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December 31: Josephine Earp

Lawrence Bush
December 30, 2009

Josephine-Sarah-Marcus-c1881Wyatt Earp’s common-law wife, Josephine Sarah Marcus, died on this day in 1944 (though some sources cite her yortsayt as December 19th). She had run away from home at 18 to join a theater troupe and became romantically involved with the lawman/gunslinger in 1881, the year of his duel at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. Josie (whom he called “Sadie”) stayed with Earp until his death in 1929. They invested in mining, real estate, and race horses, and ended their lives in Los Angeles among the personalities of Hollywood. They lie together amid Cohens, Goldbergs, Schwartzes and other Jews in a Jewish cemetery in Colma, California.
“The grimly humorous phrase about our town was that Tombstone had ‘a man for breakfast every morning.’ ” —Josephine Sarah Marcus

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.