Wainwright, Jonathan Mayhew (1883–1953)

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: February 1, 1996

Jonathan Mayhew (Skinny) Wainwright, army officer, was born in Walla Walla, Washington, on August 23, 1883, the son of Robert Powell Page and Josephine (Serrell) Wainwright. Following in the footsteps of his father, he entered West Point, graduated in 1906, and took his first troop command with a cavalry unit on the Texas border. During his forty-five years of army service he was stationed at Texas forts in the cavalry at various times. He was promoted through the grades to brigadier general by 1938. In October 1940 he was assigned to duty in the Philippines under the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. When MacArthur left Bataan, the command was turned over to Lieutenant General Wainwright, who was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the surrender of Corregidor. Wainwright spent 3½ years in Japanese prison camps. He returned to the United States at the end of World War II, at which time he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and made a full general in September 1945. He was assigned command of the Fourth Army at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, in January 1946, and retired from that command on August 31, 1947. Having formed an affection for Texas during his tours of duty there, he decided to make it his home. He married Adele Howard Holley on February 18, 1911, and they had one son. On September 2, 1953, Wainwright died at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

John Jacob Beck, MacArthur and Wainwright: Sacrifice of the Philippines (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1974). Jonathan M. Wainwright, General Wainwright's Story (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1946).

Time Periods:

  • World War II

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Wainwright, Jonathan Mayhew,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 25, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/wainwright-jonathan-mayhew.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1996