Virginia Earp Signatures 1856 and 1859

There has been some controversy as to whether Wyatt's mother could read and write. (Since these are copies from the court house deed books, the handwriting is that of each county clerk.) Be sure to look below for the 1849 deed. But also note the pictures of other properties he owned later.

Sale of land in Pella, Iowa, March 4, 1856 


Sale of land in Monmouth, February 7, 1859 (below).


Sale of land in Monmouth, December 13, 1859 (below)

The signatures are right at the top of the photo: Nicholas P Earp


                                                                        Virginia + Earp


 Additional copies by digital camera and more explanation

photo of the 1849 deed


The first deed signed by Nicholas and Virginia Earp, March 1, 1849, shortly after Nicholas Earp had announced he was leaving for California. Deed Book 12, page 700.  

"…whereof the said Nicholas P. Earp and Virginia Ann Earp his wife have herewith set their hands and seals this day and given first above written.                    Nicholas P Earp                                                                 

 Virginia Ann Earp

Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of

            Daniel McNeil

            Walter Earp

I, Daniel McNeil, Clerk of the County court of Warren County for said County Do Certify that on this day and before me, Nicholas P Earp and Virginia Ann Earp his wife [whose] names appear signed the foregoing Deed of conveyance and who are formally known to me to be the identical persons whose names are subscribed to said Deed as having executed the same and acknowledge that they executed the same of their voluntary act and deed for the way and proposing therein expressed. And Virginia Ann Earp wife of the said Nicholas P Earp having been by me made acquainted with (go to the next photo)

Queries and observations:

Did Virginia Ann Earp sign the deed? Only an examination of the original can tell us for certain, since this was a copy kept in the deed book. Daniel McNeil says that she put her hand to the deed. 

Certainly it was normal practice to separate the wife from the husband and explain what she was signing. This formula is found in every deed of that period.

 It might be noted that Daniel McNeil had been put on trial in January 1847 on charges of having altered county records and of negligence in office. (Atlas, Jan 14, 1847). He was acquitted, but admonished to take better care of the records. To judge by the convoluted syntax for this document, one can sympathize with the citizens who soon removed him from office.


The document concludes:

“the contents of said Deed and being by me examined separate and apart from her husband acknowledges that she had executed the same, and relinquished her dower to the premises, therein conveyed voluntarily, truly, and without any compulsion of her said husband.”

 Copy of Entry book for this property. 

The next county clerk wrote more coherent documents:

Underneath the signatures (Nicholas P. Earp, Virginia Ann her + mark Earp) he wrote:

“I Ephraim S. Swinney, Clerk of the County Court in and for said County do certify that on this day appeared before me Nicholas P Earp + Virginia Ann his wife whose names appear signed to the foregoing deed of Conveyance and who are personally known to me to be the identical persons whose names are subscribed to said Deed ….and Virginia Ann wife of the said Nicholas P Earp having been made by me acquainted with the contents of said Deed, and being by me examined separate and apart from her husband, acknowledged that she had executed the same and relinquished her down to the premises conveyed…. 9th of February, Eighteen hundred and fifty nine.    Ephraim S. Swinney Clerk”

Library of Congress 1869 Ruger Map. South B Street in the center; Block 35, Lot 3,

the middle house, belonged to Nicholas Earp. Perhaps the house to the south, too. The reader can look at the next photo and compare it to the artist’s rendition. Is that the house still standing?

In March of 2012 George Morris identified the middle house in the picture as the one where Nicholas and Virginia Earp lived 1856-9. When he was a boy he had often played there, and the owners at that time (late Forties and early Fifites) told him that Wyatt Earp had lived there.


This was a good neighborhood at the time, only two blocks from the depot and four blocks to the courthouse.

It was soon filled with large houses, many of which, alas, have been torn down in recent decades.

The tough part of town was five blocks to the east--Commercial row--where the stockyard, freight depot,

and hotels of questionable reputation stood. That is, South Third Street.


Photos of the South B block in January 2006:  

Nicholas Earp also owned lots 3 and 6 on Block 33, that is, the two middle lots on South A

(then West Street); in 1869 there was the two-story L-shaped house in the lower left of

the picture above and a vacant lot. In 1856-59 the price indicated that they were empty lots.

 The formula on the last deed, December 13, 1859, is essentially the same: Virginia A + Earp.

 This was for the property owned from March to December 1859 by Nicholas and Virginia Earp

on Block 15 (the east half of the block facing 5th Street, with Broadway to the south and Archer to the north).

For more on this 1859 property

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