Fountain Valley News - Your Hometown Community Newspaper

Patricia's Point

Happy Trails, George


March 22, 2017

Showing his mastery with a saber, Reg. Sgt. Maj. George Payton, Jr. slices the top off of a melon, while riding past it on horseback.

The most enjoyable aspect of serving this community at your hometown newspaper is all of the wonderful people we meet in the process of working on stories, attending community events and participating in various community projects.

During the past 35 years, I have been extremely blessed to become friends with so many who also call our little Valley area home.

In 2002, the City of Fountain participated in the All-America City competition, which brought together about 45 people to best represent the various aspects of our community, who travelled to Kansas City to compete (and win!) One very special delegation member was long-time businessman/outdoorsman, veteran and friend, George Payton.

For years George operated Timberline Archery, participated in local parades and other events dressed in his Buffalo Soldier uniform and more. In one corner here at the News office, I have a special shelf with mementos from various friends I have accumulated over the years, and among them is a framed photo George gave me (see photo below). After he participated in the All America City contest he had to hit the road to go on to St. Joseph, Missouri where he participated in a living history presentation that was part of a Juneteenth celebration.

In the photo, Reg. Sgt. Major George Payton Jr., a member of the Buffalo Soldiers of the American Southwest 10th Cavalry, demonstrates a saber drill at Old McDonald's Farm. I hope you can see in the photo that he sliced the top of a melon off, which is pictured in midair.

He surprised me with the autographed photo upon his return to Fountain. He was so kind, so friendly, and was celebrated by many here for all of his many talents and accomplishments.

Over the years, we featured him in this paper many times and for many reasons. Most recently it was for his participation in a dedication of a monument to the Buffalo Soldiers at Memorial Park in Colorado Springs.

George, who has a Native American/African American heritage, participated in Buffalo Soldiers living history presentations for several years and also starred in a locally-produced documentary about the Buffalo Soldiers. He was the last African-American 10th Calvary Sergeant Major to be promoted on horseback at Fort Carson. Many may recall seeing him in the annual Fall Festival Parade on horseback, waving and smiling. He had an infectious smile, great wit and was one of the friendliest persons you could ever meet. We will miss seeing him at the News office (he often stopped in to say hello and fill us in on his latest endeavors.) He was a great friend to many, and we are honored to have been among them.

Upon the news of his passing from this life, I found myself imagining him on his horse again, but this time he was riding off into the sunset, headed for happier trails. We hope he has found them. He will be greatly missed, but fondly remembered.


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