Adventures of Buffalo Bill from Boyhood to Manhood
BILLY'S FIRST DUEL
NEAR where Billy's father settled in Kansas dwelt a farmer who had a
son and daughter, the former being fourteen, and the latter eighteen.
As is often the case with boys, Billy fell in love with Nannie
Vennor which was the young
lady's name, although she at eighteen was just seven years older than he
But she had been over to call on the Cody girls with her brother,
and a deep attachment at once sprung up between the boys, and Billy
became the devoted slave of Nannie, making her a horse-hair bridle for
her pony, gathering her wild flowers whenever he went over to the Vennor
farm, and in fact being as devoted in his attentions as a young man of
twenty-one could have been.
But Nannie had another lover, in fact a score of them from among
the neighboring young settlers, but one in particular who bid fair to be
Billy's most dangerous rival. This one was a dashing young fellow from
Leavenworth, with a handsome face and fine form, and who always had
plenty of money.
Folks said he was very dissipated, was a gambler, and his name
had been connected several times with some very serious affairs that had
occurred in the town.
But then he had a winning manner, sung well, and Nannie's beaux
had to all admit that he was every inch the man, and one they cared not
From the first Billy Cody hated him, and did not pretend to hide
the fact, but it seemed the boy's intuitive reading of human nature, as
much as his jealousy on account of Nannie Vennor.
One day Billy was seated by the side of a small stream fishing.
The bank was behind him, rising some eight feet, and he had
ensconced himself upon a log that had been drifting down the stream in a
freshet, and lodged there.
Back from him, bordering the little creek ran the trail to the
nearest town, and along this rode two persons.
The quick ear of the boy heard hoof-falls, and glancing quickly
over the bank he saw three horsemen approaching, and one of these he
recognized as Hugh Hall his rival.
Just back of Billy was a grove of cottonwood trees, and here the
men halted for a short rest in the shade, and all they said distinctly
reached the boy's ears.
"I tell you, pards," said Hugh Hall, "I cannot longer delay then,
so if old Vennor refuses to let me have Nannie I'll just take her."
"The best way, Hugh; but what about the wife that's now on your
trail?" asked one.
"What care I for her, after I have run off with Nannie?"
"But she'll blow on you to old man Vennor."
"I do not care. I'll deny it to Nannie, say the woman is crazy,
and one by one the family will drop off until she only remains, and then
she'll get the property."
"You are sure it's coming to 'em, Hugh?" asked one.
"I am so sure that I drew up the will of Vennor's brother four
years ago, when I was practicing law in Chicago."
"He may have changed his mind."
"Nonsense; he died shortly after, and the will says if Richard
Vennor was not found, and the fortune turned over to him, within five
years after Robert Vennor's death, the fortune was to go to charity.
"Now I kept the secret dark, came out to look up Richard Vennor
and having found him, shall marry his daughter and get all!"
"Your wife will give you trouble."
"I wish you to get rid of her then, and I'll pay well for it."
"We'll do the job, and help you all we can," said one and the
second one of the pair whom Billy did not recognize, echoed his
"Well, Hugh, we found Lucy was trading you, and hearing you was
about to strike it rich, concluded we'd come and post you for old
"And I'll pay you for it; but we must not be seen together, so
I'll wait here while you rode on to Leavenworth, and in an hour I'll
This agreement seemed satisfactory, and two horsemen rode away,
after a few more words, while Hugh Hall throw himself down upon the
grass to rest.
For awhile Billy Cody was very nervous at what he had heard; but
he soon grow calm and having waited until he knew the two men were more
than a mile away, he cautiously stood up upon the log and glanced over
Hugh Hall was fast asleep, and his horse was feeding near.
Noiselessly Billy drew himself upon the bank and approached the
man, his faithful revolver held in his hand.
"I wonder if it would be wrong if I killed him, when he is such a
villain"' he muttered.
"Yes, I won't do it; but I'll make him go straight to Mr. Vennor
and I'd tell him all I heard.
"Here, Hugh Hall, farmer Vennor wants to see you."
The man sprung to his feet, his hand upon his revolver.
But Billy had taken the precaution to get behind a tree, and had
the drop on his rival.
"Oh, it's you, you accursed imp of Satan," cried the man angrily.
"Yes, it's me, and I want you to go to Mr. Vennor for I'm going
to tell him all I heard you say," said the boy boldly.
Hugh Hall knew Billy's reputation as a fearless boy and a sure
shot, and he saw that he was in great danger; but he said quietly:
"Well, I was going to the farmer's and we'll ride together."
"No, I'll ride and you'll walk, for I came down the stream
fishing today, and haven't got my pony."
As quick as a flash the man then drew his pistol, and firing, the
bullet cut the back off the tree just above the boy's head.
Instantly however Billy returned the shot, and the revolver of
Hugh Hall fell from his hand, for his arm was broken; but he picked it
up quickly and leveled it with his left, and two shots came together.
Billy's hat was turned half round on his head, showing how true
war the aim of his foe, while his bullet found a target in the body of
With a groan he sunk upon the ground, and springing to his side,
Billy found him gasping fearfully for breath.
"I am sorry, Hugh Hall, but you made me do it," he said
But the man did not reply, and running to the horse feeding near,
he sprung into the saddle and dashed away like the wind.
Straight to farmer Vennor's he went and told him all, and
mounting in hot haste they rode back to the grove of cottonwoods.
Hugh Hall still lay where he had fallen; but he was dead, greatly
to Billy's sorrow, who had hoped he would not die.
Then, while farmer Vennor remained by the body, Billy went for
the nearest neighbors, and ere nightfall Hugh Hall was buried, and his
two allies in crime were captured in Leavenworth, and given warning to
leave Kansas forever, which they were glad to do, for they had not
expected such mercy at the hands of the enraged farmers.
But before they left they confessed that Billy's story was a true
one, and told where the wife of Hugh Hall could be found, and once again
did the boy become hero, even in the eyes of the bravest men, and the
settlers gave him the name of Boss Boy Billy, while Nannie Vennor, now a
mother of grown sons, each Christmas time sends him a little souvenir,
to show him that she has not forgotten her boy lover who fought his
first dual to save her from a villain.