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Glimpse | Wyatt Earp Relative
at Stout

Ben Freund, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp was a lawman and an outlaw, a murderer with a doctor for a best friend, and he survived one of the most notorious gunfights in history, living to the age of 80. Catherine Earp hasn’t done any of that – she’s never even fired a gun – but the blood of the legend runs in her veins. The UW-Stout student is the fifth cousin of the famous Earp. After having the relation explained to her in middle school, Catherine’s family made a trip to Tombstone, Arizona, the site of the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral. When paying a bill at a restaurant there, their name was recognized and the proprietor was so thrilled at the connection he put the family’s autographs on the front door. The town of Tombstone even offered her grandparents a free burial at the Tombstone cemetery. Besides the promise of being buried six feet deep, what other perks come with being an Earp descendant? Since grade school, Catherine has gotten a thrill whenever the subject of Earp comes up in history class. “Every school project I do is about him,” says Catherine. Unfortunately, those projects have to rely on sources outside the family. Much has been lost over the years, and there is little family lore to cover the gaps in documentation. The only physical reminders of the family’s great-great-grand-uncle are a replica of his famous revolver, the “Buntline Special,” and a copy of Earp’s death certificate. A shame for devotees of Earpiana, but it’s not too late for Catherine to start a new chapter in the Earp legacy. “My friends say if they ever took me hunting, I’d be great at it,” says Catherine. Who knows, a little practice may be all that stands between her and a career as Calamity Cate, fastest draw in the wild Midwest.