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ref: Masonic Source Book

Buffalo Bill Cody


Mason and Frontiersman

Buffalo Bill Cody was born in LeClaire, Iowa, on February 26, 1846, but his family moved to Leavenworth, Kansas when he was still young. By age fourteen he already had a job as a rider for the Pony Express, and joined the 9th Kansas Cavalry by the time he turned seventeen.

Three years later he married Louisa Frederici in St. Louis, but by then he was working as a scout providing buffalo meat for soldiers and railroad workers. That meant he was constantly on the move, but she had a lot of patience and managed to make the marriage work.

Buffalo Bill in Masonry and on Stage

At age 24 Buffalo Bill, as he was now known, became a Master Mason at Platte Valley Lodge No. 32 in Nebraska. Two years later his life changed dramatically when he traveled to New York to see himself portrayed in a stage play, then agreed to go onstage himself. From that point onward he began dividing his time between working on the plains and acting on stages all along the East coast.

Buffalo Bill founded his Wild West Show in 1883 and became a household name. While enjoying this life, he went on in Masonry to work his way through Royal Arch and the other York Rite degrees, culminating in his being dubbed a Knight Templar. He followed that by joining the Shriners, then rising through the 32 degrees of Scottish Rite. Clearly he reveled in being a Mason in every way he could.

Buffalo Bill's Masonic Funeral

After a long and active life, Buffalo Bill passed away on the 10th of January, 1917. The Masonic funeral service that was held for him on Lookout Mountain in Colorado drew 15,000 people. That is believed to be the largest such service ever to be held in America.

 


 

 

 


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