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Postcard from the Past - ‘Buffalo Bill’ and ‘White Beaver’

Written by Dick Perue

Dr. D. Frank Powell, better known in Wyoming as “White Beaver,” was a friend and business associate of Buffalo Bill and often accompanied the great showman to various locations in Wyoming. Such was the case when Cody visited the Upper North Platte River Valley in south-central Carbon County in 1903.

An article in the Nov. 13, 1903 issue of “The Grand Encampment Herald” notes:

Pulling for Wyoming

“Where did I start the Wild West?” repeated the Colonel. “At North Platte in 1882, when I got up a frontier celebration. That was my home then, and I helped to build up Nebraska. Being a natural born pioneer, I drifted West, but I am going no farther. I have gotten through pushing but am now pulling for Wyoming. My head press agent used to pick up the English papers and remark, in speaking of my interviews, that, ‘I’ll bet he has wound up with something about Wyoming.’ And I always did. While I am interviewed perhaps more than any other American, I always close with a word about the resources of my home state, Wyoming, which I believe will someday be one of the greatest between the Missouri and the coast.”

Col. Cody came here (Grand Encampment) Saturday afternoon in company with Dr. D. Frank Powell, “White Beaver,” whom Buffalo Bill claims as his foster brother. In company with Supt. Waterbury, the two frontiersmen visited the Copper Giant property on the North Fork and took in the sights about town, leaving Tuesday for Saratoga. On Saturday night, the people of Cody will give their leader a royal welcome home by holding a celebration in the Colonel’s honor. Col. Cody has arranged to be here again with Dr. Powell sometime during the winter. Next year, the Wild West show will resume its tour of England.

Had to show him

Dr. Powell says that he has nothing new to say about the camp, only that he feels more confident than ever in its future. He denies the newspaper report that he died a few weeks ago and says that if any such event took place he has yet to realize the change.

His visit has been pleasant in the extreme, and he adds that he had to bring Col. Cody here just to show him that his northern Wyoming town is not in any respect ahead of the little city, “Situated upon a mesa at the junction of the north and south forks of the Encampment, etc., etc.”