Wayne Sanderson
Aurilla Earp article in the WWHA Journal
Sat Jun 23, 2018 16:15

Below is a comment I originally posted elsewhere as an analysis of the Aurilla Sutherland Earp article in the current WWHA Journal. The commentary is based on the new information and commentary in the article.

Just sat down this morning and managed to read and digest the very interesting and thought provoking piece on Aurilla Earp in the current issue of the WWHA Journal. Some thoughts on that:

The piece makes a very strong argument that Aurilla Sutherland Earp did not die in Lamar, MO in 1870 as previous authors and researchers have written, due to the trifecta of the complete lack of official death records, no marked nor documented burial site and the lack of mention of her death in a local paper that diligently reported local deaths and certainly would have reported hers as she was both the wife of the local constable and the daughter of the town’s most prominent citizen and businessman.

It is also curious that the Earp clan became very close lipped about Lamar MO and Wyatt’s time there. On the surface, it would be easy to write that off as a matter of embarrassment over the missing fines and fees that Constable Wyatt Earp was accused of failing to turn over to the town coffers. His abrupt departure from the town might seem to support that, but maybe there is more here.

The question of Aurilla’s death aside, the silence of the Earp clan over his time in Lamar may have more to do with Aurilla than previously thought. If Aurilla did not die but instead left the marriage and skipped town, that would explain the level of embarrassment and silence from all parties involved.

Taking this a step farther, if Aurilla did suddenly leave Wyatt Earp and her life in Lamar behind, she would have needed money. From what I’ve read, as the town constable, Wyatt Earp made his collections in cash and would turn in required sums to the town coffers himself. If Aurilla had been planning to leave, needed substantial funds to do so and knew Wyatt’s habits, she need only watch his cash collections for a large fine or fee and take that as traveling money.

If the above actually transpired, it would explain a few things. When Wyatt Earp sold the home he and Aurilla were living in, it does not appear that the town had attached it for the missing funds. He may have agreed to sell out and make good with the town from the proceeds. The fact that the town didn’t prosecute Wyatt Earp may indicate that he explained behind closed doors what actually happened, and a quiet agreement allowed the matter to be dispensed with privately without publicly revealing what happened, sparing all sides the humiliation and embarrassment this would have caused if it got out. His departure from Lamar and subsequent travels through Oklahoma and other places may have been a search for Aurilla, with maybe some reckoning on his mind and/or an intent to recover the monies she took that he’d had to make good. Maybe he eventually found her and got the money back. Maybe he didn’t. Maybe while he tracked her he developed skills and contacts that eventually led him to new employment for express companies running down train and bank robbers...

It would also provide context for the fight between the Earp brothers and Aurilla’s kin (if it did indeed take place) because had she skipped town by herself (or with another man) with or without having dipped into Wyatt’s cash collections, the matter would have been just as embarrassing to her family as his. With a 500lb gorilla like that in the room every time those families were in close proximity, it would be easy for a little whiskey and an ill advised comment on the matter to escalate into a big row and fistfight.

All speculative, but it fits many things we do know about Wyatt Earp. It could be that somewhere in the West, Aurilla Sutherland Earp, after leaving Lamar MO, her family and her husband behind assumed a new name and lived out her life unbeknownst to history. She wouldn’t have been the first.

    • Re: Aurilla Earp article in the WWHA JournalTom Gaumer, Mon Jul 9 10:56
      Howdy Wayne I think Mr McArdle case was that her death is not documented, and he SUspects that it didn't happen but with no real evidence she lived on. If memory serves Mr. McArdle said that death... more
      • Aurilla Earp article in WWHAgka500, Mon Jul 9 21:32
        Tom (and Wayne) Mr. McArdle was speculating intending to encourage more research into Aurilla's death. I agree with Tom that there is no evidence either of her death, or her living on beyond 1870.... more
        • Re: Aurilla Earp article in WWHATom Gaumer, Tue Jul 10 17:16
          Howdy Gail The general story about Wyatt has been he sold his and Urilla's house in early Nov. of 1870 and moved on. There are no missing editions of the South West Missourian before that period,... more
          • Aurilla's possible survivalgka500, Wed Jul 11 22:08
            Tom, Wow excellent review of the evidence on Aurilla Sutherland Earp. To make my position clear, I don't think it at all likely that Aurilla survived past 1870. However, think it would be good if... more
            • It looks like we agree on everythingTom Gaumer, Fri Jul 13 15:55
              Gail I just got an email telling me about this Aurilla factoid. It should make the answer pretty clear about Aurilla's fate. It won't seal the case but reasonable people should be able to put it to... more
              • Aurilla factoidgka500, Fri Jul 13 16:03
                Tom, I would never expect you to jump the gun on announcing a new find. That, of course, belongs to the finder. I just hope, once announced, I assume at the WWHA meeting, you or someone else will... more
          • Hard at work...Ben Harleman , Tue Jul 10 19:40
            Tom, I am currently at work tenaciously tracking down credible sources to confirm the dust levels contained in Wyatt's belly button. Watch for a riveting article in the next joutnal. Seriously... more
          • Surprise coming about AurillaTom Gaumer, Tue Jul 10 18:13
            Gail and all There is one more source of information that I just heard about and Mr. McArdle apparently did not find. It might settle the question of when Aurilla Sutherland died. Stay tuned to the... more
            • Re: Surprise coming about AurillaErik, Wed Jul 25 17:22
              Hey Tom, When is this discussion panel getting together in Springfield, MO? Will it be recorded? Very interesting thread, y'all! Thanks, Tom.
    • Aurilla Lamar , Sat Jun 23 19:58
      What if Aurilla was carrying the love child of Big Foot and was abducted by space aliens?
    • "town didn’t prosecute Wyatt Earp" (?)K.t.K., Sat Jun 23 19:35
      People fly the coop so that they cannot be prosecuted. That's what Wyatt did. "Behind closed doors" doesn't quite match with the document records. They wanted his hind-end badly. He and his dad both... more
      • As always...Ben Harleman, Sat Jun 23 20:34
        ... a lot of great information. Lee Silva, when reviewing the Lamar and horse thief episodes, also made a bit of a case that the town originally charged Wyatt but later seemed to not pursue it when... more
        • Re: As always...K.t.K., Sun Jun 24 16:58
          Ben, Silva did a lot of speculating also - which we all have the right to do. But he did admit that Wyatt fled Lamar, just the same as did Nicholas. Choosing not to pursue a suspect who has fled had... more
    • Re: Aurilla Earp article in the WWHA JournalBen Harleman, Sat Jun 23 16:51
      The question that comes to mind from all of this, which I agree is thought provoking, is if a runaway wife would be enough to prompt such a tight-lipped nature? And I'm sincerely asking, because I... more
      • Re: Aurilla Earp article in the WWHA JournalWayne Sanderson, Sat Jun 23 19:44
        Virgil’s situation was different. He marched away to war, and when he returned she and her whole family had moved west. She was apparently led to believe Virgil was dead. If that was the case and he... more
        • Aurilla Earp PhotosEddie Lanham, Mon Jun 25 03:44
          Does anyone know if these pictures of her have been documented? https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/8309383/urilla-earp/photo
          • fake photosJohn Boessenecker, Mon Jun 25 21:26
            All photos posted online by Paul Butler and Blue Brown are fakes. I'm not even sure if those names they use are real.
        • Wayne, there are a few things you are not understanding in regards to the Cherokee Nations episode. About 85 miles down the trail out of Missouri into Indian Nations was located a settlement called... more
          • Kenny, like almost all of your posts, this was very enlightening. However, I am a little confused that you never mention the announced subject of the post, "Virgil's second wife at Lamar - Rozilla... more
            • Oh, you must mean Rozella DrageauK.t.K., Mon Jun 25 12:48
              :<) Oh, I forgot how many spellings there are. Anyway, Wayne above had mentioned Virgil's first wife from Pella, Iowa. My heading was meant as a quick reminder that the Dutch girl didn't factor... more
        • Re: Aurilla Earp article in the WWHA JournalBen Harleman, Sat Jun 23 21:12
          Those are the mitigating factors, and with clear differences to be sure, but while I do agree that the lack of info and reporting about her death is intriguing, I'm not sure I agree that it's enough... more
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