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Bill PickettWilliam 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 Taylor, Texas, where 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.

In 1905, he joined the 101 Ranch Wild West Show that also featured other notable western characters such as Buffalo Bill 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, Oklahoma.

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."

Charles RathCharles Rath (1836-1902) - Merchant, buffalo hunter, and freighter, Rath was one of the original organizers of Ford County County, Kansas. See Full Article HERE


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 California. See Summary HERE


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.


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Charlie Utter (1838-??) - Charlie Utter was a trapper, prospector, and transport businessman, as well as a being a close friend of Wild Bill Hickok. See Full Article HERE.


© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated, March, 2012.


Strap on your chaps, boys, and tie on your slicker;

Before the day's over, you'll wish you had some licker.





Cattle Round-up.

Cattle Round-up.

This image available for photographic prints

 and downloads HERE!


Also See:


The American Cowboy

The Cattle Trails

Cattle Trails of the Prairie

Cowboys on the American Frontier

The Range of the American West

Stagecoaches of the American West

Tales & Trails of the American West



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Old West Wanted Posters and Wild West PrintsOld West Wanted Posters and Wild West Prints - From outlaw wanted posters, such as Jesse James, Billy the Kid, and the Wild Bunch, to Old West advertising, such as Pony Express, Stagecoach Rules, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and more. Prints measure 11"x17" are are produced on semi-glossy, 12 point paper. See the entire collection HERE!  Posters are just $7.99.


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