Big Nose Kate


In 1876 Mary Katherine Horony met Doctor John Holliday in Fort Griffin Texas and for the next few glorious years Big Nose Kate and Doc Holliday traveled through Trinidad Colorado, Las Vegas New Mexico, Dodge City Kansas and finally to Tombstone Arizona, in 1881 and the OK Corral.


John Rath's wife, Lula Belle Olney was born in 1875, her father was Joseph Olney who ran into trouble with the law in Texas and changed his name to Joe Hill only to become one of the most wanted men in the New Mexico Territory.  Joe Hill moved the family to Arizona and became a member of the powerful Curly Bill - Clanton gang.    The 1882 census lists outlaw gang members John Ringgold (aka Johnny Ringo) and Ike and Phin Clanton at the Hill Ranch along with Lula Belle Hill then age 7.


About the time the Cochise Hotel opened for business, a woman was hired to help Mrs. Rath.  The woman was Mary Katherine Horony Cummings.  She was once known as Big Nose Kate, the girlfriend of Wild West gunman Doc Holliday.  Lula's father would have been bitter enemies with Doc Holliday.  There is some speculation that Mrs. Rath did not like Mrs. Cummings, although there is no proof that either knew the history of the other.  Mary Katherine was listed on the 1900 census as a resident of Cochise.


After Doc's death, Kate married George Cummings in Aspen Colorado in 1890.  They moved to Bisbee Arizona where Mr. Cummings became an abusive alcoholic and they separated.  In 1899, Kate went to work for John and Lulu Rath at the Cochise Royal Hotel.


(Life for George Cummings did not end well. You can read about him here.)


Kate later met a miner named John Howard and together they moved to the nearby town of Dos Cabezas.  Kate died in Prescott Arizona on November 2nd, 1940.


Top photo is of Mary Katherine Cummings. Bottom photo is of Mary Katherine and George Cummings. These and more photos are on display inside the Cochise Hotel.




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