Friday, 1 February 2013

Men of Yore: William 'Wild Bill' Cody

This is another in a series of posts about men from history who have either achieved great things in one form or another by pushing boundaries: either in themselves or in society or science or exploration of some form.  Boundary pushing and growth is what men do, it's their nature: to grow and push outwards.  We, as men, are the frontiersmen/the vanguard, the first to discover/uncover new territory, in a metaphysical sense (i.e. including both material and the immaterial) that is later colonised and 'civilised' by the rest of humanity. 

It is also partly intended to show images, be they paintings, statues or photographs of the countenaces of men of yore.  Because, quite frankly, many men wear the countenances of women these days: smiling, smirking, cooing, rolling their eyes, looking smug etc.  It's a sign of the times, and by showing some images of men from the past, I hope to show some modern men why looking surly, frowning and giving hard-ball stares at people is something to do, something to practice.

William Cody, 1865 (aged 19)

William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody (February 26, 1846 – January 10, 1917) was an American soldier, bison hunter and showman. He was born in the Iowa Territory (now the U.S. state of Iowa), in Le Claire but lived several years in Canada before his family moved to the Kansas Territory. Buffalo Bill received the Medal of Honor in 1872 for service to the US Army as a scout. One of the most colorful figures of the American Old West, Buffalo Bill became famous for the shows he organized with cowboy themes, which he toured in Great Britain and Europe as well as the United States.
William Frederick Cody was born on February 26, 1846 on a farm just outside of Le Claire, Iowa.[4]
In Kansas, the family was frequently persecuted by pro-slavery supporters, forcing Isaac Cody to spend much of his time away from home. His enemies learned of a planned visit to his family and plotted to kill him on the way. The young Cody, despite his youth and the fact that he was ill, rode 30 miles (48 km) to warn his father. Cody's father went to Cleveland, Ohio to organize a colony of thirty families to bring back to Kansas. During his return trip he caught a cold, which he eventually died from. The combination of his stab wound, that he never fully recovered from, and complications from kidney disease became too much and he died in April, 1857.[6][7]

After the father's death, the Cody family suffered financially. At age 11, Bill Cody took a job with a freight carrier as a "boy extra." He would ride up and down the length of a wagon train, and deliver messages to the drivers and workmen.
As a frontier scout, he respected Native Americans and supported their rights. He employed many more natives than Sitting Bull, as he thought his show offered them good pay for a better life. He called them "the former foe, present friend, the American", and once said, "Every Indian outbreak that I have ever known has resulted from broken promises and broken treaties by the government."[3]
He supported conservation by speaking out against hide-hunting and pushing for a hunting season.[3]


Check out some of the other entries from the 'Men of Yore' series:

Andrew Carnegie
Duke of Viseu (Henry the Navigator)
Meriwether Lewis
Arthur Schopenhauer
Theodore Roosevelt
Rudolph Diesel
John Snow
Ludwig van Beethoven
Henry Ford
George Custer


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