He was born Bartholomew William Barclay Masterson in Henryville, Quebec, Canada, on November 26, 1853.
His family moved to the United States when he was a child, and he grew up in Kansas.
He quickly distinguished himself as a buffalo hunter, civilian scout, and Indian fighter on the Great Plains. He later earned fame as a gunfighter and sheriff in Dodge City, Kansas. During his time there, he was involved in several notable shootouts.
He also served during the Great Sioux War of 1876. In 1878, he became a lawman in Dodge City, Kansas, where he earned a reputation as a tough and fair sheriff.
He also served as a deputy U.S. marshal in Fort Dodge, Kansas.
Bat Masterson moved to Denver, Colorado, in the mid-1880s and established himself as a gambler. He became a leading authority on prizefighting, attending almost every important match and title fight in the United States from the 1880s until his death in 1921.
In 1902, he moved to New York City and became a reporter and columnist for The Morning Telegraph. His column covered boxing and other sports, as well as his opinions on crime, war, politics, and other topics.
On July 2, 1921, Bat Masterson attended his last heavyweight championship fight, the "Million Dollar Gate," promoted by George "Tex" Rickard.
Three months later, on October 7, silent-screen cowboy star William S. Hart visited Masterson. They were photographed together on the roof of the New York Morning Telegraph building and then went back to Masterson's office.
In his office, Masterson asked Hart to sit in his chair and pose for a second photo with him. Hart later said, "I did so, and he stood beside me. Mr. Masterson was sitting in that same chair eighteen days later when he died."
On October 25, 1921, at age 67, Masterson died at his desk from a massive heart attack after writing what became his final column for the Morning Telegraph.
Bat Masterson came from a good family. His father lived a long life and had many children with his mother.
The couple lived in Canada for a period of time and eventually moved to Kansas, where they would make their life. They gave birth to many children, and four of those children became lawmen or married a lawman. The family was influential in taming the West.
Bat and his brothers made some money in Dodge City and eventually became influential lawmen in the area. The death of one of his brothers and the loss of an election caused a younger brother to move around the West looking for law work.
Bat probably had a common-law marriage to Emma Walter. She was married when they met in Denver, and after divorcing her husband, the two were seen with each other. There is no record of children between the two, although there are some rumblings of Bat having a child 4 years into their marriage with another woman.
Without proper documentation, that child has not been proven.
Family Tree Chart
Thomas Masterson (1827 - 1921) - He lived until he was 93 years of age and, upon his death, was hailed as a great frontiersman within his community. He outlived four of his children, and his son Bat died later the same year.
Katherine Udora McGurk (1832 - 1908) - She and her husband were some of the first residents of Witchita, Kansas. She was originally from Ireland and migrated over and met her husband.
Emma Matilda Walter (1857 - 1932) - She married Bat Masterson, and the two did not have any children together. She died 11 years after him in the Bronx, New York.
Inez Maude Medler (1895 - 1966) - According to family historians at Find a Grave, she is listed as the daughter of Bat Masterson and Lillie Medler. She would have been born 4 years after his marriage to Emma. However, I do not see any records. She was born in Illinois.
Edward John Masterson (1852 - 1878) - He, along with his younger brother Bat, traveled to Dodge City to try their hand at Buffalo hunting and became wealthy. He quickly rose in popularity in the town and became a popular lawman. Unfortunately, his life ended prematurely when he was shot by a cowboy he had disarmed. Despite taking a bullet in the abdomen, he turned and killed the offender. He died shortly after in his brother Bat's room. The entire town mourned his loss.
James Patrick Masterson (1855 - 1895) - He also became a lawman and traveled around. He began in Dodge City with his older brothers, Bat and Edward. After Edward's death, he assisted his brother. Soon, he landed law jobs around the West. In 1893, Jim became a U.S. Marshal and was involved in the notorious Ingalls, Oklahoma, shootout with the Doolin gang. Less than one year later, Jim Masterson died of tuberculosis.
Helene Elizabeth Masterson (1857 - 1925) - She married James Cairns, who became a lawman. The couple would have two children and enjoy a long marriage.
Thomas Masterson (1858 - 1941) - He married and had more kids than any of his other siblings. He was like his father and was known as one of the first residents of Witchita, although he was just a boy when he arrived. He stayed in that location and built his life there.
George Henry Masterson (1860 - 1892) - In 1880, George was a 20-year-old living at home with his parents. No occupation was recorded, and it was indicated that he was sick or disabled and unable to work, although the nature of his disability was not recorded. He never married or had children.
Catherine Emile Masterson (1862 - 1881) - She was similar to George in that she died young and never married. She always lived at home.
Jean Pierre Masterson (1864) - Died as an infant.