Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp (Mrs. Wyatt Earp) was a lady of her era. She was born into a lower middle class Jewish family, became a self-made businesswoman, married an American frontier legend and, with him, grew famous and wealthy. She was a strong protector of his mystical deeds as a gunfighter-gambler-lawman after his death in 1929. She squandered their wealth in old age and died near penniless. Western movie star William S. Hart paid for her funeral.
Josie Earp spent her last years living with distant Earp family relatives. The young girl who took care of her was Jean Cason Lang. I had the honor to have spent some time with Ms. Lang during her golden years. She remembered many adventures and mis-adventures with “Aunt Josie.” Earp enjoyed cowboy movies and musicals. Josie had once been a dancer. She enjoyed evenings listening to her two favorite radio shows; the comedy Amos and Andy and the western adventures of The Lone Ranger. The masked man and his Indian friend were her chief joy; they even helped her husband arrest an outlaw menace called the Clanton Gang.
Jean Lang recalled that Josie Earp felt every American child should live up to The Lone Ranger Creed and be a member of his Safety Patrol. Before she died in 1944, 4.4 million kids had fulfilled her desire.
“Return with us to those thrilling days of yesteryear … Hi-Yo Silver!” The Lone Ranger, Tonto and Josie Earp live again. On Thursday, August 8, 2019, at noon, the First National Bank will host a Lunch and Learn power-point presentation, A Romantic Adventure: Josie Earp and The Lone Ranger by author-historian Chuck Hornung. This program is a presentation of the Historical Society of New Mexico.