John L. Barkley


       Born on August 28, 1895 in Holden, Missouri, John Lewis Barkley was

given the title of the most decorated soldier in the midwest.  He entered the service in

Blarstown, Missouri.  Barkley was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on

October 7,1918 for single handily breaking up two German assaults on hill "253"

that Allied forces were trying to hold.  He also fixed a captured German machine

gun, mounted it on a French tank, waited for the battle to surround him, and then

opened fire on the Germans.  Five minutes later a German with a 77 millimeter gun opened fire

on his tank striking the steering  wheel.  He remained at his post and when the firing

stopped broke a second counter attack enabling the Allied forces to gain the hill.

Barkley was cited for bravery and was presented with the Congressional Medal of

Honor by U.S. General John Pershing. In 1963 he married Elizabeth Barkley Ozias.  She was 

born on September 8, 1882 and died on September 14, 1969.

He was a Private, First Class, U.S. Army, Company K, fourth infantry , third division . He

was in World War I.  Barkley received the nation's highest military award for

bravery.  He was also a member of Kansas City police department's as a detective.

Barkley has received the following medals for his service: the British Distinguished

Service Cross;  the French Medallile Militaire;  the French Croix de Guerre; the Belgian War

Cross;  the Italian War cross; and the Medal de Brauere of Montenegro.  His World War I

victory medal carried six battle clasps. In Valley Forge there are fifty acres of land

with one acre for each state.  Each tree there has a plaque 16 by 8 inches on it. 

One tree has John Lewis Barkley, World War I . When he got out of the service he farmed just

outside of Johnson County. He farmed 200 acres of land.  He also grew up with two

brothers.  In the people's eyes of today he is considered to be a man

instinctively liked, quiet, unassuming, and modest.  John L. Barkley also had attended

Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg.


(Letters from John Barkley during World War I)



The Holden Progress / Thursday, November 10, 1988 / Holden, Missouri

The Holden Progress / March 9, 1939 / Holden, Missouri

"A Tree Bears His Name At Historic Valley Forge" / August-September, 1965 / p.15

Johnson County Historical Museum / Warrensburg, Missouri

The brick shown in the background with John Barkley's name is found at the memorial to Johnson's County veterans located at the Johnson County courthouse lawn.

by: Matt, Derek, Amanda, Brandt