Type of Officer: Policeman/Special Deputy
Jurisdiction: Abilene
County: Dickinson
Death Date: 10/5/1871
Added to Memorial: 1987
Circumstances of Death: Gunshot
City Marshal James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok became involved with a group of men when he attempted to quell their disturbance on the Abilene streets. Hickok warned the group and left. Later, when Phil Coe fired his revolver, Hickok thought the men, numbering about fifty, would likely cause a fight or a major disturbance. Hickok confronted Coe, both men drew their revolvers and began firing. In the midst of the gunfire, Mike Williams, evidently responding to assist Hickok, came around the corner of a building. In the dark, Hickok did not recognize the officer and Wild Bill mistakenly shot and killed Williams. The newspaper identified Williams as a policeman and as Hickok’s deputy. Williams had been a city policeman but absolute proof that he was on the force at the time of his death cannot be located. It is probable that he was working as a special police officer for one of the halls and still may have been on the city force. Hickok also may have asked him for assistance. Given the usual attitude toward law enforcement in that time period, it may be assumed that Williams was on the force, deputized by Hickok, or responding to assist an officer based upon his role as a special officer.