Doc Scurlock: From Six Guns to Bubble Gum

Josiah “Doc” Scurlock was a colorful character who rode with Billy the Kid and found no shortage of trouble in his younger years, including having his front teeth shot out over a card game dispute. The other man wasn’t as lucky.

Scurlock was born in Alabama in 1849 but moved west as a young man. He worked as a cowboy for the famous rancher John Chisum in Texas and New Mexico. When Scurlock quit, Chisum failed to pay, so Scurlock took his wages out in horses from Chisum’s stock and headed further west.

In New Mexico Scurlock met Billy the Kid. They, along with a few other well-known characters of the old west, worked for rancher John Tunstall, whose killing started the Lincoln County War in earnest. Doc, Billy, and other cowhands formed a group called the Regulators to avenge Tunstall’s killing. Most of the men involved in the killing of Tunstall, including Sheriff William Brady, met their maker over the next many days.

Scurlock and Billy the Kid ended up in jail for crimes associated with the war. Once they got out, the governor of New Mexico pardoned all the characters (who hadn’t already been killed) except Billy the Kid. Scurlock gave away all of his guns and headed for Texas to start a new life around 1879.

Scurlock eventually settled in Eastland, Texas, and he and his wife had ten children. He was a productive citizen who contributed to the community, ran a candy shop just west of the old jail (near our hotel), and wrote essays and reviews. He never talked about his outlaw days. He died in 1929 and is buried in the Eastland cemetery.

About Nowhere Tribune

A husband and daddy, striving to love his neighbors and be kind to his pets. I love good food, good beer, and a few good friends. My other interests are hiking, taking walks, lifting weights, reading books by manly authors like Hemingway and Twain, and splitting fire wood with my bare hands.


20 thoughts on “Doc Scurlock: From Six Guns to Bubble Gum

  1. THAT guy rode with Billy the Kid? He looks more like a 19th century member of the Big Bang’s nerd gang.

    Posted by Rivergirl | March 25, 2020, 1:05 pm
  2. Fascinating story! “Doc” had quite the adventurous life.

    Posted by Roadtirement | March 25, 2020, 4:28 pm
  3. He lived a good, long colorful life. He must have been quite an interesting character to know, and one who would be best to be a friend of, rather than an enemy.

    Posted by Tippy Gnu | March 25, 2020, 5:00 pm
  4. I don’t know if I’d buy candy from a guy with no front teeth.

    Posted by Shayne | March 26, 2020, 1:26 pm
  5. This is so great! I love how you bring out the colorful characters of Texas… who knew?!

    Posted by Clever Girl | March 26, 2020, 2:06 pm
  6. Oh, a piece of US History I didn’t know! (Not that I’m any kind of expert on anything, ever) Thank you so much for sharing! Is there something remarkable where the old store was? Or just modern day stuff?

    Posted by Jay | March 29, 2020, 8:32 pm
    • I can’t quite be sure where the old store was; it’s either where the new jail is now, or where some old houses are. No one I’ve talked to remembers. Thanks for reading!

      Posted by Nowhere Tribune | April 1, 2020, 8:24 am
      • Well… I guess we’ll have to build that time machine and figure it out! On a more serious note, thanks for the reply!

        Posted by Jay | April 1, 2020, 1:55 pm
  7. Never heard of him before, but then again I would be hard pressed to name any who rode with Billy the Kid. From outlaw to candy store owner and father of ten. Cannot say he had a boring life. Thanks, are there any other colorful figures from the gang?

    Posted by Geri | April 20, 2020, 3:34 pm
    • Hi Geri! Thanks for reading. No, he sure didn’t have a boring life. I’m not sure about the other characters from the gang. I only know about Doc because of his ties to our town.

      Posted by Nowhere Tribune | April 23, 2020, 8:57 am
  8. Very interesting! My husband is a big fan of western movies and I have definitely heard of Doc, but didn’t know about how he ended up!

    Posted by Middle Aged Momma | May 2, 2020, 8:42 am

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