The buffalo soldiers of Globe-Miami
“I am often asked, ‘Will they fight?’ That is easily answered. They have fought many, many times.”
- Frederic Remington, “A Scout with the Buffalo Soldiers” (The Century Magazine, April 1889)
Several of the U.S. Army’s storied “buffalo soldiers,” a nickname given to the all-African American units formed after the Civil War, are at rest in Globe Cemetery – men who served during the frontier’s Indian campaigns and World War I. These men include:
Sgt. Joel Lee, 10th U.S. Cavalry – Born in Decatur, Georgia circa 1855, Joel Lee enlisted in the 10th Cavalry on Nov. 24, 1876. The 10th, one of two African-American cavalry regiments (the other being the 9th) was then based at Fort Concho, Texas. Lee started as a private in Troop B, but by 1880 (according to that year’s U.S. Census) had apparently transferred to Troop M, with the same rank. As a member of the 10th, Lee would have seen service in Texas, Arizona and possibly the northern plains. He was honorably discharged on Dec. 18, 1891. By 1930 he had settled in Miami, Arizona, living on Live Oak Street; according to the website findagrave.com, he was a “laborer in the mines.” Sgt. Joel Lee passed away in 1938.
Pvt. Benjamin Payne, 10th U.S. Cavalry – Benjamin Payne, born in Scottsville, Virginia in 1863 or 1864, joined the 10th Cavalry on Nov. 24, 1887 (his and Lee’s enlistment dates were recorded in the Veterans Administration master index). Two years earlier, the regiment had moved from Texas to Arizona. Payne received his honorable discharge on Feb. 23, 1891, the year the 10th was transferred north to the Department of Dakota. The year 1898 found Payne in San Carlos, Arizona as a day laborer; according to findagrave.com he moved to Globe in 1901. The 1920 Census listed a Ben Payne, identified as a Virginia-born black male, working at the Globe gas plant. Pvt. Benjamin Payne passed away in 1936.
Lee and Payne’s regiment, formed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1866, saw action in a number of Indian campaigns. Moving between forts in Kansas and present-day Oklahoma, where they built much of the original Fort Sill, troopers of the 10th guarded railroad workers, conducted patrols to prevent Indian raids into Texas and strung new telegraph lines. Their next base was Fort Concho, where their mission was to protect mail and travel routes, control Indian movements and scout the west Texas terrain. Then, in 1885, they moved to southern Arizona. In the spring of 1890, a small detachment of the 10th (neither Lee’s nor Payne’s troop was involved) fought one of the Apache wars’ last engagements, along the Salt River north of Globe. Tracking five Apaches who allegedly killed a freighter near Fort Thomas, the cavalry killed two of the suspects and captured the rest.
Pvt. Fred Love, 815th Pioneer Infantry – A Houston, Texas native born in 1889, Fred Love served as a private in the 815th Pioneer Infantry, an African-American unit of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) that went to France in World War I. The duties of pioneer units like the 815th, organized in Kansas in 1918, included bridge and road building. In 1926 Love and his wife moved to Globe, where they lived on Willow Street. In 1935, Pvt. Fred Love met a tragic end from a self-inflicted gunshot. According to his death certificate, the former buffalo soldier was working as a bootblack.
PFC Jim Price, 10th Depot Service Company – Jim Price was also a Texas native, born in Granville in 1892. During World War I, Price served with the 10th Depot Service Company, Army Service Corps. The corps was part of the AEF supply services department, based in France. After the war Price lived in Oklahoma for a time, but like Fred Love he came to Globe in 1926. By 1930, Price had moved on to Miami, where he worked as a miner. PFC Jim Price passed away in 1936.