Sunday, May 1, 2016

Big Nose Kate

Big Nose Kate approximately
40 yrs old

Mary Katherine Horony (Big Nose Kate), would not be known today if it wasn't for her "on again, off again" relationship with Doc Holliday and the Earp Brothers. 

Born in 1850 in Budapest, Hungary, was the highly educated daughter of a physician. Her family came to the US in 1860 arriving in New York where they spent the next year. In 1861 her father was appointed the personal physician to Emperor Maximillan I of Mexico. They lived there until the crumble of Maximillian's government, when they then moved to Davenport, IA. When Kate was 15 years old, both her parent died; her brothers and sister lived with her brother-in-law and Kate ran away. She stowed away on a riverboat headed to St. Louis, MO. In 1869 she entered a convent but didn't stay long. 

In 1874 she was fined for working as a 'sporting woman' in a sporting house in Dodge City, KS ran by Nellie "Bessie" Earp, wife of James Earp.  In 1875 Kate moved to Fort Griffin, TX where she met John Henry "Doc" Holliday. The two fought regularly and sometimes violently.  She helped break Doc free when arrested and wrongly charged for a robbery. They stole horses and ended up in Dodge City, KS until a visit from Wyatt Earp encouraging them and his brother James and his wife Bessie to move to Prescott, AZ in 1879. The moved to Prescott where they separated with Doc staying in Prescott with Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp.  Kate heard money was to be made in Globe, AZ so she moved there. She and Doc would meet off and on in Tucson until Virgil Earp, then US Marshall in Tombstone, sent for his brothers and Doc to help him with a situation in Tombstone.  Kate went to Tombstone to be with Doc and was there during the famous shootout.  She wrote later in a letter to her niece, "Doc returned to the room after the shootout, sat on the edge of his bed and wept from the shock of what had happened during this close-range gunfight. He said, 'that was awful, just awful."

Kate was with Doc Holliday in Glenwood Springs, CO when he died. She
returned to Arizona and spent 30 years of her life in the Cochise area until she was 80 years old. Weak and frail, she contacted her longtime friend, AZ Governor George Hunt wanting assistance in getting her into the Arizona Pioneers' Retirement Home in Prescott, AZ. It took Kate six months to be admitted since the home required that you live in the state 50 years and be a US Citizen. She was the first female resident of the home and died in 1950. a week before her 90th birthday. She is buried in Prescott at the Pioneer's Cemetery.

Kate was a larger than life character who lived to see stories of her own life and supposed death. In real life, she died in bed, having survived a world that was hard on women. Kate never denied that she was a rip-roaring, hard drinking, gun-slingin' prostitute. She was an independent woman who saw prostitution as a way to be in control of her own life, answering to no one.

Kate said of life: "Part is funny and part is sad, but such is life any way to take it."

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Prescott Center for the Arts

Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Rectory.  Built in the 1890s and in 1895 Fr. Alfred Quetu came to Prescott to minister to the local Native Americans. He set out to build a new church at a cost of approximately $6000. The first services were on February 17, 1895.

Father Quetu's assistent, Father Claessen died of typhoid fever and at that time it was custom to be buried under the church altar, which may have happened with Father Claessen.

The last religious services was in June1969 and then sold to Prescott Fine Arts Association. before taking over the facilities, one thing had to be handled and that was removing Fr. Claessen's remains and have him reburied. However, it was discovered that Fr. Claessen's remains were not under the altar...his corpse is still missing. There is an article dated June 2901 that he is buried beside the grave of Reverend Michael Murphy and later a monument was was dedicated in his memory. Where is the monument today?  No one knows.

Now known as Prescott Center for the Arts it is haunted. Many people have experienced various ghostly encounters. One is the cleaning lady who arrives early in the mornings before anyone else is there. In the main theater she has heard a voice calling her name over and over. When sweeping the dressing rooms out she has seen her name written in the dust pile by the door. 

A shadow has been seen floating effortlessly in front of a painted prop. One of the plays called for a bar scene and as the stage crew was setting it up, two glasses flew in the air and crashed to the floor. The crew left for the day.

Several people have seen shadows move across the upper part of the proscenium. Others have heard a children's choir singing. Scripts have been moved and found in different places. But the most unsettling haunts are by one female ghost who likes to play with the office copier and three male ghosts believed to be Father Alfred, Father Michael and Father Edmund. 

Prescott Center for the Arts has a yearly event called Prescott Ghost Talk where Arizona legends come alive! The enactment of historic ghostly folklore focuses on true stories and urban legends passed down through the years. 

With the sound effects and mixture of haunted house eerie surroundings, you never know who might show up at the performance. 

To hear more of the stories of the Prescott Center for the Arts and many others contact A Haunting Experience Tours and make your reservation or purchase tickets.