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William “Buffalo Bill” Cody Comes To The Oil Region - Part 3

By Jeffrey Calta

The March 3rd trip to Millerstown (now Chicora) would have been on the Karns City to Butler RR followed with a return trip back to Parker for the performance on March 5th. From Parker, the Combination would have crossed the Allegheny River to connect to the Pittsburgh & Western RR which would have brought them directly to Pittsburgh for performances on March 6th and 7th.


The Buffalo Bill Combination came to the Oil Region once more in 1879. A Petrolia appearance on 2/11/1879 was listed but unconfirmed by and no local newspaper references were found on However, a performance on 2/12/1879 in Butler PA was advertised in the Butler Citizen newspaper (found in microfilm archive) so it is possible the Petrolia show could have occurred the day before.

The Combination then headed west. They never performed in Butler County again. In 1883, Buffalo Bill started his Wild West shows. There were three Wild West shows performed in Butler, PA according to The first was in 1898, the second in 1908, the third in 1912.


Buffalo Bill lost his Wild West show in 1913 to a Denver business man named Harry Tammen for a debt owed. He was forced to work in Tammen’s show called the Sells Flota but he eventually left. Buffalo Bill died in Denver in 1917 when visiting his sister. He was buried as per his wish on Lookout Mountain overlooking Denver.


Special thanks to Wayne Cole, author of the railroad series entitled GHOST TRAILS. His help was instrumental in piecing together Buffalo Bill’s rail route through the Oil Region in 1877.

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