Ned Buntline (Ned Buntline)

Ned Buntline

American publisher, journalist and writer. Best known for his dime novels and the Colt Buntline Special he invented. Born Edward Zane Carroll Judson in Harpersfield near Stamford, New York, he moved with his family to Pennsylvania at age 8 and by age 12 had run away from home. Passionate about travel and writing; one of his first trips was on a freighter into the Caribbean as a cabin boy. Ned Buntline later became a midshipman under General Zachary Taylor at age 15, and was involved in the Seminole War in Florida. Then traveled west. A great reconteur, he also loved to write about his travel and adventures and assumed the pen name Ned Buntline, a surname reminicent of the rope at the bottom of a square sail. He saw and did a lot in his years as a sailor, newspaperman and on the Western Frontier. He had an affair with the wife of Robert Porterfield in Tennessee in the mid-1840s and killed Porterfield in a duel. At Buntline’s murder trial, Porterfield’s brother opened fire on him, and Buntline managed to escape from the courthouse amid the chaos. Upon recapture, he was ready to hang for his crime. Miracuously, the noose “broke” as the trap door opened (it had been partially cut by a friend) and his neck was still intact; as a result, Tennessee law allowed him to be freed. During the late 1840s, he started his own newspaper in New York City, called “Ned Buntline’s Own,” a publication that was no stranger to controversy. In those pre-Industrial Revolution times, he declared to expose the employers of sewing girls in sweatshops. While he didn’t do the exposé, he blasted competing newspapers about their stands on controversies of the time. Buntline’s Own” circulation grew, and he added staff to ferret out gossip on prominent citizens and their scandals. About this time, he was convicted of starting the Astor Place Riot of May 1849, as well as another riot on Election Day 1852 in St. Louis. Moving west in 1869, he met a young buffalo scout named William F. Cody. By naming him “Buffalo Bill,” he brought the scout’s life in the Old West to the public through books and articles. A good producer, he wrote a stage play “Scouts of the Prairies,” starring Buffalo Bill Cody and he also acted in this and other productions. During his life he wrote over 400 inexpensive adventure books and earned the title “King of the Dime Novel.” Buntline’s personal life had its share of controversy as he was well-known as a ladies’ man and was married four times. He retired to Stamford, New York, in 1873 where he designed and built his home, Eagle’s Nest, and spent time reading, writing and “gentleman farming.” He continued to write until he died at age 64 of a heart ailment in Stamford, New York.  (bio by: Fred Beisser)  Family links:  Spouse:  Maria Cordova (____ – 1868)* *Calculated relationship

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  • March, 20, 1821
  • USA
  • Harpersfield, New York


  • July, 07, 1886
  • USA
  • Stamford, New York


  • Stamford Cemetery
  • Stamford, New York
  • USA

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