CowboySpirit.TV - We've got gunslingers galore in this edition of our old west history series, including the births of Annie Oakley and Doc Holliday, and Billy the Kid's first kill.
1860: That famed old west showwoman Annie Oakley was born on this day. She spent much of her life touring with Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, garnering fame worldwide. She even did some trick shooting for one of Thomas Edison's very first Kinetoscope films.
1851: John Henry "Doc" Holliday was born today. While he trained and briefly practiced as a dentist in Georgia and Texas, he caught tuberculosis early in his life, ruining his career. From there, he turned to gunslinging, gambling, and drinking. Despite only having been given six months to live when diagnosed, he made it another 14 years and became a legend in the process.
1935: Beloved cowboy philosopher and comedian Will Rogers died on this day. He had become an enthusiast of aviation and was tragically killed along with pilot Wiley Post while surveying Alaska, when a low-altitude engine failure left them no time to pull up.
1899: On this day, old west outlaw Tom "Black Jack" Ketchum barely survived a shootout on a train job that killed the conductor, and caused him to lose an arm. He did not have to live without it for long, though. He'd been captured for the murder and was sentenced to death by hanging.
1877: Today, Billy the Kid earned the first of many notches in his gun, killing blacksmith Frank Cahill. Whether it was self-defense is debated to this day. Cahill began the fight and was much bigger than the Kid, but the Kid was the first to pull iron. Kid fled to New Mexico, where he became involved in the Lincoln County War.
1873: Lawman C.B. Whitney died on this day, the result of being shot by gunman Billy Thompson of the Thompson Brothers. While the shooting was, in fact, probably an accident, a $500 bounty was placed on Billy, causing the Thompsons to flee.
1896: It was probably on this day that the notoriously violent and racist Texas lawman Alfred Allee died. He was known for shooting prisoners after their surrender and once killed a black man simply for pushing him. Dying as he'd lived, he was stabbed to death in a barroom brawl.