He was one of the greatest buffalo hunters in our area in the 1870s, but he is famous for the way in which he died.
Tom Nixon was born around 1837 in Georgia. About 1870, he married Cornelia Houston, and the two had a son, Howard Nixon.
One of Dodge City's early settlers, he had earned a reputation as a buffalo hunter by the time he arrived in the early 1870s. Nixon is famous for shooting 120 buffalo in just 40 minutes and for killing 3,200 in a 35 day period.
By the mid-1870s the buffalo were virtually gone, and Nixon turned to working on Charles Rath's "Bull Trains" which hauled buffalo bones to Dodge City for shipment back east.
By 1883, Nixon owned a saloon, the Lady Gay. During the "Saloon War" of 1883, Nixon sided with his friend and former mayor A.B. Webster.
Tom Nixon is best known for how he died.
Fellow saloon owner, Dave Mather, was an opponent of Nixon's friend Webster. In a dispute in 1884, Nixon shot at Mather and missed. Nixon was charged for the attempt on Mather's life. Nixon, an assistant marshal was released on bail and allowed to continue his duties enforcing the law.
Three days later, Mather ambushed Nixon hitting him with four .45 caliber bullets. One passed through his heart killing him instantly. The authorities deemed it an act of self-defense and did not convict Mather of any crime.
Before his untimely death, like everyone else in Dodge City, Tom Nixon lived an everyday life and needed food and supplies. He and his wife were customers of Robert M. Wright & Company's store.
R.M.W. & Co.'s ledgers show Tom Nixon and his wife bought $162.30 ($4,219.80 today) in goods from the store from November 1880 to May 1881.
Like most buyers, certain items jump out as interesting. He, Mrs. Nixon and/or son Howard must have loved ginger snaps, as during this six month period the Nixon's placed 21 orders.
Along with the usual flour, sugar, eggs, etc., the family seemed to enjoy dried currants and raisins. I don't remember that last time I saw a currant, let alone ate any.
Oatmeal was also a recurring food item in the Nixon household.
And Nixon purchased ammunition and powder from R.M.W. & Co., which makes one wonder if the bullet fired at Dave Mather that lead to Nixon's ultimate demise came from the R.M. Wright & Company store.