Monday, January 4, 2016

The Truth About Wild Bill Hickok

Wild Bill Hickok – Part 1


The story of “Old Abilene” continues with the tale of Wild Bill Hickok.  The last time we spoke of Abilene I told you about the true hero of this wild town, Tom Smith.  Desperados feared, but liked, Tom Smith – they feared, but hated, Hickok.

Wild Bill Hickok may have been the fastest draw gunman and one of the most colorful personalities to roam the West, but he was a four-flusher whose exploits were grossly over rated.  His exaggerated and over-publicized reputation far outdid his record, there and elsewhere.

According to hand written diaries about early Abilene by J.B. Edwards, much that was written about Wild Bill was untrue and misleading.  Edwards, who lived to be 106, was the last man alive who knew Hickok personally.  His diaries are, so far, are the best authentic written record anywhere.
Hickok was a flamboyant, gambling, ladies’ man wo wore silk shirts and perfume, but at the same time a demo with his guns in either or both hands at the same time.  Nevertheless, he was a flop as a cop!

Many believed he served for years as a brave western police officer, but he actually served less than one year, altogether, wearing a badge at both Hays and Abilene.  He was fire at both places.  His most successful days were spent as a Civil War scout and spy who did outstanding duty in filtrating and working behind enemy lines.

Bill Hickok was born in Illinois in 1838.  His family was deeply religious.  Hickok was good with horses and pistols and he worked his way west as a stagecoach driver and roustabout.  He eve tri farming on long the Missouri border, but he craved action and excitement.  Being a rabid Union sympathizer, he joined up as a scout and guide – but was never a bona fide soldier.  Word is – he was well paid! His main assignments included rooting out the location of Confederate troops, collecting intelligence about supplies, troop movements and pending attacks.  

He was such a charmer, women and barmaids were among his best sources of information.  He was captured once, convicted as a spy and sentenced, but escaped after cutting the guard’s throat while he was asleep.
                                                                       * * * *

There is so much to write about Wild Bill Hickok – Please come back on Monday, February 4, to hear more about this legendary sharp shooter!

                                       Jesse’s Nightmare – Book 2 in the Jesse Series

Ginny and Jesse are expecting their first baby. It's almost April and even the snow that continues to fall doesn't dampen their moods - until something starts ripping apart the livestock.

But when Jesse comes home during a blizzard and finds his wife and daughter missing, he chokes on a fear that he hasn't felt in a long time!

Ginny and Sarah were not quite half way to Etta’s when the snow started to fall. She had kept an eye on the sky but was sure they would be there before it got too bad. She thanked God the wind wasn’t blowing so the blankets she had brought would keep them warm, if the snow didn’t get any worse. But it did get worse, much worse.
She had been to Etta’s many times, but never in a snow storm. The road was completely covered with snow and the scenery looked different. There were trees here and there along the way but every time she thought Etta’s house was right behind some trees, it wasn’t.
“Mama, I’m cold.” Sarah’s lips quivered and her teeth chattered.
“I know, sweetie. I am too. Etta’s place is just ahead.”  What has she done? Should she turn around? Could she even find her way home? Dear God, please help. 
They went on a ways farther, but Etta’s house was nowhere to be found. She decided to turn Belle around and follow the tracks back from where she came, but saw they were already covered. Could Belle find her way home? Ginny figured that might be their only chance. She turned the wagon and hoped Belle could save their lives.
Ginny didn’t know how long they had been going. The blankets were soaked. Sarah was on her lap and they used their body heat to keep warm. Ginny kept Sarah talking, trying to make her sing. “Don’t go to sleep, Sarah. Do you hear me?” Panic bubbled up in her throat. The little girl was shivering violently. “Sarah!” She shook her and Sarah started crying.
In the distance, through the falling snow, Ginny thought she saw something by some trees but she wasn’t sure. She clicked the reins and headed that way. As she neared it looked like a building of some sort.
“L-l-l-ook, S-s-sarah. It’s a-a-a house.” Her mouth wouldn’t work. 

Buy Link


  1. History is full of stories that over time become enhanced so much the truth gets lost. Humans by nature are complex and Hickok seems more complex than most. Look forward to the Feb. post. Doris McCraw/Angela Raines-author.

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by, Doris.