Clues indicate that ancestor Amiziah Reed may have been a scout with the 7th cavalry just before the Custer Massacre at the hands of the Sioux indians in 1876.
A Reed family genealogy, "Our Scotch-Irish Reeds", cites an account of "Custer's Last Stand" from the "Historical Collection of Ohio" by Howe in Harrison County, Volume I, in which page 90 refers to the life of General Custer. At the massacre, it notes that Custer was killed as were his two brothers, Thomas and Bostan--both officers. According to this account, a Captain Calhoun, his brother-in-law, and a civilian Mr. Reed, who was their guide, had taken a few to observe the Indians in a nearby valley, and consequently they were not present at the massacre. "Our Scotch-Irish Reeds" asserts that this civilian guide was our ancestor Amiziah Reed.
From the "Historical Collection of Ohio", page 900, it states "At the time of the massacre, with Custer was killed his two brothers, Thomas and Bostan; bothe officers. Captain Calhoun, his brother-in-law and a Mr. Reed, a civilian who was on a visit to the General, also Louis Clem, a young brother of Johnnie Clem, the drummer boy of Shiloh."
If this was in fact our Amiziah, it means he left his young family in Ohio during the summer months and traveled to the West at least once during the 1870s, a period in which his wife Emily Jane was bearing children about every two years.
A possible complication to this theory is the fact that Custer's oldest sister, Lydia Ann Custer, married a David Reed, and they had a son Harry Armstrong "Autie" Reed. Autie Reed served with the 7th cavalry, and he too died in the battle. Lydia Ann had no other sons, but it seems possible that the "Mr. Reed" referenced in the book by Howe may have been an in-law connected to General Custer through his sister Lydia. Possibly even Lydia's husband, David Reed.
Yet, our ancestor Amiziah Reed certainly did yearn for the West. Shortly after his wife's death in January 1888, he packed up with several of his children and moved first to Nebraska, and then on to Wyoming where he stayed until his death in 1913. While living in Wyoming, he did act as a guide for many tourists who came to visit the area and the Yellowstone area.
"Our Scotch-Irish Reeds, Scotland-Ireland-America" was written by Mary Frances Reed & Charles Milton Reed & Gerald Reed, compiled by Ruth Winters Odell, and typed and photocopied by Cathy Odell McGrath. It tells this and several other stories about Amiziah Reed, stories which also provide details about Amiziah's ancestors.
The genealogy documents a letter by Albert Earl Reed, one of Amiziah's grandchildren, who wrote the following to his cousin Mary F. Reed (March 19, 1956): "Dear Cousin Mary, Your letter of March 8th with the genealogy history and questions. I am fairly sure that my Grandfather Amaziah Reed served many years in Civil War with a company that was organized in Chillicothe, Ohio. He spoke of a Downey Reed as his great grandfather and the story he told to me and my brothers and sisters often was that he was born in County Down Ireland and lived there-although his father was Scotch. Grandfather Amaziah never gave much to being Irish. My impression of what he said then was that Downey was born in County Down, Ireland of Scotch father and mother. They were emigrants from Scotland as political refugees. They were kindly received in County Down and they were constrained to name their newley born son 'Downey' in gratitude for their kindly reception in a strange land. Grandfather said, 'Downey and his brothers three whose names I do not know, began to grow up, they conceived the idea of coming to America and having accummulated som household goods and paid passage on a boat for their goods and them selves, they did not have money enough for Downey's fare, he being the youngest. He was placed in a barrel and the barrel headed up and loaded with the other household goods. Once they were at sea he was let out of the barrel and continued the journey as a regular passenger. Luckily being overlooked by the super cargo or pursers who evidently was pretty poor at his counting of passengers.' I am sure this must be a true story as Grandfather took great delight in telling it and repeating it many times. Orpha and Earl Reed."
The following three paragraphs also come from "Our Scotch-Irish Reeds".
"Amaziah Reed came to visit the folks on Sand Run (Ohio). He told stories of the petrified forest and of the famous hot and cold springs in Yellowstone River. About the tall, tall trees on the mountains out west.
" 'The fireplace was open then and we were all sitting around on the floor listening to Uncle Amaziah tell stories,' Mary Reed tells us. 'He told of finding a petrified frog and the tree limbs turned to stone. Uncle Amaziah was a guide to people who wished to see this unusual forest. The people came to Colorado and Montana, then through the Yellowstone. They slept in covered wagons and made campfires for the cooking. It wasn't a park then, just beautiful and unusual places with geysers that were a regular event. At one place they could fish in the Yellowstone, and when one was caught and yet on the line, all they had to do was drop it into a pool of hot water. They then got their tin plate, and Amaziah would lay the fish on the plate and by giving it a slight jerk, the bones came away. All one had to do was enjoy the good, fresh-cooked fish. This type of cooking fish at the hot spring had to be discontinued after so many people began to go to the Yellowstone in later years.'
"Now there were other stories Amaziah told. He knew Buffalo Bill Cody. They had hunted together and thought a lot of each other."
Interestingly though, none of the stories told by Amiziah make any reference to Gen. Custer and Custer's Last Stand in 1876.
After Amiziah's wife Emily Jane died in the late 1880s, he immediately traveled to the West. First he settled in Nebraska and then to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he lived on a Civil War pension until his death in Wyoming in 1913. Civil pension documents prove Amiziah's participation in the Civil War.
A Civil War Declaration for Pension for Amiziah Reed, dated April 11, 1907, states that Amiziah Reed was enrolled at Chillicothe, Ohio, on October 11, 1861 as a private in Co. B, 63rd Reg. Ohio Infantry. It further states that Amiziah Reed was honorably discharged at Prospect, Tennessee, on December 31, 1863, and that he re-enlisted as a private in Co. B. 63rd Reg, Ohio Vet. Infantry from December 25th, 1863 to July 8th, 1865, when he was discharged in Louisville, Kentucky.
The declaration also states that Amiziah was a big man, 6 feet 5 inches tall, had a light complexion, blue eyes and dark hair. He lived in Ohio until 1887, then spent three years in Nebraska from 1887 to 1890 and the remainder of his life in Wyoming.
The following comes from Lusetta Jayne Hess: Amaziah Reed was a Civil War Veteran. He served in the Union Army from Oct. 11, 1861 and mustered out at Louisville, Kentucky, on July 8th, 1865. He served in the Ohio Enlisted B Company, 63rd Inf Reg Ohio.
Amiziah became ill on August 25, 1913. His youngest daughter Margaret cared for him in his illness. Amiziah died on November 25, 1913 at St. Luke's Hospital in Denver, Colorado, as a result of complications from gangrene.