William McKinley "Big Bill" Caudill was the son of Henry and Barilla (Jones) Caudill. William, who was 6' 3" tall, was also known by many as "Big Bill" Caudill. He married first to Rebecca J. "Becky" Adams on July 3, 1917, in Whitesburg, Letcher County, KY. They had one son: William McKinley "Little Bill" Caudill, Jr. Becky had their son while William was serving overseas during World War I and she died two weeks later of pneumonia caused by Spanish Influenza. Big Bill married second to Etta Bea Dixon on December 21, 1921, in Whitesburg, Letcher County, KY. They had five children: Virgil Glenn Caudill, Mabel Ruth (Caudill) Frazier, Lillian Doris (Caudill) Morris George, Harold Keith Caudill and Helen Madge Caudill who died in infancy. After Etta's death, Big Bill married third to Ethel (Ison) Jones on October 28, 1939, in Whitesburg, Letcher County, KY. They had no children of their own, but Ethel had two children, Helen Louise Jones and Walleen Alafair Jones, from her previous marriage to Thomas Jones.
Big Bill and his younger brother, Jesse "Jet" Caudill, were orphaned at an early age when their parents, Henry and Barilla, died a few months apart in 1899. Big Bill and Jet were primarily raised by their Aunt Becky (Caudill) Webb. Big Bill lived most of his life in Uz, Letcher County, KY. However, sometime around 1930 he moved his family near St. Marys, KS, for a few years to farm during the depression. By about 1933, Big Bill moved his family back to Uz, Letcher County, KY. William was a Private in the Army during World War I. He was inducted on April 13, 1918, at Whitesburg, Letcher County, KY, and he was honorably discharged on May 20, 1919. He served in the following organizations: Indianapolis Tng. Det., Indianapolis, Indiana, to June 7, 1918; QMC Mech. Rep. Shop 305 to September 5, 1918; and MT Overhaul Park 731 to discharge. He served overseas from September 15, 1918 to May 13, 1919. Big Bill was a farmer and he worked for the state highway department for many years until he retired in about 1961. He died in his sleep of heart failure at his home at Uz on July 12, 1966.
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The obituary of William McKinley Caudill as published in the July 14, 1966, issue of The Mountain Eagle:
Funeral Friday for William Caudill
William M. Caudill of Whitesburg, a retired state highway department employee, died July 12. Funeral services for him will be conducted at 10 a.m. July 15 at his residence. Burial will be in the Caudill Cemetery at UZ. The Rev. H. B. Reedy will officiate. Mr. Caudill was a son of Henry and P. Jones Caudill. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Ethel Caudill, four children and two step-children. Moore and Craft Funeral Home handled funeral arrangements.
WORLD WAR I
APRIL 27 1896
JULY 12 1966
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