Abilene, Kansas

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Abilene is a city in and the county seat of Dickinson County, Kansas, United States.[3] The city population was 6,543 at the 2000 United States Census.



Abilene began as a stage coach stop in 1857, established by Timothy Hersey and named from a passage in the Bible, meaning "city of the plains". The town grew quickly when Joseph G. McCoy decided to use the town for the location of his stockyards. Abilene became the very first "cow town" of the west.[4]

With the railroad pushing west, cattle traders soon came to use Abilene as the largest stockyards west of Kansas City. The Chisholm Trail ended in Abilene, bringing in many travelers and making Abilene one of the wildest towns in the west.[5]

Town marshal Tom "Bear River" Smith was initially successful policing Abilene, often using only his bare hands. He survived two assassination attempts during his tenure. However, he was murdered and decapitated on November 2, 1870. Smith wounded one of his two attackers during the shootout preceding his death, and both suspects received life in prison for the offense.[4] He was replaced by Wild Bill Hickok in April 1871. Hickock's time as marshal was short lived. While standing off a crowd during a street brawl, gambler Phil Coe took two shots at Hickock, who returned fire killing Coe, but then accidentally shot his friend and deputy, Mike Williams, who was coming to his aid. He lost his job two months later in December.

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