compiled by Dee Finney

Subject: Okay, now for something strange
 Date: 4/9/2008
 A brilliant and beautiful friend of mine in New York just read me an  AP story relating to the US Government exhuming large numbers of bodies of "buffalo soldiers" (Civil War and post Civil War era) African  American soldiers and children from a field of unmarked graves near  some old fort from that period in the New Mexico desert.  The government  did all this in secret for the last four months to avoid memoribilia  looting of the corpses, so it said when the operation became publicly  known.  There is a gruesome side story about some history professor  who recently died and in his house they found one of the mummified  black soldier corpses still dressed in his cavalry blue uniform.  It  was said that the professor was a prime looter of the site

But, get this:  the reason that I'm asking you fellows about this is  that the report goes on to say that there have been charges that what the government is really exhuming out there in the desert are alien  bodies that it buried there back in the 40's and 50's and that memorabilia treasure hunter exhumations were threatening to reveal  the alien corpses buried there, so the govt was forced to cook up this story and steal away the bodies in the dead of night over the  past four months.
So, anyone heard of this one?  She couldn't send me the story because  she got called away in mid-call and has not had time to get to a computer since then to forward what she read.  I tried to Google it  without success.  It's allegedly in an AP story put out today.
Things just keep getting weirder and weirder,
Here's the AP story about the exhumations. Note: no alien connection  mentioned.
Soldiers’ Remains Secretly Exhumed in New Mexico
 But see my other e-mail with's take on the story. Seems to  me that the AP story is weird enough even without aliens, but that's just me.
 Okay, here's the second part, wherein these guys claim that the story  swallowed by AP was a hoax.

 AP Swallows Obvious Alien Cover Story Federal agents secretly  removed 67 bodies from a patch of New Mexico desert not terribly far from UFO crash zone Roswell. Clearly these are alien remains, but the  Feds insist they are the skeletons of black Civil War soldiers, and needed protection from a crazy historian in an airplane, who is now  dead. The Associated Press did not bother to dig for the Truth, which Is Out There. [AP]
Soldiers’ Remains Secretly Exhumed in New Mexico
AP Swallows Obvious Alien Cover Story Federal agents secretly removed 67 bodies from a patch of New Mexico desert not terribly far from UFO crash zone Roswell. Clearly these are alien remains, but the Feds insist they are the skeletons of black Civil War soldiers, and needed protection from a crazy historian in an airplane, who is now dead. The Associated Press did not bother to dig for the Truth, which Is Out There. [AP]


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bodies removed from Fort Craig

Alleged grave robber died in 2004

Evelyn Cronce El Defensor Chieftain Reporter

It all started with a casual remark and ended with the removal of 67 skeletons from the cemetery at Fort Craig, south of Socorro. Jeffery Hanson, archaeologist for the Bureau of Reclamation said a fellow historian was picking up some things from him at the bureau's archaeology department when the man happened to mention that he had seen the remains of a Buffalo Soldier at the home of another amateur historian. Hanson and fellow archeologist Mark Hungerford went to the site of the Fort Craig cemetery and found signs of looting.

The BOR teamed with the Bureau of Land Management to investigate. While the former cemetery is on BOR lands, Fort Craig itself is on BLM land. Also, the BOR has no law enforcement division. Hanson said there were actually two excavations. The first was done between 2005 and 2006, as part of the criminal investigation to obtain evidence matching remains with artifacts. The second round of exhumations were completed between August and October 2007, to prevent further looting.

Hans Stuart, chief of public affairs for the BLM in Santa Fe, said the investigation has been closed. He said the case was closed when the alleged grave robber died. The report named Dee Brecheisen, of Peralta, who was 66 at the time of his death in 2004, as the alleged suspect. Stuart said investigators were told Brecheisen even referred to himself as "the grave robber."

"The case is closed. I'm not allowed to comment on whether or not there are any further investigations," Stuart said.

Stuart said he also is not allowed to give out the names of any of the investigators in the case.

"One of the really sad things about this story is that people knew about the grave robbing," he said. "This kind of crime needs to be reported. If you see somebody start a fire, you report it. If you see somebody with a shovel digging and a screen sifting through the dirt, you should report it."

Stuart said the BLM has produced a handout for people visiting Fort Craig that explains the cemetery is not and never has been open to the public. He said the exhumations have left nothing to be seen. The site has been leveled except for the walls. The handout also asks people looking for information or to report anything suspicious to call Mary Carlson at the BLM public affairs office at 505-462-3576.

Although previous press releases have referred to the exhumations as "secret," Hanson said it was more low profile than secret. He said the camp host at Fort Craig, as well as pertinent law enforcement officials were informed. He said it was handled quietly because there is an unusually active looting problem in Socorro and Sierra Counties.

"I think a lot of it (the artifacts) are sold here and abroad," he said.

Hanson went on to say that he believes there to be a million dollars a year in illegal black market trade in both commercial and hobbyist artifacts.

The bodies that were exhumed will be examined by the archeologists to attempt identification but Hanson doubts more than five at the most will be identifiable beyond a doubt.

"We want to be confident that we know who the remains belong to before we put a name on a gravestone. We don't want to make any mistakes burying somebody under the wrong name," he said.

The BOR has the burial registry from Fort Craig. Hanson said the military burials recorded are all Union soldiers, New Mexico Volunteers and California Volunteers. He said those who died after the Civil War are listed as United States Army.

Unfortunately, the registry does not include civilians. He said they have exhumed 26 bodies belonging to infants and small children. Hanson said they do not expect to be able to identify any of them.

"Osteological analysis will be impossible," he said. "The skeletal samples are good enough for DNA evidence. We could do matches will descendants. We're very open to doing that."

Hanson said anyone who would like to find out if remains belong to a blood relative who was buried at Fort Craig should contact Carlson.

Carlson said the BOR have made presentations on the exhumations and might schedule one in Socorro County.

"We're thinking about having some sort of memorial at the fort," she said.

Hanson said the archaeological department of the BOR is planning to produce a documentary on the events to be shown in the fall. He said it is too early to know if it will be on public television or on a different television station.

"The whole enterprise underscores the problems we have with looting," Hanson said. "Not only is it desecration to our ancestors and our veterans, but our collective heritage is being robbed."

After the archeologists are finished with the study and identification of the remains, the bodies will be reburied in a national cemetery where security is tighter. He said the BOR is looking into several locations and has not yet decided exactly where the remains will be interred.

Where the story of the Buffalo Soldiers lives

Sam Lowe
Special for The Republic
Mar. 20, 2008 08:49 PM

SIERRA VISTA - Harlan Bradford waited patiently until everyone in the group was paying attention because, he said, what he was about to tell them was important.

"I always get asked how the Buffalo Soldiers got their name," he began. "I have researched this matter and talked with military officials and historians, and I get three theories."

The first, he said, is that the nickname was applied to Black soldiers by Plains Indians, probably Cherokee or Comanche, who likened the soldiers' dark, curly hair to that of a buffalo's mane. The second, also attributed to the Plains Indians, had to do with the buffalo-hide coats the cavalrymen wore as part of their winter uniforms.
"So when they rode into battle, they looked like charging buffalo," Bradford said.

Finally, it might have been because of their legendary fighting spirit, praised by everyone from the Indians to Gen. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, who led some of them into Mexico in his vain pursuit of Pancho Villa. In fact, Bradford said, some say Pershing got his nickname because of his admiration for the troopers.

"The most important thing to remember is that regardless of where it came from, there was never anything derogatory about being called a Buffalo Soldier," Bradford said. "It was an honor to be called a Buffalo Soldier."

Having clarified that point, Bradford went back to guiding his charges across the sprawling grounds of Fort Huachuca. He and his counterparts lead these tours on the third Saturday of every month under the sponsorship of the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers, and they take the visitors to several sites on the post that are part of the Buffalo Soldier story.

The first all-Black regiments, and the forerunners of the Buffalo Soldiers, were formed by an act of Congress in 1866. African-Americans had served in the U.S. military long before that; during the Civil War, more than 13,000 were killed in action while fighting for the Union. By 1869, there were four all-Black units: the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments and the 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments. By the 1870s, Blacks made up about 20 percent of the Army.

But the Buffalo Soldier designation didn't catch on until the 1880s, when African-American troops were sent to the Great Plains and the Southwest to take part in the Indian wars. The name came into use then, and although the term never officially was applied to any unit, it has been a part of Army lore ever since.

Although often the victims of discrimination, the Buffalo Soldiers were heralded as tough, loyal fighters who overcame such adversities as inequality in pay, inadequate housing, inferior equipment and few advancement opportunities to carve their names into Army history.

Black soldiers helped settle the West and served in the Spanish-American War, the Philippine-American War and Pershing's Punitive Expedition into Mexico, earning more than 20 Medals of Honor. When there wasn't a war going on, they served as park rangers, security forces and cattle guardians. They quelled a range war in Wyoming, built roads in Yosemite and Sequoia national parks and protected settlers.

The 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments were disbanded during World War II; the 24th Infantry Regiment served in the Korean conflict and was the last segregated unit to see combat before it and the 25th were disbanded in the 1950s, when all military services were integrated.

All four units were stationed at Fort Huachuca at one time or another, and the Buffalo Soldier association is trying to preserve that history. With cooperation from post officials, the group began offering the monthly tours in 2007 and plans to continue them "as long as they let us," according to Bradford, who dresses as a Buffalo Soldier with the rank of sergeant major when he leads tours.

The tours start at noon in front of the Fort Huachuca Historical Museum. After introductory remarks, visitors see the cemetery where several Buffalo Soldiers are buried and the mule barns where they were in charge of the animals. The tour also stops at the building where Black recruits learned to read and write, and at the Mountain View Colored Officers Club, which the association is trying to restore.

The last stop is the Buffalo Soldier Legacy Plaza where, beneath a larger-than-life bronze sculpture of a Black infantryman, the guides hand out brochures that urge donations so the association can continue its projects. Visitors then are directed back to the museum, where they can take as much time as they want to examine the Buffalo Soldier display inside.

The tours are free and usually last 90 minutes to two hours. Participants enter the post through the front gate, where everyone 13 and older must show photo identification. Because the fort is vast and the tour destinations are far apart, these are not walking tours and guests must provide their own transportation between stops.


A tribute to Buffalo Soldiers

Sam Lowe
Special for The Republic
Mar. 21, 2008 12:00 AM

FORT HUACHUCA - The monument is an 8-foot-tall bronze sculpture of a Buffalo Soldier in period dress, holding a rifle in one hand and a saddle in the other. The work traces its origins to the early 1970s, when Spec. 4 Clarence E. Wilson Jr. embarked on a personal mission to honor African-American soldiers who had been stationed at the fort.

Wilson, a social worker in the fort's drug- and alcohol-abuse center, worked tirelessly in his off-duty hours to establish a course on Black history, acquire Black heritage literature for the post libraries and start the campaign to erect the statue.

But Wilson left the post before accomplishing the mission, so Col. Arthur Corley, then the garrison commander, assigned the project to the Fort Huachuca Historical Museum. Staff artist Rose Murray was given the task of designing the sculpture, and she attended advanced sculpture courses at the University of Arizona while creating several wax models of the soldier.
Once the final model was ready, the garrison ran into funding problems. There wasn't enough money to cast the bronze, but a firm in Tucson accepted the work at a bargain price. Further cost reductions were achieved by scaling down the statue's size and by melting down brass scrap from Army stocks.

When the work was completed, there was the problem of finding a vehicle capable of transporting it from Tucson to the fort. A Phoenix firm agreed to do the job, and the statue was delivered to the post the day before the dedication ceremony. When the statue was unveiled in 1977, it stood at the front entrance to Fort Huachuca, "looking like he belongs there, with the imposing Huachuca Mountains at his back and the clear Arizona sky forming his aura," according to museum historian Jim Finley.

The sculpture stood there until last year, when it was moved to the Buffalo Soldier Legacy Plaza as the first phase of the fort's four-part "Year of the Buffalo Soldier" observation. The plaza represents the second phase, and installation of an information kiosk and interpretive signs will complete the project.

Peter DePina  of Southborough has collected thousands of pieces of memorabilia of the Buffalo Soldiers, African-Americans who fought for the Army in the Indian Wars of the late 19th century, including the uniform he is wearing. (Globe Staff Photo / Matthew J. Lee)

Society hopes to make Southborough landmark a museum

A Southborough landmark could become a local museum, and a place of honor for Buffalo Soldiers memorabilia

By John Dyer
Globe Correspondent / March 16, 2008
When members of the Nichols family built their home in Southborough more than a century ago, they couldn't have imagined the three-story Colonial would become a museum honoring the Buffalo Soldiers, African-Americans who fought for the Army during the Wild West's Indian Wars from 1867 to 1891.

more stories like this

Then again, they also couldn't have imagined their house would be picked up off its foundations and moved to make way for the Sudbury Reservoir.

The Southborough Historical Society is seeking to turn the DeClinton Nichols House, which is perched near the Sudbury Dam and owned by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, into the Stony Brook Museum. The proposal is on the drawing board, but town officials next month will ask Town Meeting voters to approve $50,000 in Community Preservation Act funds for seed money for the project.

Advocates say the museum would provide space for the historical society and other local groups, including Buffalo Soldiers Heritage, an organization run by Southborough resident Peter DePina. The owner of thousands of pieces of Buffalo Soldier memorabilia, DePina said his collection is the largest of its kind east of the Mississippi River.

Including DePina's collection in the museum would be crucial to raising the $2.8 million that proponents say they need to renovate the house, which has fallen into disrepair. They envision a nationwide campaign targeting history buffs devoted to the memory of the Buffalo Soldiers and their legacy.

An African-American and Korean War-era veteran of the Army, DePina said he has accumulated the Buffalo Soldier books and other items, including historically accurate uniforms he uses for reenactment events, because he identifies with the soldiers and the struggles they had to overcome. DePina said he was in the Army from 1949 to 1959, rising to the rank of master sergeant.

"I was there when it was segregated," he said. "I was there when it was integrated. The latter was the best."

He began collecting Buffalo Soldier memorabilia after he left the Army and realized the significance of the experience. "I was a young man," he said. "I wasn't into history. As I got older, I realized I was missing something."

DePina said the museum would give him an opportunity to explain the emotions he and others have experienced as African-American veterans. Since before the Revolutionary War, some black soldiers excelled in serving their country but failed to receive full recognition because of their race. He experienced that prejudice also, he said.

"The military always wanted to get rid of the black soldiers" before the civil rights era, DePina said. "Anything to do with black soldiers, they hid."

But today, with Colin Powell having risen to the heights of the military's command, and nearly a fifth of active-duty US armed forces African-Americans, according to the Defense Department website, DePina said he feels he needs to make sure those past ordeals aren't forgotten. At the same time, he said, he also wants to celebrate the changes that have occurred.

"You have to experience the hurt and then to see a total flip-flop," he said. "Can we show people we are human beings who can learn from the past? It's a dream."

more stories like this

MWRA officials said they don't know exactly when the former farmhouse on Boston Road was built. They know only that engineers moved it to its present location in the town's Fayville section when the reservoir was created in the late 1870s. The earliest photo of the house in the MWRA archives was taken in 1894, said authority spokeswoman Ria Convery. At some point, the house was the dam keeper's residence, she said.

The MWRA was going to demolish the house until society members, led by Marlborough resident Russell Horne, approached the agency about making it a museum. The house's roof has holes, birds are living inside, and rain has damaged the interior, Convery said.

"Our inclination was to tear it down because we can't spend any money on things that aren't necessary to run the water system," she said. "We're not really in the business of being a landlord."

Horne's ancestors owned a mill on Stony Brook in the 18th century, before Southborough was incorporated as a town, he said. Those same ancestors are buried in old town cemeteries, he said. Horne would like to devote a portion of the DeClinton Nichols House to exhibits on the area's Industrial Revolution legacy. "There were 24 mills on Stony Brook in 1794," he said.

The MWRA would be happy to transfer ownership or possession of the house to someone else, Convery said. But it's not clear whether state rules would allow the authority to give it to a private group, even a nonprofit entity such as the Southborough Historical Society. By law, the house is supposed to be first offered to other state agencies that might need the space and then to the town if there are no takers, she said.

Town Administrator Jean Kitchen said officials supported DePina's and Horne's efforts. She was working with state lawmakers to draft legislation that would allow the MWRA to give Southborough a lease to the house, she said. She hoped to meet again with officials in the next few weeks to iron out details for a transfer.

The town probably would lease the house from the MWRA and then sublease it to the Southborough Historical Society. Then the museum could begin fund-raising and receiving donations, she said. While details haven't been finalized, Kitchen said, the leases might last for 99 years and cost $1 a year, she said.

Kitchen said she was confident DePina and Horne could raise the money they need and, in the process, provide Southborough with a unique cultural attraction. "We don't believe there would be any cost to the town," she said.

The moment the historical society has control of the Nichols House, DePina and Horne said, they would spring into action with fund-raising and planning. They said they have already enlisted the specialists they need to set up the museum as a nonprofit organization. Many of those professionals have agreed to volunteer their time, too.

"We've got a grant writer on board," Horne said. "We have a lawyer on board. We have an accountant. We're pretty much set."


An old bastion of refuge in a new tale of the West

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

The scene was dramatic and uncanny, to say the least: women and young girls, dressed in 19th-century-style clothing, being escorted into an historic West Texas fort -- presumably for their protection.

But this was no period movie, no re-enactment of some historic event in the Old West.

It was now. It was real. It was surreal.

"Established in 1867, along the banks of the Concho River, Fort Concho was built to protect frontier settlements, patrol and map the vast West Texas region and quell hostile threats in the area," says the opening paragraph of the national historic landmark's Web page.

The 500-plus women and children who crowded onto the fort's grounds had arrived from what could be described as a frontier settlement, but one built only four years ago. And from what court documents allege, many of them faced hostile threats -- not from raiding Indians but from "family" members and their church leaders.

Fort Concho, once home to cavalry troops that included the Buffalo Soldiers but closed as an active military facility since 1889, had once again become a protector and a refuge for those who ended up there last week after a raid on a religious compound.

Of course, for some -- those who might resent having been taken from their homes on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' 1,691-acre ranch near Eldorado -- the fort might be seen as a prison.

That's part of the problem facing Texas law enforcement and agencies such as Child Protective Services.

Who were willing participants in the strange rituals of the polygamist FLDS sect, and who were victims of evil men who used religion for their own sexual obsessions and the abuse of children?

Many of the young girls removed from the ranch were mothers and/or pregnant and, according to affidavits, had been forced to "spiritually marry" older men and immediately submit to them sexually. Authorities even found beds in the vast white temple, and records showed that one man at the encampment had 20 wives living with him.

I've seen my share of cults and religious orders, and even some mainstream organizations, in which men use their power and twisted biblical interpretations to coerce women and children into sex. This is not a new phenomenon by any means.

And always we in society have to wrestle with the question of when the state has a right and a duty to intervene in "church" matters. In the case of adults, that's a harder puzzle because we have to decide whether people gave their consent or were forced (or beguiled) by a pontificating snake in ministerial clothing.

But in the case of children forced into sex at the age of 14 and 15, the state unquestionably has every right to intercede on their behalf and should do everything in its power to protect them.

From the time the FLDS sect moved to Texas, there were suspicions that weird and possibly illegal things were going on, but local authorities prudently waited until there was true probable cause before moving in and searching the facility.

When officials got a 911 call from someone who identified herself as a fearful, pregnant 16-year-old, they had reason enough to enter the property and to seize the children.

The group had been industrious -- building large living quarters and a sanctuary -- and becoming one of the biggest and most faithful taxpaying entities in the small county of Schleicher. But working hard and paying taxes do not necessarily make one a good citizen, or a good person -- certainly not if children are being harmed.

We can only guess how severely the youngsters, sexually abused or not, have been injured. Many know no life other than their peculiar upbringing and have been taught to fear the "outside world."

Who knows what level of sheer brainwashing may have occurred?

As CPS navigates these hundreds of cases, in some instances trying to determine the children's true identities as well as the level of injury they may have incurred, we should have a new appreciation for the state agency that often receives more blame than praise.

Among other things, the agency will have to determine whether children should be permanently removed from their parents. If so, where do they go?

Local, state and federal authorities also must decide who among the 50 or so men remaining on the property might have committed crimes and what charges, if any, should be brought.

I have no sympathy for the religious "leaders" and could never condone or forgive what at least some of them seem to have done in the name of God.

If this were a movie, we could at least look forward to The End.

Sadly, for the 416 children involved in this depressing tale, the end is nowhere in sight.
Bob Ray Sanders' column appears Sundays and Wednesdays. 817-390-7775
12-year-old seeks to understand discrepancies in knowledge
Originally published April 13, 2008

By Nicholas C. Stern
News-Post Staff
Photo by Bill Green

Daley Bennett, a student at Crestwood Middle School, used black history month as a subject of her recent science fair project. A couple of years ago, Daley Bennett grew tired of learning in school about the same old things during black history month.

Bennett, 12, of Frederick, said that much of what was being taught about Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech and Rosa Parks' refusal to sit in the back of a bus she already knew.

"I thought it was so dry," she said.

Those topics are fine for children first entering school, but there is so much more about black history for older students to learn, said Bennett, a student at Crestwood Middle School.

Bennett's uncle, Howard Hickson, and her aunt, Sheri Markey, both of whom are black, had provided insights into black history. Another aunt, a white, retired school teacher who lives in St. Louis, told her about the Buffalo Soldiers -- black soldiers who served in the U.S. military and helped significantly with the nation's western expansion.

Another teacher in fifth grade mentioned that Charles R. Drew pioneered the idea for storing blood in banks, and was later asked to resign as director of the American Red Cross Blood Bank after protesting a U.S. War Department directive stating that blood taken from white donors should not be mixed with blood from black donors.

These untold stories gave Bennett an idea.

Bennett decided, with some help from her parents, that for her science fair project in March, she would test people's knowledge of prominent white and black people, excluding King and Parks.

The test, she said, consisted of 22 questions, 11 about famous white people and 11 about famous black people.

Bennett said that the majority of the information she used was gathered from her family and online history websites.

In one afternoon, she went to a local Starbucks and asked 28 participants, who were high school graduates, to take the test. Bennett said she was surprised by the enthusiasm and willingness to help.


According to the results, Bennett said that on average, respondents answered 95 percent of questions about white Americans correctly, while 5 percent of the questions about black Americans correctly.

Bennett concluded that blacks are not mentioned in U.S. history classes with a similar thoroughness as whites.

Perhaps the curriculum in some public schools should be expanded beyond its focus on slavery or the civil rights movement of the 20th century, she said.

Black history should be taught in the time frame in which it occurred, instead of in a separate category, she said.

Wendi Winters - For The Capital
Charles 'Charlie' Matthews behind the wheel of the
2006 Cadilliac CTS that he purchased off the lot when he was 100.

Former World War II Buffalo Soldier turns 102 at Eastertime

Still driving, he plans to renew his license in 2010

By WENDI WINTERS, For The Capital
Published March 19, 2008
Charles Matthews wanted a new car two years ago. He knew what he wanted and had it all picked out: a snazzy gray Cadillac CTS.
The car sits in the driveway of Mr. Matthews' Parole home, not a scratch on it. He takes good care of it, for he expects to be driving it a long time.

After all, he's only 101 years old.

He remembers his first car well - a used 1916 Model T Ford. "I paid $50 for it," he said. "Gas was 19 cents a gallon."

By looking at him, it's hard to believe the handsome, smooth-faced man is any older than 70, but his birth date is printed clearly on his driver's license, which doesn't expire until 2010.

He was born March 25, 1906, so on Tuesday, he turns 102.

The independent senior citizen sees and hears clearly, though he sometimes uses a hearing aid. He can bend into a semi-squat to pull books off a low shelf, and does all of the cooking and housecleaning in his tidy home. His specialty is making crabcakes.

He'll grumble if you try to help him.

Age doesn't get in the way of house repairs. After one heavy storm, he hauled out a ladder and got on top of his roof to do an inspection. A neighbor yelled at him to get down.

"That woman stayed out there 'til I put my ladder away," he said.

He irons most of his snowy-white cotton shirts. He doesn't own any casual clothing, because he prefers to wear suits or dress slacks with a nice sports jacket, shirt and tie, and lace-up leather shoes.

And he walks fluidly without any assistance and exercises on his stationary bicycle for 20 minutes each morning.

The Matthews clan lived on Washington Street in downtown Annapolis, just off West Street. He was the second of four children born to Robert and Elizabeth Matthews.

Robert Matthews was a laborer at the Naval Academy, and died during the Flu Epidemic of 1918. His mother was a homemaker who lived to be 98. She was the granddaughter of a slave from Hope Chapel.

Charles Matthews' big brother, William, was three years older and passed away years ago. His younger sister, Sarah Matthews, died in 1998 at age 88. Baby sister Sophia Chambers is 88.

Mrs. Chambers visits her brother's house often. They sit side-by-side on a piano bench. They play his electric piano and sing gospel songs together.

All the Matthews children attended the segregated public schools in town. In his teenage years, Mr. Matthews was a laborer and carpenter. "I did contract work at the Naval Academy. I mixed concrete for Bancroft Hall." He worked on an expansion of the dormitory in 1936 and 1937.

When Pearl Harbor was attacked Dec. 7, 1941, Mr. Matthews was 35 years old, but he enlisted in the Army. He was a member of the famed 92nd Infantry Division, known as "The Buffalo Soldiers Division," and served in the 3rd Battalion Company L.

In the 1880s, the Plains Indians nicknamed African-American cavalrymen Buffalo Soldiers.. One of the two black infantry divisions in World War II adopted the name as its own.

"We had a picture of a buffalo on our shoulders - a patch. People ran when they saw us. We were the bad buffaloes," he chuckled. He was a rifleman with his unit when it landed in Italy.

That was his only trip outside the United States. "I never did much traveling. I've never stayed in a hotel and haven't really been out of Maryland since World War II," he said.

Activated in October 1942, the Buffaloes went into action in Italy in the fall of 1944 and fought through the spring of 1945. The Buffaloes suffered more than 5,000 casualties in the fighting. They were deactivated in October 1945.

He retired in 1973 as a carpenter and mason at Fort George G. Meade. "That was 31˝ years, including Army time," he said.

Mr. Matthews met Mary Adeline Barnes at her aunts' home near Bestgate Road, and they were married in 1955. The couple had no children. Mrs. Matthews, who was 24 years younger than her husband, died March 31, 1991.

A woman's portrait sits in his living room. It is of Mary Florence Smith Dorsey.

Widowed in 1964, she and Mr. Matthews were longtime companions until she died in July 2003 at age 87 of Alzheimer's Disease. "He wanted to marry her in a church ceremony," said Doris Matthews Wright, 67, a niece of Mr. Matthews. "But neither one was really ready to get married again."

"Do you know how Bestgate got its name?" Mr. Matthews asked. "It was all dirt roads around here. No houses. The Naval Academy was smaller. Bestgate and Camp Parole (now Parole) were all Army property."

There was a gate where the new Westgate Circle is, the place where West Street, Spa Road and Taylor Avenue meet. Ridgely Avenue - part of it is what Bestgate Road became - had a gate, too. "The Army did a survey and that road was the 'best gate' to get out of Annapolis," he said.

Mrs. Wright said his Uncle Will and Aunt Amelia Carroll willed him their property at 814 Bestgate Road. The land is now the Pine Lawn Memorial Park and Mausoleum, next to Fowler United Methodist Church.

"I sold all 13˝ acres in 1990 to the cemetery for $125,000," he said. Earlier in his life, he'd torn down an old house on the property and built his dream house in its place. It had hard wood floors, ample space for relatives to come and sit around the dinner table and an elegant wrought-iron handrail on the staircase leading upstairs.

Mr. Matthews has attended 137-year-old Fowler United Methodist Church nearly his entire adult life. He is a tenor in the choir, which rehearses twice a week, and is a member in a Methodist group.

On Palm Sunday, led by the Rev. Mamie A. Williams, the congregation paid tribute to him. Mr. Matthews sat in the last pew, smiling broadly.

White-suited ladies from the chorus paraded by during the ceremony and each one gave him a big hug, and they got one back. He knew all the words to every song without glancing in the hymnal.

After the 2˝-hour service, 80 congregants of all ages trooped downstairs to the community room to share a slice of Mr. Matthews' favorite Carvel ice cream cake.

Religion is a main part of his routine. He reads "Daily Light," a daily devotional pamphlet, and keeps a couple Bibles handy. He likes Christian music and gospel, but doesn't like rap. "He'll walk out of church if he doesn't like the music," his niece laughed.

He loves working on word find collections, word puzzle books and he watches ABC News.

Mr. Matthews is fond of Judge Joe Brown and Judge Judy, Jerry Springer, Montel Williams and the soap opera "All My Children."

His secret to longevity is simple. "Just live your life," he said with a smile. "Just live your life."

Wendi Winters is a freelance writer who lives on the Broadneck Peninsula.

Museums will bring tourists

Hattiesburg's addition of two African-American museums will strengthen the city's ability to attract visitors who are looking for "authenticity," tourism officials said Wednesday.

The Eureka School and the city's USO Club are the Hattiesburg Convention Commission's newest projects they believe will help establish the city as an even more desirable destination.

"That's what people are looking for now days; authenticity in a destination," Rick Taylor, executive director of the convention commission, told the Hattiesburg American editorial board Wednesday.

Taylor said the commission was seeking to expand the tourism market in Hattiesburg when its attention was drawn to the Eureka School and USO Club - two beloved structures the commission plans to use to spotlight many of Hattiesburg's heroes.

The Eureka School, built in 1921, was the second modern brick school built for blacks in Mississippi.

Hattiesburg's USO Club, at 305 E. Sixth St., opened its doors in 1942 and is the only USO Club designated for black soldiers that is in public use.

Both buildings are currently being restored by the commission. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for each in February.

The Eureka School, which will be converted into the African-American Heritage and Cultural Museum, received $160,000 in funding from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The commission provided $500,000 in restoration costs.

Restoration of the USO Club is estimated to cost $1.2 million, Taylor said in a previous report.

The Eureka School was designated as a Mississippi landmark in 2005. The USO Club could be designated a national landmark once it's restored, Taylor said.

"The black soldiers at Camp Shelby used it. It was built for them," Convention Commissioner Iola Williams said about the facility's history.

It is the home of the African-American Military History Museum where Williams conducts tours, although it is closed during the restoration.

Williams said the USO museum will feature a collection of artifacts from black soldiers including Buffalo Soldiers, who served on the Western frontier after the Civil War, to Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders who fought in the Spanish American War.

"We think our museum will be a new and innovative way to show that history and relate it to the local community," she said. "All the artifacts in the museum were either given to us or loaned."

Taylor said the Eureka School will contain fewer artifacts and more pictorial displays.

"We anticipate there will be some public spaces that can be used for meetings, too," he said.

Taylor said research has shown the target audience for both museums will be young whites.

Older blacks and whites with strong ties and knowledge of the past have less interest in visiting such museums, he said.

Younger blacks are educated in African-American history by their grandparents and are also less inclined to show interest in cultural museums, he said.

"Young whites haven't heard about it or have not seen it and we found typically they don't know about it," Taylor said. "They are the No. 1 market for African-American museums in the United States."

Taylor said the commission hopes to be able to open the doors to the renovated USO Club in February 2009 - just in time for Black History Month.

Taylor said because renovation on the Eureka School is being conducted in several phases, its completion date is unknown.

"We want to do it at a quality that fits the Smithsonian," he said. "We have seen a rise in cultural inheritance tourism and this fits into that."


MND-B Soldiers observe women's history month
By Pfc. Samantha Schutz, MND-B PAO
Mar 29, 2008
   Blackanthem Military News

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - In recognition of the history, accomplishments and contributions of women throughout American society, the 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division - Baghdad, sponsored a celebration of Women's History Month at the DeFleury Dining Facility March 27.

Soldiers serving with the 35th Engineer Brigade, which supports MND-B, hosted the event, which had the theme "Women's Art: Women's Vision" and focused on the great female writers, actresses and other artists, from the birth of our nation through modern times.

Soldiers, both women and men, gathered during their lunch hour to share history, stories, poems and songs made timeless by female Americans. One Soldier shared a poem by Cathay Williams, which tells a tale about an ex-slave woman who went on to fight in the Civil War as a buffalo Soldier. Another sang popular songs with the 4th Inf. Div. band, including Aretha Franklin's "Respect" while the audience ate lunch.

There was even a trivia game, presented by Lt. Col. Mary Henry, a native of Wilmington, Del., who serves as the deputy officer in charge of the 4th Inf. Div., MND-B reconciliation cell. Henry challenged the audience to answer questions about past and present influential female artists, with the promise of a chocolate prize to the participant with the most correct answers.

In addition to fun and games, the event addressed the sacrifices women have made to secure a brighter future for everyone.

Lt. Col. David Lowe, a native of Dixon, Mo., shared a brief history of women serving in the U.S. military over time. From the Civil War in the 1860s to today's Operation Iraqi Freedom, women have been taking an active part in the defense of our borders.

"Generations of women have fought in the military services, with each generation changing the roles of women in the service," said Lowe, who serves as the command judge advocate for the 35th Eng. Bde.

According to the Department of Defense's most recent count, there were 201,575 women serving on active duty in various branches of the modern military in 2006.

Of all the women in the service today, there are currently more than 2,500 female Soldiers serving with MND-B in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, said Command Sgt. Maj. John Gioia, the senior enlisted leader for the 4th Inf. Div. and MND-B.

The female leaders of today's military seem to have come a long way since masquerading as men during the Civil War.

"This month, we honor the extraordinary women of our Nation's past and recognize the countless women who are demonstrating leadership in every aspect of American life," said President George W. Bush in a presidential proclamation signed March 10 declaring the month as Women's History Month.

Whatever a woman chooses to do - whether it's represent her nation, work for a corporation, write a book or simply create a comfortable home for her Family - it is the hope of MND-B and the U.S. that women and men will take the month of March to reflect and celebrate the changes womankind has brought to our nation throughout its history.

Buffalo Soldier History

From Wikipedia

Buffalo Soldiers is a nickname originally applied to the members of the U.S. 10th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army by the Native American tribes they fought, which was formed on September 21, 1866 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The term eventually encompassed these units:

Although several African American regiments were raised during the Civil War to fight alongside the Union Army (including the famous 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and the many United States Colored Troops Regiments), the "Buffalo Soldiers" were established by Congress as the first peacetime all-black regiments in the regular U.S. Army.

On September 6, 2005, Mark Matthews, who was the oldest living Buffalo Soldier, died at the age of 111. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[4]

Buffalo soldiers of the 25th Infantry Regiment, 1890
Buffalo soldiers of the 25th Infantry Regiment, 1890

Origins of the name

Sources disagree on how the nickname "buffalo soldiers" began. According to the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, the name originated with the Cheyenne warriors in 1867, the actual Cheyenne translation being "Wild Buffalo." However, writer Walter Hill documented the account of Colonel Benjamin Grierson, who founded the 10th Cavalry regiment, recalling an 1871 campaign against the Comanche tribe. Hill attributes the origin of the name to the Comanche due to Grierson's assertions. Needless to say, there is some controversy as to where the name originated. Some sources assert that the nickname was given out of respect and the fierce fighting ability of the 11th cavalry.[5] Other sources assert that Native Americans called the black cavalry troops "buffalo soldiers" because of their dark curly hair, which resembled a buffalo's coat.[6] Still other sources point to a combination of both legends.[7] Regardless of how the name originated, the term Buffalo Soldiers became a generic term for all African American soldiers. It is now used in reference to U.S. Army units which trace their direct lineage back to the 9th and 10th cavalry units whose bravery earned them an honored place in U.S. history.

Their service

Buffalo Soldier in the 9th Cavalry. 1890
Buffalo Soldier in the 9th Cavalry. 1890

During the American Civil War, the U.S. government formed regiments known as the United States Colored Troops, composed of black soldiers led by white officers. After the war the Congress reorganized the Army, authorizing the formation of two regiments of black cavalry with the designations 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry, and four regiments of black infantry, designated the 38th, 39th, 40th and 41st Infantry Regiments (Colored). The 38th' and 41st were reorganized as the 25th Infantry Regiment, with headquarters in Jackson Barracks in New Orleans, in November 1869. The 39th and 40th were reorganized as the 24th Infantry Regiment, with headquarters at Fort Clark, Texas, in April 1869. All of these units were composed of black enlisted men commanded by white officers such as Benjamin Grierson, Ranald S. Mackenzie and, occasionally, black officers such as Henry O. Flipper.

From 1866 to the early 1890s these regiments served at a variety of posts in the Southwestern United States(Apache Wars) and Great Plains regions. They participated in most of the military campaigns in these areas and earned a distinguished record. Thirteen enlisted men and six officers from these four regiments earned the Medal of Honor during the Indian Wars. In addition to the military campaigns, the "Buffalo Soldiers" served a variety of roles along the frontier from building roads to escorting the U.S. mail.

Buffalo Soldier Memorial of El Paso, in Fort Bliss, depicting CPL John Ross, I Troop, 9th Cavalry, during an encounter in the Guadalupe Mountains during the Indian Wars
Buffalo Soldier Memorial of El Paso, in Fort Bliss, depicting CPL John Ross, I Troop, 9th Cavalry, during an encounter in the Guadalupe Mountains during the Indian Wars

After the Indian Wars ended in the 1890s the regiments continued to serve and participated in the Spanish-American War (including the Battle of San Juan Hill), where five more Medals of Honor were earned. They took part in the 1916 Punitive Expedition into Mexico and in the Philippine-American War.

Buffalo Soldier Monument at F. E. Warren Air Force Base near Cheyenne, Wyoming
Buffalo Soldier Monument at F. E. Warren Air Force Base near Cheyenne, Wyoming


A lesser known action was the 9th Cavalry's participation in the fabled Johnson County War, an 1892 land war in Johnson County, Wyoming between small farmers and large, wealthy ranches that culminated in a lengthy shootout between local farmers, a band of hired killers, and a sheriff's posse. The 6th Cavalry was eventually ordered in to quell the violence and take possession of the band of hired killers on the orders of the President of the United States. Soon after, however, the 9th Cavalry was specifically called upon to replace the 6th as the 6th cavalry was swaying under the local political and social pressures and were unable to keep the peace in the tense environment. The buffalo soldiers responded within about two weeks from Nebraska and moved the men to the rail town of Suggs, Wyoming creating "Camp Bettens" despite a racist and hostile local population. One soldier was killed and two wounded in gun battles with locals. Nevertheless, the 9th Cavalry remained in Wyoming for nearly a year to quell tensions in the area.[8][9]

A another forgotten contribution in the buffalo soldier story involves eight troops of the 9th Cavalry Regiment and one company of the 24th Infantry Regiment who served in California's Sierra Nevada (U.S.) as some of the first national park rangers. In 1899, buffalo soldiers from Company H, 24th Infantry Regiment briefly served in Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park and General Grant (Kings Canyon) National Parks.[10]

U.S. Army regiments had been serving in these national parks since 1891, but until 1899 the soldiers serving were white. Beginning in 1899, and continuing in 1903 and 1904, African-American regiments served during the summer months in the second and third oldest national parks in the United States (Sequoia and Yosemite). Because these soldiers served before the National Park Service was created (1916), they were "park rangers" before the term was even coined.

Buffalo Soldier Monument on Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
Buffalo Soldier Monument on Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

One particular buffalo soldier stands out in history: Captain Charles Young who served with Troop "I", 9th Cavalry Regiment in Sequoia National Park during the summer of 1903. Charles Young was the third African-American to graduate from the United States Military Academy, and at the time of his death he was the highest ranking African-American in the U.S. military. He made history in Sequoia National Park in 1903 by becoming Acting Military Superintendent of Sequoia & General Grant National Parks. During Young's tenure in the park he named a giant sequoia for Booker T. Washington. Recently, another giant sequoia in Giant Forest was named in Captain Young's honor. Some of his descendants were in attendance at the ceremony. Charles Young was also the first African-American superintendent of a national park.[11]

Other Park Contributions

In 1903, 9th Cavalrymen in Sequoia built the first trail to the top of Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous United States, as well as the first usable wagon road into Sequoia's Giant Forest, (the most famous grove of Giant Sequoia trees) in Sequoia National Park.

In 1904, 9th Cavalrymen in Yosemite built an arboretum on the South Fork of the Merced in the southern section of Yosemite National Park. This arboretum had pathways, benches, and some plants were identified in both English and Latin. Yosemite's arboretum is considered to be the first museum in the national park system.

In the Sierra Nevada, the buffalo soldiers regularly endured long days in the saddle, slim rations, racism, and estrangement from family and friends. As military stewards, the African-American cavalry and infantry regiments protected the national parks from illegal grazing, poaching, timber thieves, and forest fires.

Until fairly recently, this was yet another "forgotten story," but Yosemite Park Ranger Shelton Johnson researched and interpreted the history in an attempt to recover and celebrate the contributions of the buffalo soldiers of the Sierra Nevada.[12]

In total, 23 "Buffalo Soldiers" received the Medal of Honor, the highest of any United States military unit.[4]

Systemic prejudice

The "Buffalo Soldiers" were often confronted with racial prejudice from other members of the U.S. Army, and civilians in the areas where the soldiers were stationed occasionally responded with violence. Elements of the "Buffalo Soldiers" were involved in racial disturbances in:

The "Buffalo Soldiers" did not participate as organized units during World War I but experienced non-commissioned officers were provided to other segregated black units for combat service — such as the 317th Engineer Battalion.

Early in the 20th century the "Buffalo Soldiers" found themselves being used more as laborers and service troops rather than active combat units. During World War II the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments were disbanded and the soldiers were moved into service-oriented units. One of the infantry regiments, the 24th Infantry Regiment, served in combat in the Pacific theater. Another was the 92nd Infantry Division aka the Buffalo Soldiers Division, which served in combat during the Italian Campaign in the Mediterranean theater. Another was the U.S. 93rd Infantry Division — including the 25th Infantry Regiment — which served in the Pacific Theater of Operations.[17]

Despite some official resistance and administrative barriers, black airmen were trained and played a part in the air war in Europe, gaining a reputation for skill and bravery. (See Tuskegee Airmen.)

In early 1945, after the Battle of the Bulge, American forces in Europe experienced a shortage of combat troops. As well as thinning out the administrative tails, the embargo on using black soldiers in combat units was relaxed. The American Military History says:

"Faced with a shortage of infantry replacements during the enemy's counteroffensive General Eisenhower offered Negro soldiers in service units an opportunity to volunteer for duty with the infantry. More than 4,500 responded, many taking reductions in grade in order to meet specified requirements. The 6th Army Group formed these men into provisional companies, while the 12th Army Group employed them as an additional platoon in existing rifle companies. The excellent record established by these volunteers, particularly those serving as platoons, presaged major postwar changes in the traditional approach to employing Negro troops."

Korean War and integration

The 24th Infantry Regiment saw combat during the Korean War and was the last segregated regiment to engage in combat. The 24th was deactivated in 1951 and its soldiers were integrated into other units in Korea. On December 12, 1951 the last Buffalo soldier units, the 27th Cavalry and the 28th (Horse) Cavalry were disbanded - although, the 28th Cavalry was inactivated at Assi-Okba, Algeria in April of 1944 in North Africa and marked the end of the regiment.[2]

There are two monuments to the Buffalo soldiers in the state of Kansas at Fort Leavenworth and Junction City.[18] Then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell was guest speaker for the unveiling of the Fort Leavenworth monument in July 1992.


In recent years, the employment of the Buffalo Soldiers by the United States Army in the Indian Wars has led to modern critical reappraisal of the regiment by cultural historians as being mere shock troops or accessories to the alleged forcefully-expansionist ideals of the U.S. government at the expense of the Native Americans.[19][20] This is seen as a far cry from the historical cultural upholding of the Buffalo Soldiers as being a rare exception to the predominately-malicious, anti-African American socioeconomic climate at the time.

Cultural references




  • In the novel The Sum of All Fears, by Tom Clancy, the 10th Cavalry Regiment is reactivated as an Armored Cavalry Regiment, and deployed to Israel to serve both as a training center for the Israel Defense Forces and to show the commitment of the United States to guarantee the security of Israel following a general peace treaty in the Middle East. The 10th Cavalry Regiment also appears in Executive Orders, where it fights in an attempted invasion of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait by a new Islamic state formed by the union of Iran and Iraq.

See also

Buffalo Soldiers who participated in the Spanish American War.
Buffalo Soldiers who participated in the Spanish American War.


  1. ^ a b Historic California Posts: Camp Lockett, <>. Retrieved on 17 January 2008
  2. ^ a b The 28th Cavalry: The U.S. Army's Last Horse Cavalry Regiment, <>. Retrieved on 24 April 2007
  3. ^ Defending the Border: The Cavalry at Camp Lockett, <>. Retrieved on 17 January 2008
  4. ^ a b Shaughnessy, Larry (September 19, 2005), Oldest Buffalo Soldier to be Buried at Arlington, <>. Retrieved on 24 April 2007
  5. ^ Brief History (Buffalo Soldiers National Museum), 2007, <>. Retrieved on 24 April 2007
  6. ^ National Park Service, Buffalo Soldiers, <>. Retrieved on 1 May 2007
  7. ^ The Smithsonian Institution, The Price of Freedom: Printable Exhibition, <>. Retrieved on 1 May 2007
  8. ^ Fields, Elizibeth Arnett. Historic Contexts for the American Military Experience
  9. ^ Schubert, Frank N. The Suggs Affray: The Black Cavalry in the Johnson County War The Western Historical Quarterly, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Jan., 1973), pp. 57-68
  10. ^ Johnson, Shelton Invisible Men: Buffalo Soldiers of the Sierra Nevada Park Histories: Sequoia NP (and Kings Canyon NP), National Parks Service. Retrieved: 2007-05-18.
  11. ^ Leckie, William H. (1967). The Buffalo Soldiers: A Narrative of the Negro Cavalry in the West. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. LCCN 67-15571. 
  12. ^ Johnson, Shelton, Shadows in the Range of Light, <>. Retrieved on 24 April 2007
  13. ^ Christian, Garna (August 17, 2001), Handbook of Texas Online: Rio Grande City, Texas, <>. Retrieved on 24 April 2007
  14. ^ Christian, Garna (February 17, 2005), Handbook of Texas Online: Brownsville, Texas, <>. Retrieved on 24 April 2007
  15. ^ Haynes, Robert (April 6, 2004), Handbook of Texas Online: Houston, Texas, <>. Retrieved on 24 April 2007
  16. ^ The Officer Down Memorial Page (Police Officer Rufus E. Daniels), <>. Retrieved on 24 April 2007
  17. ^ Hargrove, Hondon B. (1985). Buffalo Soldiers in Italy: Black Americans in World War II. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-89950-116-8. 
  18. ^ Services - Buffalo Soldier Monument, <>. Retrieved on 24 April 2007
  19. ^ The shame of the Buffalo Soldiers, <>. Retrieved on 24 July 2007
  20. ^ The Buffalo Soldier of the West and the Elimination of the Native American Race, <>. Retrieved on 24 July 2007

External links



African American soldiers were also given substandard supplies and rations. Probably the worst form of discrimination was the pay differential. ...


Jicarilla Indians expand their reservation from the High Country News. BUFFALO SOLDIERS AND MESCALERO APACHES IN THE GUADALUPES article about this event ...

Southwest Indian People - Apache : Mangas, Victorio, Nakaidoklini

Colonel George Buell went after him with Buffalo soldiers and chased him into Mexico. 3. Victorio was killed at the battle of Tres Castillos by an army of ...


After Victorio's death his uncle, the 80 year old Nana, took charge of the group. More information about the Buffalo Soldiers and the battle