William Octavius Eversfield

William Octavius Eversfield was born on November 4, 1840, in College Park, Maryland, to John and Ann Wailes Eversfield. His father a veteran of the War of 1812 who owned at least 27 slaves on his “Smith’s Folly” plantation. The year William was born, his older brother Charles began studying medicine at the University of Virginia, and William ultimately followed the same path. He received his early education at the Edge Hill School in Princeton, New Jersey, and graduated from St. John’s College in 1858. In 1859, he enrolled at UVA, where he studied chemistry, medicine, anatomy, and surgery. After only a year, he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his medical degree in March 1861. He continued taking classes there until 1863, when he became a resident physician at the Blockley Almshouse. 

Eversfield joined the Union army on August 25, 1863, serving as an acting assistant surgeon at Mower General Hospital in Philadelphia and then accompanying the 1st US Cavalry Regiment. On November 29, 1864, the army assigned him to Camp Nye in the Nevada Territory. By June 1865, they had transferred him to Drum Barracks, near Los Angeles, California. He was discharged on October 25, 1865.

For the next two years, Eversfield worked as a surgeon for the Panama Railroad, the Central American railway line that linked the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. During an outbreak of yellow fever, he spent months treating patients before contracting the disease himself. He survived the epidemic and briefly returned to Maryland to recuperate. Before long, however, he signed on as a surgeon for the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, which transported the nation’s mail between Panama and California. 

Around 1873, he married Lillie Talbott, the daughter of a Georgetown merchant. They had four children over the next thirteen years: Eleanor, born 1874; Donald, born 1876; Octavius, born 1885; and Lillian, born 1886. In 1878, they returned to Eversfield’s family estate in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where he established his medical practice. He served as president of the county’s local medical association, and for the last twenty-five years of his life he helped oversee the medical department at the Maryland Agricultural College. He died on January 20, 1908, in College Park, Maryland, from acute gastritis, and was buried at Saint John’s Episcopal Church.


Obituary of William O. Eversfield

Name:Eversfield, William Octavius
Alternative names:
  • Soldier
  • UVA (Union)
U.S. Army Medical Department
Branch of service:Army
Enlistment1863-08-25Philadelphia, PA
Muster Out1865-10-25Mustered Out
Residence at UVA:Bladensburg, MD
UVA Begin Year:1859
UVA End Year:1860
Residence at enlistment:
Rank In:Acting Assistant Surgeon
Rank Out:Acting Assistant Surgeon
Highest rank achieved:Acting Assistant Surgeon
Person 1Person 2NumberRelation Type
Eversfield, William OctaviusEversfield, William Octavius1143442application-invalid
Eversfield, William Octaviusnoneapplication-minor
Eversfield, William Octaviusnoneapplication-parent
Eversfield, William Octaviusnoneapplication-widow
Birth date:1840-11-04
Birth date certainty:Certain
Birth place:College Park, MD
Death date:1908-01-20
Death place:
Causes of death:disease: flu
Person 1Relation TypePerson 2
Eversfield, William Octaviusparent ofEversfield, Eleanor W.
Eversfield, William Octaviusparent ofEversfield, Donald
Eversfield, William Octaviusparent ofEversfield, Octavius C.
Eversfield, William Octaviusparent ofEversfield, Lillian
Eversfield, Lilliewife ofEversfield, William Octavius

William O. Eversfield's pension record could not be located at either the National Archives in Washington, D.C., or the Veteran Personnel Record Center in St. Louis, MO.

Compiled Service Records for William O. Eversfield, RG 94, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.; Pension Records for William O. Eversfield, RG 15, National Archives and Records Administration; United States Census, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, and 1900, accessed through Ancestry.com; UVA Student Catalogue, Jefferson's University: Early LifeThe Daily Exchange (Baltimore, MD) August 7, 1858; Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 50, Pt. 1; History of the Medical Society of the District of Columbia: 1817-1909 (1909); History of the Philadelphia Almshouses and Hospitals (Philadelphia: Charles Lawrence, 1905); Catalogue of the Trustees, Officers, and Students of the University of Pennsylvania: Session 1861-62 (Philadelphia: Collins, 1862); Catalogue of the Trustees, Officers, and Students of the University of Pennsylvania: Session 1862-63 (Philadelphia: Collins, 1863).