William S. Biddle (1865 – )

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WILLIAM S. BIDDLE, M. D., of Haleyville, was born at Normandy Station, Bedford county, Tenn., Feb. 15, 1865. His paternal grandparents, Samuel and Sallie (Quinn) Biddle, came to Alabama at an early date and settled near Fort Payne, De Kalb county, where they raised a large family of children, one of whom was James C. Biddle, father of the subject of this sketch. He was born in 1839 and until after the Civil war was engaged in farming. At the beginning of the war he enlisted in the Confederate service and served until almost the final close of hostilities. Since 1868 he has been engaged in the practice of medicine, the greater part of the time at Earl, Ark. He married Temperance E. Smith, born near Fort Payne, and reared a family of five children, of which William S. is the eldest. The second son, Benjamin F., was murdered at Alene, Ark., by a man named Thomas Smith, March 12, 1894.

Dr. William S. Biddle received a telegram at Haleyville, announcing the sad event, and, after making a rapid drive over thirty miles of country, caught a fast train and started in pursuit of the murderer. The chase lasted two and a half months, leading through the Indian Territory, Texas, and ending at Pueblo, Colo., where Smith was captured. Dr. Biddle brought him back to Alene, and turned him over to the authorities. The incident is mentioned here to show the determination of the man, who does not grow faint in the presence of great obstacles.

Dr. Biddle was educated in the common schools and after leaving school clerked for two years for Charles Haley, of Haleyville. He then undertook merchandising on his own account, in which he was successful for three years, when he sold out his business to accept a position as deputy United States marshal for the Northern district of Alabama, under J. C. Musgrove. As a deputy it fell to his lot to arrest some of the worst violators of law ever known to Northern Alabama. He faithfully discharged his duty on all occasions and has traveled miles over the hills in pursuit of moonshiners, etc., rarely failing to bring his man to justice. One happy feature of his career as an officer of the law is that, although he sent several bad men to prison, he always managed to retain the respect and even the good will of those whom he arrested. After retiring from the marshal’s office he again engaged in merchandising, locating at Albertville, in Marshall county. He continued in this business until 1898, when he removed to Little Rock, Ark., and took up the practice of medicine, trading in real estate in the meantime. He has recently returned to Haleyville, where he is now interested to a considerable extent in real estate operations. Dr. Biddle is the manufacturer of a proprietary remedy in the form of a hair tonic and restorer, which has met the approval of those who have tried it, and with which he is doing well, his sales increasing every year.

On April 19, 1887, he was united in wedlock to Viola Ware, a daughter of Gilbert and Mary A. (Wilson) Ware, of North Alabama, and three children have come to the union; Jesse B., Willie and Glenn. The two older boys are printers by trade, and although quite young they ran the Albertville Banner for a while during the residence of their father in that town. Willie won a scholarship in the Agricultural college, at Albertville, by his deportment and standing in the public schools. He and Glenn are both earnest workers in the Methodist Episcopal church.

Dr. Biddle is a member of the Christian church, and was secretary of Haleyville lodge, No. 464, Free and Accepted Masons, for several years. As a citizen he has a high standing in the community where he resides. He is a genial, companionable gentleman, but he finds his greatest enjoyment in the society of his wife and children.”

Source:  Notable Men of Alabama,Vol. 2, by Joel Campbell Dubose, Southern Historical Association, Atlanta, Ga., 1904, pages 382-3


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