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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Butler in Bates County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

“First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry”

They Fought Like Tigers

 
 
"First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry" Memorial image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 30, 2010
1. "First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry" Memorial
Inscription.
The 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry fought and won the Battle of Island Mound, also known as The Battle at Fort Toothman on October 28 & 29, 1862 in Charlotte Township approx. 7.5 miles southwest of Butler. It is said to have been the only battle fought on Bates County soil, in which regular U.S. troops were involved. The First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry was the first black unit to fight in the Civil War. Reportedly Southern rebels outnumbered the black troops five to one, attacked the fort and fierce hand-to-hand combat ensued.

Of the Kansas Infantry's involvement it was written, "They Fought Like Tigers"
 
Erected 2008 by The Amen Society.
 
Location. 38° 15.499′ N, 94° 19.952′ W. Marker is in Butler, Missouri, in Bates County. Marker is at the intersection of Ohio Street and Delaware Street, on the left when traveling west on Ohio Street. Touch for map. Memorial is on the north grounds of the county courthouse. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1 North Delaware Street, Butler MO 64730, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Order No. 11 (here, next to this marker); Bates County World War I Memorial (within shouting
"First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry" Memorial image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 30, 2010
2. "First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry" Memorial
distance of this marker); Eugene S. Hurt Chapter 67 D.A.V. Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Palace Office Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Butler History Murals (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); North Field (approx. 0.4 miles away); Replica of the Statue of Liberty (approx. 0.4 miles away); David Clayton Wolfe (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Butler.
 
Also see . . .
1. First To Serve. (Submitted on January 23, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry. (Submitted on January 23, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. First Kansas Colored Infantry. (Submitted on January 23, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. History of Bates County MO. (Submitted on January 23, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
5. Battle of Mound Island. (Submitted on January 24, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
6. Battle of Fort Toothman. (Submitted on January 24, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
 
Additional comments.
"First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry" Statue image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 30, 2010
3. "First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry" Statue

1. About Elenora L. Burton and this Memorial
In 1999 Rev Larry D. Coleman, the pastor of a small church in Butler, Mo, was in a bookstore in Fort Scott, Kansas, and came across the book Black Soldiers. When he began reading it he found out about the 1st Kansas Colored and the Battle of Island Mound. He called a special meeting following church services the following Sunday and expressed interest in if nothing more than maybe having a small Black History program at the church to honor the men that had fought and maybe raise enough money to at least purchase a marker at the battle site in recognition of the soldiers. Keep in mind that at that time the church consisted of about 5, yes I said 5, members. He asked for someone to get the program together and head it up. My Mama, Elenora L. Burton, being a lover of Black History herself, volunteered.

It started as just a program but as she made calls and wrote letters and worked tirelessly it grew and the Black History program went from being a special Sunday service to a bigger Sunday service including re-enactors and talks by history professors and musicians and artists and many others. From this the AMEN Society was formed with her as the founding president.

This turned into an annual undertaking that grew bigger and better each year with her heading it up and organizing
Plaque on the Back of the Pedestal image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 30, 2010
4. Plaque on the Back of the Pedestal
events. It became a passion to her. There were letters sent to some of the biggest churches in the country, and there was a letter to Colin Powell with a response wishing us the best, and a check from Laurance Fishburne. It was hard, steady, and tedious work but she kept going until she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003. She fought the fight of her life much like the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry and on June 12, 2005 she received her promotion.

The day that statue was unveiled was bittersweet for me. After that tarp was removed and we saw this work of art and I saw that memorial plaque on the back I have never been more proud nor have I ever been more overcome with so many emotions. Sitting here typing this I do not know whether to smile or cry and I guess I have done a little of both. My mother was just a little 5'1 black lady with gorgeous skin and a beautiful smile; she was a respiratory therapist for over 30 years she was a fantastic church pianist, and an incredible woman of God full of great faith—but to me she was just “Mama.”

There is no one like your mama and as you can probably tell I loved mine and still miss her and I make no apologies about that at all.

One other quick thing here: when my sister and I helped to design her headstone we put a piano and the words of an old negro chorus on the front. On
Elenora L. Burton with Buffalo Soldier Re-Enactors image. Click for full size.
By Renee Burton
5. Elenora L. Burton with Buffalo Soldier Re-Enactors
the back we put a scripture. That scripture is found in the book of Revelation. We both believe that when she crossed over to the other side that she somehow helped finish over there what she could not do while she was here. “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” —Revelation 14:13
    — Submitted November 20, 2011, by Renee Burton of Butler, Missouri.

2. The Sculptor
The sculptor of this marker is: Joel Randell of Edmond,Ok.
    — Submitted April 5, 2012, by Renee Burton of Butler, Missouri.

3. Island Mound State Historical Park
I had the privilege today of being a part of the dedication ceremony for the dedication of the Battle Of Island Mound State Historical Park. What a blessing to have been involved in this emotional service. "It's been a long time comin . . ." What pride to know the small part that my mama played in this day becoming a reality. 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry you fought a good fight and we salute you. Soldiers, take your rest!!
    — Submitted October 27, 2012, by Renee Burton of Butler, Missouri.

 
Additional keywords. Sculptor, Joel Randall.
 
Categories. African AmericansCivil RightsPatriots & PatriotismWar, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 23, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 2,028 times since then and 88 times this year. Last updated on April 4, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 23, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.   5. submitted on November 20, 2011, by Renee Burton of Butler, Missouri. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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