James Edward Normoyle – Major, United States Army

Officer Who Directed Relief Work In Great Floods
Victim Of Blood Poisoning
A Transportation Expert
He Gained His First Fame In Mexican Border Mobilization in 1911
Handled Gettysburg Encampment

OSWEGO, New York, February 11, 1916 – Major James E. Normoyle, Commandant of Fort Ontario, died suddenly at his quarters Thursday night.  A carbuncle on his face had kept Major Normoyle indoors for several weeks, but his condition did not become serious until Thursday, when blood poisoning developed.  The infection could not be arrested.

The funeral will be held Saturday morning in St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church here and the body will be taken to Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, for burial.

Major James Edward Normoyle, U.S.A., was one of the best known Army officers in the United States.  In the twenty-seven years of his active service as an office of regulars he served in all parts of the country and its foreign possessions, was the officer who handled the transportation problem when, in 1911, President Taft ordered the Army to mobilize for possible Mexican service at San Antonio, Texas, directed the relief work during the great Mississippi floods of 1912 and was subsequently one of the officers directed by President Wilson to take charge of the situation following the flood that overwhelmed Dayton, Ohio, and the country adjacent to that city in march 1913.  He was also the Quartermaster who handled for the government the great encampment of Union and Confederate veterans on the battlefield of Gettysburg on the Fiftieth anniversary of that struggle.

Major Normoyle was born in Michael forty-nine years ago and was graduated from the Military Academy in 1889 and assigned as a Second Lieutenant to the Twenty-third United States Infantry, serving with that command until 1897, when he was promoted a First Lieutenant and assigned to the Twenty-fifth Infantry.  He was promoted to a Captaincy and assigned to the Twentieth Infantry in 1899 and received his Majority in March 1911, while attached to the Quartermaster Corps.

Major Normoyle, who was known throughout the regular service as “Mickey,” his old West Point nickname, first came into public notice during the Mexican Border mobilization of 1911.  Normoyle, then a Captain, was ordered to handle the transportation problem at San Antonio, Teas, and to direct the work of disembarking and locating the troops ordered to that city.  He found his hands full from the first.  Two of the main trunk lines to San Antonio were on the “outs” and it was announced that they would not permit the transfer of rolling stock from one system to the other.  The meant the troops arriving on one line would have to march several miles to the camp beyond Fort Sam Houston, while supplies would have to be transferred on wagons.

Major Normoyle went to the San Antonio officials of the lines concerned and informed them that he wanted them to accept transfer of rolling stock from one line to the other.  But the officials said it could not be done.

In 1912 when the Mississippi River overflowed and thousands of people along the course of the river were rendered homeless and reduced to destitution, President Taft ordered the Army to take charge of the work of relieving the sufferers.  Normoyle was placed in charge and established headquarters at Memphis.  A wealthy citizen of Louisiana placed his private river yacht at his disposal and with the yacht as his flagship Major Normoyle cruised up and down the river reestablishing relief stations, superintended the transfer of thousands of sufferers to safe ground, saw that milk was supplied to the babies and children, clothing to the old men and women and shelter to all.

Then came the great Dayton flood, and again Major Normoyle was ordered to the front as of the chief directors of the relief work, and again he won the praise of his superiors and the people generally for his handling of that situation.


  • DATE OF DEATH: 02/10/1916


  • DATE OF DEATH: 01/11/1944


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