Bob Cash
When did John Good encounter Wyatt Earp?
Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:02

Three days ago I would have answered that question with, "Probably, never". However, in Roy Young's extremely informative WHHA Journal article "Wyatt Earp Talks 'Pretty': A Look at W.E.'s Interaction with Interviewers, Writers, and Historian", now available in "A Wyatt Earp Anthology" just released by the University of North Texas Press, author Eugene Manlove Rhodes is quoted as writing to William McLeod Raine, "I have no first hand knowledge of any part of Earp's career. My second hand knowledge was derived from one of the Clanton girls, John Yoast...and from old John Good."

Since Mary Elsie Clanton (Slinkard)(Stanley) lived in New Mexico for several years, as did Rhodes, I assume she is the Clanton referred to. Young's notes say that Rhodes was friends with Hiram Yoast, whose brother John was the teamster in Cochise County who discovered John Ringo's body, and that was how he knew him. It is Rhodes' inclusion of "old John Good" as someone with first hand knowledge Wyatt Earp that really caught my eye (although it would be interesting to know exactly what Mary Elsie Clanton and John Yoast said about Wyatt).

The only time that Texas cattleman John Good's name has been associated with Wyatt's, to my knowledge, is in relation to the totally unproven, and much mocked (including by me) claim by Wyatt that he disarmed and arrested Ben Thompson in Ellsworth, Kansas in 1873. It is an established fact that John Good was in Ellsworth on the day Billy Thompson killed Sheriff Whitney and brother Ben covered his getaway with a shotgun. All the best research has pointed to the truthfulness of the Ellsworth newspaper article that identified Ed Houge as Ben's arresting officer. Although nothing has come to light confirming that Wyatt was even in Ellsworth on that day, Tucson Tiger Tom Gaumer did discover a newspaper article in which brother James Earp states he was there at the time and describes some of the violent events. This, at least, suggests the possibility that Wyatt was in Ellsworth, although, since James does not describe any heroic actions by his brother, it tends to cast further doubt on FRONTIER MARSHAL version of events.

My questions in regards to all this are: Does anyone know of any other time that John Good could have had first hand knowledge of Wyatt Earp? Did he "come up the trail" with a herd to Wichita or Dodge City while Earp served as an officer in those towns? Is there any record of Good traveling to southeast Arizona while he was ranching in New Mexico during the time that Wyatt resided in Tombstone? I'm also interested in whether Rhodes ever commented on the Earp/Lake scenario of Wyatt disarming Thompson?

The most intriguing quote by Rhodes, especially because of who he cites as his main sources of info on Wyatt, is, " ...It is highly improbable that Wyatt deliberately lied. Lying is a coward's vice - and Wyatt was a brave man. lied But he might easily get mixed up. I do - and Stuart does-and you do - and we are all young men compared with Earp....I seem to think... that, on the whole, Earp, rather than his enemies, stood for the general good...". We know Yoast had a negative view of the Earps and can assume that Mary Elsie Clanton had an equally negative attitude about the killers of her youngest brother, so the question is what was John Good's attitude regarding them? Did he see Wyatt Earp in Ellsworth (or elsewhere) and did his viewpoint of that encounter color Rhodes opinion that Wyatt Earp was a brave man who generally stood for good?

    • Good - EarpRoy B Young, Sat Sep 21 11:31
      This is a good question, Bob. When writing that article, I tried to find the connection and was unsuccessful. However, the world was a lot smaller in those days and I can imagine that Wyatt and John... more
      • Re: Good - EarpBob Cash, Sun Sep 22 10:08
        Thanks, Roy. Kenny has a very informative post over on James Wright's page about some research that he, Roger Jay and Tom Gaumer collaborated on about this issue. It, however, does not answer the... more
        • GoodRoy B Young, Mon Sep 23 07:22
          As to Good, I have once again run a number of references to him over this past weekend and find nothing conclusive to place him in the company of Wyatt, other than a possible association in... more
          • Re: GoodBob Cash, Mon Sep 23 09:09
            Thank you, Roy. The info verifying that Good came up the trail several times during Wyatt's tenure a a peace officer in Kansas is quite interesting to me. I wouldn't discount Good viewing Wyatt... more
            • Good FamilyRoy B Young, Mon Sep 23 11:12
              In J. Marvin Hunter's book "The Trail Drivers of Texas," included in the account of J.B. and Dan Murrah, there is mention of a trail drive that included John Goode and Lavigor Goode (adding the "e"... more
              • Re: Good FamilyBob Cash, Tue Sep 24 07:15
                Roy, Kenny has some more info on the Goods Texas Jack's page.
                • Goode - EarpRoy B Young, Tue Sep 24 07:32
                  Bob, I've taken no time to do newspaper searches on these Goode brothers, so that would be the next best place to do some research that might put them in the same place and at the same time as Wyatt. ... more
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