|Date of Birth||April 25, 1872|
|Place of Birth||Lime Springs, Iowa|
|Next of Kin||Mrs. Erna Pike (wife), Omro, Wisconsin|
|Trade / Calling||Lumber salesman|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Army Pay Corps|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Address at Enlistment||No 6 Forum Block, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Date of Enlistment||November 17, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||43|
|Theatre of Service||Great Britain|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||December 13, 1949|
|Age at Death||77|
|Buried At||Brookside Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
Acting Corporal James Francis Pike enlisted in Winnipeg in November 1915 and went overseas the following summer. He served in England with the Canadian Army Pay Corps and returned to Canada in April 1919.
According to his attestation paper, James was born in Lime Springs, Iowa on 25 April 1877. However census records, his marriage record and his obituary all indicate he was born in 1872. His father Leonard Whitman Pike was a farmer who was from Vermont and his mother Almeda Clark was born in New York. James had at least six siblings: Ellen Mary, Emma, Arthur, Laura, Charles and Pearl. The family lived in New York and Wisconsin before settling in Iowa. Almeda passed away in 1880, when James was eight years old, and she’s buried in Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Lime Springs. Leonard remarried the following year and he died in North Dakota in 1897.
When the 1900 U.S. census was taken James was living in Montreal, Iron County, Wisconsin and working as a bookkeeper. He was married in Chicago, Illinois on 30 April 1907. His wife, Erna Littlefield, was born in Wisconsin to Anson and Rose Littlefield. She was the oldest of nine children and she worked as a salesclerk in a store. By the time James enlisted he and his wife were separated and he was living in Canada.
The war entered its second year in August 1915 and James enlisted on 17 November 1915, signing up with the 90th Battalion in Winnipeg. He was 43 years old at the time but he passed himself off as 38. He was living in Winnipeg, his occupation was lumber salesman and next of kin was his wife Erna in Omro, Wisconsin. After training in Winnipeg over the winter the 90th Battalion embarked from Halifax on the SS Olympic on 31 May 1916. In England most of the recruits were absorbed into the 11th Reserve Battalion to be used as reinforcements for other units.
On 23 June 1916 James was posted to the Pay Office in London and in April 1917 he was transferred to the Canadian Army Pay Corps, where he served for the next two years. During that time his wife applied for a divorce and James changed his next of kin to his sister, Ellen Mary Kaiser, in Aitken, Minnesota. He was appointed Acting Corporal on 1 September 1918. He suffered from chronic bronchitis, although he wasn’t admitted to hospital while he was in England. He sailed for Canada on the SS Melita at the end of March 1919 and he was discharged on demobilization on 10 April in St. John, New Brunswick.
After the war James lived in Kenora, Ontario for several years, working as a lumber salesman. Around 1925 he spent some time in California, where his sister Ellen was living. After that he moved to Hudson, Ontario, a small town northeast of Kenora. He lived there for about twenty years and served as post master, retiring due to ill health in 1946.
James passed away in Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg on 13 December 1949, at age 77. His sister Ellen had died in California in 1941 and he was survived by his sister Laura (Mrs. George Lewis) in North Benson, Minnesota. James is buried in Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg.
By Becky Johnson