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Charles Basil Bumgarner

West Virginia
Veterans Memorial

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Charles Basil Bumgarner
1895-1918

“He was one of our county’s best men . . . .”

Wirt County Journal

Ray Clarence Pettit
1892-1918

Charles Basil Bumgarner was born October 23, 1895, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the eldest of two sons born to Charles Hamilton and Ella Dotson Bumgarner. When “Basil” was four years old, his mother died and he and his younger brother Dotson were reared by their father and his second wife, Sally Redsecker Bumgarner. Five children were born of this marriage, including Roy Bumgarner, who would marry the sister of Ray Pettit.

The family moved to Wirt County, West Virginia, while Basil was a boy. Basil, a quiet and reserved young man, was well known in the county, being in the cattle business with his father. He was inducted into the Army on May 27, 1918, at Elizabeth, West Virginia.

Basil was shipped overseas and served as a member of Company D, 131st Infantry. On October 10, 1918, during the Meuse-Argonne Forest battle in France, he was killed instantly when he was struck by a bullet from a hidden machine gun nest, according to Pvt. McGruider Netterville, an eyewitness to the event.

The body of Basil Bumgarner was returned to the United States in August 1921 and interred in the Knights of Pythias Cemetery in Elizabeth. An article in the August 21, 1921 issue of the Wirt County Journal describes the funeral which was attended by hundreds throughout the county.

Bumgarner grave marker
Tombstone for grave of Charles Basil Bumgarner.


Ray Pettit and brothers
Brothers Earl, Ray, Russell, and Cecil Pettit
Ray Clarence Pettit was born on November 7, 1892, in Calhoun County, West Virginia, the son of George Washington and Fannie Smalley Pettit. Ray had three brothers and sisters, including Nellie who later married Roy Bumgarner. As a youth Ray probably attended schools in Two Ripple, Wirt County, and in Clarksburg. He later attended Mountain State Business College and was employed at the H. J. Heinz Co. in Pittsburgh.

In 1917 Ray enlisted in the aviation corps and was in training when he was stricken with pneumonia. He died on January 1, 1918, at the Fort Sam Houston Base Hospital in Texas. His body was returned to Wirt County and was buried in the Knights of Pythias Cemetery in Elizabeth.
Postcard from Ray Pettit
Postcard written by Ray Pettit, December 16, 1917 (never sent)

Information and photographs provided by Sally Bumgarner (niece)

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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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