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John P. Clum
John P. Clum

John and Mary Clum
John and Mary Clum

John Clum and Wyatt Earp
John Clum and Wyatt Earp

 

 

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John P. Clum - (September 1, 1851 - May 2, 1932)

"A Legend built upon a forecast" by Tom Sharpe, The New Mexican

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Wild West legend, John P. Clum, began his career in Santa Fe where he started the cities first weather station and its first English-language school, and briefly substituted for the territory's governor according to new biography.

Author, Gary Ledoux, of Los Angeles and Desert Hot Springs, CA, said he self published the book recently after becoming interested in Clum 15 years ago through a social group whose members play the roles of Old West characters. "I got to thinking, if I had lived 120 years ago, who would I have liked to be?" Ledoux said in a telephone interview "Clum was an adventurer, writer, businessman and politician".

Clum was one of the US government's Indian agents in Arizona and later a postal inspector for Alaska. A newspaper and mayor of Tombstone, AZ, he has been portrayed in a number of films about the gunfight at the OK Corral in 1881 that involved his friend Wyatt Earp. Clum eventually bought a citrus farm near San Dimas, CA where he consulted on western films into the 1930's.

Born and raised in Claverack, NY, Clum attended Rutgers College (now University) as a divinity student and played in what is believed to be the first inter- collegiate football game (against Princeton, then the College of New Jersey) in 1869. But after he was unable to pay his tuition, he joined the US Army Signal Corp as a "storm sergeant". In 1870, the army began posting soldiers along telegraph lines to report weather conditions.

Clum and Wyatt Earp

After training in how to use glass barometers, thermometers and other then hi-tech instruments packed in his luggage, Clum boarded a train to the western most terminus, Kit Carson, CO. The Atchison, Topeka and Sant Fe Railroad did not reach Lamy until 1880. From the eastern plans of Colorado, it would take a stage coach 4 days and 3 nights to reach Santa Fe, ledoux wrote in Nantan: The Life and Times of John P Clum Volume 1, Claverack to Tombstone, 1851-1882.

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