Title: The Wild West in Leeds

Periodical: Leeds Evening Express

Date: June 30, 1891

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THE "WILD WEST" IN LEEDS.

Now that the last days of Colonel Cody's stay amongst us are announced, the popular anxiety not to miss his great and instructive "show" is manifesting itself. It must have gratified "Buffalo Bill" yesterday to look upon the densely-packed grand stands which surround the arena in Cardigan Fields, and which are credited with holding capacity for over 12,000 people. In some of the places he has visited "Buffalo Bill" has been unable to obtain so large a piece of ground for the purposes of his realistic representations of Western frontier life; and in Antwerp a couple of hundred trees had to be removed for the purposes of the camp and arena. Amongst the company yesterday afternoon were the Mayor and Mayoress of Leeds (Captain and Mrs Cooke) [1] and several of their children, some of whom acted as passengers in the Deadwood Coach during its exciting "journey across the plains," and the attack upon it by the yelling mob of Indians, in which ammunition is used so freely. The Stipendiary, Mr Bruce, Mrs Bruce, [2] and other prominent ladies and gentlemen were also present. The whole of the entertainment afforded the utmost instruction and pleasure to the immense audience, who repeatedly marked their sense of the daring riding displayed, the wonderful shooting, and the interesting exhibitions of Indian life, habits, and accomplishments. By none was the performance more enjoyed than by some 35 children from the Deaf Department of the Leeds Central Higher Grade School, who, through the kindness of Gen. Cody, paid a gratuitous visit to the performance. On Saturday last, also, on the invitation of General Cody, about 130 adult members of the Leeds Blind and Deaf and Dumb Institution attended the Wild West Show. On their arrival they were introduced to Buffalo Bill, who cordially expressed the pleasure it gave him to see them at the show, and directed that they should be placed in the reserved seats, whence they had an excellent view of the performance.

An inspection after the performance yesterday of the camp and stables, and particularly of the Indian Village, yielded much interest to the Mayoress and her party, Mr Bruce, and other favored visitors. Under the courteous guidance of Mr G. C. Crager, the Sioux interpreter, the party visited the various "tee-pees," or wigwams, and saw the most notable among the chiefs and braves inhabiting them. Amongst these were Short Bull, Lone Wolf, Kicking Bear, No Neck, Two Bonnets, Black Heart, Close-at-Home, Plenty Wolves, &c., and all received their visitors with much cordiality, Short Bull expressing his desire to shake hands with Mr Bruce when that gentleman's position was explained to him—thus showing that the wily Indian knows how to provide against contingencies, and make friends in quarters where possibly they might be useful! One of the most interesting personages to the visitors was the happy-faced little Indian boy Johnny Burke, the helpless orphan who was found by the Chief No Neck on the battlefield of Wounded Knee last autumn. Johnny is a chubby, mirthful child, and seems quite unconscious of his pathetic condition. The war bonnets of the various chiefs, decked with eagles' feathers, were shown—bonnets which only chiefs may wear, and the eagles to adorn which they must themselves kill. The weapons and medals of the Indians were also shown.

The quarters of the cowboys and vaqueros whose daring riding is matter for admiration also received a visit. The cowboys, by the way, feel it rather a grievance that no one at Leeds has tested their skill in riding unbroken horses. In many cities abroad people brought unmanageable horses to the camp and challenged the vaqueros and buck-jumper riders to mount them; and they are only too glad of opportunities to show their prowess in keeping their seats in other saddles than those of the lively Texas ponies. Will no Leeds horse owners remove this grievance?

Note 1: Alf Cooke (1842-1902) establish a printing business in Leeds, England, in 1842, which by 1895 had become the largest print works in the world. He became the Mayor of Leeds in 1890. Mayoress of Leeds, Mrs. Cooke, is not further identified. [back]

Note 2: William Bruce, Esquire, (b.1824-) a British lawyer since 1846, was appointed stipendiary magistrate of Leeds, England, in 1869; married to Helen Maria George Bruce. [back]

Title: The Wild West in Leeds

Periodical: Leeds Evening Express

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West , MS6.3772.034.01 (Crager scrapbook)

Date: June 30, 1891

Topic: European Tours

Keywords: American Indians Blind Cowboys Deaf Frontier and pioneer life Indians of North America--Clothing Indians of North America--Social life and customs Indians of North America Horsemanship Mexicans Ponies Shooting Sioux Nation Stagecoaches Texas Tipis Translators Wigwams Wild horses Wounded Knee Massacre, S.D., 1890

People: Kicking Bear, 1853-1904 Short Bull, d. 1915

Places: Antwerp (Belgium) Leeds (England)

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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