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William D. Matthews

William D. Matthews

Photo: Kansas Historical Society

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  • 1829 – 1906

    Lt. William Dominick Matthews was an African American officer of the Independent
    Battery, U.S. Colored Light Artillery, at Fort Leavenworth. Prior to the Civil War,
    Matthews — a free Black man — operated a Leavenworth boarding house which
    became a stop on the Underground Railroad.

    Assisted by Daniel R. Anthony (brother of women’s rights advocate Susan B.
    Anthony), Matthews helped many Missouri slaves escape to Kansas and other free
    states. With the outbreak of the war Matthews recruited his fellow African Americans
    into the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry and helped protect eastern Kansas from Gen.
    Sterling Price’s Confederate invasion of Missouri, which climaxed with the Battle of
    Westport in October 1864.