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Signatures on Pawnee Bill's Autographed Hat

World-renowned Wild 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, 1889, into 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

Photograph 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.

"Bokey" 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 the 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 being sought.

 

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.

Jesus 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. 

Yankee 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"

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Updated: Saturday July 05, 2014

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