I’ve discovered one of the great misconceptions is the limited lives women lived in Tombstone. Perhaps it is because of the completely inaccurate accounts of the lives of the Earp women. Clara Brown in her articles to the San Diego papers wasn’t very glowing in her description of women’s lives. Consequently historians have come to the false conclusion women had very miserable lives there in Tombstone. The actual problem is the fact that the Earp women were basically socially unacceptable. (That’s yet another story).
Naturally we’re dealing with several social classes of women. From what I’ve been able to ascertain, with the exception of those who were truly hurting from money, there was the possibility of ready Chinese labor for housekeeping. Then there were the usual chores of daily shopping, getting the kids off to school, and having lunch ready for the family at noon. Then the afternoon was busy preparing supper and dealing with the kids when they came home from school. By dark you were probably exhausted and ready for bed.
But there were parties and receptions for everyone and everything, and many at the proverbial drop of the hat. Card parties were quite popular. The women’s groups of each of Tombstone’s four congregations: Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Episcopalian were always working on a project, with weekly meetings. There were ice cream socials. Church bazaars, Christmas pageants, Easter egg hunts, and dances. You went to morning church service, afternoon Sunday School, then evening service. Afterward you either had guests over, or you stopped by to visit a friend. George Parsons used the Sunday services for "dates". There were birthday parties, engagement parties, weddings, new baby parties. Funerals did not seem to be a serious social function.
Something was always playing at Schieffelin Hall. If not, you could join the theatric group and take part in a play. There were several musical groups in town. Churches need choirs. Choirs practiced several evenings a week. Then were parties for that. You were always dining out at someone’s home at least once a week, with someone dining at your home another day of the week. Life for respectable women was good. You had your servant. Your clothes went to the laundry. There were stores for shopping. You had catalogues. There was the book store and a women’s reading club. Tombstone was an important town. Someone important was always visiting. Receptions were needed for that. There were sewing circles.
And then there life’s hardships. The crime wave that swept through Tombstone like a tsunami touched many families. Then there were the children. Babies were born and babies died. Hardly a family was untouched, including that of Dr. George Goodfellow himself.