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WILLIAM FARIS WHITHAM, Sergeant, Company "D"

Submitted by Jane Carson Topoly.

     William Faris Whitham was born on 11 October 1843, the second son and sixth child of George Dement and Rachel Faris Whitham. He was named after his maternal grandfather, a native of Berkeley county, (W) Virginia and early pioneer in the Wheeling area. Born on the family farm in Ohio county, (W) Virginia, William followed his father’s footsteps and became a highly prosperous farmer and sheep raiser. Like most of the Whitham men of his generation, he was commonly referred to by his initials, “W. F.” He enlisted in Co. D of the 12th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry at age 18 on 25 August 1862, along with his cousin Joseph David “J D” Whitham, and served for the duration of the war.

     William’s father died in 1861 and after the war he took over the responsibility of managing the family farm just north of Valley Grove, West Virginia. He had a keen sense of finance and invested wisely during the 1870s, 80s, and 90s. He became one of the leading backers of J D Whitham’s mining ventures in the New Mexico Territory for which he was amply rewarded. On 2 June 1892, at age 49, William married Caroline “Lina” Armstrong, daughter of William and Mary Oldham Armstrong. Lena was born in July 1854 in West Finley Twp, Washington Co, Pennsylvania.

     In 1901 William sold the family farm and he and Lina retired to a comfortable home on Main St. in the village of West Alexander, Pennsylvania. That same year he applied for and received his military pension. Between then and his death on Christmas Eve, 1924, he became one of the founders of the National Bank at West Alexander, served as its president, and invested in quality farm land and livestock. His widow survived until 12 January 1944, dying in her home at age 89. Both William and Lina are buried in the Whitham plot at West Alexander Memorial Cemetery.