Sergeant Obadiah B. Smith, Jr.
Backstory and Context
Obadiah (or Obediah) B. Smith, Jr., was born on September 12th, 1895, in Huntington to Obadiah (or Obediah) B. and Nannie B. Smith. He lived at 1652 8th Avenue, Huntington, and entered service on July 16th, 1918. He was sent to Camp Dix, New Jersey, and was assigned as a Sergeant, serial number 3685520, to the 52nd Company of the 13th Training Battalion, 153rd Depot Brigade at Camp Dix. He caught influenza and developed pneumonia:
COLORED SOLDIER STRICKEN WITH PNEUMONIA NEAR DEATH
Obie Smith, colored, 1652 Eighth avenue, now in military service and stationed at Camp Dix, New Jersey, is dangerously ill with double pneumonia. His mother is with him. She wired yesterday morning and her message indicated that there was little if no hope that the boy would recover. The father and other relatives and anxiously awaiting further message and hope for more favorable news.
– Huntington Herald-Dispatch, October 4th, 1918
He died at Camp Dix on October 5th, 1918.
HUNTINGTON COLORED MAN DIES IN CAMP OF “FLU”
Obediah Smith, Jr., colored, died at Camp Dix, N.J., Friday night of double pneumonia, following Spanish influenza. The message announcing his death was received by his father, Obediah Smith, 1652 Eighth avenue, yesterday from the boy’s mother, who went to Camp Dix early last week, after hearing of his illness. She wired several days ago that hope for his recovery had been abandoned by the physicians.
Funeral arrangements will not be made until further advices from Mrs. Smith are received.
– Huntington Herald-Dispatch, October 6th, 1918
His remains were sent to Huntington:
FUNERAL SERVICES FOR OBIE SMITH MAY BE HELD TODAY
The body of Obie Smith, colored, arrived here from Camp Dix, N.J., at 8:40 last night, and was taken to the Johnson undertaking rooms, where friends may view it this morning. The funeral services will probably be held late this afternoon. The body was shipped in a beautiful chestnut casket covered with a large and beautiful flag.
The soldier boy was 22 years old and a son of Obadiah B. Smith, 1652 Eighth avenue. Prior to his induction into military service he worked in the baggage room of the Chesapeake & Ohio station and had quite an extensive acquaintance in the city.
– Huntington Herald-Dispatch, October 9th, 1918
He was buried in Huntington’s Spring Hill Cemetery:
SMITH FUNERAL TODAY.
Services over the body of Obie Smith, colored soldier, will be held at the grave. The cortege will leave the home of Obadiah Smith, 1652 Eighth avenue, for Spring Hill cemetery at 11 o’clock this forenoon. Burial by the Johnson Undertaking Company.
– Huntington Herald-Dispatch, October 10th, 1918
[From In the Service of Their Country - used with permission of the author]
Woodard, Benjamin. In the Service of Their Country: The Story of the Soldiers from Cabell County, West Virginia, Who Gave the Ultimate Sacrifice in the Great War. Sixth Printing. Benjamin Woodard - Lulu, 2019.
Honor Roll of Cabell County, W.Va. - Author's Picture (Benjamin Woodard)
Author - Benjamin Woodard