Hoddie Wilbur Daniels
Hoddie Wilbur Daniels was born November 23, 1871, in Beverly, West Virginia, the eldest child of William and Minerva McClean Daniels. He spent his early years on a farm and received his early education in the country schools. He later attended Wesleyan College in Buckhannon after which he entered Baltimore Medical College, graduating in 1894. He returned to Randolph County following graduation where, with the exception of a short time in the west, he practiced medicine in Elkins for many years, becoming a prominent physician and also serving as health officer and as a member of the city council.
On October 1, 1895, he married Elizabeth Harper. They had four children of which two daughters, Delaine and Elizabeth, survived infancy.
Hoddie W. Daniels enlisted in the Army on July 28, 1917, and left for officer’s training camp on August 5. He was transferred to the regular Army, 38th Infantry, 3rd Division, on September 1. On March 25, 1918, he sailed overseas, arriving in France April 12. Hoddie W. Daniels was promoted to captain on May 28 and ordered to the front on May 30. He remained there until his death on July 19.
The details of his death were given by Edwin L. James, war correspondent for the New York Times, on July 22, 1918. He wrote that during the fighting north of Chateau Thierry, Captain Daniels, who was in charge of a hospital corps, together with a corporal and eight privates, attempted to provide medical aid to a group of forty captured and wounded Americans who were being guarded behind an embankment by fourteen Germans.
The erstwhile dignified prac[ti]tioneer, 46 years old, crawled on his hands and knees with his squad past our front line down into a deep ditch and drew near the Germans and the wounded captives. Crawling close to the group the Captain stepped boldly into the open and demanded the surrender of the wounded Americans. The enemy began shooting despite the doctor’s Red Cross, . . .
The Americans returned fire, killing eight Germans, the other six surrendering. Captain Daniels and his group waited at the edge of the woods until night fall and then returned to the hospital. Discovering that two of the men had not made it back to the hospital, Captain Daniels went to find them. An article in the November 10, 1999, issue of the Elkins Inter-Mountain states that, while on this mission, Captain Hoddie W. Daniels was killed by a sniper.
The body of Captain Hoddie W. Daniels was returned to the United States and in July of 1921 was given an impressive memorial service in Elkins after which he was buried in Harper Cemetery.
West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history. For more information contact Constance Baston at (304) 558-0230.
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