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  • i

    CUSTER’S LAST DRAG: AN EXAMINATION OF TOBACCO USE AMONG

    THE SEVENTH CAVALRY DURING THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

    By

    Shannon Marjorie Vihlene

    Bachelor of Arts, The University of Montana, 2004

    Thesis

    presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

    Master of Arts

    in Anthropology, Forensic Anthropology

    The University of Montana Missoula, MT

    Summer 2008

    Approved by:

    Dr. David A. Strobel, Dean

    Graduate School

    Dr. Kelly Dixon, Chair Department of Anthropology

    Dr. Ashley McKeown

    Department of Anthropology

    Dr. Harry Fritz Department of History

  • ii

    ABSTRACT

    Vihlene, Shannon, M.A., August 2008 Anthropology Custer’s Last Drag: An Examination of Tobacco Use Among the Seventh Cavalry During the Nineteenth Century Chairperson: Dr. Kelly Dixon Tobacco has played an integral role in global history, and there are numerous historical records related to tobacco use over the past five hundred years. The odontological evidence recovered from the Custer National Battlefield infers a high frequency of tobacco use within the Seventh Calvary, yet nineteenth century historical records fail to mention such intensive use in the Seventh Calvary. This paper will briefly discuss late nineteenth century tobacco culture and apply that to a bioarchaeological research project associated with remains from the Custer National Battlefield to addresses this contradiction between historical and physical records.

  • iii

    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

    An undertaking of a project of this magnitude required the insights and guidance

    of a great number of family, friends, and respected colleagues. First, I would like to

    thank my thesis Chair, Dr. Kelly Dixon, whose expertise, understanding and patience

    aided me in completion of my graduate degree. She provided me with direction (given at

    every stage of the thesis process), assistance in writing reports (i.e., proposals,

    scholarship applications and this thesis), and became more of a mentor and friend, than a

    professor. I would like to thank my thesis Committee: Dr. Ashley McKeown and Dr.

    Harry Fritz, for their insights and assistance. I would also like to thank Dr. Douglas Scott

    and Dr. P Willey for providing me with the opportunity to work with such a unique site

    and topic. Additionally, I would like to thank the National Park Service for the funding

    required to perform this study.

    In addition to the technical support and assistance above, I received a large

    amount of support from my family and friends. My parents, Vern and Lynne Vihlene,

    instilled in me, from an early age, the desire to succeed and the skill required to obtain a

    Master’s Degree. My friend and colleague, Molly Swords, provided on-going support,

    encouragement and editing assistance without which I would not have finished this

    thesis. Additionally, I would like to thank Jim Zimmerman for the support he provided

    and the continual affirmations that led to this projects conclusion.

    Lastly, I would like to thank Marlboro Lights for keeping me awake and alert

    during my all night writing sprees, calming me down during times of stress, inspiring me

    during times of contemplation, comforting me when no one wanted to hear my

    disconnected ramblings about tobacco statistics, and always reminding me of my topic of

    choice.

  • iv

    PREFACE

    The subculture of the military has fascinated me since I first stepped onto the

    Marine Corp base of Camp Pendleton in California. Growing up in Southern California

    meant knowing where all the best surfing beaches were, and Pendleton was one of them.

    Part of Marine Corp training is learning the extensive Marine Corp history, which

    resulted in a number of my friends reciting this history. The history and customs

    captivated my attention, which resulted in my attempt to enlist in the military;

    unfortunately, the academic world also beckoned me. My studies in Historical

    Archaeology have furthered my interest in early military life and its practices, which led

    to the development of a Master’s Thesis that combines these topics. After reading about

    the archaeology that had taken place at the Little Bighorn Battlefield, I knew that I

    wanted to be a part of the research. With the help of Dr. Kelly Dixon, I contacted one of

    the researchers that had been involved with the Little Bighorn for some time, Dr. Doug

    Scott. Dr. Scott suggested that I do additional studies on the tobacco consumption of the

    soldiers. This sounded like an amazing opportunity to combine my interest in historical

    research, the military, and my knowledge of forensic anthropology, not to mention my

    personal affection for cigarettes. After getting the project underway, I realized that I may

    have bit off something more than anticipated. The project kept growing and it seemed

    that every time I tried to narrow the scope I would find another amazing quote. One of

    the great things about tobacco research is the plethora of available information dating

    back to the founding of this country, this also proved to complicate my research as well.

    Some historians can spend a lifetime researching tobacco.

  • v

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    CHAPTER PAGE

    PREFACE.....................................................................................................................................................iv

    Chapter 1........................................................................................................................................................1

    INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................................................1

    Archaeology of Smoking .......................................................................................................................3

    Bioarchaeology .....................................................................................................................................9

    Anthropology.......................................................................................................................................13

    Sociology.............................................................................................................................................15

    Summary .............................................................................................................................................16

    Chapter 2......................................................................................................................................................17

    HISTORY OF TOBACCO ..............................................................................................................................17

    Tobacco Use through the Centuries....................................................................................................17

    Tobacco Use in the Sixteenth Century........................................................................................................... 19

    Tobacco Use in the Seventeenth Century ...................................................................................................... 21

    Tobacco Use in the Eighteenth Century......................................................................................................... 24

    Tobacco Use in the Nineteenth Century ........................................................................................................ 26

    History of Tobacco Use in the Military...............................................................................................30

    Chapter 3......................................................................................................................................................36

    THE BATTLE OF THE LITTLE BIGHORN HISTORY AND TAPHONOMY OF HUMAN REMAINS ON THE

    BATTLEFIELD ............................................................................................................................................36

    Taphonomy..........................................................................................................................................41

    Taphonomic Theory....................................................................................................................................... 42

  • vi

    Taphonomic Factors of the Little Bighorn Battlefield.............................................................................. 43

    Chapter 4......................................................................................................................................................49

    METHODS .................................................................................................................................................49

    Chapter 5......................................................................................................................................................56

    RESULTS AND DISCUSSION ..............................................................................................

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