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Edmund Caskie Harrison

West Virginia
Veterans Memorial


Edmund Caskie Harrison

"Perhaps no one saw clearer than 'Jack' Harrison the real cause of the World War the great spiritual things to be gained by it and because of this he offered his life."

Charleston Daily Mail, December 27, 1918

Edmund Caskie "Jack" Harrison was born on May 8, 1882, in Sewanee, Tennessee, the third child of Caskie and Margaret Sydnor Harrison. At the age of 16, Jack received a scholarship to Columbia University, graduating in 1902. He taught school before taking up the study of law at Richmond College.

In 1907, Jack became a member of the law firm of Price, Smith, Spillman and Clay in Charleston. He also practiced law in the Greenbrier Circuit Court. "He developed into a fine lawyer, and before his death had attained to a well recognized standing amongst the best lawyers of the Charleston bar," lawyer George Price recalled.

Although beyond draft age, 35-year-old Jack Harrison enlisted in the army on April 24, 1918. He was assigned to Battery A, 313th Field Artillery, and was sent overseas on May 24. He served as the telephone lineman of the First Battalion Headquarters. According to Captain Emory H. Niles, he was performing his duty in this capacity on November 1, 1918, when he was struck by a shell fragment during a German bombardment of the Bois-de-Rappes area.

Harrison was performing his duty as telephone lineman, of the First Battalion Headquarters Detail of this Regiment . . . . He was standing near a dug-out on the western edge of the Bois-de-Rappes, . . . . When our attack of November 1st opened, the Germans bombarded the Bois-de-Rappes heavily and Harrison was struck by a fragment of a shell which exploded between fifty and seventy-five yards from him. The shell splinter entered his heart and he died within a few minutes, having been unconscious from the time that he was hit. - Emory H. Niles, Captain, 313th F.A., January 25, 1919, quoted in Proceedings of the Thirty-fifth Annual Meeting of the West Virginia Bar Association, 1919

He was buried in a small American Military Cemetery near Romagne.

Jack Harrison's family established the Edmund Caskie Harrison Fund at St. John's Episcopal Church in Charleston, where he was a member, for "the relief of sickness and the promotion of health in individual cases of need in the City of Charleston and the County of Kanawha." St. John's was also the site of a memorial service held in March 1919 for members of the congregation who had lost their lives in the war. His brother, author Henry Sydnor Harrison, wrote When I Come Back in 1919 as a tribute to Edmund Caskie "Jack" Harrison. More recently, Edmund Caskie Harrison was among those memorialized on the Columbia University Roll of Honor.
St. Johns
St. Johns Episcopal Church, Charleston,
West Virginia State Archives
Cabinet Files


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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