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Bill Thayer

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[image ALT: A photograph of zzz. He is Captain William C. McFarland, whose career is detailed on this webpage.]

Captain William C. McFarland

The preceding image, and the text that follows, are reproduced from (the report of the) Forty-Eighth Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 12th, 1917.

 p59  William C. McFarland
No. 2445. Class of 1872.
Died in New York City, September 5, 1916, age 67.

William C. McFarland was born March 23, 1849, at the home of his parents John McFarland and Mary E. (Scott) McFarland, in Chillicothe, Ohio. During the early years of his life his parents moved to Lexington, Kentucky, in which town lived the family of his mother. On an appointment from President Andrew Johnson he entered West Point in 1868 and graduated with the class of 1872. Upon graduation he was assigned to the Sixteenth Infantry and joined company "E" of that regiment in Nashville, Tennessee. Shortly after he joined his company it was ordered to Lancaster, Kentucky, for duty in connection with raids of the "Ku Klux Klan." For some months he was the only officer with the company and his tact and geniality quickly overcame what promised to be a difficult situation. Several supposed members of the "Klan" became his life long friends and operations of the organization ceased forever in that community. While stationed in Lancaster he married Addie E. Landram, daughter of Brevet Brigadier-General William J. Landram, United States Volunteers, a veteran of the Mexican and Civil Wars.

Except for a short period of service as Military Instructor at the State College in Lexington, and a recruiting detail, he remained continuously on duty with his regiment. Between the time of his graduation and the Spanish-American war he was stationed at various garrisons in Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, Indian Territory, Texas, Utah and the State of Washington, quietly and conscientiously performing the various duties that fell to an officer in those times and in those places. As Captain of Company E, Sixteenth Infantry, he accompanied that regiment to Cuba in 1898. In the charge on the main San Juan Hill he stopped near the crest of the hill to signal Grimes Battery to cease firing as their shells were falling amongst his men. A piece of shrapnel casing from the last shell struck him in the back of the head inflicting a wound from which he never fully recovered. As he was led back through the main line his appearance was such that he was for several days reported  p60 as killed in dispatches to the United States. Though semi-delirious he found his way back to his command the following day and remained with his company until the regiment came North. When the City of Santiago surrendered he was able, by use of his personal means, to secure medicine and food which aided materially in the preservation of the health of men of his company and regiment. The loss of his company in killed and wounded was nineteen out of a strength of sixty-three, from disease none.

On the advice of a prominent New York surgeon he applied to be retired in 1899. After retirement his residence was in New York, though he spent much time abroad. His death occurred at his New York residence on September 5, 1916, after an illness of three days. His ashes are interred in the cemetery at West Point where also rest the remains of his wife who died in 1914.

William C. McFarland lived true to the high ideals of the United States Military Academy. He was a gallant soldier, an honorable gentleman, and a loyal friend.

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Page updated: 6 Jul 14