Buffalo Soldiers Research Museum


Trooper William Snow
28th U.S. Horse Cavalry

Trooper William Snow

William Snow was born on July 15, 1922 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His mother, Mattie Roley Snow, was from Kentucky and his father, John E. Snow, was from Alabama. He had three sisters and one brother. John attended Hughes High School, which is in the Clifton neighborhood across the street from the University of Cincinnati.

I first met Trooper Snow at Graeter’s ice cream shop. Graters is in Ludlow which some might consider as Cincinnati’s Georgetown. It is a smaller version of this Washington D.C. area designed for the well-to-do crowd with artsy shops, ethnic restaurants, and a movie theater.  Snow told me that in his younger days he often came to Graeters because they had the best ice cream in town. We had a wonderful conversation – we talked about his life growing up in Cincinnati, his military days as a Cavalryman and his time in Europe during World War II. Trooper Snow is a small man, which is good for horseback riding. When the Army assigns men to the horse cavalry regiments, a small frame was an important consideration. Most of the troopers we met in Cincinnati were small.

Snow said something that stayed with me. We talked about why black folks have a hard time getting organized and working together. He said, “You must remember that our ancestors came from Africa and that is a large continent. When they were brought here, they were from various tribes from different parts of Africa. So we as black Americans are also from various tribes so we just don’t mix well.”

Trooper Snow was assigned to Troop C of the 28th U.S. Horse Cavalry at Camp Lockett with many of the other troopers from Cincinnati. During conversations with the troopers, they often told the story about Snow when he was learning how to ride a horse.  Snow once returned to the base on foot - without his horse.  He had fallen off of the horse during a training exercise but the horse continued to run. Although the other troopers seemed to be laughing at Snow, he joined in with them and laughed at himself.

William Snow

Later, when he went to Europe, he was assigned to a support unit - the 332nd Quartermaster Truck Battalion where he was a fire fighter. The troopers from the 28th Cavalry received fire-fighting training while stationed at Camp Lockett.

Trooper William Snow was awarded the American Theater Ribbon, Meritorious Unit Award, and African Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with one Bronze Star, Victor Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

Like the other troopers from Cincinnati, he returned home and started a family. After some time, Snow returned to Hughes Evening High School and graduated in 1961; then, he attended the University of Cincinnati. He took classes in the College of Design Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). While in Cincinnati, this is the same department where I earned my graduate certificate in museum studies in 2002. I felt connected to him since we had experienced the same educational environment. William Snow always illustrated his “centeredness” and had a positive comment about every interaction and adventure. Snow’s ability to laugh at himself and add a positive tone as well as an attitude of “we can do it” to every event or activity made him an asset to our team. He regularly talked about his family and was a deacon at the Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church.

When I contacted him in 2004, he was glad to hear from me. He told me that he had relocated to a church that is closer to home. He mentioned that it was different for him because it was interracial but he was getting along just fine.


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