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Hickok - Page 4
Seemingly uninterested in
Wild Bill tried vainly to resume a career as a gambler, but no longer
possessed the requisite skills. In fact, he was just barely able to
keep himself properly suited and situated so as to hold on to the
reputation and the illusion. He was seldom sober and was repeatedly
arrested for vagrancy.
evening of August 1, 1876,
was playing poker in a
several men, including a man by the name of
who lost heavily.
generously gave him back enough money to buy something to eat, but advised
him not to play again until he could cover his losses.
afternoon, August 2, when
entered Nuttall & Mann's
found Charlie Rich sitting in his preferred seat. After some hesitation,
joined the game, reluctantly seating himself with his back to the door and
the bar---a fatal mistake.
drinking heavily at the bar, saw
enter the saloon,
taking a seat at his regular table in the corner near the door.
slowly walked around to the corner of the
was playing his game. From under his coat,
pulled a double-action .45 pistol, shouted
"Take that!” and shot
Hickok in the back of the head, killing him instantly.
had been holding a pair of eights, and a pair of Aces, which has ever
since been known as the "dead man's hand."
image available for photographic prints
Book Your Lodging in Deadwood
Hickok's good friend,
Utter, claimed the body, made the funeral arrangements, and bought
the burial plot. He was buried in the cemetery outside
Deadwood on August 3,
Calamity Jane insisted
that a proper grave be built in honor of the man she loved, and an
10'x10' enclosure was built around his burial plot encircled by a 3'
fence with fancy cast iron filigree on top. A small American
flag was stuck into the ground in front of the tombstone in honor of
his service in the War.
entire population of the gulch, prospectors to prostitutes, followed
his funeral procession to "boot hill."
placed a wooden marker on the grave inscribed:
Killed by the assassin
Deadwood, Black Hills
August 2, 1876
Pard we will meet again
Happy Hunting Grounds to
part no more
Colorado Charlie, C. H.
Soon, his new bride would receive a letter that
had penned just one day before his death. Seemingly, it appears
that he had a premonition of his rapidly approaching demise:
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.
The day after
was killed a jury panel was selected to try
claimed he had shot
in revenge for killing his brother back in Abilene,
maintained that he would do it all over again given the chance. In
less than two hours the jury returned a "not guilty” verdict that evoked
this comment in the local newspaper: "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."
Wild Bill Hickok's grave today in
South Dakota, Kathy Weiser.
Deadwood for several days, until a man called
Joe strongly suggested the air might be bad for
got the message and believing he’d escaped punishment for his crime,
Wyoming bragging to anyone who would listen that he had killed the
Less than a month later, the trial held in
was found to have had no legal basis,
being located in
was arrested in Laramie,
on August 29, 1876, charged with the murder, and taken to Yankton,
to stand trial.
Illinois to attend the trial of his brother's murderer and was
gratified by the guilty verdict. On March 1, 1877,
was put to death by hanging. As to
earlier claim of having shot
out of revenge for his brother, it was later discovered that
never had a brother.
Fourteen years after
death, in 1900, an aging
Calamity Jane arranged to
be photographed next to his overgrown burial site. Elderly, thin and poor,
her clothes were ragged and held together with safety pins. Holding a
flower in her hand, she said that when she died she wanted to be buried
next to the man she loved. Three years later, she was.
of America, updated January, 2010.
by Emerson Hough
Bill Hickok Photo Gallery & Timeline
Hills Historic Characters & Tales
Jane - Rowdy Woman of the West
Utter, Bill Hickok's Best Pard
Rough & Tumble Mining Camp
Deadwood, South Dakota Timeline
HBO's Deadwood - Facts & Fiction
McCanles Massacre - A WPA Interview
Station & the McCanles Massacre
Wild Bill -
1867 Harper's Weekly Article
grave, July 1903,
image available for photographic prints
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