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Pictures of Visiting Buffalo Bill Cody's Iowa Boyhood Home
While visiting my aunt and uncle in Bettendorf, Iowa one year, they graciously decided to show my mother and me a bit of the surrounding countryside which included among other sites Buffalo Bill Cody's boyhood home.
This was interesting because many people from all around the world have heard about this famous fellow who has been memorialized in books, television shows, on Broadway and primarily because of his showmanship and his famous Wild West Show.
William Frederick Cody was born in Iowa near LeClaire on February 26, 1846.
Born in an era when wagon trains were heading west, Indian wars were still being fought and the Civil War was to take place, William Cody would eventually participate in all of that and more.
"Buffalo Bill" Cody Homestead
My mother and I were surprised at the size of the Cody homestead as it was a large and well appointed residence. It overlooked open lands where donkeys and cattle still graze as they would have in days gone by.
William Frederick Cody was a small child when he lived there with his family.
Tickets only cost $2 for adults and children 16 and under are free to tour this home and grounds in Princeton, Iowa. A map is included below for exact directions to this location.
There is a replicated log cabin school house on the grounds which is similar to one attended by some of the Cody children.
William Cody's parents came from a family background of Quakers. The belief practices of Quakers included among other things equality among people. Thus they were firmly opposed to any form of slavery.
His father paid a lethal price for his speaking out against the practice of slavery as did William Cody in a different way.
His father eventually succumbing to his stab wounds and dying from being assaulted by a pro-slavery opponent, little William at the young age of 11 had to start earning a living to help support his mother and his siblings.
As a boy William Cody rode horses well. He started working to support his family by bearing messages between pioneers heading west in those long and dusty wagon trains.
As he aged he reputedly also did a myriad of jobs including such things as becoming a wagon-master, stagecoach driver, Pony Express rider, and bison hunter.
In fact his nickname of "Buffalo Bill" originated because of his supplying meat to workers of the Kansas Pacific Railroad by supposedly killing many thousands of American bison (also called buffalo).
In later years despite his history of hunting and killing, Buffalo Bill Cody was to become a well known conservationist.
Indian Fighter and Soldier
Buffalo Bill Cody became the Chief of Scouts for the 3rd cavalry during the Plains Wars and received a Medal of Honor in 1872 for "gallantry in action."
Sadly, the primary reason for the Plains Wars between the Indians and the European settlers was the rampant killing of the buffalo which supplied the Indians with their way of life.
He was an Indian fighter during the Utah War and was an American soldier during the Civil War fighting for the North.
Just as he had become a conservationist in later life with regard to the decimated herds of buffalo and other wildlife, Buffalo Bill in later years advocated rights for the Native American Indians and also extended it to Women's Rights.
Buffalo Bill's Wild West
What made Buffalo Bill famous was his ultimate showmanship.
After being introduced to the stage, and starting this portion of his life in 1872 by joining James Butler's Famous Wild West Shows which also had people like "Wild Bill" Hickok appearing in it, Buffalo Bill Cody started his own Wild West show in 1883.
Nebraska would be the premier of Buffalo Bill's Wild West which would eventually travel across the United States and even appear in Europe.
It was a circus-like show with horses, cattle, covered wagons, costumed Indians, campfires and marksmanship.
Another famous person, Annie Oakley as well as her husband performed in Buffalo Bill's Wild West and dazzled the crowds with her accurate hitting of targets using guns.
Millions of people saw this show at Madison Square Garden in New York between the years of 1886 to 1887 during the summer and early fall season.
The Wild West would forever more be engraved into the minds of Europeans and others not familiar with the real thing because of this branding by Buffalo Bill and his troupe of actors.
Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming
Buffalo Bill founded the town of Cody in Wyoming in 1895. It became incorporated in 1901.
As his fame and fortunes increased, Buffalo Bill acquired more land eventually owning about 8,000 acres in this beautiful area of the country.
He started a hotel in the town, had an ever increasingly sized ranch, grazed cattle and entertained people by offering camping and hunting trips among other things.
He loved that part of the country but also had a home in North Platte, Nebraska.
A Buffalo Bill Historical Center is now located in Cody, Wyoming where visitors can learn much more about this famous man.
Circumstances can certainly shape a person's life!
Looking at the boyhood home of William Cody, his family was certainly doing well financially.
What would have happened had his father survived the stab wounds?
William Cody would undoubtedly not have had to take on the mantle of wage earner at the young age of 11. He would probably never have had all the life experiences which led him to the nickname of Buffalo Bill and ultimately the world stage.
Would he have become a gentleman farmer and rancher? We will never know!
Buffalo Bill Cody died on January 10, 1917 with much of his fortune that he had earned over the years gone.
His grave-site is on Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado.
Buffalo Bill has been honored with two different United States Postage Stamps.
Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in Disneyland, Paris
His legacy continues to live on even to this day and time and he has become larger than real life in many people's minds due to the hype of shows like the Buffalo Bill's Wild West and other entertainment media sources.
Thanks to my aunt and uncle and their showing us Buffalo Bill Cody's boyhood home in Iowa, Buffalo Bill's life and experiences became of more interest to me. Hopefully this was interesting for you readers as well.
Have you visited the Buffalo Bill homestead in Iowa?
© 2010 Peggy Woods