Black Ancestors : Cathy Williams/William Cathey: Buffalo Soldier

Discussion in 'Honoring Black Ancestors' started by cherryblossom, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Cathay Williams (September 1844 - 1892) was an American soldier. She is the first African American female to enlist, and the only documented to serve in the United States Army posing as a man under the pseudonym, William Cathay.

    .... It was only after she had grown weary with military service feigned illness that her gender was revealed to the post surgeon. She was discharged from the Army by her commanding officer, Captain Charles E. Clarke on 14 October 1868.

    Personal life
    Williams went to work as a cook at Fort Union, New Mexico, and later moved to Pueblo, Colorado. Williams married, but it ended disastrously when her husband stole her money and a team of horses. Williams had him arrested. She next moved to Trinidad, Colorado, where she made her living as a seamstress. She may also have owned a boarding house. It was at this time that Williams' story first became public. A reporter from St. Louis heard rumors of a female African-American who had served in the army, and came to interview her. Her life and military service narrative was published in The St. Louis Daily Times on 2 January 1876.

    In late 1889 or early 1890, Williams entered a local hospital where she remained for some time, and in June 1891, applied for a disability pension based on her military service. The nature of her illness and disability are unknown......

    In September 1891, a doctor employed by the Pension Bureau examined Williams. Despite the fact that she suffered from neuralgia and diabetes, had had all her toes amputated, and could only walk with a crutch, the doctor decided she did not qualify for disability payments. Her application was rejected.

    The exact date of Williams' death is unknown, but it is assumed she died shortly after being denied a pension, probably sometime in 1892. Her simple grave marker would have been made of wood and deteriorated long ago. Thus her final resting place is now unknown.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathay_Williams
     
  2. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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