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Print Document Description  Print this page Questions about authenticity? Click Here

GORDON W. "PAWNEE BILL" LILLIE - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 02/18/1932 - DOCUMENT 41101
 
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GORDON W. LILLIE (PAWNEE BILL). TLS: "G.W. Lillie," 1p, 8½ x11. Pawnee, Oklahoma, 1932 February 18. On stationery of "Pawnee Bill's Buffalo Ranch" to Mr. A.V. Urbanik, Union City, N.J. In full: "You could not have two better men's names to present than Captain Luther H. North, and Captain A.H. Hardy, both of which are good friends of mine. I was glad to get your letter and to know that you are an admirer and a good friend of mine. If you ever get out into Oklahoma, do not fail to come out and see my Oldtown and Indian Trading Post. The hard surfaced highway, U.S. 64, runs to within forty feet of our front door, and you can come from any where in the east to the front door on a hard surfaced road all of the way. I am enclosing you a little further printed matter on the Oldtown and I wish you would kindly recommend this to any of your friends who are coming west. You asked about the color of my eyes. They are brown." Light buffalo image in center. With original pictorial mailing envelope. Tattered, repaired with plastic tape. With his brother, Frank (1840-1885), LUTHER NORTH learned the language and customs of the Pawnee tribe and led Pawnee units against attacks of other tribes, mainly Cheyenne, on U.S. forts and Union Pacific Railroad workers. For about five years, from 1877-1882, Frank and Luther were partners with Buffalo Bill in a ranch on the Dismal River, Nebraska. GORDON W. LILLIE, known as "Pawnee Bill" for his knowledge of the ways and language of the Pawnee Indians, had built his Oldtown, a monument to Indian culture, in 1930. The attraction was located on Oklahoma's Highway 64, which Lillie had been instrumental in building from an old stagecoach road into a paved all-weather highway, which was called the "Pawnee Bill Route." Lillie, whose boyhood hero had been "Buffalo Bill" Cody, was hired by him in 1883 to oversee and interpret for the Pawnee Indians in Cody's touring Wild West Show. In 1888, Lillie formed his own show, creating a rift with his former boss when he hired Annie Oakley, a big draw in Cody's production. In 1908, as the popularity of western shows began to diminish, the two men joined forces once again and toured together until 1913. Retiring to Oklahoma, Lillie, determined to keep the flavor of the Old West alive, built Oldtown, which consisted of a replica trading post, re-creations of the dwellings of a number of Indian tribes, and a museum housing the numerous artifacts and Indian art that Lillie had collected. Although many items were lost in a fire after Lillie's death, Pawnee Bill's Trading Business is still in business today. Lower right corner of letter missing, slightly shaded at horizontal folds, some separation at bottom horizontal fold about an inch from right blank edge, else fine. Two items.
 


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GORDON W. LILLIE  


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GORDON W. LILLIE
Born: February 14, 1860 in Bloomington, Indiana
Died: February 3, 1942 in Pawnee, Oklahoma


Film Credits
1914 In the Days of the Thundering Herd (Performer), 1910 Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Pawnee Bill's Far East (in person)


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