March 4, 1913: Personal Physician of Former President Taft, Major Thomas Leidy Rhoads Attends Inauguration of President Wilson


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA.

March 4, 1913: Major Thomas Leidy Rhoads, aide de camp and personal physician of the President of the United States, William H. Taft, has attended the inauguration of the 28th President of the United States Woodrow Wilson this morning.

Rhoads called the ceremony a magnificent spectacle and the parade a pageant well worth seeing. He was part of the entourage in the procession of six carriages to head the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.

After lunch at the White House, Rhoads accompanied Taft to the train station and saluted his former boss as he and his family departed for Augusta, Georgia. Rhoads had met Taft in Manila, where he was stationed during the Spanish American War and Taft was the Governor General of the Philippines.

Rhoads performed surgery on the future president in the Philippines that saved his life. Following that operation, they became close friends; and when Taft was elected President, he chose Rhoads to accompany him to Washington as his personal physician.

Rhoads will now take a break from Washington politics to visit his parents, Dr. and Mrs. Thomas J.B Rhoads, in Boyertown, who had received a telegram from President Taft with “a cordial message of greetings and best wishes” for the celebration of their golden wedding anniversary.

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