Reading this article brought back a flood of memories. I have always been interested in Arizona history. It has been a passion of mine and so much of the history of Arizona is not that long ago when you compare it to U. S. and world history. When I was growing up in Douglas, I remember hearing stories about Pancho Villa, the deportation in Bisbee of the miners who worked in the copper mines, Texas John Slaughter, and so many stories.
When I started teaching third grade, I wanted my students to be able to know about Arizona history first hand, so I decided to take them on a field trip to Bisbee and Tombstone. I was the first elementary teacher in Gilbert to ask to take students on an overnight field trip. I remember that I had to go before the Governing Board personally to make this request. The members of the Board had many questions as to why I wanted to do this and how I was going to make it happen. I was prepared and they gave me the go ahead.
The entire semester before we went, I did a lot of teaching about the science and history of southern Arizona. I continued this trip for the entire time I taught third grade, about nine years. It was an incredible trip and one that I know my students remember to this day!
I always remembered hearing from my Uncle Matt about his father-in-law, Emil Marks. Emil was his wife, Gyp's, father and the grandfather to my wonderful Phoenix cousins. Emil was a barber in Tombstone during the 1880's. He cut the hair of many of the historic figures. I remember hearing about how he decided to move to Bisbee because things had gotten so bad in Tombstone during this time.
The year 1981 was the 100th anniverary of this historic event. The morning of October 26, 1981, there was an article in the Mesa Tribune by a columnist by the name of Walter Zipf. He wrote about the 100th anniversary of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. He told the story of what occurred that day. Of course, I was very interested to read this when I saw the headline. In this article, Mr. Zipf told about how he had actually interviewed someone many years before who had witnessed this gunfight. He went on to write about Emil Marks, a barber in Tombstone. I immediately called my Uncle Matt. He immediately went out and got copies of the newspaper for all of his children. I don't think that he knew that Emil had witnessed this event.
The past few weeks I have tried to find my copy of the article. I was able to locate a copy of it from some papers that are at the University of Arizona. I have been in contact with a librarian from the U of A who is trying to locate it and send it to me.
I did find some information on the web from the Arizona Jewish Historical Society. Here is what they have written:
"Emil Marks, a barber, completed his 1881 journey from
He realized that his fears were well founded when hostilities opened up and he watched as the memorable gunfight at the OK Corral unfolded."
I find this information fascinating! Even though Emil was not related to me, I feel as though I am a part of his family because of how I feel about my cousins, Yaya, Pat, Marion, Cecilia, and Teresa. I hope they enjoy reading this post! The picture at the top of this entry is of their grandfather, Emil Marks!