PRIVATE FIRST CLASS JOHN HARKINS was born in County Donegal, Ireland on February 24, 1887. He does not appear in the 1914 Camden City Directory, but was living at 1102 South 4th Street and working at the Castle Kid Company leather works. He had declared his intention to become an American citizen when he registered for the draft in June of 1917.
John Harkins was inducted into the United States Army on February 25, 1918 at Camden, New Jersey. Assigned to Company D. 209th Infantry Regiment, 78th Infantry Division, he went overseas in April of 1918. John Harkins was promoted to Private First Class on July 7, 1918.
Private First Class Harkins survived the fighting, only to fall victim to the Spanish flu pandemic that took he lives of millions during the fall of 1918. He died in France of bronchial pneumonia on November 17, 1918. John Harkins was brought back to America after the war and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
John Harkins was a member of the patriotic fraternal organization, the Improved Order of Red Men, belonging to Ottawa Tribe No. 15, which met in Morgan's Hall on Market Street in the years leading up to America's entry into World War I. Ottawa Tribe No. 15 members included J. Richard Geist, Ralph Benner, Burton Bagg, Fillmore Haines, Joseph Covert, and William Schucker.
1102 South 4th Street, where John Harkins had made his home prior to going off to war, was the home of the Luigi Cinaglia family from the 1930s into the 1960s. Luigi Cinaglia's son, Private Anthony Cinaglia, was killed in action while serving with the United States Army during World War II.
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