Lillie's family operated a flour mill in Illinois, but in Kansas Gordon learned the Pawnee language and became an interpreter for Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show -- thus "Pawnee Bill" was born and he and wife opened their own Wild West show in 1888, eventually joining with Buffalo Bill in 1908. Confederate officer George Washington Miller established the 110,000-acre "101 Ranch" in the Oklahoma Territory in 1893, the largest ranch in the country at that time, and upon his death in 1903 his three sons (Joe, George, Zack) were persuaded by their next-door-neighbor, "Pawnee Bill" Lillie, to create their own Wild West Show; for the next 30 years they struggled with this, touring the country and even abroad, while Buffalo Bill's show was tapering off and the film industry was taking off; by 1932 only Zack was still alive and declared bankruptcy. Item #40861
Large and bold "Thank You / G.W. Lillie / 'Pawnee Bill'" in Lillie's typical blue fountain pen ink on a buff heavy stock 3¼" X 5½" penny postal card. Near fine. Lillie's rubberstamped return address appears near the top of this card ("--From-- / Pawnee Bill's Oldtown / and Indian Trading Post. / 2 Miles West of / Pawnee, Oklahoma / on U.S. Highway 64"), his inscription and signature near the center. Verso shows typed recipient (Arnold F. Gates, 1914-93, noted Lincoln and Civil War scholar) and postal cancellation of Pawnee, Oklahoma on 22 May 1934. "Zack T Miller / 101 Ranch / Okla / 1934" penned large and bold in black ink on a buff heavy stock 5½" X 3¼" penny postal card. Near fine. Verso bears the same recipient as the Lillie card and postal cancellation from Ponca City, Oklahoma on 27 August 1934. A wonderfully-matched pair from these two compadres who worked together.