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RG4252.AM:  Valentine T. McGillycuddy, 1849-1939

Papers:  1869-1882, 1922, 1931

Pine Ridge Reservation and Rapid City, South Dakota:  Indian agent; physician

Size:  1 folder and 1 volume (on microfilm)


Valentine T. McGillycuddy was born on February 14, 1849 in Racine, Wisconsin. With his parents, McGillycuddy moved to Detroit, Michigan when he was thirteen years old. Valentine McGillycuddy graduated from the Detroit Medical College with a degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1869. He began the practice of medicine in Detroit, but soon entered service with the U.S. government. From 1871-1874 McGillycuddy served on the U.S. Boundary Survey Commission. He was appointed topographical engineer and physician to the Jenney Black Hills expedition in 1875. The following year Dr. McGillycuddy was appointed surgeon of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry. During his tenure in the position, McGillycuddy saw service in South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Montana. He was at Fort Robinson during 1876 and 1877 and was the attending physician to Crazy Horse when the chief was fatally wounded.

In 1879 McGillycuddy was appointed Indian Agent at the Pine Ridge Reservation. In one instance he quelled an uprising planned by Chief Red Cloud and removed Red Cloud as chief. Generally, though, McGillycuddy was highly thought of by both whites and Indians during his administration of the Pine Ridge agency. After he resigned his position as agent in 1886, McGillycuddy associated with Black Hills’ business interests. In 1889 he was elected to the South Dakota constitutional convention and appointed to the governor’s staff. From 1893-1897 McGillycuddy served in several capacities including president and dean of the State School of Mines in Rapid City. After this he became a supervisory medical inspector for an insurance company until around 1912. He practiced medicine in California until retirement. Valentine T. McGillycuddy died in Berkeley, California on June 6, 1939.


This collection consists of one folder of biographical information about Valentine McGillycuddy and a scrapbook (on microfilm) relating to McGillycuddy’s interest and involvement in military and Indian affairs. The scrapbook, dating from 1869-1882 and 1922, contains clippings from a wide variety of newspapers including publications in Detroit, Cleveland, New York, and Chicago. Among the topics of interest are the Jenney Black Hills expedition, the Indian Wars era, a western tour of Carl Schurz, and famous frontier personalities such as George Custer, George Crook, Spotted Tail, and Red Cloud. Pine Ridge Agency news items including accusations of fraud brought against McGillycuddy are also detailed. Because of its fragile condition, the scrapbook is restricted. Researchers must use the microfilm version.

Note:  See the Nebraska History index and the NSHS Library catalog for various published materials by and about Valentine McGillycuddy.


Box 1


  1. “McGillycuddy – Agent” by Julia McGillycuddy (fictionalized biography)

    Letter from Valentine T. McGillycuddy to A.E. Sheldon, 1931, about Jim Dahlman

Scrapbook, 1869-1882, 1922 (see microfilm)



Indian agents — South Dakota — Biography

Indians of North America — Government relations

Indians of North America — South Dakota

Indians of North America — Wars — 1866-1895

McGillycuddy, Valentine T., 1849-1939

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (S.D.)


AIP/pmc   06-03-1988

Encoded TMM   07-08-2010