Tag Archives: philippines

Bio Sketch: Charles G. Bickham (1867-1944), soldier in Spanish-American & Philippine wars

Charles Goodwin Bickham was born August 12, 1867, in Dayton, Ohio, the youngest son of William D. Bickham and Maria (Strickle) Bickham (see also: W. D. Bickham sketch).

Charles G. Bickham, 1891

Charles G. Bickham, 1891

Charles G. Bickham was a career soldier.[1]

He served as a Colonel on the staff of Ohio Governor [and later president] William McKinley. During the Spanish-American War, he served as a Private in Company G, Third Regiment, Ohio National Guard, and later a Captain in the Ninth Regiment (Immunes), U.S. Volunteer Infantry.[2]

He served as a Captain during the Philippine Insurrection in the Twenty-eighth Regiment, U.S. Volunteer Infantry, under Col. William Birkhimer. After receiving his commission in the regular army as a Lieutenant, he served again in the Philippines with the Twenty-seventh U.S. Infantry under then-Captain John J. Pershing.[3]

C. G. Bickham was awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor in 1904 for “distinguished gallantry” at the 1902 Battle of Bayang, Mindanao, Philippines. However, after twice failing the professional examination required for promotion to captain in 1909 and 1910, he was honorably discharged from the army in June 1910.

During his time in Cuba and the Philippines, Charles wrote several letters to family and friends, many of which his brother Daniel published in the Journal. Brother Abraham also served during the Spanish-American War. It is also worth mentioning that both Charles and Daniel Bickham were members of the Buzfuz Club.[4]

Charles G. Bickham died December 14, 1944, in Dayton, Ohio, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery. He never married.

Grave of Charles G. Bickham, Woodland Cemetery

Grave of Charles G. Bickham, Woodland Cemetery

[1] This collection contains scrapbooks with articles and memorabilia from Charles’ time in Cuba and the Philippines; see Boxes 4 and 5. For information on Charles’ military career in general, see Box 2, Folders 12 and 13. [LPR]

[2] The 9thRegiment,U.S. Volunteer Infantry was an African American regiment as well as an “Immunes” regiment. The Immunes regiments were made up of men from southern states, who were inaccurately believed to be immune to tropical diseases. [LPR] See: Brad K. Berner, The Spanish-American War: A Historical Dictionary (London: Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1998), pp. 185-86; also, “9th U.S. Volunteer Infantry,” Spanish American War web site, http://www.spanamwar.com/9thUSvolinf.htm.

[3] John J. Pershing eventually rose to the rank of General and led the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. [LPR]

[4] For more information on the Buzfuz Club, see: Charlotte Reeve Conover, Dayton, Ohio: An Intimate History (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1932), pp. 244-48.Dayton Local History 977.173 C753DAY 1932. [LPR]


This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in April 2011 for the Bickham Collection (MS-017) finding aid at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, Ohio, 45402; phone (937) 496-8654. Additional information about the sketch’s subject can be found in that collection and in the citations below. Please contact the library or this blog’s author for more information about how to access the original finding aid or the manuscript collection.

[This sketch was modified slightly from its original version to facilitate its separation from the larger Bickham Collection sketch. In its original form, C. G. Bickham’s birth and death information were included only in the W. D. Bickham sketch under the list of children.]

Important Note: I personally re-posted a large portion of this biographical sketch (including the photograph) on Charles G. Bickham’s Wikipedia page. Therefore, any similarity between this blog post, the original finding aid bio sketch, and the Wikipedia page, is due to the efforts of the original author (me), rather than an act of plagiarism.


Bibliography & Further Reading

Bickham, William D. A Buckeye in the Land of Gold: The Letters and Journal of William Dennison Bickham. Edited by Randall E. Ham. Spokane: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1996. Dayton Local History 979.404 B583B 1996.

“Charles G. Bickham,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_G._Bickham.

Conover, Charlotte Reeve. Dayton, Ohio: An Intimate History. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1932. Page 245. Dayton Local History 977.173 C753DAY 1932.

Conover, Frank. Centennial Portrait and Biographical Record of the City of Dayton and of Montgomery County, Ohio. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., 1897. “William Denison Bickham,” pages 403-404. Dayton Local History 977.172 C753C 1897.

Drury, Augustus Waldo. History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio. Chicago; Dayton: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1909. Volume 1, pages 400-401. Dayton Local History 977.173 D796.

Foos, Katharine S. The Ellis Family. Dayton: United Brethren Publishing House, 1900. Dayton Local History B92 E47F.

Santmyer, Helen Hooven. A Calendar of the Bickham Collection: Letters, Documents, and Mementoes of Possible Historical Interest. Dayton:Dayton Public Library, 1956. Dayton Local History 016.091 D276C.

MS-017 Bickham Collection:

  • Box2, Folder 15: Genealogical Notes on Bickham and Strickle Families.
  • Box2, Folder 14: C. G. Bickham: Letters concerning Military Career.