Stephenson Tales

Dad Meets Buffalo Bill

When Chandler Worth Stephenson asked Laura Alice Hathaway's father for the hand of his daughter in marriage, the gentleman stated unequivocally that his daughter was going to marry ONLY a Methodist minister.

So Chandler became one.

He married Laura.

They had three sons and a daughter. When their son, Orlando, was a little boy his father asked him one day, in a rare show of paternal interest and affection, if he would like to go see Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Of course! So they went to the huge tent where Buffalo Bill put on his show. This was probably about or very soon after 1884, which is the year when Annie Oakley joined the company as "Little Sure Shot."

After the show Orlando's father said to him, "Would you like to meet Buffalo Bill?"

Enthusiasm reigned! When Cody saw Chandler Stephenson he shouted, "Why Chandler! You old...(?) How great to see you!"

Orlando was introduced to the Great Man who then turned away and shouted, "Hey Annie! Come over here. I want you to meet a fellow who can shoot as well as you can!"

Of course the little boy was completely dazzled and only after probing questions did he learn the story: Chandler had been with Buffalo Bill in the earliest days of clearing the land and starting on what was to become the first continental railroad. Part of his job was to shoot buffalo (along with Cody) to feed the workmen as they progressed across the country. By the way, their favorite "cut" of the bison was the tongue! It was from this life that he had gone into the ministry so he could marry the lady of his choice.

He had never talked about his former life as a cowboy, or bragged about his marksmanship, so these revelations made an indelible impression on the mind of little "Oie," as he was always called. In his old age Dad used to tell this story with great relish as he recreated the memorable event in his mind.

Dad also told one more fact about Buffalo Bill, who was very proud of his long mane of white hair. One day, as he was walking beside the cars of the show's railway carriers, one of the men spit a mouthful of tobacco juice through the open window and the brown mucous mess landed on the crowning feature of the Great Man. The next day a notice appeared in all the passenger cars which carried the troupe of performers:

"It is forbidden to spit on
the head of William F. Cody"

Composed 23 November 2008; Transcribed by Lucky

P.S from Jim Bob: There is also a great one-liner about Annie Oakley. Later, when someone asked Chandler if he thought she was pretty, he considered the question for a while and finally said, "She had nice ankles."

© Jim Bob Stephenson 2008

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