Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Medal of Honor: John Lewis Barkley

Our next Medal of Honor recipient is probably thought of as a Missourian, rather than a Kansan.  He was born and raised in Missouri, served from Missouri, was buried in Missouri.  But for many of his post-WWI years, he lived in Mission, Kansas.  Some people have been recognized as Kansans for less.

Private First Class John Lewis Barkley was born in Blairstown, Missouri on August 28, 1895.  He served in Company K, 4th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Division.  His moment came at Cunel, France on October 7, 1918, when he repaired an enemy machine gun and mounted it on a disabled French tank.  From there he broke up an enemy counterattack not once, but twice.

For a more information, see the link:

Barkley died on April 14, 1966 and is buried at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Kansas City, Missouri.  He left behind an account of his service, which has been reprinted under the title, Scarlet Fields:  The Combat Memoir of a World War I Medal of Honor Hero.

Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.


  1. Blair Tarr

    I was somewhat pleased to note that in Johnson County’s Shawnee Mission Park, there is a John Barkley Drive. I assume that was named for the MOH recipient.

    • Joan Barkley Wells

      John Lewis Barkley was a member of the Johnson Co. Sertoma Club that helped to sponsor the development of the Johnson Co. Park system. He was a cmte of one who talked various land owners in the county to sell their properties to start a Park system. He was the lst park superintendent after the formation of Antioch Park and the big S-M Park. My Dad served w/o pay for several years then recv ‘d pay for his work. There is also a John Lewis Barkley Visitor Center at the Park main office. Joan Barkley Wells

      • Blair Tarr

        Thank you for submitted the information about your dad!

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