Pawnee Bill's Autographed Hat
West showman Gordon William "Pawnee Bill" Lillie was born the eldest of four
children on February 14, 1860, in Bloomington, Illinois. After their mill
burned in Illinois, the Lillie family relocated near Wellington, Kansas, to
reestablish their business. There in 1875 Lillie started his life-long
relationship with the Pawnee people, who were wintering near Wellington during
their removal to the vicinity of Pawnee, Oklahoma.
Lillie made his way
into Indian Territory while working as a trapper with "Trapper Tom" McClain's
outfit, waiting tables, and working as a cowboy. He served as a teacher at the
Pawnee agency and was also appointed as interpreter and secretary to Maj. Edward
Bowman, U.S. Indian agent. During this time he became known as "Pawnee Bill."
In 1883 he was
recruited to help coordinate the efforts of the Pawnee troupe in the first-ever
Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West show. While traveling with the show in
Philadelphia, Gordon met May Manning, a fifteen-year-old Quaker girl who was
watching the parade. Gordon courted her for two years, and they married on
August 31, 1886. Manning's family urged Lillie to create his own Wild West show,
and in 1888 he began touring the country with "Pawnee Bill's Wild West." That
season the show proved to be a financial failure.
In that same year, four
years after the death of David Payne, Pawnee Bill was named leader of the Boomer
Movement, a group dedicated to the opening of Oklahoma's Unassigned Lands to
white settlement. He led a group of four thousand in the Land Run of April 22,
the center of present Kingfisher County. His involvement in the opening of the
Unassigned Lands brought Pawnee Bill into the national spotlight, and he
reestablished a successful Wild West show called "Pawnee Bill's Historical Wild
West, Indian Museum and Encampment," which traveled the United States and
Europe, starring May Lillie as the Champion Horseback Shot of the West. In 1908
he joined forces with Buffalo Bill Cody, forming "Buffalo Bill's Wild West and
Pawnee Bill's Great Far East," a Wild West show that had no equal at that time
at left: Gordon N. Lillie
"Pawnee Bill" and May Lillie celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in Taos,
New Mexico. This photograph was taken on August 31st, 1936. Just a few weeks later, Gordon and May attended a local celebration in Tulsa,
Oklahoma. While driving back to their ranch that night Gordon lost control of
their vehicle. May died on September 17, 1936 as a result of injuries sustained
in the accident. Pawnee Bill died in his sleep on February 3, 1942. He was 81.
is thought to be the nickname for Harry Bock, an extremely important
figure in Maj. Lillie's life - his signature
appears 3 times on the hat and is the only
signature on the underside. Also known as "Buckskin Harry," cowboy
performer in Pawnee Bill's Wild West show and master mechanic for the traveling
company during the early 1900s. Bock also designed and oversaw construction of
Pawnee Bill's home in Pawnee, Oklahoma. After leaving the Wild West show, Bock
became a Baptist missionary to the Pawnee and Osage Indians in Oklahoma. By
1934, Bock was serving as a minister in Eagle Bridge, New York. Letters from
Major Lillie show his invitation to "Bokey" to attend the 1933-34 World's Fair
in Chicago and a request for him to build wagons (Prairie Schooners) for the
event. In a curious coincidence of events, Harry Bock and his wife were
killed in an automobile accident on their way home from an event in 1940.
Tex Kennedy was a well-known figure in
Cody, Wyoming in the 1930's. Mr. Kennedy purchased the Goff Creek Lodge
near Yellowstone, established as a hunting lodge in 1906 by good friend to
President Teddy Roosevelt, John Goff and ran it as a hunting and fishing
commercial lodge until June of 1936, when he sold it to the Prante family in
exchange for a bar in Cody and some additional cash. "Tex" was
Assistant State Game Warden in Wyoming and was issued the first resort permit on
the North Fork in 1929. Kennedy's Game Lodge is still in operation
under the name "Creekside Lodge at Yellowstone". Presumably he would have
been an acquaintance of Buffalo Bill's and thereby known to Pawnee Bill and May
Lillie. Peg Kennedy was his wife.
Joe Newell Jr. was the father of Joseph
Newell pictured here with his mother (wife of Joe Newell Jr.) in the 1950's in
the Cody Bar at the Irma Hotel - established by Buffalo Bill Cody.
Margaret Beauchamp Meeting was born in
Walters, Oklahoma. She was married to Paul Henry Meeting. More information is
Bob Crosby, Nicknamed Wild Horse Bob,
King of the Cowboys, was the World All-Around Steer Roping Champion Steer Roper
for 1925, 1927-28 and the permanent holder of the Roosevelt Trophy. He was
once told after his leg was injured by a bucking horse, that doctors would have
to amputate. He had friends smuggle him out of the hospital and back to his
ranch. After several weeks of home therapy he competed in a rodeo at Clovis, New
Mexico and won $10,000. He was inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame of the
Rodeo Historical Society, a support group of the National Cowboy and Western
Heritage Museum in 1966. Later in life, he owned a chain of sorbet ice
cream parlors in Arizona and the Green Lantern Saloon in Roswell, New Mexico.
Facing a bank foreclosure in 1920, he traveled
to New York City to compete in rodeos at Yankee Stadium and Madison Square
Garden. A few weeks later he returned to his homestead in New Mexico with almost
$3,000 in prize money. More than enough to satisfy the bank.
Sito Candelario's "Original Old Curio Store," 201 West San Francisco Street in
Santa Fe is on the list of Historic Santa Fe Foundation's list of Resources
Worthy of Preservation. Still remembered as Santa Fe's Greatest Salesman.
He lived in Santa Fe between 1864 and 1938. The famous proprietor of the
Old Curio Store on San Francisco Street in Santa Fe was adept and successful at
self-proclaiming his fame, world-wide. Many articles have been written
about him in various publications, including fairly recently in the New Mexico
Magazine, La Herencia and El Palacio. He was a humorist and a kidder, and -- in
his time -- the greatest and most successful salesman in the southwest. U.S.
presidents, vice-presidents and a Canadian minister were guests in his home.
A resurgence of interest in Sito Candelario began in 2000 because of an art show
of his grandson, John S. Candelario, raised by Sito and Estefanita. The Museum
of Santa Fe had a posthumous showing of John's vintage photography -- In His
Native Land -- that ran from
September 15, 2000 through May 20, 2001.
Junior Hendershot may be the "Ed
Hendershot" that is referred to in the 1935 Season of the Tom Mix Circus and
Wild West Show, where he is on the roster as stock manager - in charge of the
feeding, housing, training and transportation of the Show's horses.
Both of these signatories (Bill Payton?
and Carl Regerter) list their home as the South Fork Inn, Buffalo, Wyoming.
Buffalo Wyoming is in the Big Horn Mountains, a resort area boasting world-class
hunting, fishing and rodeos.
Robinson Show - of 1912, lists a John Boyd as Trainmaster for the Show -
others employed were: Fred Buchanan, prop. and mgr.; Vernon Reaver, treas.;
June Smith, auditor; George F. Meighan, general agent; W. H. Quinnette,
railroad contractor; W. A. Rainey, local contractor; Ora Hoffman, advance
press agent; J. Delmar Andrews, press agent back with show; Chas. Sweeney,
equestrian director; Ross Ashcraft, general supt.; Tom Cr??, supt.
privileges; Thos. Stout/Stont(?), musical director; Harvey Hale, supt.
reserved seat tickets; Chas. Kelly, supt. canvas; John Boyd, trainmaster;
Harry Gray, boss hostler; W. H. Hundley, supt. commissary dept.; Orville
Spoer, supt. lights; Red Casey, supt. properties; Dad Stanley, supt. ring
stock; George Johnson, twenty-four agent; Soldier Johnson, supt. elephants;
Frank Stearns, mgr. advertising car No. 1; George McNabe, mgr. advertising
car No. 2; Wm. Rodden, legal adjuster.
Wayne Walk of Montana and Jacob?/Jack?
Walk of Pennsylvania both signed the hat. Considering the obscurity of the
surname, one assumes they were related, though living in different states at the
time. More information is being sought.
More information will be added as the research continues.
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Pawnee Bill's Autographed
Hat/ Item #UA1041 / SOLD
Feedback from the buyer of this hat:
"The hat arrived on time and as advertised. It will be eventually
be donated to a museum in Oklahoma"