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James Elliott Reed
Courtesy Barbara Comer

West Virginia
Veterans Memorial

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James Elliott Reed
1890-1918

“Patriotism is just loyalty to friends, people, families.”

Robert Santos

Army Private James Elliott Reed was born on August 10, 1890, in Procious, Clay County. Details of his early life with his family in rural West Virginia are few, but his parents were Martha and L. J. Reed and he was a deputy county clerk before he entered military service. James married Blanche Pierson on September 1, 1917.

On July 13, 1918, he enlisted in the Army intending to serve his country in World War I. Pvt. Reed was sent to College Station, Texas, where he joined Section B of the Student Army Training Corps at Texas A&M College. Ironically, James never saw action in Europe because he became a victim of the Great Flu Epidemic of 1918, dying in Texas of pneumonia.
Registration Card
James Reed's registration card

According to a Stanford University Web site, the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 was the “most devastating epidemic in world history,” killing between twenty and forty million people. Also known as “Spanish Flu” or “La Grippe,” the epidemic killed more people in one year than the “Great War” [WWI], from which it sprang, or the 1347-1351 Bubonic Plague.

According to his enlistment record, James was tall and slender with blue eyes and dark hair. Pvt. Reed was buried in the Reed Cemetery in Clay County, West Virginia.

Patricia Richards McClure contributed to this biography.

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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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