Nat Love (1854-1921) was a slave born on Robert Love’s Tennessee plantation. After the civil war ended and the slaves were freed his parents became sharecroppers. His father Sampson died shortly after and Nat took a job at a local farm to help breaking horses.
Eventually Nat traveled to Dodge City, Kansas where he worked as a cowboy on a cattle drive. From Dodge City it was on to Deadwood in the Dakota Territory.
At a Deadwood rodeo Nat won the roping, bridle, saddle, and bronco riding contests. He said fans started calling him Deadwood Dick. The name was taken from a popular dime novel character.
Captured by Indians
Like a lot of good looking smart men of the time Nat Love was his own best promoter and embellisher. Continuing west he said he was captured by Pima Indians in Arizona and almost married the chief’s daughter.
His wild life calming down Nat got a job as a Pullman porter on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad then moved to southern California
Having learned to read and write as a child he published his autobiography entitled Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as ‘Deadwood Dick.’
His final job was a security guard and courier for a Los Angeles securities company.