Lease this WebApp and get rid of the ads.
Steve Gatto
Re: Marriage of H. F. Sills
Mon Aug 6, 2018 11:06


I believe the church records make it likely that his name was H. F. Sills. As for his given name, that is a little sketchy but it may have been Henry F. Sills. In the article "H. F. Sills, Mystery Man Of The O.K. Corral Shootout," Jane Matson Lee and Mark Dworkin noted that there was a railroad fireman named H. F. Cills listed in the 1880 Iowa Federal Census that was married to a woman listed as "Unice." Lee and Dworkin also stated that Henry F. Sills had married a woman named Eunice Parish in Stuart, Iowa, during May 1878 (it was actually March 8, 1878). While there are other Sills or Sells that did work related to the railroad, it is possible that Henry F. Sills (listed as H. F. Cills in the census) may have been the one who testified at the Gunfight preliminary hearing.

Lee and Dworkin also noted that Eunice Sills subsequently married another man named George S. Edmunds in Stuart, Iowa, on May 4, 1882 (actually, according to marriage records, May 14, 1882). They speculated that two may have been divorced, or he cheated on her, etc. Considering Sills reportedly worked on the railroads and was likely absent from home a lot, either a divorce, cheating with another woman, or an abandonment does not seem all that unreasonable for a reason for their separation. However, what is interesting is the following newspaper article:

"The Stuart Locomotive chronicles the arrest of H. F. Sills at that place on the charge of bigamy. He married a young girl of that town, only 14 years old, a few weeks since, and now another wife from Cheyenne is after him. He lies in jail in Panora." Sioux City Journal, March 30, 1878.

According to marriage records, Euncie T. (Parish) Sills was 19 years-old at the time of her remarriage to George S. Edmunds in May 1882. Therefore, she likely was the 14 year-old that H. F. Sills married in March 1878 - considering the location, Eunice's age, and the date of her marriage to Sills, there is little doubt that she was the the 14 year-old woman discussed in the newspaper's detail. Further, the bigamy charge was no doubt Eunice's way out of the marriage.

Of course, H. F. Sills doesn't mention whether he was married or not in his testimony during the preliminary hearing in Tombstone. And the H. F. Sills and Carrie Fanning marriage in Las Vegas, New Mexico, during August 1881 was not known by Lee and Dworkin at the time of their article because it has been more recently discovered. So it seems very likely that H. F. Sills was married multiple times, sometimes to two woman at the same time, and that he was last seen in California during 1882 (at least based on the information that has been made public as of this date).

Click here to receive daily updates