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Appendices E‑G

This webpage reproduces an appendix to
The History of West Point

by
William F. H. Godson

Philadelphia, 1934

The text is in the public domain.

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and I believe it to be free of errors.
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Appendices I‑L
This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

p95 Appendix H

(Letter from Colonel David McC. McKell, U. S. A. Retired, class of 1904.)

January 22, 1934.

Dear Godson:

Your letter of the 13th received the other day and I have been wondering what help I could be to you.

In Miss Warner's life of her sister Susan which I presume you have read there is a pretty good account of the purposes animating them. In "West Point Colors" by Miss Anna is again a bit of the purpose underlying their lives. Read Miss Anna Warner's "Melody of the 23d Psalm." Their views, particularly the elder sister's whom our class never knew, would seem very queer to nine-tenths of the folk of today and even in 1904 the theology of Miss Warner and the course of conduct which she thought best for an ideal Christian life made only a narrow appeal. I came, I should judge, as much under the influence of her life as any cadet of the time. Many Sundays I would be the only one to cross over to the Island.1 I have been over on windy days when it was nip and tuck if the row boat made the landing against tide and current. All my life, personal loyalty to friends has been a ruling passion and I felt such a personal loyalty to her and she was able to convey to me a similar personal loyalty to Christ. She made you feel that personal friendship and mutual devotion. Perhaps you disagreed entirely with her theology as I did, and only after many days came to consider that her views as to lines of conduct were those which Christ would demand or want, but you became devoted to her and struck with the supreme sweetness and the loving kindness of her life.

I kept up my personal contact and when back as an instructor in Law in 1910 saw a great deal of her. She was a most reserved woman. Most guarded in opening up her life to even the most intimate friends on any phase except that on which she came in contact with that friend. She constantly sought by prayer, thought and act to give everyone with whom she came in contact a direct personal contact with Jesus Christ. Yet she never preached at one nor forced views. She had a very strong influence over me and my views and conduct. Much of what I thought right in those days I no longer think best. Nevertheless she influenced me in her way as strongly as my mother or my wife. The group of men so influenced was small — not over three or four from a class say, but it was very strongly influenced.

p96 I do not know what help this can be to you in a history of the Academy but I do not know what more to tell you.2 If you are up at graduation this coming year, look me up.

Sincerely,

(signed) David M'c. M'Kell.


Godson's Notes:

1 Constitution Island. G.

[decorative delimiter]

2 Colonel McKell's letter was in reply to one which asked particularly for information about Miss Warner. G.

Note: Colonel McKell graduated in 1904. Was promoted to be Captain of Coast Artillery October 11, 1913. During the World War he was a Colonel of Field Artillery. He returned to the grade of Captain June 30, 1920; was promoted to Major, July 1, 1920; retired as a Major of Coast Artillery December 15, 1922. He was commissioned Colonel, Coast Artillery, Officers Reserve Corps, December 21, 1922. June 21, 1930, he was promoted to Colonel on the retired list of the regular army. In 1922 he became an attorney at law; and the following year joined the faculty of the San Francisco Law School as Trustee and Instructor. G.


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