Gillespie Hotel & 9th Calvary Band – Hot Springs SD Circa 1895

I was delighted today to meet with “Gloria”, owner of our original mystery 9th Regiment, Company G image and the “Horse and Buggy” photo (featured below) pinned to the underside of the mat preserving both images for many years.

Military-Mystery---Taos-News-IIIt was an emotional meeting. We both feel deeply connected to these men of service and for Gloria, their bond has remained intact for 50 years! She considers the soldiers to be “family”.

I wanted Gloria to see the stir our soldiers have created online and to fill her in on what we’ve discovered about their lives to date. As I told Gloria, we’ve been gifted with a “breadcrumb trail” of clues that seem to supernaturally “guide” us to gain more and more insight.

Take our Horse and Buggy image. From the start our goal was to identify the background building in the hope it would connect to our Mystery Soldiers and provide a year/location time stamp.

With Colonel William Haenn’s guidance we turned our research attention to Fort Robinson. Outreach to the Fort Robinson Museum allowed me to connect with preservationist, Jerry Taylor. While reviewing our online research, Jerry spotted a building that seemed familiar and subsequently shared with me the image (and details) below!

9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldier Band - SD 1895

9th Cavalry Band - Details

The image features the 9th Cavalry Band from Fort Robinson and is currently owned by the Nebraska State Historical Society. While we await additional historical details, here’s what I’ve been able to glean from poking around.

We’re looking at is the Gillespie Hotel in Hot Springs, South Dakota. Unfortunately the Gillespie Hotel burned down in 1932 however there are many references online to validate the building. See images below.

The Kidney Springs Gazebo & Gillespie Hotel

Gillispie Hotels & Minnekahta Hot Springs SD 1891 Print

What does all this tell us? Gloria’s 2 mystery images are DEFINITELY connected! It appears the band members were standing at the intersection of Fall River Avenue and West River Street. Amazing right?!:)

Now… what more do our Soldiers — all of them — have to say?!:)



9th & 10th Cavalry: Setting Our Sight on Fort Robinson

Fort Robinson 1892 10th Infantry

As a historian, genealogist and techie I place great value in utilizing Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to gain key insights and learning in the areas I am less familiar.

My search for the story of our mystery Buffalo Soldiers, G Troop and now L Troop, is no different. For 16 years I’ve researched African American and Slave Ancestry, but it’s only recently (almost 1 year to the day) I created Where Honor is Due to acknowledge my family’s men of service. And from time to time tackle the random unrelated #MilitaryMystery that peeked my interest.

Military research [and the unique terminology associated with it] are fairly new to me. But even a military history newbie like myself knew when seeing our 10 men of Company G, 9th Regiment for the first time we’d stumbled upon an amazing, historic find.

The journey’s been that and then some!:)

With the military history expertise of Colonel William Haenn and Colonel Sam Russell, and the constant support of researchers True Lewis (Army) and Bernita Allen (Air Force), we’ve begun to unfold who our men of Troop G and L were, and the magnitude of their military service.

If you haven’t already, follow this post and the very important contributions of the Colonels — their commentary is beyond fascinating! This will provide context to why our attentions have now turned to Fort Robinson Nebraska (pictured above) as the home of BOTH Troops G and L of the 9th and 10th Cavalry respectively. In fact, the posted image is of the 10th Cavalry taken at Fort Robinson in the late 1890s.

Observe the beam structure, window and door frame build. Is this the same build/structure captured in our Troop G image?

Below is a different Fort Robinson image of the same guardhouse. Is this the brick structure the same as that behind our Troop L baseball image?

Fort Robinson - Nebraska I

So what answers are we in search of today?

  • How can we confirm Fort Robinson as the home to our Buffalo Soldiers? Are there any preserved structures (or pictures of them) that can be identified?
  • Are there any Fort Robinson military rosters identifying Troops G and L by name?
  • Is there additional historic commentary from Lieutenant Grote Hutcheson providing insights about G Troop? To True’s question, did he name the troops?
  • Can we leverage widow pension records to learn more about our Buffalo Soldiers? Checkout the Indian Wars Pension Project via USGenWeb.

The nature of in depth, exhaustive historical research — the more mysteries we solve, the more questions they generate!:)