Buckskin Joe: Being the Unique and Vivid Memoirs of Edward Jonathan Hoyt, Hunter-Trapper, Scout, Soldier, Showman, Frontiersman, and Friend of the Indians, 1840-1918

Buckskin Joe: Being the Unique and Vivid Memoirs of Edward Jonathan Hoyt, Hunter-Trapper, Scout, Soldier, Showman, Frontiersman, and Friend of the Indians, 1840-1918

Buckskin Joe: Being the Unique and Vivid Memoirs of Edward Jonathan Hoyt, Hunter-Trapper, Scout, Soldier, Showman, Frontiersman, and Friend of the Indians, 1840-1918

Buckskin Joe: Being the Unique and Vivid Memoirs of Edward Jonathan Hoyt, Hunter-Trapper, Scout, Soldier, Showman, Frontiersman, and Friend of the Indians, 1840-1918

Synopsis

In his lifetime Edward Jonathan Hoyt, better known as Buckskin Joe, staged more excitement than Buffalo Bill, Fairbanks and Flynn, Karl Wallenda, and Batman put together. Born in Canada in 1840, he fought in the Civil War, homesteaded in southern Kansas, chased outlaws as a U.S. marshal in the Cherokee Outlet, prospected for gold from Nova Scotia to Central America, and served as a troubleshooter for "Haw" Tabor, the Silver King of Leadville. But essentially he was an entertainer, specializing in fêtes of music and feats of strength and agility. The master of sixteen musical instruments, he played in frontier bands. An acrobat and aerialist, he toured in circuses, once walking a tightrope two thousand feet above the Royal Gorge. His last hurrah, before pursuing his fortune in the jungles of Honduras, was a tour in Pawnee Bill's Wild West show.

Excerpt

In writing Pawnee Bill, the biography of Major Gordon W. Lillie, White Chief of the Pawnees, last of the land boomers and Wild West showman, I touched upon the lives of many American pioneers, both deceased and living, who were associated with him in the settlement of the West and his later efforts to preserve and depict the life of an era the world will never again witness. I was amazed at how many of these people felt that their early experiences should have been written and saved.

Consequently, I was not surprised when Dr. Vance Joseph Hoyt, of Topanga, California, modestly offered to me the reminiscences of his grandfather, Edward Jonathan Hoyt, known on the plains for more than forty years as "Buckskin Joe." "Gramp jotted down a few sketches," he said. "If they could be of any use to you, I would be glad."

I had mentioned Joe's career only briefly in the Lillie biography. From Lillie's Wild West show records, I had learned that he was a native of Canada, Province of Quebec, where he won his name in the early 1850's as a hunter and trapper among the Northwest Indians. He showed a talent early for music, mastering, in all, sixteen instruments, but chiefly the violin and the cornet. He organized and directed a number of bands and orchestras, achieving distinction as the first "Border Musician" and acquiring the title of "Professor." Later, he worked as an aerial performer and acrobat and traveled with some of the first steamboat and wagon circuses to tour the eastern and central United States.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Union army. This was the beginning of an honorable and varied service to his adopted country. Joe fought with the Army of the Potomac under General George B. McClellan and in so many battles that he "lost track of them." When the war ended, he came west to fight Indians.

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