Current home of Victor Plumbing
504 N. Main Street (Block 12)
On an August day in 1867 a tall man got off his black horse and walked into the Williams Hotel on Main Street and secured a room. The Williams Hotel was on the West End of Block 12 located where Victor Plumbing is today. The hotel was owned by W. P. (Rip) Williams. The hotel had elm and locust trees in front and a long porch with chairs for the guests. The hotel’s slogan was “Housed and Fed Man and Beast”. The man who signed the registry at the desk was Bill Hickok, Deputy Marshall. Mr. Hickok made sure the hotel was run by a union man. He inspected the barn where his horse was to be kept and hired a man to guard his horse. He was an ex-union soldier, scout, U.S. Marshall and pistol man. His real name was James Butler Hickok but changed his name to Bill when he was young.
Soon after Bill arrived in Salem he began mingling with some old Civil War soldiers at a local saloon. William Tutt Stepp, Sheriff of Dent County, and other men began a game of poker with Mr. Hickok. A fight broke out amongst the gamblers but a disaster was averted with some of the players going home. Mr. Hickok set off for Springfield, Missouri soon after this altercation. Dave Tutt, a relative of Sheriff Stepp heard about the poker game and was furious. Dave was a spy for the Confederate Forces and vowed he would get revenge for his friends.
Tutt set out for Springfield and soon met up with “Wild Bill” Hickok at a poker game. The game did not go so well for Mr. Hickok and he wanted to end the game. Hickok owed Tutt money at the end of the game and Tutt demanded payment. Tutt grabbed Hickok’s gold pocket watch which Hickok had laid on the table. Tutt remarked “I will keep you watch and if you want it bad enough you can meet me on the public square tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. for I intend to carry it across the square at that hour.” Mr. Hickok replied, “You’ll never get across that place with my watch unless dead men can walk.”
At 9:00 a.m. Tutt was on the west side of the square with the gold watch dangling from one hand and a pistol in the other. Tutt walked toward the center of the square. Mr. Hickok arrived and walked to the center of the square. Tutt shot first, Bill fired back shooting Tutt thru the heart. Tutt grasped his heart and fell to the ground. “Wild Bill” Hickok grabbed his watch and was arrested, but was released soon after.