Lamplough, John

Place of Birth: Not known

Date of enlistment: [hired] 16 May 1876

Age given at enlistment: circa. 1831

Rank: Citizen Packer

Company: Quarter Master Department

Location on 25 June 1876: Most likely at the Powder River Depot.



Run Over by a Freight Wagon

  • Not yet fully researched.
  • Little appears to be known with any certainty about John Lamplough beyond his short service as a citizen packer with the Quarter Master Department during the Little Big Horn campaign and the painful few months that preceded his death on 8 February 1881.
  • However, it is not unreasonable to assume that he was the ‘J. Lamplough, 35, male, English‘ who arrived in New York, from Liverpool via Queenstown, Ireland, on 16 June 1866 aboard the recently launched. 2,556-ton Inman Line steamship, City of Paris. Equally, by the process of elimination, he was almost certainly the 40 year-old Englishman recorded as a ‘Common Laborer’ staying in a hotel run by New Yorkers S. L. and Maggie Winters at Sauk Centre, Stearns County, Minnesota; but at the time of writing a conclusive link has yet to be made. 

New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1891. SS City of Paris. Ref: 267 8 Jun 1866 - 23 Jun 1866, image 406 out of 599.

The 'City of Paris' was sold in 1884 and renamed 'Tonquin' by its French owners. On 4 March 1885 it sunk after a collision off Malaga, Spain.

  • We do know that he lived in Bismarck for a time before being hired at Fort Lincoln, on 16 May 1876, by Lt. Henry Nowlan, 7th Cavalry, Acting Assistant Quartermaster, “to pack supplies on public animals” for $50 a month and that his duties also included driving a wagon as far as the Powder River Depot. It is most unlikely however that he was present at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
  • Lamplough was honourably discharged on 23 September 1876 when he was due $138.33, being his pay from the first of July. Again he resided in Bismarck  for a while but around the turn of the New Year, or before, it seems he had left for a destination unknown as, on 20 January 1877, a single item of mail remained uncollected at the Post Office there. One would be most interested to know the identity of the correspondent.
  • A report in The Bismarck Tribune, 18 March 1881, reads –  An Old Bismarcker Gone John Lamplough, an old citizen of Bismarck, died on the 8th of last month at the drug store of D. J. Mailer, Brunsville, M.T. from injuries sustained by being run over by a freight wagon last fall. His suffering had been intense, but death finally came to his relief.

The Bismarck Tribune, 18 March 1881

  • Was dying at a drug store merely a coincidence? Or, was it the result of taking an overdose of laudanum, either by default or design,  to relieve the unbearable pain?  Two questions that are unlikely ever to be answered.
  • At the time of Lamplough’s death, Brunsville was a thriving, but purely temporary, settlement at Cedar Creek on the Yellowstone River, with twelve saloons, a general merchandise store and a drugstore owned by Dr Mailer of St Paul. It existed solely to serve the workforce doing the grading for the Northern Pacific Railroad extension. When they moved on, so did the shops and saloons and the ‘town’ was abandoned.  Presumably John Lamplough’s mortal remains lie in an unmarked grave where Brunsville once stood.
  • In the mid 19th century the largest concentration of those bearing the surname Lamplough (or Lamplugh) was in the East Riding of Yorkshire but the place, and even the exact year of birth of this citizen packer, remain unknown to this writer.


Memorial window to Thomas Lamplugh, Archbishop of York, in York Minister.

  • The most famous Lamplugh in history was undoubtedly, Thomas (1615-91), Archbishop of York, a veritable Vicar of Bray, who appears to have had little trouble in switching his allegiance from one monarch (Catholic King James II) to another (Protestant King William III).
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