PFC Joseph Alfred Byers was probably born Boiling Spring in Alleghany County, Virginia in June 1899. He was the youngest of 3 children and only son born to Samuel Lee and Sarah E. (Fridley) Byers. The family farmed.
Joseph likely entered the National Guard unit with his cousin when the federalization was announced. Sent to Camp McClellan, Alabama the unit was reorganized as part of H Company 116th Infantry. The unit sailed for France from Hoboken, New Jersey aboard the USS Finland on 15 Jun 1918. The ship docked in Saint Nazaire, France on 28 Jun 1918. After training in trench warfare and time in a "quiet" sector on the front lines the 116th was part of a major offensive in the vicinity of Verdun. PFC Byers was killed on the first day of the offensive.
PFC Byers is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery.
First cousin to PVT Hobson Dewey Byers also of H Company who was killed in action on 23 Oct 1918.