James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok (1837-1876), ca. 1869. (RG2603.PH0-000006)
Before the Civil War, James Butler Hickok was a driver for Russell, Majors, & Waddell, who operated freighting and stagecoach lines. While in their employ, he came to Rock Creek Station in Jefferson County, Nebraska Territory, which the company had agreed to purchase from David McCanles. It was here that what became known as the Hickok/McCanles affair occurred on July 12, 1861. During a dispute over funds from the sale of the station Hickok killed McCanles. His indictment at Beatrice for murder, and the subsequent sensationalization of the tale by pulp writers, launched the “Wild Bill” Hickok legend.
Rock Creek Station, ca. 1861 (RG2220.PH000004-000001)
David McCanliss (RG2220.PH000001-000002)
Bill of cost from trial (RG2603.AM)
Illustration of the Hickok/McCanles affair from Harper’s Magazine, Feb. 1867