b. 1852 Oxfordshire, England. d. 29/11/1893 Miles City, Montana.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 25/06/1876 Little Big Horn River, Montana.
James Pym was born in Oxfordshire, England in either 1847 or 1852. According to historian Peter G. Russell, he may have deserted from the British Army and changed the date of his birth after leaving the country. Emigrating to the United States, he enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army in Boston, Massachusetts on December 11, 1874. Pym saw action with the 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment during the Great Sioux War of 1876-77 and, at the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876, was one of fifteen soldiers who volunteered to carry water to wounded soldiers at the Reno-Benteen site. Five sharpshooters put themselves in an exposed position to cover Pym and the other men as they spent four hours carrying water in cast iron canteens and cookware 80 yards from the Little Bighorn River to Reno Hill under heavy fire. The men were ambushed by Sioux warriors, concealed in bushes along the river, and Pym was wounded in the right ankle. He and the rest of the Little Bighorn water carriers were among the twenty-four members who received the Medal of Honor for gallantry on October 5, 1878.
After leaving the army in late 1879, Pym lived in Minnesota for a time and married. He and his bride then moved to Livingston and eventually settled in Miles City, Montana where the couple rented a cabin. The former cavalryman soon established a reputation as "being someone not to mess with". According to one story, Pym disarmed a man who had pulled a gun on him and ran him out of town. Pym and his wife attempted to open a restaurant in Miles City, but after this failed, she left and Pym began drinking heavily. On November 29, 1893, he was murdered by cowboy Miles Alford Tilton after Pym confronted the man in the home of his wife's sister. It was discovered that he was an MOH recipient when the coroner discovered the medal pinned to Pym's body upon examination.
Voluntarily went for water and secured the same under heavy fire.
BURIAL LOCATION: CUSTER COUNTY CEMETERY, MILES CITY, MONTANA.
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