A Twist of Fate

Doc Holiday

Doctor John Henry Holliday graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Dentistry in 1872 with every intention of settling in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, marrying his cousin, Martha Anne, and raising a family in his beloved South. A chronic cough, which would be diagnosed as tuberculosis, altered his plans. Several physicians counseled “Doc” – a nickname he acquired while at Pennsylvania College – to move to an arid climate to help prolong his life; none gave him much hope for longevity. Despondent, Doc abandoned his hopes for marriage and a career and headed west.

Fame and notoriety would accompany Doc Holliday. He would meet and befriend two people at Fort Griffin in 1877 that would henceforth forever be linked with his name, Wyatt Earp and Maria Katarina Harony, otherwise known as “Big Nose Kate.”

The bond forged with Wyatt Earp would result in a lifelong friendship that allowed both men to look past each other’s failings and be there for one another in all circumstances. It would embroil Doc Holliday in Earp’s dispute with the Clantons and the McLaurys that culminated on October 26, 1881 in the “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.”

His association with Katarina Harony would also be a tumultuous one. Kate was a dance hall girl and sometimes prostitute. Like Doc and Wyatt, the two initially looked past each others shortcomings and became inseparable. Doc forgave her previous indiscretions and Kate overlooked his two vices; gambling and whiskey. However, Kate would soon tire of their relationship and return to saloons and whoring.

Doc died of consumption November 8, 1887 at the Glenwood Springs Hotel, Colorado, at age 36. By then Martha Anne had entered a convent, and neither his friend Wyatt Earp nor his consort Katarina Harony would be by his side. Doc Holliday was buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Linwood, Colorado. – excerpt from Palo Duro.

 

Author: maxknight73

Retired Army Officer and Counterintelligence Specialist. Currently living in San Antonio, Texas with his wife Gray. Cancer survivor. Avid history buff and writer.

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