Not Your Granddad’s Western!

Guest Author: Sherry Monahan

Sherry_CAWineBookMrs. Earp: Wives & Lovers of the Earp Brothers is a western. It may not be the kind of western you think of and I’m no Louis L’Amour. However, my book is about women who lived in the west with their lawmen and saloon owner husbands!

They were Victorian women who wore nice dresses, sewed, cooked, and cleaned—okay, some did other things, too. Soiled dove is the nicest euphemism I can think of for the wives who earned a living the old-fashioned way. I use the word “wives,” but not all had legal proof of marriage. In their minds, they were Mrs. Earp. They followed their husbands around as the Earps followed the mining and gambling circuits. Some of the women showed up in one townpic only to be gone when the next census was taken.   

This book is the only one that includes all the women who called themselves Mrs. Earp. Sure, Josephine, along with Mattie and Louisa get some attention in the movie Tombstone, but you never know their whole story. In my book, you’ll learn where they were born, who their families were, their birthdays, and so much more. Some were prostitutes, but not all were. The Earp brothers in this book—five in total, had eleven wives collectively!

In Mrs. Earp, you’ll read all of Louis Earp’s letter—published for the first time. There’s also a never-before-seen photo of her—both compliments of her great nephew, Lyman. After reading all her letters I could feel her pain, yet her attitude was always so sweet and selfless. You’ll also get to know Allie, who was a feisty, little Irish lass who spoke her mind and pulled a hip flask for a snort. They’re just two of the Mrs. Earps you’ll get to know.

I didn’t set out to write Mrs. Earp until after I attended a Western Writers of America convention. I sat it on a panel of how to write popular non-fiction. I listened to NY Times best-selling authors Hampton Sides and Chris Enss and James Donovan talking about how they chose their subjects. It was Hampton Sides who fired up my little grey cells. He said, “Pick a famous historical character and tell their story from a new angle.” As I sat there, my mind racing through ideas, the rest of the panel conversation faded into the backdrop. I thought about all the books I’d written and kept coming back to Tombstone. I knew so much about the town, but what about its most famous resident, Wyatt Earp? Nope, didn’t want to do that story again—but wait, what about his wives? What about all the Earp wives? No one had done that story before, and I never looked back. I put my writing and professional genealogy skills to work and dug in and as the French say, “Voila!”    

About Author:

Sherry Monahan is the author of several books on the Victorian West, including Mrs. Earp: The Wives & Lovers of the Earp Brothers, California Vines, Wines & Pioneers, Taste of Tombstone, Pikes Peak, The Wicked West: Boozers, Cruisers, Gamblers, and More, and Tombstone’s Treasure: Silver Mines & Golden SaloonsShe has her own column called Frontier Fare, in and is a contributing editor for True West magazine. In addition to her writing, Sherry works as marketing consultant and professional genealogist.

Sherry has appeared on the History Channel in many shows, including Cowboys and Outlaws: Wyatt Earp, Lost Worlds: Sin City of the West (Deadwood), Investigating History and two of the Wild West Tech shows. She received a Wrangler in the Western Heritage Awards for her performance in the Cowboys and Outlaws show in 2010.

Sherry is the incoming president of Western Writers of America and holds memberships in the following organizations: Women Writing the West, the Author’s Guild, Wild West History Association, Association of Professional Genealogists, The James Beard Foundation, and Westerners International. She is also a charter member of the National Women’s History Museum.

Leave a Reply

Stay Connected