Postcard from the Past - Col. Cody’s Mining InterestsWritten by Dick Perue
The business expertise of the famous showman Buffalo Bill is shown in this exclusive interview of Col. W.F. Cody in the Nov. 13, 1903 issue of the “Grand Encampment Herald.” Excerpts from that interview continue this week.
Removing the capital
Col. Cody was asked his opinion of Mr. Emerson’s scheme to build a new city in central Wyoming and make the city of Emerson the state capital.
He replied, “I would not think bad of the scheme if Mr. Emerson can build up an agricultural community about his new town. That is a great consideration and something that Cheyenne does not have.”
Assured that Mr. Emerson had taken into consideration this important feature, the Colonel said that it was not a scheme to be disregarded.
“I admire Mr. Emerson very much. I have read several of his speeches in the Herald and have noted his energy building up Grand Encampment. His energy is something wonderful, and he is a great organizer. I wish Wyoming had more like him.”
The Copper Giant
Speaking of his mining interests here, Col. Cody said, “Yes, I am a heavy stockholder in the Copper Giant. I am well pleased with same and have no stock for sale.
“Mr. Waterbury and Col. Powell have built a magnificent tunnel, of good proportion and well timbered and are still driving. It is the best tunnel I have ever seen, and I have seen many. The tunnel is in 900 feet, with a depth almost as great as the length, and I understand that it is the longest tunnel with the greatest depth in the district.”
Upon being questioned. Col. Cody repeated the oft told tale of how he was given the title of Buffalo Bill. . . . But, then that’s a tale to be told later.
Postcard from the Past - Col. Cody Touts Business GrowthWritten by Dick Perue
A recent newspaper headline declares, “Wyoming icon ‘Buffalo Bill’ to be inducted into Business Hall of Fame.” An article that follows noted that William F. Cody was a businessman and entrepreneur during pioneer days of Wyoming.
Several newspaper articles in the Nov. 13, 1903 issue of the “Grand Encampment Herald” declared that fact in an interview years ago, and we pass that information along to our readers through these news items:
The Great West
“All we need in Wyoming is capital. In America there are 80 millions of people, and the western half of the country has only 15 millions of them while it is capable of sustaining 100 million more. This fact is just becoming known. Why, many people who live in the far East think that when they get west of the Missouri River they will find nothing but rocks, sagebrush and desert, but in the face of that sentiment the most progressive and enterprising people in the country are those who come West. They venture out and seek new fields.
“Fact is, right in Congress, the brightest senators and representatives are those from west of the Missouri. And it is also true that the Wyoming senators and our congressman are closer to President Roosevelt and the administration than the statesmen of any other state in the union. Take Congressman Mondell, for instance. It takes a pretty progressive state to produce a man his equal; you cannot give Mondell too much credit.”
This is a quote from Col. Cody in 1903 “Grand Encampment Herald.”
Asked about the railroad situation in Wyoming, Col. Cody said:
“It won’t be long before there will be a north and south railroad through the state to connect with the Burlington at Cody. Why, people laughed at me when I started the town of Cody. I told them I would have a railroad there in six years and got it in four. Railroads will come where the business is, and the central part of Wyoming is rich in a score of industries.
“Only a few years ago there was not a railroad west of the Missouri. Today there are six trans-continental lines and a network of roads between Wyoming and the East. Do you think railroad building will stop? Not on your life. They are going to keep coming.”
Removing the capital (sic)
Col. Cody was asked his opinion of Mr. Emerson’s scheme to build a new city in central Wyoming and make the city of Emerson the state capital (sic). He replied...but, then, that’s a crazy scheme for our next “Postcard.”
Postcard from the Past - Buffalo Bill in CampWritten by Dick Perue
Recent articles in Wyoming newspapers indicate that “Buffalo Bill” was not only a showman but a businessman and entrepreneur, and his reputation as such extended from Cody in the north to Grand Encampment on the state’s southern tip along the Wyoming/Colorado state line.
In an interview with Cody printed on the front page of the Nov. 13, 1903 issue of the “Grand Encampment Herald” the weekly newspaper notes:
Famous Scout and Frontiersman Expresses Admiration For Grand Encampment
Col. W.F. Cody, Returning from England, Accompanies Dr. Powell on Inspection of the Camp
“How can I drive tunnels at Grand Encampment and build canals at Cody if I do not keep the old show going?” said the world renowned Buffalo Bill to the Herald Monday at the Wyoming House in Grand Encampment. “It takes capital to build up Wyoming, and we have to keep the ball rolling.”
“I have been just two weeks coming home from England,” continued Col. Cody, “and I tell you the most enjoyable part of the trip was the ride over the sand from Walcott. It does me good to get back once more upon my old stomping grounds in Wyoming. Yes, I closed the show two weeks ago Friday night, turned loose my 600 men and about the same number of animals and brought 200 of the boys home with me. I stopped one day in New York, one day in Chicago, one day in Omaha, one day in Denver and here I am in Grand Encampment, 50 miles inland, after the fastest trip I ever took in my life.
No Discouraged Men
“Dr. Powell and I are here to visit our Copper Giant Mine and to take in the camp. Say, do you know, I have not met a discouraged man in these hills. I am agreeably surprised at the extensive work being done near Grand Encampment, and everybody seems to be confident of success. Why, the prospect for gold and silver is better in Wyoming than it was in Colorado when Denver was only six years old. That’s the age of your town here, I believe. Well you have copper and lots of it, and that’s one thing more than Colorado had when Denver first came upon the map.”
“There is one thing you must not overlook at Grand Encampment,” suggested the Colonel.
“And that is?”
“The interest of capital,” he replied. “But then I must take that back. When I see the improvements here I must say that you have not over-looked much of anything to have done what you have. You are not behind in anything – great camp, great future not only for the town but also for the surrounding country, as you have thousands of acres of sagebrush land and plenty of water to irrigate same and thus build up a great agricultural community. And by the way, agriculture is the basis of prosperity anywhere. While I admire the way you people have gone into these hills and mined for wealth, do not neglect the man with the plow, for he comes to stay and is always in the vanguard of civilization.”
Watched Wyoming Grow
Col. Cody loves to talk about the progress of Wyoming and prophesy for its future. He landed here in ’67 and should be an authority . . . but, then that’s more business for our next “Postcard.”
Postcard from the Past - Col. Cody Promotes WyomingWritten by Dick Perue
Half of the front page of the Nov. 13, 1903 issue of the “Grand Encampment Herald” was devoted to an exclusive interview with Col. W.F. Cody.
Following is more of the thoughts and history of Buffalo Bill as outlined in that interview.
Watched Wyoming grow
Col. Cody loves to talk about the progress of Wyoming and prophesy for its future. He landed here in ’67 and should be an authority.
“Wyoming has changed a little at least since the days of the bull trains, which used to freight across the great American desert of the past,” said the Colonel with his characteristic earnestness. “The Union Pacific got as far as Cheyenne in ’67, the same year that I wintered at old Fort Bridger, and aside from a few settlements along the trail, there were few towns in the territory. That same year found me with the bull trains, and I happened to be at Ham’s Fork when the Mormons burned our train – a historic event on the frontier. The following year I was pony express rider on the Sweetwater route. My most interesting trip in Wyoming was in 1870 with Prof. Morse of Washington on a fossil hunting expedition into the Big Horn country, where not a white man lived at the time. I was then employed as chief of scouts for General Sheridan.
“I was in Wyoming again in 1876 during the Sioux War under Sitting Bull, the summer Custer was killed. My scouting career covered a long period and a big territory, and I remember well the landmarks about Grand Encampment, for I was here 29 years ago on a scouting expedition out of Rawlins, from which we were starting military operations north. While at Rawlins I took a party over the southern part of the county looking for a band of Sioux who were in the vicinity visiting the Utes.
“Great changes in Wyoming since then,” added the veteran. “I first commenced to build up Wyoming in 1896, when I became the pioneer operator under the Carey Act, started the building of a 40-mile ditch and put the town of Cody on the map. That ditch irrigates from 30,000 to 40,000 acres of land, and I believe with the several new ditches built and those contemplated, we will have 400,000 acres under irrigation around Cody in a few years.”
Had to change
Asked why the name of Stinking Water River was changed to Shoshone, Col. Cody said that he could not get a single settler to come into the Big Horn Basin as long as that name was on the map. People did not propose to take water from the stinking water for any purpose whatsoever, and he was obliged to go before the state legislature and have the name of the river changed.
“By the way,” he remarked, “there is more water in the Shoshone than in all the rivers of eastern Colorado combined.”
The Great West
“All we need in Wyoming is capital,” . . . but, then, that will be our next investment.
Postcard from the Past - Big Crowd Attends Opening of LodgeWritten by Dick Perue
Last time we visited we were enjoying the experiences of a young writer as she shared her thoughts of a new lodge built in the Snowy Range of south central Carbon County. Following a day of exploring in the summer of 1917, Edna Paulson wrote the following in “The Saratoga Sun:”
“I returned to our camp quite enthused over Medicine Bow Lodge.
“That evening as we sat around the camp fire relating our experiences of the day, a light was suddenly flashed upon us, and looking up the road we beheld a Ford ‘rambling right along.’ That was only the beginning of many huge cars that followed. At least 50 cars must have flashed their lights on our camp that evening. We knew they were going to Medicine Bow Lodge and to the Lodge we went.
“The large living room was turned into a ballroom, musicians from the valley caused the feet of the guests to trip lightly to the music, and as I watched the gay scene from a window my imagination soon caused me to see, instead of gay dancers, a band of Indian braves dancing their war dance by the banks of Barrett at the base of the ridge, and the soothsayer came forward and, throwing his hands toward heaven, told of his vision, saying, ‘And monsters with fire eyes shall come, bringing men on their backs. The monsters will run like the wind and all the time growl savagely. Why they come I do not know. Perhaps they come to kill the deer, the elk and the antelope or perhaps they will build lodges here and drive use out.’
“Looking up the driveway, I saw a monster with fire eyes approaching and realized the soothsayer’s vision had come true – that the white men had killed their game and had now taken possession of the forest in the shape of Medicine Bow Lodge.”
In addition to this feature story, the hometown weekly newspaper noted on the front page:
Big Crowd Attends Opening of Lodge. Like Old-Fashioned ‘House-Warming’ was Opening Night at Medicine Bow Lodge.
“About 175 people from various parts of the country attended the opening dance at Medicine Bow Lodge last Saturday evening, and all enjoyed to the full the opportunity to make merry in the bracing mountain atmosphere of an altitude of 8,000 feet as the guests of Sisson and Moore, proprietors of the Lodge. The opening was most successful, and although the camp is not yet entirely completed, the big crowd was taken care of by the matron, Miss Jessie S. Moore, without any apparent inconvenience.
“The fun lasted throughout the night, the majority of the cars leaving the lodge after the coming of daylight. Some of the guests, so well pleased were they with the treatment accorded, even stayed for breakfast.
“All the visitors to the camp were agreed that it is most beautifully situated for the enjoyment of summer life in the mountains, and it will no doubt be largely patronized by tourist and vacationists. But a short time will now be required to put the finishing touches on the buildings and grounds and to install the furnishings, after which the lodge will be in full running order.”