Living History Rendezvous

Come to Riggs Park November 1st through November 3rd for fun, festivities and enlightenment. The 9th Annual Living History Rendezvous celebrates the heritage of the American West with historically accurate participatory events and authentic representatives of the varied people of the frontier, from Buffalo Soldiers to mountain men, cowboys, blacksmiths, schoolteachers, and many, many others. Events include handcrafts, chuck-wagon meals, calvary manuevers, and much more. An exciting re-enactment of colorful scenes from our history, the rendezvous is free and open to members of the public. Members of the public are encouraged to appear in period dress, if they so desire, and join in the fun. It's an opportunity you don't want to miss. A schedule of events is posted at the bottom of this page.

The Buffalo Soldiers and the Great American West

By Ken Bell

In the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, a newly reunited nation turned its eyes westward toward the great American frontier.

Two extraordinary initiatives of the Lincoln administration accelerated this mass settlement, which had been retarded, but never stopped, by the great conflict now past: the construction of a transcontinental railroad linking the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, now underway and soon to be completed; and the Homestead Act. These powerful incentives induced thousands of the displaced and the aspiring to begin a westward trek toward the Kansas frontier and beyond.

But the Great Plains, though immense and stretching from Canada southward to Texas, were not an empty vacuum. They were sparsely populated by indigenous peoples with their own culture and priorities. These natives would at times strenuously resist the expansion of the American nation, only to succumb to overwhelming numbers and superior technology.

An integral part of the remarkable history of this great struggle, of the victories and defeats, of the sufferings endured, and ultimately of the nation that we have become, is the story of the Buffalo Soldiers.

Founded on September 22, 1866 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the 10th regiment of the US Cavalry, along with its sister regiment, the 9th US Cavalry, were the first all-black peacetime regiments of the US Army.

Initially commanded by Colonel Benjamin Grierson - leader of the single most important and successful cavalry raid of the Civil War - the Buffalo Soldiers were engaged throughout the course of the Indian Wars, fought with Teddy Roosevelt at San Juan Hill in the Spanish American War, rode with "Blackjack" Pershing on his Mexican Expedition against Pancho Villa, even fighting in the famed "Johnson County War" in Wyoming.

Over the course of the Indian Wars, thirteen enlisted men and six officers among the Buffalo Soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor. Five more Buffalo Soldiers earned the Medal of Honor during the Spanish American War. On September 6th, 2005, Mark Matthews, the last of the Buffalo Soldiers, died at the age of 111. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Schedule of Events

Click on the schedule to see it larger.


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