Obit of the Day (Historical): “Wild Bill” Hickok (1876)
On August 2, 1876 “Wild Bill” Hickok (also listed as Haycock) walked into Nuttall & Mann’s saloon in Deadwood, SD to play a little poker. Hickok took the last seat at a table with his back to the door. (Hickok preferred sitting facing the door but a tablemate, Charles Rich, refused to switch seats.) A buffalo hunter named “Broken Nose Jack” McCall walked quietly in and shot Hickok in the back of the head. This was in revenge for Hickok killing McCall’s brother. “Wild Bill” died instantly.
Historical note: As many people now know, Hickok had in his hand two black Aces and two black eights which eventually became recognized as the “dead man’s hand.”
Hickok was a Civil War scout, serving with a 12-year-old “Buffalo Bill” Cody, an outlaw, a law enforcement officer and a gambler. Nicknamed “Duck Bill” because of the odd shape of his nose, he nicknamed himself “Wild Bill” after growing a mustache and attempting to remake his image.
He was also tumored to be the husband of “Calamity Jane”, yesterday’s historical OOTD, and the father of her daughter. (She died on August 1, 1903.) They are buried together in Deadwood, not apparently through any desire of Hickok who was not real taken with Calamity.
Random note: Hickok was reburied in Deadwood. When they went to exhume him in the 1880s they found that his body, which was not embalmed well, had petrified and weighed 400-500 pounds. He is now in the Mount Moriah Cemetery with a gorgeous monument.
(Image courtesy of triangleranch.com)