James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok

Born: 27 May 1837, Troy Grove, IL
Died: 2 Aug 1876, Deadwood, SD

Gunfighter and Law Man

Common Ancestor:
George Abbott
8th Gr Grandfather
of Merle G Ladd
4th Gr Grandfather
of James B Hickok
George Abbott Dorcas Abbott
Elizabeth Abbott Bethia Root
Moses Beers Aaron Hickok
Abigail Beers Oliver Otis Hickok
Ira Fancher William A Hickok
Lucilla Fancher James B Hickok
Douglas C Ladd  
Irving L Ladd  
Allen D Ladd  
Merle G Ladd  
Relationship to Merle G Ladd:
5th Cousin, 4 Times Removed
Born in rural Illinois, JAMES BUTLER "Wild Bill" HICKOK developed extraordinary shooting skills in an otherwise unremarkable childhood. He left home when he was 18 and traveled west, working irregularly as a farmhand, hired gun and then as a driver for the Overland Stage Line. Hickok cast a striking figure, with his satin lapels, tailored suits, and golden past-shoulder-length hair that he kept in ringlets with oil. At the Rock Creek Station in Nebraska Territory he and James "Dock" Brink, another driver for the Overland, had a bloody shoot-out with the McCandless gang, in which five of them were killed.
During the Civil War he worked as a renowned Army scout. He was among the deadliest of gunmen in the West: he'd boasted of killing over 100 men. Hickok was also a notorious gambler and drinker, and spent much of his time in the red-light districts of the towns he was ostensibly protecting.

After the war, he served as marshal in several rough frontier towns, and as a cavalryman in the "Indian Wars." Over the years, his gun fighting and gambling prowess became the stuff of "wild west" lore, exaggerated, embellished and celebrated in contemporary pulp fiction. His romance with Martha Jane Burke, aka "Calamity Jane," similarly provided material for dime novelists.

Hickok soon parlayed his status as pop culture icon into a new career. He starred as "Wild Bill" in the play Scouts of the Prairies, and toured with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show in 1872-73. Eventually he returned to the frontier and resumed gambling. On Aug. 2, 1876, Wild Bill was shot from behind and killed while playing poker in Saloon #10 in Deadwood, Dakota Territory. Legend has it that he died with a poker hand consisting of a pair of aces and a pair of eights -- known thereafter as the "dead man's hand."