The first book to reveal the life of Wyatt Earp's second wife. Mattie Blaylock, born Celia Ann Blaylock, was Wyatt Earp's second wife and ultimately became his darkest secret. Had Mattie not run away from her Iowa farm and family at age 18, she might have married a neighbor and lived to old age surrounded by children and grandchildren. Instead, hating the control of her strict parents, she was seduced by the dubious promises of the night life and bright lights of frontier towns, and embraced the 'sporting life'; she was working in a brothel when she met and married the young, handsome - and, at the time, fugitive - Wyatt Earp in 1871. With Wyatt, Mattie led a transient life, learning all there was to know about the management of brothels under the watchful eye of Bessie Earp, the wife of Wyatt's brother, James, and becoming addicted to opium and whiskey. For ten years Mattie went where Wyatt went and did what he wanted, only to end up deserted and alone when, in 1882, Wyatt ran off with a sloe-eyed beauty of doubtful morals ten years Mattie's junior. During those ten years though, life with Wyatt was a dizzying ride. They met in Fort Scott, Kansas, as rough a western town as could be found anywhere, around 1871. Mattie was a 'soiled dove' at one of the town's bagnios when she met Wyatt; he was passing through town, having jumped bail in Fort Smith, Arkansas where he faced horse-stealing charges. Wyatt had no intention of staying so close to Arkansas, so in December 1871 he and Mattie caught a train bound for Peoria, Illinois. There they teamed up with his brother, Morgan, and the trio went to work for one of Peoria's madams, Mattie in her usual role and Wyatt and Morgan as bouncers and pimps.
After ten months of diverse fortunes, including thirty days in jail for the boys, Wyatt and Mattie headed for Kansas. A year later they surfaced in Wichita. Wyatt eventually signed on with the police force while Mattie teamed up with Bessie Earp as co-madam of Wichita's best-known brothel. Even then Mattie's life was exciting, as there was a famous court case involving the two ladies, but all charges were dismissed. A couple of years later the entire Earp clan was told to leave Wichita. Wyatt and Mattie then went to Dodge City where for the next three summers they were part of the sporting scene with Wyatt hiring out his gun to the law enforcement agency. They spent the winters in Texas and New Mexico where Wyatt gambled and Mattie kept busy. In 1879 the two showed up in Tombstone where Wyatt and his brothers, aided and abetted by the famous Doc Holliday, gained lasting fame when they gunned down part of the Clanton gang near the OK Corral in October 1881. Four months later the Earps moved on once again, but this time Wyatt left without so much as a 'good-bye, it's been fun' to Mattie, and went his own way accompanied by the woman who would become the third, and most famous, Mrs. Wyatt Earp. Mattie, in desperation, went to Globe, Arizona where she teamed up with a famed madam called Big Nose Kate. She seems to have been happy enough there, but in 1887 Kate moved on, leaving Mattie on her own. Mattie stayed on until October and then, probably because the new owner did not have room for an aging harlot (Mattie was only 37, but looked much older) she was forced to leave.
Why did Mattie follow the road she chose? This book explains the 'whys and wherefores' as it follows her trail from Iowa to her last stop. It also explains much of the lifestyle on the frontier within the society of the so-called 'soiled doves' that were so much a part of the Old West.
This heretofore-unknown story has been thoroughly researched and is heavily footnoted, with a photo section, many fascinating historical facts and complete appendices, and a bibliography, and an index.
|Publisher:||Hancock House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author