tv Buffalo Bill Before the Wild West Shows CSPAN October 11, 2017 5:25am-6:57am EDT
commerce subcommittee on health hears from members of congress on battling the opioid epidemic as they share local and personal stories and highlight potential legislative solutions starting at 10:50 a.m. eastern here on c-span3. interested in american history tv, visit our website, c-span.org slash history. you can view our tv schedule, preview upcoming programs and watch college lectures, museum films, archival films and more. american history tv at c-span.org/history. next, historians discuss buffalo bill's early life before he began performing in his wild west shows. they look at his experience as a soldier in the civil war and indiana wars and his relationship with fellow marksman and showman captain jack crawford. the buffalo bill's center of the west in cody, wyoming, hosted
this 90 minute talk. >> thank you, jeremy. thanks to the buffalo bill center of the west for holding this symposium. thaw to c-span for filming it. this is a wonderful opportunity to get the story of buffalo bill and the west out to the broad american audience, that is the goal of all of us in this business, to try and inspire others of the story of the american west and show why we love it so much. this morning, we have three folks who are going to inspire you, and make you fall even more in love with the american west. we're going to have them speak in alphabetical order. i learned to do that back in the fifth grade. that's the way we're going to do this. i'll introduce them individually as they appear.
first, we have jeff broom. who i've known for many years. jeff is very active in not only the academic world but world of popular history and writes magazine articles for true west and wild west magazine and belongs to many western organizations. he got his ph.d. at the university of colorado of boulder. colorado seems to be a theme here today because of where people are buried even though they didn't want to be buried there. [ laughter ] >> has tthat's pretty bad, you when you kidnap a dead body. they kept him on ice six months and planted him up there now where he resides. he could reside in the vastness and beauty of the big horn basin and towering trees, you know, would line his grave. instead, he now has all of the radio and television towers for
the city of denver surrounding him. i'm sorry, i digress. jeff is from colorado but we're not going to hold that against him. it's a wonderful wonderful state, just to the north of new mexico, where i live, which is really wonderful. he's a professor emeritus of history, in colorado, where he taught for 32 years. he's very young. i don't know how that's possible. he's the author of three books on the indian wars, including dog soldier justice and the cheyenne war, indian raisds on the road to denver. he will talk today about buffalo bill and one of his most famous moments of the historical stage, the battle known as the summit springs, jeff brew. [ applause ]
>> that's my power point slide. are there any questions? [ laughter ] >> okay. it is an honor to be here today and be asked -- i will talk about cody's indian fighting experience. this will be my battle on the springs. first, the ph.d., i'm actually a professor of philosophy. i was add for many years and always asked my mentor what it means to have a ph.d.
he said you get to put ph.d. next to your name. that's why that's there. i would be remiss if i didn't say what today is, august 2nd in 1876, a good friend of buffalo bill cody. that's james butler hickock was killed, in deadwood. five months younger than general george armstrong custer and five weeks later from custer's death he died shot in the back of the head. you'll see, if you get into the museum, cody and buffalo bill go back to cody's young young years. the other thing i want to mention, since the first talks, we're talking about the legacy really of buffalo bill and the wild west. i'm a fifth generation colorado native. my great-grandfather was born in 1867. he was a ranch foreman and for about 20, 25 years he ran a big
ranch in north platte and columbus. family history says he did work for cody sometime during then but i don't know if that's true. however, what is true is a story passed down from my grandmother and my cousin has this. i mentioned this because, steve, i think we ought to go down to pub blow and take pictures of what i'm about to say. maybe from photographs we can identify who this person was. talking about the lacota and going over to england. my father was born one month after cody died, so when he was about 2 or 3, they were up there visiting her parents at the ranch and my grandmother became close friends with a woman from england who had married one of the performers and had come over in pine ridge. this is like 1925 now, 1930, somewhere around there. became very close to her and told her that she got kind of suckered into marrying this guy.
when he was over there and learned about the kings, he said he was a king in america. they called them chiefs. anyway, she married him and came with him and was living in a e teepee for most of her life. she was rather bitter when she met my grandmother. she gave my grandmother the performance clothes. he had passed on and she was widowed. my cousin has them, the vest and gloves and shoes and some other things, too, he had. maybe we need to get a picture of those to see if we can identify those. i will cover some things real quick here. to understand the fight at summit springs, july 11th, 1869, you have to go back to 1860, go back earlier, that's where the violent outbreaks started in north central kansas, a series of raids. sarah white was captured august 12th, 1868, 35 settlers were
killed, including women and children. in another raid two months later on october 13th, anna morgan was captured one month into her marriage exactly to the day. both women were held in captivity until rescued by custer in march of 1869 on the sweetwater in the texas panhandle. there is a dedication for anna morgan next friday, a week -- not this friday but next, where they have dedicating this memorial marker in kansas. i'll be out there then. she did get impregnated and had a son and that son died, named it ira. with that, then general sheridan started a winter campaign which involved three columns of troops and one led by general carr.
carr was -- cody was the chief of scouts and had been appointed some months before when cody was working as a dispatch rider with the definitive forts and impressed general sheridan and assigned him to major general eugene a. carr. they were sent down in that texas panhandle area along with colonel evans and his troopers and general custer was called back with a court-martial and sent with a seventh cavalry and the 19th cavalry was also supposed to be there but got lost coming down from the camp and winter weather but missed it. we had the famous battle of washita, november 27th, 1868, reporting 103 warriors killed and 153 women and children captured and brought back and this brought custer into the limelight of the west and
eastern press. continuing this campaign going back march 22nd, i believe it was, 1869, he got the rescue of sarah white and anna morgan. that brought him back to kansas, the horses were all out. at the time of the bottom here, you see about 100 miles northwest up over here is where custer rescued the captives. this is about where carr was stationed during those winter months. they didn't coral the indians, custer got that. you can see a lot from here. carr was ordered to fort mcpherson on the platt river just above the nebraska border, from the texas panhandle. on his way up, he stopped at fort lyon at the end of this map on the arkansas river. as he began to go up to fort mcpherson, by coincidence, he
had two skirmishes, actually pretty good fights. that was may 13th and may 16th, a fight at elephant rock and fight at spring creek. 25 soldiers -- warriors were killed and four soldiers were killed at the first fight. at least that many indians were wounded and unknown dead in the second fight. it was the second fight at spring creek where cody really made an impression upon carr. first, carr wrote this. our scout, william cody, who has been with the detachment since last september, 1868, displayed great skill following it, the indian's trail and deserves greatness for his engagement in elephant rock and spring creek. he deserves honorable mention for this and other services and i hope to retain him as long as i am engaged in this duty.
by the way, this is a famous picture, the two men standing are officers that were at summit springs, along with cody with that rival which is here in the museum also, and that's what he had at summit springs. in the spring creek fight, carr also mentioned the fact that cody had a severe head wound. this wasn't a slight wound. but it didn't stop him from fighting or doing his duties. he lost his hat and put a bandana across it and bled through it. seeing him at a distance, it looks like a red hat on or something, bleeding through it. the bullet grazed his skull 5 inches above his head and cut it all out. it didn't stop him. not only that, he volunteered. they were running out of supplies after these fights and saved them a day by getting
supplies to him by going on his own up to fort carney. the unit went up to fort mcpherson. that's up here. you can see where these fights were at spring creek on may 16th, in elephant rock, along the beaver creek three days earlier. if we go back to this map again, after tall bull -- tall bull is very interesting, you see, when custer cornered the cheyenne dog soldiers down on the sweetwater, he had a few of the chiefs he had threatened to hang if the captives weren't released. the deal was the chiefs would be released when they go to their reservation. so, that was the deal. one village did not surrender. that was tall bull. tall bull left after that and was on his way up here and by coincidence he ran into carr and
those two fights. carr bull began his revenge and led a series of raids for about 14 days in lincoln, kansas, concordia, sarah white was captured a few miles west of concordia, 9, 10 miles west and anna morgan captured on the solomon river up here. first started hitting people up here and down here. he hit railroad workers at russell springs, russell, kansas today. hit a new settlement in white rock creek in the nebraska border not far from the elephant rock fight a danish community had come in and coincidentally one man and indians -- excuse me, buffalo hunters killed by the indians and the indians swept down and almost killed his children and one of the boys
that was born after that ended up being the president of the university of colorado library. the library is named for him and there was no fight for his body after he died. the most famous part of it was the raid on spillman creek that ran into the stream just west of lincoln and maria weichell pregnant with her only child and her husband killed. about a mile away with about 75 indians that went down in parties of six and eight and raided the settlers and captured these women with 8-month-old alice allerdyce and 24-year-old who was pregnant with her fifth child. a boy who would have been 6, may 30th, 1869, the boy who would
have been 6 on july 1st was killed, the boy that was 2 was killed. the girl, alice, was killed in the village, according to maria weisell's testimony later, roasted alive in one account and strangled and hung in a tree and dismembered. she was killed on the a third day of her captivity because of her incessant crying. >> one could speak german and english and the other could speak english and no german were brethren and captured for 60 days. this is why carr was directed by the military to sweep down by fort mcpherson to try to find these indians doing these raids, not sure who they wear. that started a campaign which left fort mcpherson on june 9th,
with seven companies of fifth cavalry and three companies 50 each of scouts led by luther -- actually north and his brother, luther and first cousin, captain sam cushion commanded the three companies. when tom allerdyce, who was the father of two of the children, the little 4 1/2-year-old boy i'll come back to him later was also shot by the indians there, but when carr was sent to try to rescue these women, he did not know that there were women captives. tom allerdyce had been away from home on the day of the raid. when he came back the next day he then began a search of the indians and followed the creeks, which is what they did and went 100 miles and found their village and came back and went to fort leaven worth and wrote a
handwritten note in pencil and where they are. i found that in the national archives. that was transmitted by telegraph to fort mcpherson after carr left. they sent a company down with a description of susannah, the fact they're trailing indians who probably have two female captives. cody writes falsely in this is autobiography, they found women's white shoe prints in the villages and knew they were tracking indians. it was the husband of susannah alerted them to that. indians never put the white captive in their own garb, they wore indian garb and moccasins to avoid detection. there is a myth about finding women's shoe prints. that's not true.
using this information from tom allerdyce, we had these seven companies, i already mentioned that. there is a lieutenant who graduated westpoint the year before, he was assigned to keep a diary. what's real interesting when you compare this diary, when carr writes the reports later not long after the fight, at fort sedgewick a few weeks after the fight when he learned his boy had died and took a train to omaha and quickly wrote his report. and used word-for-word, we call it plagiarism today. can i see that again? he quoted it word-for-word and we can understand some of the mistakes made with the battle, too. he had 350 cavalry men, 150 pawnees and travels 150 miles to get there in eastern colorado. this is a picture with 84
teepees mixed in it where the summit springs is today on private property. they got there at 5:00, not historically accurate because it shows a soldier getting critically injured but only one with a glancing wound in his fight and seeing women dressed as recognizable citizens, wasn't true but a great photograph. carr from the niese, you can see from volkmar, from the northeast. it's a fascinating story, i think the most important indian fight in this era that does not have a book covering it. i'm working on one. 53 warriors were killed, another report, 52, another report, 73.
i think what it was, there were indian civilian casualties, and women and children killed. george bent in his letter says every single woman and child killed at summit springs was killed by the pawnee and venging their hatred on them and not the soldiers. 12 horses died in the fight, 11 by exhaustion chasing most of the village away. one was killed in the fight, sergeant mcgrath's horse and the other by lightning. 160 fires to burn everything and they still filled six empty wagons with stolen plunder from the kansas raids hopefully to be returned to their proper owners. it was an amazing fight, over in 20 minutes.
no soldier casualties except for this slight one. now, the question was who called tall bull. saying frank north killed him. there were published 10 accounts, by russell is one and one that got published since then. luther north did not kill tall bull. we find there is an unnamed pawnee, sergeant danny mcgrath, buffalo bill cody and lieutenant mason. an interesting memoir never published in the historical society in wisconsin talks about this fight. this guy came in the service and served 35 years. he gave the enlisted man's account. he said the soldier's bull who
killed tall bull goes to danny mcgrath. why? cody was 300 yards from where tall bull was found dead. there was all this smoke and you couldn't see. with this gun he could kill him but they say with the smoke it would have been very very difficult for tall bull to get that shot. the same thing with lieutenant mason. he was 50 yards away but shot with a pistol. danny mcgrath after getting his horse shot out from under him was 50 yards away, with his rival took careful aim and killed tall bull. when we looked at the eyewitnesses, car, in three separate acts says cody killed him. lieutenant mason killed him and mcgrath killed him and uni'dfied pawnee killed him. we really don't know. probably danny mcgrath and if
not danny then buffalo bill cody. luther was there and he took hum branch to that after his brother died in the wild west show outliving everybody and said cody was not there and missed it. in fact he was when you read carr's points and distinguishes himself there. i think that's it. there's susannah, the lady that was captured. i found her descendants and finished up a grant with the state trying to locate her body but we were not successful. but her little boy with five arrows in his back lived and i found all his descendents. he was four years old at that capture. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you, jeff.
that was riveting. for many years, summit springs was reenacted in the wild west show cody put on. here's a small world factoid. after his stationing in -- on the plains, carr was sent to apache country during the apache wars as jeremy kindly mentioned my new book is available on all fine book sellers and the internet on amazon and elsewhere and here in the bookstore. on the apache wars. he almost had his command wiped out, almost has a custer type stand in arizona. he then retired. general carr retired with his two medals of honor to santa fe.
my doctor is his great great great-grandson. isn't that crazy? that's why he is my doctor. [ laughter ] >> he does look like -- he looks exactly like carr. it's great. i'm sure he's as good a doctor as carr was a soldier, i hope. nicole etchchy son is going to speak to us today about buffalo bill's civil war. she is a distinguished academic and she holds the alexander m. bracken position as professor of history at ball state university in indiana. the university built by jars, i guess we could say, along with our jar jar binges appeared, ball jars are important in the history of america. and david letterman went to ball state, too.
was he one of your students? >> no. i'm not that old. >> i know that. i did it as a joke. even as i said it, i didn't want to go down that road. she's just a baby. but, despite her youth, she has had a marvelous publishing career. she's the author of the emerging midwest, author of a generation of war, civil war era in the northern community. i think you would agree bleeding can says your tour deforce book, a marvelous book if you want to read one book in kansas, where buffalo bill's father was martyr to keeping kansas slave-free. that's the book to read. nicole etchison. [ applause ] >> i'll thank paul for that introduction and say my son is
going to love it. his favorite phrase is when you were young mom and dinosaurs roamed the earth. now, when you were young and dave letter marsh was my student. paul had been talking about when i was a young historian and i'm no long ear young historian. i want to thank jeremy and his staff here for the fabulous job they have done in coordinating this and my colleague, doug, from ball state, who has a habit of casually meandering into your office and saying, so -- and then the next thing you know you're a civil war historian and in cody, wyoming. doug is the reason i am here, to give the perspective of buffalo bill's younger years before the wild west glory that you've been hearing about. for civil war historians, there are a couple of themes i will talk about and link to buffalo
bill. the first speaker this morning mentioned how buffalo bill has been used as a symbol of reconciliation. we get away from the nasty north south quarrel of his youth and he goes into the wild west, becomes a figure of reconciliation. there's also in civil war history lately been a western turn where people like heather cox richardson have been reminding the people like me who talk about the battles of shiloh and so forth, that there was a lot going out in the west involved indians and somebody beside robert e. lee and ulysses s. grant. i want to argue this morning buffalo bill is not as reconciliationist a figure has been argued, and that this whole north-south quarrel keeps
popping up. and that what you actually see in buffalo bill's civil war is the north-south quarrel that happens in the west. when buffalo bill was a little boy, his family moved from iowa out to kansas, rather, the salt creek valley of kansas. in 1854, when the territory had just been opened up. this is a different part of kansas than jeff showed you. we were over in eastern kansas by levin worth, where the codys settled. kansas had just been opened to settlers on the premise of popular sovereignty which meant the settlers got to decide whether or not there would be slavery, territory before 1854
had been closed to slavery. now, when the territory is opened, they settled there, settlers get to decide whether they want slavery. like a lot of northern settlers, isaac cody was a free state democrat. he wanted kansas to be free. it probably also means he was not an abolitionist and probably, like a lot of free state settlers fairly racist. in his autobiography, as mentioned, highly fictionalized. warren says the part about his childhood this is least fictional part. but buffalo bill said he wanted kansas to be a white state where blacks could not settle. this was a very common sentiment among the modern settlers in kansas. mysterious, who do want kansas
to be a slave state don't make distinctions between different kinds of anti-slavery. they called isaac cody a noisy abolitionist. cody isaac joined the salt creek association. i appreciate these images. this is the salt like valley near leavenworth and they protected the claims they were making. however, in kansas, these squatters associations became pretty politicized. in 1854, isaac cody at a meeting of the salt creek squatters association, was pressed to say something, an iowan settled among all these missourians. they pressure him to make a speech at the association
meeting. he does so and this is the speech that his son says, isaac said he wanted kansas to be a white state. he was assaulted by a miss sourian. this image is from cody's autobiography, assaulted by a miss sourian by the name of charles dunne and he's knifed. isaac lives and the mysterious newspaper that reported the knifing and noisy abolitionist says it's regrettable this man is going to live. a level of hostility. he died in 1957. the family always maintains he died from this wound he got. from this to 1857, we get elections carried fraudulently by the miss sourians, there is a free state movement that forms but illegal that represents these northern settlers and
isaac cody plays a part in this free state movement. a guerilla war and inept attempts by territorial governors and the federal government to restore order. during this time, isaac cody is helping settlers move in, surveying lands and participating in the free state movement and elected to the free state legendture and the codys are victims of pro slavery attacks. their hay is burned, livestock is stolen. isaac cody has to hideout quite a lot of the time. another image from the autobiography of him fleeing from pro slavery men out to get him. buffalo bill claims when his father was attacked he fell and he caught him in his arms.
this is probably not true. his sisters say this is probably not true. this doesn't mean young willie cody wasn't affected by what was happening with his family. willie and his sisters are in the cabin when the missourians come looking for his father. on one occasion, willie is sick. but his mother sends him from his sickbed to go warn his father the pro slavery men are lying in wait for him and he is nearly caught by the pro slavery men in this corner and willby manages to escape and warn his father not to come home because these men are waiting for him. when is father days in 1857, willie takes over supporting the family. he doesn't apparently ride for
the pony express but working to keep his mothers and sisters alive. when the national civil war comes, willie joins the -- first, he joins an informal group of what are known as red legs, jayhawkers. these are can sans, as cody admits in his autobiography, they feel the missourians picked on them in the kansas civil war and national civil war is their opportunity to cross the river east of missouri and get their revenge. he's in an informal jayhawking kansas regiment in missouri and in 1864 he joins the kansas seventh, the notorious jay talking regiment. if you were a missourian and i said kansas seventh regiment you would know what that meant even
today. they had such a bad reputation they got sent away from the kansas city border. he did see some service in the south and by the end of the war, he's back in st. louis. what did buffalo bill's childhood in bleeding kansas, and in his youth as a jayhawker in the civil war mean to him? he does not seem to have had much interest in people like this woman who was a slave on the kansas missouri border. in his autobiography, all buffalo bill says, when the family moved from iowa to kansas, they went through missouri and he saw blacks. my curiosity was considerably aroused by the many the negroes i had saw. i had scarcely seen any colored people. that was it. he doesn't tell us anything about what they were doing, he doesn't mention trying to talk to them, he saw them. he was curious about them and that's it.
very different when he gets to kansas, in the autobiography, he said, i saw indians and they were dark skinned and rather fantastically dressed people and i tried to talk to them but i couldn't understand them. when he lives there he plays with the children, learns some language and how to shoot a bow and arrow. much more interested by 1879 when he writes the autobiography what's going on with the indians. he mentions the missourians and describes them as typical north fashion as roughians. they swore a lot and swaggered about. he does say their interactions with his father, they act with fairness and this is border roughians what the northerners
called them. then, when he joins the jayhawkers he admits the point of joining the jayhawkers was to retaliate and get even with the pers khutors of the can sans. persecutetors of the kansas. he bur owe in st. louis. this is as you might imagine is a missouri image of what the jay hawkers did. in missouri. that they grabbed women and committed and looted and burned. there's a couple very interesting stories in the autobiography about cody's civil war service. one is about his honeymoon. they're on a steam boat, on the missouri river. and some of the missouriens on the boat recognize him and they
think he's one of the as a kansas jay hawker and house burner. they telegraph some of the friends. and a band of 20 armed missouri gorillas ride up to the show and are going to kill. they yell, where is the black abolitionist jay hawker. so they're out to get cody because of his reputation chls. they recognize him from something like this. but his wife claims this didn't happen. so again, if he wanted to be a reconciliationist, why bring up this story? and announce in 1879 the autobiography that he has this lep reputation. when he's a scout in missouri he comes to a house, a lone missouri woman with hadd with hr daughters. and cody intervenes and keep the
union soldiers from doing this thing. that union soldiers did to missouri women. and the missouri women are so grateful they make a dinner for him and protect him from the men folk who come back. and this story probably isn't true. but it's very interesting because he not only wants not to be remembered for having done this kind of thing, he ptds to be remembered having protected missouri women from this. and in fact this is exactly the kind of thing that would have happened to his mother. missouri men coming to the house, threatening her husband, she was cody fo tells us forced to cook for the proslavery border roughens. he wants to present himself as not like the other unionists. even though at another point in the autobiography he admits being art part of this. he wants to be better and what
they did to better than the other union -- missouriens and what they were doing to his family. again, none of this talks about the civil war. he doesn't bring out the racial aspects. he doesn't talk about slavery or race. he does say his father had shed the first blood in the cause of the freedom of kansas. but never really specifies what that means. although it's interesting the autobiography is written published in 1879 the year of the extra duster migration. when the nation was paying attention to the facts blacks with leaving the reconstruction south and moving into kansas. so there was a link between kansas and race that would abandon peoples minds. not just because of the kansas civil war.
because of the 1879 exduster movement. he did other things that play up his keconnection to the civil w. he gets sherman to provide a letter of attesting to cody's scouting ability for him. when cody didn't actually make that scout for him. he gouz ot of his way to get testimony from sherman endorsing him. and plays up very much his relationship. and paul hutten can inenlighten us on this. sherman is involved with the indians wars you. you can't say in the south and not bring up kansas. the burning of georgia the march to the sea. or sher tons.
>> cody does mention race in the autobiography. he makes a lot of fun of the buffalo soldiers. he uses dialect. he uses racist language. he has a story about how they are tracking indians and a black calvary men shoots off his gun, getting scared or careless and this warns the indians. so. calvary man is punished. he's the drawing by having to walk back to fort haze. he doesn't have very heroic stories about the buffalo soldiers. he has ethnic stereos tib ts about the irish as well. he did fight indians -- mentioned earlier the scalp taking in the dual with yellow hand or yellow hair.
i would point out you western historians will situate this in is the indian wars, i would point out it's very interesting missouri guerrillas still scalps. or white people. and put them on horses bridals. and coming from the kansas, missouri region. i have to think cody knew about that tradition and that it was imbedded in the civil war background. then we get to the dime novels. and i'll just talk about the first one. because some historians have said it's really odd that ned butt lines first dime novel is about the kansas missouri border. why do that? i argue because kansas missouri and the north south conflict are still part of buffalo bills civil war. in fact, in the novel, the codys think they're being attacked by the indians.
it turns out they're being attacked by missouriens. worse than indians. they shoot cody calling him a black worshipper. an abolisher. threats of rape to the cody women folk. if you went back to free state propaganda. 1850s. rape threats. savage violence meaning missouri violence. is all there. and fortunately cody will rescue his women folk before they resort to self-destruction. there's everyone the burning by the missouriens of a fictional town. called. this is quantiraid on lawrence, kansas. turning up in this fiction. and the missouriens end the novel at least are in league with the cheyenne. the missouriens and the cheyenne. and then later we get the
missouriens and the sue. this is all where he brings the western stuff and the north south together. in fact by the end of the novel, buttline has forgotten about the missouriens and has buffalo bill cody fighting the indians. the other bill dime novel that plays with these civil war themes is buffalo bill's bards in gray. where texas jack who is a texasen. wants to join the union army. even though he's a former confederate. after the civil war. and he can because it's not the northern army anymore. it's the union army. well, buffalo bill according to to the novel and texas jack became friends during the civil war. i think texas jack rescued cody. but now after the civil war this is a very reconciliationist
peas. now they can be openly pards in pards blue and gray. in the army. in the post civil war army. there are remnants of the union north south conflict even in the wild west show. sergeant baits was a gar union veteran. who was prominent. he's the one who presents the flag to queen victory ya. when the wild west show goes over seas. there are union veterans as well as spanish american war veterans. and womens relief core. that's the union veteran wome s takes part in the funeral. which was in denver. although it -- i'm willing to be converted. i had no dog in this fight. denver vs. cody. i'm sorry i'm going with cody here. >> we'll talk.
>> and they play the civil war song tenting on the old campground at cody's funeral because it was his favorite song. i would argue that cody's life story, civil war was not straightforwardly reconciliationist. and straightforwardly abandon the north south conflict of his boyhood. it was instead his civil war one that had north and south. and it had east and west. it had african americans and it had missouriens and northerners and southerners and indians as well. and that's probably a good cast for the united states civil war. thank you. [ applause ]
>> well that civil war was just complicated, wasn't it? and it's so good to know that we're over all that now. in the country. aren't we? yes. unpleasantness. between the states. we don't want to in my line of work we don't want anybody to get over anything. because it's all for the historian. and conflicts also good. this great seg way. conflict is also good in the legal profession. our next speaker, i know so many lawyers who really want to be historians. and very few of them are bold enough to come out of the closet and do it. but our next speaker robert
indeed has done so. and is not only a prominent attorney, but is also a distinguished historian. he is has written on many diverse topics. dealing with many aspects of world history. as well as the history of the american west. the story of death valley. and its fascinate lg history is one that has captivated him and has several books out on death valley. he is a lifetime member of the death valley natural history association. he's a board member of the museum of western film history. and he's going to speak to us today. about captain jack crawford. and buffalo bill. similar. but not equal. robert. >> thank you for the
introduction, paul. i'm speaking today on the captain jack crawford. and buffalo bill cody. strikeingly similar yet different. while virtually every person knows of buffalo bill. at he's in this room. a few members of the general public have any idea that captain jack the poet scout, existed. let alone who he may have been. those who may know of captain jack probably put him in the category of a buffalo bill cody want to be. one of the many imitators who affected the look, mannerism ask back story to capitalize on
cody's international fame. all with varying degrees of success. buffalo bill scholars on the other hand have at least a passing familiarity with captain jack. either from his appearances with buffalo bill on stage or from cody's autobiography where he famously recalls crawford bringing him a bottle of whiskey from cheyenne. jack crawford is the only man i know that could have brought the bottle through without an accident befalling it. he's one of the tee total scouts i have ever met. there are surprising parallels in the lives and careers of both buffalo bill and captain jack crawford. time does not permit an in depth treatment of all the parallels, briefly they include that buffalo bill and captain jack were exact contemporaries. born a year apart in 1846 and
47. both died a month apart in 1917. both claimed their fathers died as their opposition to slavery part of the civil war movement that we heard about. i sack from the affects of being stabbed while making a speech against slavery. while soldiers during the civil war. both captain jack and -- by the way both made these claims and and biographers have questioned these claims. as well. as we heard earlier. both captain jack and cody served in the civil war. both as privates. though jack probably had the arguably a more distinguished service being wounded in action twice. he was wounded at the battle of
courthouse. and again just before the war ended during the assault on fort. both served chief of scouts during the ind yand wars. in which both scalped an indian. or both took scalps depending on the context. both effected planes dress in appearance. hats both part partners for a both used military officer titles later in life. boat your authors. both were stage performers. both had their own theater companies. both were nationally known and acclaimed celebrities during their lives. both had marital problems due in part of continued absences while performing. both invested heavily and lost in western mining ventures. both had financial problems later in the life that prempbted
them from having a comfortable retirement. and the list goes on. despite these many shimilaritie and jack did achieve national fame during his lifetime. the question remains why buffalo bills fame endured. while captain jack never become international star. and today is remembered if at all primarily for his association with buffalo bill. one of the reasons why this fame eluded captain jack could be due to their physical appearances. buffalo bill according to to some biographers and best we can was fairly tall man. above average height. possibly 6'1". on the other hand, captain jack was only 5'4".
he added to this he walked with a limp as a result of the serious hip wound he received during the civil war. now to his credit jack did try to mitigate this by including in his first biography a description from edward keys late lieutenant of the fifth u.s. calvary, who misleadingly described him as a tall, wiry man. captain jack and buffalo bill both appeared on stage together, it was jack joining cody's theet ri kal enterprise the buffalo bill combination. rather than jack creating his own show. jack's stage partnership with buffalo bill ended badly in virginia city, nevada in the summer of 1877. when crawford was playing the
part of yellow hand in a combat scene staged on horse back, he accidently shot himself in the groin. jack blamed the mishap on cody's drunkenness and kwiquit the sho. in it's instructive to note that the contemporary accounts in the newspapers of the time and the days after this reporting this event, those do not support jack's version of events. now, after jack recovered in possibly due to the attentive administration of the actress. a pictured here. who had fainted when she saw blood spurt from jack's wound. he decided to continue his acting career, but this time with his own acting troop. rather than being a part of someone els.
accordingingly he formed the captain jack combination. and perhaps this choice of nail was intended to show the public at large and buffalo bill in particular that jack could compete on the same level and he was bills equal. their respective nicknames could have effected the public perception. buffalo bill conjures up a romantic image of american frontier hero. captain jack is rather generic and boring. not to mention the fact during this period captain jack was also the name of a know toir yous indian. hung in 1873 for the murder of u.s. army general edward. there's also famous highway men,
jack slad. known as captain jack. who was immoralized by mark twain in roughing it. also possible confusion with other jacks. texas jack. or as we saw earlier texas jack. another frontier scout in actor who was a member of buffalo bills stanl stage show. though he predated captain jack in the show. even today, a -- whoop. a google search of captain jack will turn up the billy joel song of the same name. or a disney captain jack spar row. and that will they will turn up as more often than jack crawford. the poet scout. another nickname equally beknown. adding to the differences between the two, is that despite
having been bill's protege, jack's frequent criticism of bill with his whiny complaints and preach chi tone and his bitterness can seem petty and ungrateful. much the same as dock carver whose legacy is not unlike crawford. my opinion, there at least two major differences that explain bills enduring fame and jacks notable lack thereof. the first and perhaps most obvious is bills extraordinary ability to promote his image and career. today -- this is known more popularly as branding. we have a panel tomorrow on the people that bill surrounded himself with. in this regard. the second and possibly more important is captain jack's view
on alcohol. and temperance. he would take every opportunity to expound upon. writings, poetry, and prose. buffalo bill had the extraordinarily instinct for self-promotion and marketing. not only did he have this ability himself, but surrounded himself with experts in the field as well. and took their advice. jack had no such natural instinct and promoted his career alone. acting as his own press agent. buffalo bill played to thousands and packed arenas. many times with standing room only. jack performed in front of much smaller audiences in lecture halls. everyone the thoughs themselves were different. bill reenacted fantastic adventures and the winning of
the west. with large casts. costumes, gunfire, shooting exhibitions. etc. on the other hand while jack was considered to be an out standing performing his entertain consistented of talking, telling stories and reciting often bad poetry. his own. in fact jack denounced buffalo bills type of entertainment calling it blood and thunder rot. which is ruined thousands of boys. and moving pictures of this kind are simply illustrated and thus more vivid doing all kinds of harm. okay so let's compare this with walter scott. who is a perceptive cowboy performer in buffalo bills wild west. who recognized and appreciated bills abilities in promotion.
and adopted quite a few of them. to create his own famous and long-lived identity as death valley scotty. for example scotty stage a fake ambush in attempt to scare away his investors from becoming who were getting too nosey and trying to find out the truth of where the source of the wealth and mines were. unlike with jack, when this staged gunfight went wrong, it was scotty shooting his brother in the groin. rather than himself. whereupon scotty without missing a beat, turned this mishap into the battle of the wind gate pass. which received national attention from the press and further added to the legend he was creating. now this is how an accidental groin shooting should be
handled. also unlike jack, scotty was proud of his association with buffalo bill. and was not jealous. in fact here is scotty's room at scotty's castle in death valley national park. he had a big photograph of buffalo bill. it's still there. to bring the story full circle, once scotty achieved national fame, buffalo bill even hired a scotty impersonator in the wild west to come out of the audience and ride a bronco. a very good example of the relative marketing abilities between crawford and cody relates to their both taking scalps in the indian war. buffalo bill recognized his opportunity when he famously took the first scalp for kuser.
sorry for the museum people that will -- this is the scalp that used to be on display. cody had the presence of mind to realize this could be presented on stage. and actually wore stage costume in the battle so when he performed in front of audiences he could portray himself and actual authentic dress. this begins to blur if not e rat kate the line between the mythical west and the historical west. bill also sent the scalp home to put on public display. realizing the advertising benefit of doing so. a testament to how effective this was, a hundred years after the events when i first visited the buffalo bill museum, the scalp was still on display.
labeled the first scalp. buffalo bill killed yellow hand a noted cheyenne chief. but the museum called it yellow hand back then. when i saw it i marvelled at the exhibit. took a picture. told all my friend about it. and the memory of it is still firmly in my hind 40 years later. while jack endeavored to copy bills taking of a scalp. he failed to capitalize on it. shortly after the battle when captain jack wrote a long description for the omaha daily bee he described his actions in the battle in the third person. your correspondent came near losing his hair on the afternoon of the fight. in trying to get that of an indian. he did get one top knot however. which will be sent down to you
for inspection. so on both bill and jack took scalps and put them up for public display the difference is that from the time it happened until the end of his life, bill featured it in stage performances and wild west later. when jack accidently shot himself in the stage, with bill, jack was playing the part of yellow hand in the play. the red hand. jack on the other hand also took a scalp. but refused ever to talk about it. in a long article in 1915 that was otherwise very favorable to jack. the reporter wrote nobody ever heard of him on stage or elsewhere. admit killing an indian or a white man. even in open battle. the in this article it says to many who are looking for the real thrills of stories of the famous indian fights in which
captain jack was taken part. this is the cause of a feeling of disappointment. a feeling that they are not quite up to expectation. even as vivid and interesting as they are. now, while we look at that as being somewhat negative, jack looked at that as being a comp limb. and he used that reprinted article for advertising for his talks. you can imagine someone wanting to experience the thrills of battle. because jack did participate. he was in the indian war. he did these things in real life. and talk about them. when he would get to the part about killing an indian. it would fade out. he wouldn't mention it. wont talk about it. and so people were left wanting more. disappointed. so jacks speak about these echts
undoubtedly shaped the public perception of captain jack during his life and there after. captain jacks biographer wrote nowhere are there any accounts of specific heroic aks that crawford performs. he seems to have been a recorder of the adventures of the others. biographer does knowledge jacks one moment of public glory where the first biographer of jack tells a single act of bravery. specifically when jack carried the new york account of the battle of the slim beaut. in less than four days. later captain jack biographer describes crawford as having played a major role in the battle of slim beaut. while exciting, dangerous and noteworthy, jacks actions are hardly the stuff of endeering
legend. unfortunately his extensive indian war experience in the heroism still couldn't compete with buffalo bill. who won the congressional medal of honor for gallantry in action. in april of 1872. when charles king wrote about the indian wars in the scouts. in his popular book campaigning with crook. kings opinion of both jack and bill seems in tune with that of the general public at large. when you describe buffalo bill as a beautiful horseman and unrivalled shot in as a scout unequalled. he goes onto compare the various scouts who scouted for the fifth. we tried them all. california joe, bill hick, and we listened to captain jacks yarns and rimes. they were all good men in their way. bill cody was the paragon.
now very important example of jacks inability to successfully promote himself. occurred when had joined the alaska gold rush. this was an adventure that should have set jack apart from buffalo bill. since bill did not have a comparable experience. and was event that captured the worlds taepgs for several years. and unlike most other performers and personalities captain jack was already nationally famous as an entertainer. army scout and poet and author. before he went to alaska. numerous participants became famous as a result of alaska experiences. jack london, robert service, scrooge mcduck and many others. though he tried, jack failed to
capitalize on his time in alaska. when once again due to his lack of effective self-promotion. and because of his constant serm nizing on temperance. on stage and in print. for example, when he reached lake ben net, at the beginning of may in 1898, crawford promptly made the acquaintance of samuel bestill. steel later wrote that jack entertained those present with stories of the indian wars and some of his exploits with wild bill. and jack is in this picture. that's him right there. and you can see this is the type
of room that he would play in. these would be the type of audiences he would be entertaining. this is a little more formal dinner. but compare this to the outside show arena. okay. in alaska, he wrote an autobiography play. in which he promoted himself from captain to. in his copy of the play which did get performed. he said most of the clon dike part was true. now his verse may appear painfully bad to some. maybe he was ahead of his time. if we examine the dialogue of the character at the end of act
two. in the play. it sounds as though it could be a modern day rap song. i'll give you a show i want you to know i cause you to blow before you can crow any over throw. give it it a go giving blow for blow. that's the motto of captain jack oh. now, towards the end his life he did try to capitalize buffalo bill did a movie. buffalo bill and three will. this was produced. jack tried to have a story of his life. the captain jack crawford story. again in the promotional material to get it financed it would make a strong temperance feature with that put in view. should be in demand by churches and schools. needless to say it didn't get
made. the he was a tee totaler. you can see here. toasting with a glass of water. the glass down. and this was a problem. for people to they just didn't care about him. my good friend grandmother was born in italy in 19th century. when she was an old lady i mentioned buffalo bill. she didn't speak english. her eyes lit up. not only did she know who he was, she remembered seeing his show as girl. captain jack entry in the dictionary of the american biography may sum it up best. his work as a scout was highly praised by his commanders. his verses though popular in his day, everyone can no stretch of courtesy be called poetry.
even captain jacks biographer was forced to admit captain jack is no buffalo bill. [ applause ] >> thank you, robert. what's our time looking like here? >> eight minutes for questions. >> if we if you have any questions. lunch is next. i can hear the rumbling. through the crowd. can we bring the lights up a bit. right here. >> my question is for robert. i'm kind of curious about your
argument that crawford's temperance message was part of what made him unpopular. since temperance was one of the great mass muchlts of the 19th century. and the era around the turn of the century could arguably with the wcto and other organizations be seen as one of the high points in temperance. so it seems like there was a market for temperance oriented entertainment. can you explain that some more? >> sure. my feeling is that the american public when their visualizing frontier heros, temperance doesn't fit in with that idea. and so i think that's what hurt
his image. again, during his day, he was nationally nope known. he was famous. he spoke to boy scout troops. he was very well known very well loiked in demand. it's just it didn't pay a lot of money. and you put on a wild wes show, you rake in tens of thousand of dollars. you do a temperance talk you make 50 bucks. and so that's what i was going with that on that. that's my feeling. >> this question is for jeff. speak of temperance. this goes into my question. correct many if i'm wrong, i maybe. the battle of summit springs is where ned buttline reportedly met buffalo bill. and turned him into a star. >> actually, the battle was on july 11 on july 12 they left. and in about four days they got
to fort mcfear son. and ned was there. and so he was hearing reports of the fight and all that. actually, loouter north raising the issue that it was about wild bill hick is grounds to dismiss it as being authentic. wild bill wasn't around at that time. cody was the talk of the town so to speak. with what he had accomplished in that expedition. and ned had him directly to talk to. it was at fort mcfear son they met. and did his publish contamination after th publicatn after that. >> the encounter between cody. it's always said or sometimes said that it's north lieutenant north. i don't remember his rank at
that time. that he didn't want to talk about it. he didn't want to talk about some of the things that had happened at summit springs. because he was so red sent, he spoke with cody instead. and i wondered if what really happened if north really just didn't want to talk to this guy who was just rolled in from california. or -- >> i would take it that, this is before cody's fame. and he's gone one focus, that's to do his job well. and he did it well. and so now all of a sudden he's getting a correspondent. he sees a potential for that. i think it was more out of shyness to talk about himself. than it was what you are suggesting. >> thank you. >> in the back.
>> hey, jeff. i had a comment for you about your presentation. and i just want to say that i felt a little bit discouraged. from one indigenous perspective i felt like you were focussed on tries to point every single act of violence on part of the dog soldiers. people who are within their territory and had justified reason for action during that time. and i felt like you were very preoccupied with the actions against women and children. without going into a balance perspective in talking about the atrocities that i don't care to mention. at sand creek. which were perpetuated by soldiers. and also the things that the seventh calvary did. and the subsequent capture of the women and of course the accounts ot soldiers raping
them. so i just want to say that as you move forward and start working on this book, i think it would really serve all of us in history and research if you can consult with contemporary cheyenne people. from the dog soldiers. and that are still going on. and get some of the accounts and start listening to the other side. of those stories. and that's all i have to say. >> i appreciate that. it's a 20 minute presentation is very hard to give both side of it. to give an account. the one thing i would correct. there was no massacre at the wash ta. there was a massacre at sand creek. my great uncle was there. so i have family that was there. i have studied that very much. i have studied the incidents that led up to that. there's a lot in that. there's a lot of power in that. you have good insight and wisdom.
if i complete this study on summit springs that there needs to be a balancing out of the indian side not just an emphasize of the violence that was done by the dog soldiers. i appreciate that. >> i'd like to add one point to that. that ties in with what i was talking about a little. captain jack actually specifically would not talk about killing indians. he detested it. he said anybody that talked about it was promoting bad things. i think that's one reason why he's not known as much today. we're talking about 100 something years ago. there was the norm of society were different. that's why when i had the picture of the scalp that buffalo bill took up. that hadn't been on display in long time. we are moving away from that in society. and we are trying to do that.
and history will as well. >> i have time for one more question. >> in relation to springs summit springs, and i think it's worth mentioning that jacks very good book dog soldier justice. and is one of the few studies on that period of conflict. that does attempt to act the cheyenne voices in relation. and in the section se specifically about that fate. does make the point that the cheyenne people the majority of their stories and about what happened in that fight, relate
to the actions. rather than the whites. and card himself in one of his letters does suggest that topple himself was killed by an unnamed pony. i have it from -- the late bill toebl. and that is the story that's always been maintained. in their family. and i think that jeff's account of that fight and is one of the best. that i have read. and both emphasizes the strong oral position among the cheyenne. it was the also recognizes the fact that in cody's autobiography he's the only person who gives an account of the killing. that names three of the four
people. and who are sometimes suspected of being the culprit in the killing. i do that in fairness to jeff and having read his work, i thought it was worth pointing out there is a genuine attempt to bring the cheyenne perspective. into the the empbt events at summit springs. when he has the ability to write at length. rather than a 20 minutes presentation. >> in cars report of the after math. he said following the attorney general orders i went to collect the skulls the nebs morning. of all the dead warriors. i was unable to find the single one. because the pulverized them all. i was struck by what is this attorney generals order. and i researched it in national archives in 1868 he sent out an order to all of the forts that
every surgeon will collect indian dead skulls. no matter age, sex or -- and will clean them and ship them to the smithsonian for study. this was part of the 1973 reparations act to give back. they had tens of thousands of skulls. think darwin in 1850. skb you'll understand what the culture was like back then. >> professor warren. >> one thing -- the my reading of the reviews of the stage play the red right hand and so forth. where cody shows the scalp that he's taken. is that work in some places? and decidedly does not work in others and he puts it away. in boston it's very unpopular.
it is just going too far. it works in the arena. but there i don't think he is showing the real scalp. and in the arena you are far enough away. it's imbedded in this much grander story of western conquest. where there's a lot of violence going on. and he does repeat it in the arena in that sense. it's one of the moments in his career he's very good at publicizing it. when it helps. when it doesn't, he puts it away. and i think crawford goes the other direction. and says he's not going to pursue that kind of violent presentation. and crawford makes all of the arguments about how this would be really bad. it's morally wrong. and corrupting of young people in the audience. to show this kind of thing. cody was very sensitive to those critiques too. he was really good at deciding when and where it would work.
and playing it really well. just wanting to say the arguments we're having today about these events and moral meaning, are arguments that people were having at the time. these argumenting had gone on a long time. they have to. and they do need balance. they do need voices from all sides. i think that's really important. i just want to thank the panelists as this was excellent. >> thank you. round of applause for the chair. paul hutten. and speakers. >> this week starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern. wednesday night the 60th anniversary of little rocks integration. with former president bill clinton. thursday nite a discussion on the lead up and response of the 1957 forced desell gags of little rock central high school. friday night from american
history tv oral history series. interviews with prominent photo journalists who documented major events throughout american history. watch american history tv. this week in prime time. on c-span 3. >> coming up wednesday. a look at u.s. policy towards lebanon. the house foreign affairs middle east and north africa subcommittee. live here on c-span 3. american history tv is in prime time this week. every weekend. on c-span 3. you can follow us on twitter. for information on our schedule, and to keep up with latest history news. next. a look at the role of children in buffalo bill's wild west shows. which were performed across the country and eventually around the world. between 1883 and