Doc Holliday: A Daring Dentist

Categories: General Dentistry

John Henry “Doc” Holliday is one of the famous icons of the Old West. A prolific gambler and gunfighter, he was close friends with the equally popular Wyatt Earp. While he is most well-known for his role in the events leading up to and following the gunfight at the O.K. Corral in 1881, Holliday was also an impressive and well-respected dentist in his time!

Early Life

doc_hollidayatage20John Holliday was born in Griffin, Georgia on August 14, 1851 to middle-class parents Henry Burroughs Holliday and Alice Jane (ne McKey) Holliday. Young John was apparently a bright student, learning rhetoric, grammar, math, history and Latin at the Valdosta Institute. When his mother died of tuberculosis in 1866, Holliday further threw himself into his studies of science and mathemat

In 1870 Holliday moved to Philadelphia to attend the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery, which is now University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. At age 20 he received his Doctorate of Dental Surgery but was unable to claim the degree until he turned 21, the minimum age required to practice dentistry at the time, five months later.


Starting Up a Dental Office

The Doc soon moved to Atlanta, where he joined a dental practice led by dentist Arthur C. Ford. A few weeks before his birthday Ford released an advertisement in the paper letting the town know that Holliday would substitute for him while he was away at dental meetings. Shortly after, John was diagnosed with tuberculosis and only given a few months to live. Told that a drier, warmer climate could extend his lifespan, Holliday left for Dallas, Texas as soon as Ford returned to hdoc_holliday_in_prescott_azelm his practice.

In Dallas, Doc partnered with a friend of his father’s, Dr. John A. Seegar. Their work earned them recognition from the North Texas Agricultural, Mechanical, and Blood Stock Association at the Dallas County Fair where they earned three awards: Best Set of Teeth in Gold, Best in Vulcanized Rubber and Best Set of Artificial Teeth and Dental Ware.

Holliday opened his own private practice in 1874, but his tuberculosis caused coughing spells that began to negatively affect his business. Needing to find an additional source of income, Doc Holliday discovered he was a very good gambler. After being found guilty and fined for his habits, John left Texas.

Wyatt Earp and the O.K. Corral

Doc Holliday became a legend on October 26, 1881 in Tombstone, Arizona. He and the Earp brothers, Wyatt and Morgan,
found themselves in an intense firefight with cowboys Ike and Billy Clanton, Frank McLaury and his brother Tom. The battle only lasted 30 seconds, but more than 30 shots were fired. John and Wyatt Earp both survived, being arrested for murder and eventually released of the charges. When Morgan was later killed, Doc followed Wyatt on a vengeful spree that resulted in even more killings, but none were as famous as the O.K. Corral.

Dentists today are a much more relaxed group of people, and we can say for certain that our practice is TB free! Comfort and convenience are the hallmarks of Timothy J. Kitzmiller, DDS’s office operations in Milford, Ohio. Contact us today for information about our hours, location, appointment scheduling, insurance acceptance and billing.