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Adams, Grizzly (22 October 1812–25 October 1860), mountain man and wild animal tamer, was born John Adams in Medway, Massachusetts, the son of Eleazar Adams and Sybil Capen. Adams apparently served an apprenticeship as a cobbler, but when he was twenty-one he began hunting and trapping animals, for showmen, in the woods of Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. He delighted in his work, which was cut short when he tried to control an unruly Bengal tiger. In doing this favor for an exhibitor, Adams was badly mangled. When he recovered his health, he went back to making boots and shoes....

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Cody, William Frederick (26 February 1846–10 January 1917), frontiersman and entertainer, better known as “Buffalo Bill,” was born in Scott County, Iowa, the son of Isaac Cody and Mary Ann Bonsell Laycock. Cody’s father managed several farms and operated a state business in Iowa. In 1854 the family moved to the Salt Creek Valley in Kansas, where Cody’s father received a government contract to provide hay to Fort Leavenworth. After his father died in 1857, Cody went to work as an ox-team driver for fifty cents a day. Shortly thereafter, the firm of Majors and Russell hired him as an express boy. Cody attended school periodically, although his formal education ended in 1859 when he joined a party heading to Denver to search for gold. He prospected for two months without any luck. He arrived back in Kansas in March 1860 after a trapping expedition. He rode for a time for the Pony Express during its short lifetime (Apr. 1860–Nov. 1861). After the start of the Civil War he joined a group of antislavery guerrillas based in Kansas. Later the Ninth Kansas Volunteers hired him as a scout and guide. On 16 February 1864 Cody enlisted into Company F of the Seventh Kansas Volunteer Cavalry. He saw quite a bit of action in Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, and Kansas during his one year and seven months of duty. He was mustered out of the army as a private on 29 September 1865....

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Standing Bear, Luther ( December 1868–19 February 1939), Oglala Sioux chief, author, and actor, was born on the Sioux Pine reservation in South Dakota, the son of Standing Bear, a Sioux chief, and Pretty Face. Reared according to tribal tradition, Luther Standing Bear, named “Plenty Kills” at birth, learned the necessary skills of Plains Indian life. After a trip to Washington, D.C., and a meeting with President ...

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John Maxwell Hamilton and Carolyn Pione

Thomas, Lowell (06 April 1892–29 August 1981), broadcaster, author, and world traveler, was born Lowell Jackson Thomas in Woodington, Ohio, the son of Harriet Wagner, a teacher, and Harry Thomas, a physician. When Thomas was eight years old, his family moved to the rough gold-mining town of Cripple Creek, Colorado. Thomas delivered newspapers to the red-light district, smoked by the age of ten, explored the surrounding mountains, and yearned “to find out what lay beyond their farther slopes,” he recalled in his autobiography. At home he was expected to excel in traditional learning. A schoolteacher before he became a physician, Thomas’s father had one of the largest libraries in the West. In addition to encouraging his son to read, he providently drilled into the boy the importance of perfecting his speaking abilities. “Your voice is the expression of your personality,” the father insisted....