Cpl. John Franklin Acuff was born in Ooltewah, Tennessee, then the county seat of James County, on October 6, 1893. He was the oldest son of Hugh Alexander Acuff and Georgia Aurora Stanford Acuff, had five siblings, including Henry, Samuel, Cecil, Annie, and Winifred Acuff. Born into a rural family, he spent his formative years as a farmer before registering for the draft on June 5, 1917. He was killed in action at St. Souplet, France on October 18, 1918, and is buried at the Chattanooga National Cemetery in Chattanooga, Tennessee.