The Photo Request has been fulfilled.

 
 Isaiah Dorman

Isaiah Dorman

Birth
Death 25 Jun 1876
Little Big Horn Battle Site, Big Horn County, Montana, USA
Burial Little Big Horn Battle Site, Big Horn County, Montana, USA
Plot Memorial Mass Grave Monument
Memorial ID 16174686 · View Source
Suggest Edits

US Army Scout and Interpreter, The life of Isaiah Dorman, the only African American to die at Custer’s famous last stand on the Little Bighorn River in 1876, has been clouded by myth and misinformation. In the 1970s, a newspaper columnist suggested that he must have been a runaway slave because there was an ad for a man named Isaiah who had escaped (the location of the ad was not disclosed and has never been found); and, so claimed the newsman, because Dorman did not show up in the west until after the Civil War, he must have been a runaway. Whether such an ad exists or not, it was not about Isaiah Dorman who was born free in Water Street, Pennsylvania, in 1832. His African and Delaware Indian mother, Rosetta, was freed from enslavement when she was a child. His African-Jamaican father, George Dorman, came to the United States as an indentured servant. When George and Rosetta Dorman’s son, Isaiah, approached manhood, he left Pennsylvania, probably via the Pennsylvania canal to the Ohio River and then up the Mississippi to the Minnesota River. He helped build Fort Ridgely in Minnesota in 1854 and married Celeste St. Pierre whose family were Dakota. For the next few years he worked as the body servant of General Alfred Sully, and fought by his side in the Peninsula Campaign in Virginia during the Civil War. After his return to Dakota Territory, Dorman and his wife and their children operated a wood chopping business and ranch on the Missouri River. Their children were Baptist Pierre (1856‒1917), Saless, aka Maria Celeste Pierre Mutchler (1861‒1888) and Henry (1868‒1896). After the death of Dorman and his wife’s sister, Dorman’s oldest son raised her sons, Peter and Frank, because in Dakota kinship, they were his brothers. During the later part of his life, Dorman also occasionally carried mail for the Army and was employed by the Army at Fort Rice to serve as the official interpreter. In that capacity, he joined the Yellowstone expedition in 1876. He lost his life while fighting under the command of Major Marcus Reno who led troops to attack the Lakota and Cheyenne from the east while Custer attacked from the west. Two days after the battle, his body was seen by soldiers who came to bury the dead. He might have been buried in a mass grave at that time although his remains have never been identified; thus a memorial stone was placed at the approximate site of his death and later a pipe enclosure added to protect it from cattle damage.

Bio by: Lilah Pengra


Family Members


Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

How famous was Isaiah Dorman?

Current rating:

34 votes

Sign-in to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Randy
  • Added: 14 Oct 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 16174686
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Isaiah Dorman (unknown–25 Jun 1876), Find A Grave Memorial no. 16174686, citing Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument, Little Big Horn Battle Site, Big Horn County, Montana, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .