Nicholas and Virginia Earp moved with their growing family to Pella, Iowa, in 1850, and purchased a farm northeast of town. They spent most of the next 14 years in Pella. During the Civil War, Nicholas served as a recruiter for the Union Army and the three oldest sons (Newton, James, Virgil) enlisted. Wyatt was too young to fight, but ran away several times attempting to join his older brothers in the Union Army. In 1864, the family left for California, coming back to Missouri after a few years, before finally returning and settling in California. By 1879, Wyatt had moved to Tombstone, Arizona Territory, where he was joined by Virgil, Morgan, James, and Warren. Virgil became the town marshal soon after and was still marshal at the time of the OK Corral Shootout.