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Alex Chilton: 1911

Alex Chilton: 1911

1911. "Lt. Alexander W. Chilton, 15th Cavalry." In or around Washington. National Photo Company glass negative. Library of Congress. View full size.

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I actually met him.

My great uncle was a professor at New Mexico State University; by the time I went there from 1977-1980, he was gone. His daughter, my cousin, lived in his house and had soirees every weekend; I was always invited. Among the guests were eminences from the upper crust of Las Cruces (such as it was). I had dinner at various times with the University president, several local politicians, Clyde Tombaugh (the discoverer of Pluto), and Colonel Chilton. I do not remember a thing about him.

Oldest living West Pointer

Alexander Wheeler Chilton, born June 28, 1886, graduated West Point in the Class of 1907, ranked 39 out of 111. After retiring in 1936 as a lieutenant colonel he entered active duty in 1940 and retired for the second time as a colonel due to disability in 1946. On August 4, 1984, he became the oldest living West point graduate. He died September 17, 1985, at the age of 99.


While I agree the stirrup is a little long, perhaps the lighter saddle is for jumping. Your body is out of the saddle anyways, and less weight is less weight and less material needed. It looks like ones I have used. Good heels though.


Neat that while he is indeed ramrod straight, he's riding with both a longer stirrup and much more forward leg position than you would normally see today. He also doesn't seem to be using any sort of saddle pad, which is interesting.

I wonder if that was just because he was relaxed, was a mediocre rider, or if position has evolved. (Although you'd think not so much in the last 100 years, given all the emphasis on riding before!) My guess is that' he's just relaxing, given the loose reins and collapsed wrists.

Yeah, I'm a geek.

In the dictionary...

...illustrating "ramrod-straight posture."

Chilton the Son

Based on your info on Alexander Jr (and other great info) checked the USNA alumni database for the son since there was a chance that since he was a Marine officer he made into the Naval Academy (OK - no jokes about USNA taking him after not making it into USMA). No dice. He must have entered service and became an officer another way.

In addition, about dad, the Summer 1944 U.S. Government Manual published by the Office of War Information's Division of Public Inquiries lists "Director, Army Specialized Training Division: Col. Alexander W. Chilton."

Also a clipping titled "Sons of Bremerton Men Today Follow in Father's War steps"

Chilton the Author

In 1917, as an assistant professor of history at West Point, Alexander W. Chilton co-authored "The History of Europe from 1862 to 1914," available on Google Books. The title's a little off; the book's final page mentions the U.S. declaration of war in April 1917 and the fourth anniversary of the start of the war. Two years later the same pair issued "A Brief History of Europe from 1789-1815," which is also available on Google Books. In 1923, the same pair wrote "English Analysis And Exposition."

But lest you think he wrote only dry textbooks, he is also credited as the co-author of the story upon which the 1927 silent movie "Dress Parade," a romance set at West Point, was based. However, when the movie was released, a West Point student, Lieut. John Hopper, sued DeMille Pictures Corp. and Pathe Exchange for a million dollars, alleging that he had written the story first (the year before) and that it had been plagiarized. "West Pointer asks $1,000,000, Alleges Story Plagiarized," Syracuse Herald, May 4, 1928, at 23. I can't find an story on the outcome of the suit, but when the film was re-released in 1944, Chilton, not Hopper, was credited as the author. The Internet Movie Database does the same.

Chilton's son, Alexander Jr., sat for the West Point entrance exams in 1936, but he appears to have ended up as a Marine; he's listed as a major in Headquarters Company of the 3rd Battalion of the 7th Marines in the Battle of Okinawa, and as a Lt. Colonel and the commanding officer for the 2nd battalion of the 9th Marines from 1957 to 1958.

Alexander Chilton and family

(It's slow at the reference desk this afternoon.)

The 1930 U.S. Census has Alexander Chilton, 43, an Army officer, living in Las Cruces, NM. Born in Minnesota about 1897, father from Canada, mother from New York. Wife's name Armitea, 38, son Alexander, 11. Also in the household is Jose Figueroa, 27, servant.

There's a U.S. Veterans Gravesites record for Alexander Wheeler Chilton, a colonel in the U.S. Army in WWI and WWII, (28 Jun 1886 - 17 Sep 1985), service start 1 Aug 1903, buried in the Santa Fe National Cemetery Section 3 Site 850 in New Mexico on 24 September 1985.

There's also one for an Omira Baily Chilton (26 Feb 1892 - 19 Jun 1979), wife of Alexander W. Chilton, buried in the Santa Fe National Cemetery Section 3 Site 850 on 27 Jun 1979.

Alex Chilton (Heh, heh!)

"It is written in the stars
He'll get his captain's bars,
But he hasn't got enough box tops yet."
-- Tom Lehrer

Steve Miller
Someplace near the crossroads of America

Lt Chilton

Not exactly a GI haircut.

Alex > John

Wow, in that portrait link, he resembles John Cusack.

Chilton, West Point Grad

Washington Post, Jun 2, 1911

Army Orders

Second Lieut. ALEXANDER W. CHILTON, Twentieth Infantry, will proceed to Fort Snelling, Minn., and report to the commanding officer of that post for duty.

Portrait of Alexander W. Chilton, long-lived graduate of West Point.

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