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 Dewey “Iron Hail” Beard

Dewey “Iron Hail” Beard

Death 1955 (aged 96–97)
South Dakota, USA
Burial Kyle, Oglala Lakota County, South Dakota, USA
Plot No marker
Memorial ID 110262063 · View Source
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Original name Wasu Maza, member of the Minneconjou Lakota. Last survivor from either side of Battle of Little Bighorn.

After George Armstrong Custer's defeat, Wasu Maza followed Sitting Bull to Canada. They later returned to South Dakota where he lived on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.

Iron Hail joined the Ghost Dance movement and was in Spotted Elk's band along with his parents, siblings, wife and child. He and his family left the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation on December 23, 1890 with Spotted Elk and approximately 300 other Miniconjou and 38 Hunkpapa Lakota on a winter trek to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to avoid the trouble anticipated in the wake of Sitting Bull's murder at Standing Rock Indian Reservation. He and his family were present at the Wounded Knee Massacre, where he was shot and some of his family, including his mother, father, wife and infant child were killed.

Iron Hail took the name Dewey Beard when he converted to Roman Catholicism. He was a member of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show for 15 years.

In the early 1940s Beard and his wife Alice were raising horses on their land on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. In 1942 the US War Department annexed 341,725 acres of the reservation for use as a bombing range. Beard's family was among the 125 Lakota families uprooted from their homes. As a result they moved into a poor section of Rapid City.

When he died in 1955 at the age of ninety six, Dewey Beard was the last known Lakota survivor of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, and the last known survivor of the Wounded Knee Massacre.

[Adapted from wikipedia, 9 May 2013]

Family Members


  • Created by: Tenalquot
  • Added: 9 May 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 110262063
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  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Dewey “Iron Hail” Beard (1858–1955), Find A Grave Memorial no. 110262063, citing Saint Stephen Catholic Cemetery, Kyle, Oglala Lakota County, South Dakota, USA ; Maintained by Tenalquot (contributor 46506981) .