Earp is not a name you hear every day. Especially in the valley. As it turns out, The Wyatt Earp has a relative living and working in these parts.
Explains Dale Dawson, a distant cousin who pastors and owns in Montrose: “From me to Wyatt Earp through great-grandmother Susan Earp back to Amos Earp Sr. son of James Earp, son of Joseph Earp Jr., son of Joseph Earp Sr., brother of John Earp through whom comes Wyatt.”
Dawson knows a thing or three about the family tree. His volumes of genealogy records trace his roots far back in American history. “On my father’s side were the Earps, and on my mother’s side, the Penns” (think Pennsylvania). Dawson lives with wife Mary at what used to be Iverson Ranch, whose craggy rocks are another connection to the “Wild West.” The property was once a popular location for classic screen westerns including Treasure of Sierra Madre and TV’s The Long Ranger and The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (whose star in Chatsworth).
Dawson’s favorite portrayal of Wyatt was in the movie Tombstone, played by Kurt Russell. And there’s a “newer” namesake… another Earp surfaced recently in a Los Angeles magazine article. The cowboy turned actor changed his name from Glen to “Wyatt,” was offered a part in Tombstone but that ended up on the cutting room floor. Kevin Costner played Earp in 1994’s self-titled film version.
Back to the congenial Pastor Dawson, a transplant from the East Coast in his previous life as a corporate big wig for Revlon cosmetics, in sales. His switch into ministry was God’s idea and it didn’t go away, he said. So without seminary training as a pastor, Dawson became a deacon, assumed other roles and has been at his current congregation for three years. Also, he runs a gift shop with Mary in Montrose. Says Dawson, “God chose me to become a pastor. It’s the best job in the world.”