Remembering Charles H. Moffat


Dr. Charles H. Moffat once estimated he had taught some
16,000 students in a career of over 50 years.

File photo | The Herald-Dispatch


As a boy, Charles Hill Moffat (1912-2001) dreamed of becoming a lawyer.
But money was tight in the Great Depression, so he opted for a career
with a steady paycheck — teaching. And what a teacher he was.
 For decades, he brought history alive for thousands of students.

Born in Mississippi, Moffat was stricken with polio just short
of his 16th birthday. Remedies were sought without success.
A leg brace and a cane, however, provided him with
mobility, and he never allowed polio to interfere
 with a positive and enthusiastic approach to life.

Upon graduating from the University of Mississippi, he moved to Gordo,
Alabama, taught at the local high school, and earned an MA from the
 University of Alabama. In 1942 he moved to Anderson, South
 Carolina, to teach at the Anderson Boys’ School. He took
doctoral classes at the University of North Carolina
 before receiving a teaching fellowship
 at Vanderbilt University.

He received his PhD in 1946 from Vanderbilt, and that same year took
 a job at Marshall College. He taught at Marshall (now University)
until 1977, when a mandatory retirement policy forced him
 to quit full-time teaching at age 65. Reluctant to leave the
classroom, he continued to teach part-time at Marshall
and at the Ironton and Portsmouth branches of Ohio
 University. He once estimated he had taught some
16,000 students in a career of over 50 years.

 Moffat never lost his Southern drawl, a fact that added a dramatic
 ring of authenticity when he lectured on his two favorite subjects,
 the Civil War and the history of the South. As one former
 student recalled, “When Dr. Moffat described the Battle
of Gettysburg, you could smell the gunpowder.”

A talented author, he wrote a number of books including
a history of Marshall, a biography of Congressman
 Ken Hechler, a history of the Cabell County
Medical Society and a memoir.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Sep. 19, 2023.


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