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Thomas F. O'Neill
First Sergeant, United States Army
American Memory
Missing after the valley fight at the Little Big Horn on June 25, 1876, he rejoined the Reno battalion on the hilltop.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, January 14, 1846. His second enlistment was on January 17, 1872, at the age of 26 in Chicago by Captain Samuel Young. He deserted on June 18, 1872; surrendered on December 2, 1872.

He was the cook for Lieutenant Donald McIntosh in the 1876 Sioux Expedition until June 25.

He was discharged June 19, 1877, at Fort Lincoln, Dakota Territory, upon expiration of service, as a Private of good character. He reenlisted July 15, 1877, at Fort Lincoln, by Lieutenant Andrew Nave. Discharged on July 14, 1882, at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, upon expiration of service as First Sergeant.

He had blue eyes, black hair, fair complexion and was 5'8" in height.

He died on March 23, 1914, in Riverdale, Maryland, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. At the time of his death he was a Sergeant of Park Police.



The year 1900 was notable for the watch force on at least two accounts.

First, Congress responded to the Chief of Engineers by authorizing four more night watchman positions and a sergeant for the force. The night jobs were filled with some difficulty: the higher pay of $720 per annum versus $660 for the day watchmen did not prevent several of the latter from declining invitations for them.

The Sergeant's post, paying $900, was taken by Thomas F. O'Neill, the night watchman at Judiciary Park. O'Neill, born in Dublin in 1847, had served with the 7th U.S. Cavalry and was in Major Marcus A. Reno's command at Little Big Horn on June 25, 1876.

Leaving the Army in 1882, he moved to Washington and joined the park watch in 1890. His promotion to become its first ranking officer suggests that he performed well. Sergeant O'Neill remained on duty until his death on March 22, 1914. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.



Page Updated: 26 October 2000  Updated: 2 January 2002 Updated: 26 December 2003 Updated: 24 December 2005
American Memory