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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Too Wild for Kansas

This Day in (Old West) History: September 27, 1869

Wild Bill Hickok
Wild Bill Hickok, Legends of America
The days of the Wild West boasted of drunken brawls and gunfights. Local citizens were tired of the destructiveness brought on by the hard-drinking buffalo hunters and thirsty soldiers who literally 'tore the town apart' every night. Enough was enough and the townsfolk looked to Wild Bill Hickok as the ideal man for sheriff of Ellis County, Kansas. Was he up to the challenge? No question there. Whether the citizens could remain impressed with his methods is a totally different question.

Wild Bill Hickok lived up to his name 'Wild' yet at the same time expressed a humble nature. 


.. Wild Bill had his faults, grievous ones, perhaps ... He would get drunk, gamble, and indulge in the general licentiousness characteristic of the border in the early days, yet even when full of the vile libel of the name of whiskey which was dealt over the bars at exorbitant prices, he was gentle as a child, unless aroused to anger by intended insults. ... He was loyal in his friendship, generous to a fault, and invariably espoused the cause of the weaker against the stronger one in a quarrel.

--
Captain Jack Crawford, who scouted with Wild Bill before they both followed the gold rush to Deadwood. (Source: Old West Legends)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Bill_Hickok
Wild Bill, Texas Jack Omohundro,
and Buffalo Bill Cody in 1873
 "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, writing about Wild Bill Hickok.
On this day in 1869...
Just after midnight on this day in 1869, Ellis County (Interim) 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. Read the rest of the story...
Wild Bill Hickok proved himself capable of 'cleaning up the town' but not by methods pleasing to the citizens of Hays City. Was he too 'wild' for Kansas? He lost the regular election the following November for sheriff to his deputy, which meant his first attempt at being sheriff lasted only three months. However, that was NOT his last!