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Albert Hanley Totten
Courtesy of Totten family

West Virginia
Veterans Memorial


Albert Hanley Totten

"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."

Elmer Davis

Army Private Albert Hanley Totten was born in Emmons, Boone County , West Virginia , on January 27, 1917 , to John L. and Cora E. Graley Totten. The family included brothers William Golden (b. 1913), Lowell James (1914-1995), Albert Hanley (1917-1944), Emory Ezra (1921-2009), John L. (known as Junior; 1926-2010), Robert Ray (Bobby; 1932-2007), William Jackson (Jackie; b. 1938), Theodore Howard (who went by his middle name; 1934-2009), Harold Dean (b. 1939), and Amos Russell (b. 1941). The family also included sisters Myrtle Elsie (1919-2004), Martha Opal (b. 1924), and Beulah Edith (1929-2002).

On May 14, 1934, Albert was married to Letha Jane Wallace, daughter of James Frank and Mittie May Adkins Wallace. Albert and Letha had no children.

U.S. Army World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 show that Pvt. Totten registered at Huntington , West Virginia , on October 14, 1943 . At that time, he stated that he had a grammar school education. Prior to his enlistment, he was a coal miner, as was his father before him.

Pvt. Totten was assigned to the 358th Infantry, 90th Infantry Division. Albert trained at Camp Wheeler , Georgia , and Fort Meade , Maryland , before going overseas in April 1944. He was killed in action in France on July 5, 1944 . Initially buried in Blosville , Normandy , France , his remains were returned to the states in April 1948 and reburied in Boone County . A Madison , West Virginia , VFW memorial book states: "Will be returned to the States for burial in the Madison Memorial Park beside his brother, Private Johnnie Wallace who is also being returned." Pvt. Wallace was actually the brother of Albert's wife Letha Jane, and Albert was buried in the Wallace family plot, where Letha was also buried upon her death in 1993.

Amos Totten, the youngest brother, was only two at the time of Albert's death and has little recollection of the happenings of the time, and his family didn't talk much about the war. He did mention that just one year after Albert was brought back to Boone County for reburial, his father was killed in a coal mine accident, thus compounding the tragedy.
Grave marker
Grave marker, Albert H. Totten

Article provided by Amos Totten, brother of Albert Hanley Totten


West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.

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