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Little Big Man

Oglala

 

 

He was also known as Charging Bear. — Grahame Wood

This is information on Little Big Man from Mike Stevens' Oglala genealogy website (Tiyospaya: An Oglala Genealogy Resource), search on site under Family/Surnames/Yellow Thunder/First Generation. I can't answer for its absolute veracity, but there is a death date and place of burial to be followed up:

1. 1 Yellow Thunder (#11466) birth date unknown.
He married Her Holy Breath. ( Her Holy Breath is #11467.) She became the mother of Little Big Man. Little Big Man was a shirt-wearer in Crazy Horses's band. Just like the great leader Crazy Horse, Little Big Man was known for his sense of drama. In September 1875, during negotiations at Red Cloud Agency regarding the future ownership of the Black Hills, he led a mock charge at the white commissioners by a large group of warriors. Firing their guns and shouting ritual war chants, they badly scared everyone but did no physical damage.

She became the mother of Hannah Mule Tocha Cesli in Dakota Territory, 1840.

He became the father of Little Big Man. Little Big Man was a shirt-wearer in Crazy Horses's band. Just like the great leader Crazy Horse, Little Big Man was known for his sense of drama. In September 1875, during negotiations at Red Cloud Agency regarding the future ownership of the Black Hills, he led a mock charge at the white commissioners by a large group of warriors. Firing their guns and shouting ritual war chants, they badly scared everyone but did no physical damage.

He became the father of Hannah Mule Tocha Cesli in Dakota Territory, 1840.

Yellow Thunder and Her Holy Breath had the following children:

child 2 i. 2 Little Big Man (#11366). Little Big Man was a shirt-wearer in Crazy Horses's band. Just like the great leader Crazy Horse, Little Big Man was known for his sense of drama. In September 1875, during negotiations at Red Cloud Agency regarding the future ownership of the Black Hills, he led a mock charge at the white commissioners by a large group of warriors. Firing their guns and shouting ritual war chants, they badly scared everyone but did no physical damage. He died 1887. His body was interred 1887 in Pine Ridge, Shannon Co., SD., Holy Cross Cemetery.

child + 3 ii. Hannah Mule Tocha Cesli was born 1840.

Send email to preparer: chaske1@hotmail.com — Kingsley Bray

I also cannot verify the information on the website claiming that Little Big Man was the son of Yellow Thunder and that he died in 1887. I have looked but so far have found no confirmation of this.

The only additional information I have is a mention by William Jordan, son of Charles P. Jordan (clerk at the Red Cloud Agency in 1876-77; later a trader on the Rosebud Reservation) that Little Big Man was the brother of Sioux Jim, killed at the Red Cloud Agency in the fall of 1876 by American Horse (who consequently lost his status as a shirtwearer on account of this). Also, General Mackenzie mentioned that Little Big Man was half Oglala and half Cheyenne.
Yes, Little Big Man was present at the Little Bighorn battle. There is a drawing of the battle by him in W. Fletcher Johnson, The Red Record: Life of Sitting Bul and History of the Indian War of 1890-91 p. 114. The location of the original however is not known. Some other of Little Big Man's drawings have survived but they are not related to the battle.
Nearly all of my references to Little Big Man from records at Pine Ridge come from the period 1877 to 1881/82. I will have to look closer, but I am not aware of anything after that. He does not appear in the early Pine Ridge Agency census records for 1886-88. There is a Cheyenne named Little Big Man listed in the 1890 Census (born about 1850; wife Apple, with 3 daughters and 2 sons) but I have not been able to figure out where he came from or what happened to this family in later census records. I have wondered if he moved to another reservation.

Finally, nearly all of the known photographs of Little Big Man are from 1877: the one with the medal below is by D. S. Mitchell. There is a second image of him outside his lodge near the Red Cloud Agency. You have all see the delegation images by Charles Bell [first photo above] and Matthew Brady as well. I do not know who took the photograph of him bare chested from the Denver Public Library but would love to know.

Finally, I am not certain if we can describe him as a "shirt wearer"; most descriptions seem to indicate that he was a leader of a military society but not until 1878, after the Oglala settled on Pine Ridge, does he appear to have become a civil leader. — Ephriam Dickson

— Dietmar Schulte-Möhring

Little Big Man received a medal for his role in the Crazy Horse affair, something which was documented in an issue of Nebraska History a few years back - I believe it's the one he wears in the picture below:

— Grahame Wood

He also played a part in the Cheyenne outbreak in 1879, serving as a military scout trying to catch Dull Knife´s and Little Wolf´s people. (see Mari Sandoz and Ricker interviews)

Some sources say that since Little Big Man (who was also called Charging Bear) surrendered in 1877 he was always trying to please the whites and was a treacherous character.

Hardorff states that he had a son named Bad Whirlwind. — Dietmar Schulte-Möhring

He wanted to go and bring Big Road back when he left for Canada after Crazy Horse's murder, but as far as I can ascertain, the military wouldn't allow him, fearful that he, too, would join Sitting Bull. I believe he served with the Agency police from 1879. — Grahame Wood

There is a record in the WPA Graves Registration Project (South Dakota Historical Society) for a man named Little Big Man who died in 1887 being buried in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Pine Ridge. I have a copy of the first parish book for Holy Cross, but that only goes up to 1881. I will endeavor to track down volume 2 to see if there is anything more about this Little Big Man. — Ephriam Dickson

Here's a photo of Little Big Man´s war-shirt on display at the NMAI:

Here's one of Little Big Man's drawings in the SIRIS collection that shows him wearing a similar shirt:

— Grahame Wood

Godkin photo of Little Big Man´s wife

One late appearance was at a Pine Ridge sundance in June 1881 – Little Big Man “while owning a scant five feet in height, had the breadth and depth of chest, and length and power of arms of a giant… some one had presented him, or perhaps, indeed, he had won in the Custer fight, a captain’s blouse, in very good condition, and just as we entered the lodge, Little Big Man proudly wearing this uniform coat, fell in behind us… Little Big Man squatted upon the ground beside them [Mrs. McGillycuddy and Mrs. Blanchard, the trader’s wife], evidently bent upon winning their admiration. Presently… he rose, unbuttoned and removed his blouse, and so stood beside them, completely naked to the waist, his broad breast and great, sinewy arms showing a dozen or more scars of deadly tussles… each scar emphasized by a dab of red paint streaming like blood beneath it… And then a funny thing happened. Scarely was he seated, when a tall, handsome young squaw stepped in front of him, bent quickly, and scooped up a double handful of sand and threw it in his face. Instantly he pulled a six-shooter and fired to kill her, but, blinded by the sand and his arm knocked up by another Indian, the ball flew high above the heads of all – and then for five minutes the lodge rang with such peals of derisive laughter that Little Big Man slunk away…” Louis Shangreau explained that her motive was “Little Big Man’s evil tongue;” he had “besmirched this young woman’s character…” [Edgar Beecher Bronson, Reminiscences of a Ranchman, 239]

For context: “Wi mana sai ch tepe. They have a large meeting and dig a hole about 18 inches deep and beside it place a knife and an arrow. Then the young women who have never had sexual intercourse with a man reach in the hole and then bite the knife. Then any young man who has never had sexual intercourse with a woman or has never touched the girl thingy of a woman (a custom among young men) goes up and reached in the hole and bites the arrow. If a young woman has had sexual intercourse and yet pretends that she has not, any man who knows that she is lying will go up and throw a hand full of dirt in her face or throw her dish away saying this is a feast for virgins and you are a woman, or perhaps he will drag her forcibly from the place. There is always a large crowd looking on.” [Richard Nines, Notes on the Dakota Indians; Pine Ridge, SD; American Museum of Natural History.]

Black Horse, age 25 in 1876, identified himself as a nephew of Little Big Man. He enlisted for three months as a scout 24 October 1876 at Camp Robinson, by Lt. Howe; then enlisted again 11 December 1876 at Camp Robinson, by Lt. Yeatman.
Born c. 1857, son of Sioux Jim killed by American Horse, nephew of Little Big Man, replaced his father as a scout, says he was present when Crazy Horse was killed. Sioux Jim had enlisted as a scout in 1866. Black Horse's “Scout name Buffalo Chips.” [Undated news clip and handwritten letter, 26 June 1935, both mistakenly placed in pension file of Navajo Black Horse, National Archives, C. 2307680.]

“My father’s name is Poor Bear. He worked for the government and our tribe of siouxs killed my father at Fort Robinson and when my father worked for the government they told him they would pay him good for helping the whites. And then after he was killed I took his place and was a scout then… When I was a scout my name was Buffalo Chips.” [Black Horse handwritten letter to General Hugh Scott, 24 February 1919, Scott papers, Library of Congress.] — Tom Powers



 

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