Beckoning Frontiers


Beckoning Frontiers

The Memoir of a Wyoming Entrepreneur

George W. T. Beck
Edited and with an introduction by Lynn J. Houze and Jeremy M. Johnston
Foreword by Alan K. Simpson and Peter K. Simpson
Afterword by Betty Jane Gerber, George Beck's granddaughter

The Papers of William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody Series

448 pages
19 photographs, 2 illustrations, index


June 2020


$29.95 Pre-order

About the Book

George W. T. Beck (1856–1943), an influential rancher and entrepreneur in the American West, collaborated with William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody to establish the town of Cody, Wyoming, in the 1890s. He advanced his financial investments in Wyoming through his numerous personal and professional contacts with various eastern investors and politicians in Washington DC. Beck’s family—his father a Kentucky senator and his mother a grandniece of George Washington—and his adventures in the American West resulted in personal associates whom ranged from western legends Buffalo Bill, Jesse James, and Calamity Jane to wealthy American elites such as George and Phoebe Hearst and Theodore Roosevelt.

This definitive edition of Beck’s memoir provides a glimpse of early life in Wyoming, offering readers a rare perspective of how community boosters cooperated with political leaders and wealthy financiers. Beck’s memoir, introduced and annotated by Lynn J. Houze and Jeremy M. Johnston, offers a unique and sometimes amusing view of financial dealings in eastern boardrooms, as well as stories of Beck’s adventures with Buffalo Bill in Wyoming. Beck’s memoir demonstrates not only his interest in developing the West but also his humor and his willingness to collaborate with a variety of people.


Author Bio

George W. T. Beck (1856–1943) was a rancher, politician, and community developer in the American West who collaborated with William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody to establish the community of Cody, Wyoming. Lynn J. Houze is the director and curator of the Cody Heritage Museum. Jeremy M. Johnston is the Tate Endowed Chair of American Western History at the Buffalo Bill Museum. Alan K. Simpson served as a U.S. senator for Wyoming from 1979 to 1997. Peter K. Simpson is a historian and a former administrator at the University of Wyoming in Laramie and also served in the Wyoming House of Representatives from 1981 to 1984.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword by Al and Pete Simpson
Introduction by Lynn Houze and Jeremy M. Johnston
Beckoning Frontiers: The Memoirs of George Washington Thornton Beck
Chapter 1 Family and Boyhood in Kentucky and Washington, DC (1856-1865)
Chapter 2 Post Civil War (1865–1874)
Chapter 3 A Student at Rensslelaer Polytechnic Institute (1874–1876)
Chapter 4 Prospecting in Colorado (1877-1879)
Chapter 5 Working on the Northern Pacific Railroad (1879-1880)
Chapter 6 Homesteading in Wyoming (1880-1886)
Chapter 7 Sheepherding and Crow Indians
Chapter 8 Return to the East
Chapter 9 Trips to the South and to Cuba
Chapter 10 Wyoming Territorial Legislator (1889-1890)
Chapter 11 Another Trip Back East and to California
Chapter 12 Beckton, Wyoming
Chapter 13 The Johnson County War, 1892
Chapter 14 Wyoming Politics
Chapter 15 The Shoshone Irrigation Company and Cody, Wyoming
Chapter 16 Developing the Town of Cody and Hunting Trips
Chapter 17 Finishing the Cody Canal, Marriage, and Family Life in Cody
Chapter 18 The Leiter Ball, Frederic Remington Visit, and a Bank Robbery
Chapter 19 Another Ute Uprising and Famous Guests
Chapter 20 The Shoshone Reclamation Project and the Cody Power Plant
Afterword by Betty Jane Gerber, George Beck’s Granddaughter
Appendix 1: 1924 Interview with George Beck by Margaret Hayden
Appendix 2: Select Letters from William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody to George Beck Regarding the Cody Canal Project
Appendix 3: Speech by George Beck at Laying of Cornerstone for New City Hall, Cody, Wyoming
Appendix 4: Talk Delivered by Thornton “T” Beck to Park County Historical Society

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