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Old June 6, 2009, 05:28 PM   #1
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I knew a man who knew Buffalo Bill Cody

In 1995 I met a man who knew Buffalo Bill Cody, and knew him well.

I had the privilege of knowing Ted, whose last name I can't recall, when he lived two doors down from me in an apartment complex in Clarkston, Washington.
When I met him, he was 90 years old but still possessed a fine mind and got along well by himself in a modest apartment.

Ted was born in 1905 in Cody, Wyoming.
He had started as a cowboy but, early on, saw that the hard life of a cowboy was not for him. He got an education, learned accounting, and made some wise investments. He was able to retire comfortably, and his sons (whom I never met) ran his business.

Ted's father had been the stock manager for Buffalo Bill's ranch outside of Cody.
I met Ted through my cat, whom he enjoyed petting and talking to. Ted was a very kind man and took a particular liking to my cat.

I have absolutely no doubt that he knew Cody, because Buffalo Bill died in 1917 when Ted was 12 years old.
On Ted's wall was a framed letter and envelope, written in 1905 in Bill Cody's own hand. It was postmarked from France and bore the return address of "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show" or something like that.
Within the letter, as Ted pointed out to me, were the words to Ted's father, "Well, I expect that by the time this reaches you, you will have another one in the household," or something to that effect.
That reference is to Ted's birth.

When I met Ted, I worked on the Lewiston (Idaho) Tribune newspaper and tried desperately to get an interview with Ted. He staunchly refused. I tried again and again and Ted politely refused.
When Ted died, about 1998, God knows what memories of Bill Cody went with him. He just wouldn't say much about Cody believing, like many old-timers, his stories were uninteresting and no one would care.
I tried my best to convince him otherwise but, at the same time, I didn't want to be insistent and alienate him.
I trod a fine line; I valued his company greater I did his potential for great stories.

I valued my little chats with Ted, usually outside his apartment as he walked out to get mail or get in his Cadillac to drive for lunch at a local eatery. Often, my cat was rubbing around his legs as we spoke, prompting Ted to grin and reach down to give him a rubbing.

Ted often mockingly chided me with, "You take good care of that cat! He's a good animal!"
He knew that my cat was spoiled but I guess it was his way of ensuring that the treatment of his furry friend continued as it had.

Even at 90-plus Ted was still driving. He usually ate lunch with his friend, Helen, an elderly retired lady who lived next door to him. She had owned a woman's clothing store in the area, I believe.

Ted never offered much on Buffalo Bill, despite my gentle urging.
But he did recall that as a youngster he received a new .22 rifle from his father. He, his father and Bill Cody walked over to a nearby trash pit to try it out.
Ted said he shot okay with it, as did his father.
But even in his advanced age Buffalo Bill Cody never missed a bottle or can with it.

"I knew and spoke to a man who knew and spoke to Buffalo Bill Cody," is a phrase I think of every so often. I'm still amazed by the privilege.

Ted died about 1998. Helen, his long time lunch partner and friend, had died shortly before he did.
My cat that Ted liked so much died in 2002 of old age.
I hope the three of them have reunited in the Afterlife; Ted and Helen having lunch again like old times, my cat getting a good rubbing from Ted -- and Buffalo Bill Cody sitting back, grinning at the sight of the young boy he knew who grew to be an exceptionally fine, old man.
"And lo, did I see an ugly cat. Smoke. Brimstone. Holes in parchment. And this ugly cat was much amused." --- The Prophesies of Gatodamus (1503 - 1566)
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Old June 6, 2009, 11:52 PM   #2
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That's a great story. I enjoy reading about Buffalo Bill. He was quite a character and talking about living an action packed life! Wow! He did it all.
I would love to go back in time and see Buffalo Bill's Wild West...especially the re-enactment of Custer's Last Stand. I can't even imagine what that was like. I read somewhere, can't remember, that when his time came he wanted to be buried in Cody, Wyoming but somehow, someway, his request was not honored and he was buried in the Denver area. Cody, Wyoming, is a neat, neat town in a great area. I was there a few years ago on a motorcycle trip. My only regret...I was not able to attend the Buffalo Bill Museum. I'm heading back though to corrrect that mistake. Also, this September, I'm heading out to the Mountain Meadows Massacre Site in southwestern Utah. While out there I'm hoping to see the second greatest area for making westerns, Kanab, Utah. Do you have any recommendations for that area?

Keep the stories coming.
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Old June 7, 2009, 12:23 AM   #3
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Interesting story. Thanks!

I think I can relate because I'm an aviator and I used to have a crash pad in El Segundo right across the street from Bob Hoover's office. We used to meet in the street sometimes as we were coming & going and we'd stop and talk about airplanes. Anyone who knows aviation knows how special Bob Hoover is and how lucky I feel to be able to say, "I've met and have spoken with Bob Hoover."

Sorry, I know this is a gun board but I enjoyed your post and just thought I'd tell you I think I know how you feel to have that connection with history.

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Old June 7, 2009, 01:17 AM   #4
Bill DeShivs
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I have a 1905 nickel with a pretty good bullet dent in it that my father got at a Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show when he was a youngster. The nickel was an aerial target. They used real bullets!
Bill DeShivs, Master Cutler
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Old June 7, 2009, 07:59 AM   #5
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My cat that Ted liked so much died in 2002 of old age.

Cats are knarly animals. I had one, found on the side of the road as a kitten, brought it home, a neighborhood dog chased it up a tree- it climbed to the top, at least 30 feet up. Then came back down hanging from its front claws swinging from branches. No one could believe it.

It was a female cat. It grew up, stayed most of the fair weather outside, would leave for days at a time. Come back 3 days later. Kicked the crap out of all the local cats in their own yards. Brought home dead animals it had killed, just to show me. Bats, snakes, flying squirrels, you name it- at the crack of dawn each morning it came home with a kill. One time showed me a chipmunk, then proceeded to eat it whole in 3 bites. Bit the head/front arms clean off, swallowed them. Bit the body in half, swallowed it. Then at the rest, the tail went down like a piece of spaghetti. All this happened in about 5 seconds, before I could stop it. So from then on, I'd grab the game and toss it away, before the cat would eat it. Then I realized, that cat could bit your finger CLEAN OFF if it wanted to.

It got hit by a Chevy pickup truck once. Big tatooed guy rings the doorbell, says "I hit your cat by accident, hit it good with the truck tire, ran right over it- it ran in the woods, sorry but I think I killed it"- The cat came back that night, limped for 3 weeks, then was back to normal- even though the truck had ran over its hind legs.

It got in a fight with something, had a hole bit in its side once. Had to take it to the vet and get stitched up. Neighbors used to complain, saying "your cat was over here kicking the hell out of our cats in our yard".

We found that cat in 1981- it lived until 1998- for 17 years. I had to have it put to sleep, when it went blind, and couldn't walk very well- and stopped eating. What a tough animal.

We've had 2 since then, but nothing like that first one. Much tamer.
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Old June 7, 2009, 08:46 AM   #6
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Gatofeo - no other stories about Buffalo Bill? He may know have known that much, considering he was only a kid on the periphery. Thanks for the gun that took a trip to the trash area for testing story. Now, concerning the cat, is that how you got your name?
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!
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Old June 7, 2009, 10:41 AM   #7
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CC, that sounds like one tuff *****. When I moved into this house...there was this orange big cat with no tail, boy I think. Pretty sure it was a stray cat. I always put out some cat food and water( sometimes some milk). It's been about 4 years now and that cat stills stays outside waiting for me to come out to pet him, feed, water. He keeps the mice and birds and bugs away. When we move...I'm going to take him with us. I couldn't leave the poor fellow there.
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Old June 8, 2009, 08:13 PM   #8
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SamStafford, that's great you'll take that cat with you.
Contrary to opinion, cats exhibit a high degree of loyalty when they're treated right. Mistreat them too often and they are prone to leave.
I like dogs too, but few people realize the wide psychological difference between felines and canines.
Canines are largely pack animals. Therefore, they look upon their human provider as a member of the pack.
Felines are, evolutionarily speaking, largely solitary animals. The only provider they knew was their mother. Therefore, they look upon we humans, who feed them and give them shelter, as their mother.
Of course, there are exceptions to the above: lions are pack felines.
Offhand, I can't think of any canines that are solitary; they all tend to be pack animals.
Anyway, good of you to take that cat with you. My bet is that you'll have a loyal, loving companion for your kindness.

As for name it means, "ugly cat" in Spanish. Long story behind my nom de net; too long to go into here.

Thanks for your comments about meeting Ted, the man who knew Buffalo Bill Cody.
Meeting that old aviator must have been interesting.
My father worked with a man who had been a member of the Wermacht in World War II. He was taken prisoner, sent to America and stayed here when the war ended. Dad said they spent a fascinating evening comparing their service experience; wish to heck it had been recorded.

Historians focus on the famous generals and leaders because that's who gets the coverage at the time. But they cherish old diaries and reports from the common person; these are often very revealing. So never assume that no one will be interested in a regular person's stories; often they provide great insight.

In 1964, when I was nine years old, I met a man who was 104 years old. I spoke with him a little bit. I recently told some 20-somethings that I met a man who had been born in 1860 and they challenged me.
When I explained the circumstances, they were amazed.
I'm still amazed too.
"And lo, did I see an ugly cat. Smoke. Brimstone. Holes in parchment. And this ugly cat was much amused." --- The Prophesies of Gatodamus (1503 - 1566)
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Old June 17, 2009, 04:58 PM   #9
Alan Gallop
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Hello everyone,

You might be interested to learn that a new paperback edition of my book 'Buffalo Bill's British Wild West' will be in all good UK bookshops from Friday June 19, 2009, price £16.99.

This is the story of how William F. Cody – “Buffalo Bill” - army scout, Indian fighter, stagecoach driver and buffalo hunter, became America’s first show business superstar with his Wild West show, playing to millions of people in America and Europe for over 30 years.

This account highlights his tours of Victorian and Edwardian Britain and includes details of the many cities and towns visited by Buffalo Bill & Co. - and how the British public reacted to his incredible spectacular.

· Rich illustrations bring to life all the fun of the Wild West show.
· Includes personal accounts of reactions to the spectacle of Buffalo Bill and his company.
· 20 colour and 120 black and white photographs, cartoons, and posters, many previously unpublished.

“The British public went crazy when Buffalo Bill’s Wild West rode into town and Alan Gallop’s well researched and excellently illustrated book brings the story vividly back to life,” said THE SUNDAY TIMES.

I expect you will be able to buy copies via or your own country version of this site.

I would love to know what you think of it!

All good wishes from the UK.

Alan Gallop
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Old June 17, 2009, 08:28 PM   #10
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Sounds like a great book!

Good luck,
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Old June 18, 2009, 09:13 PM   #11
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Sometimes the most interesting people live right next door. When I lived in central Fla., my neighbor, an older gent mentioned that he was in WW2. I asked what he did and he replied that he wrangled horses for Patton. If any of you remember the Disney story of the Lipizaners; well he was one of the wranglers. The gent died recently and at his funeral, I was talking to his son and asked why no one mentioned his days in WW2. His son thought that he was only a supply clerk, he never knew the story of his father's horse adventure for Patton. Oh, and his take of the movie was it was about 50% true, actually Patton wanted those horses for the USA and a few for his retirement, but the press got wind of it and quashed Patton's plan. The Russians wanted to eat them, just to punish the Germans. And as Paul Harvey used to say; That's the rest of the story.
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