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Specialty Acts/1875 May 24
Unknown if the Buffalo Bill reference is true.
Cody was a scout for the 5th cavalry from 1868 to 1872, and in 1876. His Wild West Show didn't begin until 1883.
Born in the Iowa Territory, he was baptized as William Cody in the Dixie Union Chapel in Peel County (present-day Peel Region), Ontario, Canada in 1847, not far from his family's farm. His parents Isaac and Mary Cody were Canadians. The Chapel was built with Cody money and the land was donated by Philip Cody of Toronto Township. The Cody family were originally Quakers and opposed to slavery. They had emigrated from the United States with other Quaker families from Vermont, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, shortly before or after the Revolutionary War, when slavery was still legal in those states, to buy land and farm in York, Peel, and Ontario counties.
When Bill was seven, his family moved in 1853 from Canada to Leavenworth, Kansas Territory. In these years before the Civil War, Kansas was running high with emotion and physical conflict on both sides of the slavery question. When his father gave an antislavery speech at the local trading post, pro-slavery men formed a mob and one stabbed him. The boy helped to drag his father to safety, although the man never fully recovered from his injuries.
In Kansas, the family was frequently persecuted by pro-slavery supporters, forcing Isaac Cody to spend much of his time away from home. His enemies learned of a planned visit to his family and plotted to kill him on the way. The young Cody, despite his youth and the fact that he was ill, rode 30 miles to warn his father. Cody's father died in 1857 from complications from his stabbing.
After the father's death, the Cody family suffered financially. At age 11, Bill Cody took a job with a freight carrier as a "boy extra." He would ride up and down the length of a wagon train, and deliver messages to the drivers and workmen. Next he joined Johnston's Army as an unofficial member of the scouts assigned to guide the Army to Utah to put down a rumored rebellion by the Mormon population of Salt Lake City.
In 1872 Cody was awarded a Medal of Honor for "gallantry in action" while serving as a civilian scout for the 3rd Cavalry Regiment. In 1917, the U.S.Army—after Congress revised the standards for award of the medal—removed from the rolls 911 medals previously awarded either to civilians, or for actions that would not warrant a Medal of Honor under the new higher standards. Among those revoked was Cody's.
In December 1872 Cody traveled to Chicago to make his stage debut with friend Texas Jack Omohundro in The Scouts of the Prairie, one of the original Wild West shows produced by Ned Buntline. During the 1873–74 season, Cody and Omohundro invited their friend James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok to join them in a new play called Scouts of the Plains.
The troupe toured for ten years. Cody's part typically included an 1876 incident at the Warbonnet Creek, where he claimed to have scalped a Cheyenne warrior. He said it was in revenge for the death of George Armstrong Custer[not in citation given]