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Bates (aka Joseph Murphy)
Born: June 10, 1838
Providence, Rhode Island
Died: September 13 or 14,
Grave location: Bear Butte
Cemetery, Sturgis, SD or St. Aloysius Cemetery, Sturgis, SD
Grave GPS Coordinates: N44 24.654 W103 29.685 (Bear
Butte) N44 24.849 W103 31.165 (St. Aloysius)
He enlisted on July 18, 1870, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, by Lt.
Cain. His previous occupation was soldier. He deserted on may 11,
1872, and was apprehended on December 20, 1873. He was transferred
from Company F to Company M, 7th Cavalry, on January 7, 1874. He was
discharged on February 27, 1877, at Fort Rice, Dakota, upon
expiration of service as a private. He was 5 feet tall and had blue
eyes, brown hair, and a fair complexion. He committed suicide by
drinking Paris Green, an insecticide that is also used as a colorant
NOTE -- When I first decided to photograph the graves of 7th Cavalry
troopers in South Dakota I stumbled upon the mystery of Joseph
Bates. Sources indicated that he was buried in Bear Butte Cemetery
in Sturgis. Other sources also stated that he was interred in
Sturgis but at Saint Aloysius Cemetery. The mystery came about when
I found graves for him at both cemeteries. The dates of death on the
headstones at the two cemeteries are one day apart. I checked
veteran burial records at the State Archives in Pierre, South
Dakota, hoping that I could clear up the mystery. It only got worse.
I found records for him at both cemeteries. To date, I am
still investigating. If you have ANY information, please email me.
Headstone for Murphy aka Joseph Bates at Bear Butte Cemetery
- Sturgis, South Dakota
Metal plate on top of Murphy
headstone at Bear Butte Cemetery - Sturgis, South Dakota
Headstone for Joseph Bates at Bear
Butte Cemetery - Sturgis, South Dakota