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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Battle, Samuel Westray

by Margaret B. Lewis, 1979

4 Aug. 1854–29 Apr. 1927

Courtesy of the UNC Health Science Library. Samuel Westray Battle, surgeon in the U.S. Navy, was born in Nash County and died in Raleigh. His father was William S. Battle, planter and owner of Rocky Mount Mills during the Civil War. His mother was Elizabeth Dancy of Tarboro. He was educated at Horner School in Oxford and Bellevue Hospital Medical College. From 1875 to 1884 he was a surgeon in the U.S. Navy, and from 1879 to 1883 he was in charge of the U.S. Naval Hospital, Pensacola, Fla. He retired from active naval service in 1884 because of serious injury to his left wrist and hand during a collision at sea.

From 1884 until his death he practiced medicine in Asheville and for many years lived in the old Biltmore Hotel in the center of town. He was medical director of Clarence Barker Memorial Hospital in nearby Biltmore. During this period, he served as major and assistant surgeon general of the North Carolina State Guard and as a member of the American Medical Association, Mississippi Valley Medical Association, Tri-State Medical Association, American Climatological Association, Association of Military Surgeons, North Carolina Board of Health, Medical Corps of the U.S. Navy, and Naval Order of the United States. He was president of Buncombe County Medical Society; fellow of the Rhinological, Otological, and Laryngological societies; and a member of the North Carolina Society of the Cincinnati. It was while attending a meeting of this last society in Raleigh that he suffered a stroke and died.

His wife, Alice Maude Belknap, was born in Newport, N.H., 29 Apr. 1863, and died in Asheville on 29 Oct. 1899. She was the daughter of Rear Admiral George E. Belknap and Ellen Deborah Read. The children of Samuel and Alice Battle were Madelon Belknap, Maude Dancy, Samuel Westray, and Belknap.

Samuel Westray Battle remarried in New York City on 7 Feb. 1918. His second wife was Mrs. Jane Hall Liddell of Charlotte, born in Ridgeway, Pa., on 31 Mar. 1866; she died in Asheville.


H. B. Battle et al., The Battle Book (1930).

Samuel Westray Battle to William S. Battle, letters (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina Library, Chapel Hill).

Additional Resources:

Watson, Irving A. (Irving Allison). Physicians and surgeons of America [microform] : a collection of biographical sketches of the regular medical profession. Concord, N.H. : Republican Press Association. 1896. (accessed March 13, 2013).

Battle Family Papers, 1765-1955 (collection no. 03223). The Southern Historical Collection. Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed March 8, 2013).

The Battle book; a genealogy of the Battle family in America, with chapters illustrating certain phases of its history. By: H B Battle; Lois Yelverton; William James Battle, Montgomery, Ala., The Paragon Press, 1930:

Haunted Asheville,  by Joshua P. Warren, The Overmountain Press: Google e-Book.

Ashe, Samuel A. (Samuel A'Court). Biographical history of North Carolina from colonial times to the present. Greensboro, N.C., C.L. Van Noppen. 1905. (accessed March 8, 2013).

Image Credits:

Samuel Westray Battle (1854-1927, Asheville, NC). Portrait courtesy of the UNC Health Science Library: (accessed March 13, 2013).