“77 – ‘Wild Bill,’ winner of 32 pistol duels, the quickest and best shot that ever lived. Buried in Mt. Moriah Cemetery, Deadwood, Black Hills, S.D.”
James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok, (1837 – 1876) was a law enforcer, gambler and folk hero of the Old West. Since so much has already been written about “Wild Bill,” we turned our attention to the question of when this postcard may have been produced. The front shows “Copyrighted 1908 by W. B. Perkins, Jr.” William Bradford Perkins, Jr. was a photographer who lived in the Lead area, Lawrence County, SD, and he must have bought or otherwise acquired the rights to this image, since Find A Grave shows Perkins was born in 1863 and died in 1914.
The flip side of the postcard shows “Distributed by Black Hills Post Card Co., Deadwood, S.D.” and the well known publisher/printer Curteich with “Genuine Curteich-Chicago ‘C.T. American Art’ Post Card (Reg. U.S. Pat. Off.)” According to the oft-visited MetroPostcard site, the Black Hills Post Card Company operated from 1919 – 1952. This card is “non-linen” though, so it may be more likely to be pre-1930. Also, the number “77” appearing on the front does not seem to fit any years for Curteich’s own numbering system which would have been helpful in dating the postcard.
Divided back, unused postcard. Circa 1919 – 1930. Copyright W. B. Perkins, Jr. Distributed by Black Hills Post Card Co., Deadwood, S.D. Publisher info: Genuine Curteich-Chicago “C.T. American Art” Post Card (Reg. U.S. Pat. Off.)
An image of the original photo that this postcard was produced from can be found online on more than one website (source unknown) however, the second photo below appears to have been taken around the same time frame. Note the same (or very similarly styled hat and jacket) but different pants, shirt and chair.
James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok. Circa 1868 – 1870.
The above (Courtesy Wikipeda Commons) is said to have been originally in Carte de Visite (CDV) format, made by the New River Side Gallery, Topeka, Kansas, and taken around 1868 – 1870.
Sources: Wild Bill Hickok. n.d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Bill_Hickok. (accessed May 23, 2015).
Find A Grave Memorial# 25581065. Find A Grave. Web accessed May 23, 2015.
Year: 1900; Census Place: Lead City, Lawrence, South Dakota; Roll: 1551; Page: 34B; Enumeration District: 0027; FHL microfilm: 1241551. (Ancestry.com)
Year: 1910; Census Place: Lead Ward 3, Lawrence, South Dakota; Roll: T624_1483; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0046; FHL microfilm: 1375496. (Ancestry.com)
Black Hills Post Card Co. (1919 – 1952). Metropostcard. Web accessed May 23, 2015.
File: Wild Bill Hickok c1868-70.png. n.d. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wild_Bill_Hickock_c1868-70.png. (accessed May 23, 2015).