Thursday, March 07, 2013

A New Wild Bill Hickok Image?

March  7, 2013,
   Got an interesting new photo from my good friend Richard Sheaff.

We sent it to Wild Bill Hickok expert in England.The figure's long hair and clothing suggested that it could be in fact a long lost image of Wild Bill Hickok. However, when it was examined by Joseph G. Rosa who has spent many years studying both the man and his various photographs, he expressed the opinion that it is not Hickok.

    He concludes that it is certainly of the late 1870's when Rockwood was in business in New York, but when the features are compared with known Hickok photographs from the same period, there are several differences.

   This man is bearded, but Hickok never was—the closest he came was to sport the occasional goatee.   Similarly, his ears are rounded whereas Hickok's were not.  The nose is straight while Hickok's has a distinct bend or eagle-like formation and the mouth is nothing like Hickok's. But the most obvious difference is in the eyes.   The unknown man has a frank but friendly expression whereas Hickok's gaze while friendly is that of a man who even when relaxed is  wary and cautious, as one might expect for someone whose life had been threatened on numerous occasions.

   Finally, the clothing is of the period, but does not reflect Hickok's normal attire when away from the frontier.   Therefore, we are left wondering who this near look alike of Wild Bill was.   Perhaps he is known to some of our readers and if so, we would like to learn more about him.

"The past does not haunt us. We haunt the past."
—Augusten Burroughs