Lt. Col. William Hickman Radcliffe I. 37,50
- Born: 15 Aug 1879, Springfield, , IL, USA 16,39,259
- Marriage: Bertha Wilkes on 11 Jul 1908 in Chicago, Cook , IL, USA 27,39,76
- Died: 27 Nov 1952, San Francisco, CA at age 73 16,260
- Buried: 3 Dec 1952, Golden Gate Nat'l Cemetery, San Mateo CA 16
Town of Radcliff, KY named after this man.
From Richard Radcliffe:
Retired as Colonel, US Army Corps of Engineers. During WWI, served as builder of Fort Knox, KY. Uncle of Richard Perry Radcliffe.
Note: In a 1963 issue of Lincoln Lore, it mentions that Uncle Will married a Barbour. She told Will of a fireplace mantel built by Thomas Lincoln (Abe's father) and Uncle Will bought it and relocated it to Fort Knox. It is now in the Lincoln Room of the Officer's Club at the Fort.
From Sally Packard:
(Lt. Col., according to Sally Packard - 11-2005) Graduated from the University of Illinois as a civil engineer. Sally says he was a commander of Ft. Knox in Kentucky during WWI and afterwards worked for the VA. He took the plans for VA hospitals that came out of Washington and adapted them for California, making them earthquake resistant.)
Buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno, San Mateo County, CA. Buried with family -- his son, daughter-in-law, more.
Lived for a time in Palo Alto, CA.
From Paul W. Urbahns (off the internet 12-11-2005)
Attended Springfield [IL] High School and served as class president. Graduated from the U. of Illinois, class of 1902, with an engineering degree. Upon graduation he found employment with the American Bridge Company and played a part in the bridge construction along the Mississippi River.
During WWI, Radcliffe served in the Quartermaster Corps and came to Stithton, Kentucky in July, 1918. It has been written the Major Radcliffe was good friends with Horace McCullum. This is very likely as by all reports Horace McCullum was a very likeable guy. Major Radcliffe was living in Elizabethtown during most of his time at Camp Knox, and Elizabethtown was the main area having some commercial connections.
Radcliffe does not appear to have stayed in the area long. He did, however, attain the rank of Colonel prior to separation from the Army. By 1925, he had accepted a job with the Veterans Administration as supervising the superintendent of construction, supply and real estate on the west coast.
In all Radcliffe spent 16 years with American Bridge, just over five in the Army and 25 years with the Veterans Administration as supervising superintendent of construction, supply and real estate on the west coast.
The town of Radcliff officially dropped the "e" in 1956 when it was incorporated by the Hardin County Court. The most often reason given is that the move was a way for the town to show its independence. Good story, however, there were probably other more concrete reasons. One of these was probably because the name was being spelled both ways.
As far as we now know, both the original town survey by J.T. Mcnary and McCullum's Elizabethtown news advertisement spelled the name without the "e". County maps as early as 1924 list the town as Radcliff. The deeds on file at the courthouse for that period generally included the "e." Besides a traveler new to the area would have probably called the town "Rad-cliff-ee."
Emotions in the area favored keeping the "e." As one resident stated, "They named the town after the man, they should have left it alone."
Interestingly enough is the fact that none of the biographical information on file at the Radcliff Chamber of Commerce office about Major Radcliffe lists a town being named after him! In fact, one of the last forms that Radcliffe personally completed as a questionaire for the University of Illinois Alumni Records Division. The questionnaire consisted of approximately 50 entries of which Major Radcliffe only completed 16. Apparently major Radcliffe was a very private person.
From the Radcliff, KY web site:
From humble beginnings, Radcliff today is a city of approximately 22,000 citizens. Incorporated in 1956, Radcliff was actually born in 1919, when a man named Horace McCullum subdivided lots along Wilson Avenue and sold them at auction to the highest bidder. McCullum named the new community after his friend Major William Radcliffe, head of the Quartermaster Corps at the newly established Camp Henry Knox. After selling the general store which he had opened in the new town, McCullum no longer played a role in the development of the town into Kentucky's fastest growing city.
The next significant step in Radcliff's history happened during the 1930's when Fort Knox expanded and dislocated the towns of Stithton and New Stithton causing various residents and businesses of those communities to move to Radcliff. During World War II, thousands of soldiers trained at Fort Knox and spent their leisure hours at the USO in Radcliff.
Hardin Water District No. 1 was formed in 1953, and became a reality in 1955 with the sale of bonds to finance the project. Today, the Water District is the principle source of fresh water to all Hardin County. Radcliff's Fire Department was established in 1955, with Joseph B. Hutcherson named the first Fire Chief. The Radcliff Civic Club was also organized that year with the city being incorporated in March 1956 as a 6th class city. Radcliff Police Department was formed with officers paid on a fee basis. The population was estimated at 800. The population growth of Radcliff over the last 50 years has been nothing short of amazing. Starting with 800 in 1956, the Census Bureau reported populations of 3,381 in 1960, 8,281 in 1970, 14,519 in 1980, and 21,961 in 2000. Compiled by Paul W. Urbahns
From Joseph Radcliffe and His Descendants 1802-1924 (printed in 1924):
b. 8-15-1879, in Springfield, Ill. In 1903, he moved to Chicago with his parents. He m. 7-11-1908, to Bertha, dau. of J.H. & Harriet (Estesbrook) Wilkes. William H. is a civil engineer. About 1-1-1917, he enlisted in the Construction Division of the American Expeditionary Forces in the World War, and served as Captain. After the war, he remained in the service and was Major in the same Division, and was stationed in Denver, but has recently left the service and is in the construction business. Residence 1881 Dahlia St., Denver, Colorado. [Written in at a later date: Moved to Palo Alto, Cal.]
RPRadcliffe wrote that Uncle Will, William Hickman Radcliffe probably lived in Elizabethtown because "Cousin Bill mentioned that he lived there as a lad." For complete text, see photo box. 11,37
Noted events in his life were:
• Residence, 4 Jun 1880, Springfield, Sangamon County, IL. 25 Living here are James P. Radcliffe, his mother Elizabeth, his wife "Burnett B", son William H., and Elizabeth B. who was his sister. Also living here is Frank Zimmerman, a boarder lawyer.
• Education: Springfield High School. 39 Class President.
• Residence, 1 Jun 1900, 727 N. Seventh St., Springfield. 34
• Education: University of Illinois: Champaign, Champaign, IL. 39,347 B.S. in C.E. [civil engineering]; Erecting Engr.; Class Foot Ball (sic) Team; Vice Pres. of C.E. Club; Asst. Bus. Mgr. Illio; Technograph Bd., 1900; Tau Beta Pi Amer. Bridge Co., 100:; Paige Iron Works, 1901; Amer. Bridge Co., Erecting Dept., Asst. Engr., 1902; Erecting Engr., 1910.
Class President of his Springfield (IL) high school class, member of the class football team; vice president of C.E. Club; Assistant Business Manager of Illio; Technograph Board in 1900.
• Residence, 20 Apr 1910, 6155 Champlaine Ave., Chicago, Cook, IL. 13 Living here are William H. Radcliffe as head, wife Bertha W., son William H. Jr., and lodger Madeline J. Fisher.
• Occupation: Civil Engineer for Bridge working company, 20 Apr 1910. 13
• Residence, 1913, 1332 Commercial National Bank Bldg., Chicago, Cook, IL. 39 This is the address listed for him in the U of I yearbook, but I'm not sure if this was his home or his work.
• Residence: Rented home, 6 Jan 1920, 1736 Seventeenth Ave. Denver, Denver, CO. 14
• Occupation: Major something in US Army, 6 Jan 1920, Denver, Denver, CO. 14
• Military Service: Col US Army WWII, 29 Jun 1925. 137 Source for above info was U.S. Gravesites. The U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962 says he served in WWI, enlisting in 1918. His retirement date shows 6-29-1948.
• Residence, 12 Apr 1930, 311 Portola, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, CA. 3 Owned this home, valued at $10,000. Also owned a radio.
• Occupation: Structural Engineer, US Veteran's Bureau, 12 Apr 1930, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, CA. 3 He's listed as Contruction Superintendent for the US Veterans' Hospital in the Palo Alto CA city directory in 1930.
• Employment: VA representative, 1Jun 1945, Fresno, CA. 348 The mayor of Fresno announced he will present to the city commission a proposal to provide a site of 10 acres or more in or adjacent to the city for the consturction by the federal government before the war ends of a $1,000,000 veterans' hospital of 300 bed capacity, this capacity later to be tripled. Colonel Wm. Radcliffe, a veterans' administration representative, came to Fresno some time ago and was shown a number of sites by Healey & his fellow committeemen. Radcliffe chose and recommended to Washington the site at the fairground.... Col. Louis H. Tripp, chief of the VA construciton division, then informed Gearhart he was willing to send Radcliffe back to Fresno to determine upon another site for wartime construction of the hospital if the city so desires.... Leymel reported Radcliffe was not greatly impressed by the several other sites shwon to him, including the Fresno Municipal Golf Course north of the city. Healey, however, said the colonel indicated definitely two of the locations, both immediately adjacent to the city, would be acceptable.... Radcliffe announced VA requireemnts as follows:...
• Burial, 1952. 137 Golden Gate National Cemetery, Section N Site 2457
William married Bertha Wilkes, daughter of John H. Wilkes and Harriett Estesbrook, on 11 Jul 1908 in Chicago, Cook , IL, USA 27,39.,76 (Bertha Wilkes was born on 12 Jul 1881 in Terre Haute, Indiana,3,16,255 died on 24 Aug 1972 in , , CA, USA 16 and was buried on 30 Aug 1972 in Golden Gate Nat'l Cemetery, San Mateo CA 16,137.)