Former Glenwood Springs resident pens another book | PostIndependent.com
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Former Glenwood Springs resident pens another book

John StroudPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
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An exchange with the manager of a Tombstone, Ariz., bookstore over an erroneous representation of Doc Holliday that appeared on a bookmark led to a collaborative effort on the latest book by former Glenwood Springs resident and author Jim Nelson.”Tombstone – A Quick History” is the 10th book by Nelson, who with his wife Mary operated the Numbers, Inc. accounting firm in Glenwood Springs, where they lived for 35 years before retiring to Tucson, Ariz., three years ago.It was during a motorhome trip through Tombstone that they wandered into the Old West Bookstore and were greeted by Nancy Sosa.”She and I struck up a conversation, mostly centered on a bookmark that was intended to portray four of the participants in the infamous ‘Gunfight at the OK Corral,'” Nelson writes in an introduction to the book.The bookmark carried the images of the three Earp brothers, Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan, “plus a very nice photo of a gentleman by the name of John Escapule,” who lived in Tombstone around the same time as the gunfight, but had nothing to do with it.He also bore a resemblance to the infamous Doc John Henry Holliday. Somewhere along the line, Escapule’s photograph got misidentified as Doc Holliday, and the incorrect photo occasionally appears in publications, on T-shirts and the like instead of the actual doctor.Nelson, having done a significant amount of research on Doc Holliday, who died in Glenwood Springs – even portraying him on occasion – was a bit peeved.Likewise, Sosa, a researcher and Tombstone historian with degrees in history and anthropology, is a stickler for historical accuracy.She soon learned that Nelson was an author and, having done work for other authors in the past, they eventually agreed to write ‘Tombstone’ together.”Nancy insists on absolute accuracy,” Nelson said in an interview last week. “If she can’t find it in contemporaneous records, such as newspaper articles from the period, or city or county records, she refuses to use it.”The book’s chapter on the infamous gunfight on Oct. 26, 1881, is a good example.”So much has been written about the gunfight, and most is total horse crap,” Nelson said. “So, we couldn’t really add to that.”What they did was quote articles from the two newspapers in Tombstone at the time, The Epitaph and The Daily Nugget.”We included trial coverage, and the testimony from Wyatt,” Nelson said. “We wanted to keep the thing as factual as possible, and Nancy certainly didn’t want to put anything in the book that wasn’t factual.”The book is not meant to give a complete history of the town, but rather a series of snapshots of the people, events and happenings. There’s even a section on the geology that formed the area, the centuries of Indian habitation and the “invasions” by the Spanish, Mexicans and white prospectors.Chapters are also devoted to the area’s mining history, buildings, the 1887 earthquake, and both former and modern celebrations and festivities.”We spent a little over two years working on it,” Nelson said. “Nancy really put most of the work into it and was able to dedicate more time to it than I was.”Nelson and Sosa had a book signing event at the Old West Bookstore in Tombstone over the Labor Day weekend. The book is available locally at Through the Looking Glass.No local book signing is planned at this point, but Nelson didn’t rule out a trip to his former home town to promote the book.Most of his previous books have dealt with the history of, and attractions around, Glenwood Springs, including: “Glenwood Springs – A Quick History,” “The Hot Springs Pool, Then and Now,” “Glenwood Caverns and the Historic Fairy Caves,” “Glenwood Springs Pictorial,” and “Marble & Redstone – A Quick History.”Nelson’s first book, “The Case of the Blue Chicken,” is out of print, but he still uses the name for his Tucson-based publishing company, Blue Chicken Publishing.jstroud@postindependent.com


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