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tv   Buffalo Bill Before the Wild West Shows  CSPAN  September 2, 2017 11:00am-12:31pm EDT

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william cody's life before he performed in his wild west shows. they discuss his experience as a soldier in the civil war and indian wars, and his relationship with fellow marksman and showman captain jack crawford. this is about 90 minutes. >> thank you, jeremy. thanks to the buffalo bill center of the west for holding this symposium. thank you to c-span for filming it. this is a wonderful opportunity to get the story of buffalo bill and the west out to a broad american audience. that is the goal of all of us in this business -- to try and inspire others with a 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 are going to have them speak in alphabetical order.
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i learned to do that back in class in the fifth grade, so that's the way we are going to do this. i will introduce them individually as they appear. first, we have jeff broome, who i have known for many years. jeff is very active in not only the academic world, but also the world of popular history, and writes magazine articles for "true west," "wild west magazine," and belongs to many western organizations. he got his phd at the university of colorado in boulder. colorado seems to be a theme here today, because of where people are buried, even though they did not want to be buried there. [laughter] that is pretty bad, you know when you kidnap a dead body. , they kept him on ice for like six months and then planted him up there now, where he resides. he could reside here in the vastness and the beauty of the
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bighorn basin, and towering trees would line his grave. and instead, he now has all of the radio and television towers for the city of denver surrounding him. but i'm sorry, i digress. [laughter] jeff is from colorado, but we are not going to hold that against him. it is 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 is possible. he's the author of three books on the indian wars, including "dog soldier justice" and "the cheyenne war, indian raids on the road to denver." he is going to talk today about buffalo bill and one of his most
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famous moments on the historical stage -- the battle of susannah springs. jeff broome. [applause] prof. broome: that's my powerpoint slide. are there any questions? [laughter] it is an honor to be here today. and i will talk about cody's indian fighting experience. my focus is going to be on the battle of summit springs. i want to say a couple of things before that.
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first, the phd -- i'm actually a professor of philosophy. i was add for many years, and i always asked my mentor what it means to have a phd. he says you get to put a phd next to your name. so that is why it is there. i would be remiss if i didn't say what today is, august 2. in 1876, a good friend of buffalo bill cody, james butler hitchcock, was killed in deadwood. five months younger than general george armstrong custer. five weeks later, from custer's death, he died, shot in the back of the head. you see, if you get in the museum, that cody and buffalo bill go back to cody's young years. the other thing i want to mention is since the first talks -- we are talking about of buffalo really,
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bill on the wild west -- i'm a fifth generation colorado native, so my great-grandfather was born in 1867, and he was a ranch foreman, and for about 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 that was passed down from a grandmother, and my cousin has this. i mention this because, steve, i think we ought to go down to pueblo and take pictures of what i'm about to say. because maybe through photographs we can identify who this person was. but in talking about the lakota going over to england and all that, when my family would -- my father was born one month after cody died -- so when he was about two or three, 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
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-- and this is like 1925 now, 1930, summa around there -- and became very close to her and told her she got suckered into marrying this guy, because when he was over there and learned about the kings, he said that he was a king over in america, and they called them chiefs. anyway, she married him and came with him, and was living in a tp for most of her life. and she was rather bitter at the time when she met my grandmother. but she gave my grandmother the performance clothes the lakota had passed on -- she was widowed -- so my cousin has them. it is the gloves and shoes and i think some other things that he had. maybe we need to get a picture of those to see if we can identify those. i am going to cover some things real quick. to understand the fight at 11, 1869,ings, july you have to go back to 1868. that is where the violent
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outbreaks really started in north-central kansas. there were a series of raids. sarah white was captured on august 12, 1868. 35 settlers were killed. those included women and children. then, in another raid two months later on october 13, 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 1869 on the sweetwater in the texas panhandle. there is a dedication for anna not thisxt friday -- they haveext -- where a dedication memorial marker in kansas. she did get impregnated and did have a son, and that son died. they named it ira.
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then with that, general sheridan , started a winter campaign which involved three columns of troops, one of them led by general carr. where cody was the chief of scouts. that had been appointed some months before, when cody was working at the dispatch rider, and really impressed general sheridan. they assigned him to brigadier general eugene a. carr. they were sent down in that texas panhandle area, along with colonel evans and his troopers, and then general custer was called back for a court-martial and sent down the seventh cavalry. the 19th cavalry was also supposed to be there, but they got lost coming down to the camp in the winter weather and missed it. we had the famous battle on november 27, 1868, where custer , in his report, reported 103 warriors killed and 53 women and children captured and brought
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back. this brought custer into the limelight of the west and into the eastern press. then, continuing his campaign and going back out again on march 22, 1869, he got the rescue of sarah white and anna morgan. that brought him back to kansas. -- at the time, if we look at this map, at the time of the fight, down at the bottom here, you see of route 100 miles northwest of over here is where custer rescued the captured. this is where carr was stationed during those months. they did not correlate indians. custer got that. you can see here carr was ordered to fort mcpherson on platte river, just above the nebraska border, from the texas panhandle. on his way up, he stopped at
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fort lyon at the end of the map here on the arkansas river. as he began to go up to fort mcpherson, by coincidence, he had two skirmishes. they were actually pretty big fights. that was may 13 and may 16. the fight at elephant rock and spring creek. 25 warriors were killed and four soldiers were killed at the first fight. and 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. -- "our scouts william cody, who has been with the detachment since last september, displayed great skill in following i.t., and also deserves great credit for fighting in both engagements.
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his marksmanship being very conspicuous. i would not call him an ordinary man. 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 of the two men standing were officers were at summit springs, along with cody, and that rifle, which is here in the museum. also. that is 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 for fighting or doing his duties. he had lost his hat and put a bandanna across it, and he bled through it. seeing him at a distance, it looked like he had a red hat on or something. it was the bleeding through it. the bullet just grazed his and went about five inches above his head, and cut it all out.
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but it didn't stop him. not only that, he then volunteered -- they were running out of supplies after these fights -- and he saved them a day by getting supplies by going on his own up to fort kearny. the unit went on up to fort mcpherson. that is a peer. you can see where these fights at spring creek and elephant rock three days earlier. if we go back to this map again, after tall bull -- and tall bull is very interesting. when custer cornered the cheyenne dog soldiers down in sweetwater, he had a few of the chiefs he threatened to hang if captors weren't released. the deal was the chiefs would be released when they go to their reservation, and so that was the deal. one village did not surrender,
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and that was tall bull. bull left after that, and he was on his way here inquisitors, he ran into carr and those two fights. tall bull led a series of deadly raids in that same area in north-central kansas. lincoln, concordia. sarah white was captured just a few miles west of concordia. maybe nine or 10 miles west there. anna morgan was captured on the solomon river down about here. he came through there. first started hitting people around here. athit railroad workers russell springs, which is russell, kansas today. he hit a new settlement up in white rock creek, by the nebraska border not far from the elephant rock fight, where a new danish community had come in. coincidentally, one man who was burying indians -- excuse
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me, buffalo hunters that had been killed by the indians, and in the end, swept down and almost killed his children. one of the boys born after that ended up being the president of the university of colorado for 25 years. the new orleans library is named after him. there was no fight over his body, though, after he died. so this is where the deadly raids went on. in that, the most famous part was the raid on the stillman creek, which ran just west of lincoln, where maria free shoulder, who was months pregnant with her only child, and her husband had been in germany for only a month when she was captured, her husband was killed. about a mile away was another sortie of indians, about 75 indians, that went down split up in parties of six and eight and captured the village and killed 11 settlers, capture these two
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women, along with a month-old -- with an eight-month-old. her boy, who would've been six on july 1, was killed. the boy that was two was killed. the girl alice was killed in the village. according to maria weichell, she was roasted alive, in one account. another account says she was strangled, hung and a tree, and dismembered. she was killed and heard it -- third day of captivity because of her incessant crying. susanna, who could speak english and no german, and maria, who could speak no english and only german, were brethren in captivity six weeks to the day. this then is why carr was directed by the military to sweep down from fort mcpherson and try to find these indians doing these raids. we are not even sure who they were. and find them. so that started a campaign --
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whoops -- which left fort mcpherson on june 9 with seven companies of fifth cavalry and three companies, 50 each, of poni scouts. led by frank noris, his brother luther, and their cousin. dies -- was their father of two of the children -- the four and a half-year-old boy -- we will come back to him later, also shot by the indians there -- but when carr was sent to try and rescue these women, he did not know that there were women captives. tom all the guys had been away during the raids. when he came back the next day,
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he began a search of the indians , and he followed the creeks, which is what they did, and when about 100 miles and found their village, and came back and went all the way to leavenworth and wrote a handwritten, in pencil, letter of where they are and a description of his wife. i found that in the national archives. that was transmitted by telegraph to fort mcpherson after carr left, so they sent a company down with the description of susanna and the fact that they are trailing indians who probably have two female captives. cody writes falsely in his autobiography that sometime during early on in the expedition, they found women's shoeprints, white shoeprints, in the villages. and that is how they knew there were women. it is this message from the husband of susanna that is what alerted them to that. indians, when you study this, never put the white captives in their own garb. they wore indian garb,
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moccasins, to avoid detection. there is a myth that they are about finding women's shoeprints. that is not true. using this information, the fifth calorie is -- fifth cavalry is sent down from fort mcpherson. again, we have these seven companies. there's a lieutenant just out of west point who graduated the year before assigned as the itinerary officer to keep a diary. what is interesting is when you compare this diary when carr writes his reports later, not long after the fight -- he was at fort sedgwick a few weeks after the fight when he learned that his boy had died, and he took a train to omaha and quickly wrote his report out before he left. so he used and quoted word for word -- we call it plagiarism today -- can i see that again? it word for word. and we can understand some of the mistakes that were made with the battle, too
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. he had 350 cavalrymen. 150 ponis. they traveled about 35 miles to get there in eastern colorado. this is a modern picture with 84 tepees. they got there about 3:00. that is an oil painting, not historically accurate, because it shows a soldier getting critically wounded. there was only one soldier with a glancing arrow wound to his ear hurt in this fight. also shows the woman dressed as recognizable american citizens, and that was not true. but it is a great photograph. they came from the northeast. carr said the northwest. and they came right down into summit springs in the cheyenne village and attacked it. this is a fascinating story. it is, i think, the most important indian fight on the plains, in this era, that does not have a book covering it.
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i'm working on one, by the way. at the end of the fight, carr said 52 warriors were killed in a report. and another report 73. , i think what was is they were -- there were indian civilian casualties. women and children killed. i think the total is 73. what in letters, every single woman and child killed at summit springs was killed by the agenging -- avenging hatred on them, and not by the soldiers. 12 horses died in the fight, 11 by exhaustion chasing the village away. one was killed in the fight, and one died, struck by lightning. properties found that necessitated the burning of inventory. there were 160 fires to burn everything, and they still build six empty wagons filled with
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provisions with stolen plunder from the kansas raids, hoping to be returned to their proper owners. it was an amazing fight. it was over in 20 minutes. again, no soldier casualties except for this slight one. , now the question is, who killed tall bull? his rather, says frank north -- says his brother, frank north, killed tall bull. luther north did not kill tall bull. when we get to the primary source of evidence, we find that unnamed pawnee, buffalo bill cody, lieutenant mason. an interesting memoir that has never been published that is in the historical society in wisconsin talks about this
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fight. this guy came in service and serves 35 years, and he gave the enlisted man's account. he said the soldiers view of who killed tall bull goes to danny mcgrath. cody was too far away to see tall bull to get that shot. the account says there smoke and all, it would have been very difficult for cody to see tall bull to get that shot. same way with lieutenant mason. he was 50 yards away, but he shot was a pistol. again, that wasn't it. but danny mcgrath, after getting his horse shot out from under him, got out with his rifle, and he was 50 yards away. lieutenant mason was 150 yards away. and with his rifle took careful aim and killed tall bull. when we look to the eyewitnesses, carr, in three separate accounts, says cody
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killed him, lieutenant mason killed him, and an unidentified pawnee killed him. we really do not know. the way i take it down is probably danny mcgrath, and if not mcgrath, then buffalo bill cody. but he was there. luther north tried to take umbrage against that years later, after his brother had died in the wild west show, a everybody. he said that cody was not there and missed it, but in fact, he was there, when you read carr's point. i think that is it. except that susanna -- that is the lady who was captured -- i found her descendents. susanna was buried in an unmarked grave. i just finished up a grant with the state, trying to locate her body, we were not successful. but her little boy, with five arrows in his back lived, and i found all his descendents. he was four and a half years old at that capture. thank you. [applause]
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>> thank you, jeff. that was riveting. and, of course, for many years, summit springs was reenacted in the wild west show that cody put on. now here is a small world factoid. after his stationing on the plains, carr was set to apache country during the apache wars, which, as jeremy kindly mentioned, my new book is about, available at all fine booksellers and on the internet and elsewhere, and here the -- in the bookstore. on the apache wars. in fact, he almost gets his command wiped out. like custer's last stand in central arizona.
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he then retired, general carr, with his two medals of honor to santa fe. my doctor is his great great grandson. it is just crazy. isn't that crazy? that is why he's my doctor. [laughter] he he does look like -- looks exactly like carr. it's great. and i am sure he is as good a doctor as carr was a soldier. i hope. nicole etcheson is going to speak to us today about buffalo bill's civil war. distinguished academic and holds the alexander m. bracken position as professor of universityball state in indiana.
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the university built by jars, long before jar jar binks. also attterman was ball. was he one of your students? that was a joke. no, she's just a baby. despite her youth, she's had a marvelous publishing career. she is the author of "the emerging midwest," "a generation at war: the civil war era and the northern community," and i think you would agree that "bleeding kansas" is your tour de force book. and a marvelous book on the civil war in kansas, where buffalo bill's father was a martyr to keeping kansas slave free. that is the book to read.
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nicole etcheson. [applause] thanks, paul,: for that introduction. my son will love it. because his favorite phrase is "when you were young, mom, and dinosaurs roamed the earth." now it will be "when you were young, and david letterman was one of your students." but paul and i have been talking about how i had met him when i was a young historian, and i am no longer a young historian. i also want to thank the staff here for the fabulous job they have done in coordinating this, and my colleague from ball state , who has a habit of casually meandering into your office and saying, "so," and then, the next thing you know, you are a civil war historian, and you are 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
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hearing about. for civil war historians, there are a couple of things i am going to talk about and link to buffalo bill. and in fact, the first speaker , this morning mentioned how buffalo bill has been used as a symbol of reconciliation. we get away from that nasty north-south quarrel of his youth, and he goes into the wild west and becomes a figure of reconciliation. there is also, in civil war history, recently, a kind of western turn, where people like heather cox richardson have been reminding people like me talk about the battles of antietam and shiloh and so forth that there was a lot going on out in the west that involved indians had involved somebody besides robert e. lee and ulysses s. grant. i want to argue this morning
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that buffalo bill is not as reconciliationist a figure as 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, the salt creek valley of kansas, in 1854, when the territory had just been opened up. and this is a different part of jeff showed you. we are over in eastern kansas by leavenworth. that is where the codys settled.
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kansas had just been open to settlers on the premise of popular sovereignty, which means the settlers got to decide whether or not there would be slavery. this was a territory which, before 1854, had been closed to slavery. like a lot of northern settlers, isaac cody was a free state them a crack. -- isaac cody was a free state democrat. that means he was not an abolitionist. he was probably, like a lot of settlers, racist. in his autobiography, which is fictionalized, cody l childhood is the least for july part. it says that isaac cody wanted kansas to be a white state where slaves could not settle. that was a common sentiment.
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but missourians do not make distinctions about different kinds of anti-slavery. they called isaac cody a noisy abolitionist. isaac cody joined the salt creek squadron association -- i am indebted to doug for many of these images -- this is the salt creek valley near leavenworth. however, in kansas these squatters associations became very politicized and in 1854, isaac cody, at a meeting of the salt creek squatters association, prepped to say something -- he was in iowa and settled among all of these missourians.
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they pressured him to make a speech at the association meeting. he does so, and this is the speech in which his son says that isaac said he wanted kansas to be a white state, and he was assaulted by a missourian -- this is an image from cody from autobiography -- he is assaulted by a missourian the name of charles dunn. isaac lived. and the missouri newspaper that reports the knifing and calls him a noisy abolitionist says it is regrettable that this man, isaac cody, is going to live. isaac cody dies in 1857. the family always maintained he died from this wound that he got. then we get the turmoil of bleeding kansas. there are elections which are carried fraudulently by missourians.
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forms. it represents the use northern settlers and isaac cody plays a role in this movement. there is a guerrilla war and there are items by territorial governors and the federal government to restore order. during this time, isaac cody is helping settlers move in. he is surveying land. he is for dissipating in the free states movement. he is elected to this free state legislature, and the cody's -- the codys are the victims of attacks. their livestock is stolen. isaac cody has to hide out quite a lot of the time. in yet another image from the autobiography, isaac cody fleeing during the night from proslavery men who are out to get him. now, buffalo bill claimed that when his father was attacked, that he was there and caught his
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father in his arms. that's probably not true. his sister says this is not true. this does not mean that young willie coley was not affected by what was happening with his family. there, willie and his sisters are in the cabin when missourians, and suddenly family and come looking for his father. on one occasion, willie is sick, but his mother sends him from his sick bed to go riding off. his father warns that the proslavery men are lying in wait for him and he is nearly caught, and willie manages to escape and worn his father not to come home because these men are waiting for him.
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when his father dies, willie takes over supporting the family. does not, apparently, ride for the pony express, but he is working as a lad to keep his mother and sisters alive. when the national civil war comes, willie joins -- at first he joins an informal group of jayhawk errs. these arkansans -- these are kansans, who cody mentions in his autobiography. they feel missouri picked on them and it's their opportunity to cross the border east into missouri and pick on them. -- get their revenge. he joins the kansas seven, which is the notorious jayhawking
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regiment. if you were a missourian and i said the kansas seven, you would know what that meant, even probably today. he did see some service in the south, but by the end of the war he is back in st. louis.
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in his youth as a jayhawk are in the civil war, what did that mean to him? he does not seem to have had much interest and people like this woman, who was a slavery at the missouri -- i and people like this woman, who was a slave at the missouri border. they went through missouri and he saw blacks. "my curiosity was considerably aroused by the many negroes that i saw. i had never seen any colored people." that is it. he does not tell us what they were doing. he did not try to talk to them. he saw them. that was it. very different when he gets to kansas. i saw indians and they were dark skinned and rather fantastically dressed people, and i tried to talk to them, he says, but i could not understand them. when he lived there though, he plays with the kickapoo children and learns their language, learns how to shoot a bow and arrow. he is much more consistent by 1879 about what is going on with the indians. he does mention the missourians. and he describes them in typical northern settler free state fashion as" ruffians." they swore a lot. they swaggered about. he does say their interactions with his father -- they act with
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honor and fairness, but this was a very northern stereotype. border ruffians is what the northerners called him. then when he joins the jayhawkers, he admits the point was to retaliate and get even with the persecutors of kansas. he admits he was a horse thief when he was a jayhawker, but the jayhawkers also liberated slaves. he does not talk about that. and he does not talk about his service with the freedmen's bureau in st. louis. this, as you might imagine, is a missouri image of what the jayhawk is did, they grabbed women and looted and burned. there are couple of interesting stories about cody's civil war service. one is about his honeymoon. they are on a steamboat, he and
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louisa, on the missouri river, and some missourians on the boat recognize him. and they think they recognize him as a kansas jayhawker and house burner. they telegraph some of their friends, and a band of 20 armed missouri guerrillas right up to the shore and are going to kill -- they yell, where is that abolitionist jayhawker? they are out to get cody from his reputation. 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 the story and announce he has his reputation in the other bob dudley? the next story, when he is a scout, he comes to a house with a long missouri woman with her
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daughters, and cody intervenes and keeps the union soldiers from doing this kind of thing that union soldiers did to missouri women. the missouri women are so grateful, they make a dinner for him and protect him from their menfolk when they come back. the story probably is not true, but it's interesting because not only does he want to be remembered for not having done this kind of thing, he wants to be remembered for having protected missouri women from this, and in fact, this is exactly the kind of thing that would have happened to his mother.
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missouri men coming to his house, threatening. she was forced to cook for the proslavery ruffians. at another point in the outer bobby, he admits being part of this, but he also wants to be better than the missourians and what they did to -- better -- excuse me, better in the missourians and what they were doing to his family. again, in none of this does he talk about the civil war. he does not bring out the racial aspects. he does not talk about slavery or rate in this. he does say his father said first blood in the freedom of kansas, but he never specifies what that means. it's interesting, the autobiography is a list in 1979, which is the year that the home nation was paying attention to the fact that blacks were leaving the reconstruction south and moving into kansas.
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there was an indelible link between kansas and race in people's minds, not just because of the civil war, but the 1879 movement. cody did other things that played up his connection to the civil war. he very much played up -- he gets sherman, william tecumseh sherman to provide a letter attesting to cody's scouting abilities when cody did not actually make that scout for him. he goes out of his way to get testimony from sherman indoors and him and in his autograph -- in his topography, he blows up very much his relationship with sheridan. these are figures that sherman and sheridan are very much involved with the indian wars.
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that is not reconciliationist in the company he is getting no. cody does mention race in his autobiography. he uses dialect. he uses racist language. he has a story about how they are tracking indians and a black cavalryman shoots off his gun, get scared or careless, and warns the indians, so the cavalryman is punished. this is drawn from the autobiography -- by having to walk back to fort hays. he does not have very heroic stories about the buffalo soldiers. he has stories about the irish as well. he did fight the indians -- not
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during the civil war, but as has been mentioned earlier, taking part in the jewel of let -- duel of yellow hand and yellow hair. historians will situate this in the indian wars. i would point out missouri guerrillas took scout and put them on their horses' bridles. i have to think that cody knew about that tradition and it was embedded in his civil war background. then we get to the dime novels. some historians have said it is really odd the first time in novel is about the kansas-missouri border. why do that? i argue that conflict are still part of buffalo bill's civil war.
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in the novel, the codys think they are being attacked by the indians, when they are being attacked by the missourians, who are worse than the indians. they shoot isaac cody, calling him a black worshiper and abolitionist. they threatened to rape the cody womenfolk. if you go back to free state propaganda, 1850's, rape threats, savage violence, meaning missouri violence, is all there. for julie, cody will rescue his womenfolk before they have to resort to "self distraction." there is even burning. this is quattro's raid on northern kansas in 1853, turning up in this cody action. and the missourians, in the novel, at least, are in league
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with the cheyenne, the missourians and the cheyenne, and later we get the missourians and the sioux. the missourians did not have a thing to do with the cheyenne. this is when they bring the western stuff and the north, south, together. by the end of the novel, he has forgotten completely about the missourians and he just has buffalo bill cody fighting the indians. the other big dime novel is "buffalo bill's heart and gray" where buffalo jack wants to join the union army, even though he is a former confederate. he can't because it's not the northern uniform -- is not the northern army anymore. if the union.
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texas jack rescued cody, but now after the civil war, this is a reconciliationist piece -- they can be openly pards in 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, the sergeant, the union veteran who is prominent. the wild west show goes overseas. there are union veterans. there are women's relief corps. the women's auxiliary organization takes part in the funeral, which we know now was in denver.
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i am willing to be converted. i have no dog in this fight. denver versus cody -- i'm sorry, i'm going to go with cody here. and they play the civil war song at cody's funeral, because it was cody's favorite song, evidently. i would argue cody's life story, cody's civil war was not straightforwardly reconciliationist, and not one where he straightforwardly abandoned that north-south conflict from his boyhood. it was eased and west. it had african-americans. it had missourians, northerners, southerners, indians, and it's probably a good cast for the united states civil war. thank you. [applause]
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>> well, that civil war was just complicated, wasn't it? [laughter] >> and it's so good to know we are over all of that now in the country. aren't we? yes. settled between the states. in my line of work, we don't want anybody to get over anything, because it's all grist for our historian mill. and conflict is also good. conflict is also good in the legal profession. our next speaker -- i know so many lawyers who really wants to be historians -- you really want -- who really wants to be historians, and very few are old enough to come out of the closet and just do it.
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but our next speaker, robert lazo, indeed, and has done so and is not only a prominent attorney, but is also a distinguished historian. he has written on many diverse topics dealing with many aspects of world history as well history of the american west. the story of death valley and its fascinating history is one that has captivated him and has several books out on death valley, and he is a lifetime member of the death valley
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natural history association. he is also of lord member of the museum of western film history, and he is going to speak to us today about captain jack crawford and buffalo bill -- similar, but not equal. robert? [applause] >> hi. thank you for the introduction, paul. i am speaking today on captain jack crawford and buffalo bill cody -- strikingly similar, yet decidedly different. virtually every person knows buffalo bill, at least in this room. a few members of the general public -- few members of the general public have any idea the captain jack crawford ever existed, yet alone who he may have been.
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those who do know of cap inject probably put him in the category of a buffalo bill cody one of the, will -- buffalo bill cody wannabe who tried to capitalize on his fame, all with varying degrees of success. scholars have a passing understanding of captain jack, either from his appearances with buffalo bill onstage, or his autobiography where he briefly recalls crawford bringing him about love whiskey from cheyenne. cap inject crawford is the only man i could have known -- captain jack crawford is the only man i could have known to bring that whiskey through. there are surprising parallels in the lives and careers of buffalo bill cody and captain jack crawford. well, time does not permit in-depth parallels. briefly they include that
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buffalo bill and captain jack were exact contemporaries. they were born a year apart in both died a month apart in 1917. both claimed their fathers died because of their opposition to slavery, as part of the civil war movement we just heard about. isaac cody, the threats of being stabbed while making a speech against slavery, and crawford from his wounds at the battle of antietam and again at cold harbor. captain jack -- and by the way, both made these claims and their biographers have questioned these claims as well. as we heard a little earlier. both captain jack and colonel cody served in the civil war, both as privates.
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though jack arguably had a more distinguished service, being wounded in action twice, at the battle of these spotsylvania courthouse and just before the war ended -- he served as chief of scouts during the indian wars, during which both took scouts -- took scalps. both affect did planes stress and appearance -- long, flowing hair, stetson has. both were partners in wild west shows. both used military officer titles in later life. both were authors. both were stage performers. both have their own p optical companies. both were nationally known and acclaimed celebrities during their lives. both had marital problems due in part to continued absences while performing.
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both invested heavily and lost heavily in western mining ventures. both had financial problems through their lives that prevented them from having a comfortable retirement, and it goes on. despite these many similarities, and though jack did achieve national fame during his lifetime, the question remains why buffalo bill fell fame -- buffalo bill's fame persists and captain jack today is my, if at all, primarily for his association with a blow bill? -- with buffalo bill? one of the reasons why this fame eluded captain jack could be due to their physical appearances.
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could be due to their physical appearances. buffalo bill, according to some biographers, was a fairly tall man. above average height, possibly six-foot, 6'1". on the other hand, captain jack was only 5'3/4" tall. he walked with a limp as a result of wounds that he received during the civil war. jack did try to mitigate this by including in his first biography a description, who misleadingly described crawford as a tall, wiry man.
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while captain jack and buffalo bill both appeared on stage together, it was jack joining cody's p optical enterprise, the buffalo bill combination rather than jack creating his own show. jack's stage partnership with buffalo bill at it badly in virginia -- and it badly in virginia city, nevada in 1877 win crawford was playing the part of yellow hand in a combat scene staged and accidentally shot himself in the groin. jack blamed the mishap on cody's drunkenness and quit the show. it's instructive that with contemporary accounts reporting this event, most do not support jack's version of events. after jack recovered, and after ministrations -- the actress prichard here -- who had fainted when she saw the blood spurt from jack's wound -- he decided to continue his acting career, but this time rather with his own acting troupe.
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accordingly he formed the captain jack combination. note the similarity with the buffalo bill combination. and perhaps this choice of name was intended to show the public at large and buffalo bill in particular, the jack could compete on the same level and he was bill's equal. the respective nicknames could also affect public perception. buffalo bill is alliterative and conjures up the romantic image of an american frontier hero. captain jack is rather generic and boring, not to mention it
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was also the name of a notorious indian who was hung for the murder of u.s. army general edward can be. there was also the famous highwayman captain jack immortalized by mark twain in "roughing it." there was also possible confusion with other jacks, such as check for million or, as we saw earlier, texas jack, another frontier scout and actor who was a member of buffalo bill's show, though he predated captain jack in the show. even today, a google search of captain jack will turn up the billy joel song of the same name or disney's captain jack sparrow, and they will turn up more often than jack crawford, the poet-scout, another nickname. and
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adding to the differences between the two is that despite having been bills j, -- bill's protége, and his bitterness seems pettiness and ungrateful, much the same as doc harvard whose legacy is not unlike crawford's. my opinion, there are at least two major differences that can explain it bill's fame and jack's lack thereof.
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the first is bill's ability to promote his image and career. this is known up more popularly as branding. i think we have a panel tomorrow on the people that the -- that bill surrounded himself with. the second and possibly more important is captain jack's view on alcohol and temperance, about which he would take every opportunity to expound upon, including but not limited to his performances on stage, lectures, readings, entertainments, writings, poetry, prose, ad nauseam. buffalo bill had the extraordinarily in strict -- instinct for marketing. not only did he have this ability himself, but he surrounded himself with experts in the field, and he took their advice. jack had no such natural
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instincts and promoted his career more or less alone, acting as his own press agent. buffalo bill played to thousands impact arenas. many times, standing alone. jack performed in front of small audiences. even the shows themselves where different. bill ran acted fantastic adventures -- reenacted fantastic adventures, with native tableaux etc. while jack was considered to be an outstanding performer, his entertainments considered -- consisted of telling stories and reciting often bad poetry. his own. in fact, jack denounced wild -- jack denounced buffalo bills tight governor -- type of information. moving pictures of this kind is illustrated and more vivid doing all kinds of harm. let's compare this with walter scott, who is a perceptive cowboy performer in buffalo bills wild west, who recognized and appreciated bill's abilities
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and adopted quite a few of them to create his own famous and long-lived identity as death valley scotty. for example, scotty staged a fake ambush in an attempt to scare away his investors from becoming -- who were getting too nosy in trying to find out the truth of where the sources of wealth and the mines where. unlike with jack, when this staged gun fight went wrong, it was scotty shooting his brother in the groin rather than himself. [laughter] >> whereupon scotty was out missing a beach -- a beat, turned this mishap to the battle of wingate pass, which received national attention and further
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added to the legend that he was creating. this is how an accidental groin shooting should be handled. [laughter] >> 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, and during his life, he had a bigger photograph of buffalo bill on the wall. it is still there. to bring the story. go, -- to bring the story full circle, buffalo bill hired a scotty impersonator to come out of the audience and ride a bronco. a very good example of a relative marketing abilities between crawford and cody relates to their both taking scouts in the indian wars. buffalo bill recognized his opportunity when he famously took the first scout for custer.
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sorry for the museum people -- this is the scalp that used to be on the slave. he -- cody had the presence of mind to realize this could be presented theatrically on stage. he wore a stage costume so that when he performed, he could portray himself. to me, this begins to blur, if not eradicate, the line between the mythical west and the historical west.
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bill also sent the scouts home to put on public display, probably realizing the advertising benefits of doing so. as a testament to how effective this was, 100 years after these events, when i first visited the buffalo bill museum, the scout was still on -- the scalp was still on display. called yellow hand, the question is to whether it is yellow hair or yellow hand. the museum called it yellow hand back then. when i sought, i marveled at the exhibit -- when i saw it, i marveled at the exhibit. the memory is still firmly entrenched in my mind 40 years later. while jack endeavored to copy bill's taking of the scalp, he failed to capitalize on it. after the battle of slim beauty when captain jack wrote a lengthy description for the omaha daily be, he described his own actions in that battle in the third person.
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your correspondent came near losing his hair on the afternoon of the fight in trying to get to that of an indian. he did get one topknot however, which will be sent to you for inspection. so while both bill and scot -- and jack took scalps, the differences from the time it happened until the end of his life, bill featured it in his stage performances and his wild west later. coincidentally, when jack had shot himself on stage, with jack playing the part of yellow hand in the play.
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jack, on the other hand, also took a scalp but refused to talk about it. in a lengthy article in 1915 that was otherwise favorable to jack, the reporter wrote "nobody ever heard of him on stage or elsewhere admits killing an indian or a white man, even in open battle." in this article, it says "too many who are looking for the real's thrills of stories of the famous indian fights in which captain jack has taken part, this is the cause of a feeling of disappointment, a feeling that they are not quite up to expectations. even as vivid and as interesting as they are." while we look at that as being somewhat negative, jack looked up at as being a complement. he used that article and advertising pamphlets for his talks. you can imagine, someone wanting to experience the thrills of battle. because jack did participate, he was in the wars. he did these things in real life. he would talk about them but when he what -- would get to the part about killing an indian, it would be fade out, he would not mention it, would not talk about it.
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so people were left wanting more. disappointed. jack not wanting to speak about this undoubtedly shaped the public's perception of him. captain jack's biographer wrote "nowhere are there any accounts of any specific heroic acts that crawford performed, rather he seemed to have been a recorder of the adventures of others." biographer noland acknowledges jack's one moment of public glory, where the first biographer of jack lee ervine tells a singular act, he calls it a singular act of bravery, specifically when jack carried the new york account of the battle of slim buttes to fort laramie in less than four days.
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later, a biographer describes crawford as having played a major role in the battle of slim buttes. while exciting, dangerous, and noteworthy, jack's actions are hardly the stuff of legend. unfortunately for jack, his extensive indian war experience and heroism still could not compete with the 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 his popular book "campaigning with crook," his opinion of jack and bill sings into with that of the general public at large. when he describes buffalo bill as a beautiful horseman and unrivaled shot and as a scout, unequaled.
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he goes on to compare the various scouts who had scouted for the fifth we had tried them all, california joe, bill hitchcock, crooks favorite frank, and we listened to captain jack's rhymes. they were all good men. bill cody was the paragon. very important example of his inability to promote himself occurred when he joined the alaska old rush. this was -- gold rush. this should have set him apart from buffalo bill. he did not have a comparable experience. it was events that captured the world's attention for several years. unlike most other performers and personalities, captain jack was nationally famous as an
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entertainer, army scout, established poet, and author before he went to alaska. numerous participants became famous with the result of their alaskan experiences. jack london, robert service, said grauman, klondike eight, scrooge mcduck, and many others. [laughter] >> though he tried, jack failed to capitalize on his time in alaska, once again due to his lack of effective self-promotion, and because his constant sermonizing on temperance both on stage and in print. for example, when he reached lake bennett at the beginning of may in 19 -- 1898, crawford made the acquaintance of sanyo -- of daniel, the superintendent of the police. he wrote that jack entertained those present with stories of the indian -- of the indian wars and his exploits with wild bill hickok.
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jack is in this picture, that is him right there. you can see this is the type of room he would play in. these were the types of audiences he would be entertaining. this is a more formal dinner, but compare this to the outside show arena. in alaska, he wrote an autobiography all -- autobiography play, in which he promoted himself from captain to
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colonel, and in here we can see in his copy of the play which did get performed, that he said that most of the klondike part was true. his verse may appear bad to some, maybe he was ahead of his time. if we examine the dialogue of the jock wallace character at the end of act two, it sounds as though it could be a modern-day rap song. all right, mr. lowell, i will give you a show, i want you to know, before you can grow, at any overthrow, now give it a go, giving blow for blow. that is the motto of captain? -- of captain jack o. [laughter] >> toward the end of his life, he did try to capitalize. buffalo bill did a movie. it was produced. jack tried to have a story of his life, captain jack crawford story.
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again, it see in the promotional material to get it finance, it would make a strong temperance feature if directed with that point in view. it should be in demand by churches, schools, and all organizations. needless to say, it did not. he was toasting with a glass of water -- and this was a problem. people do not care about him. my good friends grandmother was born in italy in the late 19 century, when she was an old lady, i mentioned buffalo bill to her. she did not speak english. her eyes lit up. not only did she know who she was -- who he was, she remembered seeing his show. captain jack's entry may sum it up best. his work as a scout was highly praised by his commanders.
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his verses, though popular in his day, can by no stretch of courtesy be called poetry. [laughter] >> even captain jack's biographer was forced to admit captain jack is no buffalo bill. [laughter] [applause] >> thank you, robert. what is our time looking like? >> eight minutes for questions. >> eight minutes for questions if you have any questions? lunch is next, i can hear the rumbling. can we bring the lights up a little bit?
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>> my question is for robert. i am 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 movements of the 19th century. and the air around the turn of the century could arguably, with the wctu and other organizations like that, be seen as one of the high points in temperance. it seems like there was a market for temperance oriented entertainment. could you explain that some more? >> sure. my feeling is that the american
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public, when they are visualizing frontier heroes, temperance does not fit in with that idea. so i think that is what hurt his image. again, during his day, he was nationally known. he was famous. he spoke to boy scout troops, a very well-known and very well-liked, in demand. it did not pay a lot of money. you put on a wild west show, you rake in tens of thousands of dollars. you do a temperance talk, you make $50. so that is where i was going on that. that was my feeling. >> this question is for jess. speaking of temperance, thank you for that. this goes into my question. correct me if i am wrong, but
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the battle of summit to springs is where he met buffalo bill and turned him into a star. >> actually, the battle was on july 11 -- on july 12 they left. in four days, they got to four to mcpherson. bunch line was there. so he was hearing the reports of the fight. actually, raising the issue that it was about wild bill hickok, is good grounds to dismiss it. wild bill hickok was not around at that time. cody was the talk of the town, so to speak, with what he had accomplished in that expedition. net but line had him to talk to. it was at fort mcpherson they met.
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then he did his publication. >> that goes into the meat of my question which is, in various accounts of that encounter between cody and jensen, it is always said, or sometimes said, that was it lieutenant north at that time? i don't member his rank at that time. but he did not want to talk about it. he did not want to talk about the things that happened at summit springs. because he was reticent to do that, jensen spoke with cody instead. i'm wonder -- i wonder if north did not want to talk to this guy who was rolled in from california, or -- >> i would take it that -- this is before cody's fame. he has one focus and that is to do his job well. now, all of a sudden, he is getting a correspondent and he sees potential for that. i think it was more out of shyness to talk about himself than it was what you are suggesting. >> thank you.
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>> in the back? >> hey, jeff. i had a comment for you about your presentation. i just wanted to say that i felt a little bit discouraged from but one indigenous perspective, i felt like you were focused on trying to point out every single act of violence on the part of the dog soldiers. people who work within their territories and had justified reasons for action during that time. i felt like you were very preoccupied with the actions against women and children without going into a balanced
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perspective and talking about the atrocities i do not care to mention at sand creek that were perpetuated by soldiers. and also the things that the seventh calvary did and their massacre of women and children and the capture of those women, and the accounts of the soldiers raping them. i just want to say as you move forward and start working on this book, i think it would serve all of us in history and research if you consult with some contemporary cheyenne people that are still going on. and get those accounts. and start listening to the other side of those stories. that is all i have to say. >> i appreciate that. a 20 minute presentation is very hard to get both sides of it, to give an account on. the one thing i would correct, there was no massacre at the washita. there was a massacre at sand creek. my great rate algal -- great-great uncle was there. i have studied the incidents that have led up to that. there is a lot in that.
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it is a lot of power in that. you have good insight and wisdom. if i complete this study on this, there needs to be a balancing out of the indian side of it, not just an emphasizing of the violent -- violence. i appreciate that. >> i would like to add one point to that that ties in with what i wanted to talk about. captain jack actually specifically would not talk about killing indians. he detested it. he said anybody that talked about it was promoting bad things.
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i think that is one reason why he is not known as much today because we are talking 100 and something years ago. the norms of society were different. that is why when i had that picture of the scalp, that has not been on display in the museum for a long time. we are moving away from that. we are trying to do that. history will as well. >> we have time for one more question. >> in relation to susanna springs, i think it is worth mentioning that in jeff's good book, it is one of the few studies on that period of conflict. it attempts to give an account of the cheyenne voices in relation to that period. and in the section that is specifically about that fight, it does make the point that the cheyenne people, the majority of their stories, and about what happened in that fight, relate to the actions of the pawnees, rather than the whites.
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in one of his letters, it does suggest that one was killed by an unnamed poni dash -- pawnee. that is the story that has always been maintained in their family. i think jeff's account of that fight is one of the best that i have read. it emphasizes the strong oral tradition among the cheyenne.
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it also recognizes the fact that in cody's autobiography, he is the only person who gives him an account of the killing of tall bill that names three of the four people who are sometimes suspected of being the culprit in the killing. i do think -- having read his work, i think it was worth pointing out that there is a genuine attempt to bring the cheyenne perspective into what he writes when he has the opportunity to write. >> thank you. i can add one other thing. this shows you the times. in cars report, the aftermath of the summit springs, following the orders, i went to collect these goals the next morning of all the dead warriors. but i was unable to find a single one because the poni had pulverized them all -- the pawnee had pulverized them all.
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in 1868, he sent out an order to all of the forts that every surgeon will collect indian dead skulls, no matter age, sex -- age or sex. they will clean them and's -- 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 schools. thank darwin in 1850 in the origin of species. you will understand what the culture was like back then. >> professor warren? [indiscernible] >> i am louis warren. my reading of the reviews of the stage play, the red right hand, so forth, where cody shows the scalp that he has taken, that works some -- in some places and
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a decidedly does not in others. he puts it away when it is not. in boston, it is unpopular. it is going to the low far. it works in the arena, but there i do not think he is showing the real scalp. in the arena, you are far enough away and it is embedded in this much grander story of western conquest, where there is a lot of violence going on. he does repeat it in the arena in that sense. it is one of those moments in his career where he is good at publicizing it, when it helps. but when it doesn't, he puts it away. i think crawford goes the other direction and says he is not going to pursue that kind of violent presentation. crawford makes all those kinds of arguments about how this would be really bad, it is morally wrong, and corrupting of rung -- of young people in the audience to show this kind of thing. cody was sensitive to those kinds of critiques.
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he was really good at deciding when and where it would work and playing it well. the arguments we are having today about these events and their moral meeting -- meaning, our arguments people were having at the time. these arguments have gone on a long time and they have to, and they do need a balance. they need voices from all sides. i think that is important. i just wanted to thank the panelists as well, this is excellent. >> thank you, a round of applause for our chair, paul hutton, and our speakers. [laughter] >> we have a facebook question from peter. he says, are there any historical resources on the people who died in detroit? [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> tonight, here's about
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overpopulation. >> pollution is a good one. oil,newable resources, gasoline. overshadows was the process of global famine >> sunday on the presidency, the friendship between hoover and truman. overlook the to fact that they both have roots in farming communities, they hadn't known economic hardships and self-reliance, they were transformed by world war i and they lived in the shadow of franklin d. roosevelt. >> monday, the 1967 detroit riots. >> we prefer to think about it like a rebellion. all the energy and anger and activism that went into that
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moment had long been predicted. people had been begging for some remedy for the housing discrimination and the police brutality. that frustration cannot be understood as just chaotic and incoherent. >> three-day labor day weekend on american history tv on c-span3. long, american history tv is showcasing the history of spokane, washington. to learn more, visit we continue with our look at the history of spokane. right from the get go, was immediately behind the development of aviation, commercially and militarily.


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