Dave Tadpole was born in approximately 1839; in Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory; the son of Dave and Lizzie (Downing) Tadpole.
Dave signed up to protect Chief John Ross when the Civil War started. After Cherokee Chief John Ross decided to side with the South, Dave left and went back home saying he would not fight against the treaty the Cherokee Nation had with the United States. Later, when given the opportunity, he joined the 3rd Regiment, Indian Home Guard, Kansas Infantry. Toward the end of the war, Dave married Polly Vann, a widow who had lost her husband during the war.
Dave and Polly were the parents of Tiger, Darkie, and Rose. Dave was also the step-father to Polly's two older children, Lizzie and Groundhog. He also helped raise his niece, Jencie, after her father, Eli Tadpole, died in the Civil War.
Toward the end of his life, Dave was unable to work due to injuries suffered during the war and he drew a pension until his death in February, 1900.