Just What IS That Thing?
William “Billy” Dixon was born in Ohio County, West Virginia on September 25, 1850. He was orphaned at age 12 and set out on his own at 14. He was an oxen driver and mule skinner, a skilled marksman and scout.
In 1869 he joined a hunting and trapping venture on the Saline River northwest of Fort Hays.
Dixon scouted the Texas Panhandle for the Army, hunted buffalo for the train companies, defended the Adobe Walls settlement against Indian attack with his legendary buffalo rifle, and was one of eight civilians in the history of the U.S. to receive the Medal of Honor.
He married Olive King in 1894, and they had seven children. In later life his occupations included justice of the peace, postmaster, and sheriff.
Dixon died from pneumonia at his Cimarron County, Oklahoma, homestead on March 9, 1913, at age 62. On his deathbed he told his complete life story to his wife Olive, and in 1927 she published Life of “Billy” Dixon, Plainsman, Scout and Pioneer. In this book a brief reference was made to the trading post site that will be investigated during the 2013 KATP field school.