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Doc Holliday

             Doc) was one of the most famous gunfighters of his time. He over came many tragedies throughout his life, many tragedies people today would not be able to cope with. Born August 14, 1851 to Alice and Henry Holliday, John Henry Holliday entered the world already at a disadvantage with a serious birth defect. The defect known as a cleft palate and a partially cleft lip basically made suckling his mother's breast impossible. Dr. John S. Holliday, John's uncle and an accomplished surgeon, delivered John, cleared his air passages, and taught his mother the proper way to feed the him due to the defect. With out the aid and instructions of Dr. Holliday, John could have easily choked to death as was common with children that had this genetic defect. Ironically one of the tools to feed the young child effectively was a shot glass, which in many ways never left his side. .
             At only eight weeks old John was under the careful care of his uncle once again. Dr. John Holliday, along with family friend Dr. Crawford Long, operated on John's mouth and lip with success. This was only the beginning of a turbulent childhood that was anything but typical. Instead of playing around without a care in the world like most toddlers, John spent almost all of his time in speech therapy in an effort to correct what otherwise would have been a terrible impediment. His mother, Alice Holliday, was the chief therapist and attacked the problem with courage. Her determination at overcoming the impediment rubbed off on the young child, and John therefore worked hard at improving his speech. By the age of four the impediment was barely noticeable. Yet, John's childhood was not only speech therapy. Playing with his cousin Robert was his favorite activity and would persist to be for most of his young life. .
             John Holidays adolescence was influenced by two main factors, his mother and southern society. Like most children John had a special bond with his mother, but coupled with his need of constant attention due to his speech therapy and the routine absence of his father due to business and political affairs, that bond became much stronger than typical.

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