January 31: Wills De Hass (1910)

After graduation from Jefferson Medical College (Philadelphia), Wills De Hass went to Wellsburg, Ohio where he took up the practice of medicine. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Dr. De Hass helped to organize the 77th Ohio Regiment of which he was made lieutenant colonel, and engaged in all the battles of this regiment.  An ardent Unionist, De Hass supported the formation of the state of West Virginia, which occurred in 1863. His early interest in historical and scientific studies led to extensive investigations into regional history and to archeological digging in the Upper Ohio Valley. He was an active member of several scientific and historical societies.

 

Throughout the latter half of the 19th century, De Hass conducted archeological investigations relating to mound builders for the Smithsonian Institution’s Bureau of American Ethnology. A writer and lecturer on archeological subjects, De Hass turned to frontier history for his best-known work, History of the Early Settlement and Indian Wars of Western Virginia. At age 67, De Hass was confirmed at Epiphany in March 1885 by former rector and newly consecrated Bishop of Maryland, William Paret.

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