Title: The Wild West Show | Buffalo Bill and His Company Return from Europe

Periodical: New York Times

Date: May 21, 1888

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Ten thousand people gathered along the northeastern shore of Staten Island yesterday and saw two things not to be seen every day. One was the landing of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and the other the arrival there for the first time of an ocean passenger steamship. Bufflao Bill's general manager, J. W. Burke, Carter Couturier, [1] his general agent, Playwright John Gaylor, [2] Nate Salsbury, Col. Thomas Ochiltree, [3] and a number of reporters went down the bay on the tug Stickney early in the forenoon and found the Persian Monarch, [4] on which the Wild West Show had returned to America, anchored off Quarantine. When the tug arrived in sight, the cowboy band on the Monarch started up "Home Again," and in an instant everybody, except the Indians, took up the words.

The braves, squaws, and papooses were all in war paint, and when Major Burke cried "Ah, Kee Cha Po!" which is Cheyenne for "saddle up," they whooped wildly and danced around on one foot. The first man of the boarding party to mount the stairway and grasp Buffalo Bill's hand was Col. Ochiltree, and he nearly lost his field glass in doing so. He was quickly followed by the others on the tug, and Buffalo Bill and his party were given as hearty a welcome as they could have desired. Meanwhile the band played and the Indians yelled and the people on shore looked on in sympathetic wonder. Later in the day the big show with all its animals and equipment was safely landed at Bechtel's dock at Stapleton, and nightfall found most of it at Erastina, where the show will open May 30.

The return voyage was marred to Buffalo Bill by the death Thursday of his famous old horse Charlie. The old horse came into the scout's possession 20 years ago. When he died he was wrapped in an American flag, and Saturday was buried in the sea. The scout, with his company around him, delivered a little funeral oration, in the course of which he said:

"Charlie, but for your willing speed and tireless courage I would many years ago have lain as low as you are now, and my Indian foe have claimed you for his slave. Yet you have never failed me. Charlie, old fellow, I have had many friends, but very few of whom I could say that. Men tell me you have no soul, but if there be a Heaven, and scouts can enter there, I'll wait at the gate for you, old friend."

Of all the other stock, including 130 horses, 16 buffaloes, 10 elks, Mexican burros, wild steers, ponies, and bronchos, only one horse died. The Indians stood the trip as well as the stock, spending some of their time playing dominoes, but more of it sleeping on the decks. When Pilot Capt. Black [5] boarded the Persian Monarch Saturday, the Indians thought he was a good spirit come to speed the progress of the vessel, and celebrated the occasion with a war dance.

Buffalo Bill said that he had nothing but words of the highest praise to speak for the English people. He had been honored by royalty and nobility, and for two months was kept jumping from his buckskins into a full-dress suit. The whole undertaking had been a great success in every way.

Note 1: Carter Couturier (1847-1916) was an advertising agent for Buffalo Bill's Wild West Company. [back]

Note 2: John Gaylor might be a playwright/actor best known for the 1918 drama The Marionettes. [back]

Note 3: Col. Thomas Peck Ochiltree (1837-1902), a U. S. Representative from Texas from 1883 to 1885. [back]

Note 4: On May 5, 1888, S.S. Persian Monarch sailed from Hull, England, with the entire Wild West cast and crew on board, arriving and off-loading in Stapleton, Staten Island, New York, on May 21st for the season opening at Erastina, New York, on May 30, 1888. [back]

Note 5: Pilot Capt. Black is not identified. [back]

Title: The Wild West Show | Buffalo Bill and His Company Return from Europe

Periodical: New York Times

Date: May 21, 1888

Topics: Buffalo Bill's Wild West in Britain

Keywords: American bison American Indians Beef cattle Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show Cheyenne language Donkeys Elk Horses Ponies

People: Burke, John M., 1842-1917 Ochiltree, Thomas P. (Thomas Peck), 1837-1902 Salsbury, Nathan, 1846-1902

Places: Stapleton (New York, N.Y.) Staten Island (New York, N.Y.)

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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