Hawthorne, Harry L. (1859-1948)
Harry LeRoy Hawthorne, a longtime Artillery officer, was born in the state of Minnesota on November 27, 1859. He was appointed to the United States Naval Academy from Kentucky and studied there from October 1, 1878 until his graduation on June 10, 1882. He served as a Cadet Engineer in the United States Navy until October 30, 1884, at which time he was appointed a second lieutenant in the 2nd United States Artillery. While serving with this unit, Hawthorne saw service at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, an action for which he was later awarded the Medal of Honor. He was promoted to first lieutenant in the 4th United States Artillery on August 28, 1891, and transferred at that same rank to the 1st United States Artillery on April 27, 1894. He was again transferred as a first lieutenant to the 6th United States Artillery on March 8, 1898, and was finally promoted to major of the 29th United States Volunteer Infantry on July 5, 1899. He returned to the artillery when he was promoted to captain and transferred to the 2nd United States Artillery (the first unit he served in) on June 18, 1900. He was a well-respected artillery officer, and by the time of his retirement in 1914, he had been promoted to colonel. He was recalled in 1917 to serve during the First World War, and retired again in 1919. Harry L. Hawthorne died on April 10, 1948 and was buried in Section 3 of Arlington National Cemetery. Congress awarded Hawthorne the Medal of Honor on October 11, 1892 for his gallantry in handling and serving the guns of his command in action against hostile Sioux Indians on Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota on December 29, 1890, where he was severely wounded while serving as a Second Lieutenant in the 2nd U. S. Artillery and in command of a platoon of Light Battery E, 1st U. S. Artillery (2 Hotchkiss mountain howitzers).
Medal of Honor citation
Rank and organization: 2nd Lieutenant, 2nd United States Artillery. Place and date: At Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, 29 December 1890.
“Distinguished conduct in battle with hostile Indians.”
Offered is a post-war check drawn on “The Riggs National Bank” of ”WASHINGTON, D.C.” and issued to “Mrs. Iola Hudson”, boldly signed at the conclusion by “H. L. Hawthorne”. The check is dated “Dec. 31st 1907” and is endorsed by Mrs. Hudson on the verso. A vignette of the façade of the bank appears at the left, with the bank name boldly written below the pediment. The denomination appears twice, once in written form and again in numerical form. Two ink cancellation stamps are present (one on each side), as is a punch “PAID” cancellation. Overall dimensions are approximately 2.90 x 7.50 inches.
The presently offered check exhibits signs of wear and improper storage, but the signature is bold and the integrity of the piece is solid. Numerous vertical folds are present, several of which affect the signature. As noted earlier, a punch “PAID” cancellation is present at the right of center, with several of the holes nearing the signature (one almost touches the “L”). Three of the sides are straight, while the left is neatly perforated. A great opportunity to acquire a bold signature of this rarely offered Medal of Honor recipient. This would look great framed with a picture of Hawthorne or the Medal of Honor.