• Samuel Tullock – The Crow Indians called him ‘The Crane’
  • Battle of the Little Bighorn
  • The Department Commander desires that on your way up the Rosebud you should thoroughly examine the upper part of Tullock’s Creek, and that you should endeavor to send a scout through to Colonel Gibbon’s column, with information of the result of your examination.

Brigadier General Alfred H. Terry.

Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer.

  • Apparently some of Gibbon’s Crow Indian scouts believed that the ‘hostile’ Sioux were gathered on Tullock Creek as, on 8 June, smoke had been seen rising from this valley. While students of the Battle of the Little Bighorn will be familiar with the above order from Brigadier General Alfred H. Terry to Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer, dated 22 June 1876, it is likely that few others will have heard of Tullock Creek, frequently written as Tullock’s Creek or Tulloch’s Fork.1 In the event, the field commander of the celebrated Seventh United States Cavalry Regiment chose not to examine the upper forks of this then obscure stream or send a scout through to Colonel John Gibbon, commander of the Montana column. However, whether Custer’s course of action materially affected the outcome of the ensuing battle against an overwhelming number of Sioux and Cheyenne warriors is yet another of History’s ‘What ifs?’ that will inevitably continue to be the subject of endless debate.2
  • Tullock Creek
  • This historic watercourse originates as several smaller streams in the Rosebud Mountains southwest of Busby, Montana, and meanders north-northwest to join the Bighorn River a mile or so above its confluence with the Yellowstone. Known to the Crow Indians as Lichíinnaakalahshee – the place ‘Where Many Colts Died’ – so named because of the loss of young horses in an early spring snowstorm.  Incidentally, it is shown as ‘Horse Creek’ on Lieutenant William Clark’s map of 1810.3

 

Tullock Creek in winter.

  • A Descendant of Orkney
  • Tullock Creek is named after Samuel Tullock, a mountain man, trapper, fur trader, Indian fighter, justice of the peace, and farmer whose grandfather, John Tullock4 arrived in Savannah, Georgia, from Orkney, a group of islands off the north coast of Scotland, on the ship Marlborough in September 1775; just five months after the outbreak of the American War of Independence.
  • John Tullock was brought to America by Thomas Brown, of Whitby, Yorkshire, to work as an indentured servant on his newly-created estate of Brownborough in Richmond County, Georgia.5  Brown, a fervent Loyalist, was to suffer terribly at the hands of local Patriots and forced to flee to East Florida which was still in British hands. Tullock was released from his bond sometime after 17836 – at which time he would have repaid the cost of his family’s passage to America – and settled in Abbeville County, South Carolina.
  • In 1796 William Samuel Tullock, son of John Tullock (above), married Jemima Logan, daughter of Henry and Elinor Logan, of Abbeville. They were to have six children, the fourth of which, Samuel, born c.1801, is the subject of this article.
  •  A Widow and Six Children go West
  •  William Tullock, known as Samuel, a prosperous farmer, died in Abbeville in 1809. Shortly after his demise, and prompted by a deadly epidemic that was sweeping the district, 32 year-old Jemima and her six children joined a wagon train that took them near to the border of Kentucky with Ohio.7 In 1814 the intrepid Jemima signed on with a second wagon train and went as far west as Washington County, Missouri,8 which had been organised as recently as the year before.  It was dangerous and hostile territory in those days.
  • ‘Ashley’s Hundred’
  • Nothing further is known of young Samuel Tullock’s early years until he answered an advertisement that was placed in three Missouri newspapers, the first of which appeared in the Missouri Gazette and Public Advertiser, St Louis, on 13 February 1822.

William H. Ashley.

Missouri Gazette and Public Advertiser, 13 Feb. 1832.

  • TO Enterprising Young Men. The subscriber wishes to engage ONE HUNDRED MEN, to ascend the river Missouri to Its source, there to be employed for one, two or three years – For particulars, enquire of Major Andrew Henry, near the Lead Mines, in the County of Washington, (who will ascend with, and command the party) or to the subscriber at St Louis. Wm. H. Ashley.  February 13
  • This advertisement was subsequently published in the Missouri Intelligencer, Franklin, 16 March and the Missouri Republican, St Louis, 20 March 1822, and eventually led to the formation of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. The fact that Tullock lived in Washington County gives credence to the assumption that he signed up with Ashley9 in February or March 1822, though, in the absence of hard evidence, it may have been at some later date.
  • Those selected became known as ‘Ashley’s Hundred’ and Tullock would rub shoulders with such legendary mountain men as Jim Beckwourth, Jim Bridger, Robert Campbell, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Hugh Glass, David Jackson, Jedediah Smith and William Sublette.

Jim Beckwourth

Jim Bridger

  • In the winter months of 1824 Ashley’s men were credited with the discovery of South Pass, which afforded easy passage over the Continental Divide and, in a few decades, would be extensively used by those travelling the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails. It was Ashley who devised the rendezvous system, where trappers, Indians and traders would meet annually at a predetermined location to exchange furs, goods and money. Tullock almost certainly would have attended the first rendezvous that was held in July 1825 just north of McKinnon on Henry’s Fork, a tributary of the Snake River, Wyoming. Ashley sold out to Jedediah Smith, David Jackson and William Sublette the following year by which time Samuel Tullock had moved on to the rival American Fur Company owned by John Jacob Astor. Competition was fierce between the American companies but even more intense with the British-owned Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) which had dominated the fur trade for decades.
  • A Disabling Injury
  • At the Bear Lake Rendezvous of 1827, on the border with present-day Utah and Idaho, a band of around 120 Blackfeet Indians got into a fight with the Shoshone and William Sublette,10 Samuel Tullock, and four other mountain men joined the battle to help the Shoshone against their hereditary enemy. It was during this skirmish that Tullock sustained an injury to one of his wrists, which caused the hand to wither and become useless. A handicap of this nature would have had a devastating effect on a less resilient character than Tullock who, as it will be seen, successfully overcame this potentially life-changing disability.11
  • Snowbound at the Mouth of the Portneuf River
  • On Christmas Eve 1827, during one of the harshest winters ever known, Tullock with a party of trappers, which included Pinckney, a brother of William Sublette, was forced to join the camp of Peter Skene Ogden12 and his HBC Snake River Brigade at the mouth of the Portneuf River, where Fort Hall was subsequently built. The snow was four-feet deep and they could go no further. On New Year’s Day Tullock and his men left Ogden’s camp but were soon forced to turn back, mainly due to wearing unsuitable footwear. Surprising as it may seem, neither the Americans, nor the Snake or Blackfeet Indians had acquired the skill to make snowshoes. Despite Ogden being offered eight beaver skins or $50 a pair the HBC man stubbornly refused to sell snowshoes to them. He reasoned that keeping the Americans close to him prevented them from returning to their base near the Great Salt Lake, where they could obtain reinforcements and goods, even liquor, to trade with the Indians.
  • In the event, Tullock was to remain grounded, maybe ‘whiling away the time playing cards’ (gambling), until around the middle of February when he and a companion took the same route as on their previous attempt and for a second time they reluctantly decided to return to Ogden’s camp. Finally, on 26 March 1828, Tullock, Pinckney Sublette and three others “left on good terms” and set off for Salt Lake. Ogden referred to Tullock as “a decent fellow.” Three or four days out, again on the Portneuf River near present-day Daniel, Wyoming, they were attacked by a band of around forty Blackfeet who robbed them of all their horses. Pinckney Sublette, Jeandrois Rariet and a trapper named Batiste were killed but, miraculously, Tullock and the un-named fifth member of the party escaped unscathed.
  •  A Fatal Encounter
  • At the Popo Agie River Rendezvous, near present-day Lander, Wyoming, in 1829, a great bully of a Frenchman named Bray, who had been out with Tullock, for some unknown reason got dissatisfied, and became quarrelsome under the influence of alcohol. He abused Tullock who, despite only having one useful hand, said he could knock Bray down. Apparently Bray kept on with his abuse, when Tullock struck him a blow with his fist. The Frenchman fell over and never got up. In his journal Robert Campbell wrote: “It was justifiable though. Mr Tullock did not intend killing the man. The Frenchmen in camp took Bray’s part, but drinking liquor in camp was all stopped. We buried the man there. The difficulty produced a terrible damper in the camp.”13
  • The Crow Indians called him ‘The Crane’
  •  Several forts were built along the Yellowstone River to serve the Crow Indians. The first of these was Fort Cass, also known as Tullock’s Fort, a satellite of Fort Union, on the Missouri River, the regional headquarters of the American Fur Company. It was erected by Samuel Tullock in the autumn of 1832, two miles below the mouth of the Bighorn. Cass measured 130ft x 130ft, was made of 18-foot high sapling cottonwood pickets with bastions at two opposite corners.  A visitor to the fort wrote: “Fort Cass, then in charge of Mr. Tulloch (sic), who was a man possessed of good common sense, very reliable, and brave withal. He was called the Crane by all the Indians, on account of the extreme length and slenderness for which he was remarkable, almost a curiosity; he was extremely popular among the Crows, and well liked by the mountain men.”14
  • Before leaving Fort Union to establish this new post Tullock was instructed to take all such items as the Crows might want so as to get them in the way of trade. His first returns consisted mostly of elk, deer, and all kinds of horns, which were received with great amusement at Fort Union even though his business dealings had been profitable.15

 

Fur Trading Post c.1834.

  •   Death of Hugh Glass – the Revenant
  • Soon after Fort Cass was completed, Hugh Glass, the original ‘Revenant’ who had survived being savagely mauled by a grizzly bear and already a minor celebrity in the expanding West,16 was employed there as a hunter to supply meat for this new post. The area around Fort Cass was certainly a dangerous one. Several men had been killed by the Blackfeet and apparently its occupants were even wary of venturing out to chop wood.

Hugh Glass.

  • Early in the spring of 1833, Glass, accompanied by Edward Rose and Hilain Menard, departed Fort Cass to trap beaver a short distance downstream on the Yellowstone. As they were crossing the frozen river they were ambushed by a large party of Arikara Indians who had been concealed on the opposite bank. All three men were shot, scalped, and robbed of their possessions. It was their misfortune that the Arikaras, bent on stealing horses, had been scouting the area around the fort when they spotted the trappers. That day, the warriors killed the man, but not the legend.
  • Nathaniel Wyeth at Fort Cass
  • On 17 August 1833, Nathaniel J. Wyeth, a member of Captain Benjamin L. E. de Bonneville’s famous expedition,17 arrived at Fort Cass having escaped the attention of a bloodthirsty band of Crow Indians and a party of around 30 equally savage Blackfeet. Wyeth confided to his journal: “We were treated with little or no ceremony by Mr. Tullock, who we found in charge which I attributed to sickness on his part well knowing that a sick man is never disposed to be over civil to others [and] we pushed on the next morning;” though not before disposing of some packs of beaver and a quantity of buffalo robes.18
  • A Perfidious Affair
  • Samuel Tullock, the booshway19 at Fort Cass, was at the centre of a bitter war of words that were exchanged between Thomas Fitzpatrick20 of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company (RMFC) and Kenneth McKenzie,21 the chief trader of the American Fur Company (AFC) based at Fort Union. Fitzpatrick accused the AFC of being complicit in encouraging a group of Crow warriors to steal around one hundred horses, arms and trade goods, and some beaver and traps, while he was absent from his camp on a goodwill mission to their village. A number of clearly identifiable beaver pelts found their way to Fort Cass and, understandably, Fitzgerald was not best pleased.
  • In a letter to Tullock dated 8 January 1834, McKenzie wrote:
  • The 43 Beaver skins traded, marked, “R.M.F. Co.,” I would in the present instance give up if Mr. Fitzpatrick wishes to have them, on his paying the price of the articles traded for them were worth on their arrival in the Crow village, and the expence (sic) of bringing the beaver in and securing it.  My goods are brought in to the country to trade and I would as willingly dispose of them to Mr. Fitzpatrick as to any one else for beaver or beaver’s worth, if I get my price. I make this proposal as a favor, not as a matter of right, for I consider the Indians entitled to trade any beaver in their possession to me or to any other trader.
  • It seems that the American Fur Company, having planned the robbery and secured the plunder, was now willing to return part of the loot if paid the price of the goods exchanged, plus their profit in the transaction!22
  • All this became academic two years later when the RMFC merged with the more powerful AFC and, as beaver hats had gone out of fashion, the trade in these pelts was no longer profitable.

 

Thomas Fitzpatrick.

Kenneth McKenzie.

  •  Fort Van Buren and ‘Country Wives’
  • Fort Cass was abandoned in 1835 and replaced by Fort Van Buren, also built by Tullock, which was located on the south side of the Yellowstone near the mouth of Rosebud Creek, east of present-day Forsyth.23 During his time among the Crows he is said to have entered into two marriages à la façon du pays (literally “according to the custom of the country”) which produced a number of mixed-blood children.24 This practice of common-law marriage between white fur traders and Indian women, often a mutually convenient and temporary arrangement, was based on a mix of European and indigenous customs, though predominantly the latter.
  • In June 1837 the AFC’s steamer St. Peters [aka Peter or Peter’s] carried the smallpox virus into the upper reaches of the Missouri River and virtually wiped out the Mandan people. This dreaded disease would soon spread among the tribes, including the Crow, that inhabited the banks of the Yellowstone. Fur trader Robert Newell reported that shortly after he arrived amongst the Crows in the late summer of 1837 “Came the news that the small pox was at Fort Van Buren, the Crow trading post …. conducted by Samuel Tullock for the American Fur Company. The fear of that complaint set the Crows running from it so hard, it wore our several hundred horses, before we stopped the retreat.”25 After 15 years in the wilderness perhaps, understandably, Tullock decided it was time to return to the comparatively civilised world of Missouri. There is no evidence to suggest that he ever ventured back out West.
  • Returns to Missouri
  • Samuel Tullock was destined to spend the rest of his life in the comparatively peaceful southeast corner of the state of Missouri. It was in Jefferson County, on 22 February 1839, that he married Irish immigrant Mary Jane Boyd, daughter of Alexander and Sarah Boyd.26  Alexander Boyd was a founder elder of the Bellevue Presbyterian Congregation (1816), Caledonia, in neighbouring Washington County, reputed to be one of the earliest Protestant churches built west of the Mississippi.
  • The Federal Census (1840) finds Samuel and Mary living among Tullock kinfolk in Concord Township in Washington County,27 but their first child, Sarah Jane, was born the following year in Valles Mines, back in Jefferson County.28 Tullock was elected a justice of the peace for Plattin Township, also in Jefferson County, on 5 August 1844 and took the oath of office on the second of September.29
  • That same year Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Conditions of North America Indians by George Catlin was published in London. Part of Letter No. 7 reads: “I have conversed with Messrs. Sublette and Campbell, two gentlemen of the highest respectability, who have traded with the Crows for several years, and they tell me they are one of the most honorable, honest, and high-minded races of people on earth; and with Mr. Tulloch (sic), also a man of the strictest veracity, who is now here with a party of them; and, he says, they never steal, – have a high sense of honor, – and being fearless and proud, are quick to punish or retaliate.”
  • A Pillar of the Community
  • Alexander Boyd, a former justice of the peace for Plattin Township, died in August 1846 and Tullock was appointed administrator of his estate since his late father-in-law did not leave a will.30
  • In addition to Sarah, Samuel and Mary were blessed with six more children, namely, Mary, John, Elizabeth, Jemima, Margaret and Isabell. Tullock served a second term as justice of the peace in Jefferson County in 1854 and 1855, during which time he officiated at no less than four marriages.31 Mary Boyd Tullock died in Jefferson County on 22 August 1856: her place of burial is unknown.32

 

Iron County Courthouse, Ironton, Missouri, built 1858 (first occupied 1860).

  • Tullock was elected for a third term as a Justice of the Peace; on this occasion in the newly-created Iron County for 1859-6033 and, at the time of the decennial census on 14 June 1860 he was styled ‘a Farmer’ living in Arcadia Township with four of his children, Mary, John, Jemima and Margaret. On 21 August the same year he was most likely the Samuel Tullock appointed postmaster at Noell, also in Iron County, a position that ran until 22 August 1862 when the post office was closed down.34 During this period he married Eliza Green, from Kentucky, on 13 June 1861,35 who would bear him only one child, Amos, born in 1864. The American Civil War appears to have passed him by without any incident of note and by August 1870 he was reduced to “working on a farm” in Township 32, Range 4 East, Iron County, with his wife, Eliza, and children, Jemima, Isabell, and Amos.36     
  • The Trail Goes Cold
  • In 1876 Samuel and Eliza Green Tullock were residing in Township 31 in nearby Madison County,37 but then unaccountably his name disappears from the historical record. Despite a diligent search of all known archives, and the fact that four years later his disabled second wife, Eliza, is described as a widow,38 it does not seem unreasonable to conclude that Samuel Tullock died in Missouri sometime between the years 1876 and 1880.
  • Although the date and place of his death remain a total mystery, the man the Crow Indians called ‘The Crane’ left his name in Montana where Tullock Creek still flows into the Bighorn River near its confluence with the Yellowstone.39

 

  • Peter G Russell – August 2016 (copyright of the author)
  • [First published in The English Westerners’ Society The Tally Sheet, Summer 2016, Volume 62 Number 3]
  • Notes and Sources
  1. 1. The Battle of the Little Bighorn, Montana Territory, 25-26 June 1876, claimed the lives of 263 (excluding five later dying of wounds) including U.S. Army officers and enlisted men, and 10 miscellaneous personnel. An accurate number of Indian dead has never been established.
  2. 2.  Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark’s Expedition, also known as the Corps of Discovery, met the Crow Tribe at Pompeys Pillar in 1805.
  3. 3.  John Tullock (originally Tulloch) travelled with his wife, Janet Seatter, and children: Janet; [William] Samuel; Magnus; Mary; Elizabeth.
  4. 4.  By 1773, Creek Indians in Georgia had run up debts with traders far larger than any amount they could pay.  The colony pressed the issue on behalf of its traders and worked out a land deal whereby the Creeks made a large tract of land west of Augusta available for settlement.  In return, the colony would sell the land and pay off their own accumulated debts with part of the proceeds. Land sales early in 1774 not only attracted settlers from the Carolinas and other colonies but also drew the attention of a certain young man from Whitby, Yorkshire, named Thomas Brown.
  5. 5.  Dobson, David, Scottish Highlanders on the Eve of the Great Migration, 1725-1775: The Northern Isles.
  6. 6.  Courtesy of Lisa Tullock, Missouri, wife of a collateral descendant of Samuel Tullock.
  7. 7.  Jemima Logan Tullock died December 1843 and is buried in Hamilton Cemetery, Bismarck, St. Francois County, Missouri. The cemetery records read – “Jemima Garrett, b. 1777 d. Dec. 1843, 66 yrs 11 months, born South Carolina, widow of Samuel Tullock.” The identity of ‘Garrett’ remains elusive.
  8. 8.  Ashley, [General] William Henry, miner, land speculator, manufacturer, territorial militia officer, politician, frontiersman, trapper, fur trader, entrepreneur, hunter and explorer, born Powhatan County, Virginia, c.1780, died Cooper County, Missouri, 1838.
  9. 9.  Sublette, William Lewis, pioneer, frontiersman, trapper, fur trader, explorer, and mountain man, born Kentucky 1786, died Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1845.
  10. 10. Fayel, William, Colonel Robert Campbell’s Experiences in the Rocky Mountain Fur Trude.St. Louis, July 1886.
  11. 11. Ogden, Peter Skene, fur trader and a Canadian explorer of what is now British Columbia and the American West, born Quebec, Canada, 1790, died Oregon City, Oregon. Author of Traits of American Indian Life and Character (1853). The city of Ogden, Weber County, Utah, is named in his honour.
  12. 12. Nester, William R., ‘From Mountain Man to Millionaire: The “Bold and Dashing Life” of Robert Campbell,’ Great Plains Quarterly 20, no. 2 (Spring 2000).
  13. 13. Forty Years a Fur Trader on the Upper Missouri: The Personal Narrative of Charles Larpenteur, 1833-1872 (1989). Larpenteur, born near Fontainebleau, France, 1807, died in Little Sioux, Harrison County, Iowa, 1872.
  14. 14. Nester, William R., ‘From Mountain Man to Millionaire’.
  15. 15. Glass, Hugh, born Pennsylvania, 1783, died 1833. The film The Revenant (2015), which starred the Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role, was based on Glass’s survival against all the odds, having been attacked by a grizzly bear in the summer of 1823 and left for dead by John Fitzgerald and a young Jim Bridger without clothing or means of defending himself. Glass forgave Bridger on account of his youth.
  16. 16. Irving, Washington, The Adventures of Captain Bonneville (1837) is regarded by many as probably the most literate, readable description of the fur trapper era.
  17. 17. Wyeth, Nathan Jarvis, inventor, entrepreneur and explorer born Massachusetts 1802, died 1856 (place not known).
  18. 18. ‘booshway’, derived from the French ‘bourgeois’, was the title given to the manager of a fur trading post or the leader of a party of trappers.
  19. 19. Fitzpatrick, Thomas, born County Cavan, [Rep. of] Ireland, 1799, known as “Broken Hand,” head of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, Indian agent for the region of the Upper Platte and Arkansas rivers, a major contributor to the Laramie Treaty (1851), died Washington, D.C., 1854.
  20. 20. McKenzie, Kenneth, born Scotland, 1797, known as the “King of the Missouri,” died St. Louis, 1861.
  21. 21. Brown, Mark H., The Plainsmen of the Yellowstone: A History of the Yellowstone Basin (1977).
  22. 22. Fort Van Buren was razed to the ground in 1842 by Charles Larpenteur. Lieutenant James Bradley, 7th U.S. Infantry, commanding a detachment of Indian scouts with Gibbon’s Montana column during the Little Bighorn Campaign, came across the long abandoned Fort Van Buren in his travels. The journal of Lieutenant James H. Bradley: in the vicinity of and within the Custer Battlefield area, early summer of 1876, reads, “[May 21, 1876] …Seven ruined stone chimneys and a slight ridge where palisades stood are all that is left of it……the fort stood on a plateau some eighteen or twenty feet above the present level of the water, a few yards from the bank of the Yellowstone and about seventy-five feet below the delta of the Rosebud. The fort operated three years [Fort Cass?], and not very successfully, due to the Crow’s dislike of the manager in charge at that time.”  Was Bradley referring to Tullock or, more likely, a successor?
  23. 23. Courtesy of Lisa Tullock.
  24. 24. Alter, J. Cyril, Jim Bridger (1962). Robert “Doc” Newell, born Zanesville, Ohio, 1807, fur trader, legislator in the Provisional Government of Oregon and later Democrat member of the Oregon House of Representatives, died Lapwai, Idaho, 1869.
  25. 25. Missouri Marriages, 1750-1920.
  26. 26. Federal Census, Washington County, Missouri, 1840.
  27. 27. Sarah Jane Tullock, born 14 March 1841, married Thomas Jefferson Reeves in Iron County on 30 September 1858. Their great-great-grandson, Craig Reeves, currently lives in Hanover Park, Illinois. To date, no male descendant of Samuel with the surname ‘Tullock’ has been found post 1910 and it is almost certain that this line of the family is extinct.
  28. 28. Jefferson County, Missouri, Commissions and Marriages.
  29. 29. Boyd, M. A., Rootsweb, 7 August 2006.
  30. 30. Jefferson County, Missouri, Commissions and Marriages.
  31. 31. Hodges, Nadine and Woodruff, Mrs Howard, “Missouri Pioneers – Vol. XIII.”
  32. 32. Historical survey of Iron County, Missouri, from its organization to July 4th, 1876.
  33. 33. Appointment of U.S. Postmasters, 1832-1970.
  34. 34. Missouri Marriages, 1750-1920.
  35. 35. Federal Census, Iron County, Missouri, 1870.
  36. 36. 37.Missouri, State Census Collection, 1844-1881.
  37. 37. Federal Census, Polk Township, Madison County, Missouri, 4 June 1880.
  38. 38. Samuel Tullock’s story has long captured the imagination of writers of non-fiction and he is featured in the following novels: Ride the Moon Down: The Plainsman by Terry C. JohnsonMass Market Paperback (1999); Bloody Hand by Matt Braun – Mass Market Paperback (2012) and Deadville by Robert F. Jones (2013).
  • The author expresses sincere thanks to Lisa Tullock, Missouri, for generously sharing the findings of her own research.

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