Family Stories · Dr. Charles Alexander Warfield and the Founding of the University of Maryland Medical School

By Jean Warfield Donnelly Keenan with Carolyn Warfield Scheele Fakadej
November 2015

Liberty ships were a type of mass-produced cargo ships built inexpensively to meet the United States’ World War II maritime transport needs. Facing a global challenge at the end of 1941, America transformed its shipbuilding industry and produced more than 2,700 Liberty ships in five years to move troops and materiel to the front. Ship yards all over the country were involved in producing these ships.

Liberty ships were named after prominent (deceased) Americans starting with Patrick Henry and the signers of the Declaration of Independence. In addition, any group which raised $2 million dollars in War Bonds could suggest a name for a Liberty ship.   (Reference: Wikipedia/Liberty ships)

Among family treasures we found this account of the launching of the S.S. Charles A. Warfield as one of the Liberty ships:

Ted Osbourne News Bureau Manager
California Shipbuilding Corporation
Wilmington, California
Data on launching of S.S. Charles A. Warfield, Cal ship’s No. 213, Way 4 (10,500 ton Liberty ship)

CONFIDENTIAL:    Please do NOT release before 5:30 P.M., Friday, June 25, 1943
            Sponsor:  Mrs. Ruth Warfield Dodd,* great great granddaughter of Charles A. Warfield
            Matron of Honor:  Mrs. James M. Warfield **
            Master of Ceremonies:  J. H. Wadsworth, Manager Industrial Relations Department


Charles A. Warfield was born in Glenwood, Maryland, on December 14, 1751. He graduated in Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and married soon afterward, in 1771.

An ardent patriot, Dr. Warfield was a leader in the fight for independence just prior to the Revolutionary War. He was a member of the celebrated “Whig Club”, and was the Major of a battalion of Colonial troops. By 1774, the war cry of “Taxation Without Representation” was echoed throughout Maryland, and Dr. Warfield placed upon the hats of his men in his battalion a label bearing the motto: “Liberty and Independence, or Death in the pursuit of it.”

Shortly thereafter, the brig “Peggy Stewart” arrived at Annapolis, loaded with tea, and a body of men led by Warfield burned it to the water’s edge.

At the outbreak of the American Revolution, he immediately volunteered his services and fought through the entire war, being conspicuous for his gallantry in action. When the war ended, he retired to the family estate at “Bushy Park” Maryland, where he lived a highly successful and respected life as a gentleman farmer. He died January 3, 1813.

The Charles A.Warfield Liberty Ship:
Keel laid:                   May 31, 1943
Launched:                 June 25, 1943
Days on ways:          25
Ships launched to date:    213
Ships delivered to date:     205

*  of 222 Spruce Street, Tacoma Park, Maryland
** of 3874 Brayton Avenue, Long Beach, California”

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©2005 George A. Scheele MD