Biography of Grey Beard

Grey Beard
Grey Beard's son Prairie Chief became a chief like his father. He helped guide the Southern Cheyenne through the transition to reservation life. This picture shows his dress in 1911.

National Anthropological Archives

Grey Beard, aka Wolf Grey, luckily escaped uninjured from the Sand Creek Massacre. His advocacy of peace disappeared, particularly since he listed losses in horses and property during the attack at $125.00, according to information compiled in 1865.

George Bent wrote, "Black Shin was chief of Suhtai Band and Gray Beard was his son‐in‐law. They had about 75 lodges… Gray Beard was medicine man…when Black Shin died of old age, Gray Beard took his place."

After the Sand Creek Massacre, Chief Grey Beard fought in several Cheyenne wars against the U.S. Army, including engagements at Beecher Island and Adobe Walls. Men of the Fifth Infantry pursued and overtook his band in November, 1874. They discovered that band held two young captives, Julia and Addie German. Destitute, Grey Beard's people 'surrendered' at the Cheyenne Agency the following spring.

Army authorities later identified Grey Beard as a "ringleader" of Cheyenne resistance and sent him to prison at Fort Marion, Florida in 1875. En route, he attempting to escape and an Army sentry shot him dead.

Grey Beard left a large family. His daughter, White Buffalo Woman, had children with two Cheyenne, Gardner and Perry Reynolds. A daughter, Alice Gardner, and her husband Phillip Watan had five children, including Max Watan Sr. Young Calf lived until 1933. His daughters and sons, including John Young Calf or Howling Walks all died while small. Prairie Chief's daughter Anosta was the mother of well‐known Cheyenne brothers Walter, James, William, and Frank Hamilton. Cora Prairie Chief had large families with husbands David Red Shin and Howling Buffalo or Harry Flynn.

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