• Henry Hegwer – The Man behind the Indian Wars Pension Act, 1917
  • 1842– Born 8 October in Freistadt, Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, the third to youngest of ten children to newly-arrived immigrants, Carl Benjamin Hegwer (1791-1860) and Maria Rosina Ilgner Hegwer (1801-1873) from Schlesien, Prussia (Germany).
  • 1850 – With parents and siblings in Mequon, Ozaukee County, Wisconsin. [Federal Census]
  • 1857 – Moves to ‘Chase County’, Kansas, with parents and siblings before November 1857.
  • 1859 – On 11 February, an elder brother, Carl Traugott Hegwer is credited among others who formally organised Chase County.
  • 1860 – Father dies in Hymer (a corruption of ‘Hegwer’), Chase County, Kansas, on 20 March. 
  • 1860 – With mother and siblings in Diamond Creek Township, Chase County, Kansas. [Federal Census]
  • 1862 – Mustered in Company B, the 9th Volunteer Kansas Cavalry on 19 March 1862 and re-enlisted in the same company as a veteran on 30 March 1864. Mustered out, a private, at DeValls Bluff, Arkansas, on 17 July 1865.

  • 1862 – A GANG OF NEGRO THIEVES – They Are Broken Up by the Daring of a Boy Recruit. [The Greenville Journal, Ohio, 6 June 1907]  See separate item below.
  • 1863 – A FIGHT WITH THE INDIANS – Fort Halleck, Idaho Territory, July 10, 1863. A few days ago, a party of about one hundred Utes came down near the post and sent in a delegation, who professed to be very friendly. Smoking their pipe of peace, and receiving some provisions, they left us, saying they wanted to be friendly with the whites; but, on, the 2nd of this month, they stole 14 head, of horses and mules from the Mail Company at Elk Mountain Station. Capt. Allen, commanding the post, sent a party in pursuit, but the Indians could not be overtaken. On the night of the 5th, they stole three horses from the Mail Company at Cooper’s Creek. At one o’clock on the morning of the 7th, Capt. Allen sent Lieuts. Brundley and Williams, of Company B, 7th Kansas Vol. Cavalry, with 70 men from the same company out in pursuit of the Indians, as information had been received at 11 o clock the same night, that a large band of Utes, with a large number of stolen horses and mules, was seen about twenty miles from this post After a brisk ride of about thirty miles, we came up with the Indians in the Medicine Bow Mountains shortly after daylight  ……
  • The battle lasted two hours, and at the time the Indians broke and fled, the troops were firing their last round; and, being out of ammunition, which had been poorly supplied at this post, we were obliged to return to the Fort, after breakfasting on the battle field. Five of the soldiers were badly wounded. Sergeant Waugh, of Douglas Co., Kansas, was killed shot through the body. Corp. Hamilton, Privates Moorhead, Hegwer and Vining, seriously wounded, many others slightly. The Indians, poured down on us a storm of lead and, had they fired low, must have cut us up terribly.
  • They lost over sixty killed and wounded; over twenty killed on the field …..  A Correspondent. [The Smoky Hill and Republican Union, Junction City, Kansas, 8 August 1863]
  • Note: Hegwer was shot through the abdomen.

(Above) Edmund Guerrier (1840-1921). (Right) 'Indian War Veterans: Memories of Army Life and Campaigns in the West, 1864-1898', Jerome A. Greene, 2007.

  • 1867 – Suffers from depredations committed by Charles Bent and a band of Cheyenne Indians on his temporary camp at Plum Creek, sixteen miles south of Fort Harker on 16 June, where he employed five men for the supply of meat to Parks and Lane, contractors on the Union Pacific Railroad, eastern division, and to Charles Cordaro, who was keeping a mess-house at Fort Harker for Government employees.
  • On 30 March 1868 Hegwer submits a claim to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C., for 7 horses; 1 yearling colt; 1 dwelling house; 1 smoke house; 1 stable; 1 horse corral; 120 lbs of pickled pork; two sacks of corn; and 1 axe, totalling $2.129.50.
  • Through Edmund Guerrier, acting as interpreter, Charles Bent denied being anywhere near Plum Creek at the time of the alleged incident but Hegwer, supported by several witnesses, contends he knew Charles Bent personally and recognised the Cheyenne by their style of dress and hair.  On 25 January 1872 the Secretary of the Interior upholds Hegwer’s claim but reduces the sum to $1,558. [House of Representatives, 42nd Congress, Ex. Doc. No. 93]
  • 1867 – Second Lieutenant Henry Hegwer, of Ellsworth, Kansas, was mustered in Company D, Eighteenth Volunteer Kansas Cavalry on 15 July and mustered out with the battalion on 15 November.
  • In late July when in command of Company D, which moving with the regiment from Fort Harker to Fort Larned by way of Pawnee Fork, Hegwer with a detachment of twenty-two men was sent in pursuit of a band of hostile Indians that had stampeded a train and run off stock belonging to freighters. Three fine horses were recaptured and later returned to the owners by the government. [Indian War Veterans: Memories of Army Life and Campaigns in the West, 1864-1898, by Jerome A. Greene, Savas Beatie Press, New York, 2007]
  • 1869 – HENRY HEGWER SHOT. Mr. Hegwer who for some years has resided on Diamond Creek, and who served in the Co. B, 9th Volunteer Kansas Cavalry for three years, was shot [in the left knee which left him partially disabled for life] a few days ago at his home.
  • “A terrible shooting affray occurred on Diamond Spring creek, in this county, sometime on Thursday afternoon last, resulting in the probable death of one of oar worthiest citizens. The occurrence took place at the residence of Mrs. Hegwer, mother of the wounded man, and was the result, we are inform ed, of grudge which had been held for some time past, between her son, Henry Hegwer, and the man who did his bloody work with the pistol.
  • “Of the particulars of the affray but little is as yet known, as the examination of the prisoner, Jim Heskett, has not up to the time of going to press taken place, and we forbear to comment, but we are reliably informed that after shooting young Hegwer, the prisoner fired two shots at a man who was present and at tempted to take the pistol from him, and who only succeeded in wrenching it away after a severe struggle, whereupon the prisoner took to his heels, but yesterday morning gave himself up to the authorities. [The Emporia News, Kansas, 29 January 1869]

William Clarke Quantrill (1837-1865).

William "Bloody Bill" Anderson (1840-1864).

  • Note: Jim Heskett, was a member of the notorious pro-Confederate “Bloody Bill” Anderson and Quantrill Gang, Chase County, where he lived, being on the then frontier of Kansas was the rendezvous for many ex-rebels and guerrillas. His clear intention was to kill Hegwer and although he was arrested and released on bail, he escaped to Texas where he was later lynched.
  • 1870 – A farmer and sawmill owner, Diamond Creek, Chase County, Kansas. [Federal Census]
  • 1871 – Marries Katherenah “Kate” or “Katy” Hornberger in Chase County, Kansas (exact date unknown). Kate dies between 1880 and 1885 (again, exact date unknown).
  • 1873 – Mother dies in Hymer, Chase County, Kansas, 23 October.
  • 1874 – Invalid Pension, Application No. 196630 (filed 5 October 1874), Certificate No. 172736. [U.S. Civil War Pension Index, General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934]

Pension Index card for Henry Hegwer.

  • 1875 – An auctioneer and corn merchant, age 32, living in Hutchinson, Reno County, with his wife Katy, age 32, and children: Clara, age 4, and Albert, age 6.  [Kansas State Census Collection, 1855-1925. Enumerated 1 March 1875.]
  • 1880 – Receives first Army pension of $4 a month for injury to left arm and gunshot wound of abdomen on 25 August.
  • 1880 – A farmer, age 37, living with his wife, Kate, age 27, and children: Clara, age 9, Albert, age 6, Oscar, age 3, and Harry, age 1, in Grant, Reno County. [Federal Census, Kansas, 1880]
  •  1885 – Army pension increases to $6 a month on 9 December.
  •  1885 – Marries second wife, Flora G. Wallace, born 18 August 1867, daughter of Lemuel Brazzie Wallace and Allie J. Wood, in September. (exact date unknown).
  •  1887 – Army Pension increases to $8 a month on 18 May.
  •  1888 – Henry Hegwer built the fifth rock salt plant, in the north eastern part of Hutchinson, early in the summer of 1888 and had it in operation in the autumn of the same year. It was a four-pan plant. Early in 1889 he leased it to Price and Moore who operated it under the name of the Western Salt Company. [History of Reno County, Kansas, its people and institutions, 1917. Published by B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis]

Salt Works - Western or Hegwer Salt Company, Hutchinson, Kansas.

  • 1889 – An auctioneer, moneylender and running a livery stable, living in 10 West Sherman Street, Hutchinson. [Reno County, Kansas, Directory, 1889]
  • 1890 – Army pension increases to $10 a month on 21 February 1890 and further increased to $12 a month on 21 May
  • 1890 – Relocates in Denver, Colorado.
  • 1894 – Governor Waite [of Colorado] has reappointed F. H. Hegwer state boiler Inspector. Hegwer served several months in that capacity, but the Senate refused to confirm his appointment when his name was sent in with others. ‘The matter of Hegwer s salary, which the District court says he cannot draw, is now in the Supreme court, and Hegwer says he Is willing to hold on to his Job until the case is decided. He is holding on to about $6,000 in fees. In the meantime, having refused to turn the money into the treasury until he can get his salary. [The Meeker Herald, Colorado, 17 March 1894]
  • 1894 – On 24 April F. H. Wegner was chosen commander in chief of the First Regiment of the Coxey home reserve at Denver, Colorado. [The Indianapolis Journal, 25 April 1894]
  • Note: Hegwer’s forenames are shown as ‘Ferdinand Henry’ in some family records.
  • 1894 – General Nuisance Hegwer, who has appointed himself commander-in-chief of something, will organize another regiment of Coxey reserves. It will be composed of disappointed populist pegs. For what are they reserving themselves? [The Delta Independent, Colorado, 9 May 1894]
  • Note:  Coxey’s Army was a protest march by unemployed workers from the United States, led by Ohio businessman Jacob Coxey. They marched on Washington, D.C. in 1894, the second year of a four-year economic depression that was the worst in United States history to that time. Officially named the Army of the Commonwealth in Christ, its nickname came from its leader and was more enduring. [Wikipedia].  This workers movement was the early American equivalent of the Jarrow Crusade, which marched from Tyneside town  to London in 1936.

(Above) Jacob S. Coxey (1854-1951). (Right) Ellen Wilkinson with the Jarrow Marchers, Cricklewood, London, 1936.

  • 1894 – The Denver Coxey reserve has opened headquarters at 1549 Lawrence street, for the collection of provisions for shipment to the Coxey army at Washington. General Hegwer says his reserve army is increasing phenomenally every day. He expects to have 5,000 soldiers in line next Sunday for the big parade, among them a regiment of cavalry, a regiment of lady cyclists and another of male wheel men. [The Bessemer Indicator, Colorado, 12 May 1984]
  •  1894 – Denver, Colo. May 14 – Gen. Hegwer, commander-in-chief of the Coxey home reserve army, announces that 23,000 men are ready to move on to Washington from Colorado in one body, and when other states west of the Mississippi are heard the starting day will be set. [The Washington Times, 15 May 1894]
  • 1894 – ARREST OF A STATE OFFICIAL. One of Governor Waite’s men, State Boiler Inspector Hegwer, was arrested Monday last on the charge of issuing certificates of inspection to the boilers at the, Pueblo Gas and Electric Light Co., the Centennial high school, the Artificial Ice Co., and at the Grand opera house, when he had made no examination at all but pocketed the $5.00 fee. He was released on bonds and will have a hearing in Justice Carey’s court the 17 inst.” [The Bessemer Indicator, Colorado, 13 October 1894]
  • 1901 – Army pension to be increased to $40 a month. [Senate and House of Representatives, Fifty-Sixth Congress, Chap. 695]
  • 1906 – “REPUBLICAN TICKET. To be Voted on May 15, 1906. ALDERMAN Seventh Ward – F. H. Hegwer.” [The Jewish Outlook, Denver, Colorado, 11 May 1906]
  • 1910 – Wife, Anna G. Wallace Hegwer, dies 6 February. Buried in Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Block 22.
  • 1910 – A contractor, age 60, widower living with his children: Otto, age 22, Lila, age 18, and Leonard, age 12; Anna, daughter-in-law (wife of Otto), age 21, and Charles, age 1 year 5 months (son of Otto and Anna) in Elizabeth Street, Denver. [Federal Census, Colorado, enumerated 27 April 1910]
  •  1910 – HEADS WAR VETERANS. Former Hutchinson Man Was Frontiersman in Middle West.
    Henry Hegwer, a pioneer resident of Hutchinson, who was extensively engaged in contracting work in this city and vicinity thirty years ago, is now national commander of the National Indian War Veterans …… Mr. Hegwer has been away from here for many years, but when a circular was received today signed by Henry Hegwer as national commander of this order, A. B. Caldwell, himself an old Indian fighter, declared it was the same man. He now lives at Washington, D. C, where he is making a fight before congress in behalf – of pensions for old Indian fighters. [The Topeka State Journal, Kansas, 17 December 1910]
  • 1911 – CAME TO THE STATE WHEN YOUNG AND HELP TO BUILD IT – Hutchinson, Kan., Feb. 18.
  • Colonel Henry Hegwer, pioneer of Hutchinson, Indian fighter, buffalo hunter and plainsman, was in Hutchinson today for the second time since he moved away 22 years ago. Colonel Hegwer, who now lives in Denver, is on his way home from Washington, whereas national commander of the National Association of Indian War Veterans, he has been endeavouring to obtain the passage of a pension bill granting pensions to such veterans. He made a speech before the senate committee about February 1 which attracted much attention. He is confident the next session of congress will pass his bill.
  • “Hutchinson looks prosperous. It looks good,” he said, as he walked down Main street. He has to use a crutch and cane to get around, being crippled as result of wounds received in Indian engagements in years gone by. Colonel Hegwer located in Hutchinson when the town was first established in 1872. Here in the boom days of the ’80s he built the houses which are still known as the Hegwer houses. He built in all about 130 houses, selling them on payments. He had a crew of 85 or 90 men at work constantly con structing houses, and one summer built 86 houses within 90 days, which holds the record. Later he constructed the Western salt plant and operated it until he was forced out of the salt business by what he always maintained was manipulation of freight rates by the railways. After that he moved to Denver.
  • Colonel Hegwer is one of the pioneers of central Kansas, having located in Chase county in 1857. He spent many years as an Indian fighter, buffalo hunter and plainsman in Kansas.  He was wounded three times in a battle with Ute Indians in Wyoming, during the ’60s. As a buffalo hunter he had the distinction of killing the last buffalo slain in Chase county. [The Topeka State Journal, Kansas, 18 February 1911]
  • 1913 – Resides at The Linden, 1959 Welton, Denver, Colorado. [U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995]
  • 1913 – Marries Tutcher Conda at Denver, Colorado, 19 March 1913. [Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006]
  • 1914 – Divorces Tutcher Conda Hegwer at Denver, Colorado, 14 March 1914.  [Colorado Divorce Index, 1851-1985]
  • 1916 – Inmate in Leavenworth Soldiers’ Home, Kansas, from 21 June to 11 August and from 6 October to 8 November 1916 suffering from an “Old gunshot wound of left thigh with deformity of foot and shortening of leg; Chronic arthritis; Chronic constipation. [U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938]
  • 1917 – MILITIA MEN PENSIONED BY U. S. GOVERNMENT. Incorporated in the bill to pension certain veterans of the Indian wars, which passed at the last session of congress and was signed by the president on March 4th, a few minutes before the expiration of his first term, was provisions for the pensioning of the state militia, as well as members of the regular army, which participated in the campaigns against hostile Indians on the western frontier. This bill has an interesting history, dating back to a meeting in Denver, Colorado, on Thanksgiving Day 1909.
  • On New Year’s Day 1910 a permanent organization was formed, and Mr. Henry Hegwer was elected Commander-in-chief. On taking his oath of office, Mr. Hegwer took a solemn obligation never to give up until Congress passed a bill to reward these soldiers who endured ‘such hardships under conditions which were never equalled in any other warfare in the history of this country. The carrying of his solemn promise to his comrades has necessitated Mr. Hegwer’s coming to Washington on three different occasions since he had the bill introduced in 1910.
  • After the passage of the bill, Mr. Hegwer found that so much remained to be done in order to secure individual justice to this comrades that he has moved the headquarters of the United Indian War Veterans to 608, 3rd street, Washington, D. C., and is giving his time to advertising and keeping all vete­rans of these campaigns—regardless of whether they are affiliated with his organization or not—posted on their status under his bill and is furnishing copies of the same free of charge to all who apply. [The Washburn Leader, North Dakota, 13 April 1917]

'The Clearwater Republican', Orofino, Idha, 29 June 1917

  • 1917 – Joseph W. Copley, National Vice Commander & Asst Secty of National Indian War Veterans Association, writes on 10 September to the Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. accusing Hegwer of being ‘a crook, blackleg and traitor’!   See separate item below.
  • 1920 – “Indian Fighters to Meet. Reunion of the 18th and 19th [Kansas] Cavalry here Sept. 25. The sixth annual reunion of the survivors of the eighteenth and nineteenth Kansas cavalry that served in the Indian wars in 1868 and ’69 will be held September 25 at Memorial hall. Mrs. W. A. McCarter and Henry Hegwer will be speakers.  …. Comparatively few remain of the original 2,400 men who comprised the two regiments.” [The Topeka State Journal, Kansas, 11 August 1920]  
  • 1921 – Henry Hegwer dies on 14 December and was buried in Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Block 22.

(Above) The only known image of Henry Hegwer - taken from an undated newspaper cutting. (Left) Hegwer Memorial, Fairmount Cemetery, Denver.

  • They Are Broken Up by the Daring of a Boy Recruit.
  • It was the first day of April 1862, that Company B, Ninth Kansas cavalry, commanded by Capt. A. C. Allen, was stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and were ordered to Atchison. Kan., on provost duty. After the company arrived at Atchison and went into comfortable quarters for the spring, the situation had been carefully canvassed and the trouble fully investigated. It was found that a large number of negroes in that vicinity were missing and that a band of bushwhackers had a rendezvous about 15 miles east of Atchison, at one time a great slave plantation, who were suspected of gathering them up for the purpose of taking them into Texas and there to sell them as slaves.
  • On the 19th day of March 1862 Capt. A. C. Allen swore in two recruits who had come in from the far western part of the state of Kansas, known as the Hegwer brothers. On the 5th day of May, says the National Tribune, Capt. Allen sent for the younger brother, Henry, who was but 17 years old* and very-small for his age, not over five feet five inches tall, weighed only a little over 100 pounds and looked to be not over 14 years old, as no one would have taken him for a soldier. Neither would anyone have believed him to have had the amount of experience that he had gone through. He had crossed the plains in ’59 and also in ‘6O, fought Indians, at different times, hunted buffaloes and wolves and was accustomed to all kinds of hardships. The captain informed him that he a had a very important and dangerous duty to perform and wanted to know if he had the courage to undertake a task of that kind. Young Hegwer said that “if it was in the line of duty as a soldier, that when he enlisted he did not expect to shirk any of the duties that were required of him, and that he was ready to undertake anything that was possible.”
  • The next morning young Hegwer was seen crossing the Missouri river on a ferryboat, making his way in a north easterly direction, so that he would arrive from the north when he got to the plantation; that there would be no suspicion that he had been sent from Atchison. His disguise was perfect. No one would suspect him as being a soldier. It was almost dark and raining when he arrived at the old plantation. When he got to the gate he was met by an old gray-haired man about 70 years old, very pleasant and polite. Young Hegwer bade him the time of day, and in quired if it would be possible for him to stay all night, that he was very tired, wet and hungry, and that he had come a long way that day and was not able to go much farther Young Hegwer stated that his folks lived in Doniphan county, Kan., immediately west of St. Joseph, Mo.; that his oldest brother was with the rebel Gen. Price, somewhere in southern Missouri; that his father was dead and his mother was rather cross to him, and that he had run away from home. That pleased the old gentleman very much, and he took a very hearty laugh over it. He took him in the house and gave him something to eat.
  • That night about ten o’clock came a couple of men with a mule team. Hegwer went out and helped them to put up the team. There were some empty boxes and cans in the wagon that indicated milk, bread and food had been in them. The leader of the two asked the old gentleman. “Who’s that strip of a boy you got there?”
  • He answered, and told him the story, that young Hegwer had given him.
  • The next morning when Hegwer got up he found no one on the plantation but the old man and an oldishlike lady apparently his wife, and an old negro man and negro woman. Jack and Mike had got up early, left the place on horseback and returned again about three o’clock in the afternoon.
  • The next morning it was the same thing over again; they returned about the same time, loaded the wagon and drove off in the same direction. The next morning Jack and Mike left the same as before. When three o’clock came they did not return; four o’clock came and still they were not there. The old man was getting very nervous. He chewed his tobacco much faster and he spit his juice much farther and talked much louder. He finally came up to young Hegwer and said in a trembling voice: “I reckon you and I will have to take that food off to them negroes. Jack and Mike must have got into some sorter trouble.”
  • They started with the wagon, as it had already been loaded and prepared to go. They drove in the same direction through the woods, until finally they came into sight of a dim light a short distance ahead of them. They came to a bayou about 30 feet wide with a foot bridge across it. There the old gentleman stopped, got out of the wagon and went in the direction of the light. In a short time, he returned, another with him, and introduced young Hegwer to him as a new member of the gang. They each gathered in some of the boxes and cans and started in the direction of the light. Young Hegwer was bound to see it all; tied the mules to a tree, gathered up a box and followed them.
  • To his great surprise, there he found what he was looking for. A large log cabin about 50 feet long, 20 feet wide, with about 40 negro men and women and boys 14 or 15 years, all chained to the walls, their chains fastened round their ankles, lying on beds of straw with some covering.
  • On his return to the plantation they found Jake and Mike had returned. They reported that they had been followed by some spies, and in order to mislead them they had to go way around, as they did not dare to come directly to the plantation for fear of being discovered.
  • Next morning young Hegwer was sent out to finish the plowing that he had begun, the other end of the field was near the road that went to Atchison. There he wrote the letter to his brother and handed it to one of the drivers of a team that was going downtown, to be mailed. That night everything went as heretofore, and all preparations were being made for the start for the south. The next night, nearly midnight, a troop of cavalry was heard coming up to the plantation. It surrounded the house, and the inmates were all taken prisoners. Young Hegwer escaped through the back door and hid out until the rest had been loaded into a government ambulance and started for Atchison. The troopers were commanded by Bob Madden, first lieutenant, company B, Ninth Kansas cavalry.
  • Young Hegwer took one of the horses that belonged to one of the soldiers that rode in the wagon with the prisoners and led the way to the cabin in the woods where the negroes had been kept. The cabin was surrounded by the soldiers; the guards showed fight at the beginning, but soon saw that they were overpowered and surrendered. The negroes were liberated, and the guards were taken prisoners. By this time day began to break, and the whole procession began their march to Atchison. About noon they arrived at; the headquarters, the prisoners were all taken to Leavenworth and there tried by court-martial and sentenced to a long term of years in prison. The negroes were liberated and allowed to go on their way, rejoicing. I think a happier lot of negroes never have been seen before or since.
  • [The Greenville Journal, Greenville, Ohio, 6 June 1907]
  • (*) Henry Hegwer was actually 19 years-old!

  •             Milwaukee, Wis.                                                        Sept. 10th ‘17
  • To the Department of Justice Washington D.C.
  •               The undersigned wishes to place before you this name of a Man who is now in Washington, D.C. who will bear watching, a man who has proven himself to be a traitor and a blackleg and an impostor of the worst type in an honorable and worthy Organization, which after we the officers and members learned his true character, expelled him from our Order National Indian War Veterans Assn, he secured a list of our members surreptiously (sic) and is continuously harassing and soliciting money from same. He is too foxy to give a receipt for same, or we would have had him behind bars where he belongs. He is a “German” and from his previous record in Denver Colorado, we who know him believe him capable of acting the traitor to our country. Notwithstanding the fact he is receiving a pension, not for his own services but on account of the death of son who was killed while in the Spanish American War, claims “dependency on his son’s earnings for his support.” I am submitting evidence of his duplicity to the P.O. Dept. which concerns that Dept only in particular for further evidence. I would respectfully refer you to the Secty of Our Organisation Mr. C. R. Hausen, 2800 Lafayette st Denver, Colorado.
  •      This fellows name is Henry Hegwer, and gets his mail thru Box No. 1160 Washington, D.C. and is now advertising himself as a claim attny, and is soliciting the names of survivors of Indian Wars and the widows of such as saw service in the Indian Wars. And stating among other of his absolute false statements that “he” is begging the President and all Congress to pass a Bill in their favour when as a matter of fact the Bill to pension survivors of Certain Indian Wars No. 655 was passed March 4th 1917. He was a Coxy (sic) army man in that extremely disgusting affair in the Denver Contingent and acted as “Treasurer” for it but succeeded in swindling the mob of its deposits. He has the record of being an all round Crook and double crosser in purposes or service regardless of its honesty or dishonesty. He is now posing as the head of the United Indian Wars Vets, also when as a Matter of fact he is the only one in actual existence, this we have proved to be an absolute truth. He shows this to his prospective victims it is true, his letter heads, which consist of men whom we know to be dead and a few names of men who denounce his action and have demanded he take their names off his stationery. There is in fact no such organization in existence and never was, only in his own personality.
  •      It is to protect unsuspecting persons that this communication is addressed to the Department and more particularly to expose a very slick and dangerous man in a small way it is true for no one could be deceived after five minutes conversation with him and would trust him with anything but some “small dirty job,” for which he is only capable, “but heres (sic) the point, a traitor is a traitor and I would as soon trust the “Kaiser” as this fellow.”
  •                   Very respectfully. A true American and a hater of all Kaiserism in America as in Germany.
  •                                Joseph Wm Copley
  •                                              National Vice Commander & Asst Secty
  •                                              National Indian War Veterans Association
  • National Home. Milwaukee Wis.
  • [Investigative Case Files of the Bureau of Investigation 1908–1922, #53229]
  • Note: Joseph William Copley was born in late December 1850 or early January 1851, in the Hunslet district of Leeds, Yorkshire, to John and Sarah Copley.  He arrived in New York with his parents, an older brother and a younger sister on 29 April 1868 on the S.S. City of Cork, which had sailed from Liverpool via Queenstown and Halifax (Nova Scotia).  Copley enlisted in the U.S. Army at Fort Sanders, Tennessee, on 4 July 1873 and assigned to Company G, 4th Infantry.  Described as having blue eyes, brown hair, a light complexion, 5’ 4¼” tall, age 21 years and 4 months, previously employed as a butcher.  He was discharged at Fort Sanders on 4 July 1878 – a private of excellent character. He married Bridget Elizabeth (surname not disclosed), daughter of Irish immigrants, with whom he had five children and resided in 43 Fox Street, Denver, for many years.  Joseph Copley died on 19 October 1923.  The place of his death and burial is not known.  His widow continued to receive an army  pension until her own death, courtesy of the Indian Wars Pension Act, 1917!
  • Peter Russell – CAGB E-newsletter 2020/2 ©

Widows of Men in the 7th U.S. Cavalry on 25 June 1876

Frank (left) and Charles Bobo c.1877 (above). Missouri Ann Wycoff Bobo Kanipe (right).

  • 1. Missouri Ann Wycoff (widow of 1st Sergeant L. Edwin Bobo, Company C) married Sergeant Daniel Kanipe, Company C, 7th Cavalry, on 12 April 1877. She had two sons from her first marriage, Charles and Frank. The newlyweds settled in Marion, McDowell County, North Carolina, where they raised eight more children: three sons and five daughters. Daniel worked for the Internal Revenue Service, was treasurer of the Mystic Tie Lodge #237 in Marion for more than 20 years, and served as Captain of the North Carolina Militia Home Guards during World War I. He died age 73 on 18 July 1926 and Missouri died age 80 on 25 May 1934. Both are buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Marion, where a fine headstone marks the grave.
  • 2. Margaret “Maggie” Emma Custer (widow of 1st Lieutenant James Calhoun, Company L), married John H. Maugham, in Pennsylvania in 1904. She died age 58 in March 1910 in Detroit, Michigan, and is buried in Woodland Cemetery, Monroe, Michigan with several other members of the Custer family including her brother Boston and nephew Harry Armstrong Reed, both of whom were killed at Little Big Horn. The fate of Maugham is not known.
  • 3. Mary Blanchton (widow of Private William B. Crisfield, Company L), born in France, one of three widows at Fort Totten on the day of the battle, married Private Martin Personeus, Company L, 7th Cavalry, in 1876 or ’77 in Bismarck, North Dakota, and had two further children – Phoebe and Charles. Martin Personeus died around age 55 on 24 December 1889, in the County Farm Asylum, near Carlinsville, Illinois and buried there in an unmarked grave. Mary passed away age 85 on 17 February 1931 in Gillespie, Macoupin County, Illinois, and laid to rest in Mayfield Memorial Park Cemetery, Carlinville,, where the apocryphal words ‘SURVIVOR GEN. CUSTER’S MASSACRE’ are inscribed on an ornate gravestone. It was placed there by her daughter, Phoebe, and son-in-law, Charles Goodnight, a coal miner; almost certainly a near relative of the Charles Goodnight, who is remembered for blazing the Goodnight-Loving cattle trail from Texas to Wyoming.

Mary Blanchton Crisfield Personeus.

Frances Downing, right.

  • 4. Frances “Fannie” J. Downing (widow of Acting Assistant Surgeon James M. DeWolf, a civilian contract surgeon), another Fort Totten widow, married Elijah Dodd on 10 June 1879 at Waterville, Ohio, who she divorced in 1912. They had one child, Verne Adams Dodd. Frances died age 65 on 19 May 1918 and is buried next to her first husband, James DeWolf, in Woodlawn Cemetery. Norwalk, Huron County, Ohio.
  • Note: Although written as a novel, Voices In Our Souls (2010), by Gene Erb and Ann DeWolf Erb, a distant cousin of Dr. James DeWolf, is based in part on a diary found on the acting assistant surgeon’s body at the battlefield and letters exchanged between him and his wife, Fannie. The story, which mentions both Mary Crisfield and Nora McElroy (see page 5) receiving the news of their husbands’ deaths, focuses on the relationship between the DeWolfs and uses their lives to call attention to the complex situations between whites and Indians as settlers and soldiers pushed west during the second half of the 19th century.
  • 5. Anna Elizabeth Hahn, aka Fettis (widow of Trumpeter Henry Dose, Company G), from the Kingdom of Bavaria (present-day Rhineland Palatinate), married Englishman 1st Sergeant Edward Garlick, Company G, 7th Cavalry, on 22 November 1876 in Bismarck. Garlick was discharged on a surgeon’s certificate at Fort Riley, Kansas, on 5 November 1887 and settled in Sturgis, Meade County, the following year. Over time Garlick’s health evidently recovered sufficiently to enable him to work on a hack line, then a dray line and transfer, and, finally, for many years as a carrier of the U.S. Mail between Sturgis and Fort Meade. They had two children – Edward and Frederick – and adopted a third, Harry. Anna died, after a long illness, on 15 March 1928 and Edward Garlick succumbed to Bright’s disease at the age 84 on 25 January 1931. Both are buried in nearby Bear Butte Cemetery where individual granite headstones mark their graves.
  • 6. Mary Ellen Boyer (widow of Sergeant Jeremiah Finley, Company C), married Private John F. Donohue, Company K, 7th Cavalry, on 7 February 1877 and lived in Oberon, Benson County, North Dakota. The cause, date and place of her death are unknown. Donohue, originally from County Tipperary, Ireland, died age 71 on 3 December 1924 in Butte, Montana.
  • 7. Mary Elizabeth Kittinger (widow of Corporal William H. Gilbert, Company L), married Samuel D. Hevener on 18 March 1877 at the Union Methodist Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and had a further ten children, only five of whom reached maturity. Lived at 2624 North 27th Street, Philadelphia. Samuel died age 61 on 11 January 1920 and Mary age 77 on 6 December 1932. Both are buried in Mount Peace Cemetery, Philadelphia.

Anna Hahn Dose Garlick and Edward Garlick (left). Nora Sullivan McElroy Furey headstone (above).

  • 8. Mary Sauder (widow of 1st Sergeant Frederick Hohmeyer, Company E), a mother of four children who came to the United States from Württemberg, Germany, before 1864, married Sergeant Latrobe Brommell (real name Bromwell), Company E, on 25 February 1877. Mary was matron of the post hospital at Fort Meade, Dakota Territory, in 1883. The couple received a rousing send-off at the train station from the officers and men at Fort Riley, Kansas, in 1908, when they left for their new home in Baltimore, Maryland, although two years later they are found living on 9th St NW, Washington, D.C. By early January 1920 they were back in Kansas, in Smoky Hill Township, near Fort Riley, where Latrobe, described as a caterer, was no doubt putting to good use the culinary skills he had learned during his time in the army. He died at the National Soldiers’ Home in Washington on 29 April 1923 and is buried in the cemetery there. No record has been found of Mary’s death.
  •      Nellie, the youngest of Frederick Hohmeyer’s four children, was not born until several months after his death (4 December 1876). She took the surname of ‘Bromwell’ after her step-father, and married Sergeant George H. Rathgeber, Company G, 7th Cavalry, at Junction City, Geary County, on Christmas Eve 1892. Rathgeber had a distinguished military career and retired, with the rank of major, through ill health in 1920. He died at the Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, D.C. on 5 December 1928. Nellie died on 17 November 1949. Both are buried in Arlington National Cemetery. At one time, it is said, George Rathgeber owned the pair of binoculars that Custer used at the Little Big Horn, but that’s another story!
  • 9. Katherine “Kate” E. Corcey1 (widow of Private John P. Kelly, Company E), married 1st Sergeant William A. Curtiss, Company F, on 27 January 1877. The Federal Census taken at Fort Totten, Dakota Territory, in June 1880 shows Kate E. Curtiss, a laundress, age 28, living with two children from her first marriage, Henry, age 7, and Ruth, age 5, and 11 month-old Winfred (sic), a daughter, the only child of the second.2 William Curtiss was discharged from Fort Buford, Dakota Territory on 18 April 1881, after serving only three years of a five-year enlistment “to procure a good home for his family of 4 children on a claim he must settle on soon or lose near Valley City, D.T.” It must be presumed that he did. He died from lung disease on 27 October 1888, in Helena, Montana. On 23 July 1893 Katherine, then living in Spokane, Washington, filed for a widow’s pension which was rejected on the grounds she could not produce any evidence that her late husband served in the army during the Civil War. She died of pneumonia at 137 East Front Avenue, Spokane on 4 August 1896 and was buried in Fairmont Cemetery, since renamed Fairmont Memorial Park, where a stone is inscribed ‘Katherine E. Curtis (sic) 1853-1896’.
  • Notes:
  • 1.  Katherine Corcey (or Corsey), daughter of David Corsey (b. Canada) and Margaret (?) Doyle (b. Ireland).
  • 2. The Kellys had a third child, Josephine, born at Fort Lincoln 25 September 1876, but why she is missing from the 1880 Census remains a mystery to this writer. At the time of this census William Curtis was with his regiment in the field in Billings County, Montana Territory.

The Rathgeber headstone (above). Michael Caddle headstone (right).

  • 10. Nora Sullivan (widow of Trumpeter Thomas McElroy, Company E), the third Fort Totten widow, arrived in the United States from Ireland in 1871. She married Private John Furey, Company E, 7th Cavalry, who was actually in Company K, 20th Infantry, stationed at Fort Totten, at the time of her first husband’s death. Furey, from County Tyrone, Ireland, served three 5-year terms in the United States Army and died before 1900.      Nora, whose second marriage was to remain childless, died in Sturgis, South Dakota, on 27 January 1937 and is buried in St. Aloysius (Catholic) Cemetery there.
  •      Nora’s supposed reaction to tragic news of her first husband’s death is graphically recounted in Voices In Our Souls, which tells its readers “Nora McElroy bolted from her chair with a blood-curdling scream. “No!”  Whirling hysterically, still shrieking, she tore at her hair, ripped open the top of her dress and clawed red marks across her chest. Marie McLaughlin rose to her aid, but she jerked away. “Get away, dirty squaw!”  She lashed at Marie’s face with her nails, missed and tumbled over the back of her chair. Flat on her back, her wild eyes fixed on Little Fish and the two younger braves. “Savages!  Bloody savages!” she screamed, scrambling on all fours toward the Indians.  Several men pulled her up and hurried her out of the front door.  Her shrieks and wails grew more frantic as they half-pulled, half-carried her across the parade ground into the laundry building.”
  • 11. Johanna Lee (widow of Private Archibald McIhargey, Company I), born in Ohio of Irish Catholic parents, married Sergeant Michael C. Caddle (or Caddell), Company, G, 7th Cavalry, on Christmas Day 1877. They had four sons and three daughters. Johanna (aka ‘Josephine’ or ‘Josie’) died of cancer of the stomach near Fort Rice, Morton County, North Dakota, in the first week of August 1904. Her place of burial remains a mystery. Michael, originally from Dublin, Ireland, lived in Morton County for forty-six years where he established himself as a “well-to-do” wheat farmer, “potato king,” owner of a coal mine, mail carrier and a county commissioner. He died at a stated age of 73 on 1 May 1919 in St Alexius Hospital, Bismarck. His body was shipped to Fort Rice the same day for burial where some time later a Civil War-style headstone was erected in his memory.
  • 12. Annie B. Howard (widow of Sergeant John K. Wilkison, or Wilkinson, Company F), married George H. Harrison on 21 May 1878 at Bismarck. Their destiny remains a mystery to this writer.
  • Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 1 July 2018
  • Cavalry trooper, 19, from Spencer set out on ‘big adventure’ but fell at Custer’s Last Stand
  • By Mark Sullivan
  • Telegram & Gazette Staff
  • SPENCER – Pvt. Timothy Donnelly of Spencer was just 19 when the armed might of the Sioux Nation descended upon him 142 years ago at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
  • Pvt. Donnelly had lied about his age on his enlistment papers the year before, and may have been the youngest member of the 7th U.S. Cavalry to fall alongside Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer in the epic battle June 25-26, 1876.
  • He was one of two cavalrymen from Worcester County to die at Custer’s Last Stand.
  • “This kid along with so many other people died – for what?” says Patricia Glennon-Wiener, of Worcester, an amateur historian and genealogist who has researched Pvt. Donnelly’s story.
  • “I’m not a fan of Custer’s, she said. “I think he was very arrogant and got all of these people killed.
  • “This was a kid who left home having hopes and dreams. He thought he was going on some big adventure. And he did – it just wasn’t the one he thought.”
  • On July 4, 1876, the United States, a brash, growing young nation a decade removed from civil war, was marking its 100th birthday.
  • News of the massacre in the Montana Territory, reaching the East two weeks after the event, cast a pall over the grand Centennial Exposition that had opened on Independence Day in Philadelphia.
  • “Custer has met with a fearful disaster,” reported the dispatch from a Helena, Mont., correspondent carried on the front page of the Worcester Evening Gazette on July 6, 1876.
  • Ms. Glennon-Weiner and a fellow history buff from England, Patrick Townsend, have partnered on a novel about Pvt. Donnelly, “I Ride with the 7th,” currently in the editing stages.
  • A shared interest in Custer’s Last Stand led to their serendipitous meeting on the internet. Mr. Townsend, a military re-enactor, is from Darlington in County Durham, England, where Timothy Donnelly was born.
  • They have done their research in collaboration with a website, Men With Custer UK, created by historian Peter Russell as a biographical resource on the men born in the British Isles who fought at the Little Bighorn.
  • One of those men was Tim Donnelly.
  • He was born in 1857 in Darlington, England, the first of 11 children born to John and Ann (McGuire) Donnelly, Irish Catholics who moved first to England in the years following the Great Famine, and then to the United States, settling in Spencer, where John Donnelly was a supervisor in a wire mill.
  • At 18, apparently looking to avoid the need for parental permission, Tim Donnelly added three years to his age when he signed his cavalry enlistment papers in Boston in 1875, Ms. Glennon-Weiner said.
  • She said she imagines him responding to a Pony Express-style recruiting poster seeking men who could ride for cavalry service out West.
  • In a photograph taken not long before the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876, a moustachioed Pvt. Donnelly strikes a cocky, devil-may-care pose, his kepi tipped back, a cheroot in his mouth
  • He was one of 268 officers, men and scouts of Custer’s 7th Cavalry killed 25-26 June in the brutal engagement by the Little Bighorn River in the Montana Territory with Lakota (Sioux), Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.
  • “Two from Worcester County died at the Little Bighorn,” she said. The other was Cpl Samuel F. Staples of Worcester.
  • Ms. Glennon-Wiener explained how she came to be interested in Timothy Donnelly’s story.
  • She said her late father, Leo Glennon, a Worcester school teacher, became good friends with a teaching colleague, Mary Donnelly, at the old Elizabeth Street School. Miss Donnelly was a mentor of his and became almost like a member of the family.
  • After Miss Donnelly passed away, Mr. Glennon would bring flowers to the Donnelly family grave at Holy Rosary Cemetery in Spencer (see below).
  • Ms. Glennon-Wiener would accompany her father on his visits to the cemetery, and noted with interest an inscription on the back of the Donnelly family stone, commemorating Miss Donnelly’s uncle.
  • The inscription reads: “1857 TIMOTHY U.S. ARMY, DIED IN CUSTER’S MASSACRE, 1876, BURIED IN S. DAKOTA (sic).”
  • In later years, before her father passed away in 2007 at the age of 93, she said, they regularly would find on their spring visits something unusual left at the Donnelly family grave: a black crow’s feather inside a rifle shell casing, tucked under the lip of the stone.
  • Who left the crow feather and shell casing remains a mystery. “Obviously there was a connection” to Little Bighorn, Ms. Glennon-Wiener said, as the Crow Indians were scouts for the 7th Cavalry, and the shell was the type the cavalry would have used. The Custer Battlefield is located on what is now the Crow reservation in Montana.
  • She said she left a note wrapped in plastic for whom ever was leaving the feathers. “I never heard back,” she said. “None have been left in the past six or seven years,” she added.
  • When her research partner Mr. Townsend came out for a visit last year, they left an American flag marker for veterans of the Indian Wars, and a couple of small memory stones, as in Jewish tradition, markers of their visit.
  • Tim Donnelly has become like a member of her family, said Ms. Glennon-Wiener, a mother of two who is a retired substitute teacher and truant officer in the Worcester Public Schools.
  • “He definitely has come to life,” she said. “This is somebody you feel you know. I know more about (his family) in some ways than I know my own family that far back.
  • “Every one of these guys left behind people that loved them,” she said. “His mother, his father were devastated. He had how many brothers and sisters? He never lived to get married and to do any of the things that he might have hoped to have done. It was tragic.”
  • She shared a poem written by Pvt. Donnelly’s father, John, on his son’s death in 1876, but unpublished until the elder Donnelly’s passing in 1893. The grieving father wrote:
  • “Now, if I were a poet, sure something I might say
  • “About his valiant comrades in the Custer massacre.
  • “But as I am not a scholar and doomed to toil always,
  • “Though well-inclined I am not fit to sing those heroes’ praise.
  • “Yet while I live, I’ll sing in grief the memory of my boy;
  • “I know he did his duty well, and that’s my only joy.
  • “I pray, good friend, my grief excuse, when you are blithe and coy;
  • “Just draw this picture to yourself — but you never lost a boy.”


  • Notes added by Peter Russell
  • 1. The youngest soldier to be killed at Little Big Horn was almost certainly Private Willis Wright, Company C, born Oskaloosa, Mahaska County, Iowa, on 7 June 1859, i.e. age 17. (Information brought to my attention by Gil Graham.)  Timothy Donnelly was most likely the youngest foreign-born trooper to die in the battle and Private Theodore Goldin, Company G, born 25 July 1858, Avon, Rock County, Wisconsin, the youngest soldier to survive.   Private Edward Pigford, Company M, born 11 June 1856, West Elizabeth, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, of English parents, was actually discharged on 15 October 1876 for “a concealed minority enlistment.”
  • 2. Weldon’s mother, Margaret, a widow, received an army pension until her death in Flushing, Long Island, New York on 21 November 1904.  An application for a pension from Donnelly’s mother, Ann, which was either abandoned or rejected.
  • 3. Strictly speaking only 263 U.S. personnel, which included at least three civilians, were killed on 25-26 June 1876.  Five others were to later die of their wounds, the last of which was Private Frank Braun (or Brown), Company M, from Switzerland, who died at Fort Abraham Lincoln 0n 4 October 1876.  His name, nor any of the other four, does not appear on the battle monument.
  • 4. Corporal Samuel Frederick Staples, born Worcester, was in Company I.  His wife, Annie lived in New York and was granted a pension of $8 a month.

Donnelly family headstone, Catholic Cemetery, Spencer, Worcester County, Massachusetts. Photograph courtesy of Patricia Glennon-Wiener.

  • The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer  (West Virginia), 15 July 1867
  • Major [Robert Wickliffe] Cooper, of the 7th cavalry, shot himself through the head in a fit of temporary insanity, while on the march with General Custar (sic).
  • [Cooper’s widow, Sarah Steele “Sallie” Venable,  fought for 18 long years to convince the authorities that her husband had not committed suicide as this precluded her from receiving an army. pension.  Although ultimately successful Mrs Cooper died within than twelve months of claiming her victory. Both husband and wife lie side-by-side in Lexington Cemetery. Fayette County, Kentucky.]
  • The Democratic Enquirer (M’arthur, Vinton County, Ohio), 5 December 1867 [Custer’s 28th birthday]
  • ARMY DESERTIONS – The Report  of Gen. Grant mentions the remarkable fact that 13,000 soldiers deserted from the Army during the present year. More than one-half of the 7th Regiment of Cavalry, decamped with horses, accoutrements in arms, and made their way to the gold regions. The number of recruits during the year was 34,110.  The desertions reaching 40 per cent of the enlistments.
  • From the same column [19th century newspapers contained many amusing snippets of information]
  • A John Bull, conversing with an Indian, asked him if he knew that the sun never set on the Queen’s dominions?  “Do you know the reason why?” asked John Bull. “Because God is afraid to trust an Englishman in the dark was the savage’s reply.”
  • Jenny, said a Scotch minister stooping from his pulpit, “have ye got a peen [pin] about ye?” “Yes, minister.” “Then stick it into that sleeping brut of a man of yours by your side.”
  • During the war Gibbs was commissioned as Colonel of one of the New York Cavalry Regiments, and was soon after made a Brigadier-General. For gallant services in the Army of the Potomac he was brevetted Major-General of Volunteers. At the close of the war he was appointed Major of the Seventh Cavalry, and served with his regiment up to the time of his death.
  • The Louisiana Democrat (Alexandria, Louisiana), 27 October 1869
  • Lieut. [Jacob Henry] Shellabarger, 7th Cavalry was dismissed from service for conduct unbecoming an officer.
  • [The sentence was effective from 18 September 1869. Shellabarger married Mary Peat, from England, on 23 April 1872. At the time of the Federal Census (1880) he was living in St. Louis, Missouri; employed as a salesman by Pickles & Co; and had three young daughters. An only son, Richard Henry, b. 12 May 1882, d. 23 June 1943.  Jacob d. early November 1883 and Mary d. 1915.]
  • Private James Laurie – 7th U.S. Calvary, Company G,  enlisted 8 November 1872 in Boston, Massachusetts.  At the time of his enlistment he gave his correct age of 23,  was 5′ 8″ tall, with a fair complexion, brown eyes, dark hair and by occupation a wool spinner, born in Galashiels (see below), Scotland. On 24 February 1873 he was admitted to the post hospital at Newberry, South Carolina, and died there three days later.The records cite the cause of death was acute pulmonary phthisis (TB). Private Laurie was buried in the Newberry Village Cemetery with Military Honours. 

Headstone for Private James Laurie, the [Old] Newberry Village Cemetery, Newberry, South Carolina. Photograph by Paul, Karen & Katherine.

  • James Laurie,  son of William Laurie and Mary Johnston Laurie, was born on 15 February 1849 in that part of the town of Galashiels, Selkirkshire, called Ladhope, a ‘quoad sacra’ district on the east bank of Gala Water within the neighbouring parish of Melrose, Roxburghshire. His parents were married in the parish of Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland on 14 April 1845 and had at least three other children, all born in Melrose parish, namely Margaret Bruce (b. 28 April 1846); William (b. 10 March 1851) and Thomas (b. 23 May 1853). At least as early as the spring of 1861 (Census) the family was residing in Galashiels, famous for its woollen mills, hence the reason for this border town being given as James’ place of birth or, at least, where he spent his formative years.
  • The Grange Advance (Red Wing, Minnesota), 19 July 1876
  •  A discharged sergeant of the 7th cavalry, who arrived in St. Louis on the 13th instant, pretends to give the particulars of the massacre of Gen. Custer and his command by the Indians, and makes it appear that Custer was guilty of almost insane rashness. He says however, that Custer and all the officers of the command except lieutenants Sturgis, Harrington and Porter, stopped on a knoll a mile distant from where the fight took place and that they were surrounded and killed after the massacre of the command. Basing his criticisms upon this statement Gen. Sturgis, the father of lieut. Sturgis, is reported as indulging in some very savage and unsoldierlike denunciations of Custer, and other army officers in St. Louis are represented as reiterating and approving his condemnatory speeches. From our standpoint it seems that the babbling sergeant could not know what he tells, as the Indians would hardly have suffered him to escape had he been near enough to be personally cognizant of the occurrence. Hence we don’t believe his story. But under any probably existing circumstances, the language of Gen. Sturgis and his subordinate officers is unjustifiable, and the army is disgraced by having in its ranks officers who would be guilty of such conduct toward a deceased comrade.
  • The monthly return by the 7th Cavalry for July 1876 does not record any sergeant being discharged during this month!
  • The New Orleans Daily Democrat (Louisiana) 28 March 1877
    What is Thought of His Advances to Mrs. Bell by his Officers
  •  …… Reno is a widower, his wife having died about two years ago, leaving him, it is said, a considerable amount of property. He is probably forty years of age, and is as handsome a man, it is claimed, as there is in the army. The lady who figures in the scandal is described as a brunette, tall and willowy in form, and is possessed of a beauty that might captivate men who have wives no less than those who have not. The part played by Wainwright, the chaplain, who instead of proving himself  the examplar of good manners and a good taste for the whole command, turned tale-bearer, it is alleged, and repeated Reno’s scandalous talk to Mrs. Bell* is regarded as anything but creditable. At present, of course, nearly everybody in army circles sides with Mrs. Bell; but, should Reno be dismissed in disgrace, this feeling would, it is thought, give place to pity for him, and then those who are now her friends would feel that it would have been far better had she kept her own secrets and borne the insults and calumnies in silence.
  • Follow the link for details of both of Reno’s courts martial and his being dismissed from the United States Army –
  • www.littlebighorn.info/Articles/reno86.htm
  • Note (*): Emily Mary Hones Bell, daughter of Thomas Maskell Hones, a Fishmonger, and Sarah Balls Hones, was born 12 March 1851 at 11 Colvile Terrace (off the fashionable King’s Road), Chelsea, London.  She married Lieutenant James Montgomery Bell on 12 March 1872 at Trinity Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • The Perrysburg Journal (Wood County, Ohio), 31 August 1877
  • A Touching Episode. There was a pathetic scene at Fort Abraham Lincoln a few days ago, when the Seventh Cavalry, Gen. S. D. Sturgis command, which was headed In the field last year by the gallant but unfortunate Custer, marched into camp. As the gray troop (Company E), under Lieut. C. C. De Rudio was passing in review before the General’s house he came out of the door and to the gate with a guidon in his hand and ordered the command to a halt. The battalion came to a halt and present. On the porch were congregated the members of the General’s family, consisting of his beautiful wife, his pretty daughter Ella, another little girl and their only remaining son, all dressed In deep mourning. The General, with his eyes full of tears, addressing Lieut. De Rudio, said: ” I am charged by my wife to present your company with this guidon in remembrance of our dear son, who was attached to it when he was killed. I hope you will appreciate it; take good care of it and honor the memory of our dearly beloved boy.” The Lieutenant took the guidon in his hand, raised it and replied: “Dear General, I thank you and Mrs. Sturgis in the name of my company. This guidon will guide them and myself to revenge the blood of your son, and I assure you that nobody shall capture it while a man of my command lives, for we shall defend it with the last drop of our blood.” The General’s son, Lieut. John Sturgis, it may be remembered, fell in Custer’s fatal battle, and, at his father’s request, was buried on the field of valor where he fell.
  • Note: [(Brigadier General of Volunteers) Samuel Davis Sturgis was colonel of the 7th Cavalry, Sadly, the body of his son, Second Lieutenant James “Jack” Garland (not John), was never positively identified.] 

Marker for James G Sturgis (1854-1876) at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.. Author's photograph.

Colonel Samuel D Sturgis (1822-1889). Photograph taken during the Civil War.

  • The Bismarck Tri-weekly Tribune (Dakota Territory),  19 January 1878
  • STANDING ROCK, D. T. — It is understood that the 7th regiment of cavalry is ordered to Fort A. Lincoln, D. T., in order to fit out for another expedition, to start as soon as possible, on Indian service. If this is true, is there any reason in the heads of our executive officers? Gen. Miles has the 2d cavalry and two regiments of infan­try in the immediate vicinity of the hostiles. Our regiment is reduced to nearly half its number of last fall, and only three companies, as yet, are in quarters. The other companies are out in tents, scouting in the worst climate in the United States. We all, after getting into quarters, have to work hard all winter in order to keep the different posts in or­der and cleanliness, and at the same time there are over half the men detail­ed on duty, leaving about one-third or less of the company to do guard and all company duties, and all that of the quartermaster. The men are all dis­satisfied and played out, and wish some justice shown them. Why could not some regiment of cavalry be sent to our relief? There are more than one that have been doing comparatively light duty for the last four or five years. Our officers are not the only ones to be thought of. They win promotion, and by it we gain nothing. AN ENLISTED MAN, 7TH CAVALRY
  • The Bismarck Weekly Tribune, (Dakota Territory)10 May 1878
  • For Sale – The 7th Cavalry saloon and fixtures, 4th street, Bismarck, D. T. Stove, chairs, pictures, &c., &c.,  must be included. No incumbrance of any kind on the property. Situation first-class. For price and terms inquire on the premises.
  • The Bismarck Weekly Tribune (Dakota Territory), 25 September 1878
  • Private Thayer, a recruit for the 7th cavalry, was accidentally killed at Fort Lincoln by a companion, last week. The companion handed him the muzzle of a loaded gun to help him out of a slough. The gun went off and killed him instantly.

Major Marcus A. Reno (1834-1889), 7th U.S. Cavalry.

Lieutenant Charles C. De Rudio (1832-1910), 7th U.S. Cavalry.

  • The Daily Globe (St Paul, Minnesota), 10 October 1879
  • Gen. Terry is in receipt of a marble urn, which is illustrative of two things. It is the artistic handiwork of Lieut. DeRudio, of the Seventh United States cavalry, and is made of marble excavated from the Black Hills region. The rock takes a high polish, and, in variety of color and streak, is not unlike the world famed marble of Tennessee. The urn stands upon a columnar pedestal, and both urn and support are deftly carved with trailing vine and flowers and highly polished by Lieut. DeRudio, who has shown no mean skill in his artistic work.
  • The Bismarck Tribune (Dakota Territory), 25 June 1880
  • Lieut. Hugh L. Scott, of the 7th Caval­ry, was married to Miss Mary Merrill, daughter of Col. Lewis Merrill, of the 7th cavalry, at Stand­ing Rock Wednesday. The young couple arrived in Bismarck yesterday and left to-day for Fort Totten where the lieutenant’s company is stationed.
  • [Hugh Lenox Scott (1853-1934) retired from the army in 1919, a major general, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.]
  • The Vancouver Independent (Washington), 10 February 1881
  • Archibald Gibson, second lieutenant of the 7th U. S. cavalry, and son of a prominent lawyer, died of inflammation of the brain, caused by a singular event occurring while he was a West Point student. One day while on parade a spider got into his ear. The rules prohibited his removing it, and he stood in the ranks while the creature worked its way into the ear, and when he was dismissed the ear was full of blood. This caused corrosion of the bone next to the brain, and he has never been completely well since, although having done hard service in Dakota.
  • The River Press, (Fort Benton, Montana), 6 December 1882
  • A Good Chance for Any Man The following story is from an eastern paper. An officer of the 7th cavalry regiment of Fort Lincoln, Dakota, received a letter from a woman who owned a ranch near Mandan, which, in substance read as follows: “Dear Sir: My man, perhaps you know, is dead. I buried him Thursday. It is coming on spring, now, and I am a lonely woman, with a big ranch, and the Indians about.  I don’t mind the Indians, the red devils, but  I have too much work for any woman to do. If you have any sergeant about to be mustered out, or a private, if he is a good man, I would like to have you inform me about him.  If he is a steady man, likes work, and wants a good home I will marry him, if we think we can get along together. It’s a good chance for any man. Please answer.
  • Weekly Expositor (Brockway Centre, Michigan), 5 July 1883.
  • The Sioux on the Standing Rock reservation are reported by Sergeant Ham, of the 7th Cavalry, stationed at Fort Yates to be in a wretched condition and dying off at a frightful rate. “The principal cause,” he says, “is pulmonary disease, caused by exposure and aggravated by irregular habits of eating and sleeping, lack of nourishing food and warm clothing. They eat until everything at hand has gone, and then go without food for several days, perhaps.  They eat the refuse of a carcase half cooked, with equal relish as the choicest parts.” 
  • [A very sad indictment of conditions on the Res.]

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