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The text that follows is reproduced from (the report of the) Sixty-third Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 9, 1932.


[image ALT: A photograph of an old man. He is James Madison Andrews, the subject of this webpage.]

p170 James Madison Andrews
No. 3369 Class of 1890
Died June 10, 1930, at West Point, N. Y.,
aged 62 years

"A gallant officer, a good husband, a rare father, and a loyal friend . . ." These words, written by one of his close friends, aptly characterize Jimmy Andrews.

The field of his interests and his friendships was a wide one: the pattern of his life was nearly as variegated. At the age of fourteen he earned his salt as Purser on a Mississippi steamboat acquired by his New York State family as a part of a bad debt. Jimmy kept track of cotton bales and a few passengers and spent his time ashore with a shotgun. A little later he went to West Point where he made enduring friendships, enjoyed himself mightily, and came as close to academic failure as the rules of the Academy permitted. As a lieutenant in the cavalry he served two years in the West and took part in several punitive expeditions against the Indians. After that he served his time in the machine shop of the American Locomotive Company in Schenectady. During the Spanish American War he captained Co. E of the 2nd New York Volunteers which christened itself, after a better known organization, the "Andrews Rough Walkers." In 1899 and 1900 he was aide-de‑camp to Governor Teddy Roosevelt with whom he was on very friendly terms. From 1901 till the onset of the World war he was connected with the General Electric Co. in Schenectady. During the first part of that time he travelled widely for the Company as technical advisor for the many plants which were at that time beginning to install electrical machinery; he became a close friend of Steinmetz and developed activities of the most varied nature in Schenectady. He often later recalled with amusement how, in the course of one eventful week, he delivered an address on Alternating Current, led a cotillion, and refereed a championship dog fight.

In 1903 he married Nellie Horton Beecher of Ballston Spa, N. Y.

During the World War he commanded the 105th Infantry of the 27th Division and participated in the battles of the Hindenburg Line, p171the La Selle River, and the Jonc de Mer Ridge. For a period of about two months he commanded the 53rd Infantry Brigade. He was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre with Palm and the Distinguished Service Medal; he was cited for "conspicuous bravery in leaving shelter and under heavy shellfire carrying from the open to cover a lieutenant of his command who had been wounded and rendered helpless. This near Mt. Kemmel, Belgium, August 10th, 1918."

After the World war Jimmy retired from active military and commercial life to Brookline, Mass. where he thenceforth devoted himself to his many hobbies. He experimented with wireless and the new radio, developed a bromoil technique which caused his compositions in that field of photography to be exhibited all over the world, and was one of the first proficient color photographers in New England. He was as much at home in his gardens and in the field as in the laboratory; few were more adept in observing and identifying plant and animal life. Although for many years a distinguished expert rifleman he more frequently carried a camera rather than a shotgun on his jaunts afield. He played the piano by ear all his life and at least one of his marches was orchestrated and played by his regimental band. In the summers he was an ardent yachtsman and he served for three years as Commodore of the Nantucket Yacht Club. At the age of sixty he studied celestial navigation at Harvard University. He was an avid reader of detective stories and of treatises on mathematics and chemistry. He loved good cigars and good liquors: his stock of Rabelaisian and other tales was endless and he told them with gusto.

It is difficult to describe in a few words the personality of so dynamic, so lovable, and so impulsive a man. He had the gift of inspiring friendship and loyalty wherever he went. His anger, like his affection, was quick and unswerving when aroused.

On June 10th, 1930, a year and a half after the death of his wife, Jimmy died at West Point where he had gone in the best of spirits to attend his fortieth class reunion. He is survived by his three children.

J. M. A.


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Page updated: 28 Dec 13