Buffalo Bill Cody was born up in Iowa but grew up in nearby Leavenworth, Kansas. Bill Cody was a real-to-life novel, straight out of the Old West. When you think of Cody, you generally think of him as adventurous, an actor on stage, an Army scout, or a buffalo hunter for the Union Pacific. He inspired many a pioneer who longed for the West.

His life was more thrilling than any wild, adventurous novel of his time. But, generally we don't think of him as a romance novel. But Louisa Frederici would beg to differ with you.

During the Civil War, Bill Cody became a Union scout. After surviving the Battle of Pilot Knob in southern Missouri, Cody was assigned to special service at military headquarters at St. Louis' Jefferson Barracks, under the command of General Polk. Ironically, the wife of General Polk was an old school buddy of Bill Cody's mother. Through the years, the two school friends kept up a correspondence with each other until Cody's mother passed away back in Leavenworth. As soon as Mrs. Polk heard that the son of her dear friend was in St. Louis, she took it upon herself to obtain a good position for him while at Jefferson Barracks. Cody landed a desk job, but, being the outdoors type, that began to grind on him. The new duties became almost intolerable, lacking the excitement and danger that made his life worthwhile. Then suddenly one day, he met Louisa Frederici.

More than once, while out for a morning ride on his horse, Bill Cody often saw a woman of attraction riding her horse as well. Few things caught Bill's eye more quickly that an attractive lady riding a horse who demonstrated great horsemanship qualities. Cody desired to establish an acquaintance with this young lady. Unfortunately, none of his friends knew her to formally introduce them and he was frustrated with the possibility that they might never meet. At that time, a man and a lady had to be formally introduced before he was allowed court her.

In due time though, a divine intervention took care of that little problem. While out riding his horse one morning, Cody saw this beautiful lady he had admired from afar and she was in deep trouble. Her bridle rein had broken and she was hanging on to a runaway horse. He surmised a rescue was in order for this damsel in distress and he should be her knight in shining armor. Suddenly, they were introduced.

From war to love, Bill Cody lost no time taking advantage of this chance meeting. His past on the plains offered few opportunities to socialize with women. This accounts for his promptness in courting this lovely lady he had admired for so long at a distance. He became the accepted suitor of Louisa before the Civil War ended in 1865.

Cody realized he would have to establish himself financially before he could pop the question. The pay of a soldier was next to nothing, barely supporting himself.

Cody went back to Kansas and drove horses between Leavenworth and Fort Kearny for the Army. He met an old friend along the way who owned a stage line and who happened to be looking for drivers who were familiar with the territory, and Cody fit the bill. He soon earned enough money to support a wife.

Cody returned to St. Louis as the wedding date was set. It was a quiet, simple affair at the home of the bride's parents before family and a few friends. They were happily married for almost 51 years.

Reference: Arnold, Missouri Historical Society and Museum.

To reach Ted W. Stillwell send an e-mail to tedwstillwell75@gmail.com or call him at 816-896-3592.