Cowboys and Legends:

Willie M. Pickett, Also known as Bill Pickett

Pickett was born on the 5th of December in 1870. He was born in Texas as the 2nd child of former slave, Thomas Jefferson Pickett and a Cherokee native, Mary "Janie" Gilbert. Pickett had 13 siblings. Willie M. Pickett married Maggie Turner, a former slave and daughter of a white southern plantation owner in 1890. They had nine kids.

Bill Pickett was known as a courageous cowboy, rodeo, and Wild West performer. After leaving school in the 5th grade, Bill Pickett went on to become a ranch hand. During this time Pickett would began to ride horses and watch the longhorn steers of Texas. This observation and horseback riding eventually lead into the practice of bulldogging, which was created by Willie M. Pickett. From this moment on, Pickett would travel to states such as Arizona, Wyoming, and Oklahoma teaching and performing this act.

Eventually Bill Pickett joined the 101 Ranch Wild West Show. Along side many other great ranchers he began to travel the world and performer these great stunts. The name Bill Pickett soon became synonymous with successful rodeos. Although Pickett had much success and recognition, his ethnicity hindered some of his opportunities to perform as an African American Cherokee. Thus, Bill Pickett had to perform as an Comanche native in order to receive acceptance as a rodeo performer.

After retiring from the Wild West Shows, Bill Pickett was killed in 1932 at the age of 61 by a wild bronco kicking him in the head. He died a tragic death but left an inspiring story. Many today in the rodeo community still recognize his name and legacy.

1. He was inducted into the National Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1971.

2. Bill Pickett has a headstone beside the graves of the Miller brothers at the Cowboy Hill Cemetery.

3. He is buried near a 14-foot monument because of the friendship of Ponca Tribal Chief White Eagle and the Miller brothers on Monument Hill.

4. Bill Pickett and his other four brothers established The Pickett Brothers Bronco Busters and Rough Raiders Association.

5. In 1921, Pickett appeared in the two films The Bull-Dogger and The Crimson Skull.

Jesse Chisholm

Jesse Chisholm was born in 1805. His father, Ignatius was of Scottish descent and his mother, Martha nee Rogers was a Cherokee from the region of Great Hiwassee. Him and his mother voluntarily migrated to Oklahoma and in 1826 he became involved in a gold seeking party. They made a trail and explored the region of present-day Wichita, Kansas. Chisholm married Eliza Edwards in 1836. They lived in an area of her father's trading post on the Little River.  

Chisholm was an interpreter and general aid in several treaties between the Republic of Texas and local Indian Tribes. He also helped with treaties between the United States federal government and various Indian tribes. In 1834, he was a member of the Dodge-Leavenworth Expedition, who were the first to make contact with the southern plains Indians on the behalf of the United States government. During the timespan of 20 years (1838-1858), Jesse Chisholm continued in the Indian trade and traded manufactured goods for peltry and cattle.

After the Civil War, Jesse Chisholm settled near present-day Wichita, Kansas. He recommenced trade into Indian Territory and eventually built up what was once a military and Indian trail into a road capable of carrying heavy wagons for the goods he sold. This road was named Chisholm's Trail and eventually changed to The Chisholm Trail.

Jesse Chisholm died near Left Hand Springs in 1868.

1. Jesse Chisholm remained neutral during the Civil War.

2. He led a band of refugees to the western part of the Indian Territory.

3. Jesse Chisholm died of food poisoning.

4. He could speak 14 different Indian dialects.

5. Chisholm's vast knowledge of southwestern geography was useful in his trailblazing.

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