Title: Letter from William F. Cody to George T. Beck

Date: June 3 [1895]

Author: Cody, William Frederick, 1846-1917

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The Buffalo Bill Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World.

Col. W. F. Cody (Buffalo Bill), President.
Nate Salsbury, Vice-Pres't and Manager.
John M. Burke, . . . General Manager.
Albert E. Scheible, . . . Business Manager.
Jule Keen, . . . Treasurer.

My Dear George

Your telegram just recdreceived found me quite ill but getting better. I got prostrated by the heat last friday in New Haven— [2] and I tell you its been a tough go to pull through. And perform twice a day But I done it. Am glad Paxton and party are going in. [3] As I am so anxious to have Paxton of all men— Let Paxton & party say what they want to do. And how much money all are to put up. And Salsbury and I will be on deck with ours— [4] and by the 20th of June I can help you out— As every body is so down on Hymer— Let Paxton select a General Superintendent. [5] I am Satisfied. What about Cunningham & Ryan & Hymer putting up? [6]

Hastly yours—

W. F. Cody

Note 1: Although Cody did not include the year in the dateline of this letter, it was almost certainly written in 1895. Buffalo Bill's Wild West performed in Hartford, Connecticut, on June 3, 1895. [back]

Note 2: Buffalo Bill's Wild West performed in New Haven, Connecticut, on Friday, May 31, 1895. [back]

Note 3: Cody and Beck were hoping to persuade William A. Paxton, a successful businessman in Omaha, Nebraska, to invest in their Big Horn Basin irrigation venture, which would become the Shoshone Irrigation Company. Paxton decided against joining the venture. [back]

Note 4: Nate Salsbury, Cody's business partner and manager of Buffalo Bill's Wild West, joined Cody as an investor in the Shoshone Irrigation Company [back]

Note 5: Cody refers to William E. Hymer, an early partner in his Big Horn Basin irrigation project who was later dropped from the venture by the other partners. According to historian Robert Bonner, Hymer's participation was a key reason why William A. Paxton chose not to invest in the project. [back]

Note 6: "Cunningham" is likely Dennis Cunningham (b. 1843), who then owned considerable property in Omaha, Nebraska, and was a partner in an Omaha-based contracting firm. "Ryan" is likely Jerry Ryan, who had been sent by George Beck to assess irrigation possibilities in the Big Horn Basin in 1893. A man named Jerry Ryan was one of Cunningham's partners in his Omaha contracting business, but it is not clear whether Cunningham's associate was the same person who reconnoitered the Big Horn Basin for Beck. Cunningham and Ryan were apparently stockholders in the Shoshone Land and Irrigation Company, the predecessor of the Shoshone Irrigation Company, the concern that actually built the Cody Canal. Neither man appears to have contributed much capital to the project, and neither remained in the inner circle of investors when the Shoshone Irrigation Company replaced the previous company. [back]

Title: Letter from William F. Cody to George T. Beck

Source: University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, Buffalo Bill Letters to George T. Beck (Acc. #9972), ah031274

Date: June 3 [1895]

Author: Cody, William Frederick, 1846-1917

Topic: Empire

People: Beck, George Washington Thornton, 1856-1943

Sponsor: Supported in part by a grant from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, a program of the Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources.

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