Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Putting The "Wild" In Wild Bill... !

Nearly everyone I know is aware of the legendary Wild Bill Hickok.

Apparently it was a name that was earned by his actions, and fit him pretty well! This guy was just a little over the edge! But that wasn't unusual for the time in which he lived. In fact, the most successful people in the law business had to be more than a little crazy! At least, that's the way it seems to me!

Sep 27, 1869:

Sheriff Wild Bill Hickok proves too wild for Kansas

Just after midnight on this day in 1869, Ellis County Sheriff Wild Bill Hickok and his deputy respond to a report that a local ruffian named Samuel Strawhun and several drunken buddies were tearing up John Bitter's Beer Saloon in Hays City, Kansas. When Hickok arrived and ordered the men to stop, Strawhun turned to attack him, and Hickok shot him in the head. Strawhun died instantly, as did the riot.

Such were Wild Bill's less-than-restrained law enforcement methods. Famous for his skill with a pistol and steely-calm under fire, James Butler Hickok initially seemed to be the ideal man for the sheriff of Ellis County, Kansas. The good citizens of Hays City, the county seat, were tired of the wild brawls and destructiveness of the hard-drinking buffalo hunters and soldiers who took over their town every night. They hoped the famous "Wild Bill" could restore peace and order, and in the late summer of 1869, elected him as interim county sheriff.

Tall, athletic, and sporting shoulder-length hair and a sweeping mustache, Hickok cut an impressive figure, and his reputation as a deadly shot with either hand was often all it took to keep many potential lawbreakers on the straight and narrow. As one visiting cowboy later recalled, Hickok would stand "with his back to the wall, looking at everything and everybody under his eyebrows--just like a mad old bull." But when Hickok applied more aggressive methods of enforcing the peace, some Hays City citizens wondered if their new cure wasn't worse than the disease. Shortly after becoming sheriff, Hickok shot a belligerent soldier who resisted arrest, and the man died the next day. A few weeks later Hickok killed Strawhun. While his brutal ways were indisputably effective, many Hays City citizens were less than impressed that after only five weeks in office he had already found it necessary to kill two men in the name of preserving peace.

During the regular November election later that year, the people expressed their displeasure, and Hickok lost to his deputy, 144-89. Though Wild Bill Hickok would later go on to hold other law enforcement positions in the West, his first attempt at being a sheriff had lasted only three months.

Always interesting to get the more complete story about how some of the better known "legends" got their start!

We often make heroes out of out of some pretty shady characters! Wonder why that is?

Ready for a refill on your coffee? I have some right out here on the patio!


Dizzy-Dick said...

Good honest people very seldom make the news.

HermitJim said...

Hey DD...
I think you're right about that! Certainly don't see much about them in the local rag!

Thanks for coming over this morning!

JoJo said...

Great post HJ, you know me love a good western story. I have a book of short stories about the legends of the west its fun to read.

A refill sounds good its 46 degrees right now. Fred and I did a real quick walk this morning at 6it was 44. More cars this morning.

HermitJim said...

Hey JoJo...
Makes it even more interesting when the stories are about real folks!

I can't even remember when it was below 70 during the daytime hours! Don't think we are going to have a Winter or get any more rain this year!

Tell ol'Fred "howdy" for me!

TROUBLEnTX said...

WHERE IS JOJO?????? Temps like that, now????