The Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Wilberforce celebrates the life of Col. Charles Young, the third African-American to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
In 1894, Young took an assignment to teach the new military science and tactics course at Wilberforce University. He bought a brick house in 1907 outside of Wilberforce and named it "Youngsholm."
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Before coming to Wilberforce, Young had been part of the all-black regiments known as the "buffalo soldiers," which patrolled the western frontier of the United States. It's said that American Indians called the men "buffalo soldiers" because, as the National Park Service writes, "their dark, curly hair resembled a buffalo's mane and because they fought with fierce bravery and a fighting spirit similar to that of the buffalo."
On March 25, 2013, the Wilberforce site with the house and its farmland was established as a National Monument by President Barack Obama. The Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument became the 401st unit of the National Park Service.
The National Park Service will celebrate National Park Week from April 16-24, 2016. To arrange a tour of the home, at 1120 U.S. Route 42 East in Wilberforce, call (937) 503-5614.
Where slaves were hidden
A trap door in the first floor of the home at the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Wilberforce is believed to have been the hatch used to hide escaped slaves in the basement.
Patriotic door knocker
The front door knocker is believed to have been used when visitors knocked on Col. Charles Young's home in Wilberforce.
This boulder was quarried from Sequoia National Park in California where Col. Charles Young was the first African-American superintendent of a national park. He directed his Buffalo Soldiers to blaze park trails, build roads, produce maps and keep poachers and loggers away.
Before Col. Charles Young and his family moved into this house it was owned by Laura Smith, a former slave. Her owner freed her and their children and acquired this home for them. Smith ran the home as an inn, and it also served as a stop on the Underground Railroad around 1850.
Architectural details like the rays of the sun near the roof peak are noted on a visit to the home at the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Wilberforce. The home, built in 1830, became home to Col. Charles Young and his family in 1907.
Continuing the farm
Seedlings from students at Kiser Elementary School in Dayton and Xenia Community Schools will be planted in raised beds on the 60 acres that make up the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument. The corn, string bean and carrot plants are the same as Col. Charles Young and his wife planted when they lived there.
Superintendent Joy Kinard and park interns will lead visitors on a tour of "Youngsholm" and discuss the extraordinary life and military career of Col. Charles Young.