Wild Bill Hickok: Biography
Wild Bill Hickok was one of the most famous gunfighters of the Wild West. He tamed two of the most lawless towns in Kansas.
The legendary Wild Bill Hickok was a frontiersman, marksman, law enforcement officer, and one of the most famous gunfighters of the Wild West. Hickok sought justice from an early age by helping his father with his station on the Underground Railroad as a youth. He moved west to become a farmer and soon began creating his legend in a shoot out with the McCanles gang. During the Civil War he served as a union spy and scout, eventually becoming a scout under George A. Custer. Colonel George Ward Nichols featured Hickok in a story in Harper's New Monthly Magazine which increased his legendary status with exaggerated tales of his gunfights. His reputation as a gunfighter led him to become the sheriff of Hays City, Kansas and the marshal of Abilene, Kansas. He is particularly remembered for taming these towns thought to be two of the most lawless towns in the West. After leaving law enforcement he spent a brief time in show business as he toured with Buffalo Bill in the Wild West Show. Hickok was killed by a shot to the back of the head in a saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory. He was playing poker when he was shot, and the hand he held, containing a pair of eights and a pair of aces, became known as the "dead man's hand."
1837 He was born James Butler Hickok in Troy Grove, Illinois. (May 27)
1856 He left home to farm in Kansas.
1861 He was involved in a shoot-out with the McCanles gang in Rock Creek, Nebraska, reputedly killing Dave McCanles. (July 12)
1862 He served the union at the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas. (March 6-8)
1865 He killed gunman Dave Tutt in Springfield, Missouri. (July 21)
1866 He helped guide General William T. Sherman on his tour of the West.
1867 Hickok was featured in the Harper's New Monthly Magazine. (February)
1869 He won an election to be Ellis County's sheriff, making his headquarters in Hay's County. (August 23).
1871 He became marshal of Abilene, Kansas. (April 15)
1873 He toured with Buffalo Bill Cody in the Wild West Show
1876 He married actress Agnes Lake. (March 5); He was killed by Jack McCall in Saloon #10 in Deadwood, Dakota Territory. (August 2)
1877 Jack McCall was hanged in Yankton, Dakota Territory for the murder of Wild Bill Hickok. (March 1)