THE LIFE OF
FREDERICK FRANCES GERARD
Frederick Frances Gerard was born on the 14th of November 1829 in French Villiage, Missouri. He died on the 30th of January in St. Cloud, Minnesota. This is the history of Frederick Frances Gerard not just dates and places but a look at what the man was like, where he lived and who he married and his place in history. A lot of people think that Frederick was a hero some a coward and some think he was a scrandral. But personally I think that he was just a man living in and doing the best he could in the time that he lived.
We don't know much about his years up to 1848, we do know that he attended Xavier Collage. By all written accounts he went up the Missouri with his uncle John B. Gerard. Frederick was married 3 times.
Frederick's first wife was named Helena Catherine, she was a member of the Ariakree Indian Nation. Helena's Indian name was Di Wis which means arrives. We don't know if Frederick and Catherine were married Indian style or by Father J. P. DeSmet. From this marriage three daughters were born, Virginia, Josephine and Carrie. Josephine was born July 13, 1860, died May of 1912, Virginia born Feb. 26, 1864, died October 21, 1951 at St. Cloud Hospital, and Carrie, at this time I don't have a birthdate for Carrie. Frederick took three girls from their mother and sent them to school at Shakopee for a "proper" education.
May 1, 1870 he wrote, Ft. Abe Lincoln; My Dear Daughters, Your three letters were duly received, I have been so busy that when night came I was so tired that I could not write, I am sorry that you should feel homesick and want to leave school, on a visit home. You of course do not think of the cost and that that I have money to spare that I could afford to bring you home for a few days plus and then send you back, when I bring you home I intend you shall stay, you are at school to obtain an Engligh education the sooner you accomplish it the earlier will you retun, so write no more of being homesick, you should be thankful that you have been so favored as to remain there as long as you have.
The expedition will probably leave here about the 15th of May and will remain out at least three months I will however write to you from time to time to let you know how I am getting on.
I have not heard from Ft. Berthold for over six week.
I have taken out a life insurance in the New York Life Mutual Insurance company for $1500 in case of my death, the policy is in favor of you three, that is $500 a piece and I have also bought in your names two lots in Bismarck, the money for the lots were furnished by your mother. This property I have bought in trust, that is I am to have the use of it during my life time, I mention these things to you in case of any accident happeing to me. While you are at school and in case of my death be very careful what papers you put your names to
Mrs. S--s is now living in Bismarck and has a son.
Write to me upon a receiptof this letter
with much Love
Your affectionate father, F.F. Gerard
On March 8, 1876 Frederick wrote to his daughters. "My Dear Daughter,I have just returned from Ft. Berthold and found a letter from Jessie and Carrie awaiting me, Your letters I read with pleasure, but will say that I am disappointed, it seems to me that you might change the comment of you letters you simply repeat what you have writtien to me twenty times before. One would say that you are not improving very fast in your compositions.
Your mother was well when I left, she sends her love to you all, I bought your lockets, chains and rings will probably send them by express. The receipt from Mother Mahitlctus(?) I have not received
There will be an expedition start from here about the 10th of April, against the hostil Sioux Indians, I expect to have to go out with it. Gen. custer is expected here daily, until then nothing is positively known, I will write you again before starting and let you know how long we will be gone.
I wish the sisters would have your photograps taken in a group and dend them to me before I leave here, one I wish to send to your mother.
Mrs. Six is now living in Bismark and wants to hear from Carrie you will please me by writing to her upon receipt of this letter. You might send me some of your drawings. I wish to see how you are getting on with it. Your drawing boxes I will try and send with the other things, I sent Jessie a nice neck tie last fall by mail did you get it or not, send me one of your old copy books each, that is jessie and Carrie.
Hopeing you are all enjoying good health, with much love and many kisses. I am you affectionate father, F.F. Gerard
On March 28, 1888 F.F. wrote from Ft. A. Lincoln D.T.; My Dear Virginia, Yours of Feb. 5th was duly received and immediately I wrote to St. Louis and asked if Father DeSmet had left any records of those he baptized in this country, it appears not, but you can rest assured that you were baptized by the Rev. P. J. DeSmet. mrs Virginia Masur was your god Mother.
Nothing would have given more pleasure than to have been present at your taking your past vows and receiving the black veil, as it could not be that I should ---it believe me I was with you in that day in spirit, I am sorry that your sister did not join the Sacred order of the Sisterhood.
I have been intending to send the sister some money and shall do so in April. Please tell the Lady Superior so. I have been so crampsed that I could not possibly send then any sooner. I have been lawing over some land which has kept me busy to get enough to eat.
I will always be pleased to hear from you and if I can do anything for you do not hesitate in making your wants known I want you ro remember me in your prayers.
Your affection, F/F. Gerard
In Feb. 1958 Father Vincent Yzerman did an interview with Sister Anasta on her 75th anniversary. "how old are you"he asked, "Tomorrow I will be 94" she replied, she said that she didn't think I'd ever reach that age. Father Yzerman asked her about her memory and asked if her father was at the Custer massacre and if he had written her a letter. She replied that "yes, I gave it to Sister Grace he had written it on yellow wrapping paper." Father Yzerman asked if she remembered Father DeSmet. She told him that she didn't remember seeing him but he baptized her. She went on saying" I say Father DeSmet was around there in 1866 or so they say. I was born in 1864. He was around there then evangelizing and baptizing. My father had a store there for the Trading Post.
the father asked about who was the priest there. She told him Father Denin, he was a Jesuit, he was there;" he asked if she still remember them and in what church was she baptized in. "I was born at Ft. Berthold, and that she didnt speak English or French. just Indian" When did you go to school? in 1874. What was your age? I was 10 years old. She went on "I went to Shakopee, you see, my father then moved. I don't know when he moved. He was an intepreter then at Ft. Lincoln and had moved there from Ft. Berthold.Was your father French and part Indian? ALL FRENCH she said. Your mother? My mother was Indian of the Arikara tribe. From what did your father interpret? From French to english? He was French but he knew the english. He spoke four, five different lanuages, Sioux, Chippewa, Arikara, rouwan. We didn't have any trouble until the Custer Rebelion.
This marriage brings up a lot of questions. First, after Frederick re-married the first two wives didn't know about each other. However Ella had to know about at least one of the wifes because Carrie lived with Ella and Frederick for awhile. I feel that Frederick did worry about the plight of the Indians, however, when it became expedient to have a white wife he didn't hesitate to leave his Indian wife and child. Again, I believe that of all of his children the girls were the only ones that he truely cared about.
From the Encyclopedia of Frontier Biogroph, Vol II, by Dan L. Thrapp, printed in 1991;
"Gerard (Girard), Frederick Francis, interpreter (Nov. 14, 1829-1913). Born at St. Louis, he attended Xavier College four years and went to Fort Pierre, South Dakota, in September, 1848, and to Fort Clark, North Dakota, the following year, becoming fluent in Arikara and Sioux. In 1845 he accompanied Basil Clement to the headwaters of the Platte, then became an Indian trader at Fort Bethold until 1869. On Christmas Day in 1863 Fort Berthold was attacked by 600 Yankton sioux of Two Bear's band, the fighting lasting from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., the Indians trying to fire the block houses; the fort was defended by Gerard and 17 men and they killed about 40 of the Sioux, wounding some 100, Gerard said. The hostiles were driven off by Assiniboines, they whites deserted, and Gerard remained at that place alone for 10 days. He married an Arikara woman and fathered two daughters. Gerard became a government interpreter at Fort Buford and Stevenson, north Dakota and was employed as an interpreter at Fort Abraham Lincoln in 1872. He was hired March 12, 1876 as interpreter for Arikara and Sioux scouts on the Custer Sioux expedition and was assigned to the Reno Command., he was missing after the valley fight June 25, he rejoined the command on Reno Hill the night of June 26th. Gerard testified at the Reno Court of Inquiry at Chicago later, being congratulated by some for "telling the truth" about the affairs on Reno Hill; he commented that some officer witnesses plainly were intimidated and he was "amused to see how bad thier memories became" in the brief time since the fight had occurred." He opened a store in Mandan, North Dakota in 1883, moved to Minneapolis in 1890 and was hired by Pillsbury Mills as an advertising agent. perhaps amont the people he knew well. He died at St. Cloud and was buried at St. Joseph, Minnesota.
BHB: Custer in 76; Walter Camp's notes on the Custer Fight, ed by Kenneth Hammer Provo, Utah. Brigham Young Univ. Press 1987; Walter Graham, The Custer Myth, Harrisburg Publishing, Stackpole Co., 1957, 250-52..
From Historic Mandan and Morton County Early Days to 1970 By; Palma Fristad;
"Villiage of Mandan Named County Seat Dec; 14, 1878 F.F. Gerard; Frederick F. Gerard, who might be termed the "founding father" of Mandan, from St. Louis to Dakota Territory in 1849 and lived as a trader and interpreter among the Indian tribes located near the present site of Fort clark. He married his Arikara wife and when Fort McKoan was established in 1872 he staked out a claim on the site later to become Mandan. When his claim turned out to be Northern Pacific property he relinquished the land and later purchased 40 acres from the railroad which is today known as the Gerard Addition to Mandan.
In addition to being one of the first three elected commissioners Gerard was Appointed the first assessor by the first temporary commissioners appointed by the governor in 1878. He maintaned a toll bridge across the Heart river and later a ferry. He also operated a grocery store for a time.
In 1876 when he went with Custer expedition to Mantana he escaped with his life when he was transferred to the Reno command at the time of the massacre of Custer and his troops on the Little Big Horn."
Frederick's second wife was Katie Rider. Katie was 3/4 Blakfoot. Again, we don't know if they were married by Father DeSmet or Indian Style. One son was born to this union. Fred Gerard in August of 1872. Again, Fredrick left this wife and child, this time to marry a white woman. Katie married a second time to Wm. Conway. To quote from a letter from Fred's son Forrest Gerard of Albuquerque, NM to the Libby family origanization. "Frederick F. Gerard abandoned his son to the care of the Blackfeet Mother and she later married an Irishman. Young Fred and his stepfather took an immediate dislike to one another. When Fred was 10 years old, his stepfather "farmed" him out to work for an aged ranch couple. This couple worked young Fred from sunup to sundown and forced him to live in the loft of the barn. Fearing for his survival, he made a decision late one night to leave. When he reasoned that everyone was asleep, he saddled and bridled his horse and began walking north to Ft. Benton". Young Fred was lucky, he ran into a line camp of the Libby and Merrill cattle ranch. The men gave him coffee and fed him, upon hearing his story, Isaac C. Libby who was a successful banker and businessman from Maine brought him to his home in Maine and sent him to school to further his education.
Fred grew into manhood and married Rose Douglas in 1904 and raised a large family consisten of seven children. Fred worked for the Blackfeet tribe as farm supervisor and roundup supervisor. In 1915 he became a rancher of his own, he retired from ranching in 1931 and became a county commissioner in the Browning area. He helped to implement many improvements in this area. He died in January 22, 1955. He worked both in the Indian nation and in the white nation and was at home in either one of them. The family that he left has proven to be his best improvement with sons and daughters that show what a kind and loving man he was. Later in life Frederick F. was moved to a nursing home run by the Benitdicten Sisters in St. Joseph, MN. Two of his daughters lived in this mother home where the nursing home was. But it was in this time frame that Frederick started writing to his son Fred. In some of his letters he is loving and caring to a degree but in others he is demanding. In fact one of his letters begin "Dear Sir" others start Dear son. When his death came along it was Fred that paid for most of the funeral. this again shows his kindess, even though his father had not treated him with kindness or love in all of his years growing up he sent money and other things to his father.
I have a copy of a photo from Forrest Gerard of his father and Mr. Libby. It is a wonderful photo, they look like young men who have the whole world at thier feet.
1. pictures of F.F.
2. Pedigree chart
3. family group sheet for F.F. and Ella S. Waddell
I need to add a note here, I don't believe that Ella knew about F.F.'s other families. I do believe that F.F. married Ella for two reasons, 1., and the most important thing. At this time in history it was not political correct to be married to an Indian. He could go much further by being married to a white woman. and 2nd, Ella brought to the marriage a large dowery.
Marriage Record from the Bible
At the Church of the Good Shepard in the City of St. Paul, Minn, by the Rev. W. C. Pope, on the 15th day of November 1877 M. Frederick F. Gerard of Ft. A. Lincoln D.T. to Miss Ella S. Waddell of Cansas City Mo.
Armstong - Waddell at Steele on January 20, 1894 by Rev. R. H. Wallace, Mr. John Armstong to Miss Mollie E. W. Waddell, all of Steele, Kidder County D. T.
At Grace Church in the City of Minneapolis Minn. by Rev. Stanley S. Kilbourne on the 17th day of February 1909 Lynn A. Stilwell of Kasson Minn. to birdie Ella Gerard of Minneapolis
At Brighton Colo. on 12th of October By Rev. James Orville Tracy of 1030 S. Washinton Denver Co.o. to Elsie Letitia Stilwell of the city of Denver
At Grace Comminity Chuch Methodist Donald Edward Franklin to Mildred Irene Stilwell June 29, 1929
At All Saints church by the Rev. Swift jan. 10, 1931 Rufus Clyde smith Hungarian (Cowash) to Marion Leona Stilwell of Denver, Colroado
BIRTH RECORDS FROM THE BIBLE
Frederic custis Gerard, son of Frederic G. Gerard and Ella S, Gerard nee, Waddell, born Wednsday October 16, 1878 (F.F.G.)
Birdie Ella Gerard daughter of Frederic F. Gerard and Ella S. Gerard nee, Wadde, born sunday July 4th 1880
Charles Drummond Girard second son of Ella S. Girard and Fredici F. Girard born December 25th at 11:20 pm 1888
Florence Drummond daughter of Frederic F. Gerard and Ella s. Gerard nee Waddell born September 29th 1893
Marion Leona Stilwell daughter of Lynn Stilwell and Birdie E. Stilwell nee Gerard born Tuesday December 14, 1909 - 4am. (L.A. S.) Minneapolist MN
Mildred Irene Stilwell daughter of Lynn a. Stilwell and Birdie E. Stilwell nee Gerard born march 17 Friday 7:20am, 1911 Minnapolis, MN (L.A.S.)
Esie Letitia Gerard Stilwell third daughter of Lynn A. Stiwell and Birdie E. Stilwell nee Gerard, born April 19 1912 Friday 1pm (l.A.S.)Minnapolis MN
Eleanor Winifred Stilwell fourth daughter of Birdie el Stilwell nee Gerard Thursday May 23, 1923 1918 @10 am. (L.A.S.) Minneapolis, MN
4. Pictures of f.F.
5. Picture of Ella S. Waddell Gerard
6. picture of Fred Custis Gerard
7. pictures of older Frederick Custis Gerard
8. Notes to historical society from Florence Drummond Gerard
9. Marriage Certificate for F.F. Gerard to Ella S. Waddell dated November 10, 1874 he is living in Moline co., MN and she is living in Ramsey Wittnesses were John W. Bell and Samuel Bays
10. Bicture of Birdie Ella Gerard
11. another picture of Frederick custis Gerard
12. Picture of Charles Drummond Gerard
13. picture of Florence Drummond Gerard
INFORMATION ON FREDRICK CUSTIS GERARD
Fredrick Custis was born October 16, 1878 , The 1930 Stockton, San Joaquin, California shoes Frederick C. age 50 living in that city******************** more information on this person later
INFORMATION ON BIRDIE ELLA GERARD
married Lynn Arthur Stilwell
Birdie was born July 4, 1880 at Fort Abraham Lincoln
In 2001 I was lucky to find a cousin Forrest Gerard and his wonderful wife Kay, Forrest was also interested in the story of Frederick F. Gerard. F.F. Gerard was his grandfather, lucklie he had some letters that F.F. had sent to his father Fred Gerard and also some letters that my grnadmother Birdie had sent to Fred Gerard when they discovered that they were related.
Letter # 1 dated March 21, 1921, From De Monies Iowa, Dear Brother, Perhaps I am taking too much liberty in calling you this, but we seem to have the same father as your letter stated, because father was all over the west and at Ft. Berthold, Lincoln, Bismark, Mandan and several other places. I think both our mothers had sad lives and the family was very unfortuate in some money matters. His name was Frederic Francis Gerard and you were named for him I suppose. Am glad you hold a good position and a credit to the name.
Father died at St. Cloud as you say and I was very sorry I could not go to the funeral but it was lack of money that kept me away.
Well if you ever happen in this part of the world call to see me, and if you know where Sister Anasticia is and she comes this way tell her to call also, was just looking through an album and read a verse she wrote to me when I was a baby. Will close for now with love and good wishes. From sister Birdie.
Letter #2 was dated April 14, 1921 also from Des Monies Iowa, Dear Brother, Your welcome letter received a few days ago. You aked me about myself. Well I will tell you about father. He was born in St. Louis Nov. 14, 1829, he worked for the american Fur co., at Ft. Piere S. Dakota. This was in 1848 in 1855 he went to Ft. Berthold, in 1866 Small Pox broke out and he doctored and vaccinated 300 children. In 1872 he was hired by the government as interpreter to Ft. Lincoln. in 1883 he moved on a ranch at or near Mandan N. Dakota. I mean he moved to Ft. Lincoln D.T. until 1882 then he moved to the ranch. He stayed at Ft. Lincoln until 1882 or 1883 I was born there then he moved to Mandan instead of Bismark as you wrote some time ago. In 1891 he moved to Minneapolis there he sold all his property and land or lost it I don't know which. My name was Birdie E.Gerard but I married a Mr. Stilwell have two brothers Charles and Fred Custis a sister Floence. I first heard of you through the sisters at the time of fathers death. they wrote you wired you could not come so I thought you were Fred Custis Gerard. then Mr. Camp of Chicago who was writing a book wanted the pictures of Son of the Stars and White Shield which father had so he wrote me telling me you sent father money while he was sick at St. joseph so i thought I'd write to you. As Fred Custis Gerard was in the west and I thought it might be him. Yes sister Adelburta was very kind and nice I had several letters from her also. Whe she was home last she told mother that if it was not for her black veil she would leave the sisterhood and take care of her she was a refined educated lady. Could tell you more but don't like to write it. It would take too long. I have four little girls and two step children a boy and girl. We are Just hard working people. Don't own any land or anything but expect to buy an acarage and a home some day soon. The last I heard Sister Anastasia she was in Minneapolis but she has never written to me.
Love and the best of good wishes fro You sister Birdie P.S. this pen is no good, my husband name is Lynn Stilwell
trying to put grandmother's life into some sense is hard. She died in 1952 in Denver. I wasn't very old then and don't remember a lot about her. I do know that she was a big woman who made wonderful Ginger cookies, had a hugh wood stove in the kitchen and kept her silver in a silver keeper on the side board. She could play the piano and sang beautifully. the other thing that I remember is the outhouse, it scared me to death.!
CHARLES DRUMMOND GERARD
Charles was born on December 25, 1888, again, I don't have a lot of information on Charles I do know that he worked in the printing business. In the 1930 Census for Indianapolis, Marion Township, Indiana he is listed as a boarder, he died in Colorardo Springs, Colorado in the printers home. He is buried in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I do have a few memories of Charles, we had gone to Chaicgo for a convention when mother was Senior Regint of the Moose lodge, Charles was working in Chaicgo and he met us for dinner in a "real" restraunt, I think it was the first one that I had ever been to. He also brought me a coloring book and a big 24 color crayons and a choclate Malt, I thought it was the most wonderful thing in the world. He was my hero that day.
FLORENCE DRUMMOND GERARD
Again Florence is somewhat of a mystery to me. She was born September 29, 1893 she married a Robert Black in Minneapolis and lived in that town for a couple of years.
Again, here we need to do a little jumping around in time. The 1910 census for Minnelapolis Minnesota shows, Ella, Charles D. and Florence living together. Frederick F. is now in Sherburne Co., MN in a home for the aged. At this time he is 79 years old. Birdie and Frederick Custis have married and moved from home. However I do have a mystery on my hands. The 1905 Hennipen census just shows Frederick Custis, Birdie and Florence living together. I don't find Ella anyplace, where could she be at this time of her life?????
1894 Minneapolis City Directory "Gerard, Frederick F. Travel agent r 3218 Colfax Ave.
1896 Minneapolis City Directory "Gerard, Frederick F. C. messr W. S. Nott Co., B 3218 Colfax Ave."
Gerard, Frederick F. Travel Agent r 3218 ColfaxAve.
1898 Minneapolis City Directory - Gerard, Frederick F. C. clerk E. R. Williamson b 615 2nd ave.
1901 Minneapolis City Directory - Gerard, Berdina E. mender NW Knitting Co. b. 2820 Chicago Ave. S.
Gerard, Frederick F. salesman P-W Flour Mills Co. b. 2820 Chicago Ave. S.
1904 Minneapolis City Directory - Birdina (same occ. as above, she is a mender r 3136 Bloominton Ave.
1906 Minneapolis city Directory - Gerard, Birdie E. retoucher b. 2726 14th Ave. S.
Gerard, Charles D. driver 2726 14th Ave.
Gerard, Frederick F. travel agent 2726 14th Ave. S.
1910 Minneapolis City Directory - Gerard, Ella E. (this shows her as a widow however, F.F. didn't die until 1913 ????) 2534 12th Ave. S.
Gerard, Florence D. Music teacher b. 2534 12th Ave. S.
In 1910 Minneapolis City Directory - Stilwell Lynn Cond. r. 3137 Findley Place
1915 Minneapolis City Directory - in this directory we don't find any Gerards but we do show Lynn tester at the Ford Motor Co., 3118 Thomas Ave. N. By this time Lynn and Birdie would have been married.
14. newspaper article "Historical Character Died in this City" March 13, 1913 St. Cloud Journal Press
15. 1910 Sherburne Co, Haven Township state of Minnesota "Patient #79, Gerard, Fredrick, F.
16. "In Our County Churchyard By Rose Mary Mertonson dated Feb. 7, 1935, "Many people are under the utterly false impression that to find important and valuable connections with the past, one must seek for them in well known and famous spots. Were these people to visit the quaint, old, county churchyard of St. Joseph that adjoins our college, they would certainly come to other conclusions. For here, practically in our back yard, lie four historically interesting characters - people who helped mold our civilization by their untiring efforts in days gone by.
A member of the convent of St. Walburga at Eichsadt, Bavaria, Mother bendicta was in 1851 requested by Father Boniface Wimmer to head a band of sisters and come to America for the purpose of missionary work.
Just across the fance which divided the convent burial groud from that of the twon, lies a moste noteworthly character in the early history of Minnesota and the Dakotas. This man is Frederic Francis Gerard, for many years the highest paid Indian interpreter for the government. His grandparents came fro Bordeaux, France, and one of his uncles fought at the battle of Tippicanoe. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1829, Gerard made his first appearance in this section of the country when 19 years old when he came up the Missouri river to Pierre, South Dakota.
Some years later Gerard was sent to Ft. berthold, a small place a short distance below the village of mandan, North Dakota. Gerard was in charge of this post for 11 years and recieved $1,200 a year for his work.
chief among the thrilling experiences of Gerard is that of his encounter while in the custer expediditon to the Battle of the Little Big Horn. The collections of the N. Dakota Historical Society state that Gerard and three other members of his part were cut off by the Sioux during the retreat. They tried invain to regain the division but it was not until the following day that they were successful. In the meantime they managed to remain in sight of the Reno Camp. They heard the firing in the direction of the custer encampment,and when the firing began to slacken in the middle of the afternoon they guessed the fate of Custer, Gerard and his party were rescued later, howevery, by General Terry. And thus we have Gerard connected with one of the most famous and tragic battles in American history."
17. pictures of F.F. and the girls graves
18. Letter from F.F. Gerard to his daughters dated July 6, 1876 from the mouth of the yellowstone, My Dear Daughters, When the steamer Far West left here on the 3rd I could not write you as I was too tired and suffering from Rhumitisma, I am now getting better but am far from well. You will no doubt see by the paper that Gen. Custer command had a fight with the Indians on the Little Big Horn where Gen Custer and 12 officers and nigh on to 300 men were killed. During the fight I with 3 others became separated and had to hide in the brush for 2 days and one night and had a narrow escape from drowning. I escaped through the grace of God; many a time then did I think of you all and wonder whether I would ever see you again, If I ever return to Lincoln I shall never go out again with an expedition, I lost many, good and true friends. I write you now to assure you of my safty will be sure and let you know which way we go from here. There is no paper, nor ink to be had. I doubt whether we get back to Lincoln before November and may get in by the end of September. With much Love and many kisses, I reman Your affectionate Father F.F. Gerard***SIDE NOTE**** IN ALL OF THE LETTERS THAT I HAVE READ FROM F. F. GERARD THIS IS THE ONE THAT STRIKES ME THE MOST. HE SEEMS SO LOVING TO THESE GIRLS***
ODDS AND ENDS
2003 Little Bighorn Indian memorial dedicated (newspapers)
newspaper - At Little Bighorn, Tears for Custer
newspapers - Amid Victory Cries at Little Bighorn a Few Tears for Custer
information from the Historical Society of Montana Vol. Severn 1910, information regarding Andrew Dawson, 1817 - 1871
Fiction book by Douglas C. Jones "The court Marsall of g.A. Custer
****one page written by Howard Gerard for a emma Louise Gerard birthdate 1886 became Sister Hyacinth state of Washington
letter dated 2002 from Tim McCabe Xavier University
Kent Co. Clerk's office Grand Rapids, Michigan for Marie Gerard
death certificate for Frederick Gerard from Sherburne MN however this is wrong Frederick this one is from Germany
county map of state of Michigan
notes on a Joseph Geraw and a J. B. Gerard living in Kent County Michigan 1840?????
letter dated dec. 11, 2002 regarding Isaac C. Libby, from; Charles Farrell nee Libby
Letter to Birdie E. Stilwell nee Gerard from W. Camp in regards to F.F. Gerard's obit being put into certain newspapers
Hand drawn map of Ft. Berthold by F.F. Gerard
Gerard and Clement 1855-from Ft. Sarypy Journals, 1855-56 "July 27 Mr. F. Girard came over (to the camp) and was convinced of the worthless quality of the grass, but desired me to keep at it as it was Mr. Culbertson's positive orders to cut everything." "July 26th A party of Sioux were discovered behind the Ft. (Union) early this morning. All hands out, armed and equipped as the law directs. Girard, Zephyr and myself went out and met them they told us they were from the Crow country and were looking for Assinaboines." Sept. 3;"en route from Ft. Union to Ft. beton via Milk River) Wrote a few lines by Mr. Wray to Mr. Girard (at Gt. Union)" "Nov. 3 Two Cadottes arrived (at the horse camp) with news for me to come in with my horses. I also learned from them that a difficulty occurred between Girard and a half breed, and that Girard killed the half breed. Girard was sent to St. Louis to stand his trial
Bismarck Tribne, Feb. 22, 1879 AN OPEN LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Ft. Lincoln,D.T. Feb. 15; Will you kindly give publicity to the following open letter to Major Marcus A. Reno;
Major; In the issue of the Chicago times of Jan. 9th, you are reported as testifying (in your effort to acquit yourself of the charge of cowardice) that you discharged Girard from the Goverment service in the latter part of 1875 because you believed hi to be guilty of stealing. Those who do not know you, sir, may not make due allowance for you and may do me the injustice to place absolute confidence in your veracity, and to guard against such an error I take the liberty of confronting you with you worst enemy, a statement of facts.
You did discharge me as Post Interpreter, May 6, 1876, assiging as a reason that you expected to go out in command of the Lincoln column; that you must economize and that you could employ three tearmsters for my salary. I can now understand the economy in chischarging an interpreter, as you probably forsaw that there would be no occasion for one so far as your relations with the Indians were concerned. Gen. Custer, contrary to your plans and expectations, returned and assumed command, and after hearing your reasons for my discharge from yourself, restored me to my position on the 12th of the same month.
Why did you not make official complaint to your superior, or institute proceedings yourself against me? The fact is you displayed another trait of character always associatd with that which distinguished you at the battle of the Little Big Horn - petty tyranny. Custer you could not harm, but you could his humble friends, so you discharged Girard.
Major, what evil genious tempted you to suggest comparison of character between you and me; you, whom a too generous country educated and trained for an honorable profession to see you consicuous only for a meaness and unmanliness in your copacity of commanding officer at Abercrombie, where your insults and persecutuion of a brother officer's wife aroused the indignation of the whole country, and culminated in your dismissal from the militray service for conduct unbecoing an officer and a gentleman; you, I say, do youself an injustice in contrasting yourself with an humble interpreter whose simple amition never rose above the humble discharge of his humble duties. Your name since that fiasco has secured to itself some prominence by its association with the chief whom you betrayed, and this has ended in an inquiry into your conduct at the Little Big Horn. I commend your prudence in this course, if not in others, as more than two years and a half elapsed before your wounded honor asserted itself and asked for a court of inquiry.
You are safe at last, sir, and safety is the goal you have been striving for most of your life. But rememer, Major, you once secured a certain kind of safety, but was it worth the price? Your modesty would not allow you to imagine that your feat of horsemanship on that occassion would excite such a profound interest in the minds of your countrymen. Nor did you believe, when behind the barricades on the hill where you so strategically eluded the sight of your command and the fire of the Indians, that you would be exposed and pillored as you have been in Chicago,
Pity for you prevented your comrades from charging you with a quality of which the public verdict convicts you. I, too, commiserate your condition and gladly award you all the benefit of the doubt by the scotch verdict "not Proved."
You are not my ideal representative American officer. I cannot recall any illustrious person in our military history to whom you bear any resemlance, and yet I am informed that you sometimes assume Napoleonic attitudes; but they are only attitudes and are not significat of anything warlike.
Major, among the other amusing elements of your statement before the court was your attempt to criticize Custer's military abilities. What must his commardes, especially Gen. merritt, have thought as you, with your limited capacity and narrow, beclouded horizon, attempted to criticize a soldier whose life is a challenge to your own dead-level and whose death you will never emulate.
In answer to a question by Recorder lee, you state that you heard I was there (at the little Big Horn); was this the source of your information ? Perhaps so. it is in keeping with your recollections of the memorable 25th of June, 1876. And you swore you would not believe any report brought by me to you on that occasion.
Major, the question will naturally suggest itself upon what you have been feeding that you have grown so great in your own estimation? You forget, Major, that you were not being tried by snobs, but by an American Constituency who will place a just estimate on your snobbish assumptions of superiority, and whith that contituency I leave the question as to who did his duty, you or I, on the occasion referred to.
In leaving you, Mjor, let me correct any impression you may have that I am arguing with you on points of fact, or matching my veracity against yours. My respect for myself and friends will not permit me to do my reputation such injustice. I merely call your atention to a few naked truths, with which you are perhaps already familiar, but which with characteristic modesty whenever the truth is concerned, you would leave for someone else to push forward.
***** While F. F. was in Chicago he gave this interview to the times on January 19, 1789;"THRILLING ADVENTURES;" "After the adjournment of the military court on yesterday, a times reporter had an interesting talk with Fred F. Girard, the sout, in regard to his experience among the Indians. Mr. Girard has spent 31 years among the North American savages and has been the hero of many strange adventures. His passion for hunting and the wonderful stories he had heard in regard to the Indians attracted him to their territory when he was barely 16 years of age. He traded at Ft. Clark 15 years, and then moved to Ft. Berthold, where he acted as agent for Charles P. Chouteau, Jr. & Co. of late he has been in the employ of the Government as an Indian interpreter and scout, and was acting in that capacity with Gen. custer's regiment at the time of the disastrous battle on the Little Big Horn.
Mr. Girard has a fund of Indian stories of hair raising character. In the course of the conversation, on yesterday, he related 2 or 3 which are worthy of reproduction. One ran about as follows.
In the year 1857, when I was in Chouteau's employ, I started with four other employees from St. Louis to Ft. Clark. When we reached what is known as Square Buttes, we came unexpectedly upon a large Indian camp of about 1200 or 1500 lodges. Among the chiefs were Sitting Bull, Black Moon, Red Horn, Four Horns, and running Antelope. Our presence was detected before we had any time to get out of the way, and I knew it would be useless to pass safely through the camp. Our only hope was to get among the most hostile tribe and be regarded in the light of guests. Just as we got inside the camp of Uncapapas, Running antelope came out and shook hands with me. i knew him pretty well, having met him at Ft. berthold and done him some little favors in the way of presents of Tobacco, etc. He recognized the danger we were in and mounted our wagon and cried out in a loud vice, "It is a fine day to die" - and Indian form meaning he was ready to lay down his life for a friend. "Here are my friends," he continued, "and if they die I die with them. You who are my friends, let them rally around me. I want these whites to reach home in safety." In a very short time from 700 to 1200 Indians had rallied round Running antelope and as soon as he considered them strong enough to proceed, he gave the order to move forward. We started off, the women of the other tribes striving to excite the braves to destroy us. For a while there was no hostile demonstrations, but when we had proceeded about three miles, I noticed an equal number of redskins behind us. They rode up and mixed with Running antelope's warriors. i heard the snap of a flint lock behind us, and on looking around saw a savage looking Indian trying to shoot me. Before his piece went off, another Indian rode up and struck the fellow across the face with his bow. I can scarcely describe my reaction when i became aware I was being made a target of. I think the hair of my head rose up like those quills on the fretful porcupine which Booth occasionally talks about. The blow that was dealt my immediate enemy decided at once who was our friend and who our foe. The Indians at once divided into two bodies and commenced to lively fight. We whipped up and rolled over the ground at lightning speed with an escort of sixty friendly Indians. When we had traveled 3 or 4 miles our escort began robbing the wagon until every article, except the box on which i was sitting, had disappeared. When we were within four mile of the fort, Four Horns rode up and ordered me to stop and make some coffee. I told him to look in the wagon and see if there was anything with which to make coffee. "Well", he frowled, "stop and let your horses graze." At this, running antelope stepped up and urged that his brother and himself should go back empty handed in order that their people might see that they had not saved the whites for the purpose of robbing them. but four Horns couldn't see it. he dismounted and went to the man who was riding my horse, caught ahold the left foot and tumbled him off on the opposite side, saying, "Here, dog, my horse is good enough for you." We were then allowed to continue to the fort and after shaking hands with us running antelope returned home. I was told afterwards that a large number of Indians were slain in the fight, which was gotten up on our account.
Mr. Girard then told of another adventure he had on December 24, 1863, when he was in charge of Ft. Berthold. The Indians living there had moved from thier summer village to their winter quarters from 10 or 50 miles away. On the evening of the 23rd about 600 Sioux passed the fort, unknown to Girard and his employees, seventeen in number. Their intention was to rob the village, but befoore coming up with it they discovered that it had been reinforced by 2000 Assinaboins, and they changed their minds about fighting. They turned round and on their way back decided to capture the fort. next morning one of Girard's men reported a large herd of buffalo about two miles away. Girard ordered his horse to be saddled and began to prepare for a cay's hunting. In the meantime, however, one of the men had gone up to the block house, and with a pair of glasses found out that the supposed buffalo were Indians approaching the fort. Taking their rifles, girard and about a dozen of the men started out to meet them. When a mile away from the fort and six or seven hundred yards from the Indians, they were fired on and for the first time became aware of the hostile intentions of the approaching savages. Girard's men had passed the deserted village which was composed of dirt tepees. They noticed that Indians were going into the tepees with the intention of cutting them off from the fort. Girard hallooed to the men to run for the fort, and they started back to the fort. Girard hallooed to the men to run to teh fort, and they started back, 70 or 80 Indians firing on them as they passed. they had hardly time to get inside and close the gate of the fort before the whole body of the Indians were in the village which was within 30 yards of the stockade. The battle raged from 9 am to 3 o'clock in the afternoon. about 75 tons of hay were set fire to, as well as large numbers of the dirt tepees in the immediate vicinity of the fort. Under cover of the smoke a number of sioux came up to the block house with fire brands, which tey thrust through the port holes and endeavored to set fire to it, with sparks on the floor. At times the smoke was so dense that Girard and his men were compelled to fall on the floor to get a breath of air. They managed to keep the savages at bay until the friendly Indians, forty miles away, attracted by the column of smok, moved forward to their assistance and scared off the sioux. about fifty of the enemy were killed during the fight, bit Girard's small force was uninjured, except for one man who received a scrach on the nose from a flying splinter. Nexr day the friendly Indians returned to their winter quarters, and every one of the employees deserted Girard, being afraid the Sioux would return and be a little more successful in their second attemts to capture the fort. Girard stayed alone in fort for ten days. Scarcely a day passed by without seeing some hostile Indians on the outside. Every night he went to the block house and mounted two dummies, placing old U.S. muskets along side of them. One morning on taking them down, he found two arrows sticking in the breast of one of the dummies. Each morning after lighting the fires, he would go on the block house in different dresses, sometime Indian, using different colored blakets. Althogether he assumed 20 different characters and probably succeeded in covincing the redskins that there were 20 or 30 inside the fort who were prepared to defend it to the death. Girard had determined to see his life dearly in case he was attacked. he had arranged 25 kegs of gun poder in a circle, knocked in the head of one, and piled all the merchandise on the top of the powder. It was his intention to wait until a good number of Indians and then send them simultaneously to kingdom come. There was, however, no need for the extreme measure. The friendly Indians learned that he was alone at the fort and on the third day forty of them came and took up their quarters with him and remained until spring. his employees also came back and the blood thirsty Sioux gave up the Idea of capturing the fort.
The reporter asked the plucky scout if he had ever come across Sitting Bull, "yes," was the reply, "I once had a hand to hand encounter with him. In the spring of 1864 a body of sioux camped on the opposite side of the river within a mile and a half of the fort. Sitting Bull and a party of twelve came on a visit to the Berthold Indians, who were still in their winter quarters. They afterward came to the fort and I told sitting Bull that I could only allow himself and a few of the principal men of the tribe to come inside and trade. he knew this regulation was customary when we were a little weak and he made no objection. I further told him to go into the store and rade at our regular prices, and when he was through I would satisfy him by giving him anything that he wanted, but I could not permit him to fix the price. He went into the store and got some iroquois shells, which are largely used by the savages for purposes of ornamentation. he offered five buffalo robes for them, but the price was ten, and the storeman would not accept the offer. sitting Bull cam in to my office and said he would not give more than five robes for the shells. i told hime he could not have them for the price, and took the shells away from him. I walked toward a bureau to put the articles away. knowing the treacherous nature of the Sioux, I watched him over my shoulder. He had his arms crossed on the stock of a double barreled gun, the muzzles of which were resting on the floor. As I stepped away from him, Sitting Bull raised the gun and was bringing it to bear upon me, when i dropped the shells, seized and threw up the barrels of the gun, and knocked the caps off with my thumb. while I was doing this, the second chief of the Rees, who was in the office, pulled out his revolver and covered Sitting Bull, asking me in Indian, "What do your say?" I thought a second or two and the friendly chief repeated the question, but I answered "NO."
The newspaper man suggested that mr. Girard had missed a glorious opportunity of ridding the U.S. Army of one of its most dangerous enemies.
"Well," said the scout, smiling, "we don't always know how things will turn out. I had considered the situation and thought if sitting Bull was killed inside the fort there were sufficient Indians in his camp to smoke us out. He left shortly after this little episode, looking anything but pleased, and he sent me word by Bloody Knife that he had an arrow in his quiver which he would never use until he saw me again. I returned the compliment of sending him work that I had a rifle which always told the truth when it spoke, and that when i saw him he would hear of it. This challenge remained in force for two years, when Sitting Bull wss desirous of visiting the Berthold Indians. he sent two runners with a pipe of peace and asked me to smoke and terminate the feud. With the pipe he sent two fine American horses as sort of an inducement for us to smoke. At the solicitation of the Berthold Chiefs I smoked the pipe and gave the horses to the head chiefs of the fort. i sent word to Sitting Bull that as he came so would I receive him; if empty handed, so would I be, but if he had a bow and arrows, I would have my pistol. From that day to this I have never had the pleasure of meeting Sitting Bull. I understand that he came to the village at dark and alwasy returned to his cam before daylight.
The conversation then turned on the Indians problem. On this subject Mr. Girard had some practical suggestions to make. He said the government provides amply for the Indians, but that they were swindled by the agents on all sides. Under the present system there were abundant opportunities for fraud, and few of the agents neglected to avail themselves of the chances of enrigh themselves as the expense of the redskins.
"What would you suggest as a remedy?" asked the writer.
"Well," he replied, " the goverment is now carrying out part of a policy that I have been advocating for the past 15 years. The Indians should be disarmed. They should be furnished with no means of carrying on warfare. so long as they are supplied with food, there is no necessity for them to have arms. Another mistake is furnishing them with blankets, cloth, and paint. In place therof they should be furnished with clothing of a civilized pattern. this would be the first step toward civilizing them. The Indian would have to leave off his blanket. His arms would be free. he would be at aloss what to do with his hands, and would soonfind some useful employment for them. At present it takes both his hands to keep his blanket in position. The annuities should be stopped until he agrees to wear the garments of the white man he would mighty soon come around to wearing them. i would also suggest that the Indians should be placed on a large reservation with good illable soil. They should be given to understand that the goverment will support them for ten years in this way five years on full rations and the balance on quarter rations. They would thus by degrees be forced to till the soil, and if they were taught the simpler arts of manufacture would soon be self sustaining.
"To whom would you entrust the carrying out of this plan?"
"I think it should be left to the military department. I don't see how else it could be done, unless it was put in the hands of the Catholic missionaries. They are the only sect that can do any thing with the Indians. In the first place their church ceremonies catch the eye oand the minds of the redskins. There is something grand and imposing in them, which makes a deep impression on the Indian character. Then again, the missionaries are hard working men of blameless lives - men who seem to labor for nothing but the good of those among whom their lot is cast. The Indians know this and they deeply respect the Catholic Missionaries, who are know among all the tribes as the "the black robes,"
To show the influence of the priest over the Indians, Mr. Girard related several anecdotes. On one occasion the Berthold Indians had suffered from a drought. They went to Father DeSmet and entreated him to say a mass for rain. The Father promised to do so if they would cease trafficking in liquor and devote thier hearts for the whole of one day to the great Spirit. The promise was given, the mass was said, and before night it commenced to rain and continued raining for four days. After that, up to the time of his deat, Father DeSmet was looked upon as a big medicine man and his word was law with the tribe.
A similar incident, but with slightly different resut, was told, Gen. Sully being the central figure of the story. the General encamped two miles from the village, and he was waited upon by the chiefs with a request that he pray to the Great Spirit for rain. he tried in vain to escape the task they wished to impose on him. He told them it was Father DeSmet's business to address the Great spirit, while he was fighting. But the chiefs would take no excuse and the General had to go down on his marrow hones and supplicate for rain. That evening a few drops fell in the village, but a thunder cloud burst over the camp and the rain came down in torrents, destroying a quantity of property. The next day the Indians again visited Gen. Sully, who was elated with his success as a prayer. The chief looked downcast and on being asked the cause, said, "I know that you chiefs are big medicine men, but, my firend, you forgot to tell the Great Spirit that we wanted rain, not you." Gen. Sully's countenance fell somewhat when he learned that there had been no rain to speak of in the village.
Returning to the subject of indian policy, Mr. Girard said to carry out his policy he would make retired staff officers agents and superintendants. There was a check imposed by the war department which was not to be found in any other. Very few if any military men would think of risking their good name and honor by filching from those under their charge, and consequently the Indian would be better served by this class.
ARTICLES ON F. F. GERARD/GIRARD
The business career of F.F.Gerard, a popular and successful merchant at North Billingham is one that should encourage others to press on to greater achievemnets, for when but a boy he started out on his own account, by" THIS ARITCAL IS A F. F. GERARD THAT IS FROM GERMANY AND NOT OUR F.F.
2. From letters to Father DeSmet; St. Louis University, Feb. 25, 1868 Mr. F.F. Gerard; Dear Friend, I received yesterday your kind favors of the 15th and 20th ult. for which I return you my most sincere thanks. Your graphic description of the wonderful appearance of the sun on the 14th of January has been read with great pleasure and astonishment and shall be preserved.
Whay you tell me of the condition of the Indians is truly afflicting and deplorable. I saw General sherman a few days ago. he assured me that a resolution had been passed in Washington, that the distribution of annuities, henceforth, will be made under the special supervision of an officer of the army, whose special supervision of an officer of the army, whose special duty will be to prevent all frauds. An Indian Department, independent of all others, is to be instituted, very different in many points from the old Indian Bureau. I have not as yet seen it laws regulations. When received I shall forward them to you. Continue to encourage White shield and all our Indian friends about Berthold. All their speeches and complaints have been faithfully transmitted to the authorities in Washington, By General Sully and Parker. How far they may have been acted upon I cannot say. I have no doubt they will produce a good effect in favor of the Indians.
At my arrival (August 12th) in Leavenworth from the upper country, I met the new commissioners and gave them an exposition of my visit to the various tribes. They have been out till late in the fall. Their reports have not yet been published. They will return to the Indian country in the coming spring. I hesitate not to say, that the gentlemen composing the commission are all animated with the best of feelings toward the Indian tribes and to provide for their future welfare. Resistance on the part of the Indians will finally be overcome and bring great misery amongst them. i need not dwell on the consquences. You know them as well as myself and you certanly awill continue to give them you good advice.
I have always felt in favor of the Indians. In my long intercourse with them, they have favorably impressed me and were it not for the continued injustices committed against them, they would, most assuredly, be a better people. For about thirty years I have visited the Indians and have found much consolation amongst them. i would feel happy if my humble and poor efforts could bring them any comfort, and in that desire I intend to pay them another visit, as early as possible. I will leave St. Louis (the Lord willing), at the end of next month, or beginning of April. I am fully authorized to make the trip. I must await circumstances to regulate my trip. I intend to visit Fort Rice and Berthold your advice and experience are always precious to me. My intention is, if i can possibly effect it to penetrate into the inrerior among the hostile bands. I know the dangers of such a trip. I have no other motives than the welfare of the Indians and will trust entirely to the kind providence of God. Please keep to yourself what I am confiding to you, only tell good and trusty Indians to let the hostile bands know of my intended visit and of my intentions in their regard. Remember me to my good friend and chief, white Shield, and all my other Indian friends at Fort Berthold. My best respects and good wishes to my old and good friends, Pierre Garreau, to Beauchamp and Pierre my god son and to all other white friends.
At this moment the disturbance in Washington are very high in consequence of the impeachment of the President. You receive the papers. I shall not dwell upon political subjects. They are altogether out of my line. Our Political horizon looks dark indeed!
3. Sioux city, May 1, 1870 Reverend P.J. DeSmet; Dear Father, I left Ft. Berthold April 13th in a mackinaw boat and arrived at this place on the 28th ultimo. I have made several trips at this season but this one was the severest I have experienced. i left the Indians at Berthold in a good condition; there have been less suffering from hunger and fewer deaths this last winter and spring than the two previous, and they are better satisfied than they have been for years. The sioux from Grand River have been a little troublesome the past winter, killing several of the Indians at Berthold. our Indians do not intend to go to war until another raid is made against them. White Shield and son of the Star told me to tell you that they would like very much to see you. On my way down I found two missionaries at Yankton Agency, Episcopal and Methodis, and there is some talk of their coming up to Berthold and at other points. i sincerely hope you will endeavor to home at least one Cathlic mission somewhere in the supper country. The Berthold Indians have been expecting you for the last two seasons. i should like very much to see you on this subject and was in hopes of having that pleasue, but on arrival here I found it would not be necessary to go on to St. Louis so I retun from here on the emilie la Barge when she arrives.
Should it be decided that you establish a missionary for these Indians, the most eligble place that I could suggest opposite the Little Missouri where there is a point of land from half t three miles wide between the two points of timber, and seven miles bottom land to the hills, heavy timber on the opposite side of the river, and the same in the two points above and below on the Berthold side. Lignigte is in abundance on the Little Missouri side opposite the site. The Indians would redily move from Berthold and with very little inducement I think the Assiniboins might be prevailed upon to join them at that point. It will be advisable to act promptly before the Indian agent goes to to much expense at Berthold. since he has to build, I think it would be preferable to be higer to timber and fuel. Around Berthold everything is ruined in the way of timber, grass, etc. My cousin tells me he thinks, if our troubles are ended, that it was through your influence with the offical, for which, dear Father, please accept my sincerest thanks. Your kind and friendly interference in my behalf shall never be forgotten.
Beauchamp and son were well when I left; they intended opeing a woodyard. Pierre Garreau is still at Berthold; he is declining very fast, although not sick.
Please write me at Ft. Stevenson and if there is anything I can do for you up there Please Command me. I do not think that I will be down to St. Louis before next spring, when i intend to bring my children up to see their mother, i should like to hear where Mrs. Meaker is at; she has forgotten her godchild at Berthold. Good bye, Your friend. F.F. Gerard
4. Report of Historical society Frederick F.Gerard. Frederic F. Gerard was born in St. Louis Nov. 14, 1829 his father was Franxois Gerard and came from Canada. His mother was born in French Villiage. ILL. His grandparents came from bordeaux, France. A grand uncle Frederic Trotier was with Gen. Harrison in the Indian campaign agains Teaunseh, and fought at the battle of Tippeacanoe; later he took up land six miles from St. Louis at French Villiage, ILL>
F.F.Gerard was educated at Xavier College where he stayed four years. On Sept, 28, 1848, he made his first trip up the Missouri river in company with Honore Picotte, with whom his clerk to the American Fur Company at Ft. Pierre, S.D/ at a sa;aru pf $100 per year.
5. From "The Village of Mandan Named County Seat Dec; 14, 1878 F.F. Gerard who might be termed the "founding father" of Mandan, came from St. Louis to Dakota Territory in 1849 and lived as a trader and interpreter among the Indian tribes located near the present site of Ft. Clark. He he married his Arikara wife and when Ft. McKean was established in 1872 he staked out a claim on the site later to become Mandan. Whe his claim turned out to be Norther Pacific property he relinquished the land and later purchased 40 acres from the railroad which is today known as the Gerard addition to Mandan.
In addition to being one of the first three elected commissioners Gerard was Appointed the first assessor by the first temporary commissioners appointed by the governor in 1878. Hi maintained a toll bridge across the Heart river and later a ferry. he also operarted a grocery store for a time.
In 1875 when he went with the Custer expedition to Montana he escaped with his life when he was transferred to the Reno command at the time of the massacre of Custer and his troops on the Little Big Horn.
After the death of his first wife he married again and resided here for a time but later records reveal that had moved to Minneapolis by 1884.
from: St. Athinson, Gros Ventre Post Sept. 28, 1859from Charles Patinau and witness; W.L. Wickham
Sir; Feeling it a duty, and in justice to myself, I take the liberty of informing you, as Indian Agent of the Government, that myself, Mr. Beaupri, a Mr. Gerard, and two others met with traveling in a friendly manner through the Uncpapa and Blackfeet Sioux country this month, we all, five in number, started from St. pierre to come, some of us to Ft. Clark and some of us to this place, for the purpose of seeking employment from the fur companies, myself and one or two othes of the party having been inhabitantas of this part of the country for many years; and after getting within fifteen miles of Ft. Clark we met a party of Sioux Indians, a band of he Uncpapa and Blackfeet joined together and headed by one called the Black Moon and one called the Four Horns, together with several young men, did, in spite of all our endeavors, treat us in a most hostile manner, such as snaping their guns at us and threaten our lives and forcing us to give up to them all that we had in the way of provisions, a supply for the winter, guns, blankets, and horses, our loss being about $600; feeling aggrieded at my loss I deem it nothing more than right to report the matter to you is there is any way by which i can recover the value of what we have lossed, or receive some satisfaction from the government for the hostile treatment with which I have met and to claim, on the part of all whites, the protection of the governement in future in traveling through the uncpapa and Blackfee Sioux country. Beging of you to bring this to the notice of the proper authorities at Washinton, so that some notice can be taken of it by the goverment and not allow these hostile Indians to go unmolested any longer, I remain. this is signed by Charles Painau (X) witnessed: W. L. Wicham
Gerard 1855 - Feb, 15, 1856Ft. Pierre, Co. Alfred Cummin; Supt. St. Louis; I arrived here from Ft. clark on Feb. 2, after a long, tedious and cold trip of 34 days (left De. 31, 1855. I left my post sooner than inteded due to circumstance painful to relate, A short time oafter you left me on you way down, Big Hear, a Yanktonnais chief, accompanied by 20 of his principal men, and whose people, beyond doubt, stole you mules and horses (altho those Sioux were repesented to you my many to be harmless not withstanding all I could say to the contrary) arrived and expressed a wish to see the presents I had allotted to his band, Afeter he had inspected them, he remarked that he could prevail only upon the few men I saw to accompany him, owing to the severity of the weather; (this letter goes on in this manner for awhile) "You heard of "Girard," a youngman in the employ of P. Chouteau, Jr. & Co., shoothing a Red River Half-Breed Indian, the night after you left Ft. Union, without learing the particulars. I regret I cannot give them, All i have been able to learn is through Girard and Mr. Clemmow, who is also a young man in the employ of that Comapnay. They both left Ft. Clark they day that I did, for St. Louis. The object of Girard's visit to the states is to surrender himself to the civil authorites his plea is self defense, he informs me. Clemmow (Basil Clent) is his witness. Girard's statement to me is that there was a ball at Ft. Union, attended by the men of both forts, and a difficulty arose which he was knocked down by a Red River Half Breed and unmercifully whipped, the Half Breed being a very powerful man, and that after he rescued himself, he made for his uarters and the half breed pursued him and Girard supposing him armed and his objectbeing to murder him he reached rifle and as he was about to enter his room shot and killed him in his tracks. I've addressed a letter as soon as I was informed of it to Mr. Kipp, who is in charge at that Ft., requesting him to give me the particulars; he gives me per answer that he was not present and knows nothing of the affair, Yours Alfred J. Vaughan, Up. Mo. Ind. Agt."
January 22, 1875 FROM: Ft. Berthold; Sir: I would respectfully take the following statement and suggestions and request instructions from the Dept. for my guidance.
During the summer of 1867 one F.F.Gerard built at this place a lot of log houses, consisting of store, storerooms, dwelling rooms, kitchen and stable, in all about a dozen or more rooms, from logs cut upon land belonging to the Indians, all were cut whitin three miles of the Agency. At the timethese houses were put up Mr. Gerard was living among the Ree - he had not authority or permit to do so. he came into the country in the employ of the N.W. Fur co., (sic) and was employed by them at Ft. Clark. When the Arickarees left that point and moved up here, he came with them. He has been living with an Arrickaree squaw and has three or four children by her, claims to have been married to her by Father DeSmet. He has not lived here since I came here He has visited his family once or twice for a day or two at a time.
At the time these houses were built there was a camp of volunteers temporarily stationed here and Gerard was allowed to trade with them, but he had no authority and no orders was issued permitting him to trade. during the year 1869 he received from the Dept., without the approval and against the wishes of Mr. Wilkinson (then the agent at this place) a license to trade. this, however, expired after 5 or 6 months and was never renewed.
The reputation of Mr. Gerard is very bad. He is well known along the river, and has the reputation of being very mischievous and untruthful and of having incited the Arrickarees to several acts of violence and hostility, by which the whites were the sufferers by loss of life and property. That he has been engaged in illegal traffic with the Indians there is no boubt, and last winter, 1871-2, he was one (among the many), I am informed by credible authority, engaged in selling or trading whiskey with the Sioux and Blackfeet near the British Line. This liquor was bought and traded by im in freedom
I encloseaffidavits, copies of those on file in this office, taken by my predecessor, Capt. Walter Clifford, 7th U.S. Inf., who was then acting as Indiand Agent at this place. There are the antecedents of the man and constituted the foundation of his claim upon the property.
He is at present employed by the Commander at Ft. A. Lincoln as interpreter for the Arrickaree scouts employed at that post. his family lives here and are occupying a part of the buildings mentioned. He proposes to take the buildings down and convert them into cordwood to sell to the steamboats.
In the War Dept., buildings erected upon military reserves by traders or suttlers, contractors or stage Co., cannot be torn down or removed, but belong to the Government. i would respectuflly ask if any such ruling exists in the Dept. of the Interior? Can he dispose of these buildings? Do they not beong to the Indians, through the Governement? The only claim he has on them in that he built them on Indian land of logs cut from trees belonging to the Indians and frowing on their land. The man himself has no right or title to them, not to be here, nor did he ever pay the Indians for the logs. The buildings should revert to the Indians.
I would respectfully suggest that the man be paid a fair price (not to exceed $500) for his buildings and thus be quietly gotten rid of, the buildings will make very good carpenter and blacksmith ships, and in a year or so we will have to build new ones, as the ones we now occupy are settleing badly, the sill logs being decayed. Or, if the Dept. orders me to take possession of them, they can be used for a hospital building for the treatment of chronic cases, and the rest torn down and given to the Indians to build log houses in the village. At any rate, i shall oppose his taking them down for cordwood, as wood and timber are very scarce and wood for the agency has to be hauled baout 15 miles and the Indians with great difficulty find enough wood near at home to keep themeseves warm durning winter.
Awaiting your instruction in the matter,
John E. Tappan, Ind. Agt. (took over the agency on May 19, 1871)
APRIL 13, 1876Ralph Meeker Testimony at the Comm. on Military Expend. April 13, 1876
A. I got from very good authority this information that the real objective of Gen. Belknap's visit to that country was to look after the trading posts on the upper Mo. and also to see about setting off a district called the Hoopa country, which lies up north of Ft. Benton, on the British border, represented on that map by that green spot. There has been a dreat deal of smuggling of whiskey and other goods there, so much that the Canadian gov't. has kept a large force of Mounted Police there....What I understood wah that Gen. Belknap intended, thru some treaty or scheme that he could get fixed up in Washington, to have that territory set apart as a king of reservation, on which to put all the wild Indians that they had so much trouble with, and thus have exclusive control of it and establish trading posts there for this Leighton ring, so they could run in whiskey from Canada...the scheme looked very plausible... in keeping with all that I had heard of these other matters.
This information came from a man that had lived in that country a good many years and was a pioneer there, but I do not feel authorized to give his name unless I get instructions from my (NYHerald) office. I do not know where he is now... but my impression is he has gone to the Black Hills. When I got this information from him he was living around Bismarck part of the time, and part of the time at places that would enable him to pay off his debts and clear off his mortgages. he was let into the secret and he said it was so big that he dared not tell much about it, and it was so large he did not know the whole of it.
Q. He was going into it?
A. Yes, sir; he was to have some of it. no, he was not to be chief of that green spot, but they were to be the great mediators between th secretary of War and the little traders; and I saw a letter in the State Dept, the other day that confirmed everthing I have heard or said about the transactions of the Leightons - that they were Gen. Belknap's agents there. I understood that Sec. Delano, Gen. Belknap and Comm. Smith, I think, were going to have one grand "divvy," and a pool.
A. I told Gen. Custer that I must at once get word (of the above plt) to Mr. Connery (of the herald) and have a man sent up there, and I asked the General if he knew of a man that was fit for the job - a man who could talk the Indian language and the half breed language, and shoot straight, and get at the bottom of this thing. He referred me to 2 or 3 men,of whom I knew one, a printer, who had been on the frontier a great many years and understood that country perfectly. I made an arrangement with him, thru the office, to go up there; and then i had to go away to look after some matters in Canada. This man I employed made the trip up there. He was to watch a train of about 200 wagons that left Bismarck, and I told him to go to Ft. benton and stop at the Indian agencies along and to look out for the frauds; while in the meantime I told him we would pay im what was right and i gave him some money to start with. he has given me some information, and I expect more. i have not yet discharged him. I had t leave on the early train for Ft. Garry, so Gen. Custer helped my (by wiring the Herald). When I came back, Gen. Belknap came down the river, and this man wrote me that the news of his expedition up the river to work up these frauds had got out, and that these fellows had taken the alarm and stopped along the route, transferring some of the Indian supplies...Custer advised me to keep out of the way of Belknap, but I saw hime when he came down, and it was common talk that Custer served him right. Yes, sir; there was to be a "divvy" between Belknap and party and the man who did the work; and there was only one thing that stopped it-my sending that man up there and Gen. Hazen and Custer watching it...
There were other men out there who wrote letters to the Herald and I tried to find out who they were, but could not succeed; but among them was the man who I employed.
June 28, 1877 Letter sent, Ft. a. Lincoln, the letter was actualy sent Sept 22, 1875
AAG, Dept. Dakota, St. Paul
Sir; During the fiscal year ending in 1874, it became necessary to reduce the number and pay of certain civilian employees of the Government. Still further reduction in the amount of pay were made subsequently.
the interpreter at this post formerly received #125 per month, but owing to the reduced rate of the appropriations his pay has been reduced from time to time until finially he was allowed $50 per month. At the time it was reduced from 100 to 75 per month, the interpreter applied for his discharge, either at once or as soon as his place could be supplied. The cause of the reduction was expoained to im and he was requested to remain in the service.
About this time the division and Department Commanders visited this post in connection with the Black Hills expedition, then being organized. The Lt. Gen. desiring to obtain some information regarding the country between this point and the Black Hills. Mr. Gerard, the interpreter, was sent for as the person then possessing the most knowledge of the routes to be travelled. After his interview with the Division and Department Commanders, the lt. Gen. remarked upon his superior knowledge of the country and his intelligence. I then infomed the lt. Gen. that we would soon be deprived of the services of Mr. Gerard, owing to the large reduction made in the latter's pay, he felt compelled to relinquish his place. I was then directed by the Lt. Gen. to inform Mr. Gerard that the reduction of salaries was but temporary and that his salary would be restored to it's former amount as soon as the appropriations for the coming fiscal year would be available, the lt. Gen. adding, "we must hold on to such men as Mr. Gerard." I repeated the substance of the Lt. Gen.'s remarks to Mr. Gerard and in consequence therof the latter has retained his position until the preset time, although he has not drawn any salary during the present fiscal year, hoping the amout would be increased.
Mr. Gerad has spent 25 years among the Indian tribes of this region and I consider his knowledge of Indians and the country west of the Missoui River invaluable. he is an educated man, and I have never met his equal as an interpreter. I know from experience that it is impractical to replace him and he cannot be expected ro remain in his present position when the Indian Department is paying largely increased salaries for similar services at the various agencies. I therfore recommend that the pay of the interpreter at this post be made $100 per mont, beginning with the commencement of the present fiscal year. If deemed neccessary, I ask that this communication be sibitted for the consideration of the Division Commander.
G.A. Custer, Bvt. maj. Gen., USA, Commander, Peprot of persons hired by Capt. G. B. Dandy, A&E, Ft. A. Lincolin, Jan. 31, 1874- On Jan 27th 1874, the pay of F.F.Girard, post interpreter since July 24, 1872 is reduced to $50 per mo.
Bismarck Tribune, Oct. 20, 1875 Fred Girard has gone below to buy stock for his dairy.
1870 Dakota Territory Girard, Frederick age 37, male, whie born in Missouri, occupation Sutter, Can Read and Write
Julia, age 26, Female, Indian, born in Dakota
Virginia age 7, female, Indian born in Dakota
1885 Mandan Co., Census Gerard, F.F. age 53 Merchant, born in MO.
Ella S. age 29, wife, born in MO
Fred Custis age 6, born in Dakota
Birdie E. age 4, born in Dakota
February 2, 1868 TO; Rev, P. J. De Smet,Dear Father, Since my last letter to you, the Indians of this place have been favored so far, by the freezing of 18 head of beef cattle & a few mules at Ft. Stevenson, which the Commdg. officer at that place gave to the Indians.
I think Father, something should be done to alleviate the sufferins of the Indians at the earliest moment in the spring practiable; provisions of some kind should be sent to them. the Governent has here in storage nigh on to 5000 bushels of oats; it would be the saving of a good many lives, if a few hundred bushels were distributed amongst the Indians judiciously, there is plenty of flour and bacon in the stores of the traders, which might be borrowed from them for that purpose. I am ready to furnish my share on those terms, but it should not be given without any judgement, there should be some one to issue it out to the most needy, and proportionately; I believe the other traders here would willingly loan their share of provisions, if they were certain that it would be returned to them. I am really astonished at the conduct of the Indians, I should like to see a community of whites placed under these same circumstances, starving, with three stores well supplied with provisions; two warehouses outside the fort, filled with oats, only a small pad lock between them; how diffeent would be the actions of the whites! Would they hesitate a moment in appropriating the contents of those stores, to sustain themselves & families; I think the Indians would be perfectly justifiable in forcing any store here, & helping themselves to a fair share of the provisions; knowing as they do, that they have been robbed of one third of theirs; and the same provisions still in storage here & traded to them daily (when one is successful enough to kill a deer or antelope to trade with) I am certain the idea has never entered the head of an Indian here to satisfy his hunger in that way, and without being held under restraint by fear of Law or punishment of any kind, I think their conduct is remarkage, white shield is here & visits Stevenson tomorrow with the hopes of getting some provisions from the Commdg. Officer.
There has been one Sioux in from the sioux camp. he reports that all the Sioux will be in here to trade early, in the spring; if possible they want to come in before the River opens, they have Buffaloe plenty on the Yellowstone.
This winter has been one of unusual severity for the last 40 days thermometer has not been higher than ---
Please write me on the receipt of this letter if there is any prospect their being anything done for these Indians.
I am Father Truly Your Friend --- Gerard When you come up please bring me some postage stamps say 100.
Gerard 1879 J. H. Taylor from Frontier and Indian Life and Kaliedoscopic Lives, Valley City N.D. 1932 Page 146- Twenty Years on the Trapline 1891- "One dark night in October, 1879, while alone at the stockade, I was Distrubed from late reading by the violent barking of the little watch dog; but on going out to investigate found or heard nothing straine..at this I returned and entered the house, when some object, tightly muffled in a black blanket was resting before the fireplace.
Suspecting that the object was an Indian, yet I quietly asked in English, "who are you?" No answer. I then put the same question inSioux. Still no answer, then in Aricaree. The figure now arose, threw off the blanket and revealed an Indian woman in tears.
"Don't you know me," she sobbed in Aricaree, "I was Mrs. ---"
I knew her. I knew her as but yesterday, the handsome wife of a rich French American trader, a position in which her every want was anticipated; her every whim gratified. A position, too, that brought envy that ripened on the reconing. Her husband was amitious and proud. He was brave as a lion in battle, as had been proved on several occasions - but in facing the social world and it's imperious law a coward. When that section was Indian land and under Indian domines, his Indian wife was a queen among her tribe, he deligted to do her honor. But now his own race were dominate and by then the red race was despised.
With some frivolous excuse he cast the mother of his children from him and married one of his own color, that his business prospects might not be lessened or his social standing impaired.
Poor Indian woman, what of her? She returned to her people in moriffication, humiliation. Her homecoming welcomes in the village were rapeled. So goes the world when fortune's wheel turns wrong - in fine mansion or Indian's lodge.
This woman's chidren had been taken by their father and sent to school in another state some years before. a longing to see her little children taking possession of her, she started out upon a seventy mile trip to the residense of her late husband that she might plead in person for that coveted been. But she failed, with a saddened heart she commenced her return journey afoot and alone.
In passing a neighboring ranch she was beat by some drunken men, and fled in a dense timber thicket, where in fear and hiding she remained without food for two days.
If ever I was thrown in the presence of a broken heart, it was during the few days stay of this Indian woman at the stockade. her pleadings and raving about her children ring yet in my ears in endless chime-and will, I fewr, to my daying day.
She remained at the house until i could communicate with her friends, when she was taken to the agency at Berthold.
Although at this time she was comparatively young, healthy and strong, yet some months after, Sharp Horn, the medicine man or chief priest of the Ariacree, came to me to say that his woman was dead. "she cried herself," he said, "into her grave."
In the fall of 1876, Taylor was hunting on the west bank of the Mo. above Bismarck, when he was joined by two Lodges of Rees - friends of two brother high up in the tribe - known as Whistling Bear and sitting Bull. among the party was a partly educated Ree woman, called "Long Hair Mary," who translated for Taylor an account of the Miner's Massacre at Burnt Creek Bar on Aug. 18, 1863, in which Whistlingbear named Gerard, the trader, as his brother in law."
1. Sioux city Times July 24, 1870 Northwestern Hotel J. B. Gerard down river
2. April 29, 1870 Sioux City times F.F. Gerad and six others left Ft. Stevenson in a Mackinow on the 12th inst. and after a hard voyage reached here last night. Then met the Ina Rees 15 miles above the white river, Deer Lodge 10 miles below White river,
3. April 24, 1870 Clifton House J. B. Gerad from St. Louis, April 19, 1870 Clifton House F.F. Gerard from Ft. Stevenson
4. Bismarck Dailyy Tribune Tuesday December 1, 1891 page 2&3 Fred Gerard has left Mandan and gone to Minneapolis to live. Mr. Gerard has lived on the frontier over forty years being one of the first white men in Dakota. For many years he lived among the Indians, acting as agent, trader and interpreter. No man on the frontier is better known than Fred Gerard.
2/Jan. 30, 1913 St. Cloud Times Died at home This morning at St. Joseph's home, Jaames Gerard, for many years an inmate of the institution, passed away at the age of 75 years. He is survived by three daughters, one residing in Minneapolis and two members of the order of St. Benedict, and one son. The son will arrive tonight from Winona and will make arragements for the funeral.
5. unknown date from Mandan newspaper Sale of Gerard's addition; his valuable piece of property chaned hand yesterday, the lucky purchase being Messrss. L. N. Cary of mandan, and C. D. Stayner of New Jersey. The consideration was $5,500, considered low for this choice piece of land.
6. December 19, 1882 F.F. Gerard to L.N. Cary and C.D. Stayner, Gerard's Addintion to Mandan.
7. Mandan Daily Pioneer June 2, 1882 Mr. Cary is platting forty acres of F.F. Gerards property south of the track, which will shortly be put on the boom.
8. Mandan Pioneer july 8, 1882 F.F. Gerard who lives near Ft. Lincoln laid on our table this morning through the kindess of Sheriff Carr some of the finest strawberried we ever saw. Their flovor equals any New jersey berry. people will do well to make a note of this, so they need not be obliged to buy early berries at fifty cents a quart. Home production is what we want and can have.
9. July 19, 1882 F.F. Gerard of Ft. Lincoln has 2500 good strawberry plants, which he will be pleased to give away to anyone willing to call for them or any part thereof. Here is a chance for you.
10. Mandan Daily Pioneer, Friday may 19, 1882 NOTICE TO AMONG OTHERS F.F. GERARD, DR. H. R. PORTER AND O.S. GOFF; Now therefore I now give notice to all and each of you the above property owners, to pay on or before the 17th day of June 1882 to the street commissioner of Mandan, at my office in the grocery store of Oruarc and McGillie in said Mandan, the said tax, either in money or its equivalent in such labors and materials or bother as should be suitable and required by me to construct and complete such sidewalk and further take notice that if any of you the above property owners shall furnish the materials and construct and complete a good and sufficient sidewalk on Main Street in front of your respected lots or parcels of real estate according to the specification for the billing of such sidewalk to be furnished by me on application at my said office. Such sidewalk so built and construted by you shall be accepted by me in full payment of the said tax of such of you as shall have so built and completed said sidewalk as provided by section 20 of the village charter of the village of Mandan and faurther take notice that if said tax is not paid within the time set forth in this notice, I shall proceed to collect the same according to the statue in such cases made and provided. P,M. Granberry, Street comm. of the Village of Mandan.
11. Mandan Pioneer tues. april 11, 1882 Capt. Green and f.Gerard, of the post, were caught for the night here last evening, and thanks to the generosity of Frank Taylor and Walter Draper, they managed to get a nights rest. If they get home without finding their pockets picked, a thanksgiving meeting will be in order.
12. Mandan Pioneer May 13, 1882 Capt. Green, George J. Douglas and F.F. Gerard, are the representatives of Ft. Lincoln in town today, F.F.Gerard will have his addition platted immdiately, and thinks lots held at $150.00 to $200.00 will go off faster than hot Johnny cake.
13. Tuesday March 28, 1882 Tues. March 28, 1882 Realestate Northern Pacific r.R. to F.F. Gerard, lots 4 & 5 Block 9
14. Helena, Montana The daily Herald July 3, 1871 (Large Ad) F.F. Gerard & Co. (successors to Caroll & Steell) Ft. Benton M. t. Storage, Forwarding and Commission Merchants & dealers in all kinds of Merchandise Wines, Liquors, Etc.Etc.
15. June 19, 1981 Centennial The Bismarck Tribues Story Regard F.F.Gerad the founding father of Mandan
16. Chago times July 6, 1876 THE INDIAN WARD. TERRIBLE SLAUGHTER OF UNITES STATES TROOPS IN MONTANA; THE GALLANT GEN. CUSTER AMONG THE SLAIN. THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN OTHER SOLIDER KILLED. SEVENTEEN COMMISSIONED OFFICERS LOSE THEIR LIVES
17. Bismarck D.T. July 6, 1876 Tribune Extra"first Account of the Custer Massacre"
18. The Dupuyer Mon. July 6, 1899 Facts Concerning Custer's last Battle, Dupuyer Montana
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________"Bil"Billy Jackson's Recollections of the Battle of the Little Big Horn". I (Jack Monroe), Pinch, Billy Jackson and a pack train camed at upper end of Swan lake while on an investigation trip for the foresty service of the Big Blackfoot country for a suitable trail for pack trains. Jackson was baking bread in a dutch oven for pinch and me to take along with us when the subject of the Custer fight came up. We all knew Billy was with reno's command as a scout. There were 40 or 50 plainsmen acting a s scouts. These men had seen the camp of Sitting Bull the night before and had reported it to Custer. It wasn't possible to estimate the number of people there but it looked like the whole of the Sioux nation with tens of thousands of fighting men. Mitch Bouyer was the last to speak to Charley Reynolds who said "Goodby, boys, you'll never see us again". At four a.m. both Custer's and Reno's commands were at the mouth of Reno Creek. Reno had taken his orders from Custer to wait 30 min., to give Custer time to get down to the lower end (?) they had come down to the mouth of Reno Creek where it goes into the Little Big Horn where the Indian camp was on the west side while Custer and Reno were on the east side with their men, June 25th. It was high water in the Little Big Horn were the soldiers had to cross to attack. Custer took 270 men and Reno had a little over 300. The forces split, Custer going down Reno creek leaving instructions for Reno to wait 30 or 40 minutes and then to cross the creek and attack. Sitting Bull was aware of every move made by the 700 cavalry men. They (?) traveled all the night before. Custer went on down the creek. The early risers in the sioux camp could have seen him any time while he was coming down the creek over rough country. Four o"clock, June 25th, it just sunup. Reno Creek runs nearly east and west, Little Big Horn runs pretty nearly north and south with high cutbanks, high bab lands on the side Custer and Reno were on. (east) Sitting Bull covered 2 or 3 miles square on abottom on the west side. There at the mouth of Reno Creek they halted, Custer took out his men, gave Reno his orders to waith 30 or 40 minutes and then give them hell. (move across the river and attack.) The pack train supplies, camp equiipment, ammunition, packers and scouts remained with reno, who was facing the Sioux encampent, direcly across the Little Big Horn. Custer evidently attempted to cross 3 miles further down where they found the first 12 dead men in the Little Big Horn, 3 miles below Reno and directly down from where Custer's monument stands today, 1 mile from his last stand. Curly was scared so bad he would never talk about it. Jack tried to talk to him about it years later and Curly went all to pieces. he was a full blood Crow Indian, Carlisle graduate and acted as interpret. He said the fight began at 10 o"clock. sioux have a tactic of pouding the enemy into the ground in a first rush with horses. Gall, a big devil, led the charge for the Sioux. Sitting Bull, was the old retired general or medicine man who planned the campaign or charge Reno was behind his fortifications which is probably what Curly meant by the fight begining at 10 o"clock. Gall and Rain in the Face headed the plan to pound Custer and Reno into the ground. Curly was never able to explain how he escaped but he was probably mistaken by the Sioux for one of their own men. Noboy seems to know how many Sioux were killed in the first charge. Red Cloud told Grinnell it was killing buffalo in a surround or piskin. The old warriors would not tell the story of the fight to the young Carlisle graduates. There three or four degrees of fighting. My opinion is that Curly ran like a white head after his horse was shot from under him and that it was impossable to tell him from the running sioux.
Custer's idea was to have Reno attack above and he below and so demoralize the Sioux. Reno had crossed the creek at Reno's fork. they got a short distance across the flat on the other side with scouts in the lead. Charlie rynolds, chief of Custer's scouts but left with Reno's command. jackson said the Sioux came in a cloud on the dead run. Reno had crossed the river and started to retreat when Reynolds called on the scouts to try and check the Indians until Reno could cross back again. The men responded and jackson said they never saw us and 7 were killed as the sioux passed over them. jackson was one of the 11 that stayed. jackson, his father was an old time voyageur or trader, his mother a full blood Blackfoot. he had enlisted in Custer's scouts and as he had been employed around the army posts, could talk, Blackfoot, sioux and Cree. His mother had a little Cree Blood. (Jackson robbed the Sioux at night, Bouveau and two others were in the lead. Let me do the talking if we are hailed, I talk Sioux. He intended to disguise himself as sioux.)
The old men and women held Reno in his rifle pits by occasionally firing to hold him there while the warriors wiped out Custer. Jackson with 3 others were in the brush on the banks of the creek with fighting going on all around while 300 yrards up on the hill Reno crossed back on the other side as the Reno soldiers climbed up the east bank of the Little Big Horn, fighting as they climbed, resisting a charge of warriors that no one could estimate the number of; killed like buffalo as the soldiers retreated acorss the ford and back up on the east bank. After they got to the packers, guides, cooks and mules it was there that the packers killed their mules and dug the pits that saved Reno from annihilation. If Reno hadn't retreated it would have been a massacre. When the soldiers were faced with death and destruction by that cloud or warriors orders didn't mean anything to them. Jackson saw that the soldiers were demorslized. he and his 3 partners laid in the bruh on the Little Big Horn while the battle raged near them. When night came jackson got 4 blankets from the dead. The sioux were looking for mounted men, his horse had been shot from under him. Each of the four men cavered himself with a blanket and left the brush after dark. There was to be no talking except by Jackson since he could speak the Sioux Language. Once they were hailed by someone in Sioux when Bouveau called out "Don't shoot, boys, it's us". Some shots were fired and Babel broke out. Jackson and his 3 friends ran.
After making shelter Jackson bawled out Bouvey for not obeying and letting him talk. About day light the next morning Jackson's eyes rolled like a cat's in the dark and then he tought of it scared him with Sioux all around and wondering how to get into Reno's camp. When they came close after swimming or fording the stream they hailed Reno in English and at day light the next day. After killing Custer they all turned thier att ention to Reno. Jackson could hear them talk during the day one warrior would get up and talk and cry "come all yo warriors who want to die and live forever" (after getting into reno's and then alter eight or ten fanatics would follow a leader and rush the Reno rifle pits. They died on the way by Reno's bullets. Said in another hour they had had us. Terry's command comin was what saved us. The warriors riding over ded men and horses charging the hill to get to Reno's commanp. Jimmy Stone and Joe Prince who cooked for me was in Terry's command and helped bury the dead said they were all mutilated unrecognizable, the horses had pounded them into the groundand the old squaws whacked thos half dead with a stone hammer and did a good job of it. Sitting Bull retreated about 10 al of the men in Reno's command see all the Sioux preparing to move and lodges came down and commenced off to the northwest and soon the whole camp moved. sitting Bull looking over his shoulder looking for a fight from Terry but Terry wanted none of it. An Indian carried a 16 shot winchester 44. The soldiers carred the long tom single shot 45-70 caliber seventy (sic) of powder and a real long range gun but no match for the winchester. Whey they got to runnong an Inadn ran on the right side end the white men on the left side of a buffalow and the Indian had the buffalo slightly behing him. Bouvey was a French scout. The Sioux retreated northwest ward though the south of West Hills and up north to Writing Stone and thence to Woody Mtsns. or hills where Sitting Bull stayed for a year or so. Reno crossed before Custer was attacked and while the Sioux warriros atacked Reno befre they felt the shock of Custer's attack when they were allowing Reon to make it up the hill and dig his rifle pits. The amount of the dead that nobody seems to understat that they must have been one or two thousand in the Sioux camp wounded or missing. Twelve of custer's men were found in the Little Big Horn which definitely proves that they attempted to cross and retreat. Jimmy Stone, Joe Prince, Fred Server. a;sp Fpx wjp were wotj Terru amd niroed tje dead saod tjat when i asked them they buried the men in trenches 24 hours after the fight and the bodies mutilated and swelled in the hot days in June and we got rid of them as fast as we could. Aubrey was on the reserve for many years. His wife talked sioux and used to run a trading post south of shelby on the Marias. Nine Sioux warriors came into post headed by Gall at 8 or 9 o'clock Sitting Bull, Rain in the Face, Gall did all the talking to Mrs. Aubrey. the confeence lasted until 4 o'clock next morning Mrs. Aubrey interpreting and Charlied writing that they squatted and slept in a sitting position with their rifles in front of them for an hour and filed out the first overture from Sitting Bull in the Cypress offering negotations to come back into the us.
Jackson understood the sioux and there is a tradtion that if an Indian is killed in battle he goes straight to his happy hunting grounds great hereafter. This fellow would start making a speech perhaps a 100 yards from Reno's line behind something he would call "all you warriors who want to five forever or be immortal follow me for i am going to make a charge" Jackson could understand and would warn the men they would kill them on the charge and some of then they killed that weren't killed on the run were killed outright in the rifle pits, and a hundre sioux heads would stick up to see if the charge was successful. And pretty soon another old fellow would get and them that a white man's bullets would't harm them. Toward the end they started coming groups of 20 and we were just able to kill them and they were being killed in the rifle pits just before Terry came and not only more but oftener at first it would be when they first started.
Another version of Billy Jackson's story, this time told by him;
We had no more than crossed the stream and had advanced perhaps 1/4 mile toward the Sioux camp when comin toward us we saw what looked like thousnads of Sioux warriors. Their battle crys filled the air and the dust cloud kicked up by thier horses made it impossible for us to estimate numbers. Our soldiers commenced a retreat after seeing what odds faced them, and wheeled their horses for the opposite bank of the Little Big Horn., where they would have some chance of putting up a fight. Chrlie reynolds saw that it would be a slaughter if the Indians reached the soldiers bebore they reached the other bank of the river, I with ten others including Rynolds agreed to stand our ground and fight. We had time for a shot before the indians were on us. My hose was killed beneathme and in falling it fell in such a manner as to partly cover my body. this fact is what saved my life for the runninf sioux never checked their charge but ran theier horses right over us. In the melee that immediately followed that charge I crawled from under my horse and ran for cover. The heavy dust in the air kept me from being identified and I finally reached the brush along the river bank. I was badly bruised but still about to travel. Shortly after crawling into the dense underbrush I encountedred three more scouts who had survived the sioux stampede. Like myself they did not wear uniforms and had made for the brush after the first charge was over. Reno's soldiers checked the Indians as they reached the ford with rifle fire. As they climbed the ridge on the opposite bank of the little big horn they kept firing rapidly into the crowded sioux. riderless horses and wounded Indians were running frantically in every directions reno's men took a heavy toll as they retreated to the top of the ridge. The Indians mostly carried a lever action repeating .44 while the soldiers all had "Long Toms" a 45-70 single shot but 70 grains of powder a good good long range gun. I am satisfied Sitting Bull was aware of every move we made and as General Custer marched his cavalry men up the east bank of the river he could be easily seen by the Sioux from their camp on the plain. I am sure he was waiting for us to cross the ford and get out on the plain where he intended to poud us into the groud with a rush of men and horses. All day we lay in the heavy underbrush just 300 yeards from Reno and his men where they entrenched behind thier dead horses and in rifle pits dug by the packers and mule skinners. We caught occasional glimpses of the fighting. After the first rush of warriors there were few actual fighting men among the Indians that first day ut the squaws and old men kept up a steady rifle fire at Reno's men. What few mounted warriors they kept riding at break neck speed howling and creating a heavy dust cloud which hung over the plain all day. This idea was to keep Reno occupied while the rest of the warriors wiped out General Custer farther down the little big horn. If reno hadn't retreated at the time his men would have been killed like buffalo in a pisken. We say nothing of Custer from our hide out in the brush and had no way of telling what his fate was. We could see the Sioux squaws beating to death the maimed wounded soldiers that hadn't reached the ford when Reno retreated. After the Indian women reached the battlefield their tomahawks left not a white soldier. Except for ourselves in the brush all of our command was on the opposite side of the river. We feared discovery at evey minute as the Sioux sometimes rode within a stone's throw of where we lay. When night approached fighting lessened. At about midnight I stole out of the underbrush and in cover of darkness managd to steal four blankets from the bodies of dead sioux warriors that lay on the plains. I wrapped myself with one blanket and carried the other three back to my firends. After I joined the other and we had all disguised ourselves with the sioux blankets it was decided that I was to do all the talking if we were hailed by the Indians. I talked sioux. We left the river bank in the darkness walking in single file. Bouvais a French Canadian scout was in the lead. We had not traveled more than 100 yards when were hailed. In answer Bouvais shouted. "t's us, boys, don't shoot." A rifle shot was his only reply, accompanied by shouts and yels of the Indians. We ran for cover and after everything quieted down we starte out again travelling Indian fashion with the blankets covering the lower parts of our faces. This time Bouvais traveled in the rear and I in front with the strictest understandg that I and only I was to talk if we were hailed. We finally crossed the river and made it to Reno's rifle pits just about day break.
The Indian side of the story by David Humphrey Miller "Custers fall" The night of June 25th 1876, was particularly harrowing for four men of Reno's command. Cut off during Reno's retreat to the bluff, they were left surrounded in densh brush. Sergeant O'Neil of g company had attempted to escape with his troop commander, Lieuteneant McIntosh, but had dashed back into the brush after his horse was shot from under him. Presently, he had found Lieutenand DeRudio of A Company. Later the two men located Billy Jackson, one of the mixed blood Piegan scouts, and Fred Girard, interpreter for the Arikara scouts. All four lay breathless under a scattering of leaves and sticks while Sioux women poked through the underbrush, picking up their dead and wounded. Tense moments passed as the women stripped and mutilated the bodies of fallen soldiers. Tortured by intese thirst, O'Neill's discomfort was increased by a bloody nose. Only after dark were they able to crawl through the thicket and make their way to the riverbank. One by one, they drank hastily from Jackson's slouch hat. Jackson and Girard, who had ponies tethered in the brush, went to find them. They finally abandoned the animals when an Indian war part rode near. Moving upstream in the darkness, the scout and the interpreter rejoined Reno on the bluff without further incident. DeRudio and O'Neill, however, ran headlong into the war party. DeRudio fired twice, O'Neill once, before they turned and ran several hundred yards downstream. The desperate men plunged through neck deep water to reach a tiny island, only to discover themselves in the middle of a shallow ford. Soon a column of troops rode up in the darkness, led by a rider in buckskin jacket. Thinking hey must be Custer's command, DeRudio shouted, "Hey, Tom Custer!" the troops whirled and answered with shrill war cries. To their horror, the two soldiers saw that the 'troo[s" were Indian warriors in captured uniforms. From their uneven ranks a raucous bugle sounded, blairing out a savage challenge no trooper ever heard before, as the hostiles charged. DeRudio and O'Neill poured eight shots into the massed chargers, heard splashes as two Indians fell or jumped into the water. The unifored Indians answered with a volley, then swirled away in the darkness. Taking what cover they could, the two soldiers waited griml for them to retun to the attack. it never came. By five o'clock on the afternoon on the next day the 26th, after an agonizing day and a half of terror, the two exhaused men crawled out of hiding and stumbled upstream until they reache Reno Hill.
Submitted by: Nancy J. Scott