James Plunkett

In 1878, there were four military companies that came to a new camp near Bear Butte Creek in Dakota Territory, Camp Ruhlen, to construct what was to become Fort Meade. Included in this group were Companies F and K, 1st Infantry; and Companies E and M, Seventh Cavalry. This equaled sixty-five enlisted cavalrymen and forty-seven enlisted infantrymen present in this new camp, along with their eight officers. One of these enlisted infantrymen was an Irish immigrant, James Plunkett, who served in the U.S. Army from 1860-1880. During this time, Plunkett fought for the Union in the Civil War. He married Elizabeth Torrence Baldwin and had a son, William, who was born while Plunkett was stationed in Michigan. After James left the military in 1880, he and Elizabeth homesteaded in the Sturgis area until his death on October 1, 1891, when he died from dropsy. He was buried at the Fort Meade Cemetery, and because he was a Civil War Veteran, his headstone was provided by Gross Brothers, Lee, of Massachusetts.

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