The Soldiers Monument

By Grady Atwater

The Soldiers Monument is the final resting place of the five Free State guerillas who died at the Battle of Osawatomie on Aug. 30, 1856. The Osawatomie Monumental Association began working on creating the monument on Aug. 6, 1872, and the effort was led by H.B. Smith, H.H. Williams and Reverend Samuel Adair. The bodies of Theron Parker Powers, David R. Garrison, George W. Partridge, and Frederick Brown were moved to the site from their initial graves and reburied there. Charley Keiser was killed by proslavery forces and his body was never found, and his name was inscribed on the monument.

Charles A. Foster donated the land for the monument, and the Hanway Brothers of Lane, Kansas, constructed the monument . Funding for the monument was initially sought by seeking pledges, but most of those who pledged their financial support did not follow through. Osawatomie’s women stepped up and raised the $275 cost of creating the 11-foot monument that was carved out of Vermont marble. The inscription on the monument reads on the west side, “In commemoration of those who on the 30th of August 1856 gave their lives at the Battle of Osawatomie in defense of freedom.” The south side of the monument reads, “This inscription is also in commemoration of the heroism of Captain John Brown who commanded at the Battle of Osawatomie August 30, 1856; who died and conquered slavery at

Charleston Va. December 2, 1859. John Brown is not buried at the soldier’s monument, but his stand against slavery at the Battle of Osawatomie and his abolitionist crusade is honored by the monument.

Former Kansas Governor Charles Robinson, James Hanway, Kansas Senator John J. Ingalls, Colonel D.R. Anthony and Judge Dudley spoke to a crowd of 10,000 who assembled to witness the dedication of the Soldiers Monument on Aug. 30, 1877. The women of Osawatomie cooked and served dinner for the crowd, and were instrumental in planning the dedication.

The Soldier’s Monument is a hallowed plot of land that honors the Free State fighters who were willing to die for both their abolitionist beliefs and to defend Osawatomie from proslavery militia attacks. The men, who stood at the foot of the hill in modern day John Brown Memorial Park, and were out numbered four to one at the Battle of Osawatomie, left us a legacy of freedom that we enjoy today. Abolitionists fought for the freedom of all slaves, and Osawatomie was a center of the political and military conflict during Bleeding Kansas. The Soldiers Monument is a reminder of their bravery and willingness to die for their beliefs and to defend Osawatomie during a traumatic time in Osawatomie history.

The Soldier’s Monument was created by Osawatomie’s founders to honor and preserve the town’s history and heritage. It is incumbent upon the present generation to work to preserve Osawatomie’s historic sites and history for future generations so that the courage and sacrifice of Osawatomie’s founders is not forgotten.

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Posted by admin on Feb 23 2011. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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