The Romantic Love Letter Wild Bill Hickok Left for His Wyoming Widow
"Wild" Bill Hickok was one of the most famous gunslingers in American history. He was also a hopeless romantic.
141 years ago, on August 2, 1876, the old west icon was shot and killed at a saloon in Deadwood, South Dakota. Several months earlier, Hickok had written a love letter to his wife, Agnes Lake, with instructions to read it upon his death.
"Agnes, darling, if such should be we never meet again, while firing my last shot, I will gently breathe the name of my wife Agnes and with wishes even for my enemies, I will make the plunge and try to swim to the other shore."
Hickok and Lake were married in Cheyenne in March of 1876. The Cheyenne Daily Sun published the first report of the ceremony.
"Wild Bill of western fame has conquered numerous Indians, outlaws, bears and buffaloes, but a charming widow has stolen the magic wand. The scepter has departed and he is as meek and gentle as a lamb. In other words, he has shuffled off the coil of bachelorhood."
Lake remained in Wyoming after her husband's death. In September of 1877, she was remarried in Cheyenne. She eventually moved to New Jersey, where she lived with her daughter until 1907, when she passed away at the age of 80.