September 13, 2005

Oldest Buffalo Soldier, aged 111, dies in Washington

Retired First Sergent Mark Matthews passed away last week at 111, as one of the last -- at least to that point -- living Buffalo Soldiers who served this nation during the Indian Wars on the Western frontier.

Sgt. Matthews died of pneumonia at Washington's Fox Chase Nursing Home.

Sgt. Matthews, who also was the oldest Buffalo Soldier, was heir to a proud military heritage that originated with the black soldiers who fought in the Indian wars on the Western frontier. Historians say that the Cheyenne, Kiowa and Apache tribes bestowed the appellation because the soldiers' black, curly hair reminded them of a buffalo's mane.

Sgt. Matthews joined up at the end of the Buffalo Soldiers' colorful Western exploits. The regiments that made up the Buffalo Soldiers -- the 9th and 10th cavalries and 24th and 25th infantries -- stayed together for years afterward, however, fighting in World War I and II and Korea. The all-black regiments were disbanded in 1952 after the Army desegregated.

Sgt. Matthews was born Aug. 7, 1894, in Greenville, Ala., and grew up in Mansfield, Ohio. He rode horses starting when he was a child, delivering newspapers on his pony.

Thank you for your service, Sgt. Matthews; it is much appreciated and admired.

God bless you and Godspeed as you go with God.

Posted by mhking at September 13, 2005 01:00 PM | TrackBack

Thank you for your service, Sgt. Matthews; it is much appreciated and admired.

God bless you and Godspeed as you go with God.


Posted by: steveegg at September 13, 2005 04:58 PM

It is hard to imagine the amount of history that this man lived through.

Posted by: Steven J. Kelso Sr. at September 13, 2005 05:28 PM

From ...

Lest we forget ... thank you, Sgt.Matthews. Can you imagine that, in another 100 years, we'll be marking the death of the last of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force or maybe the last of the Seventh Cavalry?

Posted by: Ron Franscell at September 14, 2005 02:10 PM

Mr. Mark Matthews will be missed by my family and myself. He was a wonderful person to know.
He will be remembered in Harrisburg, Pa.
Norma Kenley-Barber

Posted by: Norma Kenley-Barber at September 16, 2005 12:14 PM

Trooper Mark Matthews, "READY AND FORWARD", WE THANK YOU.

Posted by: Trooper George Osborne at September 19, 2005 01:52 PM

A colleague told me of 1st Sgt. Mark Matthews passing today. I am regretful that I was not able to stand in attendance, tribute and honor to one, which every black American soldier should be proud to have committed service to a grateful Nation. God Blessed him in years through the blessing I feel he was to others. His passing honors us by making us pause to think: what will be my legacy, what will be my tribute and contribution to this life . . .

Posted by: KLL at September 20, 2005 05:16 PM