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Lillian Espinoza-Gala. With four passengers on the voyage, it proves the ability to survive death and adversity. John Howland married Elizabeth Tilley. Our family descended from daughter Hannah. Janice French. In this day and age the Mayflower is a sign of hope, and a reminder of how far we have come and how far we need to go as a country. I hope to use the story to allow my children to understand the importance of the history of this amazing country and understand that they hold the key to the future. Catherine Hernandez.

Phyllis Fleming. Location: New Mexico, United States. So proud be be descended from these strong and determined colonials. Ancestor: Henry Samson. Location: Rhode Island, United States. I have known since I we little that I am a descendant. I want to become a member of the Mayflower Society before I pass. My grandfather belonged but when he joined found it not to have to have so much paperwork.

I need many documents and they are expensive to get copies. I hope that I can complete this before That I have a great heritage. I am currently working on my membership to the Mayflower Society Bradford Colony. The more I learn, the more connected I feel to the brave women who came before me. My Mayflower connection has increased my interest in history. Knowing more about my Mayflower as well as Native American ancestors has helped me to further understand and appreciate the impact of these families to our country.

Pamela Lithgow Briggs. I was very happy to find this out. Interested in the contribution of my ancestors in shaping Canada and the United States, Found they were instrumental in building flower mills, churches, schools, and settling remote areas of our country also looking foreward to get together.

Lucille Evans Hahn. Honoring those who endured so much hardship to settle on this continent and contribute to the building of our country is the reason I joined the Mayflower Society. Almost all Americans have immigrant ancestors, ours were among the first. Meeting the many members from all walks of life who feel the same is important to me. Deborah Martin-Plugh. When I was a child, my mother always told us that we were from 'good pioneer stock'.

There was no formal genealogy at that time That phrase compelled me to find out my family history and led me to Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers Ancestor: Edward Winslow. I am incredibly proud. Sharon Garrison. Ancestor: Isaac Allerton, John Howland. Very little, I just enjoy the research. I went nearly 65 years without a clue to my origins in North America. Once my mother's Byram line married Abigail Alden, I feel humbled. Having DNA evidence makes me proud that in the generations since that landing a member of that family has been in uniform to defend the land for all its generations!

Zachary Bayer. Finding out that I am part of the Mayflower has been so exciting. The originals. Never have I ever thought that this would be. Ancestor: Francis Cooke, Thomas Rogers. There is much to learning and knowing better the history of the families and other details.

I feel it is important to know this. Cynthia Jordan. I am very proud to be a descendant of so many great Men and women that helped to create this great country. I only hope and pray that I will continue their legacy. The blood of these great people runs through me and that is pretty awesome. Ancestor: James Chilton, Stephen Hopkins. It makes me feel more a part of this wonderful country I'm part of the first settlers. Praise be. David J. Not only is it fascinating to learn that I am a descendant of John Howland as well as John Tilley but it's amazing to think how different the world would be today had they not been able to rescue John Howland after he fell off the boat.

Arthur Stuart Firkins. Location: New South Wales, Australia. It provides a continuity , an identity and a connection to a significant event in history. I am overjoyed to be able to be part of both the foundation of America and the foundation of the colony of NSW. I can relate to the values which sent the pilgrims to Plymouth and sent the pioneers to Australia. I can understand their need for freedom.

Karen Glennan-West. Being a part of the Mayflower Story means a lot to me. Knowing what my family line did back then, leaving their homes and traveling to a new world and surviving. Christine Morrill. First, I was overwhelmed by the knowledge of my ancestors. Now, my ancestral grandparents ground me and their stories encourage me to move ahead even in the most difficult times! When having a rough day I think of their challenges, failures and successes. Then, I say okay Christine, you got this. Make them proud! You owe them that much!

Marilyn Nejman. I was very, very excited to see that I believe to be a descendant of a Mayflower passenger. Donna Ann DeWitt Skogman. Our Family History, History and Sharing. Also, John Howland is an 11th Great Uncle. Their connections have not been proven. Location: Nevada, United States. Shelly Hoffman. Location: Wisconsin, United States. It connects me to this country in a way I have never felt.

To know that my family came here and are such a huge part of what made America. It makes me very proud of my country and my ancestors. Genevieve Leavitt. Knowing my heritage and learning details about my ancestors makes them real to me. I can imagine their lives and how they lived which almost gives them as well as myself a certain level of immortality. They are a part of me. Scott Carpenter. Finding out that my great-grandmother was a Southworth, and a descendant of John Alden was monumental.

My family has been here for all of the history making this great country. Lori Jo Svrcek. I want to find out more about The Mayflower Society and Mayflower History specifically, and further support it, since I am a descendant! Elizabeth Fitzgerald. Being part of history, knowing past history, origin and culture so my family can know their roots. I want them to know that know matter how long and how careful records were kept that their history is the testament to passing time.

Patricia Millis. Finding our ancestors connects us to them. I feel grateful to my courageous ancestors for making this journey to a new land for freedom sake, helping all their descendants have the gifts of living in freedom. Ancestor: William Brewster, Francis Eaton. David Kingsella. Our religious heritage brought here by our Separatist and Puritan ancestors is the foundation of our great country and must be defended against all attempts to steal it from us.

It was a huge and surprising discovery for me. Connects me as an American more than almost anything I could have found. Very proud to be so connected to Massachusetts. Morgana Watson. Proud to know my ancestors were a part of history. Marcia Christiansen. Learning that I am a Mayflower descendant was a great surprise. It has meant a lot to me knowing my ancestors helped form this great country.

I am proud of my English heritage. Marty Peterson. Makes me proud of my heritage knowing my ancestors were part of starting this great country. Kathleen Bernstein. I have many connections to the Mayflower but only joined on S. I love that my roots go back to the very start of this country. Both of my parents are from Stephen Hopkins. So I have millions of cousins. Darla Bedford Moe. I am proud to be a descendant of the brave men, women, and children who risked everything to begin a new community where they could live according to their beliefs.

The hardships they faced make me all the more grateful for the life I enjoy today. I'm fascinated with the history and love to be part of it. Touring Plymouth, MA recently was the first time I got to really connect with the family history. It meant a lot to me. Being an Alternative education teacher I am always using real history to increase interest for my students. In doing this I began looking into my ancestry about a year and a half ago. In my search I became aware that I am a descendent of several of the Mayflower passengers.

It was incredible to find this out. Lynnette Fallon. Ancestor: George Soule, William White. A wonderful way to connect to the history of our country. Confirmation of the connection to this significant group of immigrants. Karen Sifuentes. According to Ancestry. Our family is Snow and Converse. Ancestor: Edward Fuller, Stephen Hopkins. It is an honor and it pays respect to my ancestors and the hardships they endured to come to the new world.

Tammie Powell. Mary Beth Stephens. Mayflower descendants are a living part of history. Virginia R Kraus. Proud to know that my family played a significant role in the founding of the greatest country in the world. Gretchen Bjork. My paternal grandmother, a White, worked on our family's genealogy in the early s. Joining the Mayflower Society will be my tribute to her. Andrea Bouvier. The thought that if just one person did something different, had married someone else, had died in war, any number of life altering situations, I would not be here.

I would not be able to trace my ancestry back to such a great moment in time. I am honored at be here and a part of such a wonderful organization. Deborah Durham. It means my family played an important role in American history and that it is a great heritage that I pass to my grandchildren. I have loved sharing this historical connection with my father, brother, and relatives. Imagine all of us that would not exist had John Howland not been rescued!

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Lauren Gaudlitz. Being a part of the Mayflower makes me very proud of my history, ancestors and heritage. Their story leaves a great legacy for us to carry on. Location: Varese, Italy. Patricia Claus. I am so proud of my ancestors for coming to America despite the incredible hardships and uncertainty they had to endure the first few years.

They created a country with their courage and hard work, and their story belongs to the entire nation. I only recently found out about my connection and completed the research to apply. To know that I am now a part of close to years of history by such a brave group of people is an honor. I look forward to meeting and learning the history. Thank you all for taking the time to lead this group giving us these opportunities. Susan Dunham McGill.

I teach US history to public middle school students. I appreciate being able to make personal connections to our curriculum. Caroline Anderson. Very important to me and my family. That I can trace my lineage to some very strong, principled, hard working men and women upon whom my own existence depends They overcame great challenges. Very humbling. Jeannie Burke-Hanlon. Cheryl Ralston. It makes me realize that I come from hardy stock and I have pride of the role of my ancestors in creating our country.

It makes me want to hold current government to the Pilgrim morals, standards, and beliefs about freedom of religion. It means that my relative was an explorer and helped develop this great land. Annette Gardner. Dorothy Greene. John R Woodman. Heidi Higginbotham. Ancestor: Edward Fuller, George Soule. Roots and pride of country! Esther Horrigan. I feel very proud to be descended from such an adventurous and hardy group of people. Descent from a Mayflower family is a verifiable present-day connection to millions of other descendants and cousins.

As such, it is a shared experience and reflects some of the unique Yankee qualities we value - independence, hard work, endurance, faith and family. Susan Sweetland. My grandmother always told us we were Descendants. Now it is proved. Now we are working on a Bradford connection. I like knowing that my roots are a part of some of the earliest settlers of America. Barbara Lewandowski. Knowing I am part of the beginnings of this country is very humbling and meaningful to me.

Patricia Price. Ancestor: William Brewster, William White. Being part of the Mayflower story is special to me. Men and women who brave enough to challenge the unknown, similar to our astronauts of today. It took courage to come to a barren country, to decide how to make a home, family, children in an unknown environment. It took courage, and I am proud to be a descendant of these men and women.

Susan Macdonald. It means that I come from people of strength and courage and give me something to live up to. It is a link to my ancestor who came to America seeking a new life. Karen Storrs Gantt. Being a part of history - not just any history, but the very foundations of our nation - is something I am proud of.

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This history and the history of my ancestors is something I want to preserve for future generations. Patricia Atkins. I am so proud to be descended from such brave people. They left everything they knew to take a chance on a better life. I am so grateful that they did. My application was submitted years ago but I did not have the necessary sources to be approved. They told me it was a new line that no one was able to prove. I have been working with the Mayflower historian and am now ready to submit again and will be doing so soon.

The historian thinks it will now be approved and I am so excited to be part of this. Amazing what you can find online. Kristina Joyce. Isaac Allerton as signer of The Mayflower Compact, a forerunner of our democratic country, is most significant to me. Also, that Allerton's daughter Mary my ancestor survived the voyage and settlement as a child and lived to marry and have children with Thomas Cushman, a leader of the community, gives me strength in my present life. John Thomas Cook. It has really gotten me interested in Genealogy.

My grandmother was a Harrison and the relationship is from her side of the family. Edward Phillips. I'm continually amazed how many Mayflower ancestors I have, and that almost all my ancestors stayed in New England. Being part of the lineage of the settling of America. Both my grandmother and father were members of the Mayflower Society. I just recently found out that Francis Cooke is my 10th Great Grandfather. Tomorrow I am going to Plimoth Plantation and hope to see him and his family Reenacted.

If there are any other ancestors from Jane Cooke pls reach out! I'm so excited to be part of this history. These are the ancestors that paved the way for us. We are family. It's important to stay connected to your past and family. I just got started with genealogy research for fun. Ann Kunkle-Jones. Ancestor: Isaac Allerton, Francis Eaton. It has given me a direct connection to major events in history. I've always love to read about history, but somehow, knowing I'm related to these individuals makes me want to know even more about their lives.

Robert Bradford Holmes. Very interested in learning more about my Mayflower passenger ancestors. Becoming a member of the Mayflower Society gave me the excitement of a new journey toward the discovery of how I could continue the journey of my ancestors, and to sustain what they began. The Mayflower Society is the best vehicle toward keeping alive and vibrant the ideals and endeavors of our brave ancestors. It is a living breathing organism. It is an honor to have Pilgrim ancestors and to keep their story alive. Too me in honoring our ancestors is very important for all of us to do.

Contrary to what many may think , your ancestors can either be by blood or through spirit. It is also very important for all of us to know that they, our ancestors are never far away from us. Lori Huebener Jones. I am proud to part of the heritage that founded our great nation. I have enjoyed doing research to confirm generations of family stories which connected my grandfather to his Mayflower lineage.

It is a link to ancestors who risked everything to start a new life, where they could be free to worship as they chose. Validation of my ancestry and meeting my many cousins. Ancestor: Edward Doty, Edward Fuller. My children are also related to John Holland and Elizabeth Tilley through their mother. I would like to tie it all together before the year anniversary. Ancestor: William Brewster, Thomas Rogers. It means my family's roots are deep in New England's soil, especially in Maine.

Honoring my grandmother. When I was a teenager in the 's, Grandma showed me letters from her cousins that said she was eligable to join the Mayflower Society. As a teenager, that was the last thing on my mind, and the internet was years away. With much pride, I received my MF certificate on what would have been her th birthday. Having Richard Crenna portray my ancestor in a TV movie. Carol Casinelli. Very excited to know that I am related to someone who came to this country in It's being part of a wonderful group of 'relatives'.

Have met many interesting people through this Society, which has expanded to other Geneaological Societies, many of whom are also Mayflower descendants. Kimberly Niznik. Knowing my direct ancestors preserved together through so many hardships with faith, strength, and hard work to make a new life in an unknown land, a land that grew into this great nation, makes me extremely proud of my heritage and what they accomplished.

Staci Kendrick Jones. Being part of this brave and adventurous group of our first American generation and their descendants makes history come alive. Margaret Olson. I was lucky to learn of my Mayflower connections from my maternal grandparents, each of whom had research from an earlier generation. I have photos of my mother, her siblings and her uncle in costume at the celebration in Plymouth. They summered on Clark's Island at that time. Michael O'Curran.

When I discovered I was a Mayflower descendant, it helped me understand myself better. Being part of this wonderful story is a special honor for me. I'd never expected to find a Mayflower connection, after all of these years of research, so this breakthrough was a magical moment. A link to the earliest New England ancestry.

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Quite wonderful. Susanna Berry. I am extremely proud of my heritage and ancestors who worked so hard for their beliefs. As a direct descendant of John Billington, Samuel Fuller and John Howland, I have come to appreciate the serendipity of existence itself and have passed on that wonderment to my children and grandchildren and those that are part of the genealogy community.

Something to treasure. Proud of my heritage and the courage to endure of all the pilgrims, and of all my immigrant ancestors. Being a descendant makes the Pilgrim story more connected and personal than simply a historical event. Susan C. I am grateful to those intrepid people for founding a country where the hope for liberty and justice still prevails. Karen McArthur. As a descendant of at least twelve of the Mayflower passengers, I've visited the Mayflower museums on both sides of the Atlantic and am fascinated by the stories of courage that led these families to make the journey and to set up a new community in a world that was new to them.

Finding my heritage, finding family and descendants of My 10th Great Grandfather. Learning the history of our family and the paths they took in life. With the ancestry. While many grandparents and great grandparents had interesting lineage, my fathers fathers family was the most productive. It directly linked me to William Bradford. Stephen Bennett. It's just exciting to be a part of the continuing story of these courageous early Americans and learning of their adventures.

Trudy Thurgood. Going to Plimoth Plantation with my daughters strengthened me. Knowing what they suffered and sacrificed for Freedom increases our committments to do all we can to keep our freedoms! Where could we go if we lost it here!? Michael Hawkins. Location: Indiana, United States. Proud to have my family be part of this nation's history from the beginning. Well it means an important part of my life. James DeVenney. Location: New Brunswick, Canada. Jesselyn Knight. Being a part of the Mayflower story is about being family. I feel honored to have just been approved a new member of the Mayflower Society.

I am glad I can honor my ancestor William Brewster, who had such faith, courage, and determination. Ancestor: Thomas Rogers, George Soule. Thanks to my cousin Christopher at the Mayflower Society for charting our lesser known kin on a route back to New England in It is inspiring and enlightening to realize that I am here today because of people who were willing to pull up stakes and endure hardship because they saw the need for change and were willing to make a lifetime commitment to God, one another, and a new society.

Larry Alexander. It's a great connection to my genealogy research that I can share with my family. Carolyn Schatz. My grandmother was Phoebe Mundell and comes from the line of the Jenney family. Desiree Blackwell was part of the family and I believe 3rd or 4th generation descendant of Richard Warren. I desire to learn more of my ancestors and how they survived. To leave a legacy to my children would be awesome. Christine Decker. Finding out recently that my maternal Grandmother's line was descended from the first pilgrims on the Mayflower was a major shock!

Much of my genealogy is through ME and MA which was so surprising.

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I have always been a HUGE history lover so genealogy has become a super exciting new hobby for me! Robert Roether. It gives me a sense of connection. I wasn't aware of the Mayflower connection growing up, just that part of my family had been here a long time. The search was also a fascinating hobby, solving a puzzle. Heritage and Tradition Valued.

Joel Hagenburg. I have been researching my family history for many years. I was thrilled when I discovered this historic connection to Gov. William Bradford, my 12th Great-grandfather. Lisa Shoemaker. I was so excited to find myself a Mayflower descendent. I had been giving tours in the Boston area and Plymouth even though I live in the midwest , so I had studied this history and was fascinated with it, then I found out my ancestor was a part of this exciting history. No wonder I love the Boston and Plymouth area so much!

Melanie Boyan. I've lived on Cape Cod my whole life with generations before me and now having proof is amazing. I'm proud to be among the descendants of the many immigrants who have come to this land seeking a new start. I also think it's awesome to be descended from the only passenger who fell OFF the Mayflower.

It is interesting to see where my family is now in comparison to their history. Pym Underwood Mumford. I have just found out that we are descended from Elder Brewster on my mother's side. I am thrilled to know that our ancestor was such a well-respected, upright man. It is interesting that, without knowing the connection, we have spent summers in Brewster, Massachusetts, since the s.

I feel so proud of our wonderful heritage. I have enjoyed learning more about my ancestors and distant relatives. It makes history much more relevant and alive! Kimberly Smith. Having a love for history, I feel very connected to the events that shaped our nation due to those of my ancestors who were involved. As a writer and musician, I feel their influence in my heart, mind, and soul when I am working on a story or song; it is a humbling experience.

There isn't a day that I do not feel their influence in my life. Debra Triplett. Ancestor: William Mullins. I am astounded to learn this information and feel more connected to my ancestors and heritage. I have been searching my lineage for years and am honored to have such an important individual in my heritage. Lois Bartlett Swan. I feel honored to be a part of the Mayflower family.

It is incredible what our ancestors were willing to sacrifice for a new start in our wonderful country. It is incredible what they had to endure, not only in the crossing but the struggle to survive once they arrived. They were awesome! It helps me to know where I came from and that I am part of the beginnings of this country.

Steven Althoen. Kimberly Gelinas. I love that my personal family history includes those brave individuals who settled this country. I'm from New England and all things New England are of interest to me. I have been doing genealogy since I was about 12 but have never taken any action to tie myself to the Mayflower officially. Thought it was about time. I've been using PAF for the past few years and have a huge file but I think I can save portions of it if needed.

Steve Pattison. Mary Galemenser. I am a member of DAR and would like my children and grandchildren to know they are descendants of the Mayflower. It gives me a sense of where I came from. Incidentally, I have a friend who used to work for me who is descended from Edward Doty, an indentured man to Stephen Hopkins Elizabeth Brown.

I'm very proud and happy to be a part of the Mayflower story. My daughter found this information out and I'm certain she will make sure it is remembered. Stephanie Neely Nibert. Being a part of the Mayflower story is something very exciting and special to me and my father. I will ensure my children and generations to come know the struggle and sacrifice their ancestors endured.

Walter Fiedler. I was very surprised to find that any of my ancestors had come to America on the Mayflower. I just returned home from a visit to Provincetown, MA. If I had known the connection I would have been even more interested in its historical significance. I can only imagine the hardships these people chose to endure, and am inspired by their stories.

Robin Ruth Alexander. I love being part of living history. I am proud of my heritage and working on joining on a second Mayflower ancestor. I enjoy the meetings with other members in our local colony chapter and seeing them year after year. I also enjoy meeting new members and building new friendships. I have gotten some of my relatives in as wedding gifts. Peggy L. Welter born Ohl. Besides Richard Warren I am linked to many more Mayflower passengers by marriage.

Would like to know more. Harold Williams. Jane Barrows Tatibouet. Understanding and relating to the long line of sturdy, faithful and patriotic folks who unknowingly were creating one of the world's finest countries and way of life, has led me purposefully through my own life's accomplishments, in order that our future generations may know and appreciate these brave Pilgrim Fathers upon whose shoulders we stand.

It is so important to know our history- without knowing what came before us, we cannot appreciate all that we have today. WIth Plymouth coming in it is especially meaningful to me to be part of the Mayflower family. Cynthia Bolivar. I am a member of the D. R and have recently discovered my Mayflower connections. My late mother always claimed that we were related to the White family but I have discovered connections to the Allertons.

Being a "New Englander" I am proud of my heritage and ancestral roots here where I make my home. Christy Allred. Connecting with my ancestors and family. Research for my son's Merit Badge. Doriann Salisbury. Ancestor: Richard Warren, William White. Roberta Estes.

Love being part of living history, including the DNA of my ancestors. My ancestors stories are on my blog. I have known for a while that I was a descendant of Edward Doty, but until my grandsons entered school and became interested did I start serious study about my ancestry. I would like to become a member of the Mayflower Society by , the th anniversary. Michele Sleight. Freedom, liberty, independence, bravery. Location: Helsingborg, Sweden. Shirley Vivion. Being a part of the Mayflower story brings my historic heritage into the present with such pride in my ancestors, it's hard to put into words.

It's sort of mind blowing Eleanor Schatz. Debra Bell Yonkers. It means everything to be affiliated with this powerful part of American history, not the least of which is tremendous pride, humility, respect and appreciation, especially for the hardships endured generations ago. Knowing that my family line is part of early American history is very exciting.

One of the descendents in the Stephen Hopkins line is even a signer of the Declaration of Independence! How cool is that?! It would give me great pleasure to finally achieve what I have wanted for so long. Barbara A Weed. Ancestor: Francis Eaton. I have always been proud of my Mayflower ancestors.

My grandmother would tell us of our early New England heritage. We are strong. We are survivors. I am connected to a group of individuals that helped found this nation and who value family and history; those who are not afraid to be a part of something bigger than themselves; preserving our connection to the past for those in the future. Alison Haskins. I'm part of the immigrant story from our country's earliest beginnings. How strong and determined they were to carve out a new life in the wilderness.

That thread continues every day with new immigrants coming here to be safe and free, and who are just as strong and determined. Donna E Gates Smeall. I am thrilled to have found my Mayflower roots as it solidifies my genealogical research for me. Denise Picard Lindgren.

It is humbling to learn how my family connects to the men and women who helped to found New England. Kathleen Boston McCune. My 10th Great Grandfather, William White died several days upon landing, but his son, who is also my 9th Great Grandfather Peregrine White, was born on the 19th of December, while he and his mother, Susanna Fuller White, my 10th Great Grandmother, were still aboard the Mayflower. I am proud to have a heritage of family members so courageous.

Jeri and Rhonda Jones. I am in awe of the discovery and proud of my heritage! Diane nee Gault Robinson. Rebecca Smith Munn. Elizabeth Tilley is my 12th G-Grandmother. The fact that she was the only surviving member of her family that came over on the Mayflower and that she married John Howland who almost lost his life on the journey by falling overboard, is amazing to me!

If it weren't for these two, I wouldn't be here today! Marsha Joyce Adams. I was so proud to discover I am a Mayflower descendent! Growing up in Massachusetts, history is on every corner and I am thrilled that my ancestors were here in the very beginning! Location: Maryland, United States. Having ancestors with such courage and stamina. Andrea Kleiner. My grandmother, Caroline told us we were related to Stephen Hopkins but back then it was hard to prove. Now with all the information available I believe I have proven it to be true. We are all a part of history. I'm enjoying learning so much more because this history involves my relatives, past and present.

I'm also William Brewster family. I'm proud to find that so many of my ancestors were so great a part of the history of the United States. It means that my ancestors were brave in their pursuit for freedom of their beliefs. Florence Hemming. Susan MacDonald Dill. That my ancestors were among the first European settlers in North America and descendants are still flourishing here would mean something to me about knowing my family history.

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It would not make me better than anyone else but add a sense of rootedness in history. Melanie Daniels. Family Tree on Ancestry. This was a recent discovery for me, but the breadth and depth of my early American ancestry as a whole has made me much more appreciative of what our ancestors built on these shores and the importance of the liberty established on these shores to all of humanity.

Colleen Eldredge. Having a great idea of where the one line of he family began. So fascinating for me to study. Ancestor: Francis Eaton, George Soule.

It means that myself and my children would have an important heritage that can be passed on to my grandchildren. Carolyn Hugley. Michael Rowley. This was an unexpected but beautiful find. Genealogy is really like a series of constant gifts. Being a descendant of the brave pilgrims who gave so much to come to this wilderness in and fought so hard to live in a land of freedom and liberty is at the very heart of who I am and all I believe. Theirs is a story worth being told over and over.

Kathleen Kingman. Our Mayflower family link meant a lot to my Uncle, Keith Kingman, who introduced me to a great group of people through Soule Kindred in America. This pic was taken when I had the pleasure of meeting Soules from all over the country at the reunion in Plymouth.

The reunion in is sure to be a splendid time for all! My aunt has traced our family tree and this would bring confirmation. I've been researching my genealogy for years. After learning I had ancestors on the Mayflower, I was surprised and elated. I think it is very exciting!

Lauren Fitzharris. Allison Fitzharrs. Francis Gosling. Until a few years ago, I didn't know about this part of our family. Fitted with a inch barrel, this gun apparently had been rechambered at the factory in. These two. Buntline certainly did not give them to any Kansas "lawmen. It is true Colt sent five more long-barreled single action. An interesting idea comes from long-time Colt expert William B. Edwards's idea came from Lake saying, "each gun had a demountable walnut rifle stock.

Yet some writers don't attempt any explanation of this minor discrepancy in Lake's story but simply have Ned presenting the guns with skeleton stocks. Instead he tackled the problem with his usual enthusiasm. The result is a very tempting theory for Stuart Lake fans. If the two recipients Bat Masterson and Bill Tilghman "cut off" the barrels of their Buntlines as Lake claimed, "or gave them away as presents" as yet another writer details, [80] the remaining inch guns could now be lost to history.

In any case, Colt certainly would have no record of them. But, as intriguing as Edwards's theory may appear on the surface, it must be remembered that its acceptance means a deletion of all major descriptive portions of Stuart Lake's original passage. The entire story then ceases to have any foundation, since, contrary to the claim that "Wyatt Earp made the 'Buntline Special' famous," [81] no published account of Ned Buntline's presentation can be found which predates Lake's writings.

Since the evidence thus far examined seems to disprove any "Buntline Specials" being presented in Dodge City, a review must be made of those events where Wyatt Earp is said to have used the weapon. This approach is necessary on the slim chance Stuart Lake simply gave a garbled rendering of an otherwise true story.

In doing so historical accuracy will be satisfied. Fortunately for those interested in documented history, before Wyatt Earp died on January 13, , he left to John H. Flood, Jr. Earp remained rather remarkable in that, above all else, he kept meticulous records -- letters, business papers, maps, receipts, and even ticket stubs. From until Wyatt's death, John Flood served as his mining partner and secretary.

They eventually became close personal friends. In shorthand, Flood methodically transcribed Wyatt Earp's dictated life story. After Wyatt's death in Los Angeles he carefully preserved the thousands of items he and Earp had saved over the years. This entire collection, including Wyatt's guns and Flood's copies of the yet unpublished autobiography, is now the property of Western historian John D.

Gilchriese also gathered much additional material, after an exhaustive year search, which fully documents Earp's life. No hint of the Buntline Special appears within this treasury of Earpiana -- although Wyatt supposedly told Stuart Lake, "Mine was my favorite over any other gun. Flood later remarked to John Gilchriese that he and Mr. Earp discussed weapons in detail many times but no mention was ever made of such a gun. At that time, he said, Wyatt carried a Colt S. Thorp claimed Earp told him, "I don't like a gun with a longer barrel.

Sometimes an inch or two makes a difference when you want to jerk it quickly. Together with this, a careful examination of Wyatt Earp's career reveals he seldom fired a gun in anger. He found it unnecessary to kill anyone until the late Clanton-McLaury fight in Tombstone.

Wyatt once wrote a friend saying, "I never carried a gun only upon occasion and that was while on duty as an officer of the law. Earp harbored no fetish about deadly weapons. Besides reporting Wyatt knocking several people cold with the Buntline Special and relating a totally fictitious story of Earp backing down Clay Allison by shoving a six-gun into his ribs, Lake mistakenly has Wyatt Earp killing a young Texan named George Hoyt [86] in Dodge City in Lake's version has Wyatt standing in front of the Comique theater as Hoy[t] rides by at a gallop firing three.

Lake goes on to say, "Wyatt went into action toward the horseman, jerking his Colt's as he jumped. I carried it at my right hip throughout my career as marshal. According to more reliable contemporary accounts, a small group of Texans simply decided to fire some random shots into the rear of Ben Springer's newly opened Comique theater before leaving town early on the morning of July 26, Luckily no one in the dancehall was hurt as the private boxes were unoccupied and the bullets passed too high to hit anyone on the dance floor.

Assistant Marshal Earp and Policeman James Masterson responded to the scene and "together with several citizens, turned their pistols loose in the direction of the flying horsemen. As his friends escaped, Earp and Masterson carried the badly wounded man to Dr. Thomas L. McCarty's office on Front street for medical assistance. Hoy[t] died from his wound on August In an newspaper article, Wyatt Earp claimed he killed the young Texan, [91] but there is no way of crediting the fatal shot.

With so many persons firing, he could just as easily [have] been wounded by James Masterson, one of the "several citizens" in the crowd, or even accidently by one of his friends. However, no group of Texas cattlemen ever placed a bounty on Wyatt's head, although Stuart Lake assures us young Hoy[t] confessed to such a plot before he died. Yet no contemporary reference can be found supporting this outlandish claim. The rest of Wyatt's Dodge City use of the Buntline Special according to Stuart Lake, consisted of "buffaloing' overzealous lawbreakers.

The most colorful of these incidents supposedly occurred around September 24, , when, aided by his friend Doc Holliday, the consumptive gun-fighting dentist, Wyatt arrested Tobe Driskill, Ed Morrison, and some 25 of their gun-toting comrades in front of the Long Branch saloon. In reply to Doc's query of what should be done with their captives, Lake explains, "Wyatt Earp took a single step toward Ed Morrison and, before that individual or any of his followers sensed what was happening, laid the barrel of his Buntline Special over the cowboy's head.

The trouble with this tale is that in all likelihood it never took place. First of all, there is no mention of this affair in either Dodge City newspaper and files for that period are complete. Secondly, this story is unsupported by entries in the docket of the police judge. The late Stanley Vestal enjoyed access to this vital source, which has since disappeared.

However, Vestal recorded the information that between July 5, , and August 5, , ". Wyatt Earp arrested or filed complaints against thirty-five persons. While it is conceivable some arrests may have escaped entry in the police judge's docket, a mass action involving 25 armed and defiant men would hardly go unnoticed by both the court recorder and Dodge City's two newspapers.

The pages of the press actually point out that the Driskill boys, Tobe and Bud, spent much of this time in the field, at one point with Captain Hemphill's company, during the Dull Knife scare. Marauding Indians had reportedly killed two herders at the Driskill's camp. Aside from Wyatt's pistol-whipping arrest of Curly Bill Brocius, following the shooting of Tombstone city marshal, Fred White, in October of , [98] or his similar manhandling of Tom McLaury one year later, [99] the most famous instance of Wyatt Earp raising a weapon against human adversaries is now legendary.

For over four decades Western authors and motion picture writers have postured this desperate battle as the "Gunfight at the O. It is clear that the Earp party, walking west along Fremont street, did not hesitate at the O. Corral's rear entrance but continued four lots further on. There, all but Doc Holliday swung into a vacant lot situated between Camillus S. Fly's lodging house and photographic gallery on the east, and shielded from Third street to the west by a wooden frame dwelling near the corner.

Harwood owned this small frame house as well as the vacant space where the fight began. After the shooting started, the three Earps backed from the vacant lot on Virgil's order, joining Doc Holliday already in the street. There the battle reached its peak, concluding some 30 seconds later. In its wake, Billy Clanton sat dazed outside the lot where he had fallen. Mortally wounded, the year-old Clanton cried desperately for more cartridges as Mr.

Fly, himself armed with a Henry rifle, disarmed the youth. Tom McLaury, his body badly torn by buckshot, slumped near death at the base of a two-span telegraph pole on the corner of Third street while his brother Frank lay dead on the north side of Fremont. Though shot through the right calf, Virgil Earp stood over his younger brother Morgan, seriously wounded by Billy Clanton's fire. Doc Holliday was superficially grazed along his lower back; but luck stood with Wyatt as he emerged unharmed.

Leaving his younger brother and two companions to their fate, Ike Clanton had scurried to safety after frantically begging Wyatt to spare his life. Unharmed but shaken, Ike sought immediate refuge in a Mexican dancehall on Allen street. Cochise county sheriff, John H. Behan, later testified he finally found Clanton at judge Lucas's old Toughnut street office.

Two additional hangers-on, William Claiborne and Wesley Fuller, had also run as the firing began. The circumstances promoting this battle are both complicated and bizarre but needn't be discussed for purposes of this study. Yet the fight itself is important as Stuart Lake mentions the Buntline Special. He describes the opening exchange of shots with his usual sense of drama:. Frank McLowery [ sic ] and Billy Clanton jerked and fired their six-guns simultaneously. Both turned loose on Wyatt Earp, the shots with which they opened the famous battle of the O.

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Corral echoing from the adobe walls as one. Fast as the two rustlers were at getting into action from a start with guns half-drawn, Wyatt Earp was deadlier. Frank McLowery's bullet tore through the skirt of Wyatt's coat on the right, Billy Clanton's ripped the marshal's sleeve, but before either could fire again, Wyatt's Buntline Special roared; the slug struck Frank McLowery squarely in the abdomen, just above the belt buckle.

By Wyatt Earp's own admission at his and Doc Holliday's subsequent court appearance, he carried his revolver in an overcoat pocket. Wyatt read his testimony from a document carefully prepared with help from his attorney New York-born Thomas Fitch -- the year-old "Silver Tongued Orator of the Pacific Slope. We had walked a few steps further and I saw Behan leave the party and come toward us. Every few steps he would look back as if he apprehended danger. I heard him say to Virgil Earp, "For God's sake, don't go down there, you will get murdered.

Behan then passed up the street and we walked on down. Wyatt had good reason to wear an overcoat. In his later reminiscence, Tombstone mayor and Epitaph editor John P. Clum described the day as "bright and the air crisp. Parsons notes snow, high winds, and extremely cold temperatures on the following morning of October For practical purposes, however, concealing a inch is hardly possible while unthinkable with a inch. This point is not terribly important since in the now famous encounter of October 26, , Wyatt Earp used an eight-inch.

John Clum had graciously given this finely engraved nickle-plated revolver to Wyatt as a gift. Gilchriese collection. Stuart Lake, not wishing to remain idle while something dramatic was happening, soon has Wyatt unlimbering the Buntline Special again in March, , after the cowardly assassination of his younger brother Morgan. On his own, without legal sanction or authority to act, Wyatt Earp sought personal revenge. First he shotgunned Frank Stilwell, a suspected stage robber and former deputy under Johnny Behan, [] in Tucson's rail yard.

Stilwell died as the train, carrying Morgan's coffin together with Virgil and his wife Allie, pulled out for California. He went on to explain that before Wyatt fired he counted to three slowly in Spanish, thereby giving the inexperienced Florentino a fair chance to draw, but, confessed Lake, "Indian Charlie was no finished gun-fighter. After examining the coroner's inquest on Florentino, all available newspaper accounts, Wyatt's hand-drawn maps of this incident as well as his verbal presentation, given in amazing detail to John Flood, it is clear Stuart Lake's version is more an example of blood-and-thunder journalism than of accurate historical prose.

It is a fact that Wyatt Earp did not count to three in Spanish -- or in any other language -- before shooting Florentino Cruz. Lake quickly shifts the point of action west, across the San Pedro valley, to Iron Springs in the Whetstone mountains. Here he has Wyatt wounding two men and possibly a third with the Buntline Special, after first dispatching "Curly Bill" Brocius in a bloody shotgun duel.

Many of Wyatt's detractors strongly maintain this fight never occurred. They say Earp simply invented the story in an attempt to enhance his own reputation. On May 22, , the Denver Republican published an extensive interview with the consumptive Doc Holliday, then in jail awaiting possible extradition to Arizona to answer for his part in the killings precipitated by Morgan Earp's assassination. Unlike Holliday, Wyatt Earp remained out of prison and spent his time gambling in several Rocky mountain towns. Colorado Gov.

Frederick W. Pitkin finally refused to honor an Arizona extradition request on May 29, Although Doc still faced a minor charge in Pueblo, Wyatt gambled freely throughout much of the West. A line drawing in the San Francisco Calif. Copy courtesy the Bancroft Library. Club on the beach at Nome, Alas. Photo courtesy W. The Kansas City Mo. Journal printed on May 15, Masterson precedes by twenty-four hours a few other pleasant gentlemen who are on their way to the tea party at Dodge.

One of them is Wyatt Earp. He has killed within our personal knowledge six men, and is popularly acredited [ sic ] with relegating to the dust no less than ten of his fellow men. The men involved in this affair did not take these garbled renditions of their lethal accomplishments too seriously. In this spirit of fairplay the "Peace Commission" had its photograph taken by Mr. Conkling before disbanding. And since these men seldom displayed weapons, no arms of any sort are visible. In Frontier Marshal Stuart Lake mentions the Buntline Special for the last time in connection with Wyatt's position as referee of the controversial Sharkey-Fitzsimmons heavyweight bout.

Near 12 o'clock on the day of the contest, according to Lake, as Wyatt Earp prepared for an afternoon at the races, the fight's promoters and a representative of the National Athletic Club asked him to act as referee. He agreed only if no other suitable person could be found. Then, with just five minutes before the bout's scheduled opening, they supposedly summoned him to Mechanics' Pavilion from "Goodfellow's Restaurant, across the street.

He then stripped off his coat, and "the twenty-thousand did roar. I know I turned red to my heels as I unbuckled the gun and handed it to Police captain Whitman [ sic ], who sat at the ringside. Lake justifies Wyatt carrying a weapon by explaining the presence of a gang of thieves victimizing gamblers and other innocents in route by streetcar from the Ingleside race track to downtown San Francisco. Earp carried large sums of money which he did not intend losing without a fight.

As with outlining other portions of Wyatt Earp's life, Stuart Lake is not accurate in his handling of the Sharkey-Fitzsimmons affair. Actually Wyatt knew long before of the decision naming him referee. Promoters James J. Groom and John G. Gibbs decided on Earp after Fitzsimmons' manager and brother-in-law, Martin Julian, steadfastedly [ sic ] objected to all previously suggested persons.

Julian later delayed the bout while arguing with officials in the ring his fear of Wyatt having a financial interest in the fight's outcome. Earp, did appear armed at ringside to Captain of Police George W. Wittman, who approached the ex-officer asking him to surrender his weapon. He could not, explained the captain, referee the bout wearing a gun. Wyatt calmly asked Wittman to step into a side room where he would gladly go along with the officer's request.

Although he never explained why, Wittman told Earp he felt it improper to speak privately with the referee, so Wyatt voluntarily surrendered his revolver without fanfare. Concerning the gun's appearance, one contemporary newspaper reported: "The offending weapon is of the pattern known as the 'Frontier Colts. This newspaper item hardly identifies Wyatt's revolver as the Buntline Special. Bob Fitzsimmons carried the fight until the eighth round when Wyatt stopped the bout on a foul.

Earp awarded the decision to Sharkey, who attendants carried out as "limp as a rag. He did so on orders from Captain Wittman, who charged Earp with carrying a concealed weapon at Mechanics' Pavilion. Wittman later explained his action, "I would have arrested you at the fight, but fearing serious trouble I concluded to wait until to-day.

After two postponements judge Charles A. Low of the city's Police Court No. During the course of his hearing, Wyatt explained why he carried a gun. His statement disagrees with Stuart Lake's version of highwaymen waylaying streetcar passengers from Ingleside. Earp simply said he was "under a verbal contract.

Since Frontier Marshal's release in , numerous persons interested in Wyatt Earp, have pondered what became of the weapon he supposedly claimed was his "favorite over any other gun. Remaining puzzled, these first serious Wyatt Earp students, and veteran Colt firearms collectors, began tying to, unearth clues of their own. Many stories were uncovered, discussed, dissected, written about, and finally discarded.

Of all these, the one which seemed more plausible to members of this group involved Wyatt, while in Nome, Alas. The story, first published in , concludes:. The mail-carrier, reaching a precarious situation requiring the immediate lightening of his small whaleboat, threw the gun over-board together with other impedimenta, and thus the "Buntline" now lies at the cold, wet bottom of the Pacific Ocean! Although disproved by the subsequent scholarship of both its author and the historians involved with him in examining the initial account, this colorful dunking story appears without any attempt at clarification in a recent book on Colt's Single Action Army.

Some writers have even transferred the point of action from Alaska to the Yukon. A look at the historical record proves Wyatt Earp never visited the Yukon, although he did spend time in Alaska, at the turn of the century. These involved in various enterprises included the operation of the Dexter Saloon at Nome.

Through careful research all stories regarding the Buntline Special's demise can ultimately be traced to someone else's imagination, not Stuart Lake's. Other writers have simply perpetuated an ever-expanding legend using Lake's semifictional account of Wyatt Earp's life as their foundation. Yet not only are we continually told of Wyatt's unnamed friend losing the Buntline off Alaska, but to confuse matters even further, Western artist Lea F.

McCarty quoted a fellow named Arthur M. King in a national Western pulp magazine as saying:. Hell no. He never wore any gun when I knew him. He used to let it lay up in the seat of that old Franklin car of his and he'd go get it if he wanted to lay it across the head of some galoot who was looking for trouble. He carried that thing in the back of that car all the time I worked with him through to about However, this portion of the Buntline Special legend cleared itself up.

For in the following issue of the magazine a reader questioned the point of mentioning the Buntline after by citing the Alaskan dunking story. McCarty eventually replied, "I was in error when I wrote that Mr. King had seen Earp with the Buntline. He never had. Another "quote" which must now be considered in some detail appears in Frontier Marshal as the second paragraph describing the Buntline Specials supra , p. It is written as coming directly from Wyatt Earp himself. In his book Stuart Lake quotes Earp extensively and these are constantly being cited as primary source statements supporting that writer's version of events.

The question therefore must be asked: how accurate is Lake in presenting direct quotes from Wyatt Earp? Stuart Lake claimed he persuaded Wyatt "to devote the closing months of his long life to the narration of his full Story. It now appears certain that Wyatt Earp became acquainted with his future biographer, on a face-to-face basis, only seven months before he died, [] although Stuart Lake had written to him for the first time some months before. Josie certainly hoped to gain financially from the book's success.

Aside from writing a number of letters, such as to his friend from Tombstone days, Fred J. Dodge, and having a few casual visits with Lake, Wyatt didn't seem overcome with enthusiasm about this projected biography. He was interested, to be sure, [] but after all he and John Flood had already completed their own detailed writing of his full story.

A careful examination of Earp's correspondence with Lake, and with others from time to time, proves Wyatt remained extremely cautious, almost aloof, about the information he chose to discuss -- it being very limited indeed. These letters are far more interesting for what they don't say than from [ sic ] what they actually contain. Since Earp provided Stuart Lake with little actual help, he forced the writer to turn heavily to other sources to construct his story.

A comparison of Lake's "quotes" with Wyatt Earp's genuine statements -- in early letters, his dictation to John Flood, etc. This difference is not evident between the quotes and narrative used in Frontier Marshal. So at best these quotes are highly suspect.

Others have noticed this phenomenal similarity and some, such as the late Burton Rascoe, have publicly expressed their doubts:. I reserve judgment as to whether Lake is telling the truth or not. I can distinguish no difference between the personal rhythm and prose style of Earp and Lake. It is certainly a remarkable coincidence if Earp's and Lake's personal rhythm and style were so indistinguishable, especially inasmuch as Earp was a man of action all his life and Lake. Even witnesses to Wyatt have challenged the authenticity of Lake's writings on these grounds.

One such source is quoted as saying, "I want to assure you that these stories presumed to have come from Wyatt himself, have not a vestige of truth. I never heard Wyatt talk like that. Regardless of such widespread speculation, Stuart Lake solves this mystery himself. Lake admitted in writing to the publishers of Frank Wateri's book The Colorado that he and he alone was responsible for Earp's "quotes" in Frontier Marshal. As Waters recalled. Lake thus denied the purported authenticity of his own book, and admitted sole responsibility for its wholly romantic, untrue, and fictitious Contents.

Wyatt had definitely wanted to read the manuscript -- to protect himself. When Lake let it be known he planned on sending portions to his New York agent, [] Earp quickly vetoed the idea saying it would be unfair to him personally, ". Lake further confessed to Burton Rascoe that he had received no direct quotes from Wyatt since Earp, he said, "was inarticulate. In speech he was at best monosyllabic.

Wyatt certainly didn't possess the literary style of a Stuart N. Lake, but this supposed vocabulary deficiency is not apparent in the shorthand notes of Earp's verbal reminiscences taken by John Flood in preparation of Wyatt's autobiography. Even though he seems to be the only person having this extreme difficulty, Lake went on to tell Burton Rascoe that he, therefore, "felt journalistically justified in inventing the Earp manuscript. Thus Stuart Lake has himself more than once denied the authenticity of all quoted passages credited to Wyatt Earp in Frontier Marshal.

Every word of it is documented. All of Lake's "Earp quotes" are simply imaginary statements. So, in complete fairness, Stuart Lake, and not Wyatt Earp, must be given the responsibility for their contents, both in terms of style and lack of accuracy -- a point the most venomous Earp critics have conveniently overlooked. Examining in depth the story behind the Buntline Specials: Colt's records, Ned Buntline's activities, Wyatt Earp's career, and Lake's inventions, together with other writings, produce a continuous chain of damning evidence.

The most revealing fact remains that nowhere has there been found an account of this affair, published or otherwise, predating Stuart Lake's writings -- not even in the theatrically florid jottings of Alfred Henry Lewis or in Walter Noble Burns's often-maligned book Tombstone Wyatt Earp personally never acknowledged such a weapon to anyone, including his long-time friend John Flood, his Hollywood admirer William S.

Hart who questioned Wyatt carefully regarding weapons he used on the frontier , in the series of newspaper articles he authorized or in the number or [ sic ] press interviews he granted. Nor did any of his contemporaries remember seeing him with the Buntline or hearing him mention the Special. One Lake apologizer recently said of the Buntlines: "There is too much evidence in the writings by and about the men who owned them to doubt their existence. This writer seems content to hinge his entire argument on Wyatt Earp's "quote" as invented by Stuart Lake.

Since the authenticity of that passage has already been proved spurious in preceding paragraphs, nothing more needs to be added here. But Lake's self-appointed champion presents no other examples of the primary source material he so positively claims will prove the existence of the Buntline Specials.

Odd perhaps, but an understandable omission, since there is no contemporary evidence he could possibly cite. Nor does he list the title of a single secondary source published prior to Stuart Lake which includes the Buntline presentation. As already noted, it's possible to formulate other theories but doing so requires the discarding of Lake's original story. So, in attempting to prove something having absolutely no basis other than one writer's comments, it becomes necessary to contradict the tale until the original version, for all practical purposes, no longer exists.

But then the legend itself is suddenly without origin. Any variation disregarding Lake's story so completely becomes as much a fantasy as the parent account published over 40 years ago. Nowhere in these two articles does Bat mention the Buntline Specials. Masterson says that much of the stuff written about Earp is false. Stuart Lake recently wrote a biography of Earp and Mr. Masterson says that Lake did not always present the true picture but allowed exaggeration to get into his book.

Tilghman significantly fails to mention Buntline, either the weapon or the man, in the lengthy biography she wrote about her husbands career. Since the Buntline presentation story is so blatantly false, readers may well ask: why would Stuart Lake have invented it? There are a number of plausible theories. First, the Buntline Special's odd appearance makes Wyatt Earp stand out from the crowd. This, in turn, helps mold him into the West's truly unique marshal -- exactly what Stuart Lake hoped for.

It wasn't by accident he reported Bat Masterson and Bill Tilghman cutting their Specials back to standard size, for then no one but Wyatt could become famous through its use. Charlie Bassett and Neil Brown presented no competition, since, outside of a handful of serious researchers, no one knows much about their careers. This is not the case with Masterson and Tilghman, so Lake very conveniently has them without their Buntline Specials two sentences after receiving them.

By giving five men the guns instead of just Wyatt, and allowing two others to keep theirs, Lake made the story sound less contrived and therefore more authentic. Yet, for all practical purposes, he limits the weapon's use solely to his super-hero Wyatt Earp. Another theory with merit is that at the time Stuart Lake was writing Frontier Marshal "Wild Bill" Hickok remained the most popular Western blood-and-thunder hero. Since it was generally believed, albeit with some confusion, that Hickok had received a pair of silver-mounted, engraved revolvers with ivory grips presumed to be navy Colts , [], why not Wyatt Earp?

If special guns are good enough for Hickok a special gun is certainly good enough for Earp. Thus the birth of a still deeply entrenched Western legend. The "Buntline Specials" are simply the product of a literary myth. Their purported authenticity has purposely been covered here with as much depth and detail as possible within acceptable space limits.

For obvious reasons, the author also felt it necessary to discuss the voluminous literature which has grownup around the Buntline Specials -- in all cases expanding the legend even more. This was not done for the sake of personal chastisement of their authors' efforts, nor as a comic interlude, but rather for a clearer understanding of the historical perspective. The conclusions, therefore, as to the complete falseness of the tale are derived from what the author hopes is a reasonable interpretation of all available evidence, positive as well as negative, which remains the only valid means of approaching historical questions of this nature.

Stuart Lake failed to do this in his glorification of Wyatt, as have Earp's detractors. As one authority concludes:. The complex life of Wyatt Earp is difficult to comprehend and analyze, when prejudice destroys logic and foregone conclusions based on personal dislike overshadow any firm attempt at historical rationalization. To do Wyatt Earp justice one must not only present the documented facts, but also place him in the perspective of the conditions then existing on the frontier that helped to mold him into the unique person that he was.

It is hoped that within the limited scope of this study that goal has been at least partially achieved without traveling too far afield into other aspects of Wyatt Earp's or Ned Buntline's fascinating life stories. Over the years Wyatt Earp has become a part of the great American legend, ranking in stature with the most prominent semimythical figures of the American West. The Buntline Special, too, has become a major part of this myth -- a bizarre melange of truth and fiction, documentation and speculation, misrepresentation of facts through ignorance and through deliberate distortion as well as outright lies and inventive prose.

Thus, the picture most Americans have of this man remains the shadowy image of a deep-rooted fantasy. But when the real Wyatt Earp is finally drawn into focus for the general public, many will be surprised to realize that truth is far more intriguing than fiction. Shillingberg, reared in northern California and educated in San Francisco, has spent years traveling about the West, researching.

Presently a resident of Tucson, Ariz. For an entertaining look at this phenomenon see C. William R. Lake, Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal , p. It is also important to remember that dime novelists in this period who did write of the West, invariably used Indian fighters and scouts as their main characters -- never "gunfighters" or lawman. It is true Jesse James received some coverage as an outlaw, but this was nothing more than an American appropriation of the long-traditional Robin Hood theme. Sheriff Pat Garrett was used in later years, but only as a peripheral character in the act of chasing the real "hero," Billy the Kid.

Soon after this, Judson adopted the pen name Ned Buntline. The word "buntline" is a nautical term referring to the ropes attached to the foot of square sails, and used in drawing them to the yards for furling. The Knickerbocker , New York, v. Ranney, , pp. New York Herald , May 11, Fred E. As quoted in James E. Chicago Tribune , December 17, Chicago Evening Journal , December 27 As an out and out fabrication Buntline had earlier claimed, from the confines d the Fort Monroe Virginia guardhouse ".

I have served the United States nearly half my life and never before have been under arrest or had a charge preferred against me. Judson to Maj. John A. Dix, March 9, This letter is even more intriguing when one remembers Ned's numerous brushes with the law resulting in court appearances and, on occasion, prison respites of various lengths.

Throughout his life Ned Buntline proved himself and accomplished liar. Serven, "The Buntline Special. Wichita Weekly Beacon , April 5, The council's action is understandable considering the political atmosphere of Wichita. The town had just experienced a degree of sanctimoniousness under Mayor George E. Harris , and though James G. Hope an exponent of cowboy liberality regained the mayoralty in , Wichita remained unprepared to resume immediately its former customs; especially since dependence on the Texas cattle trade was quickly becoming a thing of the past.

As a clan the Earp family's reputation was not the best. In May, when William Smith served as town marshal , Bessie, the wife of Wyatt's older brother James, found herself charged as a common prostitute. This remained a monthly ritual thru [ sic ] March, On June 3, , she and one "Sallie Earp" had been arrested and briefly jailed after pleading guilty to keeping "a bawdy house" on Douglas avenue near the Arkansas river bridge.

The charge was later dismissed on motion of their attorney, William Baldwin. On April 21, , Wyatt received his appointment as a policeman, serving under Mike Meagher.

Earlier the press had referred to "Wiatt Erp" as an "officer" but his actual status is still uncertain. It can only be assumed that Wyatt's appointment, rather than his moral influence, explains the absence of Bessie Earp's continued enumeration on the city's prostitution fine lists. Deger's weight -- Ellis County Star , Hays City, April 6, -- did not seem to hinder his performance as an officer in the slightest way.

From all accounts he appears to have been very efficient in his duties. He hardly qualifies as the mere "figurehead" appointment presented by Stuart Lake -- a view then repeated by later writers. No explanation is given for this further departure from Stuart Lake's published description. Earlier, Lake gave an almost identical version as quoted above except from this point he concludes the sentence with ". Lake, Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal , pp. In contemporary Kansas sources Brown's first name is usually spelled "Neil.

As quoted in Pond, Life and Adventures. Floyd B. In describing this event Of August 15, , Stuart Lake not only demonstrated a lack of research erroneously placing it on the 18th aside from having Earp involved but also his limited knowledge of Colt firearms. One gets the impression after reading Frontier Marshal that everyone that day wore one or two Colt. Lake has Wyatt entering Jerome Beebe's store and asking for "a pair of second-hand forty-fives.

The problem is, no Colt. Ellsworth Reporter , August 21, In late Harold Huycke, then owner-editor of the paper, supplied Stuart Lake with a complete typescript of the article from which this item is taken, along with two others of related interest. When Lake quoted the article, however, he chose to conveniently delete the reference to Ed Hougue often mistakenly spelled "Hogue" in contemporary accounts. Interestingly enough, in Dodge City three years after the Ellsworth affair Wyatt Earp, as assistant marshal, arrested Hougue, himself the undersheriff of Ford county, for "fighting and disturbing the peace and quiet of the City.

Edward O. On the surface this may seem an odd turn of events, inasmuch as Wyatt Earp also served as a deputy sheriff along with his younger brother Morgan concurrently with his duties as assistant city marshal. Thus, in regard to county legal matters, Wyatt theoretically worked under Ed Hougue. So while carrying out his duties for Dodge City he arrested on of his Ford County superiors.

Actually such situations, of officers holding a variety of official positions simultaneously, was a fairly common practice on the frontier. In this light Wyatt's action was not all that strange, and such seeming conflicts of authority seldom caused extreme personal difficulty; although this was not always the case. Earp, later in Tombstone, arrested James Reilly -- justice of the peace of Pima county's precinct No. Jones threatening one another.

A pistol was drawn but no shots fired. Justice Reilly never fully forgave Wyatt for this embarrassing incident. Joseph W. Snell assistant state archivist, Kansas Historical Society to the author, Apr. Zoe A. Clark Company, , p. In claiming Tilghman a Dodge City officer earlier than his marshalship, some chroniclers have pointed to his inclusion in the posse which apprehended Jim Kenedy following the shooting death of Fannie Keenan Dora Hand in Dodge City on October 4, Tilghman, as intrepid a posse as ever pulled a trigger.

Civilians often assisted authorities in this manner -- seldom collecting fees but sharing any rewards subsequently received. The deputy U. Parker's famous federal district court at Fort Smith, Ark. Although the suggestion is often made that Bat Masterson's whereabouts between March, , and the spring of are unknown, various legal documents in the Ford county district court prove both his and Wyatt's status as county peace officers in the summer of Even Wyatt's father, Nicholas Porter Earp, received a nominal payment from Ford county during this period for some undisclosed service.

Dodge City Times , October 6, Robert M. For the sake of convenience, Stuart Lake says Deger resigned prior to the festive Fourth of July holiday because of his inability to control rowdy Texans. Mayor Kelley then supposedly wired Wyatt Earp in Cheyenne to please return at once to Dodge City and accept the hurriedly vacated marshal's chair.

This account simply does not coincide with clearly establishable facts. For though Wyatt Earp served intermittently as an assistant town marshal and deputy county sheriff, he was never the marshal of Dodge, although a newspaper once reported Wyatt being offered and accepting, "the Marshalship of Dodge City. Petillon was later associated with the Dodge City Democrat , but it didn't begin publication until December 29, Carl W. In this story, Cody not only fought Indians but also pursued border guerrillas as well as fight at the Battle of Pea Ridge Arkansas , something not even the real "Buffalo Bill" tale claimed to have done.

Even at that, Ned Buntline didn't bother to write another "Buffalo Bill" tale for three years. Although Ned only wrote a total of four stories about Cody, he is generally credited, however erroneously, with most of them. All this is not meant to suggest Buntline didn't write other Western tales. He did, but his Western output did not constitute the bulk of his writing -- certainly not the "hundreds of frontier yarns" mentioned by Stuart Lake as having been inspired by those five fellows in Dodge City.

Stamford N. Mirror , July 4, Pond, Life and Adventures. Mann, "Guns of Bat Masterson," Pt. Lake, it must be remembered, has Wyatt Earp saying both Masterson and Tilghman cut their barrels down. Without citing his sources, O'Conner further claims Bat used the Buntline as late as the incident referred to actually took place in when he "whacked two of the three men from Clay county, Missouri, who had come to Dodge supposedly "determined to have it out with Masterson and Earp. The newspaper, of course, made no mention of any "Buntline Special" Colts. Drago, Great American Cattle Trails.

Ellis County Star , Hays, August 3, Joseph G. Mendota Ill. Bulletin , April 11, John E. The Stamford Mirror on December 26, One wonders if the guns Colt displayed there made any impression on Ned at all. Ned Buntline in no way influenced Colt's decision to manufacture guns with extra-length barrels. The Colt company had actually been doing so for some time, even on their early percussion revolvers. Some models of the Paterson Colt, for example, were assembled with inch barrels before production finally ceased in Sutherland Collection Published by Robert Q. Sutherland, , p.

This situation has led to widespread counterfeiting of existing Colt single actions, and collectors and history buffs alike should therefore approach all such guns with extreme caution. George E. Had Buntline wanted guns with inch barrels he could simply have ordered them -- an easier method than having longer barrels cut back. It was the Colt company's policy to supply, on a special-order basis, any length a customer desired.

Because of this practice, many Peacemakers are now found with an assorted variety of non-standard barrel lengths. Wilson to the author, August 12, Charles M. Stamford Mirror , December 11, This "war-wound" makes a colorful story but it never happened, at least not in June, On April 27 of that year Judson suffered a general court-martial he had been placed under arrest on March 22 and was found guilty of being "Absent without leave.

Forces, Suffolk, Va. He received a two-month sentence in the regimental guardhouse. His military record in the National Archives shows that Private Judson he had been reduced in rank from sergeant but would call himself "Colonel" in later years was under confinement in May and June, , and then "sick in Hampton Hos. Had he been wounded in battle his service record would have so stated. Stamford Mirror , April 9, John S. Morgan Earp, et al , defendants, deposition of Wyatt S.

Earp, p. Potter, Inc. Wyatt did not become a full-time Arizona peace officer until the end of July, , when Pima county Sheriff Charles A. Shibell appointed him a deputy for the Tombstone district. Wyatt served with distinction, as records and numerous press reports clearly prove, until early November when he resigned. The press reported Wyatt's decision with regret.

Sheriff Shibell did not dismiss Earp as many writers falsely maintain. However, Wyatt would not receive a deputy U. His brother Virgil, who had received a similar appointment on November 27, , had been seriously wounded from ambush on the streets of Tombstone the night before. Wyatt then telegraphed the territorial capital at Prescott for federal authority from Arizona's United States marshal, Crawley P.

From Phoenix, where operators intercepted Wyatt's message for the visiting marshal's decision, Dake "immediately telegraphed the appointment requested. Virgines, "The Weapons of Wyatt Earp," p. Conversations between John D. Gilchriese and the author. Raymond W. Thorp, as told to Gary L. Earp to John Hays Hammond, May 21, Numerous conversations between John Gilchriese and the author.

With the exception of the Ford County Globe's first mention of this shooting in its July 30 issue, contemporary Dodge City sources favored the spelling George "Hoy. In keeping with his blood-and-thunder theme, Stuart Lake had reported two other attempts to collect this mythical bounty including a down-and-out cowboy firing through Wyatt's window at the Dodge House with a shotgun, supplied by an unnamed herd boss for the occasion. Neither Dodge City newspaper mentioned these incidents.

Ford County Globe , July 30, Dodge City Times , July 27, Earp, San Francisco Examiner , August 16, Stuart Lake assured his readers that "the Globe verified and later published Hoyt's story" of being hired to kill Wyatt Earp.