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

Date: July 5, 1896

Author: Cody, William Frederick, 1846-1917

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F. E. Van Devort,
E. H. Bunstine.
Hotel Beckel,
Under New Management.
Dayton, Ohio.

Dear George

Your letter gave me great pleasure. And it seemed to lift a weight off me. That climate out there must be very productive in regard to liars if I am to beleive one sentence in your letter or else you have quite a number of enemies. For I have heard that you were trying to burry me out of sight and ten thousand other things from people you little suspect. And coming so seemingly straight from so many person— And knowing I did not deserve it I was commenceing to lay pipe   to right my self and fight back for its not my nature to lay down and quit when I am not in the wrong. No one will apol i ogize quicker then I will when I am wrong

I openly confess that I have been dissatisfied with things you have not done. I have not been dissatisfied with but one thing you have done. I did not approove of engageing the Young Lady. [2] Not but that she is a Lady in every sense of the word. But it was no place for a Lady. The talk it would create in that wild country might ruin the Ladys   good name. When we get an office and a proper place for a Lady to work in and for her to stay Then I would be perfectly willing to give women the office work to do. But running up and down a ditch with Hobos makeing all sorts of remarks it was no place for a woman. And should it ever be my good fortune to meet the Lady I will tell her so— that it was for her good I objected George. Its my opinion you could have saved the co a good many dollars if you had been more careful   in regard to detail. The Books were not kept as they should have been Everything was run to loose. When a load of goods arrived for us they were not properly checked or looked after. And the way they were disposed of either for our selves sold for cash or credit it was done too carelessly The work of mooveing dirt or stone. I dont think our foremen worked to advantage for instance the two miles that the Graders have been at aw has been to long. George— I dont blame you for you have done every thing concientiously But its not your forte

 

F. E. Van Devort,
E. H. Bunstine.
Hotel Beckel,
Under New Management.
Dayton, Ohio. _____________ 189__

You cant look over your work and see and close up leaks you are not careful enough to detail. You start it going and think its being done when its not. probably I am to particular but I cant help it. I want Everything to Moove And every man and horse and tools in their place not left scattered around. And if the men under you know that you know whats going on your self And that they will get rounded it they dont attend to things you   would soon see things mooveing differently. And if you would only let them see that you was on to your job You bet your men would soon change for the better. George this is only my opinion given with the best of friendship and I dont want you to take it only as its ment.

George. I understand some of those Germans [3] Nagle [4] brought out are broke already. I wish you would have a talk with them and find out just how they are situated and if Nagle is treating them squarely. You might say its none of   our business But I say it is. I wish you would find out by diging with a spade if you have no well auger by sending three men over on Sage creek [5] I feel sure water can be found let these men dig for water. I think Nagles next colony should be located there. I beleive water can be got withing sixty feet at Irma [6] if some one would tell them to dig. A man must think what can be done for the Advantage of the enterprize & try it where it costs so little. I told Salsbury of this but I fear he has forgotten it.

 

F. E. Van Devort,
E. H. Bunstine.
Hotel Beckel,
Under New Management.
Dayton, Ohio. _____________ 189__

Foote [7] will be out at Red Lodge [8] about the 12th if you can land him he will give you a check for $2000 Stokes [9] owes $1.000 I havent heard a word from any one about how things are or what is to be done or about how much we will have to have this pay day. only that a Doctor [10] wrote me from Red Lodge— & Yegen [11] says we owe him a $1.000 which was news to me. You did not mention it in Chicago. I wish you would try to think up all who we owe. And when these bills come due I am personaly responsable for Omaha people [12] . Graders &c   I am sure if you would give the business thought and action you would be able to keep the credit of our co better. We none of us are to blame if you dont let us know what you do. its your carelessness thats giving our co such a bad name you dont mean to do it but its been your way of doing business all your life. And I should think you had seen the folly of it. Is Alger & Mead there. I havent heard a word from any one.

I hope to God Salsbury wont catch the disease of carelesness & neglect that is so prevelant in that country

Yours—

Col

Note 1: Buffalo Bill's Wild West performed in Dayton, Ohio, on July 5, 1896. The day's entry in the 1896 Route Diary: "Dayton, Ohio. / Sunday, July 5. Arrived in town at 3.30 A. M. Two-mile haul to lot. Everything was put up in the morning. J. T. McCaddon, Jule Keen, Fred and Charles Hutchinson, and Orator J. J. McCarthy went to Cincinnati and paid a visit to the Pawnee Bill Wild West Show. They were entertained by Pawnee Bill, May Lillie, and Chief of Cowboys Heck Quinn, who is an old Wild West man. Annie Oakley remained over in Piqua last evening and joined us again to-day. James P. Anderson was seen sitting in the marque to-day for several hours figuring faithfully: he left the ground covered with paper and one piece was picked up containing the following figures: 4 days 96 hours, 5,760 minutes, 345,600 seconds. It was passed around the camp all day and no one solved the problem until it came to Mrs. George Fursman, of the Annex; to her, she said, it was as plain as day, and that Mr. Anderson was going home to Columbus, Ohio, next Friday, to see his wife. She was correct, for he left on Friday for Columbus. Heavy rain at 2 P. M., which lasted until 4 P. M. Orders were issued to-day that no employee would be allowed to ride on wagons either to or from lots." [back]

Note 2: The "Young Lady" to whom Cody refers is Daisy May Sorrenson, a young woman who was a teacher in Marquette, Wyoming, and whom Beck hired to work for Shoshone Irrigation Company. Beck later married Sorrenson in Red Lodge, Montana, December 1, 1897; they had three children: Betty (born 1898, later Mrs. Doyle and Mrs. J. M. Roberson), Jane (born 1900, later Mrs. Nelson T. Johnson), and George Thornton Beck Jr. (born 1908). [back]

Note 3: "Germans" refers to the fifty or so German migrant families who arrived to settle in the Big Horn Basin; they were represented by S. V. Nagle. [back]

Note 4: S. V. Nagle, an associate of the firm of F. A. Nagle Commission Merchants of Chicago, attempted to recruit settlers to the lands in the Big Horn Basin that were to be irrigated by the Cody Canal. [back]

Note 5: Sage Creek lies east of Cody, Wyoming, trending north-south and flowing into the Shoshone River northeast of Cody. [back]

Note 6: "Irma" likely refers to Irma Flats, an area in the South Fork Valley outside Cody, Wyoming, that was named after Cody's daughter, Irma. [back]

Note 7: "Foote" is Robert Foote (1834-1916), a Wyoming Senate democrat representing Johnson County, Wyoming, from 1895 to 1897. Foote led the effort against the Carey Act in Wyoming. [back]

Note 8: Red Lodge, Montana, lies 65 miles north of Cody and was the closest rail line to Cody, Wyoming. [back]

Note 9: "Stokes" is possibly Edward S. Stokes (1841-1901), at one time a railroad and oil magnate and businessman. Stokes was an owner of Hoffman House, an elegant hotel in Manhattan where Cody was often a guest. Cody may have wanted Stokes to invest in the Cody Canal. [back]

Note 10: "Doctor" is not identified. [back]

Note 11: "Yegen" refers to P. Yegen and Co., a Red Lodge mercantile from which supplies were purchased for the irrigation project. [back]

Note 12: "Omaha people" are not identified. [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), ah031362-70

Date: July 5, 1896

Author: Cody, William Frederick, 1846-1917

Topic: Empire

People: Beck, George Washington Thornton, 1856-1943 Nagle, S. V. Nagle, F. A. Sorenson, Daisy May Salsbury, Nathan, 1846-1902 Stokes, Edward S., 1841-1901 Alger, Horace Chapin, 1857-1906 Mead, Elwood, 1858-1936 Foote, Robert, 1834-1916 Yegen, Christian, 1857-1935 Yegen, Peter, 1860-1937

Place: Shoshone Irrigation District (Wyo.)

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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