DAN TIPTON'S GRAVE MARKED

By Peter Brand, Jean Smith, and Mark Dworkin

Old West figure Dan Tipton, after more than a century, has had a grave marker placed over his final resting place. Tipton is notable in outlaw-lawman history for his association with Wyatt Earp's vendetta ride.

Australian researcher and WOLA Journal contributor Peter Brand discovered the location of Tipton's burial while researching his seminal article, "Daniel G. Tipton and the Earp Vendetta Posse" that appeared in the Oct-Dec 2000 NOLA Journal (Volume 24, No. 4). Tipton was active during many of the famous events in Tombstone in the early 1880s. It was during that time that he was present when Morgan Earp was murdered in Campbell and Hatch's Saloon. And it was Tipton who was entrusted with the task of delivering money and information to the Earp posse at Henry Hooker's Sierra Bonita Ranch. Later he relocated to El Paso.

Brand found Tipton had been arrested in June of 1897, charged with smuggling and with conspiracy to issue certificates to Chinese laborers in violation of the Chinese Exclusion Acts. Arrested as he crossed back into the U. S. at the El Paso border, he was held in prison due to an inability to post bail. In October 1897, Tipton was found guilty and sentenced to one year and eight months in the Ohio Penitentiary, which he entered at the end of that month. None too hale looking in the prison mug shots, described at the time of his admission as having "intemperate" habits, Tipton died of Bright's Disease four months later, on February 28, 1898. He had listed no family upon his entrance to the prison, and was buried in the unmarked grave.

Researcher and WOLA member Jean Smith of Safford, Arizona, who works with Peter Brand, found Tipton had served aboard the USS Malvern, a former Confederate blockade runner captured and refitted for the Union. Ontario researcher and WOLA member Mark Dworkin located Tipton's unmarked grave, and a conversation with journal editor Roy Young led to an effort to get the Veteran's Administration to supply a grave marker. The marker was supplied in late 2005. On July 1st of this year, Jean Smith, accompanied by her husband and co-researcher Chuck Smith, and Mark Dworkin (speaking for Peter Brand, who could not be there) addressed a group of historical preservationists at Columbus, Ohio's historic Green Lawn Cemetery about the life of Dan Tipton and his association with the famous Wyatt Earp. The Columbus Dispatch reported on this event.

Thanks to Mark Dworkin for writing and submitting this article to the Fall 2006 edition of the WOLA (Western Outlaw-Lawman History Association) Saddle Bag Newsletter.