Lewis J. Cook (ca. 1857-1885) was born in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and worked in the coal industry prior to enlisting in the U.S. Army. He was recruited in Baltimore, Maryland, at age 26 and joined Company H, 9th U.S. Cavalry, one of the all-black units known as Buffalo Soldiers. By November 1883, Private Cook was stationed with his regiment in Fort Riley, Kansas. In June 1884, however, Cook was discharged under a surgeon's certificate. The regimental discharge record does not specify his disability, although his mother, Courtney, applied for a pension in May 1885. Cook is buried in Alexandria National Cemetery (Section B, Site 3560).
George Foster (1844-1893) lived on North Patrick Street in the Uptown neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, first with his family and after his marriage in 1883. He and his brother Lorenzo are buried in Alexandria National Cemetery. Foster worked as a waiter and laborer before enlisting during the Civil War. He served in Company E, 1st U.S. Colored Troops Infantry, from 1863 to 1865. After the war, the U.S. Army established segregated regiments for blacks that became known as Buffalo Soldiers. Foster reenlisted in 1867, joining Company E, 1st U.S. Cavalry, then Company C, 10th U.S. Cavalry, alongside his brother. He was discharged in 1870 after a stay in the post hospital and returned home (Section B, Site 3565).
Born in Alexandria, Virginia, Lorenzo Foster (ca. 1850-1903) lived on North Patrick Street in the Uptown neighborhood; he and his brother George are buried in Alexandria National Cemetery. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in June 1867 for a five-year term, along with his brother. The men served in Company C of the all-black 10th U.S. Cavalry. Like other Buffalo Soldiers, as these troops became known, Foster was posted to garrisons on the western frontier. After Corporal Foster was discharged in 1872 he returned to Alexandria and his family (Section B, Site 3581).
Born in Alexandria City, Virginia, Conny Gray (1863-1907) lived in a vibrant community of African Americans, many of whom were free blacks prior to the Emancipation Proclamation and Civil War. His wife, Sarah Jane Derrick, taught at the Hallowell School, which was funded initially by the Freedmen Bureau and consolidated in 1920 as the city's Parker-Gray School. Gray enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1883 at age 20 and became a career soldier. Private Gray was with the 25th Infantry, one of the all-black regiments established in 1866 and known as Buffalo Soldiers, for most of his service. Gray also did a tour of duty with the Hospital Corps and 24th Infantry before sailing with Company H, 25th Infantry, to the Philippines where he died. Gray is buried in Alexandria National Cemetery (Section B, Site 3587).
Buffalo Soldier John T. Stevenson (ca.1850-1912) was born in Culpeper County and worked as a laborer before enlisting in 1869. Private Stevenson joined the 10th U.S. Cavalry, initially assigned to Company A and then to Company C. He served multiple enlistments, primarily at Forts Griffin and Concho, Texas, in the 1870s through the mid-1880s. After military service, Stevenson returned to Virginia and settled in the city of Alexandria, where he married and had a family. He worked as a laborer doing odd jobs but suffered from back pain. By 1910 his wife, Rebecca, had died and two of their children lived with him on Princess Street in the black neighborhood known as Uptown. Stevenson died January 31 and is buried in Alexandria National Cemetery (Section B, Site 3592).
Joseph F. Whelen (1890-1926) was born at Fort Meade, South Dakota, and was a laborer in Montana when he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1904. Whelen served in Company L and Company G, 24th Infantry, as a musician from 1904 to 1911. It is unknown what instrument he played, yet his service in the all-black 24th Infantry ranks him among the Buffalo Soldiers. Regimental returns include posts at Fort Missoula, where he enlisted, and Fort Ontario, where he married. City directories suggest Whelen moved to Alexandria, Virginia, in the 1910s after his military service, where he found work as a laborer. In the 1920s, Whelen and his wife Annie lived on North Patrick Street, where he died April 4. She remained in Alexandria into the 1930s and after her death in 1965, she was buried with Musician Whelen in Alexandria National Cemetery (Section B, Site 3606).