Thomas, Herbert P.
Place of Birth: South Wales
Date of enlistment: 5 May 1873
Age given at enlistment: 32
Location on 25 June 1876: Fort Abraham Lincoln
A Miner from the Valleys of South Wales
Pentre Colliery, Rhondda Valley, South Wales.
- Not yet fully researched by this writer. His name, date and place of birth have not been verified.
- Herbert Thomas was enlisted in the U.S. Army in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on 5 May 1873 by Lt Randolph Norwood. He had blue eyes, light hair, a fair complexion, and stood 5′ 6 1/4″ tall. After passing through the St Louis Depot he was assigned to the 7th Cavalry and joined Company L at Fort Snelling on 3 June. Was with both the 1873 and 1874 Northern Boundary Commission escorts under the overall command of Major Marcus Reno.
- Left behind at Fort Lincoln
- Thomas was left behind at Fort Lincoln on 17 May 1876 while still on extra duty with the Quarter Master Department and discharged at the fort on 5 May 1878, “a private of excellent character.”
- He re-enlisted at Fort Omaha, Nebraska on 25 September 1884 and assigned to the 4th Infantry. but deserted on 25 May 1885. Was apprehended on 20 August and dishonourably discharged on 6 November 1885.*
- His fate is not known.
- A letter from Rockville, Maryland
- In a letter to the late Norman Walker, Crosskeys, Newport, Gwent, dated 1 September 1986, George Kulstad, Rockville, Maryland, wrote:
- “Family legend has it that one of the members of my maternal great-grandmother Thomas’s family survived the Little Big Horn. However, based on the above and circumstantial ‘evidence,’ the man in question is thought to be Private Henry P. Thomas who was on detached duty at the time of the battle.
- “Sarah, daughter of John Stringer and Susan Howe, born 6 February 1829, emigrated to America in either 1868 or 1870, presumably with her husband, Benjamin Walter Thomas. Federal Census records of 1900 show Sarah Thomas as having had three children, one of whom was Benjamin Walter Thomas, Jr, who was born 4 November 1859. Herbert Thomas’s given birth year of 1851 fits in with BWT, Jr’s, claim that his ‘older brother’ was a survivor of the battle.”
- Further investigation is needed before this family oral history can be confirmed as fact!
- Note (*): Wild Geese of the Greasy Grass [Norman] says “Thomas and the rest of the company (I) were killed in the Battle of the Little Bighorn.” One of a countless number of factual and typographical errors that are a feature of this generally poorly researched and carelessly edited little volume.