- Alger, Horace Chapin, 1857-1906
- Bailey, James Anthony, 1847-1906
- Baker, Lewis H., 1869-1931
- Beck, George Washington Thornton, 1856-1943
- Black Fox, Joe
- Black Heart
- Bleistein, George, 1861-1918
- Bonfils, Frederick Gilmer, 1860-1933
- Brennan, John R., 1847-1919
- Brown, George LeRoy, 1849-1921
- Buntline, Ned, 1822 or 1823-1886
- Burdick, Charles Williams, 1860-1927
- Burke, John M., 1842-1917
- Canfield, George, 1836-1899
- Canfield, Sherman D., 1865-1939
- Carver, William F. (William Frank), 1840-1927
- Clapp, William H., c. 1836-1905
- Cody, Isaac, 1811-1857
- Cody, Louisa Frederici, 1843-1921
- Cunningham, Dennis, 1843-
- Darrah, Hudson W., 1864-1929
- DeMaris, Charles, 1827-1914
- Dyer, Daniel Burns, 1849-1912
- Elwell, Robert Farrington, 1874-1962
- Garlow, Frederick H., 1881-1918
- Garlow, Irma Louise, 1883-1918
- Gerrans, Henry M., 1853-1939
- Gladstone, W. E. (William Ewart), 1809-1898
- Goodman, Edward R., 1868-1949
- Gower, Ronald Sutherland, Lord, 1845-1916
- Grouard, Frank, 1850-1905
- Hall, Samuel Stone, 1838-1886
- Hayden, Charles E.
- Heckert, Theodore
- Hinkle, Lorin Curtis, 1869-1931
- Holdrege, George Ward, 1847-1926
- Hymer, William Ebert, 1853-1933
- Iron Tail, or Siŋté Máza, 1842-1916
- Irving, Henry, Sir, 1838-1905
- Irving, William "Broncho Bill", 1856-1903
- Kelsey, Frank C., c. 1863-1933
- Lillie, Gordon William, 1860-1942
- McGinty, William M., 1871-1961
- Mead, Elwood, 1858-1936
- Miles, Nelson Appleton, 1839-1925
- Moses, Mollie, c. 1840-
- Nelson, John Young, 1826-1903
- Oakley, Annie, 1860-1926
- Omohundro, John Burwell, 1846-1880
- Paxton, William A., 1837-1907
- Peake, John H., 1848-1905
- Penney, Charles G., 1844-
- Ingraham, Prentiss, 1843-1904
- Richards, William Alford, 1849-1912
- Richmond, Frank, -1889
- Rocky Bear
- Rowley, Clarence W., 1871-1943
- Rumsey, Bronson, II, 1854-1946
- Russell, Michael R. "Mike", 1847-1930
- Ryan, Jerry
- Salsbury, Nathan, 1846-1902
- Shangreaux, John, c. 1854-1926
- Red Shirt, 1845?-1925
- Sitting Bull, 1831-1890
- Smith, Lillian Francis, 1871-1930
- Spoor, George K., 1872-1953
- Standing Bear, Luther, 1868?-1939
- Schwoob, Jacob M., 1874-1932
- Tait, John H., c.1873-1940
- Tammen, Harry Heye, 1856-1924
- Taylor, William Levi, 1857-1924
- Van Dreveldt, Ernest
- Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, 1819-1901
- Whitley, John Robinson, 1843-1922
- Wilde, Oscar, 1854-1900
- Wiley, Solon Lysander, 1840-1926
- Woods, Alfred Wilderman, 1857-1942
Horace Chapin Alger (1857-1906) was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, where his father was a prominent attorney. Alger graduated from Harvard in 1879 and briefly attended medical school before settling on banking and finance as his career. He moved to Miles City, Montana, in 1884 and went on to Sheridan, Wyoming, in 1885. Alger spent the next twenty-one years as an officer of various banks in Sheridan. Along with George Beck, Alger was one of the original partners in the venture that became the Shoshone Irrigation Company. Alger served on the company's board of directors until his death in 1906. Alger also had an active political career, serving as Sheridan County treasurer, mayor of Sheridan, and as a member of the Wyoming legislature at various times in the 1890s. He ran unsuccessfully for governor on the Democratic ticket in 1898.
James A. Bailey (1847-1906) was born James Anthony McGinnes in 1847. As a teenager McGinnes became an assistant to Frederic Augusta Bailey, a nephew of circus pioneer Hachaliah Bailey. McGinnes eventually changed his name to James Anthony Bailey. His business associations included James E. Cooper, manager of the Cooper and Bailey circus, and P. T. Barnum, becoming full partners to establish Barnum and Bailey Circus in 1881, which became Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus in 1919. Under the astute management skills of James A. Bailey, Barnum and Bailey managed Buffalo Bill's Wild West for William F. Cody from 1895 until Bailey's death in 1906.
Lewis H. Baker (1869-1931), better known as Johnny Baker, was for many years a fixture in William F. Cody's personal and professional life. As a young boy in North Platte, Nebraska, Baker idolized Cody, who came to look upon Baker as a foster son. Baker accompanied Cody's Wild West on tour from its inception, and was a regular cast member by 1885. Originally billed as the "Cow-Boy Kid," Baker often competed with Annie Oakley in trick shooting contests (consistently won by Oakley), among other roles. Baker remained with the various iterations of the Wild West as long as Cody had an ownership interest in the show. After Cody's death, Baker became one of the chief custodians of the Cody legacy in 1921 as founder of the Buffalo Bill Memorial Museum (now the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave) in Golden, Colorado. Baker operated the museum until his death in 1931.
George Washington Thornton Beck (1856-1943) was born near Lexington, Kentucky. His father, James B. Beck (1822-1890), represented Kentucky in the U.S. Congress for over twenty years, first in the House and later in the Senate. George Beck studied civil engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and moved to the West in 1877. Beck became involved in numerous business enterprises in Wyoming, including sheep ranching, mining, irrigation, and later the development of oil fields. Beck was a key partner with William F. Cody in founding the town of Cody in 1896. Beck managed the construction and day-to-day operations of the Cody Canal for the Shoshone Irrigation Company, of which William F. Cody was president. Although the Shoshone Irrigation Company was not a success, Beck's other investments were profitable, and he became an important local leader in both business and politics. Beck served as mayor of Cody in 1903 and was a Wyoming state senator from 1913 to 1917. He ran unsuccessfully for governor of Wyoming in 1902.
Black Fox (Joe Black Fox), or Strigi-La-Sapa (c1844-c1928), was an Oglala Lakota who joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West in 1889. In 1890 Black Fox was one who testified to the United States Commissioner of Indian Affairs, strongly defending Cody's treatment of the Indian performers. In 1898 Black Fox and other Lakota were photographed by Gertrude Käsebier in her New York studio. Black Fox left Buffalo Bill's Wild West in 1907 and is alleged to have died blind and destitute at Pine Ridge circa 1928.
Black Heart (William Black Heart), or Cante Sapa (born 1855), was an Oglala Lakota veteran of the 1887 visit to London. Black Heart was one who spoke out strongly in defense of Cody's treatment of his Indian performers during the 1891-92 controversy which almost led to the prohibition of the recruitment of Indians for the Wild West shows. On August 8, 1891, Black Heart married Calls-the-Name (Calls-Her-Name) in St. Bride's in Stretford, England. Black Heart remained with Buffalo Bill's Wild West until 1905 or possible later.
George Bleistein (1861-1918) was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of German immigrants. While still in his teens, Bleistein began work for the Courier Printing Company in Buffalo, and rose through the ranks to become the firm's president in 1884. Bleistein's company provided printed materials for Buffalo Bill's Wild West in the 1890s. Bleistein invested in the Shoshone Irrigation Company, served on its board of directors, and had other business interests in the Big Horn Basin. Bleistein remained prominent in Buffalo, serving on the board of directors for the Pan-American Exposition in 1901. He was U.S. customs collector for the port of Buffalo from 1914 until his death in 1918.
Frederick Gilmer Bonfils was born in Troy, Missouri, in 1860. He attended West Point from 1878 to 1881 but left the academy without graduating. Bonfils became a financial success through land speculation in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. In 1895 Bonfils and Harry Heye Tammen bought the struggling Denver Post. Bonfils and Tammen built the Post into Colorado's largest-circulation newspaper through the practice of highly sensationalistic journalism amidst a bitter rivalry with the Rocky Mountain News. Bonfils and Tammen were partners in several other businesses, including the Kansas City Post (1909-1922) and the Sells-Floto Circus (1904-1921). Bonfils was known for his quick temper, becoming involved in physical altercations with several political and business rivals over the years. In 1907 he was convicted of assaulting the publisher of the rival Rocky Mountain News. Bonfils died in 1933, apparently feared by many but truly loved by few in Denver.
John R. Brennan (c. 1847-1919), a prominent South Dakota businessman who had been one of the founders of Rapid City, became U.S. Indian agent for the Pine Ridge reservation on November 1, 1900, and remained in charge at Pine Ridge until July 1, 1917. In correspondence, Cody often addressed Brennan as "Major," a courtesy title commonly used at the time for those Indian agents who (like Brennan) were not actual army officers.
George LeRoy Brown (1849-1921) graduated from West Point in 1872. A career Army officer, Brown served as acting U. S. Indian agent at Pine Ridge from December 1891 to July 1893. He later served during the Spanish-American War as commander of the 4th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry and retired from the Army as a colonel in 1907.
Ned Buntline (Edward Zane Carroll Judson,1822 or 1823-1886) was an American writer, journalist, publicist, and publisher who was instrumental in bringing fame to James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok and William F. Cody. He wrote prolifically under the pseudonym Ned Buntline including plays and novels. He was also a temperance lecturer and political activist (most notably for the nativist Know-Nothing Party). He introduced Buffalo Bill to a national audience with Buffalo Bill, the King of the Border Men, a serialized story published in New York Weekly in 1869. He later wrote a stage drama, The Scouts of the Plains, which launched Cody’s acting career.
Charles W. Burdick (1860-1927) was a prominent Cheyenne lawyer, and served as the first Wyoming state auditor (1890-94) and later as Wyoming secretary of state (1895-99).
"Major" John M. Burke (1842-1917), sometimes known as "Arizona John," played a pivotal role in cultivating William F. Cody's public image for 34 years. He was associated with all the various iterations of Buffalo Bill's Wild West from 1883 until 1916, often holding the title of general manager. His actual duties combined those of advance agent, location scout, press agent, and public-relations manager. Known for his florid language, Burke composed much of the copy for the Wild West's programs and advertising materials. In 1893 he published a biography of Cody entitled Buffalo Bill from Prairie to Palace, which was timed to coincide with the Wild West's appearance at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Details of Burke's own life are scarce, but it is unlikely that he ever held an actual military rank. Burke was of Irish descent, was born in Delaware, and apparently had some experience as an actor. He first met Cody in 1873 while serving as manager for the Italian actress Giuseppina Morlacchi, a cast member in Cody's first theatrical troupe and wife of John B. "Texas Jack" Omohundro.
George Canfield (1836-1899), an old friend of Cody's from Omaha, was the owner of the Cozzens House Hotel in downtown Omaha, later known as Canfield House which Canfield ran until 1894. Canfield and an investment partner also established the Farnam Street Boarding and Sales Stables in 1881, which George Canfield owned by 1885. George Canfield is father of Sherman D. Canfield, Cody's personal representative and confidential secretary during the first two European tours of Buffalo Bill's Wild West.
Sherman D. Canfield (1865-1939), son of Cody's old friend George Canfield of Omaha, was personal representative and confidential secretary to William F. Cody in Europe and America from 1887-1888 and 1890-1903. Canfield was superintendent of the railroad facilities for the Union Stockyards Company in South Omaha, Nebraska, during 1888 through 1890. In 1892 Canfield relocated to Wyoming as one of the proprietors in the W. F. Cody Hotel Company and managed the Sheridan Inn in Sheridan from 1893 to 1896. Cody incorporated the W. F. Cody Hotel Co. in 1894 and purchased the inventory of the Sheridan Inn, making him one third owner with Sherman Canfield who managed both the Inn and the W. F. Cody Transportation Company.
William "Doc" Carver (Dr. William Frank Carver, c1840-1927) was born in Winslow, Illinois. Trained as a dentist, Carver relocated to Nebraska in 1872 where he began to acquire frontier skills such as hunting, riding, and, most notably, marksmanship. In 1876 he launched a career as a showman touring the country giving shooting exhibitions and billing himself as "Champion Rifle Shot of the World." In 1883 he joined with William F. Cody to launch "Hon. W. F. Cody and Dr. W. F. Carver's Rocky Mountain and Prairie Exhibition." The partnership lasted just one season, ending in acrimony. Cody formed Buffalo Bill's Wild West the following year and Carver developed various rival enterprises, eventually creating a small-scale exhibition of trained animals—most notably a diving horse attraction—and feats of marksmanship.
William H. Clapp (c. 1836-1905) served in the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. He became an officer of the Regular Army in 1866 and served until his retirement as a lieutenant colonel in 1900. Clapp was acting U.S. Indian agent at Pine Ridge from January 1896 to July 1900. He was promoted to colonel on the retired list in 1904.
Isaac Cody was born September 15, 1811, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He married Martha Miranda O'Connor in 1834 in Cleveland, Ohio, who died in 1835 following the birth of a daughter, Martha Cody (1835-1858). Cody then married Rebecca Summer in 1836 in Ohio, who died that same year. His third marriage was to Mary Ann Bonsall Laycock in 1840 in Cincinnati, Ohio; they had seven children: Samuel (1841-1853); Julia Melvinia (1843-1928); William Frederick (1846-1917); Eliza Alice (1848-1902); Laura Ella (1850-1911); Mary Hannah (1853-1926); and Charles W. (1855-1864). In September 1854 at a settlers' meeting in Leavenworth, Kansas, an argument ensued over the "free states" issue, and Isaac Cody was stabbed by Charles Dunn. Cody died from a fever on March 10, 1857, in Leavenworth County, Kansas.
Louisa Maude Frederici was born in 1843, the daughter of a St. Louis merchant family. Her 1920 memoir states that she met William Cody on May 1, 1865, while he was a private in the Seventh Kansas Cavalry on detached duty in St. Louis. The couple married on March 6, 1866. The Codys had four children: daughters Arta (1866-1904), Orra (1872-1883), and Irma (1883-1918), and son Kit Carson Cody (1870-76). The Cody marriage was often strained; with financial disputes, the premature deaths of two children, William Cody's long absences from his family, and his marital infidelities all contributing to the troubles. William Cody twice filed divorce petitions. The first was withdrawn upon the death of Orra Cody in 1883, while the second went to trial in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in 1905. Louisa won the court case, thus, William Cody's petition for divorce was denied. The Codys eventually reconciled after 1910, and Louisa often accompanied William Cody in his travels with the Wild West during the show's final years. After William Cody's death, Louisa published a memoir (co-authored with Courtney Ryley Cooper) entitled Memories of Buffalo Bill, an account that portrayed her marriage as consistently loving and happy. She died in 1921.
Dennis Cunningham was born in Ireland in 1843, and came to the United States in 1866. He settled in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1868, and practiced the trades of blacksmith and farrier. He became prosperous through shrewd investments in Omaha real estate, making a particularly tidy profit by selling the lot on which a post office was to be constructed. Cunningham later expanded his business interests into construction. He is known to have visited William F. Cody at North Platte, Nebraska, during the Christmas holiday season in 1888-89. An 1891 gazetteer of Omaha lists his business address as 524 South 13th Street. According to a 1914 city directory, Cunningham resided at 626 South 19th Street.
Hudson W. Darrah (1864-1929), a sawmill owner with other business interests in and around the town of Cody, Wyoming, had a history of legal disputes with the Shoshone Irrigation Company. In 1899 Darrah filed a protest against the issuance of land patents for portions of the Shoshone Irrigation Company's Carey Act segregation including the Cody town site, claiming that the Shoshone Irrigation Company had not yet adequately irrigated the area in question. While Darrah's protest was not upheld when adjudicated by government authorities in July 1900, it did delay the acquisition of clear title to these lands by settlers and investors who had filed claims for them. Since the Shoshone Irrigation Company's profitability depended on selling water rights to settlers who expected to gain clear title to the irrigated lands under the Carey Act, protests such as Darrah's were a threat to the business interests of William F. Cody and his partners.
Charles DeMaris (1827-1914) was an early settler in the Big Horn Basin who had previously been involved in mining and ranching ventures in Idaho and Montana. He settled near hot springs along the Shoshone River, about two miles west of the present town of Cody. The springs became known as DeMaris Springs. DeMaris filed for and received water rights at the site, and built tourist facilities there.
Daniel Burns Dyer (1849-1912) was a friend of William F. Cody, and was Cody's principal partner in the Cody-Dyer Mining and Milling Company, which operated gold and tungsten mines near Tucson, Arizona, after 1903. A Civil War veteran, Dyer served as a U.S. Indian agent on two reservations in what is now Oklahoma between 1880 and 1885. Dyer later made successful investments in Kansas City real estate and in electric-powered streetcars in Augusta, Georgia. His title of "Colonel" may have reflected an honorary appointment in the Georgia state militia. In 1904, Dyer donated a significant collection of American Indian, Filipino, and Mexican artifacts to the city of Kansas City, Missouri, where he resided for much of his later life.
Robert Farrington Elwell (1874-1962) was born near Boston. A self-taught artist, Elwell met William F. Cody when Buffalo Bill's Wild West played Boston, probably about 1895. Cody hired the young artist to work on the TE Ranch (near Cody) and attempted to promote Elwell's artistic career.
Frederick H. Garlow was born in Panora, Iowa, in 1881. He was the second husband of Irma Cody Garlow (1883-1918), the youngest daughter of William F. Cody. The couple was married in North Platte, Nebraska, in 1908. For several years, Garlow managed Scout's Rest Ranch, then legally owned by Buffalo Bill's wife, Louisa Frederici Cody. Garlow managed the Irma Hotel in Cody, Wyoming, for the last five years of his life. In October 1918, Fred and Irma Garlow died within a few days of each other. Both were victims of the influenza pandemic that killed millions worldwide during 1918-1919. Their three children survived and lived long lives.
Irma Louise Cody Garlow (1883-1918) was the youngest child of William F. Cody and Louisa Frederici Cody. She was the only one of Buffalo Bill's children still living at the time of his death in 1917. Much of her education was received at private boarding schools. She was married twice. Her first marriage was in 1903, to Army Lt. Clarence A. Stott (1876-1907). After Lt. Stott's death, she married Frederick H. Garlow in 1908. Irma was the namesake for the Irma Hotel, built by her father in the town of Cody, Wyoming. In October 1918, Fred and Irma Garlow died within a few days of each other. Both were victims of the influenza pandemic that killed millions worldwide during 1918-1919. Their three children survived and lived long lives.
Henry M. Gerrans (1853-1939) lived much of his life in Buffalo, New York, where he was co-owner of the Iroquois Hotel Company from the late 1880s to the early 1920s. Gerrans appears to have been prominent in Buffalo's civic affairs, as he was on the board of directors for the Pan-American Exposition of 1901, which was held in that city. He invested in the Shoshone Irrigation Company in the 1890s, and became one of three members of the company's board with personal and business ties to Buffalo. Although Gerrans apparently did not make the Big Horn Basin his home, he did invest in oil fields and other business interests in the Basin in addition to the irrigation venture.
William Gladstone (William Ewart Gladstone, 1809-1898) served four terms as Prime Minister of Great Britain. In 1887, between his third and fourth stints as Prime Minister, Gladstone’s visit to the Wild West exhibition and encampment was widely reported in the British and American press.
Edward R. Goodman, 1868-1949, was Cody's nephew and son of Julia Cody Goodman and James Alvin Goodman. During 1896 Goodman was appointed postmaster in Cody, Wyoming; he was also Cody's "man on the scene" during the construction of the Cody Canal, making regular reports to Cody on the progress of the irrigation project.
Lord Gower (Lord Ronald Charles Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 1845-1916). A Scottish aristocrat who served as a Liberal MP representing Sutherland from 1867-1874, he was appointed “Honorary Chair” of the American Exhibition in 1887.
Frank Grouard (1850-1905) managed Cody's horses and may have been manager of Cody's TE Ranch during 1896. Grouard was a scout and interpreter for General Crook during the American Indian War of 1876, participating in the Little Bighorn Campaign, the Battle of the Rosebud, the Battle of Slim Buttes, and the Wounded Knee Massacre. Cody and Grouard were scouts for Crook on the Big Horn and Yellowstone Expedition of 1876. Grouard was known as "Yugata" by the Sioux.
Samuel Stone Hall (1838-1886), known as "Buckskin Sam." Born in Massachusetts, Hall joined the Texas Rangers before the Civil War. Deserting the Rangers in 1864, he served briefly in the Union army as a member of a Massachusetts militia regiment. Drawing on his western experiences, Hall wrote over fifty dime novels for the firm of Beadle and Adams between 1877 and 1886, at least one of which featured Buffalo Bill as the title character. Hall lived the last years of his life in Wilmington, Delaware.
Charles Emory Hayden (1866-1938) was hired to survey the Cody, Wyoming, town site, which was south of the Shoshone River near the DeMaris sulphur springs. Hayden was the surveyor-assistant manager of Shoshone Irrigation Company. Over the next several years Hayden was hired by William F. Cody to survey other parcels and sections, including oil and placer claims south of Cody, Wyoming.
Theo or Theodore Heckert was a railroad contractor who owned grading equipment used in land development. In 1895 George Beck, Chief Surveyor Charles Hayden, and Heckert set up a grading camp and started construction of the head gate and flume of the Cody Canal.
Lorin Curtis Hinkle (1869-1931) was born in Ohio. He moved to Wyoming in 1889 as a telegraph operator for the Union Pacific Railroad and was later promoted to dispatcher. Hinkle served in the Wyoming legislature in 1893, as chief clerk of the Wyoming Board of Land Commissioners from 1898 to 1904, and as deputy secretary of state of Wyoming from 1904 to 1910. After leaving public office, Hinkle was active in private business in Cheyenne, particularly in the oil industry. He apparently was known as Curtis L. Hinkle for much of his public life.
George Ward Holdrege was born in New York City in 1847. His father, Henry Holdrege, Jr., was a merchant in New York. After attending Harvard, Holdrege moved to Plattsmouth, Nebraska, as a clerk for the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad about 1869. Due to corporate mergers, this railroad would be known as the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy at the turn of the twentieth century. It is now part of BNSF Railway. Holdrege rose steadily through the company's ranks, holding a series of increasingly responsible posts in Iowa and Nebraska. By 1882, he was general manager of the company's Omaha office. Until his retirement in 1920, Holdrege played a key role in managing the railroad's operations west of the Mississippi. He died in Omaha in 1926.
William Ebert Hymer was born near Rushville, Illinois, in 1853. He settled in Nebraska in 1878, where he became one of the first merchants in the new town of Holdrege in the early 1880s. He later became involved in real estate and banking, and was the first cashier of the National Bank of Holdrege in 1888. Hymer later became the bank's president. The bank went into receivership in March 1895. Hymer was an early partner in the Cody Canal project but contributed little capital and was eventually forced out of the venture by the other partners. He faced at least one lawsuit in Nebraska connected to the Holdrege bank failure. Hymer went on to other business ventures in and around Red Lodge, Montana, where he died in 1933.
Born an Oglala Lakota in South Dakota in 1842, Siŋté Máza or Iron Tail joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West in 1889 and would remain with the exhibition until it closed in 1913. William F. Cody and Iron Tail became close friends, and Iron tail often accompanied Cody on the annual hunt following the close of the Wild West’s touring season. Iron Tail was among the show Indians photographed by Gertrude Käsebier in her New York studio in 1898. In 1913 Iron Tail worked with Cody on his film The Indian Wars and was one of the models for the Indian-head nickel which was minted that year. When Buffalo Bill's Wild West closed in 1913, Iron Tail began working for Miller Brothers & Arlington 101 Ranch Real Wild West. While traveling by train to return to his home in South Dakota, Iron Tail contracted influenza and died in Chicago on May 29, 1916; he is buried in Red Cloud Cemetery at Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota.
Sir Henry Irving (John Henry Brodribb, 1838-1905) was a leading figure on the English and American stage. He was actor-manager at London’s Lyceum Theatre, where he worked with manager Bram Stoker for many years. Having attended the exhibition during a visit to the U.S., Irving publicly endorsed Buffalo Bill’s Wild West to the British public before its arrival in 1887.
William "Broncho Bill" Irving (1856-1903), an occasional interpreter of Sioux (Lakota) during the 1887 tour and also the actor who played Yellow Hand (Yellow Hair). Irving, who was white and married to a Lakota woman named Ella Bissonette (1867-1908), daughter of Chief Rocky Bear, was also an interpreter in the 1890 European tour.
Frank C. Kelsey (c.1863-1933), a civil engineer. In 1901, William F. Cody hired Kelsey (who was then city engineer for Salt Lake City) to make a preliminary survey for the Cody-Salsbury Canal.
Gordon William Lillie was born in Bloomington, Illinois, in 1860. His family moved to Wellington, Kansas, in the 1870s. In Kansas, Lillie encountered Pawnee Indians en route to reservations in Indian Territory (now part of Oklahoma). Beginning in 1879, Lillie worked as an interpreter and later a teacher for the Pawnee agency. In 1883 Lillie served as a Pawnee interpreter for the first season of Buffalo Bill's Wild West. Lillie later created his own show, Pawnee Bill's Historic Wild West. Lillie was also involved in leading groups of so-called "boomers" (settlers) into parts of present-day Oklahoma as they were opened to white settlement in 1889 and 1893. After 1893 Lillie and his wife May made their off-season home in Pawnee, Oklahoma. Although never as prominent as Buffalo Bill's Wild West, Lillie's show was generally profitable, enabling the Lillies to invest in land, livestock, and oil development ventures in Oklahoma. A long-time admirer of William F. Cody, Lillie formed a partnership with Cody in 1908. Their joint venture was formally known as Buffalo Bill's Wild West Combined With Pawnee Bill's Great Far East, but colloquially as the "Two Bills." Lillie retired from show business after the "Two Bills" show was seized by the sheriff in Denver in 1913 but was able to live comfortably from the proceeds of his investments for the remainder of his life. Pawnee Bill was often billed as "Major" Lillie, but he is not known to have served in the active military. Because "major" was a common courtesy title for U.S. Indian agents in the nineteenth century, Lillie's work on the Pawnee reservation (though not as an actual agent) may have been the basis for his use of the title.
William M. "Billy" McGinty (January 1, 1871 – May 21, 1961), a diminutive, extraordinarily skilled cowboy from Oklahoma, served as a Private in Troops D and K with Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War. He fought in the Battles of Las Guasimas and San Juan Heights. In 1899, the year following the Spanish American War, veterans of Roosevelt's Rough Riders formed an organization, aptly titled Roosevelt's Rough Rider Association. McGinty was greatly involved with the Association throughout his life and even served as its President in 1951. He also maintained a friendship with Theodore Roosevelt for years after the war. Part of preserving and bolstering Rough Rider memory came as William F. Cody recruited 16 of Roosevelt's Rough Riders to join Buffalo Bill's Wild West for the 1899 season and beyond. Roosevelt's Rough Riders in the Wild West became part of the Congress of Rough Riders and re-enacted the Battle of San Juan Hill, a martial drama that celebrated the United States victory in Cuba over the Spanish and met tremendous applause at each presentation. McGinty participated as the Color Bearer in the San Juan Hill performance during the 1899 and 1900 seasons. Upon learning of the act, Theodore Roosevelt wrote to William F. Cody in March 1899, giving his approval for the re-enactment and his soldiers' involvement. He wrote, "I am delighted that McGinty and [Thomas] Isbell are in it. They are thoroughly good men." The San Juan Hill routine was the zenith of the program through the 1901 season when it was replaced by the Battle of Tien-Tsin. McGinty became a world champion bronco rider, led a nationally known cowboy music band, and authored stories on the Spanish American War and western life. His lifetime achievements as a cowboy, Rough Rider, and Wild West performer led to his enshrinement in the National Cowboy Museum’s Hall of Great Westerners in 2000.
Elwood Mead (1858-1936) was a central figure in the history of reclamation projects in the arid West for several decades. Born and raised in Indiana, Mead graduated from Purdue University in 1882 and then received training in civil engineering at Iowa Agricultural College (now Iowa State University). As a faculty member at Colorado State Agricultural College (now Colorado State University), Mead assisted the Colorado state engineer's office and quickly became recognized as an expert in irrigation engineering. Mead was appointed Wyoming territorial engineer in 1888, and was Wyoming's first state engineer, serving until 1899. As such, Mead was intimately involved in the drafting and administration of Wyoming's water laws. Mead's engineering reports on the Shoshone River provided crucial backing for William F. Cody and his partners in the Cody Canal project. After leaving the state engineer's office, Mead served as an irrigation advisor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and later for the Australian state of Victoria. In 1924, Mead was appointed commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. In that capacity, he oversaw the construction of what is now called Hoover Dam. The reservoir behind Hoover Dam is named Lake Mead in his honor.
Nelson A. Miles (1839-1925) joined the Union Army in 1861 as a lieutenant in a Massachusetts volunteer regiment. Miles distinguished himself in combat during the Civil War and was a major general of volunteers by October 1865. Mustered out of volunteer service in 1866, Miles became a colonel in the regular Army. He was an important field commander in several military campaigns against Plains Indians during the 1870s, thus becoming acquainted with William F. Cody, who served as a civilian scout for the Army for much of the decade. Miles was promoted to brigadier general in the regular Army in 1880, major general in 1890, and lieutenant general in 1900. Miles requested Cody's assistance to arrest Sitting Bull in December 1890 during the Ghost Dance crisis, but his orders to Cody were rescinded by authorities in Washington shortly before the Lakota leader was killed by tribal police. Miles was the most senior officer in the U.S. Army from 1895 until his retirement in 1903; he led the U.S. invasion of Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War. In retirement Miles participated in the production of Cody's motion picture The Indian Wars.
Mollie Moses (born c. 1840) resided in Morganfield, Kentucky, for most of her life. Known as Mollie Payne at birth, she had been married twice by the time William F. Cody made her acquaintance in 1884. The 1880 federal census lists her marital status as "divorced," while the 1900 census lists her as "widowed." The surviving correspondence between Cody and Moses indicates that the two formed a romantic attachment between 1884 and 1886. Cody gave Moses a fine set of riding equipment and invited her to a rendezvous in St. Louis at the beginning of the Wild West's 1886 season. The relationship apparently did not endure. Moses returned to Morganfield, where she was reported to have fallen into dire poverty by the end of her life.
John Y. Nelson (1826-1903) worked as a trapper and scout in the far west before joining Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. Married to a Brulé, Jenny Yellow Elk Woman, Nelson served as an interpreter while also performing various roles in the show, such as driver for the Deadwood stagecoach. Several of Nelson’s children also performed in the show.
Annie Oakley, born Phoebe Ann Moses (or Mosey) (1860-1926), learned to shoot at the age of eight, then honed her shooting skills as a teenager hunting and supplying game for locals and businesses in and around Greenville, Ohio. At age 15, Annie met her future husband when she bested him in a shooting contest in Cincinnati, Ohio. Frank Butler (1850-1926) and Annie were married in 1876 and in 1882 began performing marksmanships shows together. Annie adopted the stage name Oakley, the name of the city neighborhood in Ohio where the couple lived for a time. In 1885 the couple joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West--Annie Oakley as a female sharpshooter and Frank Butler as her manager; they remained with Buffalo Bill's Wild West until 1901. With the combination of her ladylike demeanor and professional shooting talent, Annie Oakley enthralled audiences throughout the United States and Europe.
Texas Jack (John Burwell Omohundro, 1846-1880), the son of a Virginia planter, made his way west after the Civil War and worked as a cowboy in Texas during the late 1860s. In 1869 Texas Jack drove a herd of cattle from Texas to North Platte, Nebraska. He became a U.S. Army Scout at Fort McPherson, along with William F. Cody. Omohundro accompanied Cody on hunts and was one of the original stage performers in the Buffalo Bill Combination in the 1870s. In 1873 Omohundro married actress Giuseppina Morlacchi, who was also a performer with the Combination. Omohundro died of pneumonia in 1880.
William A. Paxton (1837-1907) was born in Kentucky but made most of his fortune in Nebraska. He was one of the most successful businessmen in Omaha at the turn of the twentieth century, with interests in the South Omaha stockyards, downtown real estate, and a well-known wholesale grocery company. The "Paxton Block" of buildings at 16th and Farnam Streets in downtown Omaha was named for him, as was the town of Paxton in Keith County, Nebraska. William F. Cody and George Beck attempted to persuade Paxton to invest in the Shoshone Irrigation Company, but ultimately did not succeed.
John H. Peake (1848-1905), editor at one time of the North Platte Enterprise and The Duluth Press, would eventually become editor of Cody Enterprise, which Peake and Cody co-founded in August 1899. Peake and his wife Anna came to Cody in 1899 from Washington, D.C.
Charles G. Penney (b. 1844), a Civil War veteran and career Army officer, served as acting agent at the Pine Ridge Reservation from February to October 1891 and again from July 1893 to the end of 1895. He later served in the Spanish-American War and retired from the Army as a brigadier general in 1903. Military officers in charge of Indian reservations at this time were referred to as "acting Indian agents" by Interior Department policy.
Prentiss Ingraham (1843-1904) was born near Natchez, Mississippi, and served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. He spent much of the five years after the Civil War as a soldier of fortune. Ingraham began his writing career about 1870, becoming an incredibly prolific author of dime novels, stage plays, and short stories. By his own estimate, Ingraham had written over six hundred novels and stories by 1900. He wrote over one hundred Buffalo Bill stories and dime novels under his own name and several pseudonyms. He is believed to be the actual author of a number of dime novels signed by Buffalo Bill, and some of his stage plays were performed by the Buffalo Bill Combination in the 1870s and 1880s.
William Alford Richards (1849-1912) served as governor of Wyoming from 1895 to 1899. Shortly after his term as governor ended, Richards was appointed assistant commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office by President William McKinley. In 1903, Richards was elevated to commissioner of the Land Office by President Theodore Roosevelt and served until 1907.
Frank Richmond (d.1889) was the stage name of James E. Twitchell, an actor who was hired as the 'lecturer' with Buffalo Bill's Wild West in 1885. With his stunning voice, Richmond became the arena announcer and director of performances for Buffalo Bill's Wild West until his sudden death in 1889 in Barcelona, Spain, from typhoid fever (some newspapers report influenza or small pox).
Rocky Bear, Inyan Mato or Eya Matao (1836-1909), an Oglala Sioux chief, appeared intermittently with Buffalo Bill's Wild West from 1884 until his death in 1909; he was High Chief of the Sioux members of Buffalo Bill's Wild West before Chief Iron Tail became High Chief. Described as noble and articulate and with an impressive and powerful physical appearance, Rocky Bear was a defender of Cody's treatment of Indian performers; he interacted with royalty, had an audience with Pope Leo XIII, and met President Cleveland.
Clarence W. Rowley (1871-1943) was a successful attorney in Boston who apparently did legal work related to William F. Cody's mining ventures in Arizona. Rowley may have been an investor in Cody's mines himself. He was a personal friend of Cody as well. Cody was not Rowley's only celebrity legal client, for Rowley was the executor of the famous boxer John L. Sullivan's estate upon Sullivan's death in 1918.
Bronson Rumsey II (1854-1946) grew up in Buffalo, New York, the son of Bronson Case Rumsey (1823-1902), who owned a successful tannery business. As an investor and board member in the Shoshone Irrigation Company, Bronson Rumsey II was one of the founders of the town of Cody, Wyoming. Among other business interests in the Big Horn Basin, Rumsey was one of the original partners in the Cody Trading Company. His son, Bronson C. Rumsey (b. 1879) developed a noted dude ranch, the "UXU", and served in the Wyoming state senate in the 1930s.
Michael R. "Mike" Russell (1847-1930), also known as "Deadwood Mike," a long-time friend of Cody's, was owner of the Buffalo Saloon in Deadwood, S.D. Cody purchased cattle and horses from Mike Russell under Russell’s TE brand, which later inspired Cody's TE Ranch in Ishawooa, Wyoming. Russell was born in Ireland and met Cody in Kansas in the late 1860s. Russell was probably Cody's oldest and closest friend; he remained friends with the entire Cody family long after Cody's passing, frequently traveling to the town of Cody to visit them.
Jerry Ryan was an engineer living in Sheridan, Wyoming, when George T. Beck sent him, along with Laban Hillberry, to determine if waters from the Shoshone River could be diverted to irrigate a large area of the Big Horn Basin; Ryan would move to Cody and become a shareholder in Shoshone Land and Irrigation Company, which was formed in 1895 and later became Shoshone Irrigation Company.
Nathan Salsbury (1846-1902) was a veteran of the Civil War who later became an actor and a successful theatrical producer and manager. He joined Cody in 1884 as co-owner of Buffalo Bill's Wild West. His show business skills contributed greatly to the venture's success until his death in 1902.
John Shangreaux (c. 1854-1926) was an Army scout of mixed Lakota and French ancestry. After witnessing the tragedy at Wounded Knee, he joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West as an interpreter and chaperone for "hostile Indians," Lakotas who had been taken into custody by the Army but permitted to tour with Cody in Europe. Shangreaux married Lillie Orr, an Englishwoman, in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1892. The couple continued to tour with the Wild West until about 1897. While several published references spell the family name "Shangrau," as Cody did, John and Lillie's descendants used the spelling "Shangreaux." The couple's collection of Northern Plains Indian artifacts is at the Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne.
Red Shirt (1845?-1925) was a Lakota from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (formerly Red Cloud Agency) in southwest Dakota Territory and leader of the Show Indians during the 1887-88 English tour. He joined the show in 1884 and was featured as a principal performer in the show’s promotional materials which included his audience with Queen Victoria.
Born near the Grand River in South Dakota and originally given the name Slon-He (Slow), Sitting Bull (Thathaƞka Iyothaƞka) achieved fame first as a Hunkpapa Lakota warrior fighting Crows and, later, Americans. A veteran of the Great Sioux War and Little Big Horn, Sitting Bull resisted American encroachment into the West and continued fighting against Americans until he surrendered in 1881. Sitting Bull joined the Wild West Exhibition in 1885 in Buffalo, New York, after William Cody spent nearly two years trying to recruit him. As perhaps the most well-known Indian in America as both a survivor of Little Big Horn and a symbol of Indian resistance to westward expansion, the chance to sign Sitting Bull would only serve to increase Cody's prestige and generate publicity for the Wild West. Sitting Bull toured with Buffalo Bill's Wild West for only four months. Having grown tired of the travel and bustling cities, he decided to return to his home on Pine Ridge. In 1890 Indian agent James McLaughlin sent Indian police to arrest Sitting Bull. Shooting erupted and Sitting Bull was killed in the skirmish. Sitting Bull's son and six other Hunkpapas died, as did six policemen.
In 1886 at age 15, Lillian Francis Smith (1871-1930) joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West as a headliner, billed as "The California Huntress and Champion Girl Rifle Shot." She toured in 1886, went to England in 1887, and completed the 1888 season. While in London in 1887 Smith married cowboy and fellow performer James "Jim Kid" Willoughby but later left him. Following her departure from Buffalo Bill's Wild West, Smith performed with a variety of other Wild West shows, including Pawnee Bill's. Smith performed with Miller Brothers and Arlington 101 Ranch Real Wild West, headlining as Princess Wenona until she retired in 1920. Several of her shooting records have never been surpassed.
George K. Spoor (1872-1953) was an important pioneer of early American cinema. In partnership with Gilbert M. "Broncho Billy" Anderson (1880-1971), Spoor founded the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company in 1907. Essanay (which stood for "S and A," the founders' initials) was truly a motion picture studio, whose productions included many Westerns starring Anderson as well as a number of films featuring Charlie Chaplin. After Essanay disbanded in 1918, Spoor was involved in developing a new widescreen motion picture process in the 1920s, which did not become a commercial success. In 1948 Spoor received an honorary Academy Award for his contributions to the early motion picture industry.
Luther Standing Bear (Ota Kte, Plenty Kill, and Mato Najin, 1868-1939), was educated by the Carlisle Indian School and worked as a teacher, merchant, and minister upon his return to Rosebud and Pine Ridge Reservations. Standing Bear joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West as interpreter and Chief of Indians in late 1902 but left the troupe in 1904 when he was among the seriously injured in a train wreck that killed six Indians. Standing Bear rose in his tribe to become chief in 1905, working tirelessly to help his people acquire civil rights, including U.S. citizenship. In 1912 Standing Bear became an actor in California, appearing in thirteen films and authoring three books in his later years. He died in 1939 in Huntington Park, California, while filming Union Pacific, having worked his entire life to improve the plight of his people.
Jacob M. Schwoob was born at Wellandport, Ontario, Canada, in 1874. He entered the hotel business in Buffalo, New York in 1892 and became a U.S. citizen in 1897. Schwoob moved to Cody, Wyoming, in 1898 as manager of the Cody Trading Company, a prominent local business. By 1920 Schwoob was sole owner of the Cody Trading Company. Schwoob was active in republican politics, and was elected treasurer of Cody in 1900. He served as mayor of Cody from 1903 to 1905 and was elected a Wyoming state senator in 1905, serving until 1913. In 1925 he was appointed a trustee of the University of Wyoming. A member of several fraternal organizations as well as a successful businessman, Schwoob was a leading citizen of Cody until his death in 1932.
John H. Tait (c.1873-1940) had been a member of the First United States Volunteer Cavalry Regiment (known as the "Rough Riders") during the Spanish-American War of 1898. According to the regimental muster rolls, Tait was born in Chicago and resided in Raton, New Mexico, at the time of his enlistment. His civilian occupation was listed as "fireman." It is unclear whether Tait actually saw combat with the Rough Riders. He was assigned to I Troop, one of the troops left behind at Tampa, Florida, when the rest of the regiment shipped out for the invasion of Cuba. Other details of his life are likewise obscure. However, William F. Cody's letters to Tait in the last few years of Cody's life show that Cody considered Tait a trusted friend and that Tait knew much about Cody's business affairs. Tait is listed as a member of Buffalo Bill's Wild West in route books for the 1899 and 1902 seasons; it is likely that Tait may have performed for Buffalo Bill's Wild West in other seasons as well. He was employed by the Sells-Floto Circus in 1916.
Harry Heye Tammen was born in Baltimore in 1856. At the age of 21, he was a bartender at the Palmer House, a leading Chicago hotel. He was head bartender at the Windsor Hotel in Denver by 1895, when he joined Frederick G. Bonfils as co-owner of the Denver Post. Bonfils and Tammen built the newspaper into a commercial success by practicing a highly sensationalistic brand of "yellow" journalism. The partners collaborated in other business ventures including the Kansas City Post (1909-1922) and the Sells-Floto Circus (1904-1921), although it appears that Tammen was the more active partner in the latter. In 1913 Tammen engineered the collapse of William F. Cody's show business partnership with Gordon W. "Pawnee Bill" Lillie by orchestrating the local sheriff's seizure of the show's physical assets due to debts owed to a printing company controlled by Tammen. Tammen then used Cody's personal debt as leverage to ensure Buffalo Bill's appearances with the Sells-Floto Circus for the 1914 and 1915 show seasons. Tammen and Bonfils were important financial backers of Cody's motion picture project in late 1913. By 1915 Tammen's relationship with Cody was badly frayed, as Cody was exasperated with his business practices. Although Cody stopped touring with the Sells-Floto Circus at the conclusion of the 1915 season, Tammen did his best to maximize his own profits from Cody's name for as long as he could. Tammen died in 1924.
William Levi “Buck” Taylor (1857-1924) was billed as the “King of the Cowboys” in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. Among the original members of the Wild West cast, Taylor had worked for Cody as a ranch hand in Nebraska and later toured with Cody’s stage company, The Buffalo Bill Combination, before the exhibition's formation in 1884. Six-foot-five-inches tall, Taylor was featured for his horsemanship skills.
Ernest Van Dreveldt was a civil and mining engineer who, along with Charles Hayden and William E. Hymer, platted the original site of Cody City in October 1895. Van Dreveldt became a member of the Denver Society of Civil Engineers & Architects in 1890. At one time Van Dreveldt operated a business as a civil and mining engineer in Chihuahua, Mexico.
Victoria, Queen of Great Britain (1819-1901), was celebrating the Golden Jubilee, marking the fiftieth year of her reign during the summer of 1887. The Wild West capitalized on her patronage in its marketing. In addition to a private performance in the early days of the London season at Earls Court, the exhibition gave a command performance for the Queen’s guests on the eve of her Jubilee.
John Robinson Whitley (1843-1922) was an English entrepreneur and philanthropist. He was Executive Commissioner of the 1887 American Exhibition in London and founder of Earls Court Exhibition Centre. On an 1886 visit to New York, Whitley met with Cody and Salsbury and invited them to partner with the American Exhibition. He would later organize similar programs for Germany, Italy, and France.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was a celebrated Irish writer living in London during the first two Wild West British tours. He was notably compared to Cody in the English media during the 1887 tour. Having completed his own successful American tour in 1882, Wilde exemplified a version of late-nineteenth-century transatlantic celebrity that Cody would follow.
Solon L. Wiley (1840-1926) was born in Vermont and grew up in Greenfield, Massachusetts. After serving in the Union army during the Civil War, Wiley entered business as a hydraulic engineer and contractor. In 1876, Wiley moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where he managed companies that provided water service and electric lighting to city residents. In Wyoming, Wiley's Big Horn Basin Development Company undertook two significant irrigation ventures. The Bench Canal, begun in the 1890s and completed by 1907, diverted water from the Greybull River to irrigate an area then known as Germania Bench (the name was later changed to Emblem Bench due to anti-German sentiment during World War I). The town of Germania (now Emblem) in Big Horn County was a result of this successful project. Much less successful were Wiley's attempts to irrigate the area called Oregon Basin with water from the Shoshone River and to found a town (called Wiley) about twelve miles southeast of Cody. The Big Horn Basin Development Company was unable to complete the necessary canal and went into receivership in 1908. Solon Wiley lost much of his personal fortune in the process, and left the Basin to return to Omaha. The town of Wiley soon disappeared.
Alfred Wilderman Woods (1857-1942) was born in St. Clair County, Illinois, and studied architecture in Quincy, Illinois. He practiced architecture in Lincoln, Nebraska, from 1885 to 1933, and died in Lincoln in 1942. Woods was best known for designing over one hundred churches located in at least seventeen states. He published technical writings concerning the use of the steel square. Woods was hired by William F. Cody to plan the Irma Hotel in Cody, Wyoming. Cody sometimes refers to him as "Mr. Wood" rather than "Mr. Woods."