The Doughboy

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The Doughboy Monument
Butler, Missouri

In 1919, the state of Missouri appropriated money to erect World War  memorials in each county.  The state would provide $1,000.00 and the County Court would match with $1,000.00.  Eight years later, through the efforts of the James P. Arnold American Legion Post of Bates County, Missouri, the “Doughboy” would be dedicated.

The Post and a committee of local citizens looked at several World War memorial styles being advertised across the country including the American Doughboy statue of Indiana.  They also considered a proposal by Kling Memorials of Butler.  Emmett Kling, Sr. designed the memorial, a life size statue of the American Dough boy in full uniform atop a massive granite block.  A similar block would also be topped with a flag pole for placement at the veteran’s section of Oak Hill Cemetery, Butler.

Kling’s design was selected.  He had been working with the John Swenson Granite Company in Concord, New Hampshire.  Swenson had started the company in 1883 and quarried granite for buildings and memorials. Swenson granite was quite popular at the time and used for many civic memorials.

Drawings were sent back and forth and a final set of blueprints was agreed upon.  A Butler veteran, W.O. Jackson volunteered to pose for the statue. Kling’s son, E.J., was a sophomore at Butler High School and an avid photographer.PoI_Doughboy2  PoI_Doughboy1Ordering 35mm movie film, he loaded his own film and developed and printed his photographs in his darkroom in his basement.  To insure the proportions of the statue would be correct, young Kling placed Jackson on a high wall and photographed him from below.  The photographs were then sent to Swenson Granite Company.  There a young Italian sculptor, considered one of the best in the business, completed the granite statue.


W.O. Jackson posing in uniform





W.O. Jackson

Doughboy  today

Doughboy May 30, 1927


PoI_Doughboy_TeleEverything was shipped from Swenson by train on April 28, 1927 to Kansas City and then on to Butler.  Kling Memorials began work on the concrete base and walks in preparation of the statue’s arrival.  According to County Court records the two concrete bases, one 14 ft. square and the second 8 ft. square, the foundation under the statue and the remaining concrete work required 221 sacks of cement, 27.75 tons of Kaw river sand, 2 tons of chatt, 31.2 tons of crushed rock and 10 cubic yards (15 tons)of ruble rock from J.E. Thompson’s rock fence.  They replaced the fence with woven and barbed wire.  The forms were made and the concrete poured.  Kling added a special finishing touch, sprinkling carborundum (a finishing power used in polishing stone) over the freshly troweled concrete.  For years afterwards, the base would sparkle when the sun struck the carborundum bits.PoI_Doughboy8

The statue and bases arrived and were hauled to the town square.  The base and lettered block were set in place.  With no modern cranes available to lift the statue into place, Kling went back to the train depot and borrowed a load of railroad ties.  He built an interlocking tower with the ties around the granite block reaching several feet over the top of the statue’s projected height.  Using a block and tackle attached to another tie laid on top of the tower, the men pulled the statue up and onto the base.  The total height was 18 feet above the sidewalk line.

 Less than one month after the memorial was shipped from New Hampshire, it was formally dedicated in day long ceremonies on Memorial Day, May 30, 1927 along with the Legion memorial at Oak Hill.


Dedication Ceremonies

”Bates County’s World War Veterans’ and the James P. Arnold Post Memorial will be formally dedicated on Monday, May 30.  Weather conditions permitting, one of the largest crowds ever assembled in Butler will witness the impressive ceremonies.  The day will be one that will long be remembered by our citizens and visitors.

At ten o’clock Monday morning, the usual memorial service in honor of the Civil War dead will be held in Oak Hill cemetery.  This service will be followed immediately by the dedication of the James P. Arnold Post Memorial, located on the Legion burial plot in Oak Hill.  This memorial was erected by the local post of the American Legion and is a beautiful and fitting tribute to its dead.

Just preceding the dedication of the Bates County Memorial in the afternoon, the parade, headed by the colors and color guard, will move from the Baptist church south to the square and after circling the business section the units will form near the memorial located in the northwest corner of the court house yard.  The dedication program will then be carried out.  On this program appears the names of several well known state and organization men and women.  Maj. Harry Castlen, State Commander of the American Legion, will make the dedication address.

Bates County’s Memorial and the James P. Arnold Post Memorial are the result of the untiring efforts of a committee from the local Legion organization and the cooperation of the public spirited citizens and county and city officials.  Both memorials were designed by E. J. Kling, local contractor and both have been declared by all who have seen them to be beautiful pieces of granite work.

A motion picture photographer will be on hand during the day to catch bits of action pictures of the ceremonies.  These pictures will be run at the Fisk Opera House here on next Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings in addition to the regular movie attractions at no additional charge.

In the evening the Butler Concert Band will give a complimentary concert from the stand in the southeast corner of the court house yard.  The stand is being remodeled and redecorated for the regular season’s concerts which will start next Friday evening. 

The complete programs will be found elsewhere in this issue.”

 --Butler Democrat, May 26, 1927



The Doughboy


Carving detail -side
Seal of Missouri







Carving detail - side
Emblem -
The Great War for Civilization





The James P. Arnold Post Memorial at
Oak Hill Cemetery is a modified version of the
Doughboy Base. 

It was dedicated on the same day, May 30, 1927.


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