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William Fredrick Cody was born on Thursday, February 26, 1846 in Scott County, Iowa to Isaac Cody and Mary Ann Bonsell Laycock. William was born in a log cabin that his father had build two miles west of LeClaire, Iowa.

When William was eight years old, his family moved to Salt Creek Valley in Kansas. William lived here until he was about thirteen years of age. After his father's death in 1857, William worked as an ox team driver and a express messenger.

At the ripe old age of thirteen, he joined a group headed west to Denver in search of gold. He later worked for a trapping expedition.

In 1860 William returned to Kansas to work as a pony express rider.

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