Exactly 140 years ago today, a showdown at the O.K. Corral cast the location into wild west legend. But, the circumstances leading to that day really began in the tri-state area as there are many connections between the men that were involved in the shootout that happened that day.

It was October 26, 1881 in Tombstone, Arizona when trouble was brewing as History documents. The cowboys were defying a local ordinance banning firearms within the city and the Earps along with Doc Holliday were determined to do something about it. Many movies have immortalized what happened that day at what was known as the O.K. Corral.

As I have shared in the past, my last name really is Holliday and my family really are distant relatives of John Henry "Doc" Holliday. During my wife's time on Ancestry tracing the roots back, we've learned some interesting facts about ties to our family and Missouri and Illinois. Here are 2 fascinating facts we've learned from our family's research about how the shootout at the O.K. Corral can be traced directly to our area.

1. Doc Holliday lived in St. Louis and had a dentist practice there for a period of time and met "Big Nose" Kate there. 

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch shared a story years ago with author Victoria Wilcox who wrote a biography on the sage of Doc Holliday. She records that "Big Nose" Kate stated in her later years that she met Doc during his time in St. Louis and even specified the address of his dental practice near the Old Planter's Hotel on Fourth Street.

2. Wyatt Earp's first shootout was in Beardstown, Illinois. 

The State Journal Register tells the story of how Wyatt Earp ended up in Beardstown, Illinois prior to moving to Missouri himself. Here's part of what they shared about the showdown Wyatt had in Beardstown:

His exact duration in Beardstown is unclear, but he was there for at least part of the summer of 1869. One day inside the brothel, he had a run-in with a Thomas D. Pinard, a railroad brakeman whom Historynet.com describes as a “bully.”

They report that Wyatt threw Pinard into the street and he fired at Wyatt and missed while Wyatt returned fire and struck him in the hip.

3. Wyatt Earp spent his early years in Missouri and even owned Harry Truman's home at one point. 

It's proven history that Wyatt first began his career as a lawman as a constable in Lamar, Missouri. This was during 1869, 12 years prior to the shootout at the O.K. Corral. Wyatt remained in Missouri until the tragic death of his wife and unborn child.

The rest as they say is history. Wyatt would travel through Dodge City gaining fame there while Doc Holliday would become his best friend after saving Wyatt's life when gunmen attempted an ambush as True West Magazine mentioned.

We can now remember that the roots of that relationship and the place when their colliding paths would begin here in the tri-state area as 140 years ago today, the O.K. Corral became legend.

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