Wild Bill Hockock
word type: person
- A legendary figure of the American Old West and made his living as gunfighter, lawman and gambler.
Hickock was born in Illinois in 1837 and his birthplace is listed as a historical site. He learned to become an expert marksman while protecting his farm from slave catchers and became a great shot from an early age. At 18 he joined the vigilante "Free State Army" where he met William "Buffalo Bill" Cody who was a scout for Johnston's Army. In 1857 he was elected as one of the first four constables of Monticello Township, Kansas.
When the Civil War began, Hickock joined the Union Army and served mostly in Kansas and Missouri and earned a reputation as a skilled scout. After the war he became a scout for the U.S. Army and served as a United States Marshal. He traveled later and was involved in many deadly shootouts and fatal duels.
His death came on August 2, 1876 while playing poker at Nuttal & Mann's Sallon in Deadwood (Dakota Territory). Hickock could not find an empty seat in the corner of the room where he usually played in order to protect himself against a possible attack from behind. Legend has it that Hickock was shot in the back of the head while playing poker holding a pair of aces and a pair of eights. Thus, Aces and Eights has been known as a the Dead Man's Hand. In 1979 Wild Bill Hickock was elected to the Poker Hall of Fame.