Over the years, Betty Ludwig has often portrayed a Harvey Girl or Ida Stover Eisenhower, Dwight’s mother, to audiences around Leavenworth. But, on Saturday, August 16th, she will be visiting the Carroll Mansion Museum at 1128 Fifth Avenue, as Julia Cody Goodman, one of the sisters of William F. Cody.
The year is 1926 and Julia is on her way to visit her son in Hawaii, first stopping in Leavenworth to call on old friends and acquaintances. This long-awaited portrayal will be a recollection of the days when the Cody family resided on what is known as Cody Hill in Leavenworth County. William F. Cody had four older sisters, two of whom wrote about their younger brother who eventually became internationally known as Buffalo Bill Cody.
The Codys were early settlers in the Salt Creek Valley and weathered the days of Bleeding Kansas. Mrs. Mary Cody was determined not to be driven off their land in pre-Civil War days, when her husband, Isaac was stabbed by a Kickapoo Ranger as he voiced his anti-slavery sentiments. The duties of farm chores, caring for their parents and the running of the Cody tavern and hotel, while young Bill was out finding whatever jobs he could to help support the family, often fell to Julia and her sisters.
But Julia would fondly remember the white-covered prairie schooners moving across the Salt Creek Valley like “land locked sail boats”, stagecoaches pulling six Missouri mules with eight heavily-armed men on each, and the view of the expansive valley they had from atop their “hill”.
Julia attended school briefly in Leavenworth and became friends with Molly Delahay, daughter of the famed lawyer who brought Abe Lincoln to speak in Leavenworth in 1859, prior to his election as United States President.
Described as “a beautiful young girl with flashing brown eyes and perfect peaches and cream complexion,” Julia attracted even the likes of Bill Hickok, well before he became “Wild Bill”. But, it was Al Goodman, a farmer in Kickapoo Township, she would marry and raise a large family with. They made their home here and in the Valley Falls area to later manage her father’s “Scout’s Rest Ranch” in North Platte, Nebraska.
The Saturday presentation is free and open to the public and scheduled for 10:30 am, August 16. A small Cody Family exhibit will be available for viewing and “The Cody Family in Leavenworth County” book for sale in the gift shop. Seating is limited. For more information, contact the museum at 682-7759 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org