Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Frank Eaton "Pistol Pete"

Happy Birthday to the original Pistol Pete, Frank Eaton. Eaton was born on this day in 1860 in Hartford, Connecticut. At the age of eight, Eaton's father was shot in cold blood by a group of six former Confederates. Eaton vowed to avenge his father.

Eaton visited Fort Gibson in Oklahoma (then Indian Territory) to learn more about handling guns, but surprised many when he outshot the cavalry's best marksmen. Eaton was commended for his marksmanship, and was awarded a badge and a new nickname: Pistol Pete.

Eaton was purportedly a faster draw than Buffalo Bill, and began serving as a deputy US Marshal in Indian Territory under Judge Isaac C. Parker. He spent several years tracking down his father's killers and claimed to have killed five of them, with the sixth being shot by another man.

Later in his life, Eaton began living in Perkins, Oklahoma - just south of Stillwater, the home of Oklahoma State University. He rode in the 1923 Armistice Day Parade and began showing up at other Oklahoma A&M events, and was soon adopted as an unofficial mascot of OAMC. "Pistol Pete" became the school's official mascot in 1958, a year after Oklahoma A&M became Oklahoma State University. As recently as 2010, Pete has been named as America's favorite mascot by several national polls.

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