A brief segment from the upcoming Fayetteville documentary “Up Among the Hills” was posted to the Project Fayetteville blog earlier this week.
The clip, entitled “Old Scout Retires for the Evening” portrays eccentric Fayetteville resident Captain Charles Ludwig Von Berg (who calls himself “Old Scout”).
Von Berg lived in Fayetteville in the late 1880s, and was a close friend of legendary American West figure William Cody (aka Buffalo Bill).
The voiceover for the segment hasn’t been added yet, but the narrative is posted on the Vimeo profile of University of Arkansas broadcast journalism instructor Hayot Tuychiev, who is working alongside director Larry Foley on the project.
Here’s the narrative about “Old Scout” from the film:
Captain Charles Ludwig Von Berg—who called himself the Old Scout–was among the most flamboyant characters in the history of Fayetteville. Von Berg immigrated from Germany as a teenager in 1854, and headed west where he became a hunter, Indian Scout and close friend of William F. Cody—the famous Buffalo Bill. By 1887, Von Berg had moved to Fayetteville for reasons unknown, and for a time, locals thought he “was” Buffalo Bill. When Cody brought his famous Wild West to town for two performances in 1898, he invited Von Berg to join him at the head of his rough riders and Indians as they paraded around the square to drum up business for the shows. Von Berg turned down Cody’s overtures to join his vagabond troupe because “he couldn’t make a spectacle of what we paid for with blood and heartaches.”
Von Berg married a young Fayetteville girl and bought a home on East Mountain. He painted portraits of his adventures in the west, and he became the scout master of the first Boy Scout Troop in Fayetteville. He was famous for his colorful tall tales, including his claim that he was the first white man to have discovered Custer and his dead soldiers on the battlefield at Little Big Horn.
But he was best known for his nightly serenade of taps from his “lodge” on East Mountain, as as a signal to the citizens below that the Old Scout was retiring for the evening.
“You ask me why I blow that 9 o’clock bugle call. You see, every time I blow the old bugle of mine, I am blowing tribute to Custer and his Men. Captain Charles Von Berg. The Old Scout.”
Upon learning of Buffalo Bill’s death, Von Berg was grief stricken. He died a year later in 1918, and was buried at National Cemetery.