About this Famous Person
Source : Tim DOWLING
Earp was born in Hartford, Kentucky, and was reared in a tight-knit family environment. In 1861, at 19, he enlisted in the Union Army at the outbreak of the American Civil War, joining Company F, 17th Illinois Infantry in May, 1861. His brothers, Virgil and Newton Earp, also enlisted. His service was cut short when he was wounded in the shoulder, having lost the use of his left arm, in a battle near Fredericktown, Missouri, on October 31, 1861. He was discharged in March, 1863. Newton and Virgil served until the end of the war.
Following the war, James moved around quite frequently, an Earp family trait. He lived in Colton, California, Helena, Montana, Pineswell, Missouri, and Newton, Kansas, before he wed the former prostitute, Nellie "Bessie" Ketchum, in April 1873.
For some time thereafter, he worked in a saloon in Wichita, Kansas, and then as a deputy marshal in Dodge City, Kansas, under Marshal Charlie Bassett, who had replaced Ed Masterson after Masterson's murder.