Sol Butler, Olympian
What you can't see is the relief of a runner on his headstone.
Sol's sister, Josephine, was responsible for his interment in Maple Grove. She was also a college educated nurse, an impressive acheivement for an African American woman in the 1910s and 1920s.
I know I promised you Civil War Wichita, but this story is cool, trust me. The man who took me around the cemetery on Monday really wanted to show me this one. I'm glad he did. Solomon Butler was an athletic prodigy. He won all of the biggest meets in the nation and was a favorite at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp. An injury at the Games tragically ended his career and he would be later shot on the South-side of Chicago while working as a bouncer in 1954. His sister lived in Wichita and brought him home to be buried. Josephine Butler was impressive in her own right. She was a college educated nurse in the Wichita medical community in the 1950s when her brother died. One story goes that they were the children of freed slaves which is possible but, given their birth years, their parents would probably have been the first generation of free blacks. Still, little more than a generation after emancipation and in the middle of Jim Crow, the Butler children both attended college; one graduating from nursing school and the other an Olympian.