13 Little Known Doc Holliday Facts

Doc Holliday expert and author of the Southern Son Saga series, Victoria Wilcox recently gave a talk at the Glenwood Springs Library where she shed light on one of the West’s most intriguing and often misrepresented characters.


1.    Doc didn’t head west for his health, more likely his temper and quick trigger finger got him into trouble forcing him to leave his home in Georgia.

2.    Margaret Mitchell, the author of “Gone with the Wind,” is related to Doc Holliday.

3.    It’s interesting to note that Doc died on Nov. 8, 1887 and Margaret Mitchell was born 13 years later on Nov. 8, 1900.

4.    Doc was in love with his cousin Mattie Holliday, and though she became a nun, the two corresponded throughout their lives.

5.    Doc shot many people in his life, almost all of them in self defense. His habit was to aim for his assailant’s shooting arm which both disarmed and inflicted a wound that, while painful was not fatal.

6.    Even though Doc died penniless at the age of 36 in Glenwood Springs, in his short life he owned a dental practice, a saloon and even a silver mine.

7.    Doc was once roommates with Frederick Walker Pitkin, who would become the Governor of Colorado in 1879.

8.    When orders came for Doc to be extradited to Arizona to face charges for the murder of Frank Stilwell, Pitkin refused, citing a technical error in the paperwork.

9.    Doc arrived in Glenwood Springs from Leadville via Independence Pass, a dangerous and harrowing 18-hour stagecoach ride, especially for a man as sick as he was.

10.  Doc came to Glenwood Springs, not to soak in the hot springs (they hadn’t yet opened), but for the “Indian medicine” of the vapor caves, his last hope to cure his advanced tuberculosis.

11.  Prior to his death, perhaps for absolution, Doc sought the council of Father Downey, the founding priest of St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, who was said to be a friend to the dying man.

12.  Doc did not kill Cowboy gang member, Johnny Ringo as is often depicted in the movies.

13.  In fact, Doc’s long-time mistress “Big Nose” Kate ran away with Ringo for a time!


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For more information and to book reservations please visit Glenwood Springs is located between Aspen and Vail, Colorado, 160 miles (257 kilometers) west of Denver or 90 miles (145 kilometers) east of Grand Junction on Interstate 70 off exit 116.

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Lisa Langer, Vice President of Tourism Marketing
Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association
Vicky Nash, Media Relations Representative
Resort Trends, Inc.