Maj. Gen. William Shepard Biddle III

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William Shepard Biddle, III

Birthdate: (80)
Birthplace: Fort Wayne, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, United States
Death: January 24, 1981 (80)
Woodbine Nursing Home, Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Place of Burial: Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Maj. William Shepard Biddle and Margaret Alden Biddle
Husband of Madelin Biddle
Brother of Margaret Alden Parker and Martin Burrell Biddle

Occupation: Military officer
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Maj. Gen. William Shepard Biddle III

Birth: Oct. 1, 1900 Fort Wayne Wayne County Michigan, USA

Death: Jan. 24, 1981 Alexandria Alexandria City Virginia, USA

Washington Post, The (DC) - January 27, 1981

Deceased Name: Gen. W. S. Biddle Dies, Decorated Combat Officer

Retired Army Maj. Gen. William Shepard Biddle, 80, a staff officer and decorated combat veteran of World War II who has been a resident of Northern Virginia since 1956, died Saturday at the Woodbine nursing home in Alexandria. He had arteriosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease.

During World War II, Gen. Biddle served in Great Britain and North Africa and later commanded the 113th Mechanized Cavalry Group when it landed in Normandy in June 1944. The unit later was attached to the Ninth Army and made contact with the Red Army near the Elbe River in April 1945.

In 1947, Gen Biddle was assigned to Washington and became deputy chief of the plans ant policy group of the Army General Staff. His other post-war duty included assignments in Europe, Japan, and Korea, and as deputy commanding general of the Fifth Army.

After retiring from active duty in 1960, he returned to Washington and joined Washington Consultants. In 1962, he began a four-year stint as commandant of cadets at the Pennsylvania Military College in Chester, Pa.

He had lived in Alexandria since 1966 and was head riding instructor at the Rock Creek Stables in Washington from 1969 to 1972. He also was a member of the board of the Washington International Horse Show.

Gen. Biddle was awarded 39 military decorations included two Distinguished Service Medals, the Silver Star Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star Medal.

Gen. Biddle was born at Fort Wayne, Michigan while his father was stationed there. He was a 1923 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He served in the Panama Canal Zone and as an assistant military attache in London and Paris before World War II. His wife was the daughter of General John Walton Lang.

Survivors include his wife, the former Madelin Lang of Alexandria; three daughters, Susan Dayton Biddle of Vail, Colo., Harmon Biddle of Washington, and Christina Biddle Maher of Denver; a sister, Margaret B. Parker of Portland, Ore., and one grandchild.


 William Shepard Biddle (1863 - 1938)
 Margaret Alden Burrell Biddle (1876 - 1966)

 Madelin Lang Biddle (1915 - 2009)




Arlington National Cemetery Arlington Arlington County Virginia, USA Plot: Sec: 6, Site: 9148-D


In August, 1896 on one of the long delightful evenings for which the Pacific Northwest is celebrated, the bachelors of the senior mess at Vancouver Barracks—Henry Cabell, Hasbrouck, McCain, Wilhelm, Dr. Stephenson and myself—were lingering at the dinner table over our cigars when who should pop in but Billy Biddle whom we had all known at West Point. Billy McCain, in fact, was a classmate. There was a lot of rank in that crowd as befitting a senior mess. All were first lieutenants but Stephenson. He was a doctor but, with us., rank did not count.

Billy had been promoted to the 14th Infantry in 1892, four years before, but had never joined, having been on duty at the Academy in the Department of Modern Languages. He was invited to join the mess; and, from that evening In 1896 until his death in July, 1938—forty-two years afterwards—his fortunes were linked with the Oregon country which he loved and where he was held in the highest esteem.

William Shepard Biddle, Jr., was the scion of a distinguished family. He was born in Detroit. Michigan, in 1863 and went abroad with his family in 1872. He remained in Europe until 1877, attending schools at Geneva and Heidelberg. Upon his return to his native country, he pursued his studies in Detroit High School until his appointment to West Point in 1881 in succession to his distinguished brother, the late Major General John Biddle. Another brother, Andrew P. Biddle, was appointed to the United States Naval Academy in 1880.

The Biddle family was established in Pennsylvania in the 18th century. Biddle's grandfather was born in Philadelphia, in March, 1792. The grandfather was the son of Charles Biddle, Vice President of Pennsylvania during the Revolutionary War, and a brother of Commodore Nicholas Biddle who performed long and distinguished service in the Navy beginning with the struggle for American Independence. The Biddle family played a leading role in the development of the early history of Michigan and the Northwest.

Major John Biddle served under General Scott on the Niagara frontier. Thomas Biddle was also a major in the United States Army during the campaign of 1812, while the elder brother. Commodore James Biddle, won distinction as a naval officer in that contest.

After the War, Major John Biddle resigned from the Army and went East but soon returned to Detroit where he held many positions of trust—Registrar of the United States Land Office, Mayor of Detroit, Delegate in Congress, President of the State Constitutional Convention, Member of the State Senate. He also contributed in a large measure to the development of the Commonwealth—President of the Michigan Railroad and President of the Farmers’ & Merchants’ Bank of Detroit.

His son, William S. Biddle was born in Detroit in 1830, graduated from Harvard Law School, and began practice in New York City but soon returned to Detroit. He married Susan Dayton Ogden, daughter of Justice Ogden of New Jersey. In 1867 the family moved to Grosse Isle, where the father died in 1902.

The army service of William S. Biddle, Jr., was most varied, most unusual, and most valuable. On graduation. he was assigned to the 13th Infantry on frontier duty in the Indian Territory and New Mexico where he participated in campaigns against the hostile Apaches. On his promotion to the grade of first lieutenant, he was detailed as an Instructor in Modern Languages, at West Point, an assignment for which he was peculiarly qualified.

At the end of this tour, he joined his regiment at Vancouver Barracks, Washington. In 1898, he accompanied his regiment to the Philippine Islands where he participated in the capture of Manila and in other engagements of the Spanish American War. He also engaged in many fights with the Filipino Insurgents, more particularly in the Lawton campaigns of the spring and summer of 1899 and in the fall campaign of Schwan. He had, in the meantime, obtained his captaincy on March 2, 1899.

In 1900, he returned to the United States with his battalion where, after brief tours of duty at Fort Wayne and Fort Brady, Michigan, he was detailed as Military Attache to the American Embassy in Germany. On his return from Germany in 1907, because of impaired health he resigned his commission and took up residence in Portland, Oregon, where he interested himself in business and agriculture. When the United States entered the World War, he re-entered the service as a major in the Adjutant General's Department, National Army. After brief service with an infantry brigade, he was assigned as Chief of Decorations Bureau, Personnel Division, G.H.Q., A.E.F., an assignment for which he was especially qualified on account of his intimate knowledge of German and French. He was always proud of the fact that he himself drafted the citation for the First Division. The draft he wrote was accepted by General Pershing without change.

On his return to the United States after the War, he was held on duty in the War Department until December 31, 1920, when he was honorably discharged and returned home to join his old friends and associates in Portland. Toward the end he withdrew to his farm at Sunnyside on the beautiful Southern Slope of Mount Scott. Here, in a quietude and serenity befitting his life and character, he crossed over the Divide July 11, 1938. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on July 18th of that year. Major Biddle held medals for service in the Indian Wars, Spanish American War, Philippine Insurrection, and World War. He was decorated by the French Government with the Cross of the Knight of the Legion of Honor.

Major Biddle was married in 1897 to Margaret Alden Burrell, a member of a prominent Portland family. He had three children who survive him—a daughter, Margaret Alden, widow of one of Portland’s leading architects, Jamieson Parker; and two sons, William Shepard Biddle, III, Major, Cavalry, and Martin Burrell Biddle of Santa Barbara, California.

—Charles H. Martin, Maj. Oen., U. S. A. Retired.


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Maj. Gen. William Shepard Biddle III's Timeline

October 1, 1900
Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, United States
January 24, 1981
Age 80
Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, United States