William McBryar MOH

b. 14/02/1861 Elizabethtown, North Carolina. d. 08/03/1941 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 07/03/1890 Arizona Territory.

William McBryar MOH

William McBryar was born February 14, 1861, in Elizabethtown, North Carolina to Rose Black. McBryar attended St. Augustine’s Normal College starting in 1883 and entered the collegiate program in 1885. On his individual service report, his listed “physics, political [economy], science of government, sociology” as areas of professional or scientific study and investigation other than military. He also wrote that he studied “Latin and Spanish” and was able to speak Spanish. He left college one year prior to graduating and appeared as a labourer in New York on the census.

McBryar enlisted in the 10th Cavalry on January 3, 1887, for a period of five years and requested assignment on the frontier. A Buffalo Soldier in the United States Army, he received America’s highest military decoration – the Medal of Honor – for his actions during the March 7, 1890, Cherry Creek Campaign in Arizona Territory while serving as a sergeant in Company K of the 10th Cavalry Regiment. On that day, he participated in an engagement in Arizona where he “[d]istinguished himself for coolness, bravery and marksmanship while his troop was in pursuit of hostile Apache Indians.” For his actions, Sergeant McBryar was awarded the Medal of Honor two months later, on May 15, 1890.

He reenlisted in the 25th Infantry and was deployed to the Spanish American War, serving with distinction at the Battle of El Caney, Cuba. For his gallantry, he received a commission as a First Lieutenant in the 8th U. S. Volunteer Infantry. A letter from the Adjutant General’s Office, Washington dated September 7, 1898, to Col Huggins, Fort Thomas, Kentucky, states “McBryar, Goings and Gaither this day commissioned.” LT McBryar accepted via Western Union Telegraph on September 13, 1898. He accepted a commission as a 2LT in the 49th U.S. Volunteer Infantry and served with Company M, Piat, Luzon, Philippines during the Philippine–American War. In May 1900 he led a group of soldiers that captured an enemy guerilla unit in Cagayan. He was mustered out with his unit on June 1, 1900, at Presidio, California.

He married Sallie B. Waugh on December 10, 1906, in Greensboro, North Carolina by Reverend J.G. Walker. A record is on file at the Greensboro, North Carolina Court House. This was the first marriage for both McBryar and Waugh, and no children were born to this union. Waugh died in 1928 and McBryar remarried Lucy E. Sweatt of Lynch, Kentucky on July 13, 1933. However, the marriage failed and ended in divorce on July 20, 1938.

McBryar worked as a watchman at the Arlington National Cemetery in 1909. After returning to his farm for two years, McBryar then taught as a military instructor at Saint Paul’s Normal and Industrial School near Lawrenceville, Virginia for one year from 1911-1912. He began working for the Federal Penitentiary Service at the federal prison on McNeil Island in Washington state at noon on March 20, 1914. McBryar had several jobs after this. He taught at a school from 1924 – 1928. He then attended school for four years. He graduated Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University in 1934 at the age of 73 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture. McBryar returned to teaching again in 1935.



Distinguished himself for coolness, bravery, and marksmanship while his troop was in pursuit of hostile Apache Indians.