The Buffalo Bill Cody Connection!

By Evelyn Goble Steen

Many of you know the story of Buffalo Bill Cody, but do you know how it relates to the Goble family history?

The Kansas homestead of William H. "Harrison" (8) Goble in Salt Creek Valley, Kickapoo was settled in 1855. The farm bordered the property of Isaac Cody. Harrison and his wife Lydia had eleven children who went to Salt Creek Valley School as did the Cody children. One of the Goble boys was Stephen H. H. (9) Goble, called Steve. Isaac Cody's son was William Cody, called Willie. Steve and Willie were friends, at times, and at other times were interested in the same girl and at odds with each other.

One day while at school Steve and Willie got into an argument. The next day Willie brought a knife to school in his boot. When the class went out for recess Steve and Willie began to fight again. Steve said Willie knocked off his hat. Willie said Steve kicked over his girl's playhouse. As they struggled, Willie pulled out the knife and stabbed Steve in the leg. It was a sizable wound and there was a lot of blood. Willie was scared and believed he had killed Steve. He ran into the nearby hills where he knew a wagon train was staying.

The Sheriff and Harrison Goble rode into the hills looking for Willie. They came upon the wagon train, but were told Willie wasn't there. Willie joined the wagon train and after saying good-by to his mother and sister, headed west.

Willie served in the Army briefly during the Civil War, as did Steve, as a buffalo hunter. He was very proficient at this task and was given the name "Buffalo Bill" when he supplied buffalo meat for the workers on the Kansas Pacific Railroad in 1867-68. In 1883 he organized his famous Wild West show and returned to Kansas many times. It's said that he became friendly with the Gobles after the incident and asked about Steve many times.

Steve, of course, survived the attack and told the story many times to his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Steve (9) Goble died in 1930 in Kansas.

The following is an article from a Leavenworth newspaper prior to one of Buffalo Bill's appearances:


As handbills throughout the city attest, the citizens of Leavenworth will soon have the opportunity to share the thrills of the "Wild Bill" Hickok show in which our own William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody will be one of the star attractions.

Our readers will recall that in an earlier discussion of Mr. Cody, we considered him "too good for banning from local history - and not quite good enough to be unreservedly blessed."

Mr. Cody was born in Iowa in 1843 but came to Leavenworth with his family when he was about 10 years old. The family lived on a farm in Salt Creek Valley where he was exposed to undue violence at a very tender age. At the age of only 13, he was present at a fight in front of a country store near Leavenworth where his father received a serious knife wound defending his Free-state principles. Four months later he died of the kidney wound and was buried on Pilot Knob.

There is written evidence that Mr. Cody was responsible for the death of a Mr. Hugh Hall, a dashing and handsome fellow from Leavenworth. Mr. Hall was shot with a Colt revolver by Billy in a duel as they fought over the love of one Nannie Vennor, a daughter of a farmer residing hear the Cody homestead.

Even Mr. Cody's second love affair is tainted with violence. He courted Mollie Hyatt, whose parents were well-to-do settlers in this area. In defense of the pride of the coy lass, Billy tangled with Steve Gobel and before it was done, Gobel was stabbed in the side with a pocket knife. Fearing he had killed his foe, Billy fled Leavenworth and joined a wagon train headed west to Ft. Kearney.

He later learned that Gobel had suffered only a flesh wound - but continued on his reckless ways, earning the nickname "Buffalo Billy" and became proficient, it is said, at the scalping of an occasional "injun" to save his own skin.

It wasn't until 1886 that Mr. Cody married Louise Frederici of Missouri and returned with his bride to Leavenworth where his daughter, Arta, was born. Since that time he's participated in many other pursuits including being a scout, a Pony Express rider, and a supplier of buffalo meat for crews of the Kansas Pacific Railroad.

Thus we urge parents, who permit impressionable children to see this show to provide sufficient guidance that they might not be led astray by Mr. Cody's so-called romantic exploits.


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Copyright © 1996-1997 by Evelyn Goble Steen, All Rights Reserved
This page last updated on December 7, 1998
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