Illinois Roots for these Cowboys' Boots

Statue of Wild Bill Hickok in Mendota, IL.

Being lucky enough to be from the great state of Illinois and having a long lineage of ancestors who called the Prairie State home before me, I have a deep connection to the land and a pride of the heritage and history that the state embodies.  While completing field work in the town of Mendota, IL, I noticed a large metal statue in the town square.  Not ever being to the town before, I decided to go check it out.  Upon inspection I learned that it was a bronze statue of James "Wild Bill" Hickok, a native of nearby Troy Grove, IL. This struck me as fantastic and I decided to dig deeper to see what other famous cowboys, lawmen, and sharpshooters were from Illinois.

I knew that the legendary lawman Wyatt Earp was born in and once called the Western Illinois town of Monmouth home, but I didn't know the vast connection of Wild West names that either were born in or spent time in the Land of Lincoln throughout the 1800's.  Once i compiled a list of several men, I realized that I had to find a way to visualize my state's history that showed how interconnected it was to the vast frontiers and mountains of the American West.  The best way for me to do that was by creating a story map via ESRI's ArcGIS Online story map builder.

You can view the map by clicking HERE.  The process was relatively easy and  pretty fun to put together.  As you look at the map you will notice that the locations have one of three different colors for the tag: blue are for lawmen who once called Illinois home, red are for criminals that have ties to the state, and green is for a man of a completely unique professional background all his own.