Wyatt Earp, Procurer: hey, a man’s gotta make a living

Clanton fans, still stirring up trouble 130 years later.

Seems to me owning/operating a brothel wasn’t that dishonorable in the Ancient West, but to some tightasses I suppose it’s a black mark against the Earps. Doesn’t tarnish my opinion of ‘em one bit. They were who they were. The Earp Vendetta Ride suffices by itself to vault them into legend, not to mention all that OK Corral stuff beforehand.

The details below the jump. Also, here’s a really interesting photo of Doc Holliday and some of the Earps. That’s the same kind of IDGAF stare you see in the classic photo of Andrew Jackson.

Young Doc: Older Doc:

In 1872 Wyatt Earp was involved in the ownership and operation of a brothel located on Washington St 3 doors up from the intersection of Wellington. The house was owned by Jane Haspel, a well-known madam who had a staff of perhaps five girls of which one was Minnie Randall and another a 22 year old going under the alias of Sarah Earp. Wyatt, Morgan and a man named George Randall (a local thug with a lengthy record) bought into the business sometime between October 1871 and January 1872.

During the evening of 24 February Haspel House was raided. A deal with the prosecuting attorney got Jane and her girls off the hook (except Minnie who was forced to testify as a condition of having her charges dropped) as he was interested mainly in the nailing the house’s Keepers. Some of the proceedings can be read in the files of The Peoria Daily Transcript (George V. Kent editor-in-chief). The rest of the story, however, requires a look at the police files for February 1872. They supply what the newspaper doesn’t. On 26 February, a Monday, Police Officer McWhirter was issued a warrant for the arrest of Wyatt Earp, Morgan Earp and George Randall which he served and then brought the trio into Judge Cunningham’s court. The charges were identical for all three men (here I quote the leading line of Wyatt’s charge sheet):

The City of Peoria Vs Wyatt Earp “For Keeping and being found in a house of ill-fame.”

They were found guilty following a change of venue to the court of Judge William Rounseville….

…Sorry guys, but your hero was pimping for Sarah. He was also a Keeper of a Peoria Brothel….

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3 Responses to Wyatt Earp, Procurer: hey, a man’s gotta make a living

  1. Vinnie says:


  2. Davidwhitewolf says:

    Waal, if you click through the first link, you’ll see the fellow’s claim that he found this in old documents buried in Peoria’s records. You see, it’s An Amazing Discovery That Proves Once And For All That Wyatt Earp Was A Bad Fellow, and thus the premise of that entire site, that the Clantons have been misjudged by history, has finally been Vindicated!

    Unless, of course, you don’t find running a brothel in the 1870s to be all that indicative of bad character. Or relevant to the whole OK Corral thing either.

    Heck, I just find this sort of ongoing fight between historians (and amateurs) about the Earps and Clantons pretty darned funny.

  3. Phil says:

    He provides the Brady Bunch a wet dream for their idea of how to “reasonably control” firearms in urban areas.

    The guy was an ass on that account alone.

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