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A soldier of the Great War: Mathews doughboy remembered a century later

Raymond Richard Collins left his family’s farm in Cobbs Creek in early June 1917 after receiving his draft notice from the U.S. Army. The brown-haired, blue-eyed farm boy didn’t return home until Sept. 9, 1921, in a metallic casket draped with an American flag.

At 24, Raymond left behind no wife or child or legacy beyond the memories his family, friends and neighbors had of him. He was one of the 26,277 Americans who died in the Battle of the Argonne Forest, the bloodiest battle—and the last—that the American Expeditionary Force fought during World War I.

In November 2016, Jack Collins, Raymond’s great-nephew, and his wife Tisha named their newborn son Judd Raymond Collins after the great-uncle Jack never knew. On Memorial Day, Raymond’s great-great niece, Shannon Collins, paid homage to Raymond by placing a flag on his grave.

Jack said that, growing up, he hadn’t known much about his uncle or his uncle’s death and wanted to find out w...

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