A Connection to Wyatt Earp

When I was in school & had to do a genealogy project, I asked my Grandmother for information on the family. I remember she said we were related to Wyatt Earp & Daniel Boone. This made sense because there are Boone and Earp ancestors on my Dad’s side of the family, however our Earp’s spell their name, Erp. Grandma did not have the information that made the connection to either of the famous men. Part of the fun of genealogy is to find a famous ancestor. As of right now, I still don’t have the definitive connection to Daniel Boone, but I did find the family lines that connected to Wyatt Earp.

One day several years ago, I made a chance discovery at my local library. There is a genealogy wing at the library & even though most of my research is not from this locality, I check the library resources from time to time as there are several items available from other states. I was getting ready to leave the area and passed by the desk & saw the shelf of “New Books.” One of the books was a large volume, The EARP Family in America, by Sharron Studebaker Spencer and Irmalee Earp Williams. It was a pretty in-depth work taking the Earp family back to the earliest Irish immigrant, Thomas Earp, Jr. This book gave the full connection from my direct Erp ancestors to the relatives of Wyatt Earp. Of course, I contacted the author and purchased the book to add to my own reference library.

So Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp (1848-1929) was a famous figure, best known for his exploits with his brothers as law men and gamblers in the “Wild West.” The most recognized incident is the “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” between Wyatt & his brothers and the Clanton brothers, which took place in Tombstone, Arizona in 1881. He has become a larger-than-life character with stories of his life portrayed in movies and TV shows through the years.

Wyatt was born in Monmouth, Warren County, IL and died in Los Angeles, CA. His parents were Nicholas Porter Earp (1813-1907) & Virginia Ann Cooksey (1821-1893). Going back farther on the paternal side, Nicholas’ father was Walter Earp (1787-1953); Walter’s father was *Philip (ca 1755-ca 1833); then William (ca 1729-ca 1778); then Joshua (ca 1705-ca 1751); then John (ca 1680-1744); then Thomas Earp, Jr (ca 1656-1720).

Going forward from Wyatt Earp’s ancestors to connect to my direct line:

  • Thomas Earp, Jr. (ca 1656-1720)
  • John Earp (ca 1680-1744)
  • Joshua Earp (ca 1705-ca 1751)
  • William Earp (ca 1729-ca 1778)
  • *Josiah Earp (1761-1844)
  • Singleton Erp (ca 1802-ca 1886)
  • Allen Erp (1826-1885), my GGG Grandfather

Wyatt’s great-grandfather, Philip and Allen’s grandfather, Josiah, were brothers. They were both born in Maryland & fought in the Revolutionary War. Both families moved a few times. Philip spent most of his life in North Carolina and Virginia. Josiah finally settled in Pulaski County, KY, which is where his son, Singleton, raised his family.

One question I don’t have a good answer for is why some families retained the spelling “Earp” and some used “Erp.” Singleton Erp’s name is spelled both ways in different census schedules. Allen Erp is listed in the 1860 census as not being able to read or write, perhaps this has something to do with the spelling of the name—using the simplest spelling. Regardless, I’m glad I was able to find the connection to Wyatt Earp so when someone asks if there was anyone famous in the family I can answer quickly. Now all I have to do is find the proof one way or another for the Boone connection.

© MJM 2016

11 thoughts on “A Connection to Wyatt Earp

    • The Erps married into my Herrin family in Pulaski Co Ky several times. My gr-gr-grandpa first married Singleton ERP’s sister Anna. Singleton was married to Rebeca Herrin, John’s sister.

      Big Harp and Little Harp, villains of western Kentucky were also part of that Earp family. I have also suspected that Wyatt got his name from the Wyatt’s of Virginia who landed in Pulaski County.


    • Hi. My name is Terri, and I have discovered that I am also related to Wyatt Earp. I also am related to the Hargis family in Pulaski county Kentucky. my mother was a hargis. Her father was John Houston Hargis. I am also trying to connect to Daniel Boone. Also, Jennie Jacobs, who married a Wm, Hargis, I have really enjoyed reading this article and wondered if anyone can help me with this? thanks so much in advance and God Bless.


  1. MJ, like you I also share the Boone and Earp connection. In my family tree, there is a large number of the family that had changed the spelling from Earp to Harp. I have found that a lot of times in doing family research, you find that names were misspelled a lot and many times I’m guessing people spelled with phonics. My connection to Wyatt is brothers Thomas and William, sons of Joshua. My Boone connection is my 6 G grandmother, Sarah Boone, oldest sister of Daniel. Daniel and Wyatt would both be from my grandmother, Clara Logan Muse who grew up near Barbourville, Ky.


    • Hi Troy my family goes from Vaughn into harp like cherubia harp, Beverly harp, Philip harp William harp Thomas m harp, Josiah Earp, Joshua j harp


  2. Hello,
    I, also grew up knowing I was related to Wyatt Earp. When my father passed away in 2010 I received his genealogy research information. My connection is:
    William JR. 1729-1778
    Josiah 1761-1844
    Philip Hawker Erp, (named after his father, Josiah’s brother, Philip) his mother was Drady “Dicady” Phelps, (brother to Singleton who’s mother was Sarah Singleton)
    James Allen Erp 1835-1920
    Martha Fedelia Erp McGinnis
    Ralph Erp McGinnis (my grandfather)
    Dale McGinnis (my father)
    I have information passed down indicated saying the family wanted to disassociate themselves with Wyatt Earp.


  3. My connection to Wyatt Earp. Benager Bennett was my 3rd great grandfather.

    Nancy Harp Bennett(mother of benager Bennett) had dad Tobias harp. Tobias dad was Thomas Marion Earp. Thomas Marion had brother named William berry Earp. William berry Earp had son Phillip Earp. Philip Earp had son Walter cooksey Earp. Walter cooksey Earp had son Nicholas porter earp, who was Wyatt Earps father.


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