James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok

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James Butler Hickok

Nicknames: "Wild Bill", "Wild Bill Hickok"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Troy Grove, La Salle, Illinois
Death: Died in Deadwood, SD, United States
Place of Burial: South Dakota, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of William Alonzo Hickok and Pamela Hickok
Husband of Agnes Thatcher Hickok; Maria Agnes Hickok and Agnes Hickok
Partner of Calamity Jane
Brother of Oliver Otis Hickock; Lorenzo Butler Hickock; Celinda Dewey Smith; Lydia Barnes and Horace Dewey Hickock

Occupation: Abolitionist, facilitator of the Underground Railroad, Lawman, Gunfighter, Gambler
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About James Butler Hickok

American Outlaw

James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok was a legendary gunfighter and law man in the American Wild West. Many characters in Western novels are fashioned after Hickok.

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James Butler Hickbetter known as Wild Bill Hickok, was a figure in the American Old West. His skills as a gunfighter and scout, along with his reputation as a lawman, provided the basis for his fame, although some of his exploits are fictionalized. His nickname of Wild Bill has inspired similar nicknames for men named William (even though that was not Hickok's name) who were known for their daring in various fields. Hickok's horse was called Black Nell, and he owned two Colt 1851 Navy Revolvers.

Hickok came to the West as a stagecoach driver, then became a lawman in the frontier territories of Kansas and Nebraska. He fought in the Union Army during the American Civil War, and gained publicity after the war as a scout, marksman, and professional gambler. Between his law-enforcement duties and gambling, which easily overlapped, Hickok was involved in several notable shootouts, and was ultimately killed while playing poker in a Dakota Territory saloon.

Wild Bill Hickok was born in Homer, Illinois (name later changed to Troy Grove, Illinois) on May 27, 1837. His birthplace is now the Wild Bill Hickok Memorial, a listed historic site under the supervision of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. While he was growing up, his father's farm was one of the stops on the Underground Railroad, and he learned his shooting skills protecting the farm with his father from slave catchers. Hickok was a good shot from a very young age.

In 1855, at the age of 18, Hickok moved to Kansas Territory following a fight with Charles Hudson, which resulted in both falling into a canal. Mistakenly thinking he had killed Hudson, Hickok fled and joined General Jim Lane's vigilante Free State Army ("The Red Legs") where he met 12-year-old William Cody, later to be known as "Buffalo Bill," who at that time was a scout for Johnston's Army. At 19, Hickok was elected constable of Monticello Township.

Due to his "sweeping nose and protruding upper lip," Hickok was nicknamed "Duck Bill." In 1861, after growing a mustache following the infamous McCanles incident, and with some encouragement from himself, he was to become known by the nickname he is most famous for, "Wild Bill."

In 1857, Hickok claimed a 160-acre (65 ha) tract in Johnson County, Kansas (in what is now the city of Lenexa),[4] where, on March 22 in 1858, he was elected as one of the first four constables of Monticello Township, Kansas. In 1859 he joined the Russell, Waddell, and Majors freight company as a driver. The following year he was badly injured by a bear and sent to the Rock Creek Station in Nebraska (which the company had recently purchased from David McCanles) to work as a stable hand while he recovered. In 1861 he was involved in a deadly shoot-out with the McCanles Gang at the Rock Creek Station after 40-year-old David McCanles, his 12-year-old son (William) Monroe McCanles, and two farmhands, James Woods and James Gordon, called at the station's office to demand payment of an overdue second installment on the property, an event that is still the subject of much debate. Hickok and his accomplices, the station manager Horace Wellman, his wife, and an employee, J.W. Brink, were tried but judged to have acted in self-defense. According to Joseph G. Rosa, a Hickok biographer, the shot that felled the elder McCanles came from inside the house. It remains unknown who actually fired it. Rosa conjectures that Wellman had far more of a motive to kill McCanles, a belief supported by McCanles' son's own account. There were also women in the house, conceivably armed with shotguns. McCanles was the first man Hickok was reputed to have killed in a fight. On several later occasions, Hickok was to confront and kill several men while fighting alone. When the Civil War began, Hickok joined the Union forces and served in the west, mostly in Kansas and Missouri. He earned a reputation as a skilled scout. After the war, Hickok became a scout for the U. S. Army and later was a professional gambler. He served for a time as a United States Marshal. In 1867, his fame increased after a published interview by Henry Morton Stanley.

On August 2, 1876, while playing poker at Nuttal & Mann's Saloon No. 10 in Deadwood, in the Black Hills, Dakota Territory, Hickok could not find an empty seat in the corner of the room, where he always sat in order to protect himself against a possible attack from behind, and instead sat with his back to one door while facing another. His paranoia was prescient: he was shot in the back of the head with a .45-caliber revolver by Jack McCall. Legend has it that Hickok was playing poker when he was shot, was holding a pair of aces, a pair of eights, and a queen. The fifth card is debated, or, as some say, had not yet been dealt. "Aces and eights" thus is known as the "Dead Man's Hand". In 1979 Hickok was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.

Charlie Utter, Hickok's friend and companion, claimed Hickok's body and placed a notice in the local newspaper, the Black Hills Pioneer, which read:

Present day gravesite"Died in Deadwood, Black Hills, August 2, 1876, from the effects of a pistol shot, J. B. Hickok (Wild Bill) formerly of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Funeral services will be held at Charlie Utter's Camp, on Thursday afternoon, August 3, 1876, at 3 o'clock P. M. All are respectfully invited to attend."

Almost the entire town attended the funeral, and Utter had Hickok buried with a wooden grave marker reading:

"Wild Bill, J. B. Hickok killed by the assassin Jack McCall in Deadwood, Black Hills, August 2, 1876. Pard, we will meet again in the happy hunting ground to part no more. Good bye, Colorado Charlie, C. H. Utter."

Hickok was originally buried in the Ingelside Cemetery, Deadwood's original graveyard. The graveyard filled quickly and was in an area that could be better used for the constant influx of settlers to live on, so all the bodies there were moved up the hill to the Mount Moriah Cemetery in the 1880s.

Hickok is currently interred in a ten-foot (3 m) square plot at the Mount Moriah Cemetery, surrounded by a cast-iron fence with a U.S. flag flying nearby. A monument has since been built there. In accordance with her dying wish, Martha Jane Cannary, known popularly as Calamity Jane, was buried next to him. Potato Creek Johnny, a local Deadwood Celebrity from the late 1800s and early 1900s is also buried next to Wild Bill.

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James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok was a famous character of the American West. You can read his bio at http://www.wikipedia.org. When I was a young boy, I heard that we were distantly related to Wild Bill through my mother's side. In doing the preliminary genealogy work, I realized that my Great-great Grandfather James William DeMoss married a woman named Amanda Hecox. At first, I thought that this could be the lineage, but realized that the spelling was incorrect. However, spelling is a very fluid thing in past generations. Last night I found the common ancestor William Hickox (1609 - 1645). He had sons named Samuel Hickox (1643-1695) and Joseph (1645-1687). My ancestor Amanda came from Samuel's line and "Wild Bill" came from Joseph's line.

-------------------- Chronology on Life of James Butler (Wild Bill) HICKOK

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The Kansas Heritage Server would like to thank John Richard for contributing the following article about James Butler Hickok. It should not be quoted or retransmitted without a full citation to the author and website address, and should not be put into print without the author's express permission.

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James Butler Hickok was born in Troy Grove, Illinois, on May 27, 1837. Troy Grove was then, and is now a small clean agricultural community. Mr. Hickok was assassinated in Deadwood, South Dakota on August 2, 1876. Deadwood was then, and is now, a town with basically one main street running through it. Deadwood however, has gone through many more changes than Troy Grove. Deadwood recently authorized gambling, Las Vegas style, and might, in time, be once again the wild and wooly town of Hickok's day. Hickok's gravesite is also in Deadwood. It rests in a peaceful and quite beautiful cemetery known as Mt. Moriah. Deadwood gives a person the impression that were it not for the brief period of Wild Bill Hickok's visit, the town would not have enjoyed the notoriety it has enjoyed these many years.

When Hickok was born Troy Grove was known as "Homer". However, by the early 1860's it was known as Troy Grove. Hickok's father, William Alonzo Hickok, came from Vermont. He met Hickok's mother, Polly Butler, in New York State. Together, they would produce their first child, Oliver Hickok, who was born in May 1830. A second son, named Lorenzo Butler Hickok, was born in October of 1831 but died soon thereafter. The next child, also named Lorenzo Butler Hickok, was born in November of 1832. Horace Hickok was born in October of 1834. The family did some moving around during this time period and the next child, James Butler Hickok, was born in May of 1837. Two more Hickok children were eventually born, Celinda Hickok in September of 1839, and Lydia Hickok in October of 1842. This was a good sized family for the frontier, and reflects the character and strength of the family. Most of the family never went far, or for very long, from the Troy Grove area. I have been to the cemetery, in Troy Grove, and the family still rests side-by-side in the quiet, and very peaceful older section of the town's cemetery.

The adventures that so characterized Hickok's later life began early. Long before the Civil War began, talk of the abolition of slavery got William Hickok both interested and involved. He joined a Quaker group that was involved in the business of assisting escaped slaves. One of the escaped slaves, identified as "Hannah", liked the Hickok family so much she stayed with them for many years. According to Hickok biographer Joseph G. Rosa, the Hickok family still has a tintype photo of Hannah in their possession. It is known that the Hickok home even had a hidden cellar, which was used to hide the escaping slaves. This was dangerous work, even in these early days before the Civil War, but the Hickok family was made of stern fibers. To this family the lines between right and wrong were not as blurred as they are today.

Oliver Hickok had, by this time, gone to California for the Gold Rush. While Horace and Lorenzo took over the regular chores of running the family farm, young James took over the job of furnishing some of the food for the family. With his already evident skill in shooting , James brought in local game to add to the family larder. He also took a job working for a neighbor with a last name of Carr. One day, while swimming with some friends in a stream that ran through the property, a local bully started picking on one of his friends. The bully frightened his friend and James, always a defender of the weak, promptly picked the bully up and then threw him into the water. The future character of the one eventually to be known as "The Prince of the Pistoleer's" was slowly emerging.

By 1854 Hickok's father had died and he was bored with both farming and life in Troy Grove. He took a job in Utica Illinois, working as a wagon driver on the Illinois and Michigan Canal. This job came to an end when James threw his employer into the canal for mistreating his horse team. The pattern of his life was hardening into the life long habit of interposing himself between the oppressed, and the oppressor. By 1856 James was in Kansas territory with his brother Lorenzo. At this time two very different factions were forming in the Kansas territory. Immigrants from Missouri, supporting slavery, were settling in the hundreds. Other settlers, opposing slavery, were also pouring into the area. Eventually, some of the more aggressive followers formed into groups. One was known as the "Missouri Border Ruffians" who were pro-slavery, and the "Kansas Free Staters" anti-slavery. After taking a trip to St. Louis, James ended up in Leavenworth Kansas. It is reported that he joined the "army" of General Jim Lane, one of the Kansas Free Staters, eventually becoming the personal bodyguard of General Lane.

Apparently, the joining of the Kansas Free Staters was not a full time occupation for young James. The election results of Monticello Kansas show Hickok being elected as "Constable", in 1858. This would be the first recorded time he assumed the office of a law enforcement officer. He also did some farming again during this period of his life. It is interesting to note, during this time period, that young Hickok had some concerns about what his mother thought of his behavior. He wrote to his brother, in a letter dated August 14th 1858, that he hadn't had a "drink" in over a year! And, that he hadn't "gambled" in two years! Hickok wanted his beloved mother to know he was behaving himself. Not exactly the image some "historians" have given us concerning this fearsome gunfighter, but true none the less.

During the years 1859-60 Hickok drove freight wagons, and coaches along the Santa Fe Trail. It is said he met the famous frontiersman Kit Carson while so employed. Sometime between 1860 and early 1861 Hickok was injured, some say in a confrontation with a bear, and the freight company put him on light duty status at the Rock Creek Station in the Nebraska territory. This assignment would eventually bring about an incident, that would bring Hickok to the attention of the West, the nation, and the world.

In the course of his duties at the Rock Creek Station, Hickok met a man named McCanles, or sometimes spelled McKandles. Hickok and McCanles did not get along. McCanles formed the habit of calling Hickok "Duck Bill", due to some perceived facial characteristics. Hickok, naturally, did not care for the comment. At this time McCanles was the leader of a local "gang" that considered themselves "desperadoes". He was also a notorious bully. One incident led to another, and one day McCanles and at least two other men came to the Station. Different versions of what occurred that day exist, depending upon which side one relies on. The most reasonable, and the one most often related is as follows. McCanles and his friends came to the station looking for trouble. Words were exchanged between Hickok and McCanles, which led to gunplay. At the end of the incident three men were dead, McCanles and his two friends. There was also overtones of a "woman" being involved in the problem between McCanles and Hickok. That woman was "Sarah Shull". Shull, at the age of ninety-three,related the following version. Shull said that McCanles was a "horse thief stealing horses for the Confederacy. She said he had boasted of his going to "clean up on the people at the station". Shull said that Hickok killed McCanles in "self-defense". Apparently, this was also the opinion of the local court, that looked into the matter, since no charges were brought against Hickok. It is also interesting to note, that court documents concerning the incident refer to Hickok as "William B. Hickok". This is the first known time he was referred to as "William". After Hickok was cleared of wrong doing the incident passed into history, but not out of controversy. McCanles' young son accused Hickok of being the murderer of his father for many years, unfortunately he had no evidence to prove the accusation, other than his opinion.

The year is now 1861 and Hickok, recovered from his injuries, joined the horror known as the Civil War. After the Rock Creek incident Hickok went to Leavenworth Kansas and enlisted in the Union Army. He enlisted as a civilian scout. He took part in the battle of "Wilson Creek" in Missouri. The Union side lost this battle, and their commander was killed. In a letter to his brother Hickok admitted that this was the first time, under fire, that he was scared. Although the historical records are scarce, they do exist and incidents of Hickok's bravery are numerous during his war duty. By 1862 he was made the "chief wagon master" in his unit. During this period of time an incident occurred that, it is claimed resulted in the "Wild Bill" sobriquet. While wandering around the town of Independence Missouri, Hickok noticed a large crowd gathered outside a saloon. Apparently, a local bartender had bested a group of local toughs in a fight. Friends of the beaten toughs now wanted to even the score, and had attracted a large crowd of sympathizers. According to the story, Hickok placed himself between the crowd and their intended victim. He then drew his revolvers, fired over the heads of the mob, and stated he would shoot the first man to move. The entire mob instantly suffered from an inability to move forward, and gradually the crowd dispersed. At the conclusion of the incident a woman's voice was heard to shout, "good for you Wild Bill"!

Howard Hickok had another version of the incident that resulted in Hickok's being called Wild Bill. His version has Hickok and brother Lorenzo transporting a wagon load of supplies, near a small town between Rolla and Springfield Missouri. In this town there was a young man, in jail, being threatened by an angry lynch mob. The young man was a Union sympathizer, and the crowd was Confederate. Lorenzo, and brother James, decided to take a hand,in the matter, and prevented any harm coming to the young man. Sometime during this incident the name "Wild Bill" was applied to Hickok.

Another version of how Hickok obtained the "Wild Bill" title is given by Mr. George Hance, a resident of Rolla Missouri, who knew both Lorenzo and James Hickok. According to Hance, Lorenzo was known as "Tame Bill", and James as "Wild Bill". Although the true version of how, or when, Hickok acquired the sobriquet may never be known, it is known that in this area of the country, during this time period, James Butler Hickok began being known as "Wild Bill Hickok"!

The war continued and during the year 1863 a lot of Hickok's duties involved "spying" for the Union army. By 1864, however, he seems to be more concerned with police work. Several official documents, still in existence, show Hickok being paid for services rendered to the Provost Marshal's office. It is also during this time that Hickok's trademark characteristics are recorded for the first time. He is described as wearing a broad brimmed hat, a pair of ivory handled revolvers at his waist, wearing a long drooping mustache, and having long flowing hair that fell to his shoulders. Molded by war, and many dangerous adventures, Hickok survived the Civil War. He was now unemployed however, and needed to find a means of supporting himself. Springfield Missouri, and another date with destiny was where he headed next.

In those days, Springfield Missouri was a rough place filled with rough dangerous individuals. Some were ex-Union soldiers, some were ex-Confederate. All had been hardened by five years of terrible bloodshed in the War. While in Springfield Hickok ran into an old acquaintance. The man, Dave Tutt, had been on the Confederate side during the war. He had also served in some of the same areas Hickok had served with the Union. The two men did not like each other, and trouble between them was inevitable. One story tells of Hickok having a relationship with a woman named Susannah Moore. They had a falling out, and Tutt stepped in to console her. While Tutt was consoling Moore, Hickok struck up a relationship with Tutt's sister! This offended both Tutt and Tutt's mother who also didn't like Union people. The trouble came to a head during a card game, in which both Tutt and Hickok were involved. Hickok was winning, which irritated Tutt, and words were exchanged. Tutt grabbed Hickok's pocket watch, supposedly as payment for a debt Hickok disputed. Tutt walked off with the watch, but nothing further occurred at this time. Later Hickok heard that Tutt was bragging about having seized his watch, and added that he would parade down the town square wearing the watch. Hickok warned him not to do that or there would be "trouble". Tutt ignored the warning and at the indicated time began to walk into the town square, towards Hickok who was on the opposite side of the square. Hickok again warned him not to cross the square, but again Tutt ignored him. As Tutt walked toward Hickok he pulled his pistol. Hickok pulled his pistol, and almost simultaneously both fired their pistols at each other. Without waiting to see the results of his shot, Hickok turned on his heel and faced an angry group of Tutt's friends, who had taken a position behind him. He calmly told them that if they didn't return their pistols to their holsters, which they had drawn them from, there would be more "dead men" in the square. Tutt's friends complied with Hickok's suggestion. They had seen Hickok calmly shoot Tutt through the heart, at a distance of between 75 to 100 feet, and then turn on them instantly confident of his shot to Tutt. After the incident Hickok was arrested, but later set free due to the courts decision the fight was fair and Hickok had acted in self-defense.

The above "gunfight" is the first recorded of a classical type of western shootout. Two men walk towards each other across a dusty western town square. They pull their guns and shoot. Each taking an equal chance of living or dying. No unfair advantage taken by either party. The better "gunman" wins. Thousands of future books, movies, and TV shows would replay this scene in one fashion or another. Hickok's fight with Tutt set the mold for the classic, although rare in reality, western gunfight and gunfighter image. Hickok's image,however, with the town of Springfield was not all positive, and many did not care for him or his ways. Hickok left Springfield and opened a new chapter in his life.

After Hickok left Springfield it is told he was appointed deputy United States Marshal, in Fort Riley Kansas. Historians dispute this story, however, due to the lack of historical records to substantiate the information. Regardless of this, however, there are official records to show that Hickok was hired, by the Fort, to recover stolen mules. After this Hickok was transferred to Fort McPherson, in the Nebraska territory, to act as scout for the famous General William Tecumseh Sherman. While acting in this capacity Sherman's command stopped in a small Kansas town. While they were in this town, Hickok is said to have taken a friend's daughter bullfrog hunting! It is well known that Hickok got on very well with children. Instinctively, he liked them and they liked him. The records show that Hickok, master gunfighter, killer of men, scout of the wilderness, eagerly chased bullfrogs all day long with a small girl! The young girl cherished the memory all her life.

Hickok returned to Fort Riley after his duties with Sherman were concluded. At this time a regiment was being formed. This particular regiment was destined to become immortal. The regiment was none other than the famous "7th" Cavalry, led by the equally famous Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer! The two men, Hickok and Custer, became good friends. Hickok continued his duties hunting horse thieves and illegal woodcutters, for the Army. There is a very complimentary description of Hickok, by Mrs. Libby Custer, during this time period that further illustrates the friendship between the Custer family and Hickok. Hickok made the acquaintance of another individual at the Fort, also destined for fame, Will Cody later known as "Buffalo Bill".

Sometime toward the end of 1867 records show that Hickok was in Hays City Kansas, working as a deputy U.S. Marshal and, apparently, no longer working with the Army. In September of 1867 Hickok was involved in one of his most famous shootouts. A man named Samuel Strawhun, a well known Hays city ruffian, decided to "clean out" one of the local saloons. As city Marshal Hickok moved in to stop the trouble. Hickok warned the armed and dangerous man to cease causing trouble. Strawhun refused, made a move for his gun and was promptly shot through the head by Hickok. Hickok had to shoot another man, in performance of his duties, named Mulvey who was another town troublemaker. In neither of these actions was any blame laid upon Hickok. On the contrary, he was applauded. Many attempts upon Hickok's life were made during these days. He developed habits, of personal safety, to protect himself. He would walk down the center of the street, eyes darting back and forth. No one was allowed to get too near. If he noted a lot of noise and disturbance coming from a saloon, he would turn sharply from his path, push the saloon doors open hard enough to cause them to slam back against the walls, and then faced the noisy crowd. He would then inform them to quiet down, and then leave as suddenly as he had arrived. Seldom did he have to repeat himself. The local newspaper wrote, "Hays city is under the guardian care of Wild Bill, is quiet, and doing well". There is also a confrontation, between Hickok and five cavalry troopers, that is somewhat in dispute as to the exact facts of the event. It is generally conceded by historians that Hickok was attacked by the five troopers. The result of that attack is that one, possibly two, of the troopers were killed by Hickok. How or why the confrontation occurred, and the exact sequence of events are in not known. Since no official action was taken by the Army, against Hickok, it must be assumed that he acted in self-defense.

In the summer of 1868, while pursuing a horse thief, Hickok rode into Atchison KS. Here he met a 12 year old boy named Bill Tilghman. Tilghman would later become a famous western Marshal himself. Many years later Mrs. Zoe Tilghman submitted a copy, of some of her husbands notes concerning this meeting. Tilghman wrote; "He was mounted on no prancing charger, only a sturdy government mule, but he rode with the easy grace of a Plainsman. Tall, he was over six feet, splendidly built, and his face as handsome as his form, with strong clear-cut features and keen dark blue eyes, long drooping mustache and hair curling upon his shoulders". Mr. Tilghman then continues, "He spoke in a slow assured manner". "Good morning boys and young ladies", he said to the group of young children. He then asked them some questions concerning the man he was tracking. This incident had a profound impact on young Bill Tilghman. Hickok became his hero and he strove to emulate him in many ways during his life. Eventually, Tilghman became one of the premier law enforcement officers in the West.

Hickok's term as city Marshal of Hays ended, and in 1870 he decided to visit an old friend in Topeka Kansas. The man's name was H.C. Lindsay, and he and Hickok knew each other from old Indian campaign days. One day while walking in town, near the intersection of Sixth and Kansas streets, a local man decided to insult Hickok. The man continued to annoy Hickok, so he knocked the man down. This ended the insulting, but not the incident. Hickok is on record as being fined, for participating in the altercation.

The winter of 1870-71 passed peacefully for Hickok. In March or early April of 1871 the city of Abilene Kansas offered him a job as city Marshal. Abilene was a rough and rowdy cowtown, in those days. After looking the city over, Hickok decided to accept the position. On April 15th 1871 he was sworn in as Marshal at a salary of $150 dollars a month. He immediately began to break up all the unfair gambling practices, currently implemented in the saloons. When patrons became too drunk to gamble he stopped the game, to protect them from losing their money while inebriated. Mayor McCoy said of him, "He was the squarest (most honest) man I ever saw". Hickok was offered the position of Marshal after the previous one,Tom Smith, was killed in the line of duty. Marshal Smith had chosen to enforce the law, in Abilene, with his fists and strength of character. This proved to be not a very practical method. Marshal Smith was struck with an ax and almost decapitated while attempting to enforce the law at a local rancher's home. A gruesome tale, but illustrative of the type and character of the town Hickok had come to tame. The rowdy cowboys and criminals of Abilene would soon learn, however, that Marshal Hickok was a very different person from Tom Smith. They would learn that the new Marshal was of iron will, expert with guns, fearless in the performance of his duties, and possessed of a well earned reputation as a killer of men when necessary. In short, Abilene was in for a very rude awakening.

News of an arriving cattle herd was met with conflicting emotions in old Abilene. It meant money for shopkeepers, saloon owners and brothels. It also meant fear and alarm to the common citizen, who had to deal with the drunken dangerous cowboys. In 1936 an old woman was interviewed about her recollections of old Abilene, and Hickok, during this time period. She spoke kindly of the Marshal who came to her dad's farm to visit. On these visits the Marshal would bring candy for her and her siblings. She recalled how Hickok loved little children, and especially how tenderly he treated her. One day, after hearing that a cowherd was approaching, she remember how fearful she and her family became. Normally, as a cowherd approached Abilene, riders from town were sent out to warn the local farms. This was done to allow the farmers time to bring their families into town for safety. This was necessary because the cowboys would sometimes kill the farmers, whom they didn't like anyway, on their way into town. On this occasion however, she recalls her family cowered in fear because they had not been warned of the approaching cowherd. Suddenly, the family saw a lone rider approaching their farm. Knowing they could not escape, the family awaited their fate. As the rider approached, she recognized the lone rider. Her father cried out "Children we're safe, it's Marshal Hickok they'll not harm us now!" And the family remained in complete safety while the cow herd, and the cowboys, passed by the ranch. The old woman had tears in her eyes, recalling the incident, even after all the passing years. She said, "Oh, I tell you, I tell you, he was a grand man was Marshal Hickok, a grand man!" This isolated snapshot of Hickok's life is revealing. Was he a killer of men? Yes, if it was necessary. But also he was a man of gentleness and tender caring for the weak and helpless.

Many years after Hickok's death, a famous gunman named John Wesley Hardin wrote an autobiography. In this autobiography he relates an interesting piece of fiction concerning Hickok and Abilene. According to Hardin's biography Hickok came to disarm Hardin one day, for violation of the gun carry laws enacted in Abilene. Hardin says that he backed Hickok down using a maneuver called the "road agents spin". In this maneuver, a person hands their gun/s to the unsuspecting party butt's first. The person keeps his trigger finger/s in the trigger guard/s however, and when the other party reaches for the gun/s they are suddenly spun back into the hand/s of the gunman ready to be fired. According to Hardin, Hickok taken by surprise at the maneuver, offered to compromise the situation over a drink in the saloon. The problem with this recollection" of Hardin's is that there is absolutely no evidence it ever happened. It is ridiculous at face value. First, Hickok was an experienced gunfighter and the trick was old and well known at the time. Secondly, Hickok knew of Hardin and his reputation. It is likely that when Hardin reached for his gun/s to hand them over, Hickok would have shot him dead for making a move toward his gun/s. Thirdly, there is no such occurrence mentioned in any town record or newspaper file. There was no such recollection, of the incident, in the minds of old Abilene residents. Hickok never mentioned it in his statements. And finally, Hardin never made such a statement while Hickok was alive. There is however, a record of Hardin leaving town in a hurry after shooting a man. The reason he left town in a hurry was because he knew Hickok would be coming to arrest him. After Hardin left town he and Hickok did not meet again.

During this time, in Abilene, gamblers and prostitutes came to town in ever increasing numbers. City councilmen instructed Hickok to close down the various houses of "ill repute", and some of the gambling houses. This Hickok did, with the aid of his deputies, although both he and his men were openly cursed for doing their duty. The citizens of Abilene soon learned that they had nothing to fear, from the rowdy trail herd cowboys, with Wild Bill on the job. Hickok did not make a continuous patrol of the streets, as did his predecessor Tom Smith, but instead did it only a couple of times a day. When he did go on patrol he would walk down the center of the street, rarely using the sidewalks. When he got a shave he kept a shotgun in hand and his eyes open. He usually kept his back to walls, and avoided open doorways and windows. Hickok had only three deputies and himself, to control upwards of five thousand rowdy citizens. He was constantly aware of the hatred felt towards him by the Texans, many of whom had sworn to "get" him. Hickok was not a 20th century lawman. He enforced the law as he saw fit. He thought nothing of running a man out of town, rather than locking him up in jail. A friend of Hickok's, Charles Gross, recalled that Hickok didn't even trust the women he consorted with from time to time. It was during this time period, however, that Hickok met his future wife Agnes Lake who had come to town with her traveling circus show, but more of than later.

One of the gambling/prostitution establishments in particular caused Hickok much trouble. The owners of this establishment were the famous gunfighter Ben Thompson, and a man named Phil Coe. There are many stories concerning why there was bad feeling between Coe and Hickok. The truth is no one knows for sure. In any event, things came to a head in October of 1871. On the night of the 5th Coe and a large group of friends were in an ugly drunken mood. When they reached the "Alamo" saloon Coe drew his pistol and fired it. Hickok, with his good friend Mike Williams, heard the shot. Hickok told Williams to stay where he was, and then took off in the direction of the gunshot. When he got to the place where Coe and his friends were he demanded to know who fired the shot. Abilene's town gun laws did not allow this type of activity. Coe told him that he had shot at a stray dog. Hickok interrupted him and then proceeded to tell the entire mob what he thought of them, and it wasn't complimentary. The told them that the June ordinance concerning firearms was still in effect, and that they should give up their guns and leave town. This, of course, incensed the mob. Hickok though continued to focus his attention on Coe. Accounts differ on what happened next. The available facts, consisting of eyewitness accounts and some contemporary newspaper accounts, indicate that Coe shot at Hickok. Hickok quickly drew his pistols and fired back at Coe. At this same moment deputy Williams, in direct violation of Hickok's instructions, came running around the corner, and into the line of fire. Hickok had put two bullets into Coe's abdomen,but seeing someone else running into the gunfight, with a drawn gun, Hickok fired again not recognizing his friend. Thus Hickok,inadvertently, killed his good friend Mike Williams who had been running to his aid. Hickok became enraged, both at the death of his good friend, and at the mob who had been the cause. He now turned on the mob. He told them to mount their ponies and ride out of town "damn quick". The mob didn't utter a sound. They were immediately sobered up and struck dumb with fear. They quickly and quietly left town. Now the citizens of Abilene were to witness a transformation. The legendary lawman now became flesh and blood. Like a sleeping tiger suddenly awakened, Hickok's fearsome character emerged with a vengeance. Like a man possessed, Hickok purposely strode through the roughest and most dangerous parts of Abilene. He kicked in doors of all the saloons, ordered everyone out, and shut them down. Those who complied fared well. Those who objected or resisted were knocked through, or out, the doors and into the street. Each person who looked into the eyes of Hickok this night saw death in them and fled in fear. Hickok's deputies did little to assist him, there was no need. In Abilene Kansas that night a few hundred drunken,lawless cowboys looked into the face of one man and backed down. That man was Wild Bill Hickok. Hickok had been called a "terror to evildoers" by a reporter of the Junction City Union newspaper. Hickok more than proved that title during that night. In December of 1871 Abilene discharged Hickok as city marshal, after he had made one of the most lawless towns on the frontier safe for decent people.

It is now time to deal with a myth that has plagued Hickok's memory and his legend. That myth involves a woman of questionable character, morals, and honesty. It involves a woman that, in life, had almost nothing whatever to do with him, except share the same area of the country for a brief time. That woman was delicately known as "Calamity Jane". Reported claims of her having had a relationship with Him would have produced laughter, if spoken during his lifetime, or in front of family or friends. Instead, this ridiculous woman, supposedly claimed not only to have known Hickok, but to have had an affair with him! Naturally, all such claims were made long after Hickok was dead.

In the early 1870's a man named John Hunton saw Calamity Jane and gives us a description of her,while on a visit to Fort Laramie in Wyoming. He said, "Her achievements have been greatly magnified by every writer I have ever met, for she was among the commonest of her class". She seems to have had a passion for male clothing, and frequently dressed as a man. In 1941 a woman named Jean Hickok McCormick told a story to the Billings Montana Gazette. She claimed to be the daughter of Calamity Jane. In the "story" she also claimed to have a "diary" and a "confession",alledgedly written by Calamity Jane, that told of an "affair" Calamity had with a "cousin" of Hickok. This "cousin" she claimed was her father. According to the premier biographer of Hickok, Mr. Joseph G. Rosa, some odd things then began to happen. After the story was published McCormick's story changed. Now, instead of her father being just a "cousin" of Hickok's, Hickok himself was her father! Of course there was not a shred of evidence or documentation to verify this outlandish claim. However, the Columbia Broadcasting System got interested in the claim and broadcasted it on a program known as "We the People". With this notoriety,McCormick now received offers to appear in rodeo's and parades as the "daughter" of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane! One of Hickok's friends, White Eyed Jack Anderson, said that he had seen Calamity back in 1879. At that time she was claiming to have been the wife of some man named Cosgrove, but never Hickok.

In another portion of the "diary" McCormick claimed Calamity had wed Hickok aboard a steamship named the "Madagascar", by it's captain named "O'Neil". The ship and the captain supposedly were in the "Cunard" steamship line. Unfortunately, for the forger of the diary, the Cunard steamship line has always maintained highly detailed records. A request for any/all information on either the ship or the indicated captain, from the Cunard line, was submitted by Mr. Rosa in 1957. The request produced two very interesting results. First, the Cunard line never had a ship named the "Madagascar". Second, they never had a captain named "O'Neil" in the list of their ships captains! Recently, a "photo" of the mysterious Captain O'Neil surfaced. Again, unfortunately, Cunard Steamship Company quickly identified the photo as that of a Captain A.C. Greig, who served with them from 1906 to 1945.

The above few examples are typical of the numerous inconsistencies, inaccurate facts, and downright falsehoods connected to the Calamity Jane/Hickok stories. The sad, but true, ending to this story is that in the 1940's a woman named Martha Dewey came forth. She was a legitimate niece of Hickok, and approached the Billings Gazette and told them McCormick was a fraud and imposter. Subsequently, McCormick admitted that she had not even been born until 1880, four years after Hickok's death. Of course, this information never got the circulation the false claim had received. In August of 1903 Calamity died from complications of alcoholism. Before the internment,however, some of her "friends" conceived the plan to bury her next to Wild Bill. Strange, because never in the twenty-seven years she outlived Hickok did she ever voice such a desire. In fact she hardly even spoke of him. Finally, her "friends" decided to also change the date of her death. Jane had died on the 1st of August 1903, but they changed it to August 2nd 1903 to correspond to the anniversary of Hickok's death. As Hickok biographer Joseph Rosa states, in his definitive book "They Called Him Wild Bill", "thus the two were linked together in a relationship in death which had never existed in life".

It is recorded that before "Buffalo Bill" developed his "Wild West show, others had attempted similar productions. Two of these early entrepreneurs were P.T. Barnum, and a man called Colonel Sidney Barnett of the Niagara Falls area of New York state. Hickok is recorded as appearing in the show developed by Mr. Barnett. A humorous, if somewhat dangerous, incident occurred during an appearance by Hickok. The plan was to see if a full grown buffalo could be roped and captured from horseback. Hickok successfully roped the animal, however, the rope slipped back of the buffalo's hump. This gave all the advantage to the buffalo. Not only could the horse not hold the animal, it was flipped head over heals! This caused Hickok, the greatest gunfighter in the West, to be unceremoniously dumped face first into the dirt, and to see his horse being dragged away by the buffalo. The Barnett show eventually proved to be a financial disaster, causing Mr. Barnett serious monetary problems. So ended Wild Bill's first attempt at "show business".

Hickok later would return to the east for another attempt at show business. This time with the group of actors recruited by the famous Buffalo Bill. Hickok didn't seem to feel comfortable with all the "make believe" and never quite fit in. He didn't do well living in the East either. One night while wandering around New York City he came into a pool room. Inside were several local thugs playing pool, and when they saw the long haired frontiersman come in they thought they would have some sport with him. One thing led to another and soon five or six of them lay unconscious on the pool room floor. When asked about the incident by Buffalo Bill, Hickok said "I got lost among the hostiles", drawing a parallel between the pool room thugs and being caught by Indians on the plains. Eventually, Hickok tired of all the show business stuff and left for the West he so loved.

Hickok met his true and only wife while Marshal of Abilene. She had come there with her traveling circus show. Agnes Thatcher Lake was a truly remarkable woman. She was a world renowned horsewoman, tightrope walker, dancer, sometime actress, lion tamer, and could speak several languages! Her first husband, William Thatcher Lake later just known as Bill Lake, was a circus clown. Together they joined a traveling circus show, and eventually Agnes had a child. They toured Europe for a while and then returned to the United States. Bill Lake was shot to death in 1869, but Agnes continued with the traveling show. She arrived in Abilene in 1871.

Agnes fell deeply in love with Hickok on sight. Hickok was somewhat undecided though, thinking Agnes would return to the East after her show closed and he greatly preferred the West. They continued to correspond,however, and letters still exist to prove their mutual love and respect. Agnes Lake and James Butler Hickok were finally married on March 5th, 1876. After honeymooning back east, Hickok returned to the West. He ended up in Deadwood South Dakota where gold had been discovered. Here he hoped to make a "strike" and bring Agnes out West.

This tale of romance came to a sad end on August 2, 1876. Hickok was playing cards with group of friends in Deadwood's "Number 10" Saloon. Usually, Hickok always sat with his back to a wall. On this occasion however, his friends teased him about his habit and wouldn't let him sit with his back to the wall. Hickok could see the front door to the saloon, but not the back door. In through the back door walked a cowardly little man named "Jack McCall". He walked up to Hickok and calmly shot him in the back of the head, killing Hickok instantly. At the time of his death Hickok was holding black aces and eights with the fifth card the Jack of Diamonds. For ever after this hand would be known as "The Dead Man's Hand". McCall was eventually tried and convicted of Hickok's murder, and was hanged. His motive was never really known, but some folks thought the criminal element in Deadwood feared the famous lawman and decided to eliminate him. Whatever the truth was it died with Jack McCall on the gallows.

Agnes Lake had, in her possession at the time of Hickok's death, a letter. In the letter Hickok reveals a premonition of his death. He wrote, "Agnes darling, if such should be we never meet again, while firing my last shot, I will gently breathe the name of my wife, Agnes, and with wishes even for my enemies I will make the plunge and try to swim to the other shore." In these few, but eloquent compassionate words is revealed true man among men, a true hero, and another glimpse into the character that became a legend. For the thirty-seven years Agnes survived Hickok she never remarried. She died on August 21st 1907.

Lesser men, in a safer time, have sometimes judged Hickok harshly. They quibble over meaningless points, and judge him with the values of another time and another place. They have even doubted accomplishments for which there is ample documentation. In my opinion, these would be the "cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat", in the "arena" of life, spoken of by Theodore Roosevelt. But in the final analysis does their opinion matter? I think not. The men, women, and children of his own time echoed the words of that old woman of Abilene, "He was a grand man, Marshal Hickok, a grand man".

By John P. Richard

(Adapted from Joseph G. Rosa's book They called him Wild Bill, the life and adventures of James Butler Hickok)

--------------------

Is this 'Wild Bill Hickok'?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Bill_Hickok

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 	 James "Wild Bill" Hickock  (1837-1876)

American Outlaw

James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok was a legendary gunfighter and law man in the American Wild West. Many characters in Western novels are fashioned after Hickok.

Hickok, "Wild Bill"

Wild west legend (1837-1876) Who's Who in American History

Born in rural Illinois, James Hickok developed extraordinary shooting skills in an otherwise unremarkable childhood. He left home and travelled west in 1855, working irregularly as a farmhand, hired gun and stagecoach driver. During the Civil War, he was a Union spy in Missouri. After the war, he served as marshall in several rough frontier towns, and as a cavalryman in the "Indian Wars." Over the years, his gunfighting and gambling prowess became the stuff of "wild west" lore, exaggerated, embellished and celebrated in contemporary pulp fiction. Among his legendary exploits, he reportedly killed a bear in hand-to-hand combat armed with only a bowie knife. His romance with Martha Jane Burke, aka "Calamity Jane," similarly provided material for dime novelists.

   Hickok soon parlayed his status as pop culture icon into a new career. He starred as "Wild Bill" in the play Scouts of the Praires, and toured with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show in 1872-73. Eventually he returned to the frontier and resumed gambling. During a poker game in 1876, a gunman shot him in the back as he held two pairs, aces over eights--a holding henceforth known as "the dead man's hand." One historian writes, "As was the case with most Western characters, Hickok's fame grew with the passage of time and he became in the hands of later writers the classic frontier hero--upright, fearless, and almost superhuman in his ability to outfight and outshoot desperadoes of all sorts in any numbers."

SOURCE:Webster's American Biographies. -------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Bill_Hickok

James Butler Hickok (May 27, 1837 – August 2, 1876), better known as Wild Bill Hickok, was a figure in the American Old West. His skills as a gunfighter and scout, along with his reputation as a lawman, provided the basis for his fame, although some of his exploits are fictionalized. His nickname of Wild Bill has inspired similar nicknames for men known for their daring in various fields.

Hickok came to the West as a stagecoach driver, then became a lawman in the frontier territories of Kansas and Nebraska. He fought in the Union Army during the American Civil War, and gained publicity after the war as a scout, marksman, and professional gambler. Between his law-enforcement duties and gambling, which easily overlapped, Hickok was involved in several notable shootouts, and was ultimately killed while playing poker in a Dakota Territory saloon.

On July 21, 1865, in the town square of Springfield, Missouri, Hickok killed Davis Tutt, Jr. in a "quick draw" duel. Fiction later typified this kind of gunfight, but Hickok's is, in fact, the first one on record that fits the portrayal.

On August 2, 1876, Hickok was playing poker at Nuttal & Mann's Saloon No. 10 in Deadwood, in the Black Hills, Dakota Territory. On this fateful day Wild Bill violated one of his own cardinal rules and was sitting with his back to a door. Twice he asked another player to change seats with him and on both occasions he refused.

Wild Bill was having a run of bad luck that day and was forced to borrow a poker stake from the bartender. That run of bad luck worsened when an ex-buffalo hunter called John (“Broken Nose Jack”) McCall walked in unnoticed. Jack McCall walked to within a few feet of Wild Bill and then suddenly drew a pistol and shouted, “Take that!” before firing.

The bullet hit Hickok in the back of the head, killing him instantly. The bullet emerged through Wild Bill’s right cheek striking Captain Massie in the left wrist. Legend has it that Hickok had lost his stake and had just borrowed $50 from the house to continue playing. When shot, he was holding a pair of aces and a pair of eights, all black.

Owing to the number of poker players who died during disputes, Dead man's hand was already established poker idiom for a number of a different hands long before Hickok died. Eventually, Hickok's "Aces and eights" became widely accepted as the "Dead Man's Hand."

In 1979, Hickok was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.

-------------------- Wild Bill Hickok

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wild Bill Hickok

Wild Bill Hickok

Born James Butler Hickok

May 27, 1837(1837-05-27)

Troy Grove, Illinois, U.S.

Died August 2, 1876 (aged 39)

Deadwood, Dakota Territory, U.S.

Cause of death Murdered (shot in the back of the head) by Jack McCall

Resting place Mount Moriah Cemetery

Occupation Lawman, Gunfighter, Gambler

James Butler Hickok (May 27, 1837 – August 2, 1876), better known as Wild Bill Hickok, was a figure in the American Old West. His skills as a gunfighter and scout, along with his reputation as a lawman, provided the basis for his fame, although some of his exploits are fictionalized. His nickname of Wild Bill has inspired similar nicknames for men known for their daring in various fields.

Hickok came to the West as a stagecoach driver, then became a lawman in the frontier territories of Kansas and Nebraska. He fought in the Union Army during the American Civil War, and gained publicity after the war as a scout, marksman, and professional gambler. Between his law-enforcement duties and gambling, which easily overlapped, Hickok was involved in several notable shootouts, and was ultimately killed while playing poker in a Dakota Territory saloon.

Early life

Hickok was born in Homer, Illinois (what is now Troy Grove) on May 27, 1837. His birthplace is now the Wild Bill Hickok Memorial, a listed historic site under the supervision of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. While he was growing up, his father's farm was one of the stops on the Underground Railroad, and he learned his shooting skills protecting the farm with his father from slave catchers. Hickok was a good shot from a very young age and recognized locally as an outstanding marksman with a pistol.[1]

In 1855, at the age of 18, Hickok moved to Kansas Territory following a fight with Charles Hudson, which resulted in both falling into a canal. Mistakenly thinking he had killed Hudson, Hickok fled and joined General Jim Lane's vigilante "Free State Army" (The Red Legs) where he met 12-year-old William Cody, later to be known as "Buffalo Bill," who at that time was a scout for Johnston's Army.[2]

Because of his "sweeping nose and protruding upper lip," Hickok was nicknamed "Duck Bill."[3] In 1861, after growing a mustache following the McCanles incident, he began calling himself Wild Bill.[4] Despite all Hickok photographs indicating he had dark hair, all contemporary descriptions confirm he was in fact golden blonde. Reddish shades in hair appeared black in early wet and dry plate photography.[5]

For unknown reasons, Hickok used the name William Hickok from 1858 and then William Haycock during the Civil War. Arrested as Haycock in 1865, he then resumed his real name of James Hickok. Interestingly, most newspapers continued to use the name William Haycock when referring to "Wild Bill" until 1869 despite military records after 1865 using his correct name while acknowledging he was also known as Haycock.[6][7]

[edit] Constable

In 1857, Hickok claimed a 160-acre (65 ha) tract in Johnson County, Kansas (in what is now Lenexa).[8] On March 22, 1858, he was elected as one of the first four constables of Monticello Township, Kansas. In 1859 he joined the Russell, Waddell, and Majors freight company called the Pony Express. The following year he was badly injured by a bear and sent to the Rock Creek Station in Nebraska (which the company had recently purchased from David McCanles) to work as a stable hand while he recovered. In 1861 he was involved in a deadly shootout with the McCanles Gang at the Rock Creek Station after 40-year-old David McCanles, his 12-year-old son (William) Monroe McCanles, and two farmhands, James Woods and James Gordon, called at the station's office to demand payment of an overdue second installment on the property, an event that is still the subject of much debate. David McCanles "called out" Wild Bill from the Station House. Wild Bill emerged onto the street, immediately drew one of his .36 caliber SA Navy revolvers, and, at a 75-yard stand-off distance, fired a single shot into McCanles's chest, killing him instantly (ref. Am. Handgunner). Hickok and his accomplices, the station manager Horace Wellman, his wife, and an employee, J.W. Brink, were tried but judged to have acted in self-defense.[2] According to Joseph G. Rosa, a Hickok biographer, the shot that felled the elder McCanles came from inside the house, a tale Wild Bill's friends invented to keep the "heat" of both the law and McCanles' extended family off Wild Bill (extended generational member). It remains unknown who actually fired it. Rosa conjectures that Wellman had far more of a motive to kill McCanles, a belief supported by McCanles's son's own account. There were also women in the house, conceivably armed with shotguns. McCanles was the first man Hickok was reputed to have killed in a fight. On several later occasions, Hickok was to confront and kill several men while fighting alone.[9]

[edit] Civil War and scouting

When the Civil War broke out in April 1861, Hickok signed on as a teamster for the Union Army in Sedalia, Missouri, and by the end of the year he was a wagonmaster. In September 1862 he was discharged for an undisclosed reason and there are no records of his whereabouts until late 1863, when he was employed by the Provost Marshal of South-West Missouri as a member of the Springfield detective police. It has been speculated that during the "missing year", Hickok may have been operating as a spy in Southern territory.

Hickok's duties as a police detective were mostly mundane and included counting the number of troops in uniform drinking while on duty, checking hotel liquor licenses and tracking down individuals in debt to the Union to facilitate repayment. In 1864 Hickok and the other detectives had not been paid for some time, and Hickok either resigned or was reassigned as he was hired as a scout by General John B. Sanborn at five dollars a day plus a horse and equipment. In June 1865, Hickok was mustered out and spent his time in and around Springfield gambling.[10]

[edit] Lawman and gunfighter notoriety


Hickok 1869. Because a knife would not have been worn unsheathed, it is likely a photographer's prop. Although buckskins are often seen in movies depicting earlier periods, Hickok was one of the first to wear them.On July 21, 1865, in the town square of Springfield, Missouri, Hickok killed Davis Tutt, Jr. in a "quick draw" duel. Fiction later typified this kind of gunfight, but Hickok's is in fact the first one on record that fits the portrayal.[11]

Hickok first met former Confederate Army soldier Davis Tutt in early 1865, while both were gambling in Springfield, Missouri. Hickok often borrowed money from Tutt. They were originally good friends,[12] but they eventually fell out over a woman, and it was rumored that Hickok once had an affair with Tutt's sister, perhaps fathering a child. This was likely exacerbated by the fact that there was a long-standing dispute over Hickok's girlfriend, Susannah Moore. Hickok refused to play cards with Tutt, who retaliated by financing other players in an attempt to bankrupt him.[2]

According to the accepted account, the dispute came to a head when Tutt was coaching an opponent of Hickok's during a card game. Hickok was on a winning streak and Tutt, frustrated, requested that he repay a $40 loan, which Hickok did. Tutt then demanded another $35 owed from a previous card game. Hickok refused, as he had an "a memorandum" proving it to be for $25. Tutt then took Hickok's watch, which was lying on the table, as collateral for the $35, at which point Hickok warned him not to wear it or he, Hickok, would shoot him. The next day, Tutt appeared in the square wearing the watch prominently, and Hickok tried to negotiate the watch's return. Tutt stated that he would now accept no less than $45, but both agreed that they would not fight over it and went for a drink together. Tutt left the saloon but returned to the square at 6 p.m., while Hickok arrived on the other side and warned him not to approach him while wearing the watch. Both men faced each other sideways in the dueling position and both fired almost simultaneously. Tutt's shot missed, but Hickok's didn't, piercing Tutt through the side from about 75 yards away. Tutt called out, "Boys, I'm killed" and ran onto the porch of the local courthouse and then back to the street, where he collapsed and died.[13]

Hickok was arrested for murder two days later; however, the charge was later reduced to manslaughter. He was released on $2,000 bail and stood trial on August 3, 1865. At the end of the trial, Judge Sempronius Boyd gave the jury two contradictory instructions. He first instructed the jury that a conviction was its only option under the law.[14] He then instructed them that they could apply the unwritten law of the "fair fight" and acquit.[15] The jury voted for acquittal, a verdict that was not popular at the time.[16]

Several weeks later, Hickok was interviewed by Colonel George Ward Nichols, and the interview was published in Harper's New Monthly Magazine. Using the name "Wild Bill Hitchcock" (sic), the article recounted the hundreds of men whom Hickok supposedly personally killed and other exaggerated exploits. The article was controversial wherever Hickok was known, and it led to several frontier newspapers' writing rebuttals. As can be seen in this account, not counting Indians, Hickok killed five men (one by accident), was an accessory in the deaths of three more, and wounded one. Hickok was reported to be an inveterate hater of Indians, but it is difficult to separate fact from fiction. Witnesses confirm that while scouting from Fort Harker Kansas on May 11, 1867, Hickok was attacked by a large group of Indians, who fled after Hickok shot and killed two. In July, Hickok told a newspaper reporter he had led several soldiers in pursuit of Indians who had killed four men near the fort on 2 July. He reported returning with five prisoners after killing ten. Witnesses confirm the story was true in part: The party did set out to find those who had killed the four men, but the group returned to the fort without nary a dead Indian, neither even seeing a live one.[17]

In September 1865, Hickok came in second in the election for City Marshal of Springfield. Leaving Springfield, he was recommended for the position of Deputy United States Marshal at Fort Riley Kansas. This was at the time of the Indian Wars that counted the Great Plains as a battleground, and Hickok sometimes served as a scout for George A. Custer's 7th Cavalry.[2]

In 1867, Hickok took a break from the west and moved to Niagara Falls, where he tried his hand at acting in a stage play called "The Daring Buffalo Chases of the Plains."[18] He proved to be a terrible actor and returned to the West, where he ran for sheriff in Ellsworth County, Kansas, on November 5, 1867, but was defeated by former soldier E.W. Kingsbury.

In December 1867, newspapers reported Hickok's arrival in Hays, Kansas. On 28 March 1868, he was again in Hays as a deputy U.S. Marshall, picking up 11 Union deserters charged with stealing government property to be transferred to Topeka for trial. He requested a military escort from Fort Hays and was assigned William F. Cody, a sergeant and five privates, with the group arriving in Topeka on 2 April. Hickok was still, or again, in Hays in August 1868 when he brought 200 Cheyenne to Hays to viewed by excursionists. On September 1, Hickok was in Elkhorn township in Lincoln County, Kansas, where he was hired as a scout by the 10th Calvary Regiment, a segregated African-American unit. On 4 September, Hickok was wounded in the foot while rescuing several cattlemen in the Bijou Creek Basin who were surrounded by Indians. The 10th arrived at Fort Lyon, Colorado, in October and remained for the rest of 1868.[19]

In July 1869, Hickok was back in Hays and was elected sheriff and city marshal of Ellis County, Kansas, in a special election, on August 23, 1869.[20]. The county was having particular difficulty holding sheriffs—three had quit over the previous 18 months. It is likely that Hickok was already acting sheriff when elected as a newspaper reported him arresting offenders on 18 August and the commander of Fort Hays praised Hickok for his work in apprehending deserters in a letter he wrote to the Assistant Adjutant General on 21 August. However, the "special election" may not have been legal, as a letter dated 17 September to the Governor of Kansas noted that Hickok had presented a warrant for an arrest which was rejected by the Fort Hays commander because when asked to produce his commission Hickok admitted he never had one. Ellis county elections were held on 2 November 1869, and Hickok (Independent) lost to his deputy Peter Lanihan (Democrat). Hickok and Lanihan remained, respectively, sheriff and deputy as Hickok accused J.V. Macintosh of irregularities and misconduct during the election. On 9 December, Hickok and Lanihan both served legal papers on Macintosh and local newspapers acknowledged that Hickok had guardianship of Hays City.[21]

In his first month as sheriff in Hays, he killed two men in gunfights. The first, on 24 was Bill Mulvey, who "got the drop" on Hickok. Hickok looked past him and yelled, "'Don't shoot him in the back; he is drunk," which was enough distraction to allow him to win the fight.[22][2] The second was cowboy Samuel Strawhun after Hickok and Deputy Sheriff Lanihan had been called to a saloon where Strawhun was causing a disturbance at 1am on 27 September.[23] After Strawhun made remarks against Hickok, Strawhun died instantly from a bullet through the head as Hickok tried to restore order. At Strawhuns inquest, despite "very contradictory" evidence from witnesses, the jury found the shooting justifiable.[24]

On July 17, 1870, also in Hays, he was involved in a gunfight with disorderly soldiers of the 7th U.S. Cavalry. Two troopers, Jeremiah Lonergan and John Kile (Kyle), set upon Hickok in a saloon. Lonergan pinned Hickok to the ground while Kile put his gun to Hickok's ear; however, it misfired, allowing Hickok to reach his own guns. Lonergan was shot in the knee while Kile, who was shot twice, died the next day.[25][26] He later failed to win reelection. On April 15, 1871, Hickok became marshal of Abilene, Kansas, taking over for former marshal Tom "Bear River" Smith, who had been killed on November 2, 1870.[27] The outlaw John Wesley Hardin was in Abilene in 1871, and was befriended by Hickok. In his 1895 autobiography (published after his own death and 19 years after Hickok's), Hardin claimed to have disarmed Hickok using the famous road agent's spin during a failed attempt to arrest him for wearing his pistols in a saloon. He further claimed that Hickok, as a result, had two guns cocked and pointed at him. This story is considered to be apocryphal or at the very least an exaggeration, as Hardin claimed this at a time when Hickok couldn't defend himself. Hardin was an extremely accomplished gunfighter and was known to have killed over 40 men in his lifetime; he in turn idealized Hickok and identified with Wild Bill.[2][28] It is also recorded that when Hardin's cousin Mannen Clements was jailed for the killing of two cowboys, Hickok, at Hardin's request, arranged for his escape.[29]

While working in Abilene, Hickok and Phil Coe, a saloon owner, had an ongoing dispute that later resulted in a shootout. Coe had been the business partner of known gunman Ben Thompson, with whom he co-owned the Bulls Head Saloon. On October 5, 1871, Hickok was standing off a crowd during a street brawl, during which time Coe fired two shots. Hickok ordered him to be arrested for firing a pistol within the city limits. Coe explained that he was shooting at a stray dog[30] but suddenly turned his gun on Hickok, who fired first and killed Coe. Hickok caught the glimpse of movement of someone running toward him and quickly fired two shots in reaction, accidentally shooting and killing Abilene Special Deputy Marshal Mike Williams,[31] who was coming to his aid, an event that haunted Hickok for the remainder of his life.[32] There is another account of the Coe shootout. Theophilus Little, mayor of Abilene and owner of the town's lumberyard, recorded his time in Abilene by writing in a notebook that was recently given to the Abilene Historical Society. Writing in 1911, he detailed his admiration of Hickok and included a paragraph on the shooting that differs considerably from the accepted account.

"-"Phil" Coe was from Texas, ran the "Bull’s Head" a saloon and gambling den, sold whiskey and men’s souls. A vile a character as I ever met for some cause Wild Bill incurred Coe’s hatred and he vowed to secure the death of the Marshall. Not having the courage to do it himself, he one day filled about 200 cowboys with whiskey intending to get them into trouble with Wild Bill, hoping that they would get to shooting and in the melee shoot the marshal. But Coe "reckoned without his host." Wild Bill had learned of the scheme and cornered Coe, had his two pistols drawn on Coe. Just as he pulled the trigger one of the policemen rushed around the corner between Coe and the pistols and both balls entered his body, killing him instantly. in an instant, he pulled the triggers again sending two bullets into Coe's abdomen (Coe lived a day or two) and whirling with his two guns drawn on the drunken crowd of cowboys, "and now do any of you fellows want the rest of these bullets." Not a word was uttered."

Coe supposedly stated that he could "kill a crow on the wing," and Hickok's retort is one of the West's most famous sayings (though possibly apocryphal): "Did the crow have a pistol? Was he shooting back? I will be." Hickok was relieved of his duties as marshal less than two months after having accidentally killed deputy Mike Williams, allegedly owing to this incident's being only one of a series of questionable shootings and claims of misconduct.

Hickok's favorite guns were a pair of cap-and-ball Colt 1851 .36 Navy Model pistols, which he wore until his death. These were silver-plated with ivory handles, and were engraved: "J.B. Hickock-1869". He wore his revolvers backwards in a belt or sash (when donning city clothes or buckskins, respectively), and seldom used holsters per se; he drew the pistols using a "reverse", "twist" or Cavalry draw, as would a cavalryman.

Wild Bill, Texas Jack Omohundro, and Buffalo Bill Cody in 1873In 1873, Buffalo Bill Cody and Texas Jack Omohundro invited Hickok to join them in a new play called Scouts of the Plains after their earlier success.[34] Hickok and Texas Jack eventually left the show, before Cody formed his Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in 1882.

In 1876, Hickok was diagnosed by a doctor in Kansas City, Missouri, with glaucoma and ophthalmia, a condition that was widely rumored at the time by Hickok's detractors to be the result of various sexually transmitted diseases. In truth, he seems to have been afflicted with trachoma, a common vision disorder of the time. It was apparent that his marksmanship and health had been suffering for some time, as he had been arrested several times for vagrancy, despite earning a good income from gambling and displays of showmanship only a few years earlier. On March 5, 1876, Hickok married Agnes Thatcher Lake, a 50-year-old circus proprietor in Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory. Hickok left his new bride a few months later, joining Charlie Utter's wagon train to seek his fortune in the gold fields of South Dakota.[2] Martha Jane Cannary, known popularly as Calamity Jane, claimed in her autobiography that she was married to Hickok and had divorced him so that he could be free to marry Agnes Lake, but no records have been found that support Jane's account.[36] It is believed that the two met for the first time after Jane was released from the guardhouse in Fort Laramie and joined the wagon train that Hickok was traveling with. The wagon train arrived in Deadwood in July 1876.[37] Jane herself confirmed this account in an 1896 newspaper interview, although she claimed that she had been hospitalized with illness rather than in the guardhouse.

Shortly before Hickok's death, he wrote a letter to his new wife, which reads in part: "Agnes Darling, if such should be we never meet again, while firing my last shot, I will gently breathe the name of my wife — Agnes — and with wishes even for my enemies I will make the plunge and try to swim to the other shore."

Death

Wild Bill had a premonition that Deadwood would be his last camp and expressed this belief to two of his friends Colorado Charlie.[clarification needed] He was right; he would never leave Deadwood alive.

On August 2, 1876, Hickok was playing poker at Nuttal & Mann's Saloon No. 10 in Deadwood, in the Black Hills, Dakota Territory. On this fateful day Wild Bill violated one of his own cardinal rules and was sitting with his back to a door. Twice he asked Rich to change seats with him and on both occasions Rich refused.

Wild Bill was having a run of bad luck that day and was forced to borrow a poker stake from the bartender. That run of bad luck worsened when an ex-buffalo hunter called John (“Broken Nose Jack”) McCall walked in unnoticed. Jack McCall walked to within a few feet of Wild Bill and then suddenly drew a pistol and shouted, “Take that!” before firing.

The bullet hit Hickok in the back of the head, killing him instantly. The bullet emerged through Wild Bill’s right cheek striking Captain Massie in the left wrist. Legend has it that Hickok had lost his stake and had just borrowed $50 from the house to continue playing. When shot, he was holding a pair of aces and a pair of eights, all black. The fifth card is debated, or, as some say, had been discarded and its replacement had not yet been dealt.


"Dead man's hand"Owing to the number of poker players who died during disputes, Dead man's hand was already established poker idiom for a number of a different hands long before Hickok died. In 1886, ten years after Hickok's death, the Dead man's hand was explained as being three Jacks and a pair of Tens in a North Dakota newspaper which attributed the term to a specific game held in Illinois 40 years earlier, indicating that Hickok's hand had yet to gain widespread popularity. Eventually, Hickok's "Aces and eights" became widely accepted as the "Dead Man's Hand.[41] In 1979 Hickok was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.

The motive for the killing is still debated. McCall may have been paid for the deed, or it may have been the result of a recent dispute between the two. Most likely McCall became enraged over what he perceived as a condescending offer from Hickok to let him have enough money for breakfast after he had lost all his money playing poker the previous day. At the resulting two-hour trial by a miners jury (an ad hoc local group of assembled miners and businessmen), McCall claimed that he was avenging Hickok's earlier slaying of his brother, which may have been true. A Lew McCall is known to have been killed by a lawman in Abilene, but it is unknown if he was related, and the name of the lawman was not recorded. McCall was acquitted of the murder, resulting in the Black Hills Pioneer editorializing: "Should it ever be our misfortune to kill a man ... we would simply ask that our trial may take place in some of the mining camps of these hills." Calamity Jane was reputed to have led a mob that threatened McCall with lynching, but at the time of Wild Bill’s death, Jane was being held by military authorities.[42]

McCall was subsequently rearrested after bragging about his deed, and a new trial was held. The authorities did not consider this to be double jeopardy because at the time Deadwood was not recognized by the U.S. as a legitimately incorporated town, as it was in Indian Country and the jury was irregular. The new trial was held in Yankton, capital of the territory. Hickok's brother, Lorenzo Butler Hickok, traveled from Illinois to attend the retrial and spoke to McCall after the trial, noting that he showed no remorse. This time McCall was found guilty. Reporter Leander Richardson interviewed Hickok shortly before his death and helped bury him. Richardson wrote of the encounter for the April 1877 issue of Scribner's Monthly, in which he mentions McCall's second trial.[43]

"As I write the closing lines of this brief sketch, word reaches me that the slayer of Wild Bill has been re-arrested by the United State authorities, and after trial has been sentenced to death for willful murder. He is now at Yankton, D.T. awaiting execution. At the trial it was proved that the murderer was hired to do his work by gamblers[44] who feared the time when better citizens should appoint Bill the champion of law and order - a post which he formerly sustained in Kansas border life, with credit to his manhood and his courage."

McCall was hanged on 1 March 1877 and buried in the Roman Catholic cemetery. The cemetery was moved in 1881, and his body was exhumed and found to have the noose still around his neck. The killing of Wild Bill and the capture of Jack McCall is reenacted every evening (in summer) in Deadwood.[45]

Funeral and burial


Steve and Charlie Utter at the grave of Wild Bill HickokCharlie Utter, Hickok's friend and companion, claimed Hickok's body and placed a notice in the local newspaper, the Black Hills Pioneer, which read:

"Died in Deadwood, Black Hills, August 2, 1876, from the effects of a pistol shot, J. B. Hickock (sic) (Wild Bill) formerly of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Funeral services will be held at Charlie Utter's Camp, on Thursday afternoon, August 3, 1876, at 3 o'clock P. M. All are respectfully invited to attend."

Almost the entire town attended the funeral, and Utter had Hickok buried with a wooden grave marker reading:

"Wild Bill, J. B. Hickock killed by the assassin Jack McCall in Deadwood, Black Hills, August 2, 1876. Pard, we will meet again in the happy hunting ground to part no more. Good bye, Colorado Charlie, C. H. Utter."

Hickok was originally buried in the Ingelside Cemetery, Deadwood's original graveyard. This graveyard filled quickly, preventing further use, and in 1879, on the third anniversary of his original burial, Utter paid to move Hickok to the new Mount Moriah cemetery. As the old cemetery was an area that was better suited for the constant influx of new settlers to live on, the remaining bodies there were moved up the hill to the Mount Moriah Cemetery in the 1880s.


Present-day gravesite Utter supervised the move and noted that while perfectly preserved, Hickok had been imperfectly embalmed. As a result, calcium carbonate from the surrounding soil had replaced the flesh leading to petrifaction. One of the workers, Joseph McLintock, wrote a detailed description of the re-interment. McLintock used a cane to tap the body, face and head, finding no soft tissue anywhere. He noted the sound was similar to tapping a brick wall and believed the remains to now weigh more than 400 lb (181 kg). William Austin, the cemetery caretaker, estimated 500 lb (227 kg) which made it difficult for the men to carry them to the new site. The original grave marker was also moved to the new site but by 1891 had been destroyed by souvenir hunters whittling pieces from it and it was replaced with a statue. This in turn was destroyed by relic hunters and replaced in 1902 by a life-size sandstone sculpture of Hickok. This too was badly defaced which led to its complete enclosure in a cage for protection. This was cut open by relic hunters in the 1950s and the statue removed.[46]

Hickok is currently interred in a ten-foot (3 m) square plot at the Mount Moriah Cemetery, surrounded by a cast-iron fence with a U.S. flag flying nearby. A monument has since been built there. It has been reported that Calamity Jane was buried next to him because that was her dying wish. However, four of the men on the self-appointed committee who planned Calamity's funeral (Albert Malter, Frank Ankeney, Jim Carson, and Anson Higby) later stated that since Bill had “absolutely no use” for Jane in this life, they decided to play a posthumous joke on Hickok by laying her to rest for eternity by his side.[47] Potato Creek Johnny, a local Deadwood celebrity from the late 1800s and early 1900s, is also buried next to Wild Bill.

-------------------- James Butler Hickok (May 27, 1837 – August 2, 1876), better known as Wild Bill Hickok, was a legendary figure in the American Wild West. He is perhaps the best known figure from that era. After fighting in the Union army during the American Civil War, he became a legendary army scout, and later, lawman and gunfighter.

"Wild Bill" Hickok was born in Troy Grove, Illinois on May 27, 1837. While he was growing up, his father's farm was one of the stops on the Underground Railroad and Bill learned his hunting and shooting skills protecting the farm with his father from anti-abolitionists (hence his joining the Union Army). Unknown to most, Bill Hickok was one of the earliest champions of equal rights for blacks during the latter days of slavery.

In 1855, he left his father's farm to become a stage coach driver on the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails. His gunfighting skills eventually earned him the nickname "Wild Bill".

Early Years as a Lawman

In 1857, Hickok claimed a 160 acre tract of land in Johnson County, Kansas (in what is now the city of Lenexa) where he became the first constable of Monticello Township, Kansas. In 1861, he became a town constable in Nebraska. He was involved in a deadly shoot-out with the McCanles gang at Rock Creek Station, an event still under much debate. On several other occasions, Hickok confronted and killed several men while fighting alone. [1]

Hickok invented the practice of "posting" men out of town. He would put a list on what was called the "dead man's tree" (so called because men had been lynched on it) while constable of Monticello Township. Hickok proclaimed he would shoot them on sight the following day. Few stayed around to find out if he was serious.

Civil War and Scouting

When the American Civil War began, Hickok joined the Union forces and served in the west, mostly in Kansas and Missouri. He earned a reputation as a skilled scout. After the war, Hickok became a scout for the U. S. Army and later was a professional gambler. He served for a time as a United States Marshal. In 1867, his fame increased from an interview by Henry Morton Stanley. Hickok's killing of Whistler the Peacemaker with a long-range rifle shot had influence in preventing the Sioux from uniting to resist the settler incursions into the Black Hills. That rifle shot, supposedly downhill on a windy day and reportedly at over 750 yards, helped cement Hickok's legend as a master of weapons.

Later Career as a Lawman/Gunfighter

On July 21, 1865, in the town square of Springfield, Missouri, Hickok killed Davis K. Tutt, Jr. in a "quick draw" duel. Fiction would later show this kind of gunfight as typical, but Hickok's is in fact the only one on record that fits the portrayal. The incident was precipitated by a dispute over a gambling debt incurred at a local saloon.

Hickok was working as sheriff and city marshal of Hays, Kansas when, on July 17, 1870, he was involved in a gunfight with disorderly soldiers of the 7th US Cavalry, wounding one and mortally wounding another. In 1871, Hickok became marshal of Abilene, Kansas, taking over for former marshal Thomas J. Smith. Hickok's encounter in Abilene with outlaw John Wesley Hardin resulted in the latter fleeing the town after Hickok managed to disarm him.

While working in Abilene, Hickok and Phil Coe, a saloon owner, had an ongoing dispute that later resulted in a shootout. Coe had been the business partner of known gunman Ben Thompson, with whom he co-owned the Bulls Head Saloon. On October 5, 1871, Hickok was standing off a crowd during a street brawl, during which time Coe fired two shots at Hickok. Hickok returned fire and killed Coe. Hickok, whose eyesight was poor by that time in his life due to the early stages of glaucoma, caught the glimpse of movement of someone running toward him. He quickly fired one shot in reaction, accidentally shooting and killing Abilene Special Deputy Marshal Mike Williams, who was coming to his aid, an event that would haunt him for the remainder of his life. [2] His famous statement to Coe, who supposedly stated he could "kill a crow on the wing," (flying) is one of the Old West's most famous sayings, and showed that Hickok was certainly a cool customer in a fight. He answered Coe by sneering, "Did the crow have a pistol? Was he shooting back? I will be." Whether or not Coe had actually made the statement, and Hickok answered as reported, is disputable but it certainly personified the reputation Wild Bill accrued.

Buffalo Bill

Some accounts of report Hickok took part in Buffalo Bill's Wild West. However, that production was not in existence prior to 1882, well after Hickok's death. Nonetheless, Hickok was reported by some to have appeared with Buffalo Bill in 1873 in a stage play titled "Scouts of the Plains". [3]

Wagon train venture, Calamity Jane

In July of 1876, Hickok joined a wagon train led by Charlie Utter in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Hickok would act as scout, and help lead the train through any troubles they might run across while en route. The goal, which was successful, was to ship gamblers, prostitutes, and other needed commodities to the new boomtown of Deadwood, South Dakota. It was during the planning and organization stages of the trip that Hickok first met Calamity Jane.

She would later claim they had a romantic relationship, and to have been one of Hickok's closest friends. In reality, they barely knew one another, having met only about a month before his death. Although Hickok by all reports was friendly toward her, there was nothing beyond casual hellos and goodbyes. Also, Hickok had only recently married, and by all accounts he was completely taken by his wife. [4]

"Dime novel" fame

It is difficult to separate the truth from fiction about Hickok, the first "dime novel" hero of the western era, in many ways one of the first comic book heroes, keeping company with another who achieved part of his fame in such a way, frontiersman Davey Crockett. In the "dimestore novels', exploits of Hickok were presented in heroic form, making him seem larger than life. In truth, most of the stories were at the very least greatly exaggerated and in many cases complete fabrication.

Hickok himself told the writers with great seriousness that he had killed over 100 men. This number is doubtful, and it is more likely that his total killings were about 20 or a few more. There is no doubt that Hickok was a fearless and deadly fighting man, equally at home with a rifle, revolver, or knife. His story of fighting a grizzly bear, which he claims mistook him for food due to his greasy buckskins, personified a man who feared nothing alive, and after emptying his pistols into the bear, killed it with a Bowie knife. That story is also thought to be an exaggeration.

Death

Gravesite

On August 2, 1876, while playing poker at Nuttal & Mann's Saloon No. 10 in Deadwood (then part of the Dakota Territory but on Indian land), Hickok could not find an empty seat in the corner, where he always sat in order to protect himself against sneak attacks from behind, and instead sat with his back to the door. His paranoia was prescient: he was shot in the back of the head with a .45-caliber revolver by Jack McCall. Legend has it that Hickok, playing poker when he was shot, was holding a pair of aces and a pair of eights, with the fifth card disputed. The fifth card was either unknown, or some say that it had not yet been dealt. The game was interrupted by Hickok getting shot.

The motive for the killing is still debated. McCall may have been paid for the deed, or it may have been the result of a recent dispute between the two. Most likely McCall became enraged over what he perceived as a condescending offer from Hickok to let him have enough money for breakfast after he had lost all his money playing poker the previous day. McCall claimed at the resulting two-hour trial (by a motley group of assembled miners and businessmen) that he was avenging Hickok's earlier slaying of his brother. McCall was acquitted of the murder, resulting in the Black Hills Pioneer editorializing:

"Should it ever be our misfortune to kill a man ... we would simply ask that our trial may take place in some of the mining camps of these hills"

McCall was subsequently rearrested after bragging about his deed, and a new trial was held. The authorities did not consider this to be double jeopardy because at the time Deadwood was not recognized by the U.S. as a legitimately incorporated town (due to federal laws that made it illegal to settle on Indian land; many people did anyway). The new trial was held in U.S. territory, in Yankton, South Dakota. Hickok's brother, Lorenzo Butler Hickok, traveled from Illinois to attend the retrial. This time McCall was found guilty and hanged. After his execution it was determined that McCall had never had a brother.

Utter claimed Hickok's body, and placed a notice in the local newspaper, the Black Hills Pioneer, which read:

"Died in Deadwood, Black Hills, August 2, 1876, from the effects of a pistol shot, J. B. Hickok (Wild Bill) formerly of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Funeral services will be held at Charlie Utter's Camp, on Thursday afternoon, August 3, 1876, at 3 o'clock, P. M. All are respectfully invited to attend." Almost the entire town attended the funeral, and Utter had Hickok buried with a wooden grave marker reading:

"Wild Bill, J. B. Hickok killed by the assassin Jack McCall in Deadwood, Black Hills, August 2d, 1876. Pard, we will meet again in the happy hunting ground to part no more. Good bye, Colorado Charlie, C. H. Utter."

At the urging of Calamity Jane, Utter in 1879 had Hickok reinterred in a ten-foot-square plot at the Mount Moriah Cemetery, surrounded by a cast-iron fence with a U.S. flag flying nearby. A monument has since been built there. In accordance with her dying wish, Calamity Jane was buried next to him.

Shortly before Hickok's death, he wrote a letter to his new wife, which reads in part: "Agnes Darling, if such should be we never meet again, while firing my last shot, I will gently breathe the name of my wife—-Agnes-—and with wishes even for my enemies I will make the plunge and try to swim to the other shore" and "My dearly beloved if I am to die today and never see the sweet face of you I want you to know that I am no great man and am lucky to have such a woman as you"

-------------------- http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=479&ref=wvr

Western Figure. Born in Troy Grove, near Ottawa, Illinois, he took part in the Kansas struggle preceding the Civil War, was a driver of the Butterfield stage line, and gained fame as a gunfighter. He was an assistant station tender for the Pony Express at the Rock Creek, Nebraska station. He served as a Union scout in the Civil War. After the war he became deputy United States Marshal at Fort Riley (1866), Marshal of Hays, Kansas (1869), and Marshal of Abilene (1871).

His reputation as a marksman in desperate encounters with outlaws made him a frontier legend. Hickok once shot and killed his own deputy in error, which was the downfall of his career as a lawman. After a tour of the East with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show(1872 to 1873), he went to Deadwood, South Dakota where he was murdered by Jack McCall while playing cards at the #10 Saloon. The hand Hickok had held, a pair of Aces and a pair of Eights, thereafter became known as "The Dead Man's Hand."



      
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James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok's Timeline

1837
May 27, 1837
Troy Grove, La Salle, Illinois
1876
March 5, 1876
Age 38
Abilene, TX
March 5, 1876
Age 38
Cheyenne, Laramie County, Wyoming, United States
August 2, 1876
Age 39
Deadwood, SD, United States
August 3, 1876
Age 39
South Dakota, United States
1876
Age 38