Lt. James A. Moss

James Alfred Moss was born in Lafayette, Louisiana on May 12, 1872 to Anderson Joseph Moss, a judge, and his wife, Octavie. James was the youngest of six children. Today, there is a middle school in Lafayette named after an older brother, Nathaniel Peter. At the time he graduated from West Point, Class of '94, James (aka "Daig") was the youngest cadet to ever complete studies there. He also held the dubious distinction of being the "Goat", ranking dead last among his classmates. Graduates were assigned posts according to class rank, which meant Moss got last pick. At that time, few officers wanted to serve in the West or with black soldiers. Moss wound up at Fort Missoula and soon after began his experiments with the bicycle.

Moss went with the 25th Infantry to Cuba in 1898, where he won several commendations for bravery. A year later, in the Phillipines, he won a silver star. He commanded the 367th Infantry during WWI. By 1919, Moss had reached the rank of colonel and was making a tidy sum from the sale of numerous books he had written. Moss decided to leave the Army and spent the next twenty years writing as well organizing the United States Flag Association-- a patriotic organization which promoted flag etiquette. He spent most of the 1920s and 30s in New York City. On April 14, 1941, a taxi Moss was riding home was struck by a bus and he died. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetary.

Moss never married. He gained a deep appreciation and respect for the black soldiers he commanded. The wreck which took his life was feet from the spot where John Lennon was gunned down by an assassin in 1980.


Moss, James A
Col USA Ret LA
Date of Death: 04/23/1941
Buried At: Section West Site 1266
Arlington National Cemetery


Cadet at the United States Military Academy from June 17, 1890 to June 12, 1894, when he was graduated and promoted in the army to (SECOND LIEUT. OF INFANTRY, 25TH INFANTRY, JUNE 12, 1894)
Served: Joined regiment at Fort Missoula, Mont., Sept. 30, 1894--
On detached service, in command of 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps, doing experimental work in military cycling

Pvt. Francis Button

Register of Enlistments

On May 16, 1890 Francis Button enlisted at Winchester, Virginia for a five year period. Button was born in Prince William County, Virginia in May 1869. His occupation before enlistment was "laborer". He is described as having black eyes, hair and a brown complexion. He stood 5' 8 1/4" tall. He was assigned to the 9th Cavalry, G Company. He was discharged from Fort Robinson, Nebraska on May 15, 1895 as a private. His rating was "good".

On June 19, 1895 Button reenlisted for a three year period at Washington D.C. He is described, this time as having brown eyes, black hair and a black complexion. He shrank a 1/4" down to 5' 8". He was reassigned to the 25th Infantry, G Company. He was discharged June 18, 1898 at Tampa, Florida with a rank of private and a rating of "good".

I can't find the 18 June 1898 Register of Enlistment record for Button. I looked.

On March 1, 1900 Button reenlisted at Knoxville, Tennessee. He was 30 years and nine months old, a laborer and described as having brown eyes, black hair and a medium complexion. He was back up to 5' 8 1/2". He was assigned to the 24th Infantry, D Company. His previous enlistment is dated 6/18/98. He was discharged November 27, 1902 from Fort Harrison, Montana, with the rank of corporal. His rating was "good".

1900 Census
Button is recorded as a private born in Prince William, Virginia. His birthday is listed as May 1872. He is a single, black, male. Prince William, Virginia is listed as the birthplace of both parents but Prince William is crossed out. This census was recorded at Fort Harrison, Montana.


On March 3, 1903 reenlisted at Washington D.C. for another three year period. His occupation was listed as "laborer". He is described as having brown eyes, black hair and a dark complexion. He shot up to 5' 8 1/2". He was assigned to Company D of the 25th Infantry. He was discharged April 2, 1906 at Fort Niobarra, Nebraska. He was rated "very good" and held the rank of private.

On April 4, 1906, Button reenlisted at Fort Niobarra, Nebraska. He was 35 years and 10 months old. He was discharged February 4, 1907 at Fort Reno, Oklahoma after serving with the 25th Infantry, D Company. He was a private with an "excellent" rating.

On February 5, 1907 Button reenlisted at Fort Reno, Oklahoma. His birthplace is listed as Gainesville, Virginia and his age is listed as 32 years and 9 months old (which doesn't jibe with the 1906 Register of Enlistment). He was discharged February 4, 1910 at Fort Lawton, Washington. He was rated "excellent" and had made the rank of corporal.

Button reenlisted once more, February 5, 1910 at Fort Lawton, Washington. His age is given as 35 years 9 months and his occupation "farmer". He was discharged February 4, 1913 at Schofield Barracks, H.T. (Hawaiian Territory) with an "excellent" rating but a rank of private -- he was a corporal in the 1907 Register of Enlistments.

1900 Census

Button is recorded as a private born in Prince William, Virginia. His birthday is listed as May 1872. He is a single, black, male. Prince William, Virginia is listed as the birthplace of both parents but Prince William is crossed out. This census was recorded at Fort Harrison, Montana.

1920 Census
Francis Button is a 46 year old black male living in Cochise County Arizona on the Fort Huachuca Military Reservation. He is married. He can read and write and was born in Virginia as were his mother and father. His occupation is listed as retired sergeant.

1930 Census
This record was filed from the United States Soldiers' Home in Washington D.C. Button is termed an "inmate" and is living in the King Building. He does not have a radio set. He is a married 53 year old "negro". [This date, i.e. born in 1877, is way off the other birthdates] He can read and write. Virginia is his birthplace as well as his parents. He does not have an occupation. He is listed as a veteran of the Spanish War (Phil.)

US Veterans Gravesites
A "Frank Button, Pvt. in the US Army Spanish American War" is listed. This person was born 21 March 1870 and died 19 November 1934. They were buried on 22 November 1934 in Roseburg National Cemetery in Roseburg, Oregon. [Section A Row 1 Site 33] Oregon doesn't make sense.

Pvt. Samuel Reid

1893 Register of Enlistments
Samuel Reid enlisted at Chicago Illinois on August 7, 1893, committing to five years. He was 21 years and four months old (b. May 1872). His occupation is "waiter" and he is described as having brown eyes, curly black hair and a black complexion. His height is listed at 5' 5 3/4" and he was assigned to the 25th Infantry, Company E. He was discharged November 6, 1896 at Fort Assinniboine, Montana with the rank of private and a rating "Excellent"

1897 Register of Enlistment
s
Reid re-enlisted January 10 at Fort Harrison, Montana. He was 24 years and 9 months old. He was born in Charlotte, N.C. and described as a soldier with brown eyes, black hair and a mulatto complexion. He was 5' 5 1/2" tall and attached to the 25th Infantry Company G. He was discharged January 9, 1900 at Botolau, P.I. with a rank of sergeant and ranking of "Excellent."

1900 Register of Enlistments
Reid re-enlisted January 10, 1900 at Zambales Luzon, P.I. He was 26 yeara and nine months old. He was described as having black hair and a mulatto complexion. He was assigned to the 25th Infantry, Company M. On November 26, 1902 he was discharged at Fort Niobrara, Nebraska. He had attained the rank of sergeant and received an "Excellent" rating.

1903 Register of Enlistments
On the 13th of January, 1903, Reid re-enlisted once again, this time at Asheville, North Carolina. On this register he is described as having brown eyes, black hair and a light complexion. He was moved to the 24th Infantry, Company I. On December 5, 1905 he was discharged from Ft. Missoula with the rating "Excellent".

1907 Register of Enlistments
Reid re-enlisted in February, 1907 at Ft. McIntosh, Texas. He was 33 years and 8 months old. This enlistment he was described as having brown eyes, black hair and a dark complexion. His height is recorded as 5' 6 1/2". He was back with the 25th Infantry, Company M. On February 5, 1910 he was discharged at Ft. George Wright with the rank "sergeant" and rating "excellent".

1910 Register of Enlistments

Reid re-enlisted at Ft. George Wright on the 6th of February for a three year committment. He age was 36 years 10 months. His occupation was "waiter" and he was attached to the 25th Infantry Company M. He was discharged February 5, 1913 at Schofield Barracks in the Hawaiian Islands with the rank of sergeant and an "excellent" rating.

1880 Census
Sam Reid [Reed?], aged 8, a mulatto male from Poplar Tent Township, County Cabarrus [?] (21 miles from Charlotte). In the Reid household are father, James (41 yrs.-mulatto); mother, Maggie (38-mulatto); William (12); Charley (10); Mac (9); Sam (8); John (5); Mattie (6) and Nettie (2). James is a farmer; Maggie keeps house; William and Charley are laborers and the rest of the children are "at home". William and Charley are marked as having attended school but both are also marked as being unable to read and write. Maggie is also marked as not being able to read and write but not James.

1900 Census - Philippine Islands Province of Zambales - Military and Naval Population
[Eugene Jones is also on this census and possibly others]
Samuel Reid is a 1st Sergeant with a U.S. residence in "Charlotte, North Carolina 26 Town[?] St.". Reid is a 27 year old, single black male born April 1873. He, his mother and his father are all listed as being born in North Carolina. The record also indicates he could read and write.

1910 Federal Census Fort Wright, Spokane County, WA
Thirty seven year old Samuel Reid is single and a sergeant in Co. M of the 25th Regiment. He lives at Fort George Wright in Spokane, Washington. His and his parents are all listed as having been born in North Carolina.

1920 Federal Census Concord City, Cabarrus County, North Carolina
Forty-eight year old "Reed" [sic] is married to a thirty-three year old woman named Bessie Ingram. They are living with Bessie's mother and uncle Charlie Bamhardt. Sam and his wife both teach high school. [I think the school is connected to Immanuel Lutheran College].

1930 Federal Census, Greensboro, Guilford County, North Carolina
Samuel and Bessie are still married and living in Greensboro where they are dorm parents [he- "supervisor of male students" and she- "matron"], on the Immanuel Luthern College campus. Reid is listed as a veteran of the "Sp. Phil W.W." Living with them are 15 year old Buford L Reid "Ad son" and Margaret Turner a roomer.

Pvt. John Wilson

1887 US Army Register of Enlistments
John H. Wilson enlisted August 4, 1887 at Cinncinnati, Ohio. His place of birth is listed as Appomattox Co., Virginia. Wilson is 22 years, 5 months old and his occupation is listed as farmer. His hair, eyes and complexion are all described as black. His height is 5' 7 1/2". He is attached to the 9th Cavalry, Company W [? -probably a "D"]. Wilson was discharged November 3, 1890 at Fort Niobrara, Nebraska as a private and with a character rated "Very Good".

1891 US Army Register of Enlistments
John H. Wilson enlisted November 4, 1891 at Washington, D.C. His place of birth is listed as Appomattox Co., Virginia. Wilson is 26 years and eight months old and his occupation is listed as soldier. His hair, eyes and complexion are all described as black. His height is 5' 7 3/4". He was attached to the 9th Cavalry, Co. D. This was his second enlistment. He was discharged February 3, 1895 at Fort Robinson, Nebraska with the rank of private and rating of "Good".

1895 US Army Register of Enlistments

John H. Wilson enlisted April 4, 1895 at Lynchburg, Virginia for a three year period. Wilson was born in "Spout Sprs." [Spout Spring], Virginia and was 30 years and 2 months old at the time he signed up. His occupation is listed as soldier. His eyes and hair are described as dark brown and his complexion is black. His height is listed as 5' 7 3/4". He was attached to Co. G in the 25th Infantry. This enlistment was Wilson's third. Previously he served with the 9th Cavalry, Co. D and was discharged February 3, 1895. Wilson was discharged on April 3, 1898 upon expiration of service from Ft. Missoula, MT with the rank of private and a rating of "good"

10 Dec 1898 Pension Application Index # 1214024
Wilson filed for pension as "Invalid"

1920 Federal Census - Chicago Ward 14, Cook County Ill

Death Certificate - Cook County Chicago, Ill
Wilson died December 5, 1928. He was buried the 10 December 10, 1928 at Burr Oak Cemetery in Chicago. His burial plot is: Sec: Burr Oak Lot: 269 Grave: 6 He was 53 years old, married to a woman named Lilie and living at 2711 Fulton St. in the 28th Ward of Chicago. The primary cause of death was listed as organic heart disorder.

"Audrey" at Burr Oak Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
John Wilson is buried in the Burr Oak section of this cemetery. His is located at Lot 269, Grave #6 His burial papers were filed by his wife Lilie. Interment at her site was filled in 1979

Pvt. Sam Williamson

1895 Register of Enlistments
Sam Williamson was born in Fayette County, Tennessee in July 1873. He signed on to a three year commitment on August 10, 1895 in Louisville, Kentucky and was discharged August 9, 1898 in Santiago, Cuba. He was a private and was rated "excellent". He was attached to the 25th Infantry, G Company. His occupation before enlistment was "laborer" and he was described as having black eyes, hair and complexion.

1898 Register of Enlistments
In the 1898 Register he is listed as "Samuel". He was 5' 10 1/2" tall and described as having brown eyes, black hair and a dark complexion. Samuel has been moved from Company G to Company H. He was discharged November 6, 1901 at Iba Zambales, Philippines with the rank of private and the rating "very good".

US Fed. Census 1900/ Armed Forces-Foreign Countries/ Philippines, Luzon/ 0178 Subig, Zambales H Company 25th Infantry
Samuel Williamson's residence is listed as #95 Fifth Street, Memphis, Tennessee. His birth date is June 1873, he was 26 at his last birthday and he is single. He, his mother and his father are recorded as being born in Tennessee. He can read and write. His brother, William, is not with this company.

Pvt. William Williamson

I think William and Samuel Williamson were brothers.

William Williamson was born July 1871. His Record of Enlistment for 1895 is identical with Samuel's except that William was discharged with the rank of corporal while Samuel remained a private.

William Williamson enlisted the same day as Samuel Williamson, on November 7, 1898 at St. Louis, Missouri. Both were born in Fayette County, Tennessee. William was born July 1871. They both had the occupation "soldier", both had brown eyes, black hair and dark complexion. Both were 5' 10 1/2" tall. They both were assigned to the 25th Infantry, G Company. William was discharged July 2, 1899 (hard to read this date) from Sam Houston, Texas. He was a private and rated "very good"

Pvt. Sam Johnson

1895 US Army Register of Enlistments
Sam Johnson enlisted June 8, 1895 at Fort Sheridan, Illinois for a three year term. He was born around December 1873. He is listed as 21 years and 5 months old. His occupation is listed as laborer. His eyes are brown, hair black and complexion dark yellow. His height is listed as 5' 6 1/2". He was assigned to the 25th Infantry, Co. G. He was discharged June 7, 1898 at the expiration of his service at Tampa, Florida with a rank of private and rating of "Good".

1898 US Army Register of Enlistments
On July 6, 1898 Johnson re-enlisted at Atlanta, Georgia for three years. He was 23 years and 7 months old. His occupation is listed as soldier. His eyes are described as being brown; his hair black and his complexion yellow. His height is listed as 5' 8". He is still with the 25th Infantry, Co. G. He was discharged February 23, 1899 at Fort Logan, Colorado with the "rank" of musician and character rating "Good".

1899 US Army Register of Enlistments
Johnson re-enlisted for the third time on February 25, 1899 at Fort Logan, Colorado. His birthplace is listed as Birmingham, Alabama and his age is listed as 26 years and 2 months old. His occupation is listed as soldier. His eyes are described as being brown 2, his hair black and his complexion yellow. His height is listed as 5' 8". He is with the 25th Infantry, Co. M. He deserted on May 13, 1899.

This is where the story may take an interesting turn.....

1900 United States Census - Walsenburg Town, Heurfano, Colorado
This census lists a Sam Johnson from Alabama, born in March 1873 (his enlistment records indicate a birthday closer to December). His age is listed as 27. Johnson is married to a woman named Sarah who was born in January 1879 with an age of 21. Both are listed as being black. They have been married 0 years. Both are from Alabama with parents from Alabama. Sam can read and write but his wife Sarah can not. His occupation is listed as "coal miner". Three boarders are listed as living in the house: Petty Willie a black, 47 year-old male from Tennessee; Allen Lucien, also a black, 47 year-old male, from Illinois; and, Ramond (sp? - Raymond) James, a 31 year-old black male from Alabama. Almost all of the other people on this census page are Hungarian, Polish, Italian and Bohemian. The people next door, John and Sallie Morrs (sp? - Morris) are from Alabama and Georgia.
[Is this the Sam Johnson of the Bicycle Corps?]