Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Churchill Series - Oct. 3, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

FDR, Ike, Harry Hopkins, George Marshall, and Bernard Baruch. They're just a few of the many Americans Churchill worked with and admired.

There was another American Churchill didn't get to work with but admired greatly: William ("Buffalo Bill")Cody.

In the summer of 1887, “Buffalo Bill” was bringing his “Wild West Show” to London.

As you would expect the twelve year old Winnie Churchill, considered by some teachers and relatives “wild” himself, was eager to see the show. Churchill's biographer, Martin Gilbert, tells us what happened next:

[Cody’s] advertisement in The Times trumpeted its attractions in capital letters.” GRANDSTAND FOR 20000 PEOPLE. BANDS OF SIOUX, ARAPAHOES, SHOSHONES, CHEYENNES, AND OTHER INDIANS, CCOWBOYS, SCOUTS AND MEXICAN VACQUEROS.”

There would be riding, shooting, lassoing and hunting, attacks on a stagecoach and on a settler’s cabin. […]

Churchill, then at boarding school in Brighton, wrote several times to his mother, urging her to write to the two sister who ran the school to let him go up to London.
In the beginning Jennie said no, but Churchill, always a persistent campaigner, kept at it until he got a “Yes.” Needless to say, he enjoyed the show hugely and talked about it into old age.

As mentioned at the outset, Churchill didn't get to work with Buffalo Bill. But don't you agree that if at some point in the show that day Cody had called out for a few kids to come down and help him saddle a horse or something one of the first to his side would been the red-haired school boy up from Brighton.

Martin Gilbert, Churchill and America.(Free Press, 2005) (pgs. 8-9)