Robert Arthur Ragsdale was born in Polk County, Arkansas, on May 28, 1884, to Lewis and Alleen Ragsdale. He served as a Seaman Second Class in the United States Navy during World War I until his discharge on December 2, 1918. Robert was stationed in Newport News, Virginia, with the Intelligence section of the Fifth Naval District. He traveled between Newport News and Norfolk during the influenza epidemic of 1918. The state of Virginia estimated 200,000 cases of influenza by October 15, 1918, and a number of those cases were sailors traveling the coastline. Robert was one of those sailors that contracted the flu in Newport News. This collection contains material related to Ragsdale’s military service and a typed account of his personal struggle with influenza while on duty in Virginia.
Donated by Nancy Ragsdale Gilien and Anna Ragsdale Gentile, 2015.
· 1918 June 5: Navy identification card
· 1918 July 9: Note directing Robert Ragsdale to be examined for transfer
· 1918 July 10: Orders to report for duty
· 1918 December 2: Discharge Orders
· 1918 December 3: Insurance premium upon discharge
· 1918 December 11: Statement of Account
· 1918 December 11: Correspondence to Robert Ragsdale from Navy disbursing officer William Miffin
· Circa 1930: Statement by Robert Ragsdale about his case of influenza while on duty in Virginia