America's Best History Spotlight

On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.

Buffalo Soldiers

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, Ohio

His home, that of Charles Young, is known as Youngsholm to those familiar with this Wilberforce, Ohio, historic site recently upgraded to National Monument status by President Obama. It's tale, and that of Charles Young, surrounds his time as a Buffalo Soldier, after starting life as a slave, born during the Civil War in Kentucky in 1864, then rising in the U.S. Army to become the first African American colonel. The home and site, approximately sixty acres, was purchased by Young in 1907 and named a National Historic Landmark on May 30, 1974. Photo above: Montage of three Buffalo Soldiers, names unknown; (left) Infantry soldier circa Sturgis, Dakota Territory, 1884-1890, photo by John C.H. Grabill, (center) 25th Infrantry soldier at Fort Custer, Montana, 1884-1890, photo by Orlando Scott Goff, (left) 1st Infantry soldier, 1866, photo by Staley Brothers. Courtesy Library of Congress.

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Info, What's There Now, History Nearby

Charles Young Home

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, Ohio

Colonel Young was born in May's Lick, Kentucky on March 12, 1864, one year prior to the end of the Civil War. His parents were still slaves, even though the Emancipation Proclamation had been in effect as of January 1, 1863, but only in effect in the slave states that were in rebellion. Since Kentucky was a slave state, but not in rebellion, Lincoln did not have Commander in Chief authority to ban the practice. Kentucky would not become slave free until the enactment of the Thirteenth Amendment on December 18, 1865. Young's father could not wait. In February of 1865, he escaped and enlisted in the 5th Regiment, U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery. His mother and Charles moved across the state line to Ripley, Ohio, a town at the height of abolitionism.

In 1884, Charles Young attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, becoming the third African American to graduate from the University in 1889. His first commission came as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 9th Cavalry at Fort Robinson, Nebraska. Young would serve with admiration in the Philippine American War, then be assigned to teach a class on Military Sciences and Tactics at Wilberforce College in 1894, introducing himself to the area. He would leave the area in 1898 to serve as a Major of the 9th Ohio Battalion of volunteers in the Spanish-American War. His career would continue outside the Ohio area when in 1903 he was named the first African American to become a national park superintendant at Sequoia National Park, manning and maintaining the park with his troops.

Image above: View of the home at Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, 2011, Nyttend. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Below: Photo of the Buffalo Soldiers in the 25th Infantry at Fort Keough, Montana, 1890. Courtesy Library of Congress. The regiment was one of four segregated units formed after the Civil War.

Buffalo Soldiers

Where Is It

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument is located at 1120 US Route 42 E, one mile west of Wilberforce University and Central State University on Route 42 in Wilberforce, Ohio, or Xenia, Ohio. Where are Xenia and Wilberforce, Ohio? They're suburbs of Dayton, less than twenty miles away to the southeast, a little over a half hour drive.

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What is There Now

The Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument sits on sixty acres with a home museum and historical site markers telling the story of Colonel Young, the Buffalo Soldiers, and the National Park Service.

A cell phone tour is available for not only the National Monument, but the history of the Wilberforce area. Call 937-556-4215 at the Charles Young house to start the tour.

When Open and How Much

The home is open on various days, sometimes by appointment only, or on weekends. The grounds are open year round. Call before going if you want to take the house tour. It is free to visit. There is an online film, ten minutes long, that can prepare you for your visit, whether on the grounds or a house tour.

Fees subject to change.

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument

History Nearby

Although Wilberforce is small, it does have two very interesting and diverse attractions beyond the National Monument. There is the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, plus the Central State University Botanical Garden. For a bit more pastural and waterway pursuit, try Ceasar Creek State Park to the southwest. For the National Park Service fan, there's Hopewell Culture National Historic Park, and with the same theme, but state park oriented, there's Newark Moundbuilders at Great Circle State Park. Back to National Historic Sites, there's the history of Orville Wright, Wilbur Wright, and Paul Laurence Dunbar at Dayton Aviation National Historical Park.

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