Carey Act

The Carey Act, passed by Congress in 1894 and named after Wyoming's U.S. senator Joseph M. Carey (1845-1924), was meant to encourage the irrigation and settlement of arid western lands. The federal government would grant up to one million acres of public land to western states, which would then contract with private companies to build irrigation systems. Investors in a Carey Act project expected to profit from selling water rights to settlers in the newly-irrigated area, while state authorities were charged with certifying that the irrigation works were adequate and with overseeing the process by which settlers would eventually acquire title to their farms.

Cody Canal

The Cody Canal diverts water from the South Fork of the Shoshone River at a point about two miles upstream of the present Buffalo Bill Reservoir, and serves as the linchpin of an irrigation system that waters about 12,500 acres of land in and near the present town of Cody, Wyoming. The canal was begun by the Shoshone Irrigation Company in 1895 as the first Carey Act project in Wyoming. William F. Cody was president of the company and George Beck was its field manager. While the canal was a crucial factor in the establishment and settlement of the town of Cody, it suffered from poor design and workmanship in its early years, and required extensive upgrades and maintenance to reach its full potential. In 1907 the Shoshone Irrigation Company transferred administration of the canal to the Cody Canal Association (which represented the settlers along the canal). The canal system is now administered by the Cody Canal Irrigation District.

Cody-Salsbury Canal

The Cody-Salsbury canal was an irrigation venture to be located mainly on the north side of the Shoshone River downstream of the town of Cody, Wyoming. Nate Salsbury was William F. Cody's principal partner in this project, as he was for Buffalo Bill's Wild West. Although Cody and Salsbury acquired state water rights and a federal Carey Act segregation for the project between 1897 and 1902, little actual construction work was accomplished, largely because the partners had difficulty arranging the necessary financing. In 1904, Cody relinquished the partners' water rights and land segregation (Salsbury having died in the meantime). The U.S. Reclamation Service (now the Bureau of Reclamation) then proceeded with the construction of an extensive irrigation system, known as the Shoshone Project, which includes the area that Cody and Salsbury had proposed to irrigate.

The Deadwood Coach

The Cheyenne-Black Hills Stage Company, in operation from 1876-1887, ran stagecoaches carrying both passengers and gold between Cheyenne and Deadwood. The Deadwood Coach became famous in western lore due to frequent attacks and robberies of stagecoaches along the route. Buffalo Bill was aware of the public's fascination with the Deadwood Stagecoach and acquired one of the coaches for Buffalo Bill's Wild West from Luke Vorhees, manager of the company. The Attack on the Deadwood Coach was a popular scene in Buffalo Bill's Wild West that included an Indian attack and capture of the stagecoach followed by its rescue by Buffalo Bill and his cowboys. Buffalo Bill often asked notable guests to ride inside the Deadwood Coach during its attack and rescue. Famous people who rode in the coach include Prince Albert and Princess Alexandra of Wales, the King of Denmark, the King of Saxony, the Crown Prince of Sweden and Norway, and the Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria.

Cody Military College

William F. Cody announced the founding of "Cody Military College and International Academy of Rough Riders" in 1901 to considerable fanfare. However, the project never became a reality.

Cody Trading Company

Cody Trading Company was established in 1898 through the financial backing of Henry Montgomery Gerrans, Bronson Rumsey II, and George Bleistein, all businessmen from Buffalo, New York. Jacob "Jake" M. Schwoob, also from Buffalo, was hired to manage the general mercantile store. The building was leveled by fire in 1913; it was rebuilt in a different location the following year. Schwoob's successful management of the business kept Cody Trading Company a popular venue throughout the Big Horn Basin for those needing supplies. By 1920 Jacob M. Schwoob was sole-owner of the business and advertised "We Sell Everything." Cody Trading Company's doors closed in 1963.

Lincoln Land Company

The Lincoln Land Company was incorporated in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1880; it was directed by John Murray Forbes (Chairman) and Charles Elliott Perkins (President) to establish communities along the Burlington rail lines. Although the Lincoln Land Company was not a subsidiary of the Burlington Railroad, each organization worked closely with the other to ensure greater success in populating the lands along the routes.

Shoshone Irrigation Company

The Shoshone Irrigation Company was the principal vehicle through which William F. Cody and several partners attempted to finance, construct, and operate the Cody Canal from 1896 to 1907. While Cody was president of the company, he was rarely present during the canal construction. George Beck was the company's field manager during the construction process. Other directors of the company were George Bleistein, Bronson Rumsey, Henry M. Gerrans, Horace Alger, and Cody's Wild West partner Nate Salsbury. The company never quite achieved either financial or engineering success with the Cody Canal, and relinquished control of the project in 1907. Its financial affairs were not completely wound up until some years after Cody's death in 1917.

W. F. Cody Transportation Company

The W. F. Cody Transportation Co. was started in 1894 and operated in conjunction with Cody's Sheridan Inn, Sheridan, Wyoming. Both enterprises were managed by William F. Cody's friend George Canfield.

American Exhibition

Staged in the Earls Court district of west central London from May to November of 1887, the "American Exhibition of Arts, Inventions, Manufactures, & Resources of the United States," was the brainchild of English entrepreneur John Whitley. Modeled on the 1851 Crystal Palace exhibition, Whitley's modified world's fair was expressly national in displaying the best of American achievement in science, industry, and the arts. He would later organize similar programs for Germany, Italy, and France.

Cotton States and International Exposition

The Cotton States and International Exposition took place in Atlanta, Georgia, from mid-September through December 1895. Held to showcase the world's cultural, agricultural, and manufacturing products and to promote civil liberties for women and African Americans, it would later become known as "the Atlanta Exposition." On September 18, Booker T. Washington gave a famous speech on race relations at the exhibition.

Irma Hotel

As part of his business empire in the Big Horn Basin, William F. Cody built a hotel named after his daughter Irma in the town of Cody, Wyoming. The Irma Hotel opened in 1902, and remains a prominent landmark in the town.


Jayhawkers were Kansas volunteer units that raided into Missouri during the period of Bleeding Kansas to counter bands of Missouri marauders known as "pukes," "bushwhackers," or "border ruffians." Despite their links to the "Free State Movement" in Kansas and their stance against the expansion of slavery, many viewed Jayhawkers as nothing more than roving bands of ruffians who created havoc by stealing horses, raiding homes, and murdering pro-slavery advocates. The Jayhawkers actively raided settlements throughout the Civil War, although Missouri never seceded from the Union. Many identified Jayhawkers as "Red Legs" due to the red cloth they wrapped around their legs.

Bleeding Kansas

The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, sponsored by Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas, ended the ongoing compromise between North and South, limiting the expansion of slavery into western territories, as originally established by Henry Clay's Compromise of 1820. Douglas advocated popular sovereignty, allowing citizens of Nebraska and Kansas to determine for themselves through free elections the status of slavery in their respective territories. This democratic approach lead to violent chaos in Kansas Territory as citizens from the slave state of Missouri advocating the expansion of slavery collided with settlers, many sponsored by New England abolitionists, who desired to establish Kansas as a "Free State" in the American West. The terrible violence generated from this struggle between the "Free State Movement" and the "Pro-Slavery Movement" led many Americans to refer to the region as "Bleeding Kansas."

Night Letters

"Night letters" were telegrams sent at night for a reduced charge, intended for delivery the next day.


Pahaska, also Pe-Ha-Has-Ka and Paha-Haska, as translated from Lakota Sioux language, means "Long Hair," the name given to William F. Cody by the Sioux Nation.

Ambrose Park, Brooklyn, New York

Ambrose Park was located in the South Brooklyn area of Greater New York, New York. In 1894 Buffalo Bill's Wild West Company built the arena and the single-story grandstand which seated 20,000 and extended from 33rd Street to 36th Street. The park was named for Brooklyn developer John Ambrose, an Irish immigrant. Between the years 1893 and 1901 Ambrose Park was a popular arena for traveling shows and circuses, boxing matches, football and baseball games, and cycling events. Large crowds from New York City were piloted from Whitehall Street to Ambrose Park via special ferry—one of the many services developed by John Ambrose. The Ambrose Park grandstands were disassembled in 1901, and the arena was later developed as part of the expansion by Bush Terminal during World War I and through World War II.

Buffalo Bill Historical Pictures

The Col. W. F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) Historical Pictures Company was incorporated in Colorado, with Frederick G. Bonfils as president, Henry Heye Tammen as secretary, and George K. Spoor as treasurer. William F. Cody was the company's vice president until his death in 1917. With Cody himself a guiding force, the company produced a long film of at least eight reels depicting the Plains Indian wars of the late nineteenth century, as well as the government's efforts to "civilize" American Indians on reservations afterwards. Cody's contacts in the U.S. Army and on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota proved valuable, as active-duty cavalry soldiers and Sioux from Pine Ridge appeared in the film, called The Indian Wars. Several retired army officers who had served with Cody were also involved. Principal photography was at Pine Ridge in late 1913. While Cody's picture was shown publicly, it never became a large-scale commercial success. Like many motion pictures of the silent-film era, The Indian Wars was printed on nitrate stock which has not stood the test of time. Only a few fragments of the film reportedly remain. On paper, the Historical Pictures Company went on after Cody's death in 1917, but it made no new films and presumably ceased operations sometime after 1923.

Marquette, Wyoming

Marquette, Wyoming, was a very small town located at the confluence of the North and South forks/tributaries of the Shoshone River. It was named after George Marquette, a Civil War veteran, who had been an early hunter, trapper, and prospector along the South Fork of the Shoshone River. In 1884 Marquette established a ranch which became the meeting place for neighbors and travelers. George Marquette was appointed postmaster when the first post office on the South Fork was established in 1890. By then the meeting place on his ranch near the lower end of Marquette Creek (now known as Carter Creek) had become a bustling little settlement consisting of a general store, a saloon, several small log homes, a schoolhouse, and the post office. Deputy Sheriff Felix Alston named the town "Marquette" after the country gentleman everyone had come to know as "Uncle George," the fiddle-playing rancher who played for the many county get-togethers. Marquette served as headquarters for W. F. Cody's ditch company prior to the establishment of Cody, the town. The inhabitants moved their homes and other buildings from that site prior to flooding the area of the reservoir in the spring of 1910 when the Shoshone Dam (now known as Buffalo Bill Dam) was built.

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Combined with Pawnee Bill's Great Far East

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Combined with Pawnee Bill's Great Far East, known informally as the "Two Bills" show, began in 1908 when William F. Cody partnered with one-time show business rival Gordon W. Lillie (known as "Pawnee Bill"). Most of the attractions had appeared in previous iterations of Buffalo Bill's Wild West. In addition to some "Far East" themed acts, Lillie provided the bulk of the capital required to launch the show, as well as the solid management skills to keep it running. The Cody-Lillie partnership was generally successful until July 1913, when the show was seized and its property auctioned by the sheriff in Denver, in partial payment of Cody's debts to Denver newspaper publisher and circus impresario Harry Heye Tammen.