Virgil Earp was a famous gunslinger, an American lawman, and a member of the Earp family of lawmen and gamblers. He was the third-oldest of the Earp brothers, and he was known for his bravery and his willingness to stand up to outlaws.
Virgil Earp was born in Kentucky and raised in Iowa. He served in the Union Army during the Civil War. After the war, he worked as a stagecoach driver, a lawman, and a gambler.
In 1879, Virgil Earp moved to Tombstone, Arizona, where he became a deputy U.S. marshal. He was involved in the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral on October 26, 1881, in which he was shot and wounded.
After the gunfight, Virgil Earp continued to serve as a lawman in Tombstone. He was ambushed and shot again in 1882, and he was forced to leave Tombstone. He later moved to California, where he worked as a farmer and a rancher.
In 1904, Virgil Earp returned to Colton, California. However, the city had an anti-saloon sentiment and a liquor ordinance that limited the number of saloons.
Unable to get a license, Virgil and his wife Allie moved to Goldfield, Nevada, another mining camp. Virgil became a Deputy Sheriff there on January 26, 1905.
However, his health continued to fail him, and he died of pneumonia on October 19, 1905.
Virgil Earp was a respected lawman who was known for his bravery and his commitment to justice. He was a key figure in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and his actions that day helped to make him a legend of the Wild West.
The Earp family has deep ties to the United States that began when they migrated from Europe to Maryland Colony in the 17th century. Some of Virgil's ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War and received land for their service.
After a few generations of living in Maryland, the Earps began to migrate west. First, they ended up in Illinois and eventually all the way out to California.
Virgil's father fought in the Mexican War and eventually died in his 90s in California.
Virgil followed in his father's footsteps and also fought in the war, but his fate would be more complex.
See below in the family chart; Virgil's first marriage seemed to be a good one that yielded a child. However, that child came while he was at war, and awful communication resulted in his wife receiving news that he had died. She moved away with her daughter.
Virgil remarried but did not have any more children despite being married for many years.
His only daughter would have children and keep his line alive.
Family Tree Chart
Nicholas Porter Earp (1813 – 1907) - He was born in North Carolina and died in Los Angeles, California. He lived into his 90s and had 11 children. Virgil came from his first marriage.
Victoria Ann Virginia (1821 – 1893) - She was born in Kentucky and died in California. She had eight children with her husband.
Magdalene C. Rysdam (1842 - 1910) - She and Virgil married when she was young. He then went off to fight for the Union in the Civil War. During this time, she had a child, and she was informed he had been killed on the battlefield. She mourned the loss of her husband and then remarried and moved to Portland with her daughter. When Virgil returned from the war, he was told that she died as well. He remarried. They would reunite when he visited Portland.
Alvira Packingham Sullivan (1849 - 1947) - She married Virgil, and the two would have a happy marriage for the rest of their lives. They moved around the west until they landed in Tombstone. After the murder of Virgil's brother, the Earps sent their wives elsewhere. It would not take Virgil long to reunite with her. She would play a key role in Virgil learning about his daughter and fostering a relationship with her. She outlived all the Earp women.
Nellie Jane Earp (1862 - 1930) - She was reunited with her father, who did not know she existed, about six years before his death. She was married twice and had three children.
Newton Jasper Earp (1837 – 1928) - He was the half-brother of Wyatt and a Civil War veteran. He eventually moved to Sacramento, where he died 1 month prior to Wyatt dying.
Nathan Earp (1839) - There is not much known about him. Possibly died during childbirth.
Mariah Ann Earp (1839) - Seemed to be a twin and also died at birth.
James Cooksey Earp (1841 – 1926) - He was a Civil War Veteran who accompanied his younger brothers to Tombstone. He was not involved in the infamous gunfight. He moved around quite a bit and eventually settled in Los Angeles, California.
Martha Elizabeth Earp (1845 – 1856) - She died at 10 years old.
Wyatt Earp (1848 - 1949) - He became an infamous lawman along with his brothers. He worked throughout the West but was most known for his work at Tombstone, Arizona. He had dealings with Doc Holliday, Johnny Ringo, Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill Cody, Curly Bill, and many more well-known figures of the Old American West.
Morgan Seth Earp (1851 – 1882) - He came to Tombstone with his brothers. He participated in the Shootout at the OK Corral and was assassinated by the Cowboys shortly after.
Warren Baxter Earp (1855 – 1900) - Warren joined Wyatt and was in town when Morgan was assassinated. He also helped Wyatt in the hunt for the outlaws they believed responsible. Later in life, Warren developed a reputation as a bully and was killed in an argument in 1900.
Adelia Douglas Earp (1861 – 1941) - She was the last child born and was born at the beginning of the Civil War. She married and had three children.