Commemorating Cody

Cody Family ExhibitCommemorating Cody

Once again Leavenworth will celebrate Buffalo Bill Cody Days this September 14th & 15th , in bringing back the good ole’ days when the whole town paid tribute to Cody as its native son. 2011 was the first year marking the return of BBC Days, since back in the mid-1980s, when the festivities fizzled out, after a twenty-five year run. While many longtime residents are aware of the Cody presence in Leavenworth County way back in the day, most folks are surprised when they learn of it. While not actually born here, William F. Cody came to Leavenworth County with his family, in 1854, at the age of 8. Settling in the beautiful Salt Creek Valley, Cody’s father, Isaac provided hay for Fort Leavenworth and traded with the Indians. Isaac Cody was accepted as “sound on the goose” because he was known as the brother of slaveholding Elijah Cody, over in Missouri. However, Isaac’s true stand on slavery was soon revealed when persuaded to speak before a crowd gathered at Riveley’s Tavern in the Valley. The stab wound he received as a consequence would later label him as the first casualty of “Bleeding Kansas”. For the next two years the Cody family became targets for violence from the pro-slavery faction. Isaac consequently founded “Grasshopper Falls” (present day Valley Falls) and to avoid being murdered, was only able to make periodic visits to his family in the Salt Creek Valley. Mrs. Mary Cody was insistent that she would not be run off her property by what were known then as the “Kickapoo Rangers”, who relentlessly tormented the family by stealing their livestock and burning their hay. When Isaac died in 1857, life became even more of a struggle for the family. Mary began renting rooms in the family home in order to bring in money. Bill’s older sister, Julia milked the cows and tended the farm . Bill became an oxen driver for a neighbor who sold hay in Leavenworth, earning a salary he then turned over to his mother. Thus began the career of William F. Cody. As is the custom, the Leavenworth County Historical Society will offer a special Cody family exhibit at the Carroll Mansion Museum. A couple of years ago, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Cody’s last Wild West Show in Leavenworth, a booklet about the Cody family in Leavenworth County was offered for sale at the museum.. This has been reprinted and is available in the museum gift shop. So, come by the museum at 1128 Fifth Avenue and learn more about the Cody family in Leavenworth County! Visit us on the web: http://www.leavenworthhistory.org

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August 27, 2013 · 10:39 pm

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