Wild Bill shoots Davis Tutt 1865

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From city's web site: The nation’s first one-on-one quick draw duel took place on Springfield's town square between J.B. “Wild Bill” Hickok and Davis K. Tutt, on July 21, 1865.

What began as an argument over gambling debts, turned deadly when Tutt seized a prize watch of Wild Bill’s as collateral. Warned against wearing the watch in public to humiliate Wild Bill, Tutt appeared on the square on July 21, prominently wearing the watch. The two men then unsuccessfully negotiated the debt and the watch’s return.

Hickok returned to the square at 6 p.m. to again find Tutt displaying his watch. Wild Bill gave Tutt his final warning. “Don’t you come around here with that watch.” Tutt answered by placing his hand on his pistol.

Standing about 75 yards apart and facing each other sideways in dueling positions, Tutt drew his gun first. Wild Bill steadied his aim across his opposite forearm. Both paused, then fired near simultaneously.

Tutt missed. Wild Bill’s shot passed through Tutt’s chest. Reeling from the wound, Tutt staggered back to the nearest building before collapsing.

Wild Bill was acquitted of manslaughter by a jury after a three-day trial. Nothing better described the times than the fact that dangling a watch held as security for a poker debt was widely regarded as a justifiable provocation for resorting to firearms.

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Comments (1)

Am Billy on March 30, 2014

State of Missouri vs. Hickok -1865

In the summer of 1865, Davis K. Tutt, a former Confederate soldier, and William Butler Hickok, a former Union Scout and Spy, were friends and noted gamblers. On July 20, 1865, the pair fell out over a game of cards, which left Hickok in debt to Tutt who took his prized Waltham watch as security for payment. According to stories circulated later, Tutt taunted Hickok with the notion of flaunting his watch on the Springfield Public Square the following afternoon. Hickok warned that if he did it would become a shooting matter.

At 6 p.m. on the 21st, Tutt appeared with the watch and Hickok advised him not to cross the square. Dave’s response was to draw his pistol and open fire. Wild Bill drew and shot Tutt through the heart. Arrested and charged with manslaughter, Hickok was put on trial and found not guilty on his plea of self-defense.

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Photo taken in Maple Park Cemetery, 300 West Grand Street, Springfield, MO 65807, USA

Photo details

  • Uploaded on March 4, 2014
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Am Billy
    • Camera: CASIO COMPUTER CO.,LTD. EX-S770
    • Taken on 2014/03/04 16:15:13
    • Exposure: 0.001s (1/800)
    • Focal Length: 6.20mm
    • F/Stop: f/4.300
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash