Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley Feature


Doc Holliday

Born on August 14, 1851, in Griffin, Georgia, John Henry "Doc" Holliday would grow up to be a gunslinger with an attitude. Part scholar, part rebel, he was often only one step ahead of the law. In 1872, after earning a dental degree in Philadelphia, he moved to Atlanta, where he opened a practice. Soon after, a diagnosis of tuberculosis led him to move west in search of a drier climate.

While living in Texas, Holliday took up gambling, which became his sole means of support. His violent temper turned him into a killer. After shooting a prominent citizen and leaving him for dead, Holliday had to flee Texas. Carrying one gun in a shoulder holster, another on his hip, and a long-bladed knife (just in case), he blazed a trail of death across the Southwest. It's not known just how many men died at his hands, but some have estimated the number to be as high as 25 or more. However, historians generally believe the true number is considerably less. Holliday's reasons for killing ranged from fights over cards to self-defense—or so he claimed. He will forever be known for his role in one of the most famous gunfights in the history of the Wild West: a 30-second gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.

In May 1887 Holliday moved to Glenwood Springs, hoping that the sulfur vapors of the hot springs there would help his failing lungs. He lived out his dying days at the Hotel Glenwood. On the last day of his life Holliday knocked back a glass of whiskey and remarked, "This is funny." A few minutes later he was dead. Holliday was just 36 years old.

Updated: 01-2014

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