Samuel Warren Fountain
Brigadier General, United Sttes Army
General Samuel Warren Fountain
Commander-in-Chief 1930 - 1930
by Dr. Robert Girard Carroon, Past Commander-in-Chief
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States
Samuel Warren Fountain was born in Parkersburg, West Virginia, on December 13, 1846. As he was only fifteen years old at the outbreak of the War of the Rebellion Samuel Fountain had to wait until 1864 to enlist in the Union Army. On May 2, 1864 he enlisted as a private in the 140th Ohio Infantry. The 140th Ohio (one of the 100 days regiments) was part of the 8th Corps, Army of West Virginia. Private Fountain was stationed at Camp White and Camp Warren near Charleston, West Virginia, and at Meadow's Bluff. He participated in the attack on Lynchburg, Virginia led by Major General David Hunter. Private Fountain was discharged on September 3, 1864 at Gallipolis, Ohio, by reason of expiration of term of service.
On July 1, 1866 Samuel Warren Fountain was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point from the 15th Congressional District of Ohio, and graduated on June 15, 1870 at which time he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the 8th U.S. Cavalry. From September 1870 until December 1875 Fountain served in Colorado and New Mexico. He was then transferred to Texas where he served from January 1876 until June 1885. On October 22, 1878 he was promoted to First Lieutenant. In 1885 Lt. Fountain returned to New Mexico where he was active in the campaigns against Geronimo and the Apache Indians commanding Troop "C" of the 8th Cavalry. He led his troops in fights at Snow Creek on December 9, 1885 and at Dry Creek on December 19, 1886. On April 11, 1889 he was promoted to Captain.
Captain Fountain assumed command of Troop "H" of the 8th U. S. Cavalry and led that force in campaigns against the Sioux in Montana and North Dakota in 1890 and 1891. During the Spanish American War he commanded a squadron of the 8th Cavalry in Cuba. He was promoted Major and transferred to the 9th Cavalry on February 2, 1901. From February 28, 1901 to August 26, 1903 he was Assistant Adjutant General of the Department of Mindanao and Jolo in the Philippines and at Zamboango until August 1903. One of the Captains on his staff was John J. Pershing and the two men remained warm personal friends for the rest of their lives. Major Fountain was promoted to Lt. Colonel in the 13th U.S. Cavalry on August 26 1903 and two days later transferred to the 4th U.S. Cavalry.
Lieutenant Colonel Fountain was then assigned to Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri, where he commanded the Jefferson Guard at the World's Fair from September 1904 till March 1905. On April 10, 1905 Lieutenant Colonel Fountain was promoted to Brigadier General and retired the next day. Newspapers reported that, "Under his direction the members of the Guard controlled the great mass of people on "President's Day" so that not one incident occurred to mar the events of that memorable day. And on the last day of the Fair, when disorder and vandalism were feared, every officer and member of the Guard was on duty, and so placed that when the lights were out and the World's Fair at St. Louis had passed into history, not a disorderly act had occurred, or a dollars worth of property had been destroyed"
Brigadier General Fountain was elected a Companion of the First Class of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion through the Commandery of the State of Ohio on October 7, 1885 and assigned Insignia No. 4207. On April 15, he transferred to the Commandery of the District of Columbia on April 15, 1893 and to the Commandery of the State of Pennsylvania on February 1, 1907. He served three different terms as Commander of the Pennsylvania Commandery, 1912-1913, 1924-1925 and 1926-1930. He served on the Council of the Commandery-in-Chief from October 28, 1925 to 1927. He was elected Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief of MOLLUS on October 27, 1927 and served in that office until September 5, 1930, when he succeeded Robert Means Thompson on Commander-in-Chief Thompson's death.
In a speech at the Union League Club of Philadelphia on February 9, 1921, General Fountain said of Abraham Lincoln, "Not too often and never too reverently can Americans pause to honor the memory of Lincoln or express gratitude to the Almighty for his services to his Country. Other men have reunited a divided nation, or liberated an enslaved race, or carried to conclusion a fratricidal war, or swept immoral institutions from the earth by consummate Statesmanship; but no man ever combined and carried through, chiefly by the clarity of his mind and the purity of his character, several such gigantic enterprises in half a decade. Washington welded a handful of colonies into a Confederation of States; Lincoln fused them, after they had fallen apart, into a self-conscious Nation."
Samuel Warren Fountain only served a little
over two months as Commander-in-Chief since he died on November 15, 1930
of heart failure at his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He and his
wife, the former Katherine McGrath, had one child, Adele Fountain. Funeral
services for General Fountain were at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Philadelphia
and interment was in Arlington National Cemetery. A number of Companions,
including Major General John Clem, were pallbearers. Besides serving as
Commander-in-Chief of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, General Fountain
was past Commander General of the Military Order of Foreign Wars.
PHILADELPHIA, November 15, 1930 – Brigadier General Samuel Warren Fountain, retired, died of heart disease tonight at his home in Overbrook in his eighty-fourth year. He was a veteran Indian fighter and served in the Civil War and the Spanish-American War, having been the commanding officer of General Pershing when the latter was a Captain during the Spanish-American War
Serving as a Private in Company K, 140th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, in the Civil War, he was discharged with a certificate of thanks and recognition of honorable service which had been signed by President Lincoln and addressed to Private Samuel Fountain.
He was born in Parkersburg, West Virginia, but was appointed to West Point from the State of Ohio after the war and graduated in 1870, becoming a Lieutenant in the Eighth Cavalry. IN 1874 he was promoted to a First Lieutenancy and became Major in the Ninth Cavalry in 1903. Two years later he was made a Brigadier General and retired the next day at his own request.
In the Indian wars he fought against Sitting Bull, Geronimo and Spotted Tail and served under the famous scout, Kit Carson. In the war with Spain he served first in Cuba and later as Adjutant General of the Department of Mindanao and Jolo in the Philippines.
He and General Pershing became close friends and when the latter came to this city in 1919 and met his old commander at the Union League he expressed his joy by giving General Fountain a hearty hug.
General Fountain at the time of his death was commander of the Order of Indian Wars in the United States and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and the Loyal Legion. He was also a member of the University Club of St. Louis and Army and Navy Club of Washington.
He is survived by his widow, the former Miss
Katherine G. McGrath of Philadelphia, and a daughter, Miss Adele Fountain.
WASHINGTON, November 19, 1930 - Full military honors marked the burial in Arlington National Cemetery this afternoon of General Samuel W. Fountain, a veteran of the Civil War, Indian campaigns and the Spanish War, who died at Overbrook, Philadelphia, on Sunday, at the age of 84.
The honorary pallbearers were Major General
L. Clem, Major General Willard A. Holbrook,
Brigadier General William J. Nicholson and
Captain Robert G. Carter, all on the retired
list, and Grahame Powell, representing the Loyal Legion.
FOUNTAIN, SAMUEL W
BRIG/GEN USA RTD
DATE OF DEATH: 11/15/1930
BURIED AT: SECTION 2 SITE LOT 3445
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
FOUNTAIN, KATHERINE G WID/O SAMUEL W
Posted: 25 July 2006 Updated: 24 September 2007 Updated: 13 February 2009
Photos Courtesy of the General's Great-Great Nephew, Robert Massey, USMC, February 2009