Hiram Bickerdyke was the youngest son of Robert Bickerdyke, an emigrant of Yorkshire, England, and his wife, Mary Ann Ball, from Mt. Vernon, OH. He was born in Glendale, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. He had an older brother, James and a younger sister, Martha, who died in infancy. His father died when he was five years old. His mother then supported her family doing laundry, home nursing, baby sitting, and housekeeping. She often worked at nursing with a Dr. Benjamin Woodward. When the Civil Way started, Woodward was hired as a doctor on a civilian contract. The work was staggering and nurses were needed. He employed Mrs. Bickerdyke as a nurse. Her two sons were placed with a minister and his wife in Chicago until the war ended.
More about his famous mother can be found by clicking on her name at Family links on this page.
In 1876 Hiram accompanied his mother as far west as Cheyenne. She went on the San Francisco and he went towards the Black Hills. He served as a civilian employee of the Quartermaster department as a scout and guide in the fall of 1878. He was also a guide under General Grant's son, Fred, in 1881, when the Ute Indians broke out on the Gunnison River in Colorado. Fred Grant and Hiram Bickerdyke stopped for dinner at a road ranch which was operated by Mr. & Mrs Lock Wamsley. Miss Hattie Wamsley was almost 16 years old. Over the next few years Hiram sought gold in the Black Hills, drove freight wagons, hunted buffalo, and fought Indians.
In the summer of 1883 Hattie's mother, Mary Jane Search Wamsley, moved with seven of her ten children to the Black Hills and January 28, 1885 Hattie Wamsley and Hiram Bickerdyke were married. After buffalo hunting ended, they settled on the Little Missouri River at Ericson, Montana.
In 1881, at the time of the last Indian scare, Mr. Bickerdyke took his family to Alzada, Montana, where there was ammunition, and where the town was fortified with his help, since he was an old scout and versed in Indian warfare and ways.
He was appointed postmaster at Ericson, Montana on May 11, 1890. The post office was in the ranch home. He died in 1909.
Hiram and Hattie had 10 children, in addition to the six linked to this memorial, Florence (Butler), Grace (Gray), Frank James, and Margarette.
Most information from EARLY HISTORY OF CARTER COUNTY, 1760-1861. by Frank. Merritt (1975)