Monday, February 20, 2012

Wild Bill Hickok Meets Two Young Girls from Springfield, MO?

As usual I started to just post a picture and it turned into a project.  This is a picture of two young girls taken between 1864 and 1866 in Springfield, MO by Charles W. Scholten. His studio was located at the South Side of Public Square in Springfield.  The back of the photo has the three cent Civil War revenue stamp.

I found a Charles Scholten on in 1863 age 24, residence Campbell Missouri and occupation artist.  This was a Civil War draft record. I also found a Charles Scholten in the 1880 Springfield, Mo census, age 41 occupation saloon keeper, married to Clara, three children Rosa E, age 14, Henry age 10 and Neva age 8.

I found this interesting tidbit in an article documenting Scholten photographing Wild Bill Hickok  about September 1865 according to an article written by George Ward Nichols for Harper's New Monthly Magazine. "Hickok and another former army scout Dave Tutt had just been in a classic western shootout on the public square leaving Tutt shot through the heart" as is retold by Donna A. Beardsley, "Two Resource Materials for Teaching about the Old West."  Nichols arrived on the scene on Army business and documented the story which other newspaper sensationalized adding to Wild Bill's notoriety.

Beardsly goes on to quote from an 1867 Atchison, Kansas, Champion article in which she mentions the photographer Charles Scholten, " Few, though, would recognize him as being the person described by Nichols, except that Hickok was a "dead shot" and that he was a quiet person but dangerous is provoked"  Also from Beardsly's article, "The editor of the Springfield Patriot added that the full-length illustration of Hickok on page one was an accurate reproduction of one of Charles W. Scholten's photographs of "Wild Bill."  Hickok had had several photographs taken at Scholten's Photographic Palace of Art in Springfield."


  1. Are these girls Scholten's daughters?

  2. I don't think he got married until around 1865 or 66 so these girls must belong to someone else. I also think he started his photography career between 1864 and 66 since he was in the war in 63. Would have been nice though if they were his.

  3. Great photo and history. The girl's look of apprehension along with the tilt of the print makes it interesting. Sisters or cousins?

  4. Loved seeing the photo! Charles Scholten was my husband's 2nd great grandfather. There aren't many existing photos of his, except his "claim to fame" photo of Wild Bill which was used as the inspiration for the Harper's Weekly cover painting. Charles' brother, John A. Scholten, was a noted St. Louis photographer, is mentioned in several books and many of his works show up on websites. It is surmised that Charles gave up photography for saloon-keeping which was more lucrative.
    Thanks for your story.

    1. How exciting to hear from you! I love discovering things about the early photographers since the field was in its infancy, this one was particularly interesting. Hearing from a descendant makes it all the more worthwhile. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment!


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