is the fourth article featuring photos from the Phillips
Collection. So far I have introduced new images of Mattie
Blaylock Earp, Johnny
Behan, John Clum, William
ďBillyĒ Breakenrige, and Daniel Gordon Tipton from the Phillips
Collection. Now, the focus will be on two more former Tombstone residents
by the names of George Whitwell Parsons and Dr. George Emory Goodfellow.
I didnít opt to feature these two men together because they shared
a first name, but because I felt they were both remarkable in their
own way, and because they had a profound impact on each other whilst
George Parsons was born in Washington, D.C. in 1850, and for all intents
and purposes, his life was all planned out for him. He was educated
and then brought into his fatherís law firm, all according to plan.
But, George Parsons had other, more adventurous, ideas. He first decided
to salvage wrecked ships in Florida. But, this may have proved to
be too much of an adventure for George when he nearly died in a hurricane.1
He headed west and worked at a bank until he found himself out of
work. So, in 1880, he headed to Tombstone to work in the silver mines.
Being a good- natured, honest, and hard-working man, Parsons joined
the Vigilance Committee that supported law and order in Tombstone,
and he worked his way up to a mining agent.2
George Emory Goodfellow was born in California in 1855 but was sent
to private school out east. He returned to California and joined a
military academy until he was dismissed in shame due to his foul treatment
of an African American, a fellow student. Goodfellow then floundered
somewhat until he discovered that he had a gift for medicine. He got
his life back on track with a medical degree and a new wife. Dr. Goodfellow
was also drawn to Tombstone in 1880 as well. He set up an office on
the second floor of the Crystal Palace Saloon alongside neighbors
Wyatt Earp, Johnny Behan, and others. Goodfellow partook of the entertainment
available including games of faro, betting on horses, and boxing matches.
George Parsons and George Goodfellow may have known each other beforehand,
but it wasnít until June 22, 1881 that the two men were put into a
situation that let them show what they were truly made of.
On that day, fire erupted in Tombstone. George Parsons flew into action
and saw the opportunity to save one building from destruction. The
balcony was burning, but not yet the main part of the building. He
wasted no time in developing a plan, and that was to separate the
burning balcony from the front of the building. Despite any risk to
himself, he whacked away at the balcony with an ax. He was successful
in detaching the balcony from the building, but unfortunately, he
was severely injured when the large pieces fell.3
His chin and left cheek were cut and his left upper lip was pierced
with a splinter of wood. Far more devastating, though, his nose had
been pushed in completely. Parsons was so injured that he had to take
his meals through a straw and had difficulty just breathing. Parsons
suffered in such a manner until Dr. Goodfellow came to his aid. The
doctor devised an ingenious strategy for the time and used silver
wire to reconstruct Parsonís nose. He did so by forcing silver wire
into Parsonís nose and then shaping it to create something of a framework
for his nose to heal around. According to Parsons, he underwent this
painful ďsurgeryĒ and then went to work the very next day. Goodfellow
did this repeatedly until the shape of Parsonís nose had been restored.
Because Parsons was involved in such a good deed when he was injured,
Goodfellow refused payment for his reconstruction work.4
But now, onto the photographs of these two men. For comparison purposes,
the following is a younger photo of Dr. George Goodfellow courtesy
of Spirits of the Border: The History and Mystery of Tombstone:
|Dr. George Goodfellow
purposes, the following photo of George Parsons is taken from Casey
Tefertillerís book, Wyatt Earp, The Life Behind the Legend:
|These men were
then both present during the aftermath of the ambush on Virgil Earp
in Tombstone in December of 1881, the doctor treating an obliterated
arm, and Parsons aiding the doctor and the Earpís in any way he could.
But, in my mind, it will instead be the event in which a doctor ingeniously
treated a severely injured hero who willingly submitted to what had
to be a series of very painful procedures that will forever link these
two men together.
Later, Goodfellow was commended and recognized for his research of
and the subsequent breakthrough ideas and methods of dealing with
gunshot wounds. The violence during his short time in Tombstone provided
him something of a field laboratory, and because of his concerned
and curious nature he made the most of it.
George Parsons left Tombstone and went onto other mining prospects,
and the diary that he kept from 1869 until 1929 was published, a portion
of it under the title, A Tenderfoot in Tombstone, the Private Journal
of George Whitwell Parsons: The Turbulent Years, 1880-82. Parsons
may have been a tenderfoot when he arrived in Tombstone, but in my
opinion, he certainly didnít exit as one.
06/15/2015 >br> 2George
W. Parsons. (2015, April 28). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
Retrieved 14:58, June 15, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=George_W._Parsons&oldid=659763550
3 George W.
Parsons. (2015, April 28). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved
23:34, June 18, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=George_W._Parsons&oldid=659763550
Whitwell Parsons: A Tenderfoot in Tombstone, The Private Journal of
George Whitwell Parsons: The Turbulent Years: 1880-8, Edited, Annotated,
and with an Introduction by Lynn R. Bailey, Tucson, Arizona, Westernlore
5 Ken Hudnall,
Spirits of the Border: The History and Mystery of Tombstone, Grave
Distractions Publications, 2006
Tefertiller, Wyatt Earp, The Life Behind the Legend, John Wiley &
Sons, Inc., (credited to The Chafin Collection), 1997