Doc Holliday – Okay so I am cheating here a bit. His real name was John Henry Holliday, but he has come down to us simply known as Doc. He is famed as the sidekick to Wyatt Earp, but in truth was a far more prolific gunman than any of the Earp Clan, killing as many as six men and wounding perhaps twice that many in gun or knife fights. In fact, Doc saved Wyatt’s life from a gang of gunmen in Dodge City’s notorious Long Branch Saloon (no really there was a Long Branch).

Doc was a Georgian, the son of a confederate veteran and suffered most of his adult life with Tuberculosis.

But John Henry Holliday was more than a gunman. He was a fine Dentist. In fact he graduated the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery at the tender age of 20 (Before legally old enough to practice). He penned a fine graduate thesis entitled Diseases of the Teeth. Holliday worked as an assistant to Jameson Fuches Jr. in St Louis, and then started to practice in Atlanta where he received the diagnosis of consumption. Moving west for his health, he partnered with John Seeger, a Texas Dentist, and in fact won 3 awards for crafting artificial teeth in 1873. There is also a surviving advertisement taken in a Dodge City newspaper in which Doc offers “money will be refunded where satisfaction is not given” for his dental services.

But it seems no one much cared for a consumptive dentist and so the gambler and gunfighter of myth was born – too bad for Doc, but good stuff for us devotees of the Old West.

What great comments from yesterday. Shout Out to:

  • Carol –
  • Cat –
  • Jen –
  • The Bluest Butterfly –
  • Michelle –
  • Bob Milne –



9 thoughts on “D is for Doc Holiday

  1. Great history lesson on Doc no wonder we’re all so afraid of dentists!!
    I have to say I loved Val kilmer in this role. He just cracked me up. with his interpretation of Doc.

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