One thing about the Earp ladies... they were interesting. Lou's the one that people largely overlook, but she was so lovely and so sadly destined that I have always found her the most compelling. Morgan's sister Adelia described Lou as, "a stunning looker, a fine person, and a very clever young lady."
Another testament to her looks is the fact that, in 1875 (she would have been about 20) she and her sister Kate worked as Harvey Girls in Kansas. A year or so later, she would meet Morgan in Dodge City, and they would begin a short, wandering life together.
She herself called Morgan, "...the handsomest of the Earp brothers, and the most reckless." He worked briefly as a shotgun messenger in Dodge, then hired on as deputy town marshal in Miles City, Montana, and later as a city policeman in Butte.
Allie and Louisa were sitting and doing needlework in Allie and Virgil's little house the day gunfire erupted from the vicinity of the OK Corral, two blocks down the street. They both knew what it was. Allie said Lou "folded her hands in her lap and put her head down."
The situation between the Earps and "the cow-boys" was spiraling out of control. To get her out of harm's way, Morgan sent her to his parents in California, and -- until he was murdered a few months later -- she seemed to get better. Nicholas and Virginia Earp treated her "like their own daughter," she said.
On the morning of March 19, 1882, a telegram arrived from Tombstone. Morgan was dead, shot in the back in an Allen Street saloon. Morgan's mother reported that Lou, "beside herself from grief, just fell to the floor and sobbed and sobbed." Her memories of Morgan apparently haunted her for the rest of her life. The above photo pretty much shows her decline.
She married a man named Gustave Peters in 1885, and -- for whatever reason -- lost all further contact with the Earp family. Her health continued to deteriorate. By 1891 she was diagnosed with "dropsy," (a 19th century medical term for what would now be called a complication of congestive heart failure) and she died on June 12, 1894. She was 39 years old.
Good riddance, Gustave: Shortly after her death, Gustave Peters made a pass at one of Lou's sisters. It was "a proposition fiercely rebuffed," and he moved on, married someone else, and disappeared from history. Jerk.
Rest in peace, Lou...