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26th February, 1846
On this day William Frederick ("Buffalo Bill") Cody was born near LeClaire in the Iowa Territory; his parents Isaac and Mary Cody were Canadian Quakers that could scarely have imagined such a colourful career for their newborn son - decorated Civil War hero, bison hunter and of course the ultimate platform for showmanship, that of US President.
Cody earned his most popular nickname after the American Civil War by slaughtering four thousand two hundred American bison to service a contract to supply Kansas Pacific Railroad workers with buffalo meat.
But more significant was the Indian name of "Long Hair" a mark of respect that was earned at a time when Indians were facing the very real possibility of their own slaughter. Because at the age of just twelve he was captured by Sioux Indians. Fearing for his life, was released by Chief Rain-in-the-Face creating a special connection that he would sustain throughout his long life.
Hoping to exploit this connection, General Nelson A. Miles called on Cody to go to the Standing Rock Reservation and meet with Sitting Bull in the autumn of 1890. He was met en route by a military courier who carried instructions from President Benjamin Harrison personally ordering him to step down from General Miles' assignment to capture Sitting Bull1. Neither Miles or Harrison understood that Cody shared a profound sense of destiny with the Indians because he blatantly ignored the orders and negotated the surrender of the Lakotah leader.
Later in that decade he moved to Wyoming. Blessed by destiny, successful investments in the water irrigation business provided him with the funding for a race for the Presidency in 1904. In that campaign, he was matched for showmanship and charisma by the incumbent Vice President, Teddy Roosevelt but managed to pull off a narrow victory in the polls. And set about finally answering that call of destiny and repaying his debt to Chief Rain-in-the-Face by seeking justice for the plains Indians.