Caroline Lockhart: Early day wild woman
George T. Beck: Vision helped build Cody
Cody Generations: Kinkades, Lanchburys & Simpsons
Cody Enterprise publication
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A town is born:
A look at seven founding fathers of Cody PAGES 7-29
Cody Enterprise special publication May 22, 2013
Caroline Lockhart Liberated lady
Special sections editor: Amber Peabody NEWS STAFF: Darian Dudrick, Heidi Hansen, Mark Heinz, Bruce McCormack, Nathan Meacham
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Cover photo by: Sean Campbell, Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Summer 2013 • Legends • 5
CodyWyoming A town is born W
hile Cody is named after Buffalo Bill Cody, several other men were instrumental in the town’s founding, and their names grace several of Cody’s streets. George T. Beck, a successful businessman who lived in Beckton near Sheridan, had long been interested in the Big Horn Basin, and the idea that the Shoshone River could be diverted to irrigate large areas of land near Cedar Mountain, according to “The Best Little Town by a Dam Site” by Lucille Patrick. He contacted an engineer to go to the Big Horn Basin and determine if irrigation would be possible. The engineer returned with glowing reports – irrigation was feasible. In 1894, he got a survey party together which included State Engineer Elwood Meade, 10 surveyors and seven guests. One of the guests was Buffalo Bill Cody’s son-in-law Horton S. Boal, married to Arta. When Cody visited Sheridan that summer, Boal told him about the trip. Cody approached Beck, who could see the advantages of having him in
the company. Cody had solid publicity connections and knew several men with money to invest. After discussing the idea with partner and treasurer Horace C. Alger, Beck asked Cody to be president of the venture, while Beck would serve as secretary and manager, according to the book. The company was named the Shoshone Land and Irrigation Co. Cody’s enthusiasm for the project soon attracted several investors, including George Bleistein, Bronson Rumsey, Monte Gerrans and Nate Salsbury. In 1895, Cody became interested in getting a road established to Yellowstone Park, and he started a town near the northeast corner of Cedar Mountain south of the river above the DeMaris Hot Spring. The spot was to be called Cody Town. The Burlington Railroad became interested in the site and hoped to own all the land outright, but the directors of the company decided land surrounding the town should be owned by them, not the railroad, and began looking for another townsite in 1896.
A site several miles east of Cody Town was selected and the survey began in March, with a wide main street laid out east to west. It was named Sheridan Avenue after the famous general of the same name who was a friend of Cody’s. The town was to be called Shoshone in honor of the company and a petition was filed for the establishment of a post office under that name. The government rejected it however, because there was already a Shoshone Agency. Without consulting anyone, the postmistress at the time chose the name Richland and it was approved by the government. When the founding men of the town heard the news they weren’t happy and decided that since Cody Town had not applied for its name officially, it could be used. It was shortened to Cody and sent to the Post Office Department. The new name was accepted and after August 1896, Cody was the official name of the site. ■
(Park County Archives photo) 6 • Legends • Summer 2013
Cody’s most famous founder
y the turn of the 20th century, no one symbolized the West for Americans and Europeans better than William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. Cody was born Feb. 26, 1846, near Le Claire, Iowa. At the age of 12, he worked for a wagon train headed to Fort Laramie. The next year, he participated in the gold rush to Colorado and at age 15, he reportedly rode for the Pony Express. In 1864, he enlisted in the Union Army’s Seventh Kansas Cavalry during the last years of the American Civil War and served as a scout. He married Louisa Frederici (1843-1921) on March 6, 1866, in St. Louis. They had four children: Arta Lucille (1866-1904), Kit Carson (1870-1876), Orra Maude (1872-1883) and Irma Louise (1883-1918). In 1867, Cody hunted buffalo for the Kansas Pacific Railroad work crews, earning his moniker “Buffalo Bill” and his reputation as an expert shot. The next year he was employed by the Army as a civilian scout and guide for the Fifth Cavalry. His experience and skills as a plainsman made him an invaluable tracker and fighter. Cody became one of only four civilian scouts to be awarded the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor during the Indian Wars in 1872 for valor in action. During the height of the Plains Indians resistance to white settlement, Cody returned to the prairies in the summer of 1876 to scout for the Fifth Army. On July 17, 1876, just three weeks after Custer and the Seventh Cavalry were defeated at the Battle of Little Big Horn, Cody’s regiment intercepted a band of Cheyenne warriors. When Buffalo Bill killed and scalped a Cheyenne warrior named Yellow Hair, he reportedly cried out “First scalp for Custer!” On May 19, 1883, Cody’s first Wild West show opened in Omaha, Neb., a grand performance that propelled him to fortune and worldwide fame. The Wild West show played to enthusiastic crowds throughout the U.S. and Europe for 30 years. As a businessman, Cody invested in projects that he hoped might bring economic growth to the West. He helped found the town of Cody in 1895, and with his earnings, he invested in an Arizona mine, hotels in Sheridan and Cody, stock breeding, ranching, coal and oil development, filmmaking, town building, tourism and
buffalobill Embodying the spirit of the West
publishing. In 1899, he established the Cody Enterprise. The Wild West show ended in 1913 after going bankrupt in Denver. By the end of his life, Buffalo Bill had come to symbolize the American frontier itself. He died in Denver on Jan. 10, 1917, at the age of 70. For more information go to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s website, centerofthewest.org. ■
Summer 2013 • Legends • 7
❻ ❺ 8 • Legends • Summer 2013
1. Wild West show personnel in 1900. P.6.366 2. Buffalo Bill with friends at the Irma Hotel, 1907. P.6.286 3. James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok, John B. “Texas Jack” Omohundro, and Buffalo Bill Cody, ca. 1874. P.69.2179 4. Buffalo Bill and sisters (from left) Julia Goodman, May Decker and Helen Wetmore, 1907. P.69.975 5. Cody with Wild West women personnel, 1916. P.71.502.1 6. Original Buffalo Bill Museum, 1929. P.69.1382 7. Major Ferdinand Loet, A.A. Anderson, Prince Albert of Monaco, Lt. Henri Bouree and Louis Tinarye, 1913. P.69.296 8. Cody at the TE Ranch, 1910. P.6.641
Embodying the spirit of the West
9. Cody with General Hugh Scott, 1910. P.6.648.4 10. Cody (left) and General Nelson A. Miles, 1891. P.71.139
(Buffalo Bill Center of the West photos)
Summer 2013 • Legends • 9
a part of Cody’s history . . . and it’s been making special memories for locals and outof-towners alike.
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George Beck By AMBER PEABODY Special sections editor hile Buffalo Bill Cody is the city of Cody’s namesake, no one did more to grow the town and area in the early years than George T. “Governor” Beck. Beck’s life is like a page from the history of the settlement of the West. He was born June 28, 1856, in Lexington, Ky., a collateral descendent of George Washington. He was educated by private tutors in Lexington and Washington while his father served eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives and three terms in the Senate.
GEORGE T. BECK He later attended Renesselaer Polytechnic School in Troy, N.Y., and studied law at Columbia University. When he first heard about the newly opened territory of Wyoming, he decided to set out on a westward adventure. He joined the rush to Leadville, Colo., as a prospector. He later applied at the Northern Pacific for a job and was sent to Mandan, N.D., as a member of an engineering and surveying party. In 1879 he left the Northern Pacific survey group and struck out with a party of 10 toward the Yellowstone River. After some hardships the party separated and Beck decided to start a ranch on Big Goose Creek near the present site of Sheridan.
14 • Legends • Summer 2013
He became a sheep man, and brought the first sheep into northern Wyoming at his ranch in Beckton. Soon after establishing his sheep business, he built and operated the first flour mill in Wyoming, also in the town of Beckton. He also established an electric light plant, water works and flour mill in Buffalo. He later would become the organizer and first president of Sheridan Fuel Co. Interested in a natural resource promising power and reclamation for a new territory, Beck decided to make a survey of Cody Country in 1894. Along with Buffalo Bill Cody, Horace Alger, Nate Salsbury, George Bleistein, Bronson Rumsey II and H.M. Gerrans, they created the Shoshone Land and Irrigation Co. in 1895. Beck laid out the present townsite of Cody in 1896. He moved his surveying camp to town and built the first permanent building in Cody, where he maintained an office until the time of his death. In 1904 he applied to the State of Wyoming for permission to build an electric light and power plant in Cody, appropriating water from the Shoshone River. The plant continued in operation under his management until 1935 when the town of Cody purchased it. Always interested in politics, he made unsuccessful bids for Congress and governor. He earned the honorary title of “Governor” in 1902. He became mayor of Cody in 1903 and was a member of the State Senate from Park County, 1913-17. Beck married Daisy Sorrenson on Dec. 1, 1897. They had children George Thornton Beck Jr., Jane and Betty. He organized the first Cody Club, which originally was a sportsman’s club. He also donated money to finance the building of the first church, Christ Episcopal, and was a member of the first school board. Beck died of a heart attack Dec. 1, 1943. ■
Buffalo Bill (center) with George T. Beck (left) and an unidentified man in 1910. (Park County Archives photos)
Visionary force behind the creation of Cody
Beck’s residence at 11th and Rumsey in 1936.
“We will build a town, maybe as large as Omaha, but much better known for its size.” George T. Beck spoke at the laying of the town hall cornerstone in 1938. Full of the history of the development of Cody Country, the speech was published in its entirety by the Cody Enterprise: “Should I look backward 46 years, I would see a barren expanse of prairie, with little grass, some sagebrush and no trees on a bench high above the river and four miles from the mountains. With me on the preliminary view, I brought a party of 17 – 10 to survey and work, seven to look and play. At the head of my work-party, I had Elwood Mead as transit-man. He later became distinguished as an irrigation engineer and head of the Reclamation Department of our government. As guests, I had Horton Boal, Hinckle Smith, John Patrick, George and Andrew Stockwell and two others. Horton Boal was Col. Cody’s son-in-law. He told Col. Cody what he had seen and what I had done by way of a preliminary survey. When we went back to Sheridan that fall, the Colonel got so interested that he came to me and asked to be let in. After thinking it over for two days, I said, ‘All right, I will make you President of the company as you are the best advertised man in the world.’ I made H.C. Alger treasurer and I was secretary and manager and built the canal. The other members of our company were Bronson Rumsey, George Bleistein, H.M. Gerrans and Nate Salsbury. I camped on the river near Thompson’s (now under the lake) west of Cedar Mountain. From the low divide south of that mountain, I ran a line to the South Fork where the headgate is located. Then from that divide I ran lines eastward on both sides of the main river till we had 400,000 acres within our survey. As the ditch progressed and we got down opposite
our town, where I had located my commissary and the Cody hotel. I stuck a pole in the center of what is now Sheridan Avenue and 13th Street, where your Christmas tree now stands. Having checked the instruments on the North Star and drawn a map for the town, in which I made all streets 100 feet wide, I took C.E. Hayden off of the ditch work to help me lay it out. I set up the transit where the pole was and got Hayden to go eastward with the rod. He got so far away that he could not hear me. I laid the map on the ground, put a rock on it and started after him. He turned to meet me. We started toward the instrument when a whirlwind came along, picked our map up and took it heavenward. Up and up it went, out of sight, so we concluded it was recorded in Abraham’s bosom. We had to make another map, which was recorded in Lander. The stone Pioneer building now stands where the commissary building stood, which was the first building in town and is now sometimes called the “Green Front.” The Cody hotel was the second building and was not moved. The north half of the block was my horse corral and is the place where you are now standing. Before the ditch had left the Irma flat, William Paxton of Omaha (of Paxton and Galleger), an old friend of mine, came to see me. I met him at Red Lodge and drove him in my buckboard to our camp. As we came up on this bench from Sage Creek and got nearly here he said, ‘My God, George. What are you going to do with land like that?’ I replied, ‘We are going to make better farms, with more certain crops than you have in Nebraska, and a more prosperous and contented people. Then we will build a town, maybe as large as Omaha, but much better known for its size.’
What I have told you about the past are facts that can be corroborated by men still living. I regret that the death of Mr. C.E. Hayden removed one of them; he was to me a valued friend. In those days we enjoyed the blessings of our Declaration of Independence – Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, the latter coming from accomplishment of work well done. The present you all know, so I will try to tell you what I think the future has in store for us. Towns are built and cities made by the natural advantages that lie in their vicinity. Omaha was on a navigable river in line with western trade and backed by a rich farming country. Billings was located and built because it was at the end of navigation by steamboats coming up the Yellowstone. Minneapolis I saw when it was being laid out on a buckbrush flat northwest of the falls of St. Anthony. The power from those falls ground the wheat of Minnesota and Dakota, and made a larger city than St. Paul, which was only 10 miles away. Great Falls was built by its water power. Cody, Wyoming, will be built by the great, partially developed power lying west of us, also by the springs west of us, having the highest radioactive water in the world – also only partially developed. Cody Country will be further developed by its unlimited supply of water for domestic use and for irrigation – partially developed – and in the course also by its being the East Entrance to the greatest park, the most scenic mountain area and wild game country in the United States. These are advantages our citizens must see. The question is, how soon will they use them? With vigorous and extremely healthy climate and a people used to doing things, the prospect for our future is brilliant. Have we the faith and the courage to go ahead?” ■
Summer 2013 • Legends • 15
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dream realized Founding of Cody NATE SALSBURY Nate Salsbury played an important part in Buffalo Bill’s success as his partner and manager of the Wild West show. An actor and theatrical manager, Salsbury was born in Freeport, Ill., in 1846. He joined the Union Army at age 16 and entertained the troops by singing and dancing. After the Civil War he secured a theatrical job at the Boston Museum. He started a stock company known as “The Troubadours” and wrote successful comedies for his troupe including “The Brook.” Salsbury met Cody in 1883 and became his business partner. He hired sharpshooter Annie Oakley and
18 • Legends • Summer 2013
NATE SALSBURY Chief Sitting Bull for the Wild West and arranged European tours for the popular exhibition. When Cody told him about the
Shoshone Land and Irrigation Co., he decided to invest and became a company director. Together they designed the CodySalsbury Canal to be located mainly on the north side of the Shoshone River downstream from Cody. Although Cody and Salsbury acquired state water rights and a federal Carey Act segregation for the project between 1897 and 1902, little 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 had 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 today as the Shoshone Project, which includes the area Cody and Salsbury had proposed to irrigate. Nate Salsbury died Dec. 24, 1902, in Long Branch, N.J.
Wild West personnel with Buffalo Bill (front, fourth from left), Nate Salsbury (front, first from left) and others. P.69.825
George Bleistein was the first to invest money in the Shoshone Land and Irrigation Co. He was born Dec. 6, 1861, in Buffalo, N.Y., to German immigrants Michael and Barbara Bleistein. At age 14 he dropped out of school and became an office boy at the Buffalo Courier newspaper and printing business. His perseverance and business qualifications rapidly earned him a permanent place in the company. In 1881 he was made superintendent. In 1884 he was elected president of the company at age 23. After the Currier was sold, he
managed the extensive printing and binding side of the business. He married Elizabeth McCune in 1886 and they had two sons and a daughter. Courier Printing Co. printed the promotional posters for the Wild West show, which is how Bleistein first learned about the project from Buffalo Bill Cody. He later went and toured the area with several other men, and was the first to “cough up” his share of $5,000 and become one of the directors in the company. Bleistein also was one of the directors of the Pan-American Exposition. This World’s Fair was held in Buffalo from May 1-Nov. 2, 1901, and included the Wild West show. The exposition is most rememmore on page 20
Summer 2013 • Legends • 19
bered because President William McKinley was shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz at the Temple of Music on Sept. 6, 1901. The president died eight days later. Bleistein died April 21, 1918. At the time of his death he was Collector of the Port of Buffalo, having been appointed to that position by President Wilson in 1914.
BRONSON RUMSEY Bronson C. Rumsey II was a key investor in the Shoshone Land and Irrigation Co. The Rumseys were a prominent Buffalo, N.Y., family, and at one time owned 22 of the 43 square miles that comprised Buffalo. Rumsey was born in 1854 to Bronson C. and Evelyn Rumsey in Buffalo.
sorbed by United States Leather Co. After selling their father’s tannery they invested the $10 million each received in railroads (in which they partnered with the Vanderbilts), banking and real estate, much of it in Buffalo. A successful businessman, Bronson B. met with Buffalo Bill Cody at the Buffalo Club following a Wild West show performance. Hearing glowing reports about the Big Horn Basin, he decided to make a trip west to look at the project. Following the trip he became interested in investing his money and became one of the directors of Shoshone Land and Irrigation, pledging $5,000 to the project. In 1986 Bronson came out for a director’s meeting and took a trip up the South Fork along with some other men. They bought up some mining claims on Deer Creek and built an elaborate hunting lodge. It was Bronson who drew up the sophisticated layout plan for Cody. It was filed in 1901 when the town was incorporated. His son Bronson Case “Bob” Rumsey would become one of the leaders in development of the dude ranching industry in Wyoming in the early 1900s. Bronson Rumsey II died in 1946 at age 92.
Bronson RUMSEY His grandfather Aaron Rumsey moved to the city in 1832, and owned several tanneries in western New York. He took sons Bronson C. and Dexter into the company in 1847. The brothers succeeded in growing the leather firm into one of the nation’s leading industries of that kind. The business later was ab-
20 • Legends • Summer 2013
Horace C. Alger was the first to partner with George Beck to further develop Cody Country. He served as treasurer of the Shoshone Land and Irrigation Co., which formed in 1895. A Sheridan banker and prominent Democrat, Alger was one of the best known residents of northern Wyoming. He was born in Lowell, Mass., on April 15, 1857, and received his education in New England, graduating from Harvard in 1879. Alger came west in the early 1880s and settled in Sheridan in 1885, becoming the cashier at the Bank of Sheridan. In 1893 the bank merged with First National Bank and Alger be-
HORACE ALGER came vice president. He opened the State Bank of Sheridan in 1901. Alger was a longtime political leader in Wyoming. He was elected to the Legislature from Sheridan County in 1895 and also served two years as mayor of Sheridan. In 1898 he ran for governor and, after a hotly contested race, lost the election. He died at his home in Sheridan on Sept. 28, 1906.
HENRY GERRANS A personal friend of Buffalo Bill Cody, Henry Montgomery “H.M.” Gerrans was one of the Buffalo, N.Y., investors in the town of Cody. Gerrans was born in Dunkirk, N.Y., on Jan. 24, 1853, and received his education in public schools. He began his business career with the Erie Railway Co. in 1868 at the age of 15. He was appointed cashier and chief clerk in 1873. Later, he became engaged in the gas business, coal business and brokerage business in Boston and Philadelphia. He became secretary-treasurer of the Iroquois Hotel Co. in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1889, eventually becoming president of the company. The Hotel Iroquois opened on Aug. 3, 1889. At the time it was one of the most modern hotels in the country. It closed in 1923 in favor of
First map of Cody
This plat of the town was drawn by Bronson Rumsey and filed in 1901 when the town was incorporated.
the new Statler Hotel. Gerrans became interested in investing in the Big Horn Basin project after hearing a positive report from fellow Buffalo resident Bronson Rumsey II, who had gone west to see it for himself. He became one of the directors of the Shoshone Land and Irrigation Co. after investing $5,000. He also owned
a hunting lodge in the area. Gerrans married Maud Murray on Feb. 25,1886, and they had children Gertrude, Dorothy and Orpha. Gerrans was involved in several Buffalo organizations, including the Free and Accepted Masons, Buffalo Chapter and the Buffalo Commandery Knights Templar. He also was a member of the Saturn Club, Buffalo
Club, Buffalo Country Club and the Park Club. Along with fellow Buffalo resident and Cody founder George Bleistein, Gerrans was one of the directors of the Pan-American Exposition. The World’s Fair was held May 1-Nov. 2, 1901, in Buffalo. Gerrans died May 13, 1939, at the age of 86. ■
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BODY ER PEA of By AMB ctions editor and one se Special a liberated lady l characters, fu s ost color big Cody’s m ockhart made a es r L u e d n n at e Caroli erself th h r fo e nam best ing the “ ippi . m o c e b today ississ oal of With a g an west of the M versial figure. o m tr o n known w ckhart was a co multiple d o a L h ” t r, u e b imed Riv ied, r r a m ily and a r v e a v e e h n k e n h ra . S enemies he also d lovers. S wit at her many oint, Ill., on P g her bitin s born in Eagle p on a ranch u a w w e e r Sh y eg 871. Sh ttended Bethan vian 1 , 4 2 . a ra r o Feb te M la nd the s and in Kansa Topeka, Kan., a . a College in in Bethlehem, P ame a reporter y e r eb c Semina tress, sh , later, the c a d e il A fa st and also started oston Po for the B hia Bulletin. She the Philadelp ort stories. riencing g e h p s x e g in in writ believed d to divin Lockhart writing it. This le arbor when nh fore stor y be om of the Bosto d as well as tt te o n b to the rst inve ilding to test s were fi u dive suit ff a four-stor y b net. o g fe a in y and t’s s ty jump partmen Buffalo Bill Cod oved e d e r fi the r viewing n, she m After inte tories of the tow writing his s started hearing 04. She “The Lady Doc,” 9 1 in y to Cod d her second, page 28 n more on novels a
26 • Legends • Summer 2013
Photos courtesy of Park County Archives
e n o , g n i h t e m o s e t i r w To . t i e c n e i r e p x e t s r fi t s mu
e n i l o ar t r a h k c o
Summer 2013 â€˘ Legends â€˘ 27
was based on life in Cody. It caused quite an uproar – for many years. In 1919 her novel “The Fighting Shepherdess,” loosely based on the life of sheepherder Lucy Morrison Moore, was made into a movie. So was her early novel, “The Man from the Bitter Roots” and “The Dude Wrangler.” From 1920-25, she owned the Park County Enterprise, renamed the Cody Enterprise in 1921. She also served as president of the Cody Stampede Board,1920-26. She was locally famous for her different pets. When she owned and operated the Enterprise, the office cat was a lynx named Wampus Kitty. She had a pet skunk named Whiffy, a fox, bear cub and many other animals. In 1926, she bought a ranch in Dryhead, Mont., now part of Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area where she lived until 1950. She then retired to Cody and died July 25, 1962, at age 92. ■
cody stampede is born On April 20, 1920, six of Cody’s leading citizens gathered to organize a new Fourth of July celebration, one bigger than had ever been known, according to an essay by John Clayton of wyohistory.org. They were lawyer Ernest J. Goppert, Sr., dude ranch owner Irving H. “Larry” Larom, Park County Enterprise editor Sid Eldred, Clarence Williams and William Loewer, who helped run the town’s small Fourth of July celebrations, and Caroline Lockhart. More than just a Fourth of July party or rodeo, it would be an event to entertain tourists driving the new road to Yellowstone Park and lure visitors to area dude ranches. Most important, it would be an event to bring back the “Old West.” They decided to name this new event the Cody Stampede and elected Lockhart as its first president. More than 90 years later the event is one of Wyoming’s premier rodeos and Independence Day celebrations. ■
28 • Legends • Summer 2013
Caroline Lockhart pours drinks behind the bar at her home, while friends enjoy dancing. (Park County Archives photo)
aroline Lockhart kept a diary for several years detailing her time as Stampede president and owner of the Cody Enterprise, as well as life on her L/Heart Ranch.
Feb. 24, 1922 - My birthday, and not a happy one. I am poor and alone after a lifetime of consuming ambition and effort and I never ‘shucked’ my tasks and it has ended like this. My heart has been full of bitter resentment that is like hatred for Papa who brought me into the world then sloughed the responsibility. A few lifts and I could have been at the top.
Jan. 20, 1923 - The feeling I am wasting my talent and my life on such a petty thing as the Enterprise overwhelms me at times and takes the heart out of me. July 12, 1925 - The Stampede is over. I had a run in with Blanche (Gokel) who taunted me till I walked back and spit on her face. Blanche ran after me and tried to break my thumb, but Carl Hammitt (deputy sheriff) kicked her back into her dump (The Cody Hotel). Oct. 16, 1925 - I am free after four years of such worry and distasteful drudgery as I never before experienced and hope never to know again. (Sold the Enterprise.) The Methodists and Prohibitionists are saying ugly things, naturally, and ‘me
aroline Lockhart’s novels always used thinly disguised characters and experiences from her own life. •“Me-Smith” (1911). Critics favorably compared Lockhart’s first novel to “The Virginian.” •“The Lady Doc” (1912). Her most controversial novel, it was among the first representations in American hardcover fiction of an abortion and homosexuality. It was clearly set in Cody, and reprints include a “key” matching fictional characters with their real-life counterparts. •“The Full of the Moon” (1914). Her most autobiographical novel, set in New Mexico at the turn of the 20th century. •“The Man from the Bitter Roots” (1915). Lockhart may have been the first woman to descend the Middle Fork of Idaho’s Salmon River (the “River of No Return”) and used that experience in this novel.
enemies’ who feared my panning are rejoicing. But I should worry. I’ll very nearly pay off everything when accounts are settled. Next I have to get out of the Stampede and then to hell with them all.
March 8, 1927 I’ve sold the rights to make a movie of The Dude Wrangler to Mrs. Wallace Reid. It is to be filmed here no later than the 1st of September this year according to the terms. Some man was in town from Casper, writing up the history of prominent people of Park County and surprising as it is, I am to be included. Did not think anyone in Cody would admit to him that I was in that category. May 7, 1927 - Saw O.B. (Mann) yesterday, but too much bother to mention it in my diary. A cheap skirt-hound.
•“The Fighting Shepherdess” (1919). Lockhart’s favorite novel, addressing issues of feminism and conformity in frontier towns. •“The Dude Wrangler” (1921). One of her funniest novels, depicting the clash between East and West. •“Old West and New” (1933). Lockhart’s final novel, using experiences from her newspaper days.
Scandalizing a town
hen “The Lady Doc” was published in 1912 it scandalized the town of Cody with its almost explicit homosexuality and attack on several leading citizens. Lockhart meant for some of the townspeople to recognize themselves. Her two primary targets were Dr. Frances Lane and George T. Beck. During the building of Buffalo Bill Dam, Dr. Lane and her partner Dr. James T. Bradbury established a hospital to serve the government workers. But Lockhart felt it was not to serve the workers, but to profit from them. She felt the scandal was compounded by the silence among the town’s first citizens.
“I was abused in some quarters for ‘Lady Doc’ and many women physicians wrote informing me that my characterization of one of their fraternity was hopelessly untrue and unjust,” Lockhart said in an April 1914 interview. “I can only say that I make the truth of my books conform to the truth of life as I see it out in Wyoming.” Lane was one of the founders of the library in Cody, and Lockhart’s sensational book was banned there for many years. Key for characters in “The Lady Doc”: Essie Tisdale – Nellie DeMaris. Andy P. Symes – George T. Beck. Dr. Emma Harpe – Dr. Frances Lane. Gussie Kunkel – Daisy Beck. Dago Duke – Bill Miller. Terriberry’s House – Hart Mountain Inn. Mrs. Hank Terriberry – Hattie McFall. Dubois – Charles DeMaris. Mr. Tutts – Frank Houx. Mrs. Percy Parrott – Mrs. Sammie Parks. • Sylvanus Starr – Col. and Mrs. John Peake. • Ogden Van Lennop – Bronson Rumsey. • Clairvoyant milliner – Mrs. William Volkmer. ■ • • • • • • • • • •
Dec. 28, 1929
July 19, 1930 Grasshoppers have landed on the Colegrove by the millions. There is no feed for the cows or horses in nearby pastures. Life is nothing but a series of trivial incidents. Only Dave and his love for me make it bearable.
June 13, 1930
Jan. 18, 1935 Everything is frozen solid as a rock in the house that can freeze. I bought Dave a sheepskin coat for Christmas and he is wearing it. I don’t really know for sure but it must be 30-40 below. My story is doing well and I worked with zest yesterday.
I got a crazy proposal from someone called Serbian Sam who asked me to marry him via letter. I shall not bother to answer. Broke no doubt, looking for a meal ticket. - No one answers my letters and I am boiling. They probably think I don’t count anymore. I’ll show them, get new clothes, more cattle, get in the limelight, make people talk. I am just like Buffalo Bill in that respect. I don’t want to be a has-been and a joke. - Had a nice letter from Tex Kennedy asking me to come lead the Stampede Parade this year and I think I’ll do it. One day might be enough and I’d like to show them I’m still on earth and can ride a horse as well as ever.
Feb. 5, 1938 - My God! Am I losing my mind? Yesterday after working on a page all day, I absentmindedly crumpled it up and threw it in the chip basket and later, burned it. Did not discover
it until Dave read the last chapter and it was missing. I broke out in perspiration as it was just right. I was pleased with it.
June 22, 1939 The ‘jig’ is nearly up. My eyes are getting worse so fast and I can scarcely see to read or write. I am sick at heart and don’t know how much longer I can stand it. A perfect day and I have no horse to take a ride which may be my last. Feb. 24, 1942 - I am 72 today. It is so incredibly horrible that I can scarcely believe it or bring myself to put it down in black and white. I feel faintly sick as I force myself to admit that I am as old as that. The only gleam of light in this tragic fact is that I am well, except for my eyes, and I do not look it yet. ■
Summer 2013 • Legends • 29
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Gov. Milward Simpson and wife Lorna cut a ribbon at Spirit Mountain Caverns in Cody in September 1957. Photo courtesy of Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Jack Richard Collection (PN.89.18.3134.06).
Prominent family dedicated to public service 34 • Legends • Summer 2013
By HEIDI HANSEN Staff writer he story of how Cody – and not Jackson Hole – became home to one of Wyoming’s most influential and beloved political families is as much chance as it is classic Western tale. In 1884, John Porter Simpson and wife Margaret Sullivan sold their business in Denver and trailed
Milward and Lorna Simpson with sons Pete and Al on bikes outside their home in Cody at 901 Simpson Ave. Photo courtesy of Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Jack Richard Collection (PN.89.107.21020.02.3).
cattle north to Jackson with 15-yearold son William “Billie” Simpson in tow. The family arrived in Jackson one year after the first permanent settlers had entered the region and began homesteading, ultimately opening the town’s first store and post office. But 129 years later the couple’s great-grandson Pete has retired from academic administration at the University of Wyoming with wife Lynne to the other side of Yellowstone Park in Cody, inhabiting the home where he and younger brother Al grew up at 901 Simpson Ave. And while the former senator Al Simpson’s recent national tour keeps him in the spotlight years after retiring, he, wife Ann and their children also continue to call Cody home and are community leaders.
Jackson beginnings Asked how the Simpsons got to Cody, Pete starts by telling the story of young Bill deciding to give up life as a cattle rancher and “read the law.” “That’s what they called it then – he had to get a mentor to ‘read under’ and had to learn Latin first,” Pete said. “He heard there was a young lady on the reservation (near Fort Washakie) helping to translate the Arapaho language who also knew Latin. “She became my grandmother, Margaret Burnett.” While Bill only had a third grade education, he passed the bar exam and took his new wife back to the family home-
stead in Jackson. There he would help develop the town his parents settled by becoming the first Justice of the Peace. Biographer Robert Wakefield writes in “The Fiery Petrel” that in a log cabin along the Snake River, Margaret Burnett had three children. She gave birth to her youngest, and the future governor of Wyoming, Milward “Simp” Simpson in 1897. But Wakefield said the isolation, harsh weather and lack of schools and doctors grew on Bill and Margaret.
TransienTS In 1899 the couple sold their land and moved to Meeteetse where they stayed five years before moving again, this time to Cody to help the famous William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody develop more on page 36
Summer 2013 • Legends • 35
Pete, Lorna, and Al Simpson with a dog at the gate of the Church of Transfiguration in Moose, Wyo. Photo courtesy of Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Jack Richard Collection (PN.89.107.21020.02.6).
They lived for a time as newlyweds in Denver before returning to Cody with one-year-old son Pete and second child Al on the way. “I guess the Cody experience of his youth was intriguing enough that he wanted to return,” Pete said.
Making a home Milward and Lorna set down roots in Cody in 1931 at 901 Simpson Ave. He opened his own law practice and became active in the community, searching for ways to support soldiers during World War II and remaining active in his sons’ lives. “He would follow us kids in school when we participated in sports,” Pete said. “He would be at every game – anywhere in the state – and you could hear him shouting above everyone else, ‘Hustle.’” Pete and Al were raised in postBuffalo Bill times. Glenn Nielsen was looking for investors to start Husky Oil and Taggart Construction was growing. Milward became involved in these and many other civic and business endeavors as a supporter, helping to build the Cody of today. “People were here to build a life for themselves and build up the town,” Pete said, adding that during World War II, Milward lamented being too old to serve. “He told my mother, ‘There must be a place for me to serve.’ He did everything he could
– throwing parties for soldiers when they came home and helping people in town.” The two brothers grew up roughhousing, causing mischief and playing sports under the watchful eye of the community. “The value of being brought up in Cody is that we were brought up by everybody,” Pete says. “The principal was my scout master. “I remember once rubbing itching powder on a girl’s neck and he caught me,” he added. “He took me and put itching powder on my back between my shoulder blades. My dad said, ‘Let him scratch.’ In high school, the same girl was my date to prom.” While Milward lived in Cheyenne 1956-60 to serve as governor and was in Washington, D.C., 1962-66 to serve in the Senate, Pete said, “Cody had become his home. He always came back.” In the years before Milward’s death in 1993, he and Lorna spent most winters in Arizona and summers in Cody and on the family’s South Fork ranch. When Pete and Al left for college in the late ’40s, the population of Cody was 2,600 and the pair knew the names of each house whose lawn they had cut across to get to school all their lives. While both men had careers which took them across the country – one to Cheyenne and Washington in his father’s footsteps, the other to Oregon and then Cheyenne and several Wyoming colleges – they too continue to call Cody their home. “Because my wife is from Cody, we always envisioned retiring here,” Pete said. “Lynne and I share a thousand unspoken things by having both grown up here. “Cody is a home that means something. We are lucky to be in a community that’s still small enough to know your neighbors and to make a difference if you want,” he added. “And we are couched in beautiful country. “I’m thrilled to be back here and to live in the house where my parents raised us.” ■
his recently founded town. “He was a real feisty, colorful guy, and a good lawyer,” Pete said of his great-grandfather. “But he could be ornery.” They lived in a red house near 11th and Salsbury, but Bill lost it in a poker game, Pete said. In Cody, Milward would attend high school, play football, basketball and baseball and get involved in boxing. His athleticism continued in the Army during World War I and then at the University of Wyoming. While Milward could have taken the route of professional athlete, Pete says a second of his father’s favorite pastimes would set the direction for his future. “As a teen he thought about becoming a speaker or leader,” Pete said. “He told us he would go down to a hill behind his house in Cody and set up rows of tin cans on the perimeter. Then he would stand in front and orate to them.” Milward entered Harvard Law School in 1921 and was offered a job in London prior to graduation, Wakefield wrote. But when word came that he was needed back in Cody to help in the defense of his father Bill who’d shot and killed a man, Milward was on the next train home, Wakefield said. While standing in the street outside his office in Cody, a man attacked Bill and left him unconscious, Wakefield wrote. When Bill awoke, he tracked down the man at a bootleg dive called the Mint Pool Hall and, still bloody from the attack, raised his gun and fired. Milward never returned to Harvard, but he also didn’t stay long in Cody. After a hung jury acquitted his father, they left town to set up a new law practice in Thermopolis. There, Milward ran for the Legislature on a ticket that opposed Prohibition. Elected in 1926, he served one term in Cheyenne. Milward met his wife Lorna Kooi of Sheridan at a mutual friend’s wedding and married her after three years of courtship, Pete said.
Summer 2013 • Legends • 37
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Henry and Belle Kinkade in 1904.
Longtime Cody family makes mark in law enforcement By Mark Heinz Staff writer
42 • Legends • Summer 2013
airy farming initially drew the Kinkade family to Cody Country. But it was through law enforcement they made their biggest mark here. “Al Simpson grew up a few years ahead of me in Cody, and not long ago we were visiting,” recalled Jerry Kinkade, a grandson of the first Kinkade to settle here. “I told him that if it wasn’t for his dad being a lawyer and my dad being the sheriff, we’d probably both have ended up in prison.”
Along with his father Harley, Jerry’s brothers John and Jim also served in law enforcement. Jim was a police officer in Gillette, while John worked as a Park County sheriff’s deputy, then police chief in Basin and finally as a state trooper. Harley, one of the best-remembered county sheriffs, at other times also worked as a Cody police officer and state trooper. “I figured, with my dad and brothers working in law enforcement, I had to stay out, so I could give them something to do,” Jerry said with a laugh. He and his mother Martha, who recently turned 100, still live in Cody.
Coming to Cody The Kinkade family legacy in Cody began in 1926 when patriarch Henry Kinkade, originally from Missouri, relocated here from Terry, Mont. “He had a dairy farm where the golf course is located today,” Martha said. “I recall it having a really big white house when I was young. “But as I got older, the house got smaller,” Jerry quipped. Henry and his first wife Belle had three sons – Earl, Frank and Harley. Belle passed away shortly after Harley was born, and Henry ended up marrying her sister Elizabeth. The couple had three more children, Harold, Ralph and Ruby. “Those two sets of kids were threequarters brothers and sisters, because their mothers were sisters,” Jerry said. The Kinkades made big impressions in Cody. Earl, for example, did well for himself – at one time he owned an entire block downtown, where he ran a farm implement business, a grocery store and clothing store. “The clothing store was located where Pizza on the Run is now,” Jerry said. For a while during her courtship with Harley, Martha was away studying at the University of Wyoming. “It took two days to get to Laramie back then, by bus,” she said. The couple married in 1933, and Jerry was born the next year. During World War II, Harley passed the physical fitness test for active duty, but was never called up. Instead, he served as a security guard at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, where Japanese Americans were interned during the war.
Martha and Harley Kinkade in 1971.
Maverick spirit Harley proved to be resourceful and creative. His primary ambition was always to be in law enforcement. But when circumstances caused him to seek other means of income, he would find a way, Martha said. “He approached the owner of a construction company about getting a job,” she recalled. “He was asked, ‘Do you know how to run a grader?’” Even though he did not, Harley said he did.
“He got access to a grader, and all that night sat up in the cab, learning and memorizing the various controls,” Martha said. “And the next day, he was a grader operator.” Construction became one of the family’s mainstays, and Harley and Harold founded and ran Kinkade Construction. That same spirit of learning by doing also was manifested in Jerry. After serving in the Marine Corps during the 1950s he returned to Cody and started making ends meet by more on page 44
Summer 2013 • Legends • 43
John Kinkade followed his father Harley into law enforcement.
delivering newspapers and doing a little painting. “One day, a local lady told me, ‘If you can paint the way you deliver papers, I want you to come paint my house,’” Jerry said. He’d never done any house painting, so he carefully began painting small sections of it. Not only was his first customer satisfied, neighbors took notice as well. “It took me a long while to get off that block,” Jerry said. “I had a whole group of customers right there. I ended up hiring some employees, and went on to be in the painting business for 30 years.” Through the years Jerry plied various other trades, including asphalt refinishing and running rental units. He now runs the K3 Guest Ranch bed and breakfast, just south of Cody. “It’s been a good life in Cody,” Jerry says, after reflecting on the family history. “We used to fill the better part of a telephone book with the Kinkade name, but it seems there are only a few of us left here.” ■
arley Kinkade succeeded in law enforcement primarily because he was an unpretentious man of uncompromising fairness. “Dad didn’t care who you were or what your background was – if he liked you, he liked you. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t talk to you,” son Jerry Kinkade of Cody recalls. While Harley wasn’t one to let wrongdoers off the hook, he also developed a reputation for treating suspects and jail inmates with dignity. His tenure as sheriff began in the 1950s and ended with his retirement in 1973. “He never drew his pistol – he
44 • Legends • Summer 2013
didn’t have to,” Jerry said. “He also would rarely handcuff a suspect.” “One time, a guy he had previously arrested and jailed asked Dad if he had anything that could be used for bear bait,” Jerry recalled. “Dad had just buried the carcass of a horse that had died on the family property,” he said. “He dug up that carcass, and hauled it all the way up the North Fork so that guy could use it as bear bait. That’s just the sort of guy Dad was.” Another suspect Harley arrested was an Hispanic man who couldn’t read or write English, and ended up going to prison. “While he was in prison, he
learned to read and write English, and started sending letters to Dad and Mom,” Jerry said. “As time passed, his English got better, and the letters got easier to read. By the time that man was released from prison, he wrote that he wanted Dad and Mom to adopt him,” Jerry said with a laugh. When Harley passed away in 1981 it was one of the biggest funerals ever in Cody. “There was a terrible snowstorm that day,” Jerry added. “In the funeral procession, you could hardly see the car in front of you. “But there still were hundreds of cars lined up.” ■
SHErIFF’S best friend W
hile Harley Kinkade was Park County Sheriff, he had many fine deputies, but his most trusted partner was his blue heeler dog, “Rick.” “When Dad would arrest somebody, he often didn’t put the suspect in handcuffs,” son Jerry Kinkade of Cody explained. “Instead, when they got in the car, Rick would be sitting there, and Dad would say, ‘I’m not expecting any trouble from you, but if you do start anything, my dog will take you apart.’” A sincere growl from Rick was enough to drive the point home, Jerry said. While Rick was beloved by his master, he wasn’t popular with some of the deputies, Jerry said. “He would lay under Dad’s desk, and go after anyone who walked by too close,” Jerry said. That protective crankiness extended even to family members. “I recall one night, I had left some school papers in Dad’s sheriff’s car, which was parked downtown,” Jerry said. “I opened the door and started reaching inside to get those papers, never realizing the dog was in there. “All of the sudden I hear this, ‘Grrrrrr, grrrrr.’ I said, ‘Rick, you settle down.’ He didn’t bite me but, boy, did I ever get out of that car quickly.” ■
Harley’s most trusted partner while he was sheriff was Rick the dog. Summer 2013 • Legends • 45
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Lanchburys frontier stage stop, homestead part of family history
48 • Legends • Summer 2013
By BUZZY HASSRICK Special to the Enterprise is family history in Cody Country includes a frontier stage stop and a homestead, an English grandfather and a character named “Snake River Bill” – all of which appear in colorful yarns spun by Jerry Lanchbury. He’s the son of John and Lora Lanchbury, older
brother of Don and nephew of Sam and Ruby Lanchbury. A farrier, Jerry, 82, has probably shod thousands of horses in the Cody area during his 50-year career and can tell tales with horseshoe nails clenched in his teeth. He’s involved in community ministry and lives on the family place north of town.
Eagle’s Nest Jerry spent many summers with his Uncle Sam and Aunt Ruby who operated the Eagle’s Nest stage stop near Ralston. Jerry’s grandfather Tom had built the stage stop in 1893 after
discovering springs there. The building still stands. Tom was a journeyman blacksmith and ale maker from England. “He made things that looked like they came out of a factory,” Jerry said. Tom died when he was driving his Model T, missed a turn, went into a canal and broke his neck. Tom and his wife received an invitation from William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody to his daughter’s wedding. Another connection to the famed showman was the pool table that came to the stage stop from Cody’s Irma Hotel. Jerry said it was pool that attracted a railroad worker named Ray, who stopped one time to buy food and play
Jerry Lanchbury stands near the family homestead, which was built in 1911.
a game and ended up staying a year. The table was in the bar at Eagle’s Nest, run by his father John and Uncle Sam. “Sam wrestled all comers and John boxed all comers,” Jerry said. “Dad was real quick.” The brothers set up a track camp on the future site of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center and sent men there for training. John volunteered to help and ended up outrunning the trainees. Later, during a job in Washington state, John fought professional lightweight boxer Jimmy Britt to a draw. Sam and John told stories about Earl Sirrine, who would bet $100 he could break a saddle tree by sitting in the saddle. His legs were so strong that he always won the bet. In another exploit, Sirrine would hang from the bar above a corral gate and drop onto a green horse as it was herded into the enclosure. Again using the strength of his legs, Sirrine would prevent the horse from bucking. Sam and John entered the bar one morning and found a stranger dead on the floor. “They buried him on a hill,” Jerry recalled. John would visit freighters who camped near Eagle’s Nest. One morning they shared breakfast with him, using a dried buffalo chip as a serving plate for the hot cakes. The resourceful freighters traveled through arid Sand Coulee, northwest of Heart Mountain, and knew where to dig for water. For many summers, Jerry worked at Eagle’s Nest gathering Sam’s mules and horses. “I was about 15 when I started herding horses,” Jerry said. The range stretched from Ralston to Heart Mountain and beyond to Sand Coulee. In summer 1945 when he was herding horses near the stage stop, Jerry said, “I remember it rained for 30 days.” His borrowed angora chaps kept him dry. One day, during that same rainy spell, he built a fire with sagebrush on a slope above Eagle Creek, which worked well until the family’s dog ran above the spot and caved the bank onto the fire. The brothers ran cattle too, starting out with two cows and ending up with several hundred. They had 600 head of horses and sold a bunch to the cavalry during World War I. They’d tame more on page 50
Summer 2013 • Legends • 49
the green mounts by keeping them in corrals with no water and then leading them to a stock tank, which made them gentle enough for the cavalry. “We just idolized Sam,” Jerry added. During branding, Sam would rope all day, lassoing a horse’s front two feet and never missing. He could even place a loop on his toe and flip it onto a horse’s legs as it passed by him. “He knew what a horse was going to do before the horse did,” Jerry said. “We called Sam the ‘human snubbing post.’” Sam also could ride rank horses and would accept bets that he couldn’t. “Hold the money, Ruby,’” he’d tell his wife. Sam would pull his hat down, ride the horse and always win the pot. With Sam’s permission, Snake River Bill parked his home on wheels, a sheep wagon, near the stage stop. “Don and I thought he was an outlaw,” Jerry said. One day Bill made the boys stay in the wagon, and Jerry said no one seemed concerned, but the boys finally escaped. “We thought we’d gotten away with our lives,” but Bill was just teasing. “Eagle’s Nest was like Hollywood to us, a poor man’s Hollywood,” Jerry
recalled with fondness. To build Eagle’s Nest, crews had hauled logs from Pat O’Hara and Rattlesnake mountains, using a route up Cottonwood Creek north of Cody. “There’s a big spring there, not nearly as big as it used to be,” Jerry said.
The homestead The spring had first attracted John when he was 11 and doing log work. Seven years later, in 1911, he established a homestead on Cottonwood Creek and built a one-room cabin with a heat stove and a cook stove. “The old barn is still there,” Jerry said. “The corrals were where the house is now.” John leased it out until 1935, when he moved back with his wife Lora and their sons. Jerry had been born in Powell, Don in Warren, Mont. John worked for the railroad on a wrecking crew during his years away. In Wyoming, John worked as a dude wrangler and mountain guide, employed by Joe Jones on an upper South Fork ranch. One of John’s stories featured
Jones’ exceptional mule. Jones would walk across a log over a creek, and the mule would follow him on the log. John traveled on long pack trips in the mountains with the young ranch guests and in camp would re-enact gun fights for entertainment, sometimes scaring the children. From his Cottonwood Creek home, John would drive into town along a route that rounded a blind corner at Hargrave’s Hill. One day, another driver and he were approaching the section and collided head-on. “John chuckled about trading Model T’s on Hargrave’s Hill,” Jerry said. “The other driver lit into John’s car, and John lit into his car. There was no traffic at all. They must have figured there was no one on the road. The middle of the road was the driving lane.” Using that same route, Jerry attended school with the children from other families in the area. They rode a bus driven by Cecil Stafford, who had four girls. The first school bus was a 1936 Ford. Without a garage for the bus, Stafford parked it in his barn, where the heat from the cattle provided warmth and kept the bus operating during the winter.
John (from left) and Lizzy Lanchbury Howell, and Thomas, Florance, Emma, John, Walter and Sam Lanchbury stand in front of Eagle’s Nest in the early days. 50 • Legends • Summer 2013
When the Lanchbury homestead was first built it had a heat stove and cook stove.
“We never missed a day of school,” Jerry recalled. Kenny Lundvall took over after Stafford, followed by Paul Purvis after World War II. The route included the depot area north of the Shoshone River, the railhead for visitors headed to Yellowstone Park. Jerry and Don did chores such as weeding the garden, milking cows and chopping wood. Their work done, they’d join other children to play, often on horseback. Everyone had a horse. “We had a lot of fun,” Jerry recalled. “We never had any money, but I challenge anyone to have more fun than we had when I was a kid.” Gathering wood occurred yearround. “In the winter, we had to chop enough wood on the weekend to last a week,” Jerry said. “It was cold then.” In summer they hauled wood from Heart and Rattlesnake mountains. On Heart’s steep terrain they just used the front wheels of a wagon, dragging the logs so they acted like brakes. On Rattlesnake, the gentler grade let them use the whole wagon.
Although the times were tough, people knew how to survive. “The big thing was they helped one another, and their word was their bond,” Jerry says with a chuckle. “A handshake was better than a handful of lawyers.” ■
We never had any money, but I challenge anyone to have more fun than we had when I was a kid. The remains of the root cellar can still be seen outside the cabin.
Jerry Lanchbury Homesteader’s son
Summer 2013 • Legends • 51
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Sharing wonders of Cody through photographs
By AMBER PEABODY Special sections editor n the early years, no man did more to advertise the scenic beauties of Cody Country than Joseph Jesse Faver “Fay Jay” Hiscock. Known as “The Picture Man,” F.J. Hiscock came west to Cody on Oct. 22, 1904. He had been a photographer in Kalamazoo, Mich., and quickly began using those skills in Cody. Hiscock did most of his work between Cody and Yellowstone, selling packages of photographs to tourists. He originated the idea of selling pictures of the Buffalo Bill Dam in sets and in fact, through groups of pictures more on page 54
Summer 2013 • Legends • 53
he took, the history of Cody can be shown. He climbed to the top of Cedar and Rattlesnake mountains to take pictures and also took some pictures from an airplane. He photographed the road crew and all the progress of the building of the road through the canyon, as well as the building of the dam. His interest in photography gave him the honor of being the first person to drive through Shoshone Canyon. A group of government men were coming to inspect the work and it was suggested they go out and get some pictures. When the government men were late, Hiscock drove through while the work men were still rolling rocks off the road. Other historical pictures he took were of the Corbett and Willwood dams, the first passenger train going through Sheep Canyon from Billings to Worland, and the first automobile to enter the park through the East Entrance on July 4, 1914. Hiscock also did a great deal of portrait work, with his favorite subject being Buffalo Bill Cody. He took pictures of Cody on foot, on horse, in a car, around a campfire with the Prince of Monaco and in the Irma Hotel. Other notable people he photographed included baseball players Ty Cobb, Mickey Cochrane and Tris Speaker, Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey, Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall, and Chiefs Iron Tail and Plenty Coups. Later, Hiscock made movies and sold them for newsreels. His first newsreel was of Mayor John Purroy Mitchel of New York as he arrived in the rain at the Irma Hotel by stage from the Cody Depot. The Fox company sent him to Douglas to take pictures of Bill Carlisle, the train robber, after he had been captured in the country around Douglas. When he wasn’t taking pictures, Hiscock also was a licensed guide for hunting parties and sightseeing tours. He also made and repaired violins, and for several years after moving to Cody he was the violinist and often the only musician for dances. His interests then pushed him into writing and he sold many articles to various magazines. Hiscock continued to take photos well into the 1940s. He died in his 70s in 1951. ■
P.69.831 54 • Legends • Summer 2013
P.6.281 (Buffalo Bill Center of the West photos) Summer 2013 â€˘ Legends â€˘ 55
Cody’s first madam
Etta feeley By AMBER PEABODY Special sections editor ou are respectfully invited to attend the opening of my new residence at Cody, Wyoming, November 1, 1902, Miss Etta Feeley. It was through this formal announcement printed in the Cody Enterprise that Madam Etta Feeley chose to introduce herself to the town. The invitation went out to the male population of Cody – married and unmarried, according to the book “Ladies of the Evening,” by Jeanne Cook. Etta came to Cody at the turn of the century and operated a house of ill repute for about 20 years. She was one of the town’s first madams. She was born Alice Edwards in Illinois in 1870. Early on she acquired the stage name Etta Feeley. In the 1890s, she worked in Denver at one of the local theaters where she would sit high in a swing wearing pink tights and a seductive costume that accented her tiny waist. She then moved to Billings to work in a high-class gentlemen’s house. It’s likely that Etta married several times, although not always legally. In 1898, she and husband Tom Leach had located a brothel at Corbett’s Crossing, 10 miles northwest of Cody. The two
56 • Legends • Summer 2013
earlysettlers Etta Feeley’s “girls” go for a ride on horseback. (Park County Archives photos)
hatched a plan for this enterprise while honeymooning at DeMaris Springs, according to the book. She opened her sporting house in 1902, along what would become known as the Crimson Way, on the present Bleistein Avenue between 15th and 16th streets. It was called the “White House.” Soon, Cassie Waters became the madam of the “Green House” located next door. The fines levied on the houses of prostitution were one of the main sources of revenue for Cody in those early years. The madams considered the fines part of the cost of doing business. The houses operated until the late 1930s, although she retired years earlier to a place in Clark and in her later years became know as Alice Leach. Her husband eventually left her and took her life savings of about $80,000 with him. Alice lived to be 90, but people no longer connected her with Madam Etta Feeley. She is buried in Riverside Cemetery. ■
Summer 2013 • Legends • 57
Bronco Meeteetse freighter turned horse thief By BUZZY HASSRICK Special to the Enterprise “The blooms that banked the casket, “As the tears of mourners fell, “Heard the clappers silvered tongue, “Toll the tale of Bronco Nell.” he anonymous poet of Mrs. George Craig’s eulogy for some reason chose to convey no hint about the checkered career of the Meeteetse woman known as Bronco Nell. “One of Cody country’s most colorful characters” read her obituary published in the January 1952 Cody Enterprise. Nell, 86, died at her ranch home northeast of Meeteetse on the lower Greybull River, where she’d lived for 40 years. During her career as a success-
58 • Legends • Summer 2013
ful businesswoman, Nell had several encounters with the law, some resulting in prison sentences. Born July 5, 1865, in Iowa, as Ella Smith, Nell was in her 30s when she arrived in Meeteetse “The lady with the light blue eyes and dark gray-streaked hair claimed that she and her daughter, Ruth, drove their seven mustangs north from Texas and into Wyoming around the turn of the century,” wrote Larry Brown in “Petticoat Prisoners of Old Wyoming.” Another version of her arrival in Meeteetse says she was accompanied by her husband and their daughter, 6-8 head of workhorses, two freight wagons and a small herd of range horses. That’s the information Felix Alston shared with his son Scott in the “Annals of Wyoming of Autumn 2004.” Shortly after the family’s arrival, her husband, “for some reason that I never knew, put on his hat and walked off, leaving the woman to manage the best she could with what property he had left, for herself and small baby,” Felix Alston recalled. “The trim woman, with a fifth-grade education, struggled to feed herself and her child by raising horses and doing some freighting,” Brown wrote. An industrious entrepreneur, Nell ran not only the freighting outfit but also a livery stable, located on main
street where the fire hall now stands. She hauled much of the machinery and supplies to the Kirwin Mine, an arduous, 34-mile trip. “Bronco Nell was considered one of the best freighters in the country,” her obituary reads. “She could handle four, six, or more horses better than any man and over the worst of roads.” Along with Kirwin, her routes included Cody and Casper, as well as two Montana towns, Red Lodge and Billings. Her outbound cargo could be wool, and she’d return with goods and supplies. Nell delivered the first load of freight to the Meeteetse Mercantile when it opened in the early 1900s. “While on these trips she would break her best horses to work in the team; for this she was always referred to as Bronco Nell,” Alston said. Sheepherder Clarence Dollar referred to her as his “favorite freighter” and described her as a “fiercely independent woman who always took care of her own fights.” He also remarked on “her good looks” and her clothing, a “man’s hat and riding attire.” Neighbor Lois Schatz, who lived across the river, also commented on Nell’s apparel. To keep warm, she’d use burlap and hides to cover her feet and hands and do the same for her daughter. The tale of Bronco Nell became the stuff of legend when she succumbed
NEll to the temptations of bootlegging, liberating horses and consorting with horse thieves. In 1905, she pleaded guilty to selling a quart of booze to two local Crow Indians, a federal offense, according to Brown. The next year, a district judge in Cheyenne imposed a $100 fine plus court costs and a two-month sentence in the Laramie County Jail. The following year found her in court charged with rustling. Nell, along with a hired hand, had taken two colts and marked them with her brand. Finally admitting the deed, she offered to resolve the matter by compensating the owner, John Milton Baldwin, but he refused. Under pressure from the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, he pursued the case, Brown contended. The pressure gave “credence to the rumor that members of the cowmen’s cabal did not abide what its members perceived as uppity women playing fast and loose with rules their male counterparts held so dear,” Brown wrote. After an all-male jury found her guilty in a couple of hours, Nell was sentenced to 18 months in the state penitentiary in Rawlins. She was discharged on Sept. 16, 1909, two months early for good behavior.
Then her story diverges into two endings. Her lawyers, empowered to dispose of her property, had sold it and kept all the proceeds, Alston recalled. He advised her to insist forcefully that they compensate her, which they did. Nell retrieved her daughter in Meeteetse, moved to Cody and lived a quiet life. “With all of Nell’s career as a horse thief and protecting others in the same profession,” Alston said, “she certainly deserves a great deal of credit for the manner in which she has conducted herself after her release from prison.” According to Brown, however, Nell returned to Meeteetse and resumed life with her daughter. Schatz said Nell had taken in wayward boys and allegedly married one, George Craig, in Thermopolis in 1939. Brown described him as a “reputed drunk and rounder … whose nefarious reputation nearly matched her own.” As a little girl, Schatz had visited Nell and described her as a good person and kind to her. Another woman, Georgia Schultheiss, chose to remain neutral – “When asked about Nell, she said in those days no one talked about people with questionable reputations in front of young children.” ■
One of Cody country’s most colorful characters. Cody Enterprise
After her husband left, Bronco Nell ran a freight and a livery stable. (Meeteetse Museum photos) Summer 2013 • Legends • 59
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Photo by Dewey VanDerhoff
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