The Greenville Standard
Mark Matthews (1894-2005) was the oldest surviving Buffalo Soldier when he died in September of 2005 at the age of 111.
Matthews was born in Greenville and later moved to Ohio. His horse riding career began early when he delivered newspapers by pony.
Matthews enlisted in the Army’s 10th Calvary Regiment at age 15, on forged documents stating he was 17, and joined General John J. Pershing’s Mexico expedition to hunt Poncho Villa.
Buffalo Soldiers were originally members of the 10 Calvary Regiment of the Unites State Army, which was formed in 1866. They were nicknamed Buffalo Soldiers by Native American Tribes who fought in the Indian Wars.
A little know contribution of the Buffalo Soldiers were their involvement as park rangers in the early years of the National Park System.
Later in Virginia, he cared for President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s horses. He also escorted King George VI and Queen Elizabeth when they came to the U.S. to visit the president.
He also fought the South Pacific during World War II before retiring from military service.
In his old age, Matthews became a symbol of the Buffalo Soldiers and met President Bill Clinton and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.
He is buried in Arlington Cemetery.