with the
Best Fire Apparatus award for
their exceptional 1923 Dodge
Chemical Wagon while mark
Butterfield of Elko took home
The Museum is a Geocache Site
The museum has recently become a geocache site and geocachers have rushed our doors
to discover the newest site in
Virginia City and to leave their
mark at the museum. The site
has been established by our
friend Linda “SewWhatReno”
and has received great reviews.
Called A Safe Place, cachers
may access the site without
actually entering the museum
or paying admission. Many
cachers have chosen to enter
the museum in order to enjoy
what the museum has to offer.
Peggy McElfish of Sparks, Nevada was our first geocacher finding the spot on May 28, 2011.
She was in town with family and
decided to give them the slip
and conduct a little caching.
Geocaching is a hobby that has
spread like wildfire since the
introduction of the GPS device.
We are pleased to offer the
opportunity to cachers and look
forward to their enjoying what
the museum has to offer as
“Nicest cache
we’ve found, lots of
good things!
Highly recommend
the museum.”
Peggy McElfish was our first geocache site
visitor. The museum has become a hot spot
for the geocaching hobby.
Volume 3, Issue 3
Page 4
Welcome New Members
Nevada Survivor’s Reception by Doug Gist
The museum hosted a very
special Survivor’s Reception on
the evening of May 5th. Nearly
100 people were in attendance
with family representing a dozen Nevada officers who have
died in the line of duty from
throughout history. Unfortunately a number of families
contacted were unable to attend.
Live music was provided by
singer Sandy Selby, Jody Peterson, and Virginia City banjo
player Gary Greenlund. Sandy
Selby sang a beautiful rendition of A Call To Courage, written by Detroit area police officer and song writer Darron
Mckinney as a fitting tribute to
those officers who have sacrificed their lives in service to
Nevada communities.
Family members were given the
opportunity to create an audio
recording living history of their
loved one for inclusion within
the memorial room computer
kiosk. Four of the families took
advantage of the opportunity
and two of these living histories
have also been posted on the
museum website. Be sure to
listen to the audio files on the
pages for Agent Ron Chelius
and Deputy Hugh Gallagher.
Each family was presented with
an engraved gift from the museum and a keepsake from the
reception and in recognition of
their loved one.
I stood for more than a dozen
Nevada officers’ funeral services as a 19 year honor guard
member and I remember very
well the faces of the children
having lost a father or mother
to tragedy. It was heartwarming to see firsthand a few of
those children now grown with
families of their own.
At just about the moment when
our guests had left and the
museum doors were about to
close, the sound of bagpipes
were heard approaching from
afar. Several Las Vegas Metro
PD honor guard members led
by their piper made a visit to
the museum and provided a
fine finish to a very meaningful
Our reception fell on the evening following the Nevada Law
Enforcement Officers Memorial
ceremonies in Carson City and
was certainly a fitting way to
close out the day.
Thank you to our newest
members, Darryl Lindsay and
Michael Johnson. Support
through membership is very
important to our continued
operation and ability to present a quality experience for
our visitors. Please become
a member today.
In Their Honor.
Remember Them All.
The museum has a new photo
opportunity as shown below by
volunteer Roy Semmens. Visitors may now dress in a period
uniform and step into the day in
front of this backdrop!
Survivor’s Reception guests
were elbow to elbow.
An Evening With Glock Firearms Representatives by Doug Gist
The Western States Region
representatives of Glock Firearms really know how to live it
up. They hold an annual training and strategy meeting somewhere different and mix work
with pleasure in an effort to
team build. This year, Larry
Ford, Law Enforcement District
manager for Glock, selected
Virginia City as the perfect site
for a week of hard work and
good times.
Larry had contacted the museum regarding a visit and instead
received a red carpet welcome
complete with food and drink as
well as personal time in the
It looked a little like the museum had been invaded by the
likes of Wyatt and Virgil Earp
along with Doc Holliday and
their best wild west pals.
The group left an impression
throughout the town.
Thanks to Bill and Barb Tompkins and Frank and Patty Adams for providing the delicious
Given that most of these guys
are antique firearms collectors,
they found plenty to enjoy as
well as to assist us with our
facts surrounding a
few of the
we maintain.
Glock representatives strike a pose.
The Silver State National Peace Officers Museum is a 501(c)
(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and
sharing of the rich history of law enforcement in America.
Founded in 2007 and opening in 2009, we are located in the
historic 1876 Storey County Jail within the courthouse at 26
South B Street in Virginia City, Nevada.
Silver State National Peace Officers Museum
26 South B Street, Virginia City, Nevada
In Their Honor
PO Box 17051, Reno, NV. 89511
Museum: 775.847.7800
Director: 775.846.5948
E-mail: [email protected]
Open daily from 11 to 5 from May 1st through October 31st
Audio Tour System is Here by Doug Gist
As mentioned in our last newsletter, the museum has been
seeking a sponsor for the purchase of an audio tour system.
We are pleased to announce
that Comstock Mining of Virginia City has stepped up to provide full funding for the purchase of the selected system.
In fact, Doug McQuide of Comstock Mining visited the museum on Friday, June 24th to present the check. Our system has
been now been shipped and we
will take delivery in the next
week or so.
As one might imagine, there is
much work to be done in preparing outlines for the audio
presentations. When completed, this new experience multipli-
er will provided our visitors with
narrated stories, facts, and
descriptions of our exhibits
through the use of a number of
special presenters. Our docents will still be here to answer
your questions.
Our deepest thank you goes out
to Comstock Mining for supporting our museum vision.!
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