Construction of the Shoshone Dam started in , a year after the Shoshone Project was authorized. When it was completed in , it was the tallest dam in the world. Almost three decades after its construction, the name of the dam and reservoir was changed to Buffalo Bill Dam by an act of Congress. Cody married Louisa Frederici in , just a few days after his twentieth birthday. Louis under his command during the Civil War. Cody's Autobiography barely mentioned the courtship to Frederici but declared, "I now adored her above any other young lady I had ever seen.
Frederici stayed home with their four children in North Platte, while he stayed outside the home, hunting, scouting, and building up his acting career in the Wild West show. These concerns grew so great that in , Frederici showed up at his hotel room in Chicago unannounced and was led to "Mr. Cody filed for divorce in , after 38 years of marriage. By , Cody had instructed his brother-in-law to handle Frederici's affairs and property, stating "I often feel sorry for her.
She is a strange woman but I don't mind her—remember she is my wife—and let it go at that. If she gets cranky, just laugh at it, she can't help it. Filing for divorce was scandalous in the early 20th century , when marital unions were seen as binding for life. This furthered Cody's determination to get Frederici to agree to a "quiet legal separation," in order to avoid "war and publicity.
His private life had not been open to the public before, and the application for divorce brought unwanted attention to the matter. Not only did townspeople feel the need to take sides in the divorce, but headlines rang out with information about Cody's alleged infidelities or Federici's excesses. Cody's two main allegations against his wife were that she attempted to poison him on multiple occasions this allegation was later proved false and that she made living in North Platte "unbearable and intolerable" for Cody and his guests. Desertion was the main grounds for divorce, but in some jurisdictions, such as Kansas, divorce could be granted if a spouse was "intolerable.
After Cody's announcement that he was suing for divorce, Frederici began to fight back. She claimed that she had never attempted to poison him and that she wished to remain married. John Boyer, a housekeeper in the Cody home who was married to a man who worked for the Wild West show. She claimed that Frederici acted inhospitably towards Cody's guests and that, when Cody was not at the ranch, she would "feed the men too much and talk in a violent manner about Cody and his alleged sweethearts Cody's change of mind was not due to any improvement in his relationship with Frederici but rather was due to the death of their daughter, Arta Louise, in from "organic trouble.
Frederici was furious and refused any temporary reconciliation. When the trial proceeded a year later, in , both their tempers were still hot. The final ruling was that "incompatibility was not grounds for divorce," so that the couple was to stay legally married. Cody returned to Paris to continue with the Wild West show and attempted to maintain a hospitable, but distant, relationship with his wife. Cody died on January 10, The governor of Wyoming, John B. Kendrick , a friend of Cody's, led the funeral procession to the cemetery. He left his burial arrangements to his wife.
She said that he had always said he wanted to be buried on Lookout Mountain, which was corroborated by their daughter Irma, Cody's sisters, and family friends. But other family members joined the people of Cody to say he should be buried in the town he founded. His burial site was selected by his sister Mary Decker. As a frontier scout, Cody respected Native Americans and supported their civil rights. He employed many Native Americans, as he thought his show offered them good pay with a chance to improve their lives. He described them as "the former foe, present friend, the American" and once said that "every Indian outbreak that I have ever known has resulted from broken promises and broken treaties by the government.
Cody supported the rights of women. Let them do any kind of work they see fit, and if they do it as well as men, give them the same pay. In his shows, the Indians were usually depicted attacking stagecoaches and wagon trains and were driven off by cowboys and soldiers. Many family members traveled with the men, and Cody encouraged the wives and children of his Native American performers to set up camp—as they would in their homelands—as part of the show. He wanted the paying public to see the human side of the "fierce warriors" and see that they had families like any others and had their own distinct cultures.
Cody was known as a conservationist who spoke out against hide-hunting and advocated the establishment of a hunting season. Cody was active in the concordant bodies of Freemasonry , the fraternal organization, having been initiated in Platte Valley Lodge No. He received his second and third degrees on April 2, , and January 10, , respectively. He became a Knight Templar in and received his 32nd degree in the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in Buffalo Bill has been portrayed in many literary, musical, and theatrical works, movies, and television shows, especially during the s and s, when Westerns were most popular.
Some examples are listed below. Movies about Cody inspired a youth subculture in the Belgian Congo in the s, with young men and women dressing like him and forming neighborhood gangs. After Congolese independence some of the "Bills" went on to careers in the music industry. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Buffalo Bill disambiguation and Buffalo Bills disambiguation.
For other uses, see Bill Cody disambiguation. Le Claire , Iowa Territory , U. Denver , Colorado, U. Cody by the Sioux Nation. Archived from the original on July 30, Retrieved March 3, The Lives and Legends of Buffalo Bill. Archived from the original on February 25, Retrieved February 19, The Life of Hon.
A Public Domain Book. The Man Behind the Legend. Retrieved 14 May The Adventures of Buffalo Bill Cody. New York and London: Retrieved June 1, Retrieved 11 April Some notable people who are buried in Mt. An Autobiography of Buffalo Bill. Chapters IX and XI. New Perspectives on the West. Retrieved January 23, Tales from America's Contemporary Frontier. University of Nebraska Press. Western Yesterdays , vol. Fitzpatrick, a lifelong friend of Cody's, met him when he was hired to shoot buffalo to feed the work crew building the Kansas Pacific Railroad.
Famous Firearms of the Old West: University of Oklahoma Press. University of California Press. Retrieved August 26, Buffalo Bill's Wild West: Performing the American Frontier, — Retrieved September 4, The Western Historical Quarterly , vol, 34, no. Sayers 26 June Documenting the Life and Times of Buffalo Bill".
Archived from the original on April 19, Buffalo Bill Historical Center. Montague, Memory Street , Preserve as much of the educational mission as possible, protect the taxpayers from having to cover the costs related to the site, and ensure that the eventual uses comport with the greatest community benefit.
But neither he nor anyone else connected with the city was able to give any specifics about the possible fate of this exceptional legacy. A lot, to be sure, depends on what becomes of the campus. While some officials hope it can continue to be a center for the arts and education, that is by no means assured. According to Margaret Van Dyk, director of library services at the university, there are , holdings in its catalog, some of which are under lock and key.
This number includes , pieces in a range of formats in the general collection of the Fogelson Library and 2, items in its rare books collection. Van Dyk said she has been selling some materials in Fogelson that are no longer relevant or are duplicated elsewhere. Those who helped build and use these significant collections, however, have some of their own ideas about what should happen to them. Many are hoping that the works stay together and remains in Santa Fe.
It is illustrated and runs pages. There are also bowls, carved figures, effigies, rattles, fiber bags, jars, statues and a wood block print by Gustave Baumann.
Colborne, who now works for the Laboratory of Anthropology Library, said she kept those noncirculating libraries open hours a week with the help of students until she left in , but hours have been reduced greatly since then. The man sprang after him, and would have ended his life then and there, had not some of the better men in the crowd interfered in time to prevent him from carrying out his murderous intention. The excitement was intense, and another assault would probably have been made on my father, had not Rively hurriedly carried him to his home.
There was no doctor within any reasonable distance, and father at once requested that he be conveyed in the carriage to his brother Elijah's house in Weston. My mother and a driver accordingly went there with him, where his wounds were dressed. He remained in Weston several weeks before he was able to stir about again, but he never fully recovered from the wounds, which eventually proved the cause of his death. My uncle of course at once discharged the ruffian from his employ. The man afterwards became a noted desperado, and was quite couspicuous in the Kansas war.
As soon as he was able to attend to his business again, the Missourians began to harass him in every possible way, and kept it up with hardly a moment's cessation. Kickapoo City, as it was called, a small town that had sprung into existence seven miles up the river from Fort Leavenworth, became the hot-bed of the pro-slavery doctrine and the headquarters of its advocates. Here was really the beginning of the Kansas troubles. Kansas, was notified, upon his return to his trading post, to leave the territory, and he was threatened with death by hanging or shooting, if he dared to remain.
One night a body of armed men, mounted on horses, rode up to our house and surrounded it. Knowing what they had come for, and seeing that there would be but little chance for him in an encounter with them, father determined to make his escape by a little stratagem. Hastily disguising himself in mother's bonnet and shawl, he boldly walked out of the house and proceeded towards the corn-field.
The horsemen soon dismounted and inquired for father; mother very truthfully told them that he was away. They were not satisfied with her statement, however, and they at once made a thorough search of the house. They raved and swore when they could not find him, and threatened him with death whenever they should catch him. I am sure if they had captured him that night they would have killed him. They carried off nearly everything of value in the house and about the premises; then going to the pasture, they drove off all the horses; my pony, Prince, afterward succeeded in breaking away from them and came back home.
Father lay secreted in the corn-field for three days, as there were men in the vicinity who were watching for him all the time; he finally made his escape, and reached Fort Leavenworth in safety, whither the pro-slavery men did not dare to follow him. Father determined to join them, and took passage on a steamboat which was going up the river.
Having reached the place of crossing, he made himself known to the leaders of the party, by whom he was most cordially received. The pro-slavery men, hearing of the approach of the Free State party, resolved to drive them out of the territory. The two parties met at Hickory Point, were a severe battle was fought, several being killed; the victory resulted in favor of the Free State men, who passed on to Lawrence without much further opposition. While he was thus engaged we learned from one of our hired workmen at home, that the pro-slavery men had laid another plan to kill him, and were on their way to Grasshopper Falls to carry out their intention.
Mother at once started me off on Prince my pony to warn father of the coming danger. As I passed along I heard one of them, who recognized me, saying, "That's the son of the old Abolitionist we are after;" and the next moment I was commanded to halt. Instead of stopping I instantly started my pony on a run, and on looking back I saw that I was being pursued by three or four of the party, who had mounted their horses, no doubt supposing that they could easily capture me. I at once saw the importance of my escaping and warning father in time. It was a matter of life or death to him.
So I urged Prince to his utmost speed, feeling that upon him and myself depended a human life—a life that was dearer to me than that of any other man in the world. I led my pursuers a lively chase for four or five miles; finally, when they saw they could not catch me, they returned to their camp. I kept straight on to Grasshopper Falls, arriving there in ample time to inform father of the approach of his old enemies. That same night he and I rode to Lawrence, which had become the headquarters of the Free State men. There he met Jim Lane and several other leading characters, who were then organizing what was known as the Lecompton Legislature.
Father was elected a member of that body, and took an active part in organizing the first Legislature of Kansas, under Governor Reeder, who, by the way, was a Free State man and a great friend of father's. About this time agents were being sent to the East to induce emigrants to locate in Kansas, and father was sent as one of these agents to Ohio. After the Legislature had been organized at Lawrence, he departed for Ohio and was absent several months.
A few days after he had gone, I started for home by the way of Fort Leavenworth, accompanied by two men, who were going to the fort on business. As we were crossing a stream called Little Stranger, we were fired upon by some unknown party; one of my companions, whose name has escaped my memory, was killed.
The other man and myself put spurs to our horses and made a dash for our lives. We succeeded in making our escape, though a farewell shot or two was sent after us. At Fort Leavenworth I parted company with my companion, and reached home without any further adventure. My mother and sisters, who had not heard of my father or myself since I had been sent to warn him of his danger, had become very anxious and uneasy about us, and were uncertain as to whether we were dead or alive. Mother blessed me again and again for having saved his life. While father was absent in Ohio, we were almost daily visited by some of the pro-slavery men, who helped themselves to anything they saw fit, and frequently compelled my mother and sisters to cook for them, and to otherwise submit to a great deal of bad treatment.
Hardly a day passed without some of them inquiring "where the old man was," saying they would kill him on sight. Thus we passed the summer of , remaining at our home notwithstanding the unpleasant surroundings, as mother had made up her mind not to be driven out of the country. My uncle and other friends advised her to leave Kansas and move to Missouri, because they did not consider our lives safe, as we lived so near the headquarters of the pro-slavery men, who had sworn vengeance upon father.
Nothing, however, could persuade mother to change her determination. She said that the pro-slavery men had taken everything except the little home, and she proposed to remain there as long as she lived, happen what might. Our only friends in Salt Creek Valley were two families; one named Lawrence, the other Hathaway, and the peaceable Indians, who occasionally visited us.
My uncle, living in Missouri and being somewhat in fear of the pro-slavery men, could not assist us much, beyond expressing his sympathy and sending us provisions. In the winter of father returned from Ohio, but as soon as his old enemies learned that he was with us, they again compelled him to leave. He proceeded to Lawrence, and there spent the winter in attending the Lecompton Legislature. The remainder of the year he passed mostly at Grasshopper Falls, where he completed his saw-mill.
He occasionally visited home under cover of the night, and in the most secret manner; virtually carrying his life in his hand. In the spring of this year a pro-slavery party came to our house to search for father; not finding him, they departed, taking with them my pony, Prince. I shall never forget the man who stole that pony. He afterwards rose from the low level of a horse thief to the high dignity of a justice of the peace, and I think still lives at Kickapoo. The loss of my faithful pony nearly broke my heart and bankrupted me in business, as I had nothing to ride. One day, soon afterwards, I met my old friend, Mr.
Russell, to whom I related all my troubles, and his generous heart was touched by my story. I'll give you twenty-five dollars a month to herd cattle. I accepted the offer, and heartily thanking him, hurried home to obtain mother's consent. She refused to let me go, and all my pleading was in vain. Young as I was—being then only in my tenth year, my ideas and knowledge of the world, however, being far in advance of my age—I determined to run away from home. Russell's offer of twenty-five dollars a month was a temptation which I could not resist. The remuneration for my services seemed very large to me, and I accordingly stole away and walked to Leavenworth.
Badger, one of Mr. Russell's superintendents, immediately sent me out, mounted on a little gray mule, to herd cattle. I worked at this for two months, and then came into Leavenworth. I had not been home during all this time, but mother had learned from Mr. Russell where I was, and she no longer felt uneasy, as he had advised her to let me remain in his employ.
He assured her that I was all right, and said that when the herd came in he would allow me to make a visit home. Upon my arrival in Leavenworth with the herd of cattle, Mr. Russell instructed his book-keeper, Mr. Byers, to pay me my wages, amounting to fifty dollars. Byers gave me the sum all in half-dollar pieces.
This money I gave to mother, who had already forgiven me for running away. I continued to work for Mr. Russell during the rest of the summer of , and in the winter of I attended school. Father, who still continued to secretly visit home, was anxious to have his children receive as much education as possible, under the adverse circumstances surrounding us, and he employed a teacher, Miss Jennie Lyons, to come to our house and teach.
My mother was well educated—more so than my father—and it used to worry her a great deal because her children could not receive better educational advantages. However, the little school at home got along exceedingly well, and we all made rapid advances in our studies, as Miss Lyons was an excellent teacher.
She afterwards married a gentleman named Hook, who became the first mayor of Cheyenne, where she now lives. The Kansas troubles reached their highest pitch in the spring of , and our family continued to be harassed as much as ever by our old enemies. I cannot now recollect one-half of the serious difficulties that we had to encounter; but I very distinctly remember one incident well worth relating. I came home one night on a visit from Leavenworth, being accompanied by a fellow-herder—a young man.
During the night we heard a noise outside of the house, and soon the dogs began barking loudly. We looked out to ascertain the cause of the disturbance, and saw that the house was surrounded by a party of men. Mother had become accustomed to such occurrences, and on this occasion she seemed to be master of the situation from the start.
Opening a window, she coolly sang out, in a firm tone of voice: What do you want here? We know he is in the house and we are bound to have him," said the spokesman of the party. I afterwards learned they had mistaken the herder, who had ridden home with me, for my father, for whom they had been watching. She withdrew from the window for a few moments and hurriedly instructed the herder to call aloud certain names—any that he might think of—just as if the house were full of men to whom he was giving orders.
He followed her directions to the very letter. He could not have done it any better had he rehearsed the act a dozen times. The party outside heard him, as it was intended they should, and they supposed that my mother really had quite a force at her command. While this little by-play was being enocied, she stepped to the open window again and said: At this point the herder, myself and my sisters commenced stamping on the floor in imitation of a squad of soldiers, and the herder issued his orders in a loud voice to his imaginary troops, who were apparently approaching the window preparatory to firing a volley at the enemy.
This little stratagem proved eminently successful. The cowardly villains began retreating, and then my mother fired an old gun into the air which greatly accelerated their speed, causing them to break and run. They soon disappeared from view in the darkness. Upon going into the cellar which had been left open on one side, we found two kegs of powder together with a fuse secreted there. It only required a lighted match to have sent us into eternity. My mother's presence of mind, which had never yet deserted her in any trying situation, had saved our lives. Shortly after this affair I came home again on a visit and found father there sick with fever and confined to his bed.
One day my old enemy rode up to the house on my pony Prince, which he had stolen from me. Here, you girls," said he, addressing my sisters, "get me some dinner, and get it quick, too, for I am as hungry aa a wolf. He sat down, and while they were preparing a dinner for him, he took out a big knife and sharpened it on a whetstone, repeating his threat of searching the house and killing my father. I had witnessed the whole proceeding and heard the threats, and I determined that the man should never go upstairs where father was lying in bed unable to rise.
Taking a double-barreled pistol, which I had recently bought, I went to the head of the stairs, cocked the weapon, and waited for the ruffian to come up, determined, that the moment he set foot on the steps I would kill him. I was relieved, however, from the stern necessity, as he did not make his appearance. The brute was considerably intoxicated when he came to the house, and the longer he sat still the more his brain became muddled with liquor, and he actually forgot what he had come there for. After he had eaten his dinner, he mounted his horse and rode off, and it was a fortunate thing for him that he did.
Father soon recovered and returned to Grasshopper Falls, while I resumed my cattle herding. COMMON school advantages were denied us in the early settlement of Kansas, end to provide a means for educating the few boys and girls in the neighborhood of my home, a subscription school was started in a small log-cabin that was built on the bank of a creek that ran near our house. My mother took great interest in this school and at her persuasion I returned home and became enrolled as a pupil, where I made satisfactory progress until the evil circumstance of a love affair suddenly blasted my prospects for acquiring an education.
Like all school-boys, I had a sweetheart with whom I was "dead in love"—in a juvenile way. Her name was Mary Hyatt. Of course I had a rival, Stephen Gobel, a boy about three years my senior—the "bully" of the school. He was terribly jealous, and sought in every way to revenge himself upon me for having won the childish affections of sweet little Mary. The boys of the school used to build play-houses or arbors among the trees and bushes for their sweethearts.
I had built a play-house for Mary, when Steve, as we called him, leveled it to the ground. We immediately had a very lively fight, in which I got badly beaten. The teacher heard of our quarrel and whipped us both. I came up to him just as he finished the job, and said: At recess, next morning, I began the construction of still another play-house, and when I had it about two-thirds finished, Steve slyly sneaked up to the spot and tipped the whole thing over.
I jumped for him with the quickness of a cat and clutching him by the throat for a moment I had the advantage of him. But he was too strong for me, and soon had me on the ground and was beating me severely. While away from home I had some way come into possession of a very small pocket dagger, which I had carried about with me in its sheath, using it in place of a knife. During the struggle this fell from my pocket, and my hand by accident rested upon it as it lay upon the ground.
Had it been larger it would probably have injured him severely; as it was, it made a small wound, sufficient to cause the blood to flow freely and Steve to cry out in affright: O, I am killed! The school children all rushed to the spot and were terrified at the scene. I knew that he was coming to interview me. I was dreadfully frightened at what I had done, and undecided whether to run away or to remain and take the conaequences; but the sight of that flag-staff in the school teacher's hand was too much for me.
I no longer hesitated, but started off like a deer. The teacher followed in hot pursuit, but soon became convinced that he could not catch me, and gave up the chase. Fortunately for me I knew the wagon-master, John Willis, and as soon as I recovered my breath I told him what had happened. I want you for a cavallard driver. The affray broke up the school for the rest of the day as the excitement was too much for the children.
Late in the afternoon, after the train had moved on some considerable distance, I saw Steve's father, his brother Frank, and one of the neighbors rapidly approaching. Willis, there comes old Gobel, with Frank and somebody else, and they are after me—what am I going to do? I'll manage this little job.
Don't you fret a bit about it. Gobel continued to talk for a few minutes, but getting no greater satisfaction, the trio returned home. When night came, Willis accompanied me on horseback to my home. Mother, who had anxiously searched for me everywhere—being afraid that something had befallen me at the hands of the Gobels—was delighted to see me, notwithstanding the difficulty in which I had become involved.
I at once told her that at present I was afraid to remain at home, and had accordingly made up my mind to absent myself for a few weeks or months—at least until the excitement should die out. Willis said to her that he would take me to Fort Kearney with him, and see that I was properly oared for, and would bring me back safely in forty days.
Mother at first seriously objected to my going on this trip, fearing I would fill into the hands of Indians. Her fears, however, were soon overcome, and she concluded to let me go. She fixed me up a big bundle of clothing and gave me a quilt. Kissing her and my sisters a fond farewell, I started off on my first trip across the plains, with a light heart, too, notwithstanding my trouble of a few hours before.
The trip proved a most enjoyable one to me, although no incidents worthy of note occurred on the way.
On my return from Fort Kearney I was paid off the same as the rest of the employees. Gobel, and having settled the difficulty with him, the two families had become friends again, and I may state, incidentally, that they ever remained so. I have since often met Stephen Gobel, and we have had many a laugh together over our love affair and the affray at the school-house. Mary Hyatt, the innocent cause of the whole difficulty, is now married and living in Chicago.
Thus ended my first love scrape. In the winter of my father, in company with a man named J. Boles, went to Cleveland, Ohio, and organized a colony of about thirty families, whom they brought to Kansas and located on the Grasshopper.
- William F. Cody Archive: Documenting the life and times of Buffalo Bill.
- Operation: Mindcrime.
- La Carpeta Negra (Spanish Edition).
Several of these families still reside there. It was during this winter that father, after his return from Cleveland, caught a severe cold. This, in connection with the wound he had received at Rively's—from which he had never entirely recovered—affected him seriously, and in April, , he died at home from kidney disease. This sad event left my mother and the family in poor circumstances, and I determined to follow the plains for a livelihood for them and myself. I had no difficulty in obtaining work under my old employers, and in May, , I started for Salt Lake City with a herd of beef cattle, in charge of Frank and Bill McCarthy, for General Albert Sidney Johnston's army, which was then being sent across the plains to fight the Mormons.
We had made a morning drive and had camped for dinner. The wagon-masters and a majority of the men had gone to sleep under the mess wagons; the cattle were being guarded by three men, and the cook was preparing dinner. No one had any idea that Indians were anywhere near us. All the men jumped to their feet and seized their guns. They saw with astonishment the cattle running in every direction, they having been stampeded by the Indians, who had shot and killed the three men who were on day-herd duty, and the red devils were now charging down upon the rest of us.
I then thought of mother's fears of my falling into the hands of the Indians, and I had about made up my mind that such was to be my fate; but when I saw how coolly and determinedly the McCarthy brothers were conducting themselves and giving orders to the little band, I became convinced that we would "stand the Indians off," as the saying is. Our men were all well armed with Colt's revolvers and Mississippi yagers, which last carried a bullet, and two buckshots.
The McCarthy boys, at the proper moment, gave orders to fire upon the advancing enemy.
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The volley checked them, although they returned the compliment, and shot one of our party through the leg. Frank McCarthy then sang out, "Boys, make a break for the slough yonder, and we can then have the bank for a breast-work. We made a run for the slough which was only a short distance off, and succeeded in safely reaching it, bringing with ua the wounded man. The bank proved to be a very effective breastwork, affording us good protection.
We had been there but a short time when Frank McCarthy, seeing that the longer we were corraled the worse it would be for us, said: We all agreed that this was the best plan, and we accordingly proceeded down the river several miles in this way, managing to keep the Indians at a safe distance with our guns, until the slough made a junction with the main Platte River. From there down we found the river at times quite deep, and in order to carry the wounded man along with us, we constructed a raft of poles for his accommodation, and in this way he was transported.
Occasionally the water would be too deep for us to wade, and we were obliged to put our weapons on the raft and swim. The Indians followed us pretty close, and were continually watching for an opportunity to get a good range and give us a raking fire. Covering ourselves by keeping well under the bank, we pushed ahead as rapidly as possible, and made pretty good progress, the night finding us still on the way and our enemies yet on our track.
I being the youngest and smallest of the party, became somewhat tired, and without noticing it I had fallen behind the others for some little distance. It was about ten o'clock and we were keeping very quiet and hugging close to the bank, when I happened to look up to the moon-lit sky and saw the plumed head of an Indian peeping over the bank. Instead of hurrying ahead and alarming the men in a quiet way, I instantly aimed my gun at his head and fired.
The report rang out sharp and loud on the night air, and was immediately followed by an Indian whoop, and the next moment about six feet of dead Indian came tumbling into the river. I was not only overcome with astonishment, but was badly scared, as I could hardly realize what I had done. I expected to see the whole force of Indians come down upon us. While I was standing thus bewildered, the men, who had heard the shot and the war-whoop and had seen the Indian take a tumble, came rushing back.
From that time forward I became a hero and an Indian killer. This was, of course, the first Indian I had ever shot, and as I was not then more than eleven years of age, my exploit created quite a sensation. Frank McCarthy immediately reported to the commanding officer and informed him of all that had happened. The commandant at once ordered a company of cavalry and one of infantry to proceed to Plum Creek on a forced march—taking a howitzer with them—to endeavor to recapture the cattle from the Indians.
STORY OF THE WILD WEST AND CAMP-FIRE CHATS BUFFALO BILL (W.F. CODY) 1888 1ST ED
On reaching the place where the Indians had surprised us, we found the bodies of the three men whom they had killed and scalped, and literally cut into pieces. We of course buried the remains. We can't but few of the cattle; the most of them having been driven off and stampeded with the buffaloes, there being numerous immense herds of the latter in that section of the country at the time. The Indians' trail was discovered running south towards the Republican river, and the troops followed it to the head of Plum creek, and there abandoned it, returning to Fort Kearney without having seen a a single redskin.
The company's agent, seeing that there was no further use for us in that vicinity—as we had lost our cattle and mules—sent us back to Fort Leavenworth. The company, it is proper to state, did not have to stand the loss of the expedition, as the government held itself responsible for such depredations by the Indians. On the day that I got into Leavenworth, sometime in July, I was interviewed for the first time in my life by a newspaper reporter, and the next morning I found my name in print as "the youngest Indian slayer on the plains.
Again and again I read with eager interest the long and sensational account of our adventure. My exploit was related in a very graphic manner, and for a long time afterwards I was considerable of a hero. He now lives in Wichita, Kansas. A large number of teams and teamsters were required for this purpose, and as the route was considered a dangerous one, men were not easily engaged for the service, though the pay was forty dollars per month in gold.
An old wagon master named Lew Simpson, one of the best that ever commanded a bull-train, was upon the point of starting with about ten wagons for the company, direct for Salt Lake, and as he had known me for some time as an ambitious youth, requested me to accompany him as an extra hand. My duties would be light, and in fact I would have nothing to do, unless some one of the drivers should become sick, in which case I would be required to take his place.
But even more seductive than this inducement was the promise that I should be provided with a mule of my own to ride, and be subject to the orders of no one save Simpson himself. The offer was made in such a manner that I became at once wild to go, but my mother interposed an emphatic objection and urged me to abandon so reckless a desire.
She reminded me that in addition to the fact that the trip would possibly occupy a year, the journey was one of extreme peril, beset as it was by Mormon assassins and treacherous Indians, and begged me to accept the lesson of my last experience and narrow escape as a providential warning. But to her pleadings and remonstrances I returned the answer that I had determined to follow the plains as an occupation, and while I appreciated her advice and desired greatly to honor her commands, yet I could not forego my determination to accompany the train.
Seeing that it was impossible to keep me at home, she reluctantly gave her consent, but not until she had called upon Mr. She did not like the appearance of Simpson, and upon inquiry she learned, to her dismay, that he was a desperate character, and that on nearly every trip he had made across the plains he had killed some one. Such a man, she thought, was not a fit master or companion for her son, and she was very anxious to have me go with some other wagon-master; but I still insisted upon remaining with Simpson.
Russell, "and he has taken a great fancy to Billy. If your boy is bound to go, he can go with no better man. No one will dare to impose on him while he is with Lew Simpson, whom I will instruct to take good care of the boy. Upon reaching Fort Laramie, Billy can, if he wishes, exchange places with some fresh man coming back on a returning train, and thus come home without making the whoie trip.
He promised everything that she asked. Thus, after much trouble, I became one of the members of Simpson's train. As a matter of interest to the general reader, it may be well in this connection to give a brief description of a freight train. Murphy wagons," made at St. Louis specially for the plains business. They were very large and were strongly built, being capable of carrying seven thousand pounds of freight each. The wagon-boxes were very commodious—being about as large as the rooms of an ordinary house—and were covered with two heavy canvas sheets to protect the merchandise from the rain.
These wagons were generally sent out from Leavenworth, each loaded with six thousand pounds of freight, and each drawn by several yokes of oxen in charge of one driver. A train consisted of twenty-five wagons, all in charge of one man, who was known as the wagon-master. The second man in command was the assistant wagon-master; then came the "extra hand," next the night herder; and lastly, the cavallard driver, whose duty it was to drive the lame and loose cattle.
There were thirty-one men all told in a train. The men did their own cooking, being divided into messes of seven. One man cooked, another brought wood and water, another stood guard, and so on, each having some duty to perform while getting meals. All were heavily armed with Colt's pistols and Mississippi yagers, and every one always had his weapons handy so as to be prepared for any emergency. The wagon-master, in the language of the plains, was called the "bull-wagon boss;" the teamsters were known as "bull-whackers;" and the whole train was denominated a "bull-outfit.
The next stream of any importance was the Little Blue, along which the trail ran for sixty miles; then crossed a range of sand-hills, and struck the Platte River ten miles below old Fort Kearney; thence the course lay up the South Platte to the old Ash Hollow Crossing, thence eighteen miles across to the North Platte, near the mouth of the Blue Water, where General Harney had his great battle in with the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians.