31 March 2010

Obituary--Gilbert Samis

This is the articles concerning the death of my first cousin, twice removed, Gilbert Samis. When I was doing research in a small town north of where I live, looking for my great-grandparents graves I found an article about the Gilbert Samis VFW post.
To say it was a surprise was an understatement. I have both Gilberts and Samis's in my family, and I had been looking for both sets of relatives. We just HAD to be related. In digging around I discovered that Gilbert's mother, Sadie (or Sarah) Gilbert was my great-grandfather's sister. His father was my great-grandmother's brother James Francis Samis.
Here he is below, on the right. Handsome young man.
From Reed City Clarion, 5 December 1918, page 1.

--------------Though the war has been over three weeks yet the list of casualties show contributions for this community to the fight for democracy. Gilbert Samis has been numbered among those giving his life, word having been received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Samis, last week that Gilbert had died October 28.
Gilbert A. Samis was born in Lake county May 13, 1987 and attended the rural schools until coming to Reed City with his family in 1909 when he attended high school for a time. For two years he was in Park Lane, taking the examinations at the Marion schools.
When trouble broke out with Mexico Gilbert enlisted, joining the Big Rapids Co H. 126th Inf. 32nd Division on June 20, 1916. He spent many do this loses the magic of compound months on the border. After receiving an honorable discharge the soldier returned to Reed City and went into the restaurant business with his father. However, he still felt the call to the colors and again enlisted and went overseas last February. He went through the battle at Chateau Thierry, was wounded, recovered and returned to his ranks. He received wound in the fighting at Arogonne Forest on October 2 and on the 28th day of that month passed away, dying like a martyr as thousands of others have done on the fields of France.
Gilbert was of a disposition that brought cheer to his parents and sisters, Edna, Beatrice and Blanche and he will be greatly missed by them as well as by his many friends.
Deceased was a member of the Fraternal Ranks Lodge and was also associated with the Baptist church.
The golden gates are opened wide.
A gentle voice said come.
And angel from the other side
Welcomed our loved one home.
The VFW Post in Reed City is named after Gilbert Samis.

See? I told you about the VFW Post. I found the second picture of him with one of these articles.
How sad it is that even though the Armistice was signed earlier, soldiers were still dying weeks later.

REED CITY MICHIGAN, Clarion, January 1919

The remains of Private 1st Class Gilbert A. Samis, who lost his life overseas, accompanied by a government escort from Hoboken, N.J., arrived in Reed City, Friday, Jan. 9, and by request was taken to the home of Mr. and Mrs. S. Wolfe.
Funeral services were preached by Rev. Hiram Pegg at the Baptist Church Sunday afternoon.
Military services held at the grave under the auspices of Harry Kunzie Post, Big Rapids, and directed by Major McCormick. Prayer by Chaplin Darrow. These being members of the company in which Gilbert served overseas. Taps were sounded at the grave.
Private Gilbert A. Samis was born in Lake county, Mich. May 13, 1897, and was wounded in action in Meuse-Argonne, France, Oct. 2 1918. He was taken to Base Hospital No. 67 and died from his wounds Oct. 28, 1918. He was one of the first Reed City boys to make the supreme sacrifice in a foreign land, in defense of the stars and stripes in the Great World War.
Gilbert volunteered his service to his country and enlisted June 20, 1916, with Co. H Old National Guards, at Big Rapids, serving on the Mexican border. He was later transferred to Co. I. 126th Infantry, U.S. army, and sailed in February 1917 with the 32nd division.
He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Samis, and two sisters, Mrs. Luther Joyner and Blanche, all of Detroit, besides other relatives many of whom were in attendance at the funeral. Interment was in Woodland cemetery.
The following ex-soldiers acted as pall bearers; Royal Gingrich, Gordon Roggow, Lyle Pickett, William Torrey, Vance Dailey, Lynn Luce, William Small, and Charles Rowe.
Those attending the funeral from out of town were Mr. and Mrs. A. Gilbert of Casnovia, Mrs. James Samis of Lansing, Mr. and Mrs. James Dark and Mr. and Mrs. Milan King and son of Kalamazoo, and Mr. and Mrs. Gilman Stone of Hersey.

I have done enough research in the Chase/Reed City area that now many of the pall bearer's names seem familiar. And I can identifiy nearly all of those who attended the funeral. My Civil War GGgrandfather Armenus Gilbert, my GGgrandmother Sarah Smith Samis, and other family members.
Truly obituaries, although sad they may be are still gold mines for genealogists.


  1. my father edward horrigan was with G Samis when he was wounded dad was from big rapids dob6/9/96 he also was mich NG on border co. H mich NG then 126th inf 32nd div co I my dad also wounded that day. dad always spoke tearfully of that day in france. dad substained machine gun bullet through thru leg.dad died 01/60 had 3 brothers 2sisters

  2. Wow, thanks for sharing his experience. Gilbert has been a favorite relative, since each of his parents were siblings to my great grandparents. I'm glad to learn a little about that day .


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