Opothleyahola (HM1IMT)

Location: Le Roy, KS 66857 Coffey County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 5.03', W 95° 38.012'

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Born in the tribal town, Tuckabatchee, Alabama, in the late 1700s, Upper Creek Leader Opothleyahola demonstrated leadership as a youth, was later cited by three Presidents for his enduring struggle to win freedom for his people. Forced from Alabama and Georgia after the sale of Creek land by Lower Creeks, he led his people to Indian Territory on the Trail of Tears.

Yahola staunchly refused alliance with the Confederacy at the coming of the white man's Civil War. Encouraged by Union officials, he led thousands of dissidents with families toward free-state Kansas. Among the Union loyalists were Seminole, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Uchee, Quapaw, Keechi, So. Shawnee and So. Delaware, plus hundreds of Blacks, some of whom had been their slaves. Twice they repulsed attacks by pro-Confederate Indians and whites. Yahola and his followers proceeded in their Great Escape northward in bitterly cold December 1861. Defeated in the third attack at Chustenahal (Bird's Creek), they fled into Kansas leaving a trail of blood on ice, without adequate clothing, shelter, food or livestock. Winter was so severe, 10% of the refugees died within three months. Survivors continued into the Verdigris and Fall River valleys where help was promised at Fort Row in Wilson Co. Others were directed to Ft. Belmont in Woodson Co. Disease claimed many. Word reached Wm. Coffin, Supt. of So. Indians, who sent help to move more to LeRoy, Coffey Co.; they camped along the Neosho River from LeRoy to Neosho Falls.

At LeRoy 1,000 Braves, including a significant number of Blacks, were inducted into the Union Army, the 1st Indian Home Guard Regiment. They marched four abreast to Humboldt's Camp Hunter, Allen Co., in spring 1862. White officers strongly opposed their service. To aid dialogue, some of the Blacks acted as interpreters. Failing to provide troop supplies humanely, Col. Weer was court-martialed in the field. Under new leadership, the Reg. fought border battles to the south. Supt. Coffin was told Indian troops had done more service, with less thanks, than any part of our army.

Yahola died a hero in 1863 and was buried with honors beside his daughter in Woodson Co. His impassioned speech to his followers in support of the Union remains an inspiration for us today.

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Date Added Thursday, January 1st, 2015 at 9:04pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15S E 269026 N 4218392
Decimal Degrees38.08383333, -95.63353333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 5.03', W 95° 38.012'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 5' 1.8" N, 95° 38' 0.72" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)620, 785
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 700-798 S Main St, Le Roy KS 66857, US
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