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Rev. Patton recalls visiting soldier's parents after death of son

Another chapter in the life of an Adair County hero, PFC Harold Leonard Burton, who was killed in action in World War II. Rev. Willie Patton was pastor of Purdy Separate Church. He baptized Harold Leonard Burton, officiated at his funeral. Rev. Paul Patton remembers visiting Alec and Rosie Burton to comfort them, with his father after PFC Burton was killed in action. 'What a sad time it was,' he recalls.
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By Paul Patton

Seeing the picture of Harold L. Burton's gravemarker in the Columbia Magazine caused me to go to my Mother's picture collection where she had a picture of PFC Harold Burton as well as a picture of his parents, Alec and Rosie Burton holding a picture of their son.

My father, Rev. Willie Patton was the pastor of the Burton family at Purdy Separate Baptist Church for a period of 18 years and had baptized Harold when he was 12 years of age. Dad also officiated at Harold's funeral on January 2, l949 at the Purdy church.


I was three years old when Harold Burton was killed in action and I recall going with my parents to Alec and Rosie Burton's home to comfort them and what a sad occasion it was.

Rosie gave my parents a picture of Harold and also a picture of her and Alec holding a picture of Harold.

These photographs were always treasured by my parents and we chldren were taught to respect them and to honor the memory of this fine young man who, at the age of twenty, gave his life for the cause of freedom.

While I have had no contact with this family for many years, I have kept these pictures and am now pleased to share them with your readers.

In my Mother's photo album there is also a picture of Edwin Burton, a brother to Harold L. Burton. I would welcome a response from any member of this family who may read this. - PAUL PATTON. 270- 789-1974


This story was posted on 2013-02-01 07:48:44
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PFC Harold Leonard Burton and parents



2013-02-01 - Liberty Road, Columbia, KY - Photo from collection of Paul Patton . These photos hold treasured memories of the Patton family. They were given to Rev. Willie Patton at the time of PFC Harold Leonard's death in WWII. At left, a photo of the handsome young soldier in uniform. At right, Rosie and Alec Burton holding a copy of a photo of their son after his death. Rev. Willie Patton pastored the Burton family for 18 years. He baptized Harold at the age of 12, and officated at his funeral a scant 8 years later.
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