definition of Wikipedia
|Josephine Sarah Marcus|
Josephine Sarah "Sadie" Marcus at about age 20, c. 1881, by C. S. Fly
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
|Died||December 19, 1944
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
|Other names||Sadie, Josie|
|Occupation||Actress, gambler, saloon-keeper|
|Spouse||Johnny Behan (common-law husband)
Wyatt Earp (common-law husband)
Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp (1861-December 19, 1944) was an American part time actress and dancer who was best known as the wife of famed Old West lawman and gambler Wyatt Earp. Known as "Sadie" to the public in 1881, she met Wyatt in the frontier boom town Tombstone, Arizona Territory when she was living with Cochise County Sheriff Johnny Behan. She became Earp's common-law wife for 48 years.
Much of her life up to about 1882 is uncertain, as Josephine protected many details of her life prior to leaving Tombstone, Arizona, even threatening legal action to keep information private. She became well-known when a manuscript about her life was used as a source by amateur historian Glen Boyer for the book I Married Wyatt Earp, first published by the University of Arizona Press in 1967. The work was considered a factual memoir, cited by scholars, studied in classrooms, and used as a source by filmmakers for 32 years. In 1998, it was found that Boyer could not substantiate many of the facts included, causing some critics to describe it as a fraud and a hoax, and the university withdrew the book from its catalog.
Josephine went by the name of Sadie most of her adult life, except to her common-law husband Wyatt, who referred to her as Josie. She was the second of three children born to German-Jewish immigrants Carl-Hyman Marcuse (later Henry Marcus) and Sophie Lewis in Brooklyn, New York in 1861. When they married, Lewis was 8 years older than her husband and a widow with a 3-year-old daughter named Rebecca. Sadie had an older brother Nathan (born August 12, 1857) and younger sister Henrietta (born July 10, 1864). When Josephine was 11, her father was lured by the opportunity afforded in the growing city of San Francisco. They traveled via ship to Panama and caught a second ship to San Francisco, arriving while the city was recovering from the disastrous earthquake of October 21, 1868. Her parents joined the Reformed Temple and her father found work as a baker.
By 1870, San Francisco's population had boomed to 149,473 and housing was in short supply. Apartment buildings were crowded and large homes were converted into rooming houses. The city was riding on the coattails of the still expanding economic boom caused by the extraction of silver from the Comstock Lode. Lots of money flowed from Nevada through San Francisco, and for a while the Marcus family prospered. Later that year, her half-sister Rebecca Levy married Aaron Wiener, an insurance salesman and a native of Prussia, like her parents.
Henry Marcus made enough money to send Josephine and her sister Hattie to music and dance classes at the McCarthy Dancing Academy, a family-owned business that taught music and dance to both children and adults. In I Married Wyatt Earp, Boyer quotes Josephine, "Hattie and I attended the McCarthy Dancing Academy for children on Howard Street (Polk and Pacific). Eugenia and Lottie McCarthy taught us to dance the Highland Fling, the Sailor's Hornpipe, and ballroom dancing." Josephine claimed that she matured early. “There was far too much excitement in the air to remain a child.” As a girl, Josephine's favorite activity was going to the shows in town. She apparently resented how she was treated by her teachers in the San Francisco schools, describing them as “inconsistent of a tolerant and gay populous acting as merciless and self-righteous as a New England village in bringing up its children.” She described the harsh discipline meted out, including the “sting of rattan" and “being slapped for tardiness”. Note, however, that Boyer's I Married Wyatt Earp was found to be erroneous and more artistic than factual, so the above information is actually irrelevant. Any further quotations from this source may also be ignored, as they have nothing to do with facts or truth.
There are conflicting accounts of when Josephine, or Sadie as she became known, actually arrived in Arizona. Sadie’s memoirs and other sources indicate her departure may have been as early as October 1874. Some accounts state that she arrived as soon as 1874 at age 13 or 14, while Behan was Sheriff for Yavapai County during 1871-73 and while he was married to Victoria Zaff. His wife divorced him in 1875 for consorting with a known prostitute named Sadie Mansfield.:79
Josephine told how upon arriving in Arizona she learned that “some renegade Yuma-Apaches had escaped from the reservation to which they had been consigned and had returned to their old haunts on the war-path.” Sadie wrote the famous Indian fighter Al Sieber was tracking escape Apaches and led them to safety. According to Sadie, she first met "John Harris" during this period. She described him as "young and darkly handsome, with merry black eyes and an engaging smile."
During 1874, production of gold and silver from the Comstock Lode, which had brought so much wealth to San Francisco, began to dwindle. San Francisco suffered, and her father Henry’s earnings as a baker fell. The family was forced to move in with Sadie's older sister Sophia and her husband in the flatlands south of Market Street. It was known as “the slot,” a working class, ethnically mixed neighborhood, where smoke from factory chimneys filled the air. As an adult, Sadie claimed her father ran a prosperous mercantile business, although the 1880 census places the family South of Market in the 9th Ward between San Francisco Bay, Channel Street, Harrison Street and Seventh Street.
The facts about Sadie's arrival and her life in Tombstone are obscured by the fact that she refused to disclose in detail what took place. After Wyatt's death, Sadie collaborated with two of her husband's cousins, Mabel Earp Cason and Cason's sister Vinola Earp Ackerman, to document her life. The cousins recorded events in Sadie's later life but found Sadie was evasive about her early life in Tombstone.
Based on Sadie's manuscript and other sources she may have actually left San Francisco as early October 1874, arriving in Arizona at age 13 or 14. In I Married Wyatt Earp, she wrote that one day, "I left my home one morning, carrying my books just as though I was going to school as usual." In her memoirs, she claimed that she was 18 years old and ran away with two friends, Dora Hirsch, daughter of her music teacher, and another girl named Agnes who had a role in the San Francisco Pauline Markham troupe's presentation of H.M.S. Pinafore.
On September 28, 1874, Behan was nominated as Sheriff at the Democratic convention in Yavapai County. The Prescott Miner reported on October 6 that “J.H. Behan left on an 'electioneering' tour toward Black Canyon, Wickenburg and other places” north and east of present-day Phoenix, in the same area as Cave Creek where Al Sieber was looking for Indians. Behan was gone for 35 days, during which he could have met Sadie. She said “my heart was stirred by his attentions as would the heart of any girl have been under such romantic circumstances. The affair was at least a diversion in my homesickness though I cannot say I was in love with him.” Behan returned to Prescott on November 11, 1874 but lost the election.
In Arizona, Josephine was known as Sadie. Sadie recollected how she met the famous Indian scout Al Sieber who she claimed led them to safety. On October 24, 1874, the Arizona Miner reported, “Al Zieber, Sergeant Stauffer and a mixed command of white and red soldiers are in the hills of Verde looking for some erring Apaches, whom they will be apt to find.” On October 27, 1874, Sieber and Sgt. Rudolph Stauffer fought a group of Apaches that had escaped the reservation at Cave Creek. In February 1875, Sieber helped close the Camp Verde Reservation and transfer the Yavapais and Tonto Apaches at Camp Verde to the San Carlos Reservation, and Sieber remained in the San Carlos, Arizona Territory, area for the next few years. This area is about 130 miles (210 km) to the southeast of Cave Creek and 200 miles (320 km) north of Tombstone.
While Sadie described Seiber in buckskin clothing, he later said he only wore buckskin garments while posing for a photograph. But Sadie's story was that Sieber and his scouts led her stagecoach and its passengers to a nearby adobe ranch house. The group spent 10 days sleeping on the floor. According to Sadie, she first met "John Harris" here, who she described as, "young and darkly handsome, with merry black eyes and an engaging smile."
Sadie's record of what happened next, if accurate, says that she and Dora were homesick and returned to San Francisco with Sieber's help. Sieber was German and so was Sadie's father, and Sadie spoke English with an accent. Sadie wrote that she received a message that Al Seiber had wired her sister and her husband, Aaron Wiener, who had sent funds to Prescott liquor dealer Jacob Marks so they could return home. His wife accompanied them back to San Francisco.:310
However, during December, 1874, neighbors witnessed Behan visiting a “house of ill fame” on more than one occasion. The brothel was located on Granite Street near Gurley in Prescott. He had a “relationship with” a 14-year-old prostitute named "Sadie Mansfield" who lived there under the watchful eye of Madam Josie Roland.
On February 6, 1875, criminal charges were filed against Sadie Mansfield for Petty Larceny, accusing her of stealing two German silver spoons worth $126.00. The charges against her reported that “one set of German table spoons were stolen from the store of H. Asher and Company in the village of Prescott, Yavapai, A.T.” Sheriff Ed Burnes searched Sadie Mansfield's residence and confiscated the spoons. The case was tried the same day with only one witness for the defense, Jennie Andrews. The nine-man jury found her not guilty.
Sadie Mansfield and Johnny Behan remained in the same town through at least 1880, when the U.S. census recorded them both in Tip Top, Arizona Territory. Perhaps not coincidentally, both Sadie Mansfield and Sadie Marcus were 14 years old. The 1880 census showed other strikingly similarities shared by the two girls: Sadie Mansfield and Sadie Marcus were not only the same age, both were born in New York City and both of their parents were born in Prussia.
These facts may explain why Sadie later thought of this time in her life as “a bad dream.” She later commented, “the whole experience recurs to my memory as a bad dream and I remember little of its details. I can remember shedding many tears in out-of the way-corners. I thought constantly of my mother and how great must be her grief and worry over me. In my confusion, I could see no way out of the tragic mess.” Author David Johnson described Sadie as a "prostitute.":161
According to Sadie's story, upon her return to San Francisco, Johnny Behan followed her and asked her to marry him. Josephine declined, and he returned to Arizona. Sadie told the Earp cousins that she returned to San Francisco before the grand opening of the Baldwin Theater on March 6, 1876. She wrote that her family told "the younger children (niece and nephew), and our friends were told that I had gone away for a visit.... The memory of it has been a source of humiliation and regret to me in all the years since that time and I have never until now disclosed it to anyone besides my husband (Wyatt)."
According to Sadie, almost as soon as she returned to San Francisco, Johnny came for her in San Francisco and persuaded her parents to approve their engagement. Some modern researchers question the likelihood that her father, a Reform Jew, would approve her union with Behan, an unemployed office-seeker, 34, a Gentile, and a divorced father. Behan said he could not leave his livery stable business for a wedding in San Francisco. She thought Johnny’s marriage proposal was a good excuse to leave home. She wrote, “life was dull for me in San Francisco. In spite of my bad experience of a few years ago the call to adventure still stirred my blood."
In her manuscript that was used in part as a basis for the book I Married Wyatt Earp, Sadie says she and her friend Dora joined the Pauline Markham Theater Company when it visited San Francisco in 1879 on its Western tour. Pauline Markham already had a nationwide reputation as a burlesque dancer and songstress. She often appeared on stage and in racy publicity photos wearing a corset and pink tights: shocking attire for the 1870s. Sadie wrote that Dora was hired as a singer and Sadie as a dancer by the troupe. Sadie wrote that they sailed with the other six members of the Pauline Markham troupe from San Francisco to Santa Barbara, where they stayed for a few days and performed in San Bernardino before leaving for Prescott, Arizona Territory. However, the Markham troupe left San Francisco for Arizona in October, 1879 on board the Southern Pacific Railroad, not by ship.
The Markham troupe arrived in Tombstone on December 1, 1879, for a one-week engagement, the same date that Wyatt Earp and his brothers arrived, although there is no record that they met at that time. After this engagement the acting troupe headed north to Prescott. The Pauline Markham troupe put on more than a dozen performances of H.M.S. Pinafore from December 24, 1879 through February 20, 1880. Sadie, possibly using the stage name May Bell, played Cousin Hebe.:62 The city of Prescott, Arizona, fell in love with her and her troupe, and they stayed for nearly six months.
In November, 1879, before Josephine's return to Arizona as a member of the Pauline Markham troupe, Behan owned a saloon in the silver mining town known as Tip Top, Arizona. The fast-growing town already had five saloons with five courtesans, and Johnny's new saloon had none. In February, 1880, just after the Markham troupe ended its initial run of performances in Prescott, Sadie Marcus left the acting troupe and Sadie Mansfield arrived in Tip Top.
Behan is listed as a resident of Tip Top in Yavapai County in the 1880 U.S. census. He arrived in Tombstone in September 1880.:19 Josephine was jealous of the attention he gave other women, and when she returned from a visit to San Francisco in October:63 where she was enumerated in the census. She was ready to leave him, but she relented and moved in with Behan, resuming their relationship. Soon after Behan's arrival in Tombstone, his ex-wife sent their eight year-old son Albert to live with him. She had divorced him in 1875 because he frequented brothels, and he continued to see other women while living with Marcus.:54 Josephine received a letter from her father, urging her to return to San Francisco. He sent her $300 for the return trip but rather than leaving Tombstone, Behan convinced Josephine to use the money to build a house for them. Josie also pawned a diamond ring to complete the construction.
Josephine said years later that she lived with a lawyer while working as a housekeeper for Behan and his eight year-old son, Albert. Boyer argues that she actually lived with Behan. In her conversations about her life with the Earp cousins, she was very imprecise about the timing and exact nature of events during this period. The most she would say is that she returned to Tombstone believing Behan was planning to marry her, and when he kept putting it off, she grew disillusioned.
Sometime during early 1881, Josephine arrived home in Tombstone. One version of the story is that Sadie had taken Albert, who was hearing impaired, to San Francisco for treatment. Upon their return, they arrived late in the evening and a day earlier than expected. Behan was in the home they had built with her father's money and in bed with the wife of a friend of theirs, and she kicked him out. 
Some modern writers report that Wyatt Earp then moved in, but in April 1881, less than eight months after Johnny and Sadie built the house, it was rented to Dr. George Emory Goodfellow. As late as June 1881, Josephine was still signing her name as "Josephine Behan" and Wyatt Earp was still living with his current common-law wife Mattie Blaylock.:159
Josephine always sought excitement in her life. The type of work available to most women in that era was as laundresses, seamstresses, or other dull work which Josephine avoided. Her life as a dancer and actress allowed her greater independence, and she likely enjoyed the social life that accompanied her role. But as an unmarried woman in frontier Tombstone, an actress and a dancer, vastly outnumbered by men, she undoubtedly was regarded by some as a prostitute.:101 While prostitutes were ostracized by "respectable" women, many madams and prostitutes had more control of their life and greater independence.
It is not known exactly when Josephine left Behan, how Josephine and Wyatt Earp began their relationship, and when Earp and his current wife Mattie Blaylock ended their relationship. It's possible that Behan and Earp knew of each other's attraction to the same woman before the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, which may have contributed to their animosity and antagonism. At some point during August and September they became friends and then more seriously involved.:235 Tombstone diarist George W. Parsons never mentioned seeing Wyatt and Sadie together and neither did John Clum in his memoirs.:235 Josephine returned to San Francisco after Wyatt left Tombstone, and Behan showed up in there in March, 1882, possibly still carrying a torch for Marcus.:36
In their later years Wyatt and Josephine Earp persuaded former Cochise County Deputy Sheriff Billy Breakinridge to keep Sadie's name out of his 1928 book, Helldorado: Bringing the Law to the Mesquite. Before he died, Wyatt went to great lengths to keep Josephine's name out of Stuart Lake's biography of Wyatt and after he died, Josephine may have threatened litigation to keep it that way.:101 Lake corresponded with Josephine, and he claimed she attempted to influence what he wrote and hamper him in every way possible, including consulting lawyers. Josephine insisted she was striving to protect Wyatt Earp’s legacy.
Frank Waters wrote The Earp Brothers of Tombstone in which he told tales of terrible, public fights between Sadie and Mattie Blaylock and how the affair was a public scandal. However, Water's book has been criticized as extremely biased for its negative portrayal of Wyatt Earp and for including details not mentioned in Addie Earp's original manuscript. One reviewer described it as "a smear campaign levied against the Earp brothers."
Frank Waters quotes Virgil's wife, Allie, as saying that "Sadie's charms were undeniable. She had a small, trim body and a meneo of the hips that kept her full, flounced skirts bouncing. Certainly her strange accent, brought with her from New York to San Francisco, carried a music new to the ears of a Western gambler and gunman.":235 Bat Masterson also mentioned her, describing her as the “belle of the honkytonks, the prettiest dame in three hundred or so of her kind.”
Sadie remained in Tombstone through early 1882 and left for San Francisco shortly before or after the Earp Vendetta Ride. Wyatt came to San Francisco for her in late 1882. Blaylock traveled with other Earp family members in April, 1882, to Colton, California, after the Earp Vendetta Ride, waiting for Wyatt to telegraph her and invite her to join him. Wyatt never sent for her and she moved to Pinal, Arizona, where she resumed life as a prostitute, eventually dying of an overdose.
The embarrassment suffered by Behan was one of many factors that may have contributed animosity between Behan and Wyatt Earp and to the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Numerous other events between Wyatt Earp and Ike Clanton, and others of the Clanton gang, actually sparked the gunfight; the feud between Behan and Earp was little more than a side show. On October 26, 1881, Josephine was at her home when she heard the sound of gunfire. Taking a wagon in the direction of the shots, Josephine was relieved to see that Earp was uninjured.
After Wyatt Earp's death, Sadie sought to get her own life story published. She sought the assistance of Wyatt's cousins Mabel Earp Cason and Cason's sister Vinola Earp Ackerman. They recorded events in her life but found Sadie was evasive about her early life in Tombstone. She approached several publishers for the book, but backed out several times due to their insistence that she be completely open and forthcoming, rather than slanting her memories to her favor. Sadie wanted to keep their tarnished history associated with Tombstone private. Sadie finally changed her mind and asked Wyatt's cousins to burn their work, but Cason held back a copy, which amateur historian Glen Boyer eventually acquired the rights to.
The University of Arizona Press published the book in 1976 under the title I Married Wyatt Earp: The Recollections of Josephine Sarah Marcus. It was immensely popular for many years, becoming the university's fourth all-time best selling book with over 35,000 sold. It was cited by scholars and relied upon as factual by filmmakers. Beginning in about 1994, critics began to challenge the accuracy of the book, and eventually many parts of the book were refuted as fictional and inaccurate. Ownership of the book, following Sadie's death, eventually fell to Glenn Boyer, following his obtaining rights from the relatives of Josephine Earp.
In 1998, a series of articles in the Phoenix New Times, including interviews with amateur historian Glen Boyer, proved that Boyer invented large portions of the book. In 2000, the University responded to criticism of the university and the book and removed it from their catalog.
The book has become an example of how supposedly factual works can trip up researchers, historians, and librarians. It was described by the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology in 2006 as a creative exercise that cannot be substantiated:489 or relied on.:154
After the Earp Vendetta Ride, Wyatt left Arizona for Colorado. Sadie left Tombstone and returned to San Francisco as Sarah Marcus.
By 1882 Marcus had adopted the name of "Josephine Earp", although no official record of their marriage exists. Following what has been dubbed as the Earp vendetta ride, Marcus and Earp traveled through various western states hunting for gold and silver. It is also said that they ran horse races in San Diego as well as operating saloons in Idaho and Alaska. Earp and Marcus became a gambling team during this period.
Josephine wrote in I Married Wyatt Earp: The Recollections of Josephine Sarah Marcus, that she and Wyatt were married in 1892 by the captain of millionaire Lucky Baldwin's yacht aboard his yacht. Raymond Nez wrote that his grandparents witnessed their marriage aboard a yacht off the California coast. Josephine was friends with Lucky Baldwin and wrote that she received money from him in return for her jewelry, eventually selling virtually all of her jewelry to him.
Earp biographer, Stuart Lake, learned that Wyatt and Josephine were hostile to each other during their relationship when he went to collaborate with Wyatt on his autobiography. Yet Josephine said of that time from about 1901 to 1929, "We would wander over the deserts of Nevada, Arizona and California with a camping outfit during the pleasant fall, winter and spring months. The hot summer months would be spent in Los Angeles." 
In the course of writing the Earp biography, Stuart Lake learned some aspects of Josephine's life that she wanted to keep private. Josephine described Lake's book as made up of "outright lies". Wyatt became critically ill in late 1928 and died on January 13, 1929. Josephine traveled to Boston, Massachusetts to try to persuade the publisher to stop the release of the book. She corresponded with Lake, and he claimed she attempted to influence what he wrote and hamper him in every way possible, including consulting lawyers. Josephine insisted she was striving to protect Wyatt Earp’s legacy.
When Frank Waters was working on The Earp Brothers of Tombstone, he returned from a research trip to Tombstone to learn that Josephine had visited his mother and sister and threatened court action to prevent him from publishing the book.:8 She was among other things trying to suppress information on Wyatt's common-law wife, Mattie Blaylock, who Wyatt was living with when Josephine and Wyatt began their relationship. Blaylock suffered from severe headaches and was addicted to laudanum, an opiate-based pain reliever in common use at the time, and later committed suicide.:47:65
Sadie and Wyatt went to great lengths to keep her name out of Lake's book, Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshall, and Sadie may have threatened litigation to keep it that way.:101 Mrs. Cason says she and her sister "finally abandoned work on the manuscript because she [Josie] would not clear up the Tombstone sequence where it pertained to her and Wyatt." As late as 1936 Sadie took legal action to suppress certain details of her and Wyatt's life in Tombstone.:36
In 1939 Josephine sued 20th Century Fox for $50,000 in an attempt to keep them from making the film titled Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal. With the provision that Wyatt's name be removed from the title, the movie was later released as Frontier Marshal.
In Los Angeles Josephine became friends with many celebrities, including Cecil B. DeMille and Gary Cooper. She received part of the money made by Stuart Lake's book about her husband as well as royalties from the movie Frontier Marshal, but likely spent it as quickly as she did most of her money, on gambling. She later co-wrote and peddled a biography of Wyatt Earp and consulted on the 1939 remake of Frontier Marshal.
Josephine Earp spent her last years in Los Angeles, where she suffered from depression and other illnesses. One of her few consolations toward the end of her life was the correspondence she kept with Johnny Behan's son, Albert Price Behan, whom she had grown to love as her own son.
Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp died on December 20, 1944, at 4004 W. 17th Street in the West Adams district of Los Angeles, California. She was believed to be in her early 80s, perhaps as old as 83. Her body was cremated and buried next to Wyatt's remains in Colma, California in the Marcus family plot at the Hills of Eternity Memorial Park. Her parents and brother are buried nearby.
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