Cathay Williams was the first and only female Buffalo soldier. She was born in September of 1844 in Independence, Missouri and became a soldier in 1866. She passed as a man for two years until a doctor discovered that she was a woman, which led to her getting discharged.
She was the first black woman to enlist, and the only documented woman to serve in the United States Army posing as a man during the American Indian War. She enlisted in the army under the pseudonym William Cathay and John Williams. She was a private, cook, and a seamstress in the 38th U.S. Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army.
Cathay died of an unknown cause in Trinidad, Colorado in 1893, 25 years after she was discharged,.