Buffalo Soldier?

They were the first African Americans to serve in the Regular Army.  An 1866 Act  of Congress created segregated units resulting in the 9th & 10th Cavalry, the 38th, 39th, 40th & 41st Infantry regiments. (Infantry later reorganized to the 24th & 25th Infantry.)

​Their main duties were to protect the settlers as they moved west, escort the US Mail, and support the westward expansion by building the necessary infrastructure.

They fought with bravery, courage and distinction in Indian Wars, Spanish American War, Philippine Insurrection.   They participated in the Johnson County Wars, chased Pancho Villa, and were coined Buffalo Soldiers by the Plains Indians. Named thusly because their hair resembled the buffalo's mane, they wore buffalo coats, and fought as fiercely  & courageously as the wild buffalo.  

​The 25th Infantry was the testing ground for the US Army's Bicycle Corps (riding 500-1,000 miles) in 1896-7 while stationed at Ft Missoula, Montana.

Although Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders received the acclaim for the Battle of San Juan Hill, it was actually the 10th Cav and the 24th Infantry who did most of the heavy fighting, pretty much saving Teddy and his boys' lives.

The 9th Cavalry built what became known as the Presidio of Monterey.

​And they were some of the first Park Rangers ....

​​          What is Monterey 250?  

Monterey 250 is a yearlong celebration in coordination with the 250th anniversary of the founding of Monterey on June 3, 1770. Throughout the year 2020 Monterey’s unique history will be celebrated through ongoing cultural activities, events, and festivities to commemorate this historic occasion. The overall focus points of the 'celebration' are on treasuring our historic foundation, honoring our uniquely diverse cultural citizenry and gazing towards our brilliant future.

Colonel Charles Young

(1903 Captain of the 9th Cavalry)

3rd Black West Point  graduate, spoke 6 languages, composed/played music for piano, violin, guitar, 1st Black Acting Superintendent of a National Park (Sequoia 1903), 1st Black Military  Attache, Professor of Military Science & Tactics at Wilberforce University. ​He & his men accomplished more in Sequoia Nat'l Park in 1903 than the 3 previous Superintendents ... combined!

Served with valor in the Philippine Insurrection.  Praised for his leadership chasing Pancho Villa in Pershing's 1916 Punitive Expedition to Mexico.

He was the highest ranking Black Line Officer from 1894 until his death in 1922.

He died while serving in Libeira as a Military Attache and was buried there.  The outcry from Black America caused Colonel Young to be re-buried at Arlington the following year.

June 1, 1923, Young's body was brought to state in Washington, CD.  African American schools across the nation were closed in honor of Young. An estimated 50,000 people lined the processional route through the capitol.

His was one of only 10 memorial services ever held at the amphitheater in Arlington! Unlike the other Buffalo Soldiers buried in segregated sections on the periphery of Arlington, Young was laid to rest amongst Generals and Admirals.

Highest ranking Black Line Officer from 1894 until his death in 1922. 

​Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument established in 2013 by Presidential Proclamation.

Celebrating "Monterey 250" (Monterey, Califirnia's 250th Anniversary) with a Retracing of the Historic Buffalo Soldier Trail from the Presidio of Monterey to Sequoia National Park)   May 15 & 16, 2020 

Los Banos, CA

The heart of California's historic Buffalo Soldier Trail! 

Los Banos (Spanish for “The Baths”) has a rich history back to the Native American Yokuts who utilized the wetlands of the Central Valley region and called it home. The late 18th century brought the Padres and a mission building campaign in California. During the 100 year rule of the Spanish, the life and influence the Yokuts had in the area faded away. Though the Yokuts began to integrate into the Spanish culture, unfortunately, their own culture, like many others, did not survive. The first Europeans of Los Banos were primarily the Spanish and Portuguese. However, Los Banos became a town because of a visionary from Germany named Henry Miller.  As an 8 yr old boy he dreamt of golden valleys as far as he could see with fat cattle wearing a Double H brand.  In 1850, at the age of 22, Miller stepped off a boat in San Francisco with $5.00 in his pocket. By the end of the day he had a job in a butcher shop, a year later, he owned his own shop and began to search for abetter quality beef.  His travels led him down El Camino Real (Hwy 101) towards the fertile San Joaquin Valley he’d heard of.  He was speechless the first time he topped Pacheco Pass and saw the golden valley and fat cattle with the Double H brand exactly as he’d dreamt as a boy back in Germany!  Before he left our Valley that first day he had an option on the Santa Rita Ranch (home of the Double H).  He founded Los Banos some years later and made it his business headquarters. At the time of  Henry Miller’s death in 1916 he owned over 1,000,000 acres, 1,000,000 head of cattle and 100,000 sheep; making him the largest landowner in America. Due to the unique location of Los Banos, being centrally located, with San Francisco to the north, Yosemite to the West and Bakersfield/Los Angeles to the south, made it a prime location for people to rest and refresh during their travels. They still do so today:-)

​Questions?   Comments?


In 1899 Private James (JIM) Hall

camped in Los Banos with Company "I" (24th Infantry) as they headed to their summer duty as guardians of Sequoia National Park.  

The 24th Infantry spent only one month in the Parks (Company H in Yosemite, Company I in Sequoia) before being called to fight in Cuba's  "Philippine Insurrection". 

Sometime after mustering out of the Army Private Hall returned to Los Banos.  Voter registration records show him in Los Banos as early as 1905. He worked & lived here until his death in 1955. We wonder if Private Hall fell in love with Los Banos and its cultural diversity, or if it was a lovely woman who caused his return to our fair city.

Gus Villalta (our current Mayor's father) remembers Jim Hall; says he was well liked and respected in the community. Jim Hall was an active member of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars and enjoyed fishing.

The Los Banos Genealogical Society has researched our Pvt. Hall. The 1880 Census shows a 3 yr old James Hall, the child of Moses (a farmer) & Rachel Hall in an unincorporated area of  Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

1920 Census shows him (43) living as a lodger in Jessup (Anne Arundel County), married.

1930 Census shows him (53), and wife Mabel living on J Street, with Italians, Portuguese, French, English, native Californians and others from around the US.

The Milliken Museum has a 1933 Los Banos Enterprise article with his filing for divorce as well as an aerial photo of the racetrack where the Buffalo Soldiers camped.

1940 Census shows him (62) divorced, living at 507 9th Street, Los Banos.

​He enlisted in Army in 1898, at not quite 21. Records state he was 5'7, brown eyes, black hair with light  brown skin. Like many a farmer's child, he did not read or write..

We're still looking for more information....

We wonder how many of the other Buffalo Soldiers returned to one of the towns they passed through en route to the Parks.  Do you have Buffalo Soldier history in your area?


    2020 & Monterey 250

Proposal is for a 2 day event retracing the Buffalo Soldier Trail from the Presidio of Monterey to Sequoia National Park - May 15 & 16, 2020
Friday May 15th 
• Commemorate Buffalo Soldier encampment at China Point, Pacific Grove ~ now Hopkins Marine Station 
•Commemorative Ride  -  China Point to Lower Presidio Historic Park
•Commemoration of Buffalo Soldier Day   
•Lower Presidio Walk 
• 6:30  Reception/dinner/ball in Monterey

Saturday May 16th

•Commemorative Ride - Monterey to Los Banos
•Wreath Laying  Pvt Jim Hall’s grave

•Commemoration of Buffalo Soldier Day and lunch

  Los Banos Fairgrounds
•Commemorative Ride - Depart Los Banos    approximate 2 hour 30 minute drive to Sequoia
• Buffalo Soldier Presentation by Sequoia National Park

​Specifics to follow.

You're welcome to help join us as we plan.  Please email buffalosoldierday@gmail.com if you'd like to participate.