Monday, October 8, 2018

PVt Robert Lee Lafferty

PVT Robert Lee "Bus" Lafferty was born in September 1895 in Lacrosse, Arkansas to James Frank and Julia M. (Ward) Lafferty. The family resided in Lacrosse, Arkansas where his father worked as a blacksmith.

On a hot mid-August day in the year of the 1901 drought, Frank Lafferty with his wife Julia (Ward) Lafferty left La Crosse, Izard County, Arkansas by way of wagon-drawn by horses or mules owned and driven by Bob or Pete Wilkerson. Their children at the time were Fannie, Robert Lee, Emmett Lee, and Hester Lee. (If this is the correct year Hester was only six months old) She was born the 1st day of Feb 1901. They left behind two daughters. Edith was the name of one of them. They died at a very young age. Mr Wilkerson told Emmett, in the early 30's, that he never thought that he (Emmett) could complete the trip because of a very high fever, (don't know what kind of fever.)

When arriving at Lead Hill they moved into a house owned by the Penix Family and Frank after arriving at Lead Hill he worked at a cotton Gin and also at  a Flour and feed Mill, probably owned by the Milum Family. (Frank was probably a miller by trade since there was a Lafferty Mill on Lafferty Creek in Izard County. He was also a blacksmith and a boatsman. There move could have been made because Julia's folks were living at Lead Hill at the time. Julia's mother and three sisters are buried in and near Lead Hill.

After a short time at Lead Hill they moved to Kenner, Boone County, Arkansas, where a railroad was being built. Frank set up his blacksmith shop as the work on the railroad was done by hand using horse drawn slips to build and shape the railroad bed in order to lay the ties and rail. After the railroad was completed they moved back to Lead Hill where he may have worked in the Blacksmith shop for a while.

They moved to the Blackwell farm in 1904 or 1905 (This is near Monark, Marion County, Arkansas.) After starting to farm Frank made one crop and had begun another when he died on this farm in 1906. He died apparently of a fever cased from drinking contaminated water from a large spring on this farm. (Beavers were living in a cave out of which the spring was flowing). Robert Lee (Bus) was old enough at this time to help out with the farm work , such as driving the teams of mules and oxen for plowing.

After Frank's death times were very hard and the only work that Julia could find was doing washing's and fire building for the school.
After induction, Robert was assigned to I Company 116th Infantry.  He trained with the unit at Camp McClellan, Alabama.  The unit departed Hoboken, New Jersey aboard the USS Finland on 15 Jun 1918 and debarked in France on 28 June.  PVT Lafferty was killed in action as recounted in this letter:
My Dear Mrs. Lafferty:

It is with deep sympathy in your bereavement we send you this record which we have received from Paris concerning the death of Pvt. Lafferty. Our informant is Pvt. Herman Lee, whose home is Timberville, Va. Under date of Jan. 13, he made the following statement to one of our Red Cross Searchers: "We went over the top for the first time on October 8th and were advancing over No Man's Land in line of skirmishers and had gone about two hundred yards when a large shell struck along-side Pvt. Lafferty, on his left and killed him instantly. I did not stop as the attack had just begun and I do not know where his body was buried, as we did not come back in that direction for several days. For the exact location of the grave we suggest you write direct to Chief Graves Registration Bureau, Headquarters, Service of Supply, American E.F. , A.P.O. 717, France. Wherever possible, photographs of the graves are taken and sent to the families, to our Bureau, and if one is sent of Pvt. Lafferty's burial place, we shall of course, forward it to you promptly. Reverently we think of the sacrifice you have made to our country though this soldier and assure you we feel it a privilege to help you in any way we can.
Yours sincerely W.R. Castle, Jr.
PVT Lafferty's body was apparently not recovered and he is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery.

Brother, Emmett Lee Lafferty, served as a SGT in World War One. 

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