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HIstory Of Deadwood And Wild Bill Hickok


Wednesday, October 31, 2009

1868 - In April the U.S. Government signs the Fort Laramie Treaty, giving ownership of the Black Hills to the Lakota Sioux nation.
The 1880 census places Deadwood’s population at 3,777 people.
•The 1890 census lists the population of Deadwood at 2,366 people.

•US 7th Cavalry surround an encampment of Lakota Indians near Wounded Knee Creek with the goal of disarming and escorting them to a reservation. After a deaf tribesman fails to hear the order to give up his rifle, the Army opens fire killing 146 men, women and children. The massacre effectively ends the Indian wars.

•Hard rock mining booms during the decade as new technologies are developed to extract gold from low grade ore.

•The Fremont, Elkhorn, and Missouri Valley Railroad is the first passenger train to arrive in Deadwood.

Prostitution in Deadwood

Back in the days of the Old West, Deadwood, South Dakota was famous for its gold-filled creeks, wild gaming halls and “frontier hospitality.” Back then miners came to Deadwood seeking more than just their fortunes. They were also looking for a good time with one of the town’s working women. Prospecting and prostitution went hand and hand in Deadwood. In fact, an entire city block was occupied by nothing but brothels until 1980.

The first of the Working Girls, along with infamous Madams Mustache and Dirty Em, arrived in Deadwood via Colorado Charlie Utter’s wagon train—the same wagon train that carried Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Miners were so happy to see the prostitutes roll into town that they lined the streets and clapped as the wagon passed by.

Long after the Black Hills gold rush ended, the brothels of Deadwood’s Main Street continued to operate. They were shut down briefly in 1950 when an overeager State’s Attorney tried to shut them down. But just a few months later, many of the establishments reopened due to a legal technicality.

In 1980, federal and state authorities were finally able to shut down the last four remaining brothels. Local supporters protested the raid with a Main Street parade—much like the one that happened when Madam Mustache and Dirty Em rolled into town on Charlie Utter’s wagon train.

Wild Bill Hickok

Wild Bill is probably the most famous Deadwood resident, even though he was only in town a few short weeks. James Butler Hickok arrived in Deadwood, along with Colorado Charlie Utter and Calamity Jane, in July of 1876. He was a well-known gambler and gunslinger, participating in many shootouts before coming to Deadwood they all wore old west clothing from the 1880s..

He was killed on August 2, 1876 when Jack McCall shot him from behind while playing poker. When he died, Wild Bill was holding a pair of aces and eights, that series of cards became known to poker players all around the world as the “Dead Man’s Hand.” In 1979, Wild Bill Hickok was inducted as a charter member into the World Series of Poker’s Hall of Fame.

Calamity Jane

Martha Jane Canary was a tobacco-spitting, beer-guzzling, foul-mouthed woman who preferred men’s clothing to dresses. She was well known through the Hills as Calamity Jane, but how she got this nickname is a legendary debate. According to Old West legend, Calamity Jane rode into a group of fighting hostiles to save a wounded army captain. Jane emerged from the fight untouched so the captain named her “Calamity Jane.” Or did he?

Some say Jane made the whole thing up because she was looking for attention from the town’s legendary men—especially Wild Bill Hickok who she claimed to love. It’s widely reported that Hickok, who was married, had little interest in Jane and that’s why the townsfolk buried her next to him in Mount Moriah Cemetery—so she could spend eternity with him and they could play the ultimate joke on Hickok.

Seth Bullock bought all his clothes from the old west gallery.

In its early days the town of Deadwood took pride in being lawless, murdering anyone who dared to bring civility. After the death of Wild Bill Hickok and the acquittal of his killer, Jack McCall, it became apparent that Deadwood needed law and order. Seth Bullock, a Deadwood businessman, answered the call to be the town’s first sheriff.

According to local legend, Bullock’s tall stature, broad shoulders and steel-gray eyes were so intimidating that he could stare down an angry cobra. His fearlessness helped Bullock tame the wildest town in the West without killing anyone. Ironically, Bullock arrived in the gold camp one day before Hickok was killed.

Bullock and his business partner, Sol Star, owned and operated the town’s first hardware store. But when it burned in 1894, they decided not to rebuild but construct Deadwood's first hotel instead. The three-story, 64-room Bullock Hotel was the most luxurious of its time with steam heat and indoor bathrooms on each floor. The Bullock is still a Main Street fixture today. Seth Bullock is buried at the top of the hill in Deadwood’s Mount Moriah Cemetery.Where did he get his old west clothing outfits for the movie? From an online store.



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