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Buffalo Soldiers make return to Vermont's Fort Ethan Allen

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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-30-09 08:05 AM
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Buffalo Soldiers make return to Vermont's Fort Ethan Allen
Mark Spencer's family includes a little bit of everything -- African-American, American Indian, some Irish, some Jewish.

His great-uncle, George Osborne, an African-American Buffalo Soldier from Kentucky, fought American Indians across the Great Plains, moved with his Cavalry regiment to Vermont, and eventually married an American Indian woman.

This week, Spencer, 62, of Williamstown, and other descendants of Buffalo Soldiers in the 10th Cavalry paid tribute to the 750 men who rode into Fort Ethan Allen in Colchester and Essex 100 years ago. American Indians began calling the troops "buffalo soldiers" in the late 1860s because the men had curly hair and fought fiercely, like the buffalo.

The 10th Cavalry stayed at Fort Ethan Allen from 1909 to 1913, and during that time nearly doubled Vermont's African-American population. Vermont had about 800 African-Americans before the 10th Cavalry arrived, according to "The Buffalo Soldiers in Vermont," an article published by the Vermont Historical Society in 2005

At first, white Vermonters harbored "some resentment" toward the troops, said Franklin Henderson, former president of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Association. The cavalry's conduct, however, won over the public, he said.

"Remember, these men were soldiers, they were disciplined," Henderson said. "The regiment is like a family. You will do nothing to embarrass or disgrace that regiment."
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