Our meeting hall is named in honor of Captain William Perkins Black, Company K, 37th Illinois Infantry, U.S. Army. He is the only Medal of Honor recipient born in Woodford County and the first from the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for action on March 7, 1862.
Medal of Honor Citation:
Single-handedly confronted the enemy, firing a rifle at them, and thus checked their advance within 100 yards of the lines.
William Perkins Black was born in Woodford County, Kentucky, on November 11, 1842, the second son of four children to the Reverend John Black and his wife, Josephine Culbertson Black. After Reverend Black died in 1847, Josephine moved her family to Danville, Illinois to be near her brother. Soon thereafter she married Dr. William Fithian who served in the Illinois state legislature with Abraham Lincoln.
William was a student at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana studying to enter the ministry when the Civil War started in April, 1861. The day after the Confederates fired upon Fort Sumter, South Carolina, he enlisted in the Union Army with his older brother John and was mustered in as a Corporal for a three month term in Company I, 11th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, known as “Wallace’s Zouaves” after their commander, Colonel Lew Wallace. He served for three months, and was honorably mustered out on August 4, 1861 when the unit’s enlistment expired.
He was then mustered in from Danville, IL, as a First Lieutenant in Company K of the 37th Illinois Volunteer Infantry and was soon elevated, by regimental elections, to the rank of Captain, commanding Company K. He served under his brother John who was first appointed the regiment’s Major, but later became the 37th Illinois’ Colonel and commander. For Capt. Black's bravery in the unit’s first major engagement, the March 7, 1862 Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. His Medal was awarded on October 2, 1893, thirty-one years later.
His unit had been part of an assault on a position called Battle Ridge and had been thrown back by the rebels. The Confederates surged forward to attack the retreating Union soldiers and capture Artillery Battery A of the 2nd Illinois Light Artillery. Captain Black, with a Colt repeating rifle, had stood by himself in front of the artillery pieces, firing at the Confederates until he was wounded. His heroics delayed the rebels long enough for the artillerymen to save four of the six guns of the battery from capture.
He recovered from severe wounds in his left side that he received in that action and would go on to lead his company through all of its field service over the next two years including the capture of Arkansas Post, the Vicksburg Campaign, and the Red River Campaign.
When his enlistment expired by law, he was honorably mustered out on September 29, 1864 and he returned to Danville, IL.
Upon his return home he abandoned the ministry, read law, and was admitted to the Illinois Bar.
He and Thomas Dent formed a prominent and successful law practice, Dent & Black, in 1867 and became well known country-wide for his work as defense counsel for the accused bombers in the 1886 Haymarket Riot in Chicago, Illinois.
He married Hortensia Mary McGreal of Galveston, Texas on May 28, 1869 and they had a son named William Paul Elisha Black.
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American Legion Post 67
138 S Main St
Versailles, Kentucky 40383
Phone: 859 873-7064 859 873-7064
All games are operated by
American Legion Woodford Post 67 under Commonwealth of Kentucky Charitable Gaming License # ORG0001375 and Special Licenses as needed.