- Buffalo Bill
- It is hard to believe that a person could put so much into one life as Buffalo Bill did. William Frederick Cody (1846-1917) was born in Scott County, Iowa, and orphaned when eleven years old. His first job was in Kansas as a mounted messenger, and before he was twenty he excelled as a wrangler, hunter, plainsman, and Indian fighter. After serving in the Civil War, he worked for the U.S. Army as a civilian scout and messenger. For the next two years he hunted buffalo for the Union Pacific Railroad; he reportedly slew 42,800 head.No one knows for certain how he came to be dubbed Buffalo Bill, but after being engaged in an eight-hour shooting match with another scout, he was regarded as the champion buffalo killer. Cody was involved in sixteen Indian fights, including the scalping of the Cheyenne warrior Yellow Hair, all done at the behest of the U.S. Fifth Cavalry, which was assigned the task of wiping out Indian resistance to the coming of the white man.Cody organized his first Wild West exhibition in 1883. It was a spectacular show with much shooting and riding by cowboys. Annie Oakley, the champion marksman, became a highlight. And Sitting Bull, the American Dakota Indian leader, was an outstanding attraction. But as happens to many celebrities who were once legends in the entertainment field, Buffalo Bill developed mounting financial problems that reduced him to poverty level. Gone were his glorious shooting days. Gone were Annie Oakley and Sitting Bull. And gone was the life Buffalo Bill had known. Bill Cody, alias Buffalo Bill, died in relative obscurity.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.