Monday, February 1, 2016

Wild Bill Hickok - Part 2

                                             Wild Bill Hickock – Part 2


Bill Hickock was a striking and impressive man.  He stood six feet, one inch, weighed 175 pounds and his graceful, straight figure, brown, wavy hair down to his shoulders, piercing gray blue eyes, fair complexion, aquiline nose, flowing mustache and always expensive dress made him a figure to attract attention.  One prominent early day citizen of Abilene, E. C. Little, said of Hickock, “there were certain traits of his character strangely enough that seemed almost womanly.”  However, there was never any authentic evidence of his being “strange” in any way.

He was a fastidious man in a very unfastidious time.  He liked children very much and tossed coins to them freely, trying to win their friendship and affection.  As his fame as a killer spread across the frontier, mothers would threaten their kids to behave or they would call Wild Bill!

Wild Bill always sat facing the door in restaurants and even around card tables and he never walked into a building without one hand on his pistol.  

He was employed as an officer of the law in both Hays and Abilene, KS – both of which he was fired.  Actually he was virtually “run out” of Hays after a shooting scrape with a bunch of soldiers.  When word circulated that an entire company of troops were riding into to get him Bill managed to escape, hiding in a locomotive of a midnight train. 

As an officer in Hays for a short time he never killed anyone, although many stories claimed he sent several to their graves.  As for Abilene, one writer said he killed no less than 27 men while being the Marshall.  Truth is, he killed only two, and one was his own friend who was shot by accident.  

Bill Hickock was sitting in the saloon about 9 pm, when his old enemy, Phil Coe, drunk as usual, started firing his gun out in the street.  Bill ran out and Coe yelled, “You SOB of a Marshall.  Come and try to take my guns.”  Fast as lightening, Wild Bill drew two revolvers and shots were exchanged, hitting Coe. (He died two days later.)  Mike Williams, a deputy and a good friend of Wild Bill’s, came running to the scene.  Bill didn’t recognize him in the darkness and mistook him for one of Coe’s gang ad shot him through the heart.  This was the beginning of Wild Bill’s total downfall.  Being drunk and disorderly most of the time Abilene City Council fired him after only eight months on the job.

At the age of 39 Wild Bill showed up in Deadwood, SD, with another alleged old girlfriend – Calamity Jane.  On the afternoon of August 2, 1876, he was playing cards at the Bell Saloon.  This time he made the fatal mistake of sitting with his back to the door.  A Texan, Jack McCall, walked through the swinging doors and shot him in the back of the head.  Bill was holding a poker hand of black aces and eights with a red queen kicker – now known as a “dead man’s hand.”


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:
Died in Deadwood, Black Hills, August 2, 1876, from the effects of a pistol shot, J. B. Hickock (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 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 by his side - for all eternity.

 Potato Creek Johnny, a local Deadwood celebrity from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is also buried next to Wild Bill.

                                                          * * * *

                         Justice Comes to Salina

Victoria Stone is the new school teacher in Salina, Kansas.  The people of Salina do all they can to make Victoria feel welcome and her students are finding their way into her heart. Then there’s the town’s sheriff who is getting under her skin and turning every emotion she has inside out.  But in her bag, Victoria isn’t toting books and school supplies.  There is a score to settle in Salina, Kansas, and nothing or nobody is going to deter her from putting things right.  


Jasper  spit out a wad of tobacco. “You’re the new teacher?” he asked, wiping the juice off his chin with the back of his hand.

She wrinkled her nose in distaste. “Yes, I was contracted for this school year, Mr…”

“You ain’t no bigger than a minute. The boys at the school are gonna eat you alive!”

“I assure you I am perfectly capable…”

He cut her off. “You traveling alone?”

Her green eyes turned a darker shade. She picked up her bags and started walking toward the town. “Mr., whatever your name is, could you kindly tell me where I might find Mr. James Timmons?”

“Name’s Jasper Coogan, Missy, and there ain’t no need getting your dander up.”

She stopped, turned, dropped her bags and put her hands on her hips. “Stone, Mr. Coogan. My name is Victoria Stone. I am here to teach the children of Salina.” Her words were chipped and she advanced on him with every word. “I was to meet a Mr. Timmons.  I am hot and tired, Mr. Coogan.  If you would be so kind, please take me to him or to the place I will be residing.  I am assuming you are familiar with where that would be!”

“Well course I am Miss Vicky.”  Totally ignoring her agitation, the big man picked up her bags and walked to a buckboard. 

Closing her eyes for a few seconds, she got a hold of her temper and followed. 

                                                                    * * * *
Penny Estelle is a best selling author who writes for all ages, from the early reader to adults.  Her books range from pictures books for the little ones, to fantasy. time-travel adventures for ages 9 to 13. She also, under P. A. Estelle, has written adult stories including a family drama and contemporary, paranormal and historical westerns romances.

Penny was a school secretary for 21 years.  She and her husband moved to their retirement home in Kingman, AZ, on very rural 54 acres, living on solar and wind only. 

Penny and her books can be found in the following links:


  1. Great post! I always enjoy learning more about Wild Bill and others who lived in the West. Learned something new.

  2. Hickock's history is endlessly fascinating. Thank you for sharing a great overview. There were those few who were 'careful' in their hygiene, and because of that we tend to remember those men who were. Luke Short was another. He was said to bathe everyday.
    The story sounds wonderful. My TBR pile is growing. I'm going to have to stop writing and get some reading done. **Smile** Doris McCraw/Angela Raines-aithor

  3. Thanks Doris. It's weird - Calamity Jane, with Doris Day, was just on. I prefer that story about Wild Bill! LOL