Benjamin H. Burris was born on 26-JAN 1896.  Benjamin lived in Foristell MO.  His Aunt (next of kin) was Mrs. Palina Hill.  He went overseas on troopship President Grant departing from Hoboken NJ.  He was a Private in Company I, 809th Pioneer Infantry (Black Infantry regiment).  His serial number was 3965965.  During the 14-day voyage aboard the troop ship President Grant, about half of the 5000 men on board fell ill with “Spanish flu”. They were from many regiments being posted to Europe. So many men died en route that their bodies had to be buried at sea. The best evidence indicates that this disaster began at Camp Funston, an Army base in Kansas on 8-MAR 1918. The influenza virus mutated into a lethal strain. It arrived in Europe on American troop ships in early April 1918, and perhaps mutated again.  The Evening Missourian in Columbia MO reported 25-NOV 1918, Benjamin died of disease on disease 8-OCT 1918. Benjamin Burris is buried in France at Oise-Aisne American Cemetery in Fere-en-Tardenois.  

Please contact the St. Charles County Veterans Museum Oral History project at or call 636-294-2657 for more information and lets’ talk. We want to hear from you because we know…Every Veteran has a story.