Born into slavery, Thomas Burton nevertheless accomplished an amazing, upward trajectory in his life. After emancipation, he was later to attend medical school and become a highly-regarded physician.
“On August 3, 1893, I was married to Miss Hattie B. Taylor, of Cynthiana, Ky., one of the best women that ever lived. Nine times out of ten if I follow her advice I will come out all right; and when I don’t I always come out all wrong.”
That same year, former President William McKinley, Jr., then Ohio’s Governor, appointed Burton Assistant Surgeon of the Ninth Battalion Infantry, Ohio National Guard. This position carried with it the rank of Captain.