Buffalo Bill Cody: The Man behind the Legend

By Robert A. Carter | Go to book overview
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1
THE CODY
(OR WAS IT COADY?)
FAMILY TREE

If we are to believe Helen Cody Wetmore, one of William Cody's sisters, her family was descended from Spanish and Irish royalty, and were accord/ ingly entitled to a crest. In her book Buffalo Bill, Last of the Great Scouts: The Life Story of Colonel William F. Cody, published in 1899, she wrote that her brother was “a lineal descendant of Milesius, king of Spain, that famous monarch whose three sons, Heber, Heremon, and Ir, founded the first dynasty in Ireland about the beginning of the Christian era.”

The Cody family, Mrs. Wetmore asserted, came down from the line of Heremon. Their original name was Tireach, which signifies “The Rocks.” Murdeach Tireach, one of the first of this line, was crowned king of Ire/ land in the year 320. Another of the line became king of Connaught in 701, his possessions being located in the present counties of Clare, Gal/ way, and Mayo, whence came the family name, in a contraction of Con/ naught-Galway to Connelly, Conly, Cory, Coddy, Coidy, and, finally, “Cody.”

All this almost makes sense. However, it is only one of the legends Mrs. Wetmore offers up as fact in her book, despite her disclaimer in the preface that “embarrassed with riches of fact, I have had no thought of fiction.”

For the truth about William Cody's lineage, we must turn to Don Russell's authoritative biography, The Lives and Legends of Buffalo Bill. Russell's research was thorough and exemplary; the notes for his book in the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, are proof of that.

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