atm-logoA fair amount is known about Doc Holliday’s girlfriend, Big Nose Kate, yet is anything known about her younger sister?
Allen Fossenkemper
Fountain Hills, AZ

My friend Anne Collier, who’s researching Kate, says: “Wilhelmina, known as ‘Wilma,’ was born in Magyarorszag, Hungary, in May 1855. The family immigrated to the U.S. in 1860 and immediately settled in Iowa. From all accounts, her father remained in Davenport from their arrival until his death in 1865, putting to rest once and for all the rumor he was a physician to Maximilian I during his reign of Mexico. Maximilian did not arrive in Mexico until 1864, a year before Michael Horony died.

“Her mother, Catherine, had passed away a month before her father, leaving Wilma an orphan at age nine (Kate was 15). Within a year of her father’s passing, she had two guardians and had been placed in two separate situations. Although each family was paid for her stay, she was also expected to earn her keep. There is a gap in records from 1866-1869 and again from 1869 ’til her marriage in 1872, but my assumption is she stayed in her situations or perhaps lived with a sibling as they came of age.

“At age 17, Wilma married Henry Westphal in Scott County, Iowa, in 1872. Henry was listed as a fruit and vegetable grower. They had two daughters. She remained in Scott County all her life and died in 1945. She is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Buffalo, Iowa, next to her husband.”

Bottom line—Big Nose Kate’s sister lived a pretty average life, especially compared to Kate’s.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian. His latest book is Wyatt Earp: Showdown at Tombstone. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at

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