James Frances Settles
|James Frances Settles, son of Seymour and Susan Victoria [Channel] Settles, was born on October 5, 1891, in the Doddridge County, West Virginia, community of Coldwater. Shortly thereafter, the family moved to Calhoun County and settled near Sand Ridge close to the Calhoun-Gilmer county line. Seymour was a farmer and also owned a country store.|
James registered for the draft on June 5, 1917. According to the information given at the time, James was short with a slender build, blue eyes, and red hair. He was inducted into the army at Grantsville, West Virginia, on October 2, 1917, and assigned to Company L, 30th Infantry, which was part of the 3rd Infantry Division.
In April 1918, James Settles arrived in France with the other members of his company. The newly arrived 30th Infantry Division lacked battlefield experience and they immediately began drilling and training for the front lines. They also received instruction in defense against the use of mustard and other gases as chemical weapons.
|On May 27, 1918, the German army began an advance across France, sweeping across the Aisne River and heading for the Marne River. The swiftly attacking Germans broke the French lines into fragments. By the end of May, the 30th Infantry was well trained. Assigned to support the French 6th Army, they proceeded to Chateau Thierry to aid in the defense of bridges across the Marne River. From May 31-July 10, 1918, the 30th Infantry endured forty-one days of continuous action in the vicinity of Chateau Thierry, where the German army had advanced to its deepest point in France, near Paris.|
The 30th Infantry was deployed along the south bank of the Marne. The Germans continually pounded the area with heavy artillery bombardments. During the month of June 1918, the 3rd Infantry Division maintained their support of the French army in the area, particularly with their assault of Hill 204 on the north bank of the Marne. They also participated in night raids to capture German prisoners for interrogation.
By July 17, 1918, the German offensive was successfully stopped, and on July 18th, the American and French armies began a counter offensive that resulted in the retreat of the German troops from the south of the Marne River. During the night of July 20th, the Allies pursued the German army in their retreat from Chateau Thierry. From July 22-25, 1918, the 3rd Infantry Division was engaged in bitter fighting on the wooded slopes leading up to the village of Le Charmel.
James Frances Settles was killed during this action on July 22, 1918, near Chateau Thierry and he was buried in Plot B, Row 2, Grave #22, at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Bellau, France.
|At the time of his death, James was survived by his parents, Seymour and Susan Victoria Settles; his brothers Joseph, Charles Otto, Coy, and William; and his sisters Rebecca, Bessie, Ora Cecil, Lena, Millie, Rea, and Iva. James was preceded in death by his sister Mabel, who died during childbirth on May 18, 1918.|
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. For more information contact Constance Baston at (304) 558-0230.
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