Skip Navigation

Sign In or Register


SharePrint Chester West


Chester Howard West (January 3, 1888-May 20, 1935) was the recipient of the Medal of Honor for bravery during World War I. West lived for a time in West Virginia and is believed to be the only World War I Medal of Honor recipient buried in the state.

West was born at Fort Collins, Colorado, on January 3, 1888. He enlisted in the United States Army at Los Banos, California, on September 20, 1917, and served as a first sergeant in Company D, 363rd Infantry, 91st Infantry Division. He earned the nation’s highest military honor for actions that occurred on September 26, 1918, near Bois-de-Cheppy, France, at the beginning of the Meuse-Argonne offensive. West and the other members of his unit were advancing through thick fog when they were fired upon by a pair of enemy machine guns. West dashed through enemy fire and killed both gunners in hand-to-hand combat. His efforts allowed his company to proceed without any American casualties. West received his honorable discharge on April 29, 1919, and the United States issued him the Medal of Honor later that year.

By 1932, West was living in Pliny, Mason County, and working as a farmhand. He married Margaret Van Sickle on December 25, 1932. In 1935, he was working for Sam McCausland, the son of John McCausland, a Confederate general who had a large farm in Pliny. On May 20, 1935, West was fatally shot by Sam McCausland in what may have been a fight over the general’s gun, and West died the same day in Gallipolis, Ohio. He was buried in Van Sickle Cemetery, which later became part of Chief Cornstalk Wildlife Management Area in Mason County. Following a 2017 Supreme Court ruling, his remains were moved on May 12, 2018 to the Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery at Institute.

This Article was written by William Plants

Last Revised on May 14, 2018

Related Articles


Howard West Dies; Sam McCausland Held As His Slayer. Gallipolis Daily Tribune, May 21, 1935.

Edward F. Murphy. World War I Hero A 1935 Murder Victim. Medal of Honor Historical Society Annuals, 38-39, December 1978.

Cite This Article

Plants, William "Chester West." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 14 May 2018. Web. 28 May 2024.


There aren't any comments for this article yet.

West Virginia Humanities Council | 1310 Kanawha Blvd E | Charleston, WV 25301 Ph. 304-346-8500 | © 2024 All Rights Reserved

About e-WV | Our Sponsors | Help & Support | Contact Us The essential guide to the Mountain State can be yours today! Click here to order.