US Army, Mexican War;
Shot dead for wearing butternut pin
John Payne, Jr., was shot on the Court House steps in Danville, Illinois, on August 24, 1863. He was shot for wearing a "butternut pin," a symbol of support for Confederate troops, or for the support of the idea that states could secede from the Union. Less than a month later, John died from that gun shot.
From his gravestone:
The brave man seeks not popular applause,
nor over-powered with arms
deserts his cause.
Undaunted, though foiled,
he does the best he can.
Force is of brutes, but honor is of man.
The quote is from poet John Dryden's "Palamon and Arcite." It was not by accident that John's surviving family had those words carved in stone for John.
The local sheriff who was called in to quell the ensuing riot was John's own brother, William Milton Payne.
John had served in the U.S. Army during the Mexican War. He had three sons serving in the U.S. Army during the Civil War; he had a brother serving as a Captain in the U.S. Army during the Civil War. He was no coward. He was simply a man with his own opinion about what was happening in the Civil War.
As decades passed, some of his descendants attempted to pretend that John had been wearing the butternut pin "by accident." That is not believable. And the words carved in his gravestone argue that -- at the time of his death -- the family knew why he had been killed.
John was twice married. First, to Virletta O'NEAL; they had seven children -- six of whom lived to maturity. Second, to Priscilla NIXON, the widow BEEZLEY; they had three children, all who lived to maturity.
Brother of Sabina, Delila, Peter, Morgan, Esther, William, Squire, and Martin.
Children born to his first marriage: William, Alonzo, Malinda, Abel Wade, Permelia, Addison, George.
NOTE: Grear-great-grandfather of AMB (page creator).
Virletta O'Neal Payne
1819–1847 (m. 1836)