Her skills with weapons and
gambling proficiency became legendary as well as her mode of dress
which ranged from dressing like a man to extravagant gypsy-like
attire. While in
Texas, she acquired a second husband and the two soon
A third marriage apparently took place somewhere along the
line, a man that she was said to have married as a result of a
guilty conscience. In this incident, the story tells us that
when the man became too ardent in his affections for her, she
challenged him to a fight. When he refused to fight a woman,
she donned men’s clothing and challenged him again. She then
allegedly shot him and as he lay wounded, called for a
preacher and married him before he died.
When the Black Hills
gold rush began in
South Dakota, Kitty made her way to the thriving
arriving on the same wagon train that brought
Wild Bill Hickok and
Calamity Jane to the camp in 1876.
She soon opened
the Mint Gambling
Saloon, where she met her fourth husband, a German
prospector who made a rich gold strike. However, when the German’s
gold ran out, so did Kitty’s interest. She was then said to have hit
him over the head with a bottle, before kicking him out of
their home and her life.
On June 11, 1877, Kitty married
her fifth husband, a man named Samuel R. Curley in
But, for Kitty, this would be a fatal mistake. Curley was a jealous
man and after numerous arguments over alleged affairs with a former
husband, and others such as
Wild Bill Hickok and
Sam Bass, he killed her on
December 7, 1877 in the Lone Star
Saloon before turning the gun on
himself. The following day, the townspeople allegedly laid out the
pair for viewing inside the
saloon before they were buried together.
A journalist would later
say of the 28 year-old, that she "had five husbands, seven
revolvers, a dozen Bowie knives, and [was] always went armed
to the teeth."
There is no evidence that
Kitty was actually a
prostitute, but as many of the
saloons offered those
"services," she may very well have been a
She obviously had a
daughter somewhere along the line, as
Deadwood newspapers of
the time indicate that her estate was left to her daughter.
of America, updated October, 2012.