Sunday Salute ~ Major Paul Eaves Divine ~ Spanish American War

Paul E Divine military PicPaul Eaves Divine, my maternal 2nd cousin 3 times removed, was born on May 20, 1871, in Tazewell, Claiborne County, Tennessee. He is the second of five children born to Dr. John Washington (1836-1903) and Mary Adalaide (Newlee) Divine (1835-1915). Paul graduated from High School in 1889 and attended the Cumberland School of Law, receiving his degree in 1896.

In 1898 with the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, Paul joined Paul E Divine Spanih Am Warthe service as a Major in the 6th US Volunteer Infantry. He came from a long line of Divine’s who had fought in Country’s previous wars, and he felt it was his duty to do the same. This particular war was probably one of the shortest wars our country has been involved in.

The Spanish–American War broke out in late April 1898. The American strategy was to seize Spanish colonies in the Atlantic, Puerto Rico and Cuba, and their possessions in the Pacific, the Philippines, and Guam. On May 10, Spanish forces at Fort San Cristóbal under the command of Capt. Ángel Rivero Méndez in San Juan exchanged fire with the USS Yale under the command of Capt. William C. Wise. Two days later, on May 12, a squadron of 12 US ships commanded by Rear Admiral William T. Sampson bombarded installations at San Juan. On June 25, the USS Yosemite blocked San Juan harbor. On July 18, General Nelson A. Miles, commander of US forces, received orders to sail for Puerto Rico and to land his troops. On July 21, a convoy with nine modes of transport, and 3,300 soldiers, escorted by USS Massachusetts, sailed for Puerto Rico from Guantánamo. General Nelson Miles landed unopposed at Guánica, located on the southern coast of the island, on July 25, 1898, with the first contingent of American troops. The opposition was met in the southern and central regions of the island but by the end of August, the island was under the United States control.

On August 12, peace protocols were signed in Washington and Spanish Commissions met in San Juan on September 9 to discuss the details of the withdrawal of Spanish troops and the cession of the island to the United States. On October 1, an initial meeting was held in Paris to draft the Peace Treaty and on December 10, 1898, the Treaty of Paris was signed (ratified by the US Senate February 6, 1899). Spain Paul Eaves Divine Military 4renounced all claim to Cuba, ceded Guam and Puerto Rico and its dependent islets to the United States, and transferred sovereignty over the Philippines to the United States and in turn, was paid $20,000,000 by the U.S. In August of 1898, Paul was appointed Post Commander of Puerto Rico Guayama. He received his commission from the military Judge Advocate. He held this post until early 1905. He returned home and immediately moved to Johnson City, Tennessee.

Paul Eaves Divine Military5

From July 1, 1905, through 1908, he was appointed the Treasurer for Mountain Branch for the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Johnson City. He also started his own law practice with a fellow Cumberland graduate David Guinn.

He married Lulu Belle Milburn in 1907, and they had 3 daughters, Josephine, Ada, and Florence.


Paul died on April 17, 1935, at the age of 63. His obituary includes the following: “Paul is considered a highly respected citizen of this town as well as an honest lawyer and Political leader with the Republican Party.”


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