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The Blackfoot optimist. [volume] (Blackfoot, Idaho) 1907-1918, November 02, 1911, Image 2

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Bill" Hickok by
Friend Buffi
(Copyright, 1911, by W. G. Chapman.)
1LD BILL was the greatest gun lighter
the west ever knew. 1 don't know
how many men he killed, but It was
more than thirty. That number Is
«K J exclusive of the men he killed In the
/ Civil war. He is credited as a sharp
WWv shooter With having killed SB men,
/f y \ Including the Confederate General
I \ McCullough, In the battle of Pea
I J Ridge alpne. 1 don't know how true
\ J that Is. It Is impossible for anyone
to tell how many men he kills In a
battle when thousands of men are fir
ing. But he killed more than thirty In per
sonal encounters. He killed ten In one light
single handed. That was when he wiped out
the McCandlass gang at Rock Springs, Kan.,
In 1861, and It was the most heroic single
handed fight In all the history of the frontier.
Imagination has not colored or enlarged his
record. It Is a sure-enough record of men
killed In fair, stand-up fights. If one cares to
search, one can find their graves with their
names neatly carved on little headstones scat
tered from the Missouri river to the foothills
of the Rockies."
Col. William P. Cody, better known all over
the world as Buffalo Bill, was In reminiscent
mood. He paid this tribute to the prowess of
his dead comrade of early days on the plains.
He was Intimately associated with Wild Bill.
He fought by his side in the Civil war, he
scouted with him In the Indian campaigns, he
shared the same blanket beside many a lonely
camp fire. For years there was a bed and a
chair and the table for Wild Bill at the ranch
of Buffalo Bill's mother near Fort Leavenworth,
and to the very end of his stormy and wander
ing career Wild BUI thought of this spot as
Buffalo BUI Is himself one of the moBt pic
turesque characters of the old west left to
these piping, prosaic times. Though the pub
lic knows him chiefly as a showman, he Is the
last of the great scouts. His life has not been
all blank cartridges and calcium lights. Back
of his spectacular career as an exponent of
wild west drama Is a frontier life of daring,
hardship and danger. He la an old man now,
cnly a few years on the sunny side of three
score and ten. His sweeping mustaches and
Imperial and his long hair that falls upon his
shoulders In the waving abundance of early
years are as white as snow. But his tall figure
Is still stalwart and as straight as a young
pine on the mountains, his step Is elastic and
his eye bright, and be still wears his white
sombrero tilted at a Jaunty angle on the side
of his head as In the bravo days of his youth.
"I was eleven years old when I first met
Wild B1U In 1857," said Buffalo BUI. "I was
making my first expedition across the plains.
It was the expedition led by General Albert
Sydney Johnston, afterwards killed at Shiloh,
against Brigham Young and the Mormons In
Utah. I was connected with the supply train
as the driver of the extra cattle. A big bully
In my mess seemed to think 1 was meant to
be his servant and ordered me around at every
opportunity. I grew sulky and resentful under
his badgering, but I was a mere kid and was
helpless. One evening as we were eating sup
per he ordered me to get him another cup of
coffee. 'Get your own coffee,' 1 said. He
reached over from where he sat and slapped
me'over. I rolled Into the ashes at the edge
of the camp fire and narrowly escaped getting
badly burned. I ran to the big coffee kettle,
caught It up, and stepping up behind the bully,
doused the scalding coffee over him from bead
to foot. He roared with pain. Then he rushed
for me. A young man stepped between us.
I knew him casually as Jim Hickok. The men
of the wagon train called him 'Jimmy.*
'"Say,* he said, facing the bully squarely,
'you leave that kid alone.'
"My unexpected champion was about twenty
years old, tall, slender, bronzed and athletic
looking. The powerful brute he confronted
would have made two of him. The bully stopped
In surprise. He sized up the stripling with a
glance. The Inventory doubtless convinced him
he had nothing to fear,
'' 'What have you got to do with this?' he
bellowed and be charged at the youth like a
mad bull.
'The men of the out^t expected to see
Hickok beaten to a Jelly or killed. He gave
us the surprise of our lives. He proved to be
the quickest man I ever saw. A catamount
could not have been quicker. He stepped Into
the bully fearlessly. He was all over his man.
He rocked hts head with terrific blows. He
ripped punches Into his Aildsectlon. He closed
his eyes, bloodied his Ups, knocked the teeth
down his throat. He ended by dropping the
bully to his knees and making him blubber out,
'I've got enough' and beg for mercy. After the
tight my ancient enemy was the worst battered
up man I ever saw. Hickok didn't show a
mark. He walked away and sat down on a
wagon tongue and smoked a pipe serenely.
That was my Introduction to the man after
ward known all over the west hb Wild BUI,
and from that day we were fast friends.
T enlisted in the Union army In 1868 and
was sent to Tennessee. I was employed as a
scout and spy. I was peculiarly fitted to play
the part of spy In Confederate camps. Most
of the people with whom I had been thrown
all my life on the plains were from Missouri,
Kentucky or Tennessee- It was second nature
for me to talk In the drawling lingo of the
"On one of my excursions as a spy I was
disguised as a Tennessee farmer boy with
a ragged hat, a homespun shirt and pants of
butternut Jeans. I was riding along a roaJ
when I came to a farm house. Hitched to the
palings of the fence was a fine horse, saddled.
Through a window I saw a man In the unlTorm
of a Confederate officer sitting at a table eat
ing. Something about his face looked familiar.
I dismounted and stepped to the door of the
house and asked for e drink of water. As 1
was drinking I took a good look at the man.
It was Wild Bill. He shot a quick glance at
me. But I had grown since he last saw me
and In my disguise he did not recognize me;
I waited till he had finished his meal and
followed him to the road. As he prepared to
mount his horse I stepped close and said In
a low tone, 'Bill, don't you remember me?' 1
thought I saw a gleam of recognition In his
eyes, but he said simply, 'No, 1 don't.' 'I'm
Billy Cody,' I said. 'Well, well,' returned Wild
BUI, 'are you little Billy Cody?'
"Then he gave me a dressing down. 'You
haven't any business In this part of the coun
try,' he said . 'You ought to be In the Union
army.' 'How do you know I'm not?' I asked.
'You In the Union army?' he said. 'Maybe 1
am,' I answered. 'What are you doing In those
clothes, then?' he asked. T suspect I'm doing
the same as you,' I replied. Bill smiled. 'Get
on your horse,' he said. And we rode togethei
back Into the Union lines. For the remainder
of the war we did much scouting together In
Missouri and the southwest.
"When I Joined General Sheridan as chief
of scouts In the campaign against the Indiana
of the northwest in 1868 I found Wild BUI with ,
the command. I went to General Sheridan
and 'General,' I said, 'Wild BUI is the best
scout, the best shot and the bravest man In
the western country. He Is seven or eight
years older than I and I have always looked
upon him as my superior In everything that
goes to the making of a plainsman. 1 don't
like to give orders to such a man. 1 would
rather serve under him. Make him chief of
" 'Well, I won't,' said General Sheridan. 'You
are chief of scouts of the United States army.
When you get ready to give Wild BUI an or
der, give It.'
"I went to Wild Bill and told him how 1 felt
about the situation and what the general had
" 'Why, that's all right, Billy,' Wild Bill sakl.
'I'm a soldier and I'll take orders from anyone
who has the right to give me orders. I'd Just
as lief work under you as anybody 1 know.
I'll obey you as my ranking officer as readily
as I'd obey the commanding general of the
United States army.'
"And he did. He did fine work under me
through that stirring campaign. He held In
check that turbulent spirit that brooked dicta
tion from no one and obeyed my orders tike
the soldier that he was.
"I first entered the show business in 1872,"
Buffalo BUI continued. "General Sheridan had
been ordered to Chicago to take command of
the Department of the Lakes and I went with
him as Inspector of horses. Ned Buntline,
whom I had known out west, had. written a
drama of the border named 'Scouts of the
Plains.' He offered me $600 a week to take
the leading role. I hesitated to ask General
Sheridan for permission for fear he would
laugh at me and perhaps refuse. I finally got
Col. Mike Sheridan, his brother, to prefer my
request. It was granted readily.
"The drama was produced in Nixon's ampl
theater, which used to stand near the site of
the modern Hotel Sherman. On the opening
night when I was to make my bow before the
footlights for the first time the immense the
ater was packed to the walls. General Sheri
dan and all the officers of the poBt occupied
boxes In all the glory or rull-dress uniforms
I was worse scared as I stepped out of the
wings and faced that great audience than 1
ever was tn an Indian fight with bullets and
arrows singing about my ears. But I carried
It off as bravely as I could. What I didn't
know about acting I made up for by strutting
about the stage, storming out my lines and
firing my navy revolvers after every other sen
tence. There was an amazing amount of gun
powder burned In that play. After It was all
over I Imagined 1 had scored a triumph. Next
day the Chicago papers said the play was so
bad It was good. But we packed the theater
nightly and the reserve police had to be called
out to quiet the crowdB that fought at the doors
tor admission.
'The management offered me $1,000 a week
to go to St. Louis, where our success was re
"I decided at the opening of the next season
that It would be a money-making scheme to
have Wild BUI as a member of our troupe
He was then in Hays City, where he bad killed
several people, and I wrote him telling him
of the money he could make by appearing on
the stage. 'You won't have to do much acting.
I told him. 'You will only have to shoot and
pose around.' He wrote back that be would
accept my proposition. I wrote him he would
have to agree to stop fighting and killing
while he was with the show. He sent me an
agreement to that effect by return mall. Then
I sent him money to come to New York, where
the show was to open. In this last letter 1
gave him Instructions as to what he must do
when he reached the city.
" 'I am stopping at the Brevoort hotel,' 1
wrote him, 'and you will land In New York at
the Forty-second street depot To avoid get
ting lost In the big city, taka a cab at the
danot end you will be driven to the hotel in
a few minutes. Pay the cabman $2. These
New York cabmen are regular hold-up men
and your driver may want to charge you more,
but don't pay him any more than $2 under
any circumstances.'
"I was glad Wild BUI was coming. 1 hadn't
seen my old pal for a long time, and I looked
forward with pleasure to meeting him again.
I told everybody about the ' voort hotel that
Wild Bill was coming and . the evenings as
I sat about the lobby I reoc tinted some of his
wonderful fights and adventures. I wanted
Wild BUI to feel easy as soon as he arrived at
the hotel, and 1 told the proprietor If I didn't
happen to be around to welcome Bill and make
him feel at home.
"WUd BUI arrived In New York on schedule
time. He had my last letter In his pocket
and had committed to memory my Instructions
as to what he should do. As soon as bis train
arrived he stepped Into a cab and ordered the
cabman to drive him to the Brevoort house.
When the cab drew up in front of the hotel
and BUI stepped out he handed the driver a
$2 bill. He was bent upon following my In
structions to the last detail.
" 'Here's your pay,' he said.
"'Pay nothin'," said the Jehu. 'My charge
is $5.'
" 'Well. $2 Is all jou're going to get.' said
WUd Bill.
" 'Well, Rube, I'll Just take the rest out o'
your hide,' said the'lrate cabman, and be leaped
from his box and made at Wild Hill. Wild
Bill punched him around tbe sidewalk un
mercifully and wound up by knocking him
under his cab horses, where he lay unconscious
until pulled out by onlookers. Wild BUI walked
quietly into the hotel. The proprietor, who
bad witnessed the fight, came running up to
my room where I was having a nap and
thumped at my door.
" 'Say, Mr. Cody,' he shouted, '1 guess that
gentleman you have been expecting has ar
"WUd BUI was a bad actor most anywbore,
but he was an especially bad actor on the
stage. Jack Omohundro, known as Texas Jack,
was with the show, and when the curtain fell
at the close of the first act he and 1 and Wild
Bill were supposed to stand out near the front
of the stage clasping rescued maidens to our
breasts In the white glare of the calcium. But
WUd BUI was never out there where he be
longed. He invariably bung back In tbe shad
ows at the rear or remained hair-bidden behind
a painted tree or rock. He was a poor hand
to pose or show off and hated to have a lot
of people staring at him. One night when
the spot light found him leaning against a
gnarled oak In the background it niade blm
inad, and he took a shot at the spot-light ma
chine In the central aisle of tbe balcony, shat
tered the bull's eye and broke the machine.
The play had to go on to the end without the
usual calcium effects.
"WUd BUI remained with the show three or
four months. By that time he had demon
strated that he was impossible as a member
. of a traveling theatrical company. I tried to
make him do better, but I couldn't do any
thing with him and he was released. He was
glad of It and turned toward the west with a
light heart.
"A little while before BUI Joined the show
he bad killed Phil. Cole, a wealthy Texas cat
tleman of Abilene, Kan. Bill was marshal of
Abilene, and Cole, who was a desperado him
self, had threatened to kill him Just to show
the frontier he could do It They met on the
friends of Cole or enemies of
Wild BUI in Abilene 'that day they kept care
fully out of sight. Not a shot was fired. Noth
ing happened. Wild Bill's reception at Abilene
was a regular ovation.
'That little trip that Cole's brother and
friends had made from Texas to Abilene to
avenge Cole's death was no bluff. They went,
to Abilene again the following year expecting
to find Wild Bill there. Whey they learned
that he was In Cheyenne, Cole's brother and
two of his close friends started off for the
Wyoming town. Wild Bill's friends In Abilene
wired him to be on the lookout for them.
"Bill was standing against the bar of a sa
loon In Cheyenne drinking a glass of beer
when the three Texans stalked In. BUI recog
nized Cole's brother by his resemblance to the
Cole he had killed. But Bill made no move.
He merely fingered his glass lazily and watched
the three strangers out of the corner of his
eye. The Texans separated slightly and closed
on Bill In a semi-circle. 'Get him now!' said
their leader suddenly. All three whipped out
revolvers. But—would you believe it?—they
did not fire a shot. BUI was the quickest man
'on the draw' that ever lived. He fired eo
rapidly that others In the saloon testified after
wards they heard but one report. His bullets
found the Texans between the eyes and they
fell dead in their tracks. WUd BUI killed
these men with a six-shooter 1 had given hlnj
when he quit the theatrical business.
''Wild BUI was one of the best revolver shots
ever In the west," Buffalo BUI went on. "He
certainly was the best revolver shot In a fight.
"The man of today wonders why WUd BUI
got Into so many fights. One naturally figures
he must have been a quarrelsome man. On
the contrary he was distinctly likable and ami
able. But out west In early days there were
many men who took pride In bloody exploits
and killed men simply to make a record. In
the spirit of gamblers these men Bwore to
kill each other to decide which was the better
man. They hunted each other often and trav
eled hundreds of miles to fight It out with a
rival killer. A number of these professional
bad men tried to kill WUd Bill for the reputa
tion It would give them. Other men tried to
kill him as a result of disputes. Still others
sought his life to avenge the deaths of rela
tives who had fallen before Wild Bill's re
"He was klued In Deadwood by Jack McCall
on August 2, 1876. With a party of friends
he had entered a saloon to play poker. The
card table was In a corner at the rear of the
place. Captain Durfee, an old Missouri steam
boat man and a friend of Hlckok's, took the
seat in the corner. Wild Bill tried to get the
seat first. When he fatted, be asked Captain
Durfee to let him have it Captain Dürfe*
suspected Bill wanted the seat to have a certain
man at his right to cut for him and perhaps
stack the deck. Captain Durfee refused to give
up the seat. Then Bill without more ado sat
down In a chair with his back to the rront
door. In that position he could not see McCall
enter. The assassin stepped up behind him
and fired a bullet in the back of his head, kill
ing him Instantly. McCall was hanged in Yank
ton not long after. The fatal bullet, after pass
ing through Wild Bill's skull, broke Captain
Durfee's arm.
"Captain Durfee said afterward that be did
not realize until too late that WUd BUI wanted
the chair In the corner so be could command
a view of the bar and all who entered rrorn
the street If the captain had known this he
would have surrendered the chair and WUd BUI
would not have been assassinated."
* pi/./=: coo's. .
streel Bill's partner was
with him. As BUI started to
shoot, his partner stepped In
the line of fire. BUI killed
him accidentally, fired over
his body and killed Cole with
his second bullet. Cole's
brother and a number of his
cowboy friends came up to
Abilene from Texas to avenge
his death. They found that
Bill had gone east to become
an actor. They boasted about
Abilene that they had come
to kill Bill and he had been
scared and had run away.
BUI heard of this talk and
as soon as be left the show
he started for Cheyenne by
way of Abilene. He sent
word to the Kansas town
that he would be glad to.
meet Cole's brother and
friends or any one else who
had any scores to settle with
him. BUI went Into Abilene
standing out on the rear plat
form and there was a great
crowd at the depot to greet
him. He was dressed In his
most dandified style and
looked extremely well as be
smiled placidly and surveyed
the throng. He remained
standing up above the heads
of the crowd where every
body could see him for a few
minutes and then stepped off
upon the depot platform and
shook hands with everybody.
When the train pulled out he
stood again on the rear plat
form and waved the crowd
good-bye. If there were any
friends of Cole or enemies of
The melancholy days have come, the
saddest of the year—
The woods are blazing gold and red. the
Bkles are jewel-clear;
Each breath you draw sends ting) Ina
thrills a-leap through every vein;
You sigh to see the wagon load of pump
kins In the lane.
You weep and wall and shake your head
In gloominess profound
To think of that thick pumpkin pie, se
deep and fat and round!
The melancholy days have come—the
purple grapes are fat;
The sunlight gives them ruby-glints—
you're very sad for that.
The sweet potatoes, mellow-hot, give
forth their tempting scent;
From peach preserves upon the stove the
savor is unpent;
Oh. sad the days and filled with gloom»
when tears come to the eye
Because at last we have to face the juicy
mincemeat plel
The melancholy days have come, so let
us weep and wall—
Across the stubble sounds the Jolly piping
of the quail;
The ducks are quacking In the marsh,
the geese are honking high;
The pawpaw mottles to a brown—O. let
us sit and cry.
And let us heave a doleful moan and shed
a bitter tear—
The melancholy days have come, the
saddest of the year. , j
- 1 r 1
A BImoral Fable. '
When the New Reporter came In to
write his first story, after adopting
Journalism, the Hardened Sinners In
the office began to offer Bets One
and all wanted to bet Ten Dollars that
he Would.
Just to accommodate them a Fool
ish, but Sportive Stranger took them
And when the New Reporter turned
in his copy, which told about a Circus,
it was found that he bad not referred
to the Elephant as "the Giant Pachy
So tffe Stranger won.
Moral—It Is wrong to Bet.
Submoral—But the New Reporter
did not know how to spell "Pachy
In Training.
"How far is it to the next town 7"'
"Ain't formed no opinion."
"Do you think It is going to rain?'"
"Got no opinion, stranger."
"Where's the best hotel here?"
"No opinion on that, sir."
"What's the matter with you, are
you crazy?"
"Never formed an opinion."
"Well, say, tell me what you mean
by such answers?"
"Stranger, don't tell any of the fel
lers around here, but I'm trainin' for
Jury duty at th' next session o'
"Yes," she says, "we have at last
secured a cook, but I must confess
she is a problem. The poor thing
doesn't seem to know how to cook
anything but tomato soup and codfish
cakes. Everything else she tries is an
absolute failure."
"Ah," suggests the husband of th»
friend who is receiving the burden of
the troubles of the hostess, "evidently
your cook has but a superficial knowl
edge of her craft."
Couldn't Hear It.
"My poor friend," said tbe earnest
reformer, "do you never hear the still»
small voice of conscience?"
"No," replied the wicked person.
"I'm so hard of hearing that con
science couldn't get word to me with a.
ten-foot megaphone."
Sagacious Malden.
"Would you rather be wise, or
beautiful?" asks Fate of the Coy
Young Maiden.
"Beautiful," replies the damsel.
"Ah, you are wise already," com
ments Fate, tying up a package of
One for Her, Too.
"The Nibbler's Magazine sent me a
check for ten dollars for my poem."
said the rhymster. "I consider that a
feather in my cap."
"Yes." said his wife "Now you give
me the money, and 1 can get a new
j feather In my bonneL too."

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