Ned Buntline, born in 1823, ran away to sea as a boy and by the time he was fifteen, was a midshipman in the Navy. He later took his author surname from the name of the running rigging required to haul a square sail up to the yard for furling on square-rigged ships. After the Navy, he served as a private in the first New York Rifles for two and a half years during the Civil War. He led a life of incredible adventures in the Seminole Wars and later in the Northwest fur trade. When he was twenty-three, he was tried for murder in Nashville, was lynched by a mob, and was cut down in time to be brought back to life. He could sport more scars, including a bullet hole in his chest, than any man he met – and he had a whole supply of yarns to go with each wound.
It was on a Western trip in 1869 that he met handsome William Cody, dubbed him Buffalo Bill, and wrote a series of dime novels based on Cody’s life as a hunter and scout. He also launched Cody on a theatrical career in a play he wrote in four hours – The Scouts of the Plains – with himself playing a leading part. It debuted on December 16, 1872, to a packed house. Despite the renown, infamous or otherwise, of his exploits, Ned Buntline is perhaps best remembered for his dime novels.
As an author Buntline wrote over 400 novels, with an amazing speed, as many as six novels a week and a single book record of 600 pages in 62 hours. His resultant income, perhaps $20,000 a year, allowed him the “luxury” to support six wives. Although he didn’t really spend much time in the west, he certainly influenced our knowledge of it with his writing. In 1885, he developed heart trouble. His writing was still in high demand, but he grew too feeble for this task. He finally succumbed on July 16, 1886. He was buried in Stamford in upstate New York. The church could only accommodate about half the mourners.
(The Ned Buntline room is a suite that features 1 Queen Size bed, a single lavatory, & a shower. All rooms have wired and wireless internet & individual heat/ac. Facing East towards the Railroad Tracks and Broadway)