Vermont Buffalo Soldiers
Sgt. Silas Johnson
10th Cavalry, Troop D, U.S. Army
Silas Henry Johnson was born in 1865 in Caroline County, Virginia (Greater Richmond area), to Leonard and Lucy Hardiman Johnson.
The family later moved to the eastern shore of Virginia, near Norfolk, and then to Baltimore County, Maryland.
In his twenties, after working as a brick mason, Silas Johnson enlisted in the U.S. Army, in the tenth cavalry, a regiment of black men who became known as the Buffalo Soldiers. He completed tours of duty at bases in Maryland, Mississippi, Arizona, Nebraska, California and Vermont. During his military career he was regularly promoted eventually being elevated to the rank of Master Sgt.
During the Spanish American War, he was involved in combat duty in Cuba. Overseas he served a two-year tour in the Philippines.
In 1909, the Buffalo Soldiers proudly marched into Burlington, Vermont, and were stationed at nearby Fort Ethan Allen in Colchester for four years.
Silas Johnson retired in 1913 when the tenth cavalry left Vermont. General John Pershing signed his discharge papers.
The Johnson family remained in Winooski, Vermont for another 40 years. Silas and his wife of 30 years, Fannie Welsh Johnson, had four children. Their first son, Leonard, was born at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, in 1906. Their three other children were born in Winooski, Vermont. Milton was born in 1910, Beatrice in 1914, and Gertrude in 1916.”
By Reginald Wells, Silas Johnson’s Grandson
SilasJohnson meets President McKinley (New York Times, Sept. 31, 1898) (pdf document, requires adobe reader)
Silas was a Farrier while in the cavalry and a well respected soldier. His discharge papers describe his character as "Excellent" by Lt. John Pershing.
Silas is buried in the Fort Ethan Allen Cemetery in Colchester, VT.
Last modified November 24 2008 09:00 AM