William Pickett, aka: Bill, Will,
Willie (1870?-1932) -
Of black and Cherokee
Indian descent, Bill Pickett was one of the first great rodeo cowboys
and is credited with inventing the sport of bulldogging. Born on December
5, 1870 at the Jenks-Branch community of Travis County,
Texas, he was the
second of 13 children born to Thomas Jefferson Pickett, a former slave,
and Mary "Janie" Gilbert. As a child, Pickett attended school through the
fifth grade and then began to work at ranching.
By the time he was 18, the family had moved to
he and his brothers began a horse-breaking and "cowboy” service called
Pickett Brothers Bronco Busters and Rough Riders Association. Two years
later, he married Maggie Turner, a former slave and daughter of a white
plantation owner. The couple would eventually have nine children.
Credited with inventing the technique
of bulldogging, the skill of grabbing cattle by the horns and wrestling
them to the ground, Pickett began to supplement his income by
demonstrating his bulldogging skills and other stunts at county fairs.
1905, he joined the 101 Ranch Wild West Show that also featured other
notable western characters such as
Cody, Will Rogers, Tom
Mix, and others. He also became an employee of the 101 Ranch and soon
moved his wife and children to
Oklahoma. the show toured around the world
as well as appearing in early motion pictures. Unfortunately, during these
times, he was sometimes banned from rodeos because of his black heritage
and was forced to claim he was full-blooded Indian in order to perform. Pickett continued to work until he was
kicked in the head by a horse at the 101 Ranch. A few days later he died
of his injuries on April 2, 1932 and was buried north of Marland,
In 1971, he became the first
African-American honoree to be named in the National Cowboy Hall of Fame,
and in 1989 was also honored in the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. During his
lifetime, he was often known by the nicknames "The Dusky Demon" and "The
Bull-Dogger," and was billed as "the world's colored champion" in
"death-defying feats of courage and skill."
(1836-1902) - Merchant,
Rath was one of the original organizers of
Ford County County, Kansas.
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Delia Haskett Rawson (1861-1949) - Becoming
a driver at the age of 14, Delia was the first girl stage
driver and maybe the youngest to ever to carry the
U.S. mail in
William Trotter (1836-??) - Growing up
to become a well known Overland Stagecoach driver, Trotter was born in
Pennsylvania. At 16, he left home and traveled westward to Kansas
Territory. Two years later, he was working in Iowa for the Western Stage
Company. He later went to work for the Central Overland California and
Pike's Peak Express Company, before being employed by the Overland Stage
Line. With his experience, he was promoted to a Division Agent o the route
from Fort Kearney, Nebraska to Julesburg, Colorado. As the railroad pushed
westward, so did the stage line and Trotter eventually wound up on the
Pacific Coast by the early 1870s. After two decades of staging, he then
became a hotel keeper.
Utter (1838-??) - Charlie
a trapper, prospector, and transport
businessman, as well as a being a close friend of
Wild Bill Hickok.
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of America, updated, April, 2015.
Strap on your chaps, boys, and
tie on your slicker;
Before the day's over, you'll
wish you had some licker.