James Frederick Creel

The following profile was researched and compiled by Candice L. Buchanan and Glenn J. R. T. Toothman III, for www.RainDayBoys.com.

Birth: 2 August 1897 Waynesburg, Greene County, Pennsylvania

Parents: John Creel and Catherine W. Dulaney

Residence at time of enlistment: Waynesburg, Greene County, Pennsylvania

Physical description: Tall, stout, blue eyes, light brown hair

Death: Influenza epidemic, 24 September 1918 Naval Hospital, Great Lakes, Lake County, Illinois

Age at death: 21 years old

Last resting place: Green Mount Cemetery, Waynesburg, Greene County, Pennsylvania

Military rank: Serial No. 1849778. Apprentice Seaman. U.S. Navy

Additional information:

"Big hearted and of a jovial disposition" were the words his eulogizers chose to immortalize 21 year old James Creel after the shocking news of his death struck his friends in Waynesburg and at Washington & Jefferson College. Though in the U.S. Naval Reserve some months at Pittsburgh, James had only left two weeks before to go to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois. He had written home to tell his mother that he had a bad cold. This was followed by a telegram on the morning of Tuesday, September 24, warning Catherine that he was very ill. Immediately she prepared to travel to him that evening, but was stopped in the afternoon by a second telegram that reported his passing.

James had been a star football player at Waynesburg High School. Nearly his whole team went to war. At W. & J. he continued the sport and was the third from that school's program to be lost in World War I. A touching tribute and large photo of him in uniform was published by the Washington Reporter the day after his death, it reads:

"Jim Creel Dies at Great Lakes Station
Is Third W. & J. Football Player to Make Supreme Sacrifice in War.
James Creel, for two years a member of the Washington & Jefferson football squad, died yesterday at the Great Lakes Naval Training station, on Lake Michigan, north of Chicago. The word came in a telegram to his mother, Mrs. Kate Dulaney Creel, Waynesburg. The cause of death was not given.
James Creel was born and reared in Waynesburg. He attended the public schools there and the Waynesburg High School. He was a star player on the Waynesburg High football team and entered Washington & Jefferson college in the fall of 1915. He was a popular student, being big hearted and of a jovial disposition, and readily made friends. He was a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity.
He had enlisted in the naval branch of the service some time ago and had been located in Pittsburg[h]. He went to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station about two weeks ago. The announcement of his death came as a shock to many of his friends here.
His death is the third among the W. & J. football players. The first to make the supreme sacrifice was Captain Ralph Taylor, who was killed in a fall of an airplane at Mineola, IL. Captain Taylor was the first army officer to be killed after the United States entered the war. The second player to meet death was Corporal Leonard Whitehill, killed in action on the west front in France. He was a member of the headquarters company of the 110th regiment.
Creel's remains will be taken to his home at Waynesburg. The funeral announcement will be made later. Arrangements will be made for sending some representatives of W. & J. college and the football team to attend the services."


Only an infant when his father died in 1899, James left a bereaved mother to mourn his loss. They had been members of the Presbyterian Church and Sunday school in Waynesburg. He rests with his parents in the circular section at the very front of Green Mount Cemetery along Morris Street, near the brick road entrance.


  • "James F. Creel Dies in Navy Training School" article, Waynesburg Republican, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, 26 September 1918.
  • "Jim Creel Dies at Great Lakes Station," article, Washington (Pennsylvania) Reporter, 25 September 1918, page 10, columns 2-3; online images, Google news (www.news.google.com : viewed 7 October 2017), Observer-Reporter Collection.
  • "United States, World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=6482 : accessed 29 August 2018), James F. Creel draft card, serial no. 167-A, Local Draft Board, Waynesburg, Greene County, Pennsylvania; citing National Archives microfilm publication M1509, FHL roll 1892939.
  • "WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=60884 : accessed 29 April 2018), James Frederick Creel (no application for compensation submitted); citing World War I Veterans Service and Compensation File, 1934–1948 (RG 19, Series 19.91), Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.