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Abraham Clotten Sams

Charleston Gazette

West Virginia Veterans Memorial

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Abraham Clotten Sams
1925-1944

"War does not determine who is right—only who is left."

Bertrand Russell

Army Private First Class Abraham Sams was born in the small town of Procious, Clay County, West Virginia, located about an hour north of the state’s capital, Charleston. He was the second of seven children born to Alfred Merritt Sams (1895-1973) and Frona [possibly Fronia] May Samples Sams (1896-1983). One source indicates he had six siblings: George Jacob Sams, Nina Mary Sams, Malissa A. Sams, James Adrian Sams, Nona May Sams, and Shirley Edith Sams. (Source: “Alfred Merritt Sams,” posted by “norton,” accessed 30 May 2014, http://www.findagrave.com.) 1930 Federal Census records show four children living in the household that year: George, Abraham, Nina, and Malissa. Little is known of Abraham’s education except that he attended grammar school in his hometown along with schooling from his parents at home. According to U.S. Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946, his civilian job involved the extraction of minerals, and because of the family’s location, it is logical to assume he worked in the mining of coal.

With hope of sending money back to his family, Abraham enlisted in the United States Army on March 27, 1944, at the age of 18 at Fort Thomas, Newport, Kentucky. With a known family military background in having both of his grandfathers fighting for the Union Army in the Civil War, and his father serving in the Army in France in World War I, Abraham was immediately sent out to fight in World War II. Abraham was assigned to the 394th Infantry, 99th Infantry Division, which was headed for England.

Abraham’s service in the United States Army ended on December 19, 1944, in the Battle of the Bulge, which was a major German offensive campaign launched in the densely forested Ardennes region of Wallonia in Belgium, France, and Luxembourg on the Western Front toward the end of World War II. Abraham was only 19 years old at the time of his death.

His body was sent back home to Procious, West Virginia, where he would then be buried three years following his passing. Abraham’s family held a funeral for him at the Horner Fork Baptist Church in their town before a burial in the Sams family cemetery on Dull’s Creek Mountain. In 2011, Pfc. Sams was honored by the West Virginia legislature, which dedicated a bridge to him. The bridge was named under the House Concurrent Resolution No. 79 requesting that bridge number 8-4/5-2.95 over the Elk River on County Route 4/5 in Clay County be named in memory of Sams.
headstone application

The Sams family’s application for a headstone in the Sams Cemetery. Source: Ancestry.com, U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963 [database online]; digital image of original document at National Archives and Records Administration.

Article prepared by Brock Darnell and Will Nadas.

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Abraham Sams

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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