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Buffalo Bill
William Frederick Cody

(1846-02-26)February 26, 1846
near Le Claire, Iowa, U.S.
Died January 10, 1917(1917-01-10) (aged 70)
Cause of death Kidney failure
Resting place Lookout Mountain, Golden, Colorado
Other names Buffalo Bill Cody
Occupation Army scout, Pony Express rider, ranch hand, wagon train driver, buffalo hunter, fur trapper, gold prospector, showman
Known for Buffalo Bill Wild West shows which provided education and entertainment about bronco riding, handling bovine and equine livestock, roping, and other herdsmen skills seen in present day rodeos
Louisa Frederici (1843–1921) (m. 1866–1917)
  • Arta Cody (1866-1904)
  • Kit Carson Cody (1870-1876)
  • Orra Maude Cody (1872-1883)
  • Irma Louisa Cody Garlow (1883-1918)
Kit died of scarlet fever in April 1876, and his daughter Orra died in 1883
  • Isaac Cody
  • Mary Ann Bosnell Laycock Cody
Awards Medal of Honor
Buffalo Bill Cody signature.svg

William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody (February 26, 1846 – January 10, 1917) was an American soldier, bison hunter and showman.

Early life

Cody was born on February 26, 1846, on a farm just outside Le Claire, Iowa. His father, Isaac Cody, was born on September 5, 1811, in Toronto Township, Upper Canada, now part of Mississauga, Ontario, directly west of Toronto. Mary Ann Bonsell Laycock, Bill's mother, was born about 1817 in Trenton, New Jersey.

In 1853, Isaac Cody sold his land in rural Scott County, Iowa, for $2000 (around $68,000 in today's money) and the family moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Territory.

Isaac Cody was against slavery. In Kansas, the family was frequently persecuted by pro-slavery supporters. He died in April 1857.

After his death, the family suffered financially. At age 11, Bill took a job with a freight carrier as a "boy extra". On horseback he would ride up and down the length of a wagon train and deliver messages between the drivers and workmen. Next, he joined Johnston's Army as an unofficial member of the scouts assigned to guide the United States Army to Utah, to put down a rumored rebellion by the Mormon population of Salt Lake City.


Buffalo Bill started working at the age of eleven after his father's death. He became a rider for the Pony Express at age 14. During the American Civil War, he served from 1863 to the end of the war in 1865. Later he served as a civilian scout to the US Army during the Indian Wars, receiving the Medal of Honor in 1872.

One of the most colorful figures of the American Old West, Buffalo Bill became famous for the Wild West shows he organized with cowboy themes, which he toured in Great Britain and Europe as well as the United States.


Cody died of kidney failure on January 10, 1917, surrounded by family and friends at his sister's house in Denver. Cody was baptized into the Catholic Church the day before his death by Father Christopher Walsh of the Denver Cathedral.

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