Saturday, August 15, 2009

Guest Post by Lee Powell - Cowboy Historian

In the mid 1870's there was a 15 month period that witnessed a dramatic career change for a promising young dentist. He was suffering from TB and his father, a prominent Georgia plantation owner, had sent him to Dallas because the climate here seemed suitable to his medical condition. He worked for a Dr Seegar and he lived with the doctor in a 2 story house on Boll Street, now just north of Ross ave. in down town Dallas. In order to combat the pain of TB, the young dentist had become engaged in the consumption of alcoholic beverages. In Georgia he had adopted this practice after hours as a dentist in gatherings known as gentlemen’s clubs. There were no gentlemen’s clubs in Dallas just saloons. This young dentist was the only gentleman who frequented the saloons and therefore he became adept at using firearms. On January 1, 1875 at a saloon located on the corner of Austin and Main Street in down town Dallas the young dentist engaged in a gun fight with the bar tender, Charles Austin. It was his first gun fight; however because of his frailty due to TB all six of his shots missed. Luckily for the young dentist all six of the bar tenders shots missed as well. Because such behavior was unbecoming to his profession, the sheriff asked the young dentist to leave town. His dental career was over, but his new career opportunity would enable him to become a legend. This was the very first gun fight for Doc Holiday.

Courtesy of cowboy historian and library patron Lee Powell.