While traveling in southern Oklahoma this week I learned of a celebration coming up on Oct. 21 to mark an event that time has forgotten. This event started 150 years ago when, as you can imagine, things were quite a bit different. Up north on the 13th of May, a band of rogue Indians called Dog Soldiers were fighting the U.S. Calvary at a place called Elephant Rock, Kan. It turned into a running chase that covered over 200 miles till they caught up with the band at Summit Springs.
The Civil War was over and a growing demand for good steaks on the east coast would help tame the Wild West. Texas longhorns were being driven by the thousands along trails that led to the stockyards in Kansas and one of the most legendary was the Chisholm Trail. From Kansas the railroads would haul the cattle east. This journey made folks like Jesse Chisholm famous and folks it’s the history of the Chisholm Trail that will honored on Oct. 21 right alongside a portion of the original trail. I plan on attending several of the festivities in Yukon during that week and will bring you a full report.
There’s another story from the same era that we should all remember as well. Born on Feb. 26, 1845, on an Iowa farm the boy spent seven years there before moving with his family to Fort Leavenworth, Kan. According to his authorized biography, he was already proficient in riding and he had an overwhelming drive to go into the far regions of what was then a new part of our country. As a boy he crossed the plains by wagon train to California not once but twice. He worked for people like the renowned Will Bill Hickok and Kit Carson before becoming a scout for the Calvary himself. He hunted buffalo when they roamed the plains in herds of thousands and when he saw that they were coming close to extinction he created a sanctuary to preserve them. He also herded cattle up the same trails that Oklahomans will be celebrating in two weeks, sometimes leading wagon trains west along those trails. A pony express rider, an Army scout and even a gold prospector during the gold rush, eventually he became an actor and a showman. In his later years he had his own Wild West Show and toured the world. In his day he was extremely famous for a battle with the Indian leader “Yellow Hand” and several movies were made about their encounter.
He died in 1917 and according to his wishes his body was buried on Lookout Mountain which sits just 30 minutes outside of Denver, Colo. I recently returned from that area and seeing his grave along with the museum that is on the same property gives you an idea of how important he was. Yes, the life of William F. Cody, or Buffalo Bill as he is commonly known, is an important piece of history we should never forget.
Till next time I’ll see ya down the road …
Contact Dale Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org.