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The Clopton Chronicles

A Project of the Clopton Family Genealogical Society

 

 

 

A FRUIT JAR OF WHISKEY & A CHICKEN

IN THE POT

 

 

Regarding

 

Dr. Malvern Bryan Clopton & His Brother

Colonel William Hugh Clopton &

A Few Good Men

 

By Suellen Clopton Blanton,[1] bblanton@fast.net

 

 

 

Meager Beginnings

 

                When he first began to practice medicine,

                Dr. Clopton was often paid in produce,

                Livestock and whiskey.

 

 

Following his graduation from the University of Virginia’s medical school and an internship at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Malvern Bryan Clopton[2] began to practice medicine in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.[3]  A superb education did not assure riches would flow from grateful patients.  A surgeon in practice with Dr. Harvey G. Mudd, he was often given vegetables, chickens, and sometime a fruit jar of whiskey, as payment for his services.[4]

The First World War thrust Dr. Clopton into the thick of things and placed him in the forefront of medical advancements which would lead him, in peace time, to notable contributions in the fields of hygiene, preventive medicine, medical statistics, and hospital construction.[5]  During American participation in the War,[6] Dr. Clopton served as a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army Medical Corps.  He was Chief Surgeon of Base Hospital 21 at Roan, and Commanding Officer of Mobile Hospital No. 4, A.E.F., from July 1918 to January 1919.[7]

            With over a million of his countrymen flooding the battlefields,[8] Dr. Clopton was faced with massive numbers of wounded.  It is a fact that many medical advances are the outcome of experience gained in war; however, until World War I, the lessons did not stick.  The principles of military surgery and casualty evacuation had to be learned over and over again.

                Possibly one of the most worthwhile and enduring benefits of the War was proving that good medical care could be provided in improvised facilities.  Unlike his predecessors in earlier wars, the young surgeon had trained in “clean” surgical procedures.  He had a clear understanding of the need for antiseptics and practiced good hygiene.  Regrettably, even the most powerful antiseptics of the day proved to be no match for the putrefaction and gangrene which plagued the wounded.  Despite the best efforts of Dr. Clopton and his colleagues, chest and abdominal wounds continued to take their toll in grievous numbers.  The War saw the development of the mobile field hospital, allowing physicians and nurses and supplies to follow the movement of troops for emergency treatment.[9]

                The control of contagious diseases was also further advanced than in any previous war.  Immunization against typhoid was now routine.  Tetanus was another great hazard of war.  World War I served as the first large-scale trial of tetanus antitoxin.[10]  Although it would not be until the Second World War that a remarkable dip in the number of casualties among the wounded occurred, it was during this global engagement that surgeons first realized their work did not end when the patient left the operating room.  Thus was born the concept of rehabilitation.

 

 

Those Who Served

 

When the Americans entered the War,

Colonel Clopton and his men took over

one of the main, and most dangerous, tasks

of the artillery:  silencing machine-gun posts.

 

 

While Dr. Clopton struggled to save the wrecked bodies of his compatriots, his brother, William Hugh Clopton, was busy waging war on the battlefield.  The First World War meant swift promotion for veterans, and he quickly found himself a Colonel in the American Tank Corps.  An old horse soldier,[11] he found himself engaged in an exciting and hazardous new field of military art.  The introduction of tanks by the Allies on the Western Front in 1916 dramatically changed the dynamics of land warfare.  When the Americans entered the War, Colonel Clopton and his men took over one of the main, and most dangerous, tasks of the artillery:  silencing machine-gun posts.  Infantry charge against machine-gun and rifle fire often turned into mass suicide.  With endless artillery barrages, movement was impossible, and it was the tank that finally broke the bloody stalemate.[12]

                Colonel Clopton’s cousins who also saw service in France certainly must have welcomed the sight of tanks lumbering into action, lending protection against the merciless machine-guns.  Other Clopton descendants served during World War I, and gratefully returned to their beloved country, thanks, in part, to the advent of the tank.  Those serving were:

 

 

Roscoe Conklin Clopton, U.S.A., of Kentucky and Arkansas, the son of David Owen Clopton and his wife, Laura Angeline Dale.[13]

Henry Lathrop Howell, U.S.A., the son of Percy Vincent Howell of White Plains, Georgia, and his wife, Beulah Benita King.[14]

(Major) Bernard Manning, U.S.A., the son of Lelia Bernard Meredith and her husband, Richard Irvine Manning, II.[15]

(Sergeant Major) John Edgar Manning, U.S.A., the son of Lelia Bernard Meredith and her husband, Richard Irvine Manning, II.[16]

(First Lieutenant) Vivian Meredith Manning, U.S.A., the son of Lelia Bernard Meredith and her husband, Richard Irvine Manning, II.[17]

(Lieutenant) Wyndham Meredith Manning, U.S.A., the son of Lelia Bernard Meredith and her husband, Richard Irvine Manning, II.[18]

(First Lieutenant) Charles Baird Williams, U.S.A., the son of Annis Clopton and her husband, Robert Lucius Williams.[19]

(Second Lieutenant) Robert Haden Williams, U.S.A., the son of Annis and her husband Robert Lucius Williams.[20]

 

 

All The King’s Horses

 

 

Our cousin evidently inhaled a large

amount of gas.  First his throat tightened,

followed by bronchitis.  Pneumonia

quickly dealt a killing punch

and our cousin simply suffocated.

 

 

Neither all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, nor the daring of Colonel Clopton in his tank nor Dr. Clopton’s medical skills, could put them all back together again.  Major William Sinkler Manning did not return with his brothers.  He was killed in action during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.[21]  This action represented the biggest operation and victory of the American Expeditionary Force during the Great War.  Fighting through jagged, mountainous terrain, the Allies were bent on capturing the railroad hub at Sedan,[22] thus breaking the rail net supporting the German Army in France and Flanders.  First under the command of General John J. Pershing,[23] and after April 16, 1918, Lieutenant General Hunter Liggett, the men of the United States First Army fought bravely against approximately forty German divisions.[24]  On November 5, 1918, Major Manning died as the leading United States units reached the hills overlooking Sedan.  Six days later the victory was won.  During the six weeks of the Offensive, the Allies lost 26,277 men, and another 95,786 were wounded.  The village of Montfaucon d’Argonne is today the site of the Meuse-Argonne American Memorial.[25]

Another Clopton cousin, George Izzard Clopton, the son of American Civil War veteran, Dr. John Fielding Clopton[26] and his wife, Wilhelmina Somerville Piggott, would face a gruesome death.  In 1915, the Germans introduced chemical warfare for the first time on a large scale basis.  The Allies, sadly, quickly embraced the idea and soon both sides were lobbing fearsome concoctions.  Although the first mixtures weren’t terribly effective, practice, alas, makes perfect, and by 1917, the Germans introduced a lethal little number called mustard gas.[27]

Dubbed “mustard” gas because of its smell, it was a gruesome device leaving many disabled for life.[28]  It penetrated anything, even gas masks, devices that proved so effective against earlier agents.  A little over eighty-six percent of the injuries involved the eyes.  Skin would blister, sometimes horribly, causing gangrene.  Our cousin, George Izzard, evidently inhaled a large amount of gas.  First his throat tightened, followed by bronchitis.  Pneumonia quickly dealt a killing punch and our cousin simply suffocated.[29]

 

 

Renaissance Man

 

                He gave a collection of woodcuts and

                Etchings valued at $100,000, to Washington

                University in 1945.

 

 

Following The Great War, Dr. Clopton returned to St. Louis.  No longer associated with Dr. Mudd, he practiced surgery exclusively in his native city.  He was closely associated with the Washington University School of Medicine until 1936, where he taught general surgery as an Associate in Surgery and Professor of Clinical Surgery.  He was also visiting surgeon to Barnes and St. Louis Children’s hospitals and consulting surgeon at Jewish Hospital, St. Louis.

                In 1939 Dr. Clopton donated $250,000 for the completion of the Rand-Johnson Memorial Wing of Barnes Hospital and the following year gave a collection of woodcuts and etchings, valued at $100,000, to Washington University.  In 1945, two years before his death, he made a gift of his 850 acre Brookhill Farm, near Clarksville, Missouri, to Washington University, to be used for research in nutrition by the former department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health.[30]  Clopton Auditorium at the University was named for him.  His brother continued to serve his country until his retirement in 1929.

 

 

 

        1.  William Hickman22 Clopton, Esq., C.S.A.  (James Alexander21, William Hales20, Reuben19, William18, William17, William16, William15, Walter14, William13, Richard12, William11, John10, William9, Thomas8, Walter7, William6, Walter5, William4, Walter3, William2, Guillaume1 Peche, Lord Of Cloptunna and Dalham)1 was born August 9, 1847 at Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama, and died 19122.  He married Belle Bryan3 1873, daughter of John Bryan and Eveline McIllvaine.  She was born 1848, and died 1893.

        Mr. Clopton was educated at La Grange (Alabama) Military Academy, 1860-61, Southern University, Greensboro, Alabama, 1861-1862, and received his LL.B. from the University of Virginia at 1868.  He entered the C.S.A. in 1864 and served under General Dan Adams as a member of his escort and later with scouts for the Department of Alabama.  He also served as escort to General Buford.  He was admitted to the Missouri bar and practiced at St. Louis.  He was appointed U.S. Attorney by President Cleveland for the Eastern District of Missouri in 1894.  He was an active member of the Democratic State Central Committee.

       

Children of William Clopton and Belle Bryan are:

        2                 i.    Malvern Bryan23 Clopton, M.D., born October 8, 1875 at St. Louis, Missouri3; died April 21, 1947 at Wianno, Massachusetts4.  He married (1) Lily Lambert October 20, 1909 at New York, New York5; born January 9, 1884; died November 19, 19116.  He married (2) Rachel Lowe7 July 11, 1934 at Rindge, New Hampshire8

                                 Dr. Clopton was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the St. Louis Medical Society, St. Louis Surgical Society, American Surgical Association, American Medical Association, Society of Clinical Surgery, Southern Surgical Society, Washington Surgical Society, Interurban Surgical Society, the Army & Navy Club, Washington, D.C., and the Bogey Golf and Racquet Club, St. Louis Country Club, Log Cabin Club, Round Table Club, and University Club of St. Louis.  He was a member of the Corporation of Washington University until 1943, serving as President from 1932.  He was a Democrat and was a communicant at St. Michael and St. George’s Episcopal Church.

        3                ii.    William Hugh Clopton, born December 13, 18789.  He married Margaret Agnes Corcoran October 11, 1905.

        4               iii.    Emily Clopton, born February 13, 18859.  She married Elkins Franklin9; died January 23, 1932 at Honolulu while playing polo10.

        5               iv.    John Walter Clopton10.  He married Laura Blount

 

 

Endnotes

 

1.  Broderbund, The Abridged Compendium of American Genealogy,  (Courtesy of Bert Hampton Blanton, Jr.), "CD-ROM," Volume IV, p. 560., Also listed in Volumes I, II, & III along with the information regarding his wife.

2.  Erwin, Ancestry of William Clopton of York County,  (Courtesy of William Purcell Clopton), p. 193.

3.  The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, p. 159.

4.  Broderbund, The Abridged Compendium of American Genealogy,  (Courtesy of Bert Hampton Blanton, Jr.), "CD-ROM," Vol. IV, p. 560.

5.  The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, p. 159.

6.  Broderbund, The Abridged Compendium of American Genealogy,  (Courtesy of Bert Hampton Blanton, Jr.), "CD-ROM," Vol. IV. p. 560.

7.  Broderbund, The Abridged Compendium of American Genealogy,  (Courtesy of Bert Hampton Blanton, Jr.), "CD-ROM," Vol. IV, p. 560.

8.  The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, p. 159.

9.  Broderbund, The Abridged Compendium of American Genealogy,  (Courtesy of Bert Hampton Blanton, Jr.), "CD-ROM," Volume III, p. 127.

10.  Erwin, Ancestry of William Clopton of York County,  (Courtesy of William Purcell Clopton), p. 194.

 

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[1] A Fruit Jar of Whiskey & A Chicken in the Pot, is an excerpt from The Clopton Chronicles, the Ancestors and Descendants of Sir Thomas Clopton, Knight & Dame Katherine Mylde, and is the property of the Clopton Family Genealogical Society which holds the copyright on this material.  Permission is granted to quote or reprint articles for noncommercial use provided credit is given to the CFGS and to the author.  Prior written permission must be obtained from the Society for commercial use.

Suellen (Clopton) DeLoach Blanton is Founder and Executive Director of The Clopton Family Genealogical Society & Clopton Family Archives.

The Society wishes to thank Paul G. Anderson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, the Becker Medical Library, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri; William D. Bassman, Chief, Reference Service Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, National Personnel Records Center, Civilian Personnel Records, St. Louis, Missouri,  Paul Connor, Reference Librarian, Library of Congress, Local History & Genealogy Room, LJ G 42, Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D. C.; Christina L. Gerwitz, Archival Technician, Archives of the United States of America, Washington, D. C.; Danielle Gierer, St. Michael and St. George’s Episcopal Church, St. Louis, Missouri; Geoffrey Miller; and, Michael E. Hanlon and Mike Iavarone, of The Doughboy Center, http://www.mcs.net/~mikei/tgws/pres.htm, for their assistance.

Also thanks to Clopton descendants Franklin G. Babbitt; Dr. James Malvern “Mal” Clopton; and James M McMillen.

[2] The son of William Hickman Clopton, Esq., C.S.A. and his wife, Belle Bryan.  An abbreviated genealogy follows.  For a complete genealogy of this Clopton line, see William Clopton of St. Paul’s Parish & His Wife Joyce Wilkinson of Black Creek

[3] The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography being the History of the United States of America, James T. White & Company, 1950, reprint, University Microfilms, A Xerox Company, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1967, p. 159.  He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1897 and at Johns Hopkins he was intern and assistant resident surgeon.  He began his practice with Dr. Harvey G. Mudd.

[4] Clopton Family Newsletter, December 1991, p. 9.  As told by Dr. James Malvern “Mal” Clopton, of Birmingham, Alabama, first cousin once removed of Dr. Malvern Bryan Clopton.  His father drove the buggy for Dr. Clopton as he made his medical rounds and well remembers the meager payments.  Not the only physician in the family to settle for such meager pay, Dr. Thomas B. Clopton’s medical ledger gives ample proof of this custom.  See Dr. Thom.

[5] The New Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., Philip W. Goetz, Editor in Chief, 1987, Volume 23, p. 918.

[6] The War began in 1914, however, the United States did not commit troops until 1917.  The War pitted the Central Powers, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey, against the Entente Powers, or Allies, which included France, Great Britain, Russia, Italy, Japan, and the United States.

[7] Malvern Bryan Clopton Collection, the Becker Medical Library, Washington University.  A copy of his military records is located at the United States Archives, Washington, D.C.

[8] The New Encyclopedia, Volume 12, p. 758.  There were 1,200,000 Americans serving by September 1918.  It was the late entrance of the Americans which turned the tide and helped win the War.

[9] The New Encyclopedia, Volume 23, p. 918.

[10] The New Encyclopedia, Volume 23, p. 896.  The antitoxin proved to be effective, but it would not be until World War II that a antitoxin was tested which provided a high degree of protection.

[11] Clopton Family Newsletter, December 1992, p. 14, “William Hugh Clopton,” by Franklin G. Babbitt, notes the Official Army Register, dated December 1, 1918 (Washington:  GPO, 1919) does not, contrary to several published Clopton genealogies, confirm service in Cuba with the 6th Missouri Volunteer Infantry, nor as a Second Lieutenant, 23rd Volunteers of 3rd N.S. Infantry for service during insurrection in the Philippine Islands.  After attending Culver Military Academy, he is shown as Sergeant in 1898 and by 1912, a graduate of Mounted Service School (cavalry).  A copy of his military records is located at the United States Archives, Washington, D.C.

[12] A Modern Illustrated Military History, Land Power, Exeter Books, New York, 1979.

[13] The Ancestors and Descendants of William Clopton of York County, Virginia, Compiled by Gene Carlton Clopton, Privately Printed, Phoenix Printing, Inc., Atlanta, 1984, p. 176.  Born Roscoe Clopton, Mr. Clopton married Mary Olivia Carpenter and added the name “Conklin” when he entered the army.  The couple had two sons.

[14] Lucy Lane Erwin (Mrs. William Whitehead Erwin), The Ancestry of William Clopton of York County, Virginia. Privately Printed - Limited Edition, The Tuttle Publishing Co., Inc., Rutland, Vermont, 1939, p. 211.  He died shortly after the War in 1920.  The name of his wife is unknown, but he had one daughter, Margaret, born the year of his death.

[15] Erwin, The Ancestry of William Clopton, p. 196.  He married Katherine Burton.

[16] Erwin, The Ancestry of William Clopton, p. 196.  He married Margaret S. Elliott.

[17] Erwin, The Ancestry of William Clopton, p. 196.  He married Adair McDowell.

[18] Erwin, The Ancestry of William Clopton, p. 196.  He married Laura A. Stevens.

[19] Erwin, The Ancestry of William Clopton, p. 202.

[20] Erwin, The Ancestry of William Clopton, p. 202.  In 1939, he was a Professor of Languages at Brown University, Providence Rhode Island.

[21] Erwin, The Ancestry of William Clopton, p. 196.  He married  Barbara Brodie.

[22] Located in the Verdun Sector, immediately north and northwest of the town of Verdun.

[23] See Pea Ridge Memories.

[24] The Big Show, The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Part I, The Story of the American Expeditionary Force, Doughboy Center, The Great War Society, http://www.worldwar1.com/dbc/bigshow.htm The divisions were from the Army Groups of the crown Prince and General Max Carl von Gallwitz participated in the battle with the largest contribution by the Fifth Army of Group Gallwitz commanded by General Georg von der Marwitz.

[25]Charles Fair, The 1918 Meuse-Argonne Offensive – Some U. S. Army Sites, Charles Fair Battlefield Guide, September, 1997, http://www.hellfire-corner.demon.co.uk/charles39.htm

[26] See All This Nonsense

[27] The New Encyclopedia, Volume 3, p. 160.  A vesicant (blistering agent) compounded from carbon, hydrogen, sulfur, and chlorine.

[28] Annals of Plastic Surgery, Volume 10, Number 4, October 1987, by Aasted, Darre, and Wulf.  Dichloro-ethyl sulfide will undergo a rapid reaction with water, forming hydrochloric acid, as well as the remnant of the diethyl sulfide molecule.  Tons of shells were dumped in the ocean by the allies near the Danish island of Christianso and the Swedish islands of Gotland after the war.  Danish physicians reported on mustard gas burns in fishermen who trawled up World War I mustard gas shells.  As late as 1983, fishermen exhibited varying degrees of burns.  These shells continue to corrode.

[30] The National Cyclopaedia, Volume XXXVI, p. 159.