A Wild West Reader Heralds Custer’s Bandleader, Whose Great-Great-Grandson Plays in the NFL

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As a longtime fan of the New England Patriots and a scholar of the Little Bighorn, I used to be delighted to learn the piece “Custer Connection” on Adam and Felix Vinatieri in Roundup of your October 2021 difficulty. Though Felix (as chief musician) and all however three of the 16 enlisted males of the seventh U.S. Cavalry’s band marched with the regiment from Fort Abraham Lincoln on Could 17, 1876, they did not ”comply with upriver on the steamboat Far West.” They (and a number of other different troopers) have been assigned to the Powder River provide depot, which the regiment reached by land. The band’s horses have been not “confiscated.” Apparently, they have been reassigned to different dismounted enlisted males. Trumpeter John Martin (dispatched with the final message of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer) was not a member of the band. He was assigned to Firm H of the regiment.

Felix Vinatieri’s tenure with the seventh Cavalry was not all the time nice. In August 1875, for instance, he requested a discharge from the Military attributable to an obvious character conflict with Fort Lincoln’s adjutant and band commander, Lieutenant James Calhoun, who accredited the request, which Custer endorsed. Calhoun (who died with Custer) famous that “the chief musician isn’t a reliable particular person.” Nevertheless, no discharge was initiated at the moment. For circumstances which might be unclear Felix didn’t return to civilian life till December 1876, months after the Little Bighorn. A well-researched, detailed profile of “Custer’s bandmaster” appeared within the June 1988 version of the Little Huge Horn Associates’ Analysis Assessment.

C. Lee Noyes
Morrisonville, N.Y.

George Hearst
Matthew Bernstein’s record of “George Hearst’s Prime 10 Mines” within the February 2022 difficulty has a few misstatements about Black Hills mines. His No. 3 itemizing mentions a “Custer Mine” and connects it to the city of Custer, S.D. Hearst by no means owned a Custer Mine within the Black Hills. He and his companions did personal a Custer Mine, however it was in Idaho. (As a sidenote, the city of Custer was based round placer claims and by no means relied on exhausting rock gold mines for its existence.) In his No. 10 itemizing, concerning the Deadwood Mine, Bernstein says Hearst “rapidly misplaced religion in it.” In reality, the Deadwood Mine sat alongside the Homestake Gold Belt and was absorbed into the Homestake Mining Co.’s holdings. Hearst had an curiosity in that mine till his demise.

David Wolff
Spearfish, S.D.

Matthew Bernstein responds: Good eye! There are literally three Custer mines: one in Idaho, one in North Dakota and one in South Dakota. In “George Hearst’s Prime 10 Mines” I used to be referring to the one in Idaho, however in a sport of editorial three-card monte the Idaho Custer Mine was substituted for the South Dakota Custer Mine. In my biography George Hearst: Silver King of the Gilded Age I accurately be aware it was the Custer Mine in Idaho Territory that Hearst owned. Wolff can be appropriate concerning the Deadwood Mine being included into the Homestake, though what I wrote about Hearst rapidly shedding religion in it was additionally true. On Could 4, 1878, Hearst wrote from Deadwood to enterprise associate J. B. Haggin: “The Deadwood Mine I discovered on my arrival right here…very unfavorable if not disastrous. We’re nonetheless persevering with the assessments, however my religion is gone and has been for some days, however Mr. M nonetheless thinks it’s going to come out all proper.” Mr. M was Samuel McMaster, a revered Irish mining engineer whose expertise ranged from Australia to South America, Nevada and the Black Hills. Happily for Hearst, his religion in McMaster paid off.

In Matt Bernstein’s Prime 10 record No. 1 mentions an assayer who deemed the silver from the Ophir Mine beneficial. The story round Nevada Metropolis, Calif., is that the assayer was James Ott, of Ott’s Assay Workplace right here. Hearst and companions despatched down a pattern of the claylike grey mud to see if it was value something, and it got here again virtually pure silver. Till that point that they had been dumping it, as a result of they have been searching for gold (therefore Gold Hill/Virginia Metropolis). When the information acquired out round city right here, many miners left for Nevada, as a result of the mines in California’s Nevada County have been all established, and no new claims have been being found.

Jim Luckinbill
Nevada Metropolis, Calif.

Matt Bernstein responds: Luckinbill’s info on James J. Ott (cousin to John Sutter of Sutter’s Mill fame) is sweet. Ott was among the many first assayers to find out the ore being mined from the Comstock Lode was silver, which impressed Hearst (dwelling in Nevada Metropolis on the time) to go east to Virginia Metropolis. Six months later Hearst was a millionaire.

Dreiser & James
Towards the top of Chapter 19 of Theodore Dreiser’s ebook A E-book About Myself (1922) seems the next paragraph: “Though [Edward] Butler was an earnest Catholic, he was supposed to manage and tax the vice of town, which cost could or could not have been true. One in all his sons owned and managed the main vaudeville home within the metropolis, a vulgar burlesque theater, at which the ticket taker was Frank James, brother of the wonderful Jesse who terrorized Missouri and the Southwest as an outlaw at one time and enriched limitless dime novel publishers afterward. As dramatic critic of the Globe-Democrat later I typically noticed him. Butler’s son, a kind of stodgy kind of Tammany politician, in style with a sure factor in St. Louis, was later elected to Congress.” I don’t know if this details about Frank James is well-known to James’ historians, however I’m passing it on in case it isn’t. Discovering it in one in all Dreiser’s less-read books struck me as a little bit of serendipity.

Dennis Bertram
Buffalo, N.Y.

Editor responds: Frank James, twice acquitted of crimes after Jesse’s demise in 1882, lived in St. Louis from the top of the nineteenth century into early twentieth century. He labored for a number of years (as usher, doorman and presumably guard) on the Commonplace Theater, at seventh and Walnut. Colonel Edward “Boss” Butler, who ran the St. Louis Democratic Occasion from about 1876 till convicted of bribery expenses in 1904, owned the theater. It was operated by his son James J. Butler.