Named WWI Era U.S. Navy Officer's Sword
A United States Navy officer's sword, named to "A. M. Fauntleroy, U.S.N.". The sword has an overall length of approximately 37 inches within the scabbard. The blade features etched naval designs and motifs and the ricasso bears the distributor name of the military clothier of Jacob Reed's Sons of Philadelphia. The blade is generally bright with some relatively minor dark spots on the lower areas. The leather scabbard has some minor scuffs but it is complete and intact. The hilt and scabbard fittings are nicely toned, and they appear to have much original fire gilt beneath the patina.
The owner of the sword was Captain Archibald Magill Fauntleroy of Virginia, who entered the Navy Medical Corps after graduation from the University of Virginia medical school in 1901 (His father had served as a doctor in the Confederate Army during the Civil War). He served for 20 years, until ill health forced him to retire, and he died in 1937. A lengthy obituary of Captain Magill was published in July of 1937 in the Record of the Hampden-Sydney Alumni Association, Volume 11, Number 4. The obituary can be found on line and states as follows:
"Captain Archibald Magill Fauntleroy, United States Navy Medical Corps, Retired
By Robert K. Brock
The United States Government was deprived of the
active service of Captain Archibald Magill Fauntleroy, United States Navy Medical Corps, in 1921, when in the prime of life he was retired and when he had reached a position of eminence in the medical branch of the service. This was on account of ill health, which necessitated his retirement as permanently disabled. The malady from which
he suffered was contracted when in active service, but by taking care of himself and living quietly, he was able to be up and about and to lead a normal life, retaining a lively interest in affairs. His health, however, had been declining
for the last four years, and he had been confined to the hospital for about three weeks before his death, which occurred on April 13 last, in the Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.
During most of his years of retirement, he was still available to the government for consultation on those subjects on which he had become an authority. He was outstanding in his knowledge and skill in treating tropical diseases.
Dr. Fauntleroy was born in Staunton, Virginia, November 28, 1876. He was the son of Dr. Archibald Magill Fauntleroy, a distinguished surgeon in the Confederate army, and personal physician to General Joseph E. Johnston. In 1892, the son
entered Hampden-Sydney, where he remained two years, ranking well as a student and taking an active part in campus activities. He was a member of the Kappa Sigma social fraternity and of the college baseball team. Dr. Fauntleroy did not remain at college for graduation, but went on to the university of Virginia, where he entered the Medical Department. There he at once took a high rank as a student and graduated at the head of his class in 1 901. This achievement easily put him in line for the much coveted admission into the United States Navy. He entered the service the year of his graduation, with the rank of Assistant Surgeon. He was detailed at the Naval Academy at Annapolis and later assigned to the Naval Hospital at Norfolk. He was, for two years, surgeon on the U. S. S. Scorpion. He also served on R. S. Lancaster, R. S. Philadelphia, on the Adams, the Hartford, Indiana, Illinois and the New York. He was at one time assigned to duty at the recruiting station at Philadelphia, again at Norfolk, Virginia, Mare Island, California, the
Naval Yard at Puget Sound, and the Naval Station at Tutuila, Samoa.
It was while he was stationed at Samoa and its adjoining islands that he became particularly skillful in the treatment of elephantiasis a much dreaded tropical disease. He met with
such success in dealing with this disease, that the natives petitioned him to stay on to battle against the strange form of death that threatened them. For his skill in treating this malady, he was commended by the government of Kaiser
Wilhelm. It is said that at one time, before the World War, a group of German surgeons who had seen Dr. Fauntleroy perform an operation, declared it to be the most skillful one they had ever seen. In 1914, Captain Fauntleroy accompanied
the German armies when they marched into France and Belgium, as a medical observer. Subsequently, he wrote a book on the medical methods of the Germans, which was widely published and studied by medical men in all parts of the world.
An invention made by Captain Fauntleroy, in the early days of his career, the purpose of which was to transport wounded and ill men from one vessel to another, and known as the "Fauntleroy Sling," is still in use in the Navy. Captain Fauntleroy, in 1916, was detailed to duty in command of the
Naval Hospital at Yokohama, Japan, with additional duty as pay officer of the Hospital. He was again detailed to the Naval Hospital at Yokohama in 1918. He was, at one time, chief surgeon of the Naval Hospital in Washington, and was personal physician to Admiral Dewey in 1917, during the
last illness of the hero of Manila Bay. Captain Fauntleroy, in the early part of the World War, was assigned to duty as Assistant Naval Attache in Paris, France. Among other honors of which he was the recipient, he had bestowed on him the Victory Medal and Overseas Clasp.
These are only a few of the positions which Captain Fauntleroy held and names of war vessels on which he served, but they present a fair idea of the wide range of his activities
and the services which he rendered. They do not, however, present a picture of the man himself. It was necessary to know Captain Fauntleroy, personally, to appreciate the manner of man he was. It was the pleasure and privilege of the
writer to have spent one year at Hampden-Sydney with Captain Fauntleroy during his student days there. It was still a greater pleasure and privilege to meet Captain Faunteroy again in New York many years later, after his retirement, and renew the friendship and acquaintance begun at
Hampden-Sydney College. His fine bearing, his kindly courtesy, and striking appearance must have impressed all as it did the writer. He was the embodiment of the finest traditions of the Navy. This meeting was the beginning of a correspondence which afforded the one at this end of the line
keen pleasure and satisfaction. He was urged to come and visit his old college, which he was ever eager to do, and was only prevented by the precariousness of his health. He manifested, always, a great affection for his Alma Mater, and his interest in it rather increased than otherwise with the passing years. Another distinguished son of Hampden-Sydney has passed to his reward, but his memory will be cherished by his classmates and friends and by the institution which he held in such deep affection."