charles m. meacham


Naval and Army Officers from Christian County; List of Midshipmen; List ef Cadets; James J. Wheeler; Lieut. Corn. W. V. Bronaugh, Gen. Cyrus S. Radford; The Present Officers.



In 1832 Jefferson Davis, a Christian County boy, whose parents had moved to Mississippi, was appointed from that state and after seven years’ service resigned and subsequently became a Colonel in the war with Mexico and in 1861 became president of the Confederacy.

Robert Kelly, Hopkinsville, Ky., admitted July 1, 1865. Resigned September 27, 1865.

Nicholas M. Edwards, Lafayette, Ky., reported at the Military Academy on August 28, 1854, but was not admitted because he was under age. He again reported on June 13, 1855, but was again rejected.

Alexander S. Dade in July, 1880, was appointed and graduated from West Point June 12, 1884. He served until he reached the age of retirement and died in Hopkinsville in 1927, with the rank of Brigadier General.

Lee Faulkner Goldthwaite was admitted August 1, 1900, and remained in the Academy one year.

Napoleon William Riley, of Newstead, was admitted June 19, 1900, and graduated June 15, 1904, served throughout the World War and is still in the service with the rank of Colonel.

William T. Radford admitted June 14, 1912, did not graduate but entered the army in 1917 and was an officer in the World War, with service overseas.

Karl William Hisgen, admitted November 4, 1918, and graduated June 13, 1921. Still in the service, a First Lieutenant, as instructor in Mathematics in the Academy at West Point.

Woodford Wright Wilson, admitted July 1, 1925, did not graduate.

George Washington Johnston, Jr., Pembroke, admitted July 1, 1926. Resignation accepted July 26, 1926.

Charles G. Herman, admitted July 2, 1928. Due to graduate in 1932.


James J. Wheeler, entered 1865, but did not graduate. Resigned and located in Texas where he entered journalism and died in that state. His body was buried in Hopkinsville.

William V. Bronaugh appointed in 1872 and served with distinction in the Spanish American War of 1898, commanding the Castine. He died several years later with the rank of Lieutenant Commander; was buried in Hopkinsville.

Cyrus S. Radford, appointed in 1885 and graduated in 1889. Served with gallantry in the Spanish American War, in the Battle of Santiago. Also was an officer in the World War and was still in the service with the rank of Colonel of the United States Marine Corps; was promoted to Brigadier General and resigned in 1929.

Lee Faulkner Goldthwaite, who had spent one year in West Point Military Academy, entered the Naval Academy in 1901 and graduated four years later. Attained the rank of Ensign and was killed by an explosion on shipboard, while on duty. Buried in Hopkinsville.

Ralph Tandy Meacham entered June, 1910, became incapacitated from a fatal illness in June, 1912. Died in a naval hospital May 30, 1913. Buried in Hopkinsville.
Malcolm M. Gossett, entered 1918 and graduated in 1922. Still in the service with rank of Lieutenant.
McFarland W. Wood, admitted 1919, and Hunter Wood, Jr., admitted 1921, graduated in 1923 and 1925 respectively. They are brothers, grandsons of Hon. Hunter Wood and sons of Judge and Mrs. Hunter Wood, Jr., of Hopkinsville. They are both Lieutenants in the U. S. Navy.

McFarland Walker Wood, born August 20, 1899, at Hopkinsville, Ky. Graduated from Hopkinsville High School in 1916. Attended Tulane University, New Orleans, La., 1916-17, member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Appointed to U. S. Naval Academy July 3, 1918. Entered U. S. Naval Academy as a midshipman on June 17, 1919. Graduated and commissioned as Ensign, U. S. Navy on June 8, 1923. Married December 17, 1927, to Madeline Brown, daughter of Dr. F. M. Brown, of Hopkinsville, Ky., at Hopkinsville. One child. Assumed command of the submarine U. S. S. 0-NINE April 8, 1929, based at New London, Conn., with duty in connection with instruction of Submarine School. Member of U. S. Naval Institute, Society of Naval Engineers.

Hunter Wood, III, Lieutenant in the U. S. Navy, was born July 6, 1902, in Hopkinsville, Ky., a son of Judge Hunter Wood and Betsy Dudley Blakemore Wood. His grandfather was Hunter Wood, Sr., for fifty years a leading attorney of Hopkinsville. Hunter was the second son, his older brother also being a naval officer. He entered the Academy June 21, 1921, and was commissioned Ensign June 4, 1925. Has served on U. S. S. Tennessee, June 28, 1925 to April 6, 1927; U. S. S. Doyen, April 6, 1927, to August 16, 1929, when he was ordered to duty in fitting out U. S. S. Pensacola; commissioned Lieutenant (Junior grade) June 4, 1928.


Jim Wheeler was old enough to have seen some service in the Confederate army when he was appointed to the Naval Academy by President Johnson in 1865. He entered the school without disclosing the fact that he had been a Southern soldier. The usual hazing of new appointees was indulged in and on his first cruise, Wheeler was made to drink a small quantity of sea water. He resisted so much that the boys decided to increase the dose. Wheeler climbed the rigging and told them he would shoot any one who pursued him. One boy followed him and was shot and slightly wounded. Wheeler was brought before a court martial and it developed that he had been a soldier. An attempt was made to expel him, but the Senate caused the matter to be dropped. Later he went on a cruise in the Mediterranean under Capt. Luce, a former Federal officer, who was bitter against all Rebels. At Cherbourg, Luce kept Wheeler on ship board, but the next day at the insistence of the ship surgeon, Luce allowed him to go ashore. Wheeler at once took a train to Paris and forwarded his resignation to Luce. Luce had him imprisoned at Annapolis, but the matter ended by his leaving the service. Many years afterwards, Chas. K. Wheeler, his younger brother, was a Kentucky Congressman and was instrumental in preventing Capt. Luce from securing an increase in pay, on account of his treatment of Wheeler.
While in the army, young Wheeler had an equally stormy career. He was serving as an intelligence officer, with the rank of Captain under Gen. Tighiman and was captured in the Federal lines, was court martialed and condemned to be executed as a spy. The president of the court martial was an officer named Chamberlain and when Wheeler’s father went to intercede, it was brought out that Miss Lizzie Chamberlain, a governess, who was teaching the younger Wheeler children in Dr. Jas. Wheeler’s family, was a niece of the officer. The officer secured his release upon his taking the oath of allegiance. After leaving the naval academy, Wheeler went to Texas and about 1873 was killed in the heat of a political contest in which he was engaged as a journalist.


Lieutenant Commander Bronaugh, who was the first commissioned Naval officer from Christian County, graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1877 and was assigned to duty on the U. S. Frigate Constitution to represent the U. S. Government at the Paris Exposition of 1878. In the early ‘80’s he was sent upon an expedition on board the U. S. S. Hassler to survey the coast of Alaska and to chart the coastal waters of that then little-known territory. He spent three years there in exploration and goedetic survey, followed by three years in the Atlantic on the U. S. S. Jamestown and the U. S. S. Portsmouth. He was next assigned to duty as an inspector of steel for naval construction and armament, at the Carnegie Steel Works in Pittsburgh, and at the end of this shore duty made a three-year’s cruise to Central and South America and to Samoa and Hawaii, rounding the Horn on the U. S. S. Alliance. His next shore duty took him to Washington as head of the Time Department of the U. S. Naval Observatory.

At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War he was navigator of the U. S. S. Castine and was actively engaged throughout the war, the Castine being in Cuban waters at the outbreak of hostilities and capturing the Spanish ships Buena Ventura and Pasquette within a few days after war was declared, taking part in the blockading operations off Havana, Cienfuegos, and other Cuban ports, during which she convoyed the famous collier “Merrimac” to the Cuban coast, bombarded the town of Baguiri and sank the Spanish ship Alfonso XII in a sea duel.

In 1899 Lieut. Commander Bronaugh took his ship through the Suez Canal to the Philippines, where the Castine was engaged in subjugating the southern islands, bombarding and taking possession of various native towns. He commanded the naval force that captured the important port of Zamboanga, Mindanao. In 1900 he was given shore duty at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and in 1901 was made executive officer of the battleship Kearsarge on board which he died, Sept. 30, 1902.


The following resume of the brilliant career of Brig. Gen. Cyrus S. Radford, appeared in a Philadelphia paper in the summer of 1929, and in November of the same year Gen. Radford resigned from the service.

Col. Cyrus S. Radford, U. S. Marine Corps, became head of the quartermaster department of the U. S. Marine Corps with rank of brigadier general, upon retirement of Brig. Gen. C. L. McCawley.

Col. Radford has been known to business and financial circles of Philadelphia, Pa., for many years as the commanding officer and directing genius of the Marine Corps depot of supplies, which he founded and developed into an enormous manufac(uring and merchandising establishment having an output of nearly five million dollars worth of goods in the past year. Everything marines use in war or peace, from toothpicks to machine guns, is supplied there. On its payrolls are carried more than 600 men and women employees, while the extent and efficiency of its commercial and industrial operations marks it as one of the leaders in many respects in the field of Philadelphia business organizations.

Coming to Philadelphia 26 years ago as a captain of Marines, Col. Radford has achieved a popularity, both personal and official, such as has seldom fallen to the lot of an officer of the service.

Col. Radford went to Philadelphia determined to create a business organization capable of supplying promptly and acceptably all of the manifold articles needed by the Marine Corps. Previous to that time, as an officer in the field he had suffered from lack of necessary equipment and the aggravating delays which were the rule under the old system, and when he entered the quartermaster department he set about looking for ways and means of effecting a change for the better.

The situation which confronted the Marine Corps was a difficult one to meet. The activity and commercial expansion of the United States following the S’panish War had so extended American interests that calls for marines came to Washington almost daily. Marine forces were in China, the Philippines, in Guam, in Panama, in Nicaragua, in Cuba, and many other foreign countries. From 1898 to the close of the World War there was only one year, 1913, in which no Marine Corps expeditions were sent out, and during some years there were as many as half a dozen.

Sometimes a battalion would be sent, sometimes a regiment, occasionally a brigade. The standard supplies and stores of a battalion weigh in the neighborhood of a thousand tons, a regiment more than three times that much, and a brigade seven to ten times. Under the old system there was no one place in which all these supplies could be found, and when orders were received to send an expedition on its way, there would be a wild rushing around to lofts, storehouses, navy yards, etc., in search for equipment, with results that can be imagined.

This system Col. Radford resolved to supplant by the creation of a central depot and storehouse where all articles of clothing, supply, and equipment used by marines could be manufactured or purchased and stored in sufficient quantity for the equipment of one or a dozen expeditions at a moment’s notice. Owing to its strategic location and its qualities as a manufacturing center and an industrial mart, Philadelphia was chosen as the site for the new enterprise, and in 1904 a small building was erected on the site at Broad street and Washington avenue where the depot is located. This has been added to and expanded until the parent plant at present covers the whole of a city block, while the storehouses at Snyder avenue cover the additional area in the neighborhood of six blocks.

From this enormous plant is supplied all articles of clothing and equipment used by the 17,500 marines who make up that corps. Nearly all clothing, leather goods,metallic articles, etc., are manufactured from raw material purchased there. A few products, including shoes, typewriters, automobiles, firearms, and ammunition, are purchased complete. In all, more than twenty million pounds of equipment were sent out from the Philadelphia depot to marines all over the world during the year 1928.

In addition to this current business, the depot maintains large reserves of stores of all sorts, so that expeditions of any size may be fitted out complete to the last detail within 24 hours. If a battalion or a regiment or a brigade is to be sent overseas for foreign service, all that the corps headquarters in Washington has to do is telegraph the Philadelphia depot the size of the organization that is going and whether its service is to be in the tropics or the arctic or the temperate zone or between and send a transport up the Delaware to receive the equipment.

Col. Radford is a graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy of the class of 1890. He was commissioned a second lieutenant of the Marine Corps in 1892, and served aboard the battleship Texas during the battle of Guantanamo Bay during the destruction of the Spanish fleet, in the War with Spain in 1898. Re was a member of the marine expeditionary force to the Philippines in 1901 and 1902, and served in Panama in 1904, and in Cuba in 1906. He is a director and vice-president of the Bankers Trust Company of this city and is married and has three children. His home is in Bryn Mawr.

In the biographical pages will be found a brief statement of Brig. Gen. Radford’s lineage and family. He deserves to rank in history as one of Christian County’s most illustrious and useful sons, rendering conspicuous service in two of the country’s wars.

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