Welcome to Tuscoro.com

Read More......


Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Another perspective of Wild Bill Hickok

  ... by those who knew him...

From the all knowing and ever trusting WIKI…


James Butler Hickok (May 27, 1837 – August 2, 1876), better known as "Wild Bill" Hickok, was a folk hero of the American Old West known for his life on the frontier as a soldier, scout, lawman, cattle rustler, gunslinger, gambler, showman, and actor, and for his involvement in many famous gunfights. He earned a great deal of notoriety in his own time, much of it bolstered by the many outlandish and often fabricated tales he told about himself. Some contemporaneous reports of his exploits are known to be fictitious, but they remain the basis of much of his fame and reputation.



In 1876, Hickok was shot and killed while playing poker in a saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory (present-day South Dakota) by Jack McCall, an unsuccessful gambler. The hand of cards that he supposedly held at the time of his death has become known as the dead man's hand: two pairs; black aces and eights.


Hickok remains a popular figure of frontier history. Many historic sites and monuments commemorate his life, and he has been depicted numerous times in literature, film, and television. He is chiefly portrayed as a protagonist, although historical accounts of his actions are often controversial, and much of his career is known to have been exaggerated both by himself and by contemporary mythmakers. While Hickok claimed to have killed numerous named and unnamed gunmen in his lifetime, his career as a gunfighter only lasted from 1861 to 1871. Hickok killed only six or seven men in gunfights, according to Joseph G. Rosa, Hickok's biographer and the foremost authority on Wild Bill.


While in Nebraska, Hickok was derisively referred to by one man as "Duck Bill" for his long nose and protruding lips. He was also known before 1861 among Jayhawkers as "Shanghai Bill" because of his height and slim build. He grew a moustache following the McCanles incident, and in 1861 began calling himself "Wild Bill"


After the Civil War broke out in April 1861, Hickok became a teamster for the Union Army in SedaliaMissouri. By the end of 1861, he was a wagon master, but in September 1862, he was discharged for unknown reasons. He then joined General James Henry Lane's Kansas Brigade, and while serving with the brigade, saw his friend Buffalo Bill Cody, who was serving as a scout.


Buffalo Bill claimed that he encountered Hickok disguised as a Confederate officer in Missouri in 1864.  Hickok had not been paid for some time, and was hired as a scout by General John B. Sanborn by early 1865. In June, Hickok mustered out and went to Springfield, where he gambled. The 1883 History of Greene CountyMissouri described him as "by nature a ruffian ... a drunken, swaggering fellow, who delighted when 'on a spree' to frighten nervous men and timid women.


On August 1, 1876, Hickok was playing poker at Nuttal & Mann's Saloon No. 10 in Deadwood, Dakota Territory. When a seat opened up at the table, a drunk man named Jack McCall sat down to play. McCall lost heavily. Hickok encouraged McCall to quit the game until he could cover his losses and offered to give him money for breakfast. Although McCall accepted the money, he was apparently insulted.

The next day, Hickok was playing poker again. He usually sat with his back to a wall so he could see the entrance, but the only seat available when he joined the game was a chair facing away from the door. He twice asked another man at the table, Charles Rich, to change seats with him, but Rich refused. McCall then entered the saloon, walked up behind Hickok, drew his Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army .45-caliber revolver, serial # 2079 as identified by William Massie, the River Boat Captain seated at the table, and shouted, "Damn you! Take that!" before shooting Hickok in the back of the head at point-blank range.

Hickok died instantly. The bullet emerged through his right cheek and struck Massie in the left wrist. Hickok may have told his friend Charlie Utter and others who were traveling with them that he thought he would be killed while in Deadwood,


Well that’s the way history has it and quite a bit more… but there is much I did not include simply because I just can’t take much of reading fiction… but I gotta hand it to this WIKI writer, as it seems he has captured some of what I would deem as truth about Bill Hickok. 

Now let me share with you the likely story as told by Jesse James and a few others, but is it true? Well if I had to answer that in the form of an opinion I’d have to say… A hell of a lot more so that what the history writers and authors looking to sell a books have written… Not to mention, I am having a hard time wondering what the motive would be of Jesse and the others… knowing Jesse was a fiend and well acquainted with Calamity and her daughter and his own sister having raised the daughter of Calamity Jane…  Maybe I am just biased… or does it have something to do with many other things from the Black Book I have proven? 

Now lets take a look at another perspective that history didn’t know about or ignored, and if they did know, their pride wouldn’t let them believe it… 

A few pages from the Black Book…


Sitting on an empty wagon, Jesse enjoyed a few chuckles with his brother, Dr. Frank James and his first cousin, Grat Dalton (the Sundance Kid) as he recalled his last run in with Hickock, in 1870. Jesse's men had gone to Wichita, Kansas, to help build railroad beds and grades. Hickock was the marshal. Jesse recalled, "The first night we were in a saloon Wild Bill came in strutting around and yelling in his high-pitched sing-song voice what he would do to all 'Texans, renegades, rebels, etc.' None of us had a word to say - we just let him orate."

The third night in town, Wild Bill, who had a reputation for being a crack shot, bully and cold-blooded murderer, picked on one of Jesse's foremen without provocation and threatened to kill him.

Jesse had been asleep in a nearby hotel when word reached him. He got up, dressed, put on his six-guns and went looking for the marshal. He learned that Hickock, whose manhood at times was doubted, was a customer in a nearby parlor house. Jesse bribed the Negro maid with a twenty-dollar gold piece, went upstairs and kicked in the door to the room Wild Bill was temporarily occupying.

Dr. Frank grinned. "Stone naked, too, as I recollect you telling it, Jesse."

"Nope, only the assistant marshal was naked. They were both in there with one soiled dove."

Motioning with his two pistols, Jesse marched Wild Bill out into the street in his red flannel drawers and stockinged feet. Right behind Hickock was his deputy. Jesse chuckled. "Yep, it was quite a parade, kind of a freak show. Bill in his flannel drawers and his taller assistant, who was just plain bare-footed all over!"

After herding the two lawmen past leering faces peeking over swinging doors of the saloons, Jesse convoyed the pair to a point just beyond the edge of town. Wild Bill swore the next time they met he'd kill Jesse on sight. But the Kentuckian laughed and fired a couple of shots into the midnight air and the two men trotted westward over the new railroad grade.

Jesse squirted a stream of tobacco juice into the dusty Deadwood street and chuckled, "I guess you might say that Wild Bill resigned in a hurry that night because his feathers had been plucked."

History records that Wild Bill headed west to Dodge City and then north to Hays, Kansas. Being a crack shot - he fired from the hip - Hickock teamed up with William F. Cody for awhile and then drifted up to Nebraska and then into Dakota Territory.

Historians and pulp authors, completely ignoring the facts, relate that Hickock, the terror of the plains, was shot in the back on Wednesday night, Aug. 2, 1876, while playing poker with his back to the door in a Deadwood saloon. Perhaps they feel justified in their version because Bill always sat facing the door, and it was believed that no gunman alive could outshoot Hickock face-to-face. But Jesse, Dr. Frank, the Sundance Kid and Jesse's three fanatically loyal black bodyguards, John Trammell, Lucky Johnson and Big Charlie, swear it didn't happen that way. They remembered that Jesse was of good cheer that hot August night in 1878. It had been a fine trip, the "Union" enemy had been slaughtered, the surplus arms had been tucked away in the hidden cache and all merchandise had been sold speedily at inflated prices.

A small cerebration seemed in order and the three white
and three black men felt the need of a few drinks to wash the prairie dust from their throats. What better place than the No. 10 Saloon, the ex-Confederate hangout where the damnyankees feared to tread? Led by Colonel James, the men trooped into the sweltering bar. The din was terrific as drunken voices sought to sing Southern marching songs. Moths buzzed around hanging kerosene lamps and the light was poor.

Like the leader of a cavalry troop, Jesse held up his right hand. Could he believe his eyes? Standing nonchalantly at the bar were Wild Bill Hickock and a major in the U.S. Army. What was Hickock doing in the No. 10? Was he seeking out his hated enemy? Jesse's blue eyes grew narrow and deadly. He recalled that night six years ago in Wichita when Wild Bill had sworn to kill him on sight the next time they met.

Although he ordinarily spoke mildly, Jesse James could shout when he had to. Above the racket of the busy saloon he roared, "Okay, Hickock, this is it! Either way, you're as good as dead - so take it standing or laying down!"

Startled by the challenge, Wild Bill spilled his drink on the bar and slowly turned to peer at Jesse. His face chalk white and suddenly dripping perspiration, Hickock stared at the colonel for a full five seconds, but he made no move toward his guns. The major beside Hickock made a sudden move, and Jesse shot the officer in the arm, knocking him end over end. The next shot hit Wild Bill just above his right eye - the usual Jesse James trademark. Hickock was dead when he hit the floor.

Jesse slowly stuffed his pistol back into its holster and a series of Rebel yells shook the No. 10. While Dr. James patched up the major. Confederate sympathizers dragged Wild Bill over to a table near the door, set him down, poured a couple of quarts of liquor over his long hair and clothing and then placed a "dead man's hand" of cards on the table. Jesse, who neither approved nor disapproved of the action, gathered his group together. "Well, men, we came in here to wet our whistles so belly up to the bar." He signaled the barkeep by holding up six fingers.


The bartender hesitantly shook his head. "We-all don't serve Niggers..."

"The hell you don't!" Jesse countered. "I got a twenty- dollar gold piece that says you do. You'll serve John, Lukry and Big Charley because they're my bodyguards, so get moving."

The man behind the bar frowned. "By the looks of things, Colonel, you don't need no bodyguards." But he served the drinks and Trammell spoke for his two black companions when he held his glass aloft and said, "Cheers, Colonel, suh."

Jesse turned and kicked his older brother's boot which clung to the brass rail. "What was it, Frank, that doctor at the medical school used to tell you about whiskey?"

Frank smiled. "He said if you want to live a long and healthy life don't drink bad booze."

"The trouble is," Jesse said, "I ain't never drunk any whiskey that was bad." The man with the sharp blue eyes, beard and square jaw ordered another round. The din grew louder and Wild Bill, sitting dead at the table, was forgotten by the roistering patrons.

Then a young teamster from NaconaTexas, named Jack McCall cautiously maneuvered close to Jesse and hesitantly said, "Nice shot, Colonel."

The freight train owner smiled. "Jack, you ever have to kill a man?"

"Oh, no, Colonel, I ain't neveh yit kilt a man," the young man replied.

Jesse set his drink down and carefully lit a cigar. "Well, young Jack McCall, I got a reputation too big for one lone man so I'm giving you the gun that shot perhaps the most hated man I ever met."

James pulled the pistol from its holster. "Jack, here is my gun, tote it proudly and you keep it. I'm hereby giving you before all these witnesses the credit for the demise of Wild Bill Hickock. Let it be known from now on that you are the man with the gun that killed a spying, damnyankee sonuvabitch."

Years later, Jesse said giving his gun to young Jack 1McCall was done on impulse. An act of kindness. With all the ex Confederates jammed into the No. 10 it never occurred to him that McCall could get into any kind of trouble. Jesse had no sooner ordered McCall's empty beer glass refilled than a careful, almost apologetic lawman entered the No. 10 to investigate a report that Wild Bill Hickock had been shot.

The loud talk and singing stopped and to a man the ex Confederates swore young McCall had shot in self-defense, but the lawman shook his head. "There may be big trouble because nobody, but nobody, ever faced Wild Bill Hickock with a gun and lived to tell about it."

As the lawman led the Texas youngster away, Jesse whispered, "Don't you worry, McCall, we'll get you out of this."

Then Jesse turned to his men, put a wad of bills on the bar and said, "Have a few more. I gotta go pay a social call. John Trammell, drink up and come along with me, you hear?" It was cooler outside and Jesse and his trusted black aide stopped briefly by their horses to talk.

"Colonel, suh," Trammell said, "dat was some shootin' - you drill dat Wild Bill right ovah de right eye, yo did."

Jesse fingered his saddle. "John, you know I never brag or gloat over killing a man - much less talk about it afterward.''

Trammell was suddenly troubled. "Yo know, Colonel, suh, dat one marshal he say Wild Bill shot in de back. He crazy - why de back of Bill's head done blown away!"

"Don't worry, John, no jury will convict young McCall. I'11 see to that. I'm damnable sorry I got him involved - just a spur of the moment thing. I wasn't fixing to get him in trouble."

They mounted their horses and Trammell asked, "Where to, Colonel, suh?"

"We're going to visit Calamity Jane Hickock's shack to talk to a little girl named Jean and tell her I shot her father tonight."


Calamity Jane, born Martha Jane Cannary in 1852, was a tough, cursing, alcoholic, sometimes whore and bull- whacker who had married Hickock on Sept. 1, 1870, just 24 days before her daughter was born. But Wild Bill had divorced Jane and moved in with a "theatrical woman." Some said Bill broke off the marriage because he thought the child wasn't his or because his wife drank too much. But others, and there were many, claimed Hickock was a bully and a low-principled mad killer and was "no damn good from the word go." Bad as Calamity Jane was at times, they felt she was too good for the trigger-happy gunman. Sometimes Jane stayed drunk for days, but on the warm night of Aug. 2, Colonel James and John Trammell found her fairly sober and her modest shack quite neat and presentable.

Young Jean, who would be 6 on Sept. 25, happily crawled on Jesse's knee while Trammell, who had killed dozens of men with his tough black knuckles, told her simple folk stories.

Calamity Jane poured herself half a glass of whisky and asked, "What you been up to since I last laid eyes on you, Colonel?"

Jesse looked at her calmly. "Well, Jane, there's been a killing. You hear about it?"

Jane took a long swallow. "Yeah, I know, so the Injuns killed General Custer. No great loss. No loss atall, really. Don't blame the Injuns. The miners is running 'em outa the Black Hills with this goddamn gold rush. A cornered rat'll fight, you know, Jesse."

Jesse put his arms tightly around Jean Hickock. "No, not that killing, Jane. I mean this little girl no longer has a pappy after what happened tonight."

Jane jumped up and walked quickly to the open door, staring out into the Dakota darkness. Her voice was calm. "You mean somebody finally shot that no-good varmint?" She returned to her bottle and sloshed more amber fluid into her glass. Her hand shook ever so slightly.

Jesse cleared his throat. "I'd like to suggest, ma'm, that
Deadwood's no place for little Jean. We got to get her out Of here."

Jane leered at him. "For Chrissake, Jesse, you got any ideas? Ain't her own mother good enough for her?"

"It's not you, Jane. Deadwood is a roaring, shooting town at the edge of the world. No place to bring up a little girl. Let me send her back to some of my kin in Maryland where it's safe. I'11 take care of all expenses and pay for her education. And once a year, I'11 pay your way back there to visit her."

Jesse W. James, who could be as quick with persuasion as he was with his six guns, sold his idea to the raw frontier woman. The day the awkward Jack McCall was exonerated in the death of Wild Bill and headed back to Texas aboard one of Jesse's freight wagons, a stagecoach pulled out of Deadwood with little Jean Hickock and a trusted matron, whom Jesse had hired. He had given Calamity Jane a thousand dollars to seal the bargain.

Neither Jesse nor Calamity knew it at the time, but the Kentucky-born outlaw would be a force in her life until she died in 1903 at the age of 51. Jane worked as a bullwhacker for him now and then in Montana and when she was too drunk to drive horses, he supplied her with enough money to keep the wolf from the door.

When he was an old man, Jesse told his grandchildren, "Calamity in her day, in my opinion, was no worse and and certainly no better than some Sunday School marms I could mention. She risked her own life many times to nurse people deathly ill with smallpox. She was a woman who feared nothing. She wouldn't run from the devil himself."

Eventually, Calamity Jane and Wild Bill were buried side by side on a cemetery hill overlooking Deadwood and each summer thousands of tourists climb the steps to peer down on their lonely graves. Pulp writers still romanticize their strange and tragic "love affair." It's a story which refuses to die.


Jean Hickok McCormick

The saga of Jean Hickock is even more astounding. The stagecoach that carried her east from Deadwood that morning began the long journey to the home of Cole Younger's wife in Maryland. Cole, who had once married Jesse James' sister, Rebecca, was a member in good standing in "the James gang." And so, Jean a 71-year-old woman identifying herself as Jean Hickock McCormick appeared from the long- forgotten shadows of the past and stepped into the editorial offices of the BillingsMontana, Gazette in 1941.

Now is it true? Who knows? But my guess based upon much study is that it is more true than the history penned today, and certainly more so than the many authors who have glorified this seemingly worthless douche bag…

(The Black Book)
Jesse James was one of his Names



No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment!