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Joseph Bates (aka Joseph Murphy)


Company M

Born: June 10, 1838 Providence, Rhode Island

Died: September 13 or 14, 1893

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 in fireworks.

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

Headstone for Joseph Bates at St. Aloysius Cemetery - Sturgis, South Dakota

  WPA Graves Registration Project - Listing for St. Aloysius Cemetery -- notice the document lists his service
during the Spanish-American War.  A war that took place five years after his death!

  WPA Graves Registration Project - Listing for Bear Butte Cemetery

  Obituary for Joseph Bates - Sturgis Weekly Record - September 15, 1893


Joseph Bates aka Joseph Murphy -- Abram Brant -- Alexander Brown -- John Burri -- Rose Courtney -- Peter Eixenberger -- Moses Flint

Edward Garlick  -- Max Goetze -- John Hammon -- Max Hoehn -- Jacob Katzemeir -- James King -- John Lattman -- John Mahoney

Samuel McCormick -- James McGee -- David McWilliams -- Jan Mollar -- Daniel Newell -- Olans Northeg -- John Pahl

James Rooney -- Elijah Strode -- Peter Thompson -- George Weaver -- Henry Charles Weihe -- Markus Weiss -- Charles Windolph