The city of Conroe is helping the Montgomery County Historical Commission with the clean-up of one of the city oldest cemeteries.
The council unanimously approved a one-time payment to the commission to remove four trees from Community Cemetery on 10th Street that contains the tombstones of about 30 African-American individuals, including a Buffalo Soldier named Luther Dossey [Luther James Dorsey, jhs].
“Once the cemetery’s dead trees and underbrush are cleaned off this approximately one-acre tract… We intend to apply for a state historical cemetery marker for the cemetery and a county historical marker for Luther Dossey’s [Dorsey's] grave,” Larry Foerster said in a letter to Mayor Webb Melder and City Administrator Paul Virgadamo. Foerster is a member of the MCHC.
Foerster said the trees are dangerous and pose a hazard for volunteers that are willing to help with the clean-up of the cemetery. He added the commission would likely not need any other assistance from the city.
Following concerns about the city taking out the trees on private property, City Attorney Marc Winberry said state statute allows for a city to take responsibility and take out dangerous trees.
“The city does have authority to enter private property and abate nuisance kind of conditions,” he said.
Foerster stated he hoped clean up of the cemetery would begin soon.
According to the Texas State Historical Association website, Buffalo soldiers was the name given by the Plains Indians to the four regiments of African Americans, and more particularly to the two cavalry regiments, that served on the frontier in the post-Civil War army. More than 180,000 black soldiers had seen service in segregated regiments in the Union Army during the Civil War, and many units had achieved outstanding combat records. In 1869 the black infantry regiments were consolidated into two units, the Twenty-fourth United States Infantry and the Twenty-fifth United States Infantry.
The Twenty-fifth saw combat in the Pacific during the war, and was deactivated in 1949. The Twenty-fourth also served in the Pacific during the Second World War, and fought in the opening stages of the Korean War. The Twenty-fourth, the last segregated black regiment to see combat, was deactivated in 1951.