Wild Bill Hickok is born, May 27, 1837
James Butler Hickok was born in the frontier town of Homer, Illinois. His parents, William Alonzo and Polly Butler Hickok, were abolitionists who risked their lives by turning their home into a station on the Underground Railroad. The Hickok family often hid slaves in cubbyholes dug out under their floorboards and, when necessary, carried them to the next station in their wagon. It was said that the Hickoks provided for dozens, maybe hundreds, of escaping slaves. As a teenager, James rode with the Jayhawks, an antislavery militia fighting in the Kansas Territory.