Felix V Vinatieri


Felix V Vinatieri

Turin, Città Metropolitana di Torino, Piemonte, Italy
Death 5 Dec 1891 (aged 56–57)
Yankton, Yankton County, South Dakota, USA
Burial Yankton, Yankton County, South Dakota, USA
Plot 3, 262
Memorial ID 50510517 View Source
Suggest Edits

He was actually born Felice Veiliet. While very tiny his father died and his mother, Amelia, soon married Eurico Felice Venatieri Thus you find Felix' name spelled in many variations.

His mother was very musical and he soon was becoming so himself. His step-faher encouraged him to pursue a musical career. He became a music teacher while still in Italy, after he had completed his studies at the Naples Conservatorio di Musica San Pietro a Majella in 1853. He then became the Dirctor of Queens Guard of Spagnes - the Italian Miliary Band.

Finally along with his sister, who was an opera singer he came to the United States in 1959.

In 1861, as a musician he enlisted in the 16h Massachusettes Infantry. He was with them through out the Civil War and then enlisted in 1867 in the 22nd Infantry at Fort Columbus, New York. He was finally discharged in 1870 at Forgt Sully. He decided that he would settle in Yankton, South Dakota.

It was there that he met and married a Czech immigrant named Anna Frences Fejfar.

Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer arrived in Yankton, some 800 troopers strong, plus many of their families. Felix was the leader of a band in Yankton and when a dance/ball was held for the officers he naturally was the conductor.
Custer was quite impressed with him and pursuaded him to become the head of his 7th Cavalry Band. On May 1873 the 7th Cavalry headed to Fort Abraham Lincoln, with Felix with them. He would continue east so he could enlist for 3 years as the 7th U. S. Cavalry Band leader. This he accomplished in Bismarck and returned to take over his duties as head of the 7th's sixteen piece band.

When the 7th headed out in May of 1876 the band was with them. However, Geneal Terry had stated that they were not to go any further than where the Powder River met the Yellowstone. So as the 7th marched off towards the Little Big Horn area the band remained with the boat, Far West. As the band had all ridden white horses, Custer took those horses and one bulgar from the band with him.

After the disaster at the Little Big Horn the band served as medics aboard the Far West when it received and transported the surviving wounded back to civilization.

After his military band career he would return to Yankton where he lived out the remainder of his life.

He composed a number of songs, some were actually played for and with the 7th Cavalry.

Family Members


In their memory
Plant Memorial Trees