U.S. National History Cody's Life
1804-05 Lewis and Clark expedition charts the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.
1820 The Missouri Compromise is passed; it divides the land acquired by Louisiana Purchase with territory north of a boundary outlawing slavery and territory south of it permitting slavery.
1830 Congress passes the Indian Removal Act, which moved a majority of eastern tribes west of the Mississippi River.
1846 February 26: born to Isaac and Mary Ann Laycock Cody at the family's farmhouse in Scott County near LeClaire, Iowa.
1847 Mormons begin settling in Salt Lake valley, Utah.
1849 The California Gold Rush brings 50,000 people west.
1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie signed giving the U.S. permission to build roads and forts in Indian Territory in exchange for annuities.
1853 Older brother, Samuel, dies after falling from a horse.
1854 Majors and Russell organize leading western freighting company (later they become Russell, Majors, and Waddell). The Kansas-Nebraska Bill is passed, giving the territories power to determine the legality of slavery by popular sovereignty. Family relocates to Kansas.
1855 Free-staters' constitutional convention takes place in Kansas; the Topeka Constitution is passed.
1857 Father, Isaac Cody, dies.
1857-59 Hired by freighting firm Russell, Majors, and Waddell in Kansas; serves on wagon trains and cattle drives.
1860 Russell, Majors, and Waddell organize the Pony Express using riders whose average age is 19. It lasts just 18 months, made obsolete by the first transcontinental telegraph line. Claims to have traveled to Colorado to try his luck as a prospector in the Pikes Peak gold rush. Later that year claims to have ridden for the Pony Express at the age of 15.
1861 Kansas becomes a state. 1861-65: Civil War.
1862 Congress passes the Homestead and Pacific Railroad acts, which grant Indian land to whites in order to clear the way for a transcontinental railroad.
1863 His mother, Mary Ann Laycock Cody, dies.
1864 The Sand Creek Massacre involves an attack on Cheyenne and Arapaho villagers by Colorado Territorial militia. Enlists in the Seventh Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, known as Jennison's Jayhawkers.
1865 Works as a scout and dispatch bearer for General William Tecumseh Sherman in Kansas. Marries Louisa Frederici on March 6 in St. Louis and continues to work as an Army scout in Fort Ellsworth, Kansas. Daughter Arta Lucille is born.
1867 Nebraska becomes a state. 1867-68: Acquires the name "Buffalo Bill" while under contract to provide buffalo meat for Kansas railroad workers. Later claims to have killed 4,280 buffalo during his 18 month employment.
1868 The second Fort Laramie treaty creates the Great Sioux Reservation; the Lakota are guaranteed the Black Hills region, and the Powder River Country in north central Wyoming is closed to white settlement. The treaty ends Red Cloud's War. 1868-72: Employed as a scout and guide for the U.S. Cavalry, most notably as chief of scouts for the Fifth Cavalry. Takes part in numerous battles including the Battle Summit Springs in which he claims to have killed Chief Tall Bull.
1869 The transcontinental railroad is completed. Battle of Summit Springs: 5th Cavalry defeats the Cheyenne led by Tall Bull in Colorado. Buffalo Bill, the King of the Border Men, written by Ned Buntline, is published--the first of more than 550 different dime novels about Buffalo Bill.
1870 Son, Kit Carson, is born.
1872 Receives the Medal of Honor for "gallantry in action" while serving as a civilian scout for the 3rd Cavalry. Daughter Orra Maude is born. Guides buffalo hunting party and arranges Indian entertainment for Grand Duke Alexis of Russia. Begins eleven-season stage career by playing himself in a melodrama of frontier life called Scouts of the Prairie. Forms the "Buffalo Bill Combination," a traveling theatrical troupe, with Wild Bill Hickok and Texas Jack Omohundro; confines his scouting to the summer months.
1873 Forms the "Buffalo Bill Combination," a traveling theatrical troupe, with Wild Bill Hickok and Texas Jack Omohundro; confines his scouting to the summer months.
1874 Gold is discovered in the Black Hills tribal area leading to treaty violations and renewed tensions.
1875 Family lives in Rochester, New York while Cody travels with the Combination.
1876 The Sioux, under Sitting Bull, and the Cheyennes, under Two Moon, defeat Custer and his troops in June at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Montana-Custer's Last Stand. The Skirmish at Warbonnet Creek takes place several weeks later. Returns to service as an Army scout in the campaign that followed Custer's defeat at Little Bighorn. Famous fight with Yellow Hair (later mistranslated as Yellow Hand) occurs on July 17th. Son Kit dies April 20th. Produces and stars in Red Right Hand; or, Buffalo Bill's First Scalp for Custer, which includes a dramatization of the Warbonnet Creek encounter.
1877 Sitting Bull and his Sioux followers take refuge in Canada.
1878 Indian-manned police forces are established by the U.S. government for reservation supervision. The southern herd of buffalo nears extinction. Uses reservation Indians as actors in stage melodramas for the first time.
1879 Publishes The Life of Hon. William F. Cody, Known as Buffalo Bill, the Famous Hunter, Scout and Guide: An Autobiography.
1880 The Northern Pacific Railroad is completed.
1881 Artist Frederic Remington (1861-1909) makes his first trip to the West. A Century of Dishonor, an indictment of U.S. Indian Policy by Helen Hunt Jackson, is published. Sitting Bull returns to the U.S. from Canada and the Army breaks its promise of a pardon holding him as a military prisoner.
1882 Organizes a Fourth of July celebration in North Platte, Nebraska. Later referred to as the "Old Glory Blowout," it is a precursor to Buffalo Bill's Wild West.
1883 Sitting Bull participates in the last traditional buffalo hunt of the Sioux; the northern herd is now virtually extinct. Daughter Irma Louise is born. Stages first Wild West exhibition in Omaha, Nebraska, billed as "The Wild West, Hon. W.F. Cody and Dr. W.F. Carver's Rocky Mountain and Prairie Exhibition." Daughter Orra Maude dies.
1884 Annie Oakley joins the show as "Little Sure Shot;" except for 1888, she remains with the Wild West until 1901.
1885 Sitting Bull joins the show for four months.
1886 Cody builds Scout's Rest Ranch in North Platte, Nebraska.
1887 Congress passes the Dawes Allotment Act, dividing reservation lands on a basis of 160 acres per head of family resulting in the loss of more than three quarters of the remaining Indian land. The Wild West joins the American Exhibition at Queen Victoria's Jubilee in London. The show regularly tours Europe until 1906. The three European tours include-1887, 1889-1892, and 1902-1906. Given the title of Colonel by the Governor of Nebraska.
1889 The Sioux agree to sell the U.S. nine million acres, carving the Great Sioux Reservation into six smaller reservations. Six hundred thirty-five buffalo are reported running wild in all of North America.
1890 The Ghost Dance, a religious movement which originated with the Paiute prophet Wovoka, reaches the Sioux. It promises the disappearance of the white man and the return of the buffalo. On December 15, Sitting Bull is shot and killed by Indian police attempting to arrest him. On December 29, more than three hundred Sioux are massacred at Wounded Knee by the 7th Cavalry. The Census Bureau reports the end of a continuous line of western settlement-the end of the frontier. Wyoming becomes a state.
1893 Frederick Jackson Turner presents his Frontier Thesis at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The Wild West show opens next to the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago; the phrase "Congress of Rough Riders of the World" is introduced as part of the title of exhibition.
1896 Founds town of Cody, Wyoming.
1898 Spanish-American War breaks out; Teddy Roosevelt leads his Rough Riders at the Battle of San Juan Hill.
1899 Sixteen of Roosevelt's Rough Riders join the Wild West and participate in a dramatization of the taking of San Juan Hill. Cody founds the Cody Enterprise, town newspaper.
1900 Begins irrigation project in the Big Horn Basin, Wyoming.
1901 Roosevelt becomes President after the assassination of William McKinley.
1902 Forms the Cody-Dyer Mining and Milling Company in Oracle, Arizona; loses much of his Wild West profits in the venture. Irma Hotel named after Buffalo Bill's daughter opens in Cody.
1904 Daughter Arta dies.
1905 Sues his wife for divorce. Work begins on Shoshone Dam; renamed in 1946 as Buffalo Bill Dam.
1908 Merges Wild West with Pawnee Bill's Great Far East.
1910 Begins a series of farewell appearances.
1913 The Wild West show goes bankrupt. The Col. W.F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) Historical Pictures Company is formed to produce short films on the Indian wars.
1914-15 Travels with the Sells-Floto circus.
1916 Joins and makes his final appearance with Miller Brothers and Arlington 101 Ranch Wild. West; theme of show is military preparedness.
1917 The United States enters World War I. Dies at age 71 on January 10 in Denver, Colorado, and is buried on Lookout Mountain. Medal of Honor revoked on Feb 5, 24 days after his death, because he was a civilian and ineligible for the award under new guidelines. Buffalo Bill Memorial Association founded.
1918 Daughter Irma Louise dies.
1921 Louisa Cody dies in Cody, Wyoming.
1989 Medal of Honor restored to Cody by the Army.