American History Fun Facts, Issue #013 -- Fun facts, Quotes and This week in history
July 21, 2010
Wild Bill Hickok Fun Facts
Did you know...
...that Wild Bill Hickok's (real name James Butler Hickok) parents operated a station along the Underground Railroad, where they smuggled slaves out of the South?
...that Wild Bill Hickok had an earlier nickname that wasn't quite as "exciting"? There are early references to him being called "Duck Bill", perhaps due to his large nose. It wasn't until he became known as a gunfighter that he began to be called "Wild Bill".
...that in addition to being known as a gunfighter, Hickok had many occupations during his life? Some of them include Civil War scout, detective and spy, Indian scout and courier, U.S. deputy marshal, county sheriff, stage coach driver and town marshal.
...that the phrase "Dead Man's Hand" when playing poker came from Wild Bill Hickok's death? Playing poker in Deadwood, in the Dakota Territory on August 2, 1876, Wild Bill took a seat at a poker table. He usually sat in a corner while playing, so that he could see any trouble coming, but on that day, he was unable to find a corner seat. He sat down at a poker table with his back to one door and facing another. Jack McCall snuck up behind him and shot him in the back of the head. The poker hand that Wild Bill Hickok was holding at the time was a pair of aces and a pair of eight, thereafter being known as "Dead Man's Hand".
...that some people today think that Wild Bill Hickok's name was "Wild Bill Hitchcock"? In researching keywords related to Wild Bill for American History Fun Facts, I found that there were recorded internet searches for "Wild Bill Hitchcock", misspelling his last name.
Quote of the week...
"Wild Bill was a strange character, add to this figure a costume blending the immaculate neatness of the dandy with the extravagant taste and style of a frontiersman, you have Wild Bill, the most famous scout on the Plains."
- General George Custer
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