Buffalo Soldiers Research Museum


Our Journey with Trooper William H. Waddell
9th U.S. Cavalry

George Hicks, III
Carmon Weaver Hicks, Ph.D.
September 2005

Trooper Waddell with Trooper HicksDr. William H. Waddell was one of the keynote speakers at the 134th Annual Reunion of the 9th and 10th (Horse) Cavalry Association held from July 26-29, 2000 in Kansas City, MO. The reunion theme - “A Youth’s Charge to Keep: Remember the Legacy, Record the Deeds” – was a great setting to meet Trooper Waddell (pictured with George Hicks, III, 7/2000). He was a lively, entertaining speaker and his personality made all of us smile.

During his presentation, he spoke about his life. He talked about his days at Tuskegee Institute when he worked with George Washington Carver on the medical uses of peanut oil. He developed a cream to help prevent wrinkles. Someone in the audience wanted to know the ingredients in the cream. He said that it included a small portion of human urine. When the audience laughed, he said, “I am 92 years old and look at my face.” We noted that he looked good for his age and, during the reunion, watched him enjoy the events without any indication that he was in his 90s.

A few weeks later after we had returned home to Cincinnati, I was outside and noticed a piece of paper lying in our yard. The folded sheet of paper contained information about Trooper William Waddell. It is still unclear to me how it got there. It had a cancelled postmark from Hawaii dated September 28, 2000.  Handwritten across the top of the page it said –

May the stars above always smile upon you
With the Golden Rule in your left hand
The Ten Commandments in your right hand
And with the Man above
Running your interference, Success will be yours.
Trooper Waddell

The sheet contained three photographs of Waddell in military uniform; one with him in a full dress cavalry riding uniform. A list of dates with his activities from 1935 to 1996 and words from an interview were included. The list of events showed that he received more than a dozen citations, many awards and plaques, served as chairman of state and national groups, and was the honored guest at numerous events. In 1984, he received a citation from Governor Robb in Virginia and Roy West, Mayor of Richmond, Virginia for his outstanding performance in veterinary medicine and as an outstanding citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In the same year, he received another citation from Governor George Wallace of Alabama for his role in founding the School of Veterinary Medicine at Tuskegee Universities and for services to the state of Alabama.

When asked “What are you most proud of as a veterinarian?” The sheet contained the following words - “The ability, the patience, and the knack of communication with veterinarians and people of all nationalities, as well as implementing the spirit of Judeo-Christian ethics in logical discussions which will inhibit force, violence, and rock throwing. In my daily work, I am writing five or six letters a day, trying to alleviate misunderstandings among some veterinarians, misunderstandings which may be attributable to our recession; working with problems of homosexuality; and particularly working on questions among women veterinarians. I have been a strong advocate of women in veterinary medicine, dating back to the early 1960s.” It also stated this information - CREDO - Golden Rule/Ten Commandments, Communication/ Cooperation, Coalition/Coordination, Credibility/Commitments, Contributions/Capability, Conservation/Creativity and COMPROMISE.

Information from meeting Trooper Waddell in Kansas City and the form letter found in the yard later were filed with other correspondences from Buffalo Soldiers. Two years later, I wrote a letter to him but it was returned with the message that the address was incorrect.
On Tuesday, September 21, 2004, Carmon received an email message from a friend at John Tyler Community College in Chester, Virginia (located just south of Richmond). She wanted to know if we had any information on William Waddell.
She wrote, “He works with the Buffalo Soldiers and resides in Hawaii. He was a veterinarian in North Dakota until his retirement. He worked with horses in the 9th and 10th Cavalries and says this is what made him want to become a vet. He had written two books. One I think is “People are the Funniest Animals.” We visited with him in 2001 at the Buffalo Soldiers Reunion in Atlanta. He talked about having lived and worked in Canada. His home is Richmond, Virginia, and he is my mother’s first cousin. Because she suffers from dementia, she can’t remember very much about him. We didn’t get to ask him many questions because other family members were there and they were talking about growing up in Richmond and he was recalling people and places he remembered. I was wondering how deeply his involvement went back into the history of the Buffalo Soldiers organization. He has a large assortment of metals that must weigh about 60 pounds that he wears when he dresses to speak at their meetings. If you have any information on him, I would appreciate reading it.”
Veronica Strane

Waddell with medals
William Waddell in white hat wearing all of his medals
Ft. Leavenworth, KS 2000
BSRM Collection

That email motivated me to start researching this Buffalo Soldier. Then, just one week after I started a new working file on Trooper William H. Waddell, Carmon and I invited a friend, Sharon Jordan, and her son to our home for a cookout.  Later that evening, we shared with them our Buffalo Soldiers slide presentation. When Sharon saw a slide of William Waddell, she yelled, “That’s Mr. Waddell!” They were neighbors when she lived in Hawaii. She said that she visited him at his house and they had many conversations. He talked with her about his books, animals, and religion.  She mentioned she had an old telephone book with her friends from Hawaii and she would provide us with his telephone number.

We have purchased two of William H. Waddell’s books - Some Bastardly People (1995) and People are the Funniest Animals (1978). He has several other publications – Buffalo Soldier (1995), Dear Old MIS (1995), The Negro in Veterinary Medicine (1969), and A Challenge to Christianity (n.d.). Several books are currently out of print. Dr. Waddell’s wife, Lottie Young Waddell died in 1989. They have one daughter, Dr. Kathryn Waddell Takara who teaches in the Ethnic Studies program at the University of Hawaii. (www.augustabuffalosoldiers.com retrieved 9/3/05).

In July, 2005 when we attended the 139th Annual Reunion of the 9th and 10th (Horse) Cavalry Association in Tampa, we learned that Trooper William H. Waddell had passed.  He joined his fellow cavalrymen at Fiddler’s Green. “His Story” is sketchy but we will continue to research his military past.


William Waddell was born in 1908, the son of a Virginia horse driver. His father had a horse named Charlie and as a child, he enjoyed working with horses and mules.  He worked at the Homestead Hotel in Hot Springs, Virginia during the summers and met many famous people like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Mrs. A. M. Bonds. Mrs. Bonds helped his admission to the University of Pennsylvania - School of Veterinary Medicine. He was the only black member of his 1935 graduating class and passed the State Board Exams for Pennsylvania and West Virginia. ---Tuskegee Institute when he worked with George Washington Carver on the medical uses of peanut oil He accompanied Carver to the future president’s Georgia retreat where they massaged him with peanut oil to help relieve the discomfort of his paralysis. They worked together from 1935 until Carver’s death in 1943. From 1935-1941, Waddell researched calcium and pokeberry weed. In 1938, he co-founded the school of Veterinary Medicine at Tuskegee, Alabama and worked in private practice until World War II.

During World War II, Waddell served as a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army’s 9th Cavalry, 5th Brigade. He served in Africa and Italy in 1943 and 1944 and oversaw the care of 10,000 horses and mules. In 1944, while his brigade traveled with supplies and food for troops in North Africa, his mule was shot by German forces. The impact knocked Waddell off his mule and he was shot in the neck while tending to the mule. Waddell spent 90 days in a field hospital in North Africa before returning to active duty with his unit.

We know much of the rest of his story. Trooper William H. Waddell, World War II Buffalo Soldier and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, served his country throughout his life. We feel honored to have met him.

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