World War I News, 1917-1919
from the Denison Review
Letters to Home from Crawford County People Serving in WWI
September, 1917 - June, 1918
E. F. Stock, (Denison Review, Sept. 19, 1917)
Headquarters Co 168 U. S. Inf., 84th Brig, 42d Div., Camp Mills, Hemstead, N. Y.,
Dear Folks at Home
Well, we arrived here all OK. Our camp is about an hour's ride from Broadway and I hope to see that street some day. As I told you in a former letter we did not see much of Chicago only a few factories; neither did we see much of Buffalo. But we sure saw some pretty sights along the Delaware river but did not get a view of the place where Washington crossed the river. When we came to the island we had to go under a river and we were kept in the tunnel just one hour. We were glad to get through, I can tell you. We went along Lake Erie and had a splendid view of the many ships to be seen along the horizon.
We wrote our addresses on slips of paper and threw them off at every station as we passed. I do not know when I will get to go to the city, as we will have to take another examination in a few days. I do not think I will pass as my wrist is still swollen very badly and the doctors have not helped it very much (Editors' note: His wrist was injured while the company was at Ida Grove). I would much rather be here, however, than in New Mexico. There are 22,000 of the boys here and there are still more coming every day. The first thing we saw was numerous aeroplanes flying around and they fly every day and certainly make a lot of noise.
Rest assured that I am all right except my wrist and this is pretty sore. We have not had a pay day as yet, but suppose we will in about two weeks. We are all out of smoking tobacco and some would go nice right now. We are only three miles from the ocean. Wish you would write often and tell any friends I may have at home that I would appreciate a letter now and then.
E. F. Stock
Percy Cavett, (Denison Review 9-19-1917)
Dear Folks at Home,
Well, we are settled in our new home but have not had time to look around much as yet. The camp is surely a large one and is very level. Nothing but gravel and weeds but that makes very good camp grounds and I am satisfied with it. We are within six miles of the ocean and I expect to go over soon to see it but I must stay in camp so I can wee what system they use. We expect to work very hard, but that is what makes real soldiers, so I am ready to work. We expect to leave here soon but can't tell how soon it will be. They say that they take the boys out on a hike and never bring them back, but ship them to France.
Of course this is all rumor. When one sees five or six aeroplanes sailing around over their heads and the big army trucks moving through the streets you can imagine what camp life is and the difference between the Des Moines camp and this one. In this camp we have some 40,000 men while in Des Moines there were 3,600, so you can realize the difference. It surely is fine to see the aeroplanes go sailing around. You know there is an aviation school near here. I went over to the camp Y. M. C. A. tent and it was so crowded that I could not get in. The I tried the Ohio regimental Y. M. C. A. tent and it was not any better, so I came here to the tent.
We have a bath house at the end of each company street and everything is fixed up fine. It is much better than at Des Moines because we did not intend to stay there long. We expect to stay here a month at least. They sure treat people fine here, that is the soldier boys. They give us moving pictures and interesting entertainments. Well, mother, I might as well start at Des Moines and go through the trip with you. It surely was a grand one. On Saturday we got the news to pack our boxes and get things ready. The boxes were not to weigh over 75 pounds. I did not have to worry about the weight of mine because it did not weigh very much.
Then we received orders to roll our packs, which we did, then we turned in our cots. That night I went down town and saw Cousin Flora. I had to get a pair of shoes that I had half soled. At 9:30 at the last tap of the bugle all tents went down. Then we rolled them up and loaded them. We slept on the ground that night. At noon we took the train at the Rock Island station and were off for New York. I had hoped that I could eat my dinner at Uncle Charley's and Aunt Susie's but of course could not. We rode east through Iowa and saw the real fertile land. We got in Iowa City just at dusk and had gone to bed when we reached the Mississippi river. In the morning we awoke at Chicago. We slept in the Pullman and I took an upper berth and surely slept fine. I was in company with two fine fellows and surely had a fine time.
Some of the fellows came around with the feed and we ate in our seats. We did not see much of Chicago. We went around instead of through the city, going through South Chicago. That day we went through Illinois and in the evening at 6:30 we landed at Ft. Wayne and took our exercise. There surely is some difference between the land there and the Iowa soil. The crops there are very poor and nothing compared with Iowa. The next morning we awoke just before arriving at Cleveland. We saw the lake and it surely was beautiful. The white waves would come rolling along and break.
It was some lake, believe me. We saw some of the large lake boats unloading their cargoes and some of the big steel mills and the large draw bridges. This was very interesting. When we left Cleveland we rolled along the lake until we reached Buffalo. When we left Des Moines we went on the rock Island to Chicago and from there to Buffalo on the Nickle Plate route. I surely would like to have seen Frank Evans. When we left Buffalo we took the Pennsylvania system and then the New York Central and then the Rock Island line again. We started out with a big modern oil burner engine then on the Nickle Plate we had two steam engines but pulled into New York with a big electric engine, so .. like river at the bottom. It was surely clear for the sandy country. The solid rock bottom keeps it as clear as a crystal.
We went down the river until it got very large and we were within twenty three miles of New York, but we had to go a roundabout way, which made it about ninety miles. We reached Long Island this morning and ate our breakfast on the train. We did not see much of New York City as we went through it during the night, but I expect to see more of it later. Well, mother, I wish I were home so I could tell you more about the trip. I expect you had better send this to Archie because it takes a whole evening to write it and I wish that thy might have it to read. Well, I must close for today,
As ever with love, Your son, Percy Cavett.
Curtis Reynolds of Arion, (Denison Review 9-26-17)
*Fifteen Miles Behind Lines - -Curtis Reynolds of Arion, Who Enlisted Four Years Ago, Writes from Somewhere in France - Learning to Talk French - Witnesses Big Aeroplane Battle - Says Friend Fritz Don't have Much Luck in Plane Fighting - From fifteen miles behind the firing line somewhere in France comes letters for our first soldier, Curtis Reynolds, who enlisted four years ago from which we give a few extracts.
"Well dear Sis,
I am certainly enjoying myself on this trip and I am seeing lots of beautiful country that I never expected to see six months ago. How are mother and all the folks. Tell them hello for me as I cannot tell them myself. I have been pretty busy all day checking up in my squad. I had to check everything that each man had. Some job too don't you know. Oh yes, I am some Britisher by this time, although I did not tarry long in England. Oh say, I am sure learning to talk French and when I get back I will be able to talk it quite well. We had a big aeroplane battle here last night but Friend Fritz don't have much luck getting over and I don't think he ever will. The French brought in a big bunch of Hut prisoners this morning, hard looking characters too. Well I have pretty nearly run out of something to say so I guess I had better close for this time.
As ever, your loving brother, Curtis. "
Percy Cavett, at Camp Mills , (Denison Review 9-26-17)
Maurine Gibson Sings for Army - Percy Cavett, at Camp Mills Says His Company Has Victrola - First Record by Maurine Gibson - Prunes, Army Strawberry, Gives Lineup on What the Boys are Doing - They are Planning Trip to New York City - Hempstead, N. Y. Sept. 20, 1917
"Dear Mother and All:
We sure have had a hard drill today; drilled all the morning and a part of the afternoon, and believe me we are some soldiers, and we hear that we are to have a sixteen mile hike tomorrow. I will give you a line on what we do during the week. Monday and Tuesday we drill morning and afternoon and Wednesday morning, but the afternoon we have off. Can go to town or do our washing. Then on Thursday have our regular drill and Friday is our hike day. Then Saturday we have inspection at 9 o'clock. Then we are off for the rest of the day.
On Tuesday and Friday we have a review before the major that takes place at 4:30 to 5:30. On Sunday we have church (expect to go to New York City Sunday for the day). We are going to get a car and go to the places of interest. A bunch of us are going together. Can get the car for three dollars apiece, then we can go to the places we want to see. I think that will be fine. I got the sweater the other day and a letter from Edna and received one from Elsie today. Did you get the money that I sent home. I still have enough and expect to see the sights of the city. It will not be long until we stand for muster again. We cannot take our boxes with us but they are going to issue steamer bags to us to carry our things in. I think I will send my box home but may not as there will not be much to put in it.
We are getting things issued to us right along and the soldier life is interesting but will get used to it. Well mother, I eat things here that I did not think of eating at home. For instance, prunes, army strawberries as the boys call them, and can relish them at that but believe me if I ever complain about my grub at home again someone ought to lock me up and not give me anything to eat. We have started on our hardening drill. The boys in the tent are playing the company Victrola and one of the fellows is reading the name of the singer on the record. Just now read Maurine Gibson so you see we can hear her on the Victrola. Well, if the camera takes good pictures will not get another. Well mother, there is no need to hurry with that sweater as it is not cold enough to need it right away. Am feeling fine.
With love to all. Percy"
Corp. Bernard I. Slocumb, 25th Aero Squadron, A U S A E F of Dow City, 11-18-1917
Below we give a letter which was received by Mrs. J. N. Bell from her nephew, Bernard Slocumb, who is with the army in France. Bernard is the oldest son of Rev. L. V. Slocumb and wife of Nebraska, former Dow City residents. He was born and reared to young manhood in this vicinity and has many friends who will be very much interested in reading the letter which is as follows: Somewhere in France, Oct. 18,17.
My Dear Aunt Maud:
Got your letter today and believe me I sure read every word a couple of times as news is rather scarce here. A fellow sure does enjoy a letter when it does come. Have received only eight the last two months and I know them by heart now and can nearly say them backwards. How is everybody in Dow City? Sure would like to be back in God's country, "Just for Tonight." You asked me if I got seasick coming over. Well, I never have been sick since I have been in the army. Never felt better in my life.
I was a little wobbly the first day or two but soon got over that and enjoyed myself the rest of the way. Got along a whole lot better than I thought I would. Was a great trip. Would have been better if we hadn't been on needles all the time. This is the second time I have written this letter as the censor cut out a bunch of it, so will have to tell it when I get back instead of writing it. They will not let us write a very interesting letter for fear it might get into the wrong hands. The French people are just great. They treat us swell but it is rather hard to fully appreciate a race of people without understanding their language. Am picking up quite a little of the lingo now and am putting in quite a little time on it.
Can get anything I want in the restaurants and canteens, but I would be in hard luck if it were dark or my hands were cut off. This is a real pretty country. Can see mountains on all sides of us and it is sure great. Sure will have enough talk saved up to talk you all to death when I get back. Have been talking to a bunch of fellows who have just come from the lines and they sure can talk. Well, I will write a better letter as soon as they will let me, but at present this is the limit. Hoping to hear from you soon, I remain,
Your Nephew, Bernard - Address - Corp. Bernard I. Slocumb, 25th Aero Squadron, A U S A E F via New York.
Guy Schwarzenbach (Denison Review 11-28-1917)
My Dear Folks;
I just want to send a line about the big review. The 125 Battalion took the prize of the whole thing. Major Philpot said that he had never in his life seen such a review and he was very proud of us. Everything seemed to be done as one man and he said that we were as perfect in lines in double time as in marching. You need never worry about us mother, if we go into action under Major Philpot, because he certainly knows his business and sure looks out for him men.
We are expecting to have another review before long of just Iowa organization. I think I will spend my Thanksgiving in El Paso, as there is to be a Division football game there. I hear that Dewey Hoffard is there and I will try to look him up. If there are any Denison people intending to come here to spend Christmas, I would advise them not to come as we may leave here at a minute's notice.
Lovingly, your son, Guy Schwarzenbach.
Clarence Schwarzenbach, 125th Machine Gun Battalion. (Denison Review 11-28-1917)
(missing 1st part of letter ... )we are expected to take part, and will be the first battalion to pass in review. We have to leave camp at 6:40 tomorrow morning as the grounds are three miles from here and the review starts at 9:00. We are so glad that the Second Iowa Band will lead us. - Saturday 2 p.m. - I will try to add a few more lines now that the big review is over. I really never thought there were so many soldiers in the world. I never saw such a throng of people. We have some French army offices here. Their uniforms are very different from our officer's.
Must close, lots of love, Your Son,
Clarence Schwarzenbach, 125th Machine Gun Battalion.
Fred Sherman, Co. G., 134th Infantry, Camp Code, N. M. (Denison Review 11-28-1917)
The following letter was sent in from Deloit for publication:
Camp Cody, N. M. Nov. 19, 1917,
Friend Mrs. McKim;
No doubt you thought that I had forgotten you but I haven't. I have been so busy lately though that I haven't had any time to write before, but as this is Sunday and nothing much to be done I will try and get a letter to you. I hope this finds you well, as I am. I expect it is quite cold in Iowa now but it is real warm here. This is a fine country and the mountains are great. My brother, Charley, and I go over to them real often. I thought Nebraska had dust storms but this country surely has that beaten. It never rains here and there are no trees. Did you ever see a horned toad? There are always plenty of them in our tents and we also have rattlesnakes. I killed one a week or so ago; it was six feet long and had ten rattles.
We boys go to Deming almost every night. The people are mostly all Mexicans, just a few white people. They have the queerest houses, we call them "dobe" houses. We have lot of fun teasing the little Mexican children and they do not take it very good. All the soldiers in Camp Cody had a review a few days ago. There were 35,000 soldiers in the parade. I wish you might have seen it. I was the color guard. I saw "Hank" Winans the other day. He is from Deloit too. Some of the boys made up a song a while ago, and I will send the words:
"We're out to fight for Uncle Sam and all that he may ask.
We do not give a cornfed whoop for any other task.
We do this well without complaint, whatever may befall.
We're soldiers from the foodstuff state, Nebraska over all"
Hoping to hear from you soon,
I am Yours Truly, Fred Sherman, Co. G., 134th Infantry, Camp Code, N. M.
Merton Thomas, (Denison Review 12-12-1917 )
Mrs. E. L. Thomas received a letter last week from her son, Merton, who is with the army at Little Rock, Ark., and his many Dow City friends will no doubt be very glad to read the letter, which is as follows:
Camp Pike, Sunday, Nov. 25,
I have thought of Iowa and home several times every waking hour since coming to the rock wooded camp. They names the town Little Rock, but I think that they had better have called it all rock. I took a short walk in the woods south of here and the ground everywhere is covered with rocks varying in size from pebbles up to those as big as houses. The clay is a red brick color and must be awfully sticky when it rains. It is not very cold here. You can see green leaves on the blackberry bushes but the leaves on the trees are dead. There are spots of green grass in the woods.
Some of the boys were who were out walking brought back some samples of cotton. I saw hundreds of cotton gins on my trip down. And you have heard people talk about the poverty of the tenants that farm the south. They did not tell it half bad enough. Your chicken house would be a palace compared to some of the huts that they live in. One rarely ever sees a Ford or any other make of car on these southern roads. A Negro shabbily dressed on a poor mule is the most common sight. Around Muskegee, Okla., and south of that one runs into a partly range country and the true western cowboy and broad brimmed hat come into evidence. It was south of Muskogee that I saw the first oil wells that I ever saw.
There were some immense storage tanks in the far distance. Every train of troops has taken a different route. We went to Kansas over the Burlington by way of Albia, St. Joseph, Kansas City. Then we took the Katy road through Kansas and Oklahoma to McAllister, Okla. and the Rock Island road from there to Little Rock. The bunch that came next day took the Great Western to Kansas City and then the Missouri Pacific to Little Rock. The fellows that came this morning went from Des Moines through Keokuk, then to St. Louis, Memphis and through to Little Rock. You can see how much pains Uncle Sam gives to avoid accidents that pro-Germans might attempt to bring about. They lined up the company today and gave all us fellows that had been corporals our old job as acting corporals.
I suppose if we suit we will have the job again. It will keep me out of the kitchen at least. I have not found out for sure just what this headquarters company does but it seems that they man the "one pound" cannons, trench mortars, furnish the band and orderlies and the underminers who dynamite the enemy. I saw Dillenburger. He is in Co. D 347th. He was certainly blue. Most of the men of his company were from Camp Sherman, O., and he thought them a tough bunch. He said that Brasel and Colby were each in a different company. The army always parts friends. I expect I will get some mail by the last of this week. I hope that all of you are well and enjoy a fine Thanksgiving dinner.
Your loving son, Merton.
John E. Reeser of Dow City (Denison Review 1-16-1918 )
A letter has been received from John Reeser, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jake Reeser, in which he expresses his appreciation and gratefulness for the box of candy that he received at Christmas time from the Woman's Foreign Missionary society and the Standard Bearers. John is "with the colors" at Chattanooga, Tenn. By request, we send the letter for publication, it being as follows:
Chattanooga, Tenn: Jan 6, 1918.
The Ladies of the Missionary Societies of Dow City:
I am writing to you in regard to the package you sent to me for Christmas. I received same with the greatest of pleasure and I want to thank you ladies for remembering a soldier boy who is so far away from home. I appreciate your kindness very much and I am also glad to know that you ladies think of the boys who are fighting for the Stars and Stripes.
Yours respectfully, John E. Reeser
Miss Pearle Richardson (Denison Review 2-20-1918)
IN CHARGE OF TWELVE PATIENTS - Miss Pearle Richardson, Now Doing Red Cross Work at Texas Camp, Tells of Interesting Life -
Hospital Like a summer Hotel -
Quarters described as Being "Cute" and Resembling Summer Cottages -
Very Cool Weather.
Miss Pearle Richardson who is a Red Cross nurse now stationed at a hospital at Tallioferro, near Forth Worth, Texas, has written her mother, Mrs. Geo. Richardson, an interesting letter telling of her duties there. Mrs. Richardson has given the Review the letter for publication, thinking that it might be of interest to readers of this paper. The letter follows:
Dear Mother and All:
Way down here in sunny Texas. It doesn't seem hardly true. Of course you are anxiously awaiting this letter that I am so slow in writing. I am on duty now so I will begin there. This is a lovely hospital, resembling in appearance a summer hotel with many porches, windows, etc. and only one story high. I have a ward with 12 patients in it but they are most all up and around except a couple of new ones. I have complete charge of this work, but I have two orderlies (soldiers) who do everything or anything I ask of them and that's the method the hospital is run in - each nurse having charge of a certain portion. It is strange.
I can't realize that I am actually in the United States army, but it is very true. Everything, of course, is military. All the officers salute us very beautifully but not the privates. Only officers are supposed to recognize us or we recognize them. That sounds strange but it is done in order to keep the advanced standard of the nurses. This is not as large a camp as some. I would say there were perhaps 5000 men here, but some camps have 40,000. There are only 8 nurses but they have had very little sickness here. This is an aviation camp and I have counted from 30 to 35 airplanes in the air at one time. They start watch in front of where we live. We have had several invitations, but I think thee is a restriction on going up for us. Occasionally they have a "crash".
Yesterday a fine lieutenant fell. Really it is terrible when you think how many chances a day these boys take. We have "cute" quarters. We have three bungalows that also resemble summer cottages. We all have a room and cot and dresser and a bath in each quarter. Then a maid who does our cooking. The girls used to eat with the officers, but we have decided to get our own meals at home - and so the appearance of a camp, many buildings of various sizes. It is very cool down here. This is some strange "game". They just brought two in from a crash. Dead, of course, which is usual after a fall of many thousand feet. Everyone is so very nice to us and my second day I will say I am very glad I came and really every minute I have liked it. I could write more but this gives a general idea. Oh, yes, everybody takes out insurance in an aviation camp.
With lots of love to you all. Write often. Pearle
(Denison Review 2-20-1918)
Starving in United States(?) -
Mrs. Thos. Lister Receives Letter From Her Mother in Sweden, Inclosing One Dollar for Food. Mrs. Thos. Lister received a letter from her mother, who resides in Sweden, in which she enclosed a dollar bill with the following comment:
"We understand in Sweden that the people in the United States are starving. I am sending you $1.00 which I hope will relieve your suffering and will buy you some little necessities."
Several weeks ago Mrs. Lister wrote her mother a letter and sent her a dollar bill.
After reading in the papers the suffering in the United States from the scarcity of food, the mother decided to return the bill to her daughter. Undoubtedly the Germans are getting in their work in Sweden and are making the people there believe that the people in the United States are starving. Far from it. The United States will keep the wolf from its own door as well as supplying its armies in France and its allies.
Lieut. H. S. Bonney of Buck Grove (Denison Review 2-20-1918 )
Buck Grove Young Man Gives Interesting Experience of American Army Life "Over There."
Was Bombed by German Plane.
Pieces of Bomb Missed His Head By Two Feet -
Sends Curios From Battlefields.
Lieut. H. S. Bonney, serving with the American forces "Somewhere in France" has written his parents, Dr. and Mrs. A. F. Bonney of Buck Grove, an interesting letter telling of experiences in the army. Lieut. Bonney had a close call when a German aeroplane dropped a bomb and splinters of the shell struck a door casing but two feet from where he was standing.
Mrs. A. F. Bonney has furnished the Review with a copy of her son's letter for publication. The letter follows:
Somewhere in France. Jan 18, 1918.
Don't know when this will be mailed but will write a few lines anyhow. We are on our way up there and have hiked two nasty, rainy days but not so very cold. Tuesday is a day of rest, but the weather is fierce. I am afraid of great many of my letters do not reach you, as I have asked several questions and also for several things and have had no answer, neither received the articles asked for. So far, no packages have reached me but perhaps they are on the way and will get here sometime. I sent a couple of boxes of souvenirs that I hope get there all o.k.
The piece of shell missed my head about two feet and ruined the door casing where I was standing. It is from an airplane bomb and was my first taste of the real thing and arrived my first night in France. None of the grenades are loaded. The first one is an F. 1.French, the second is an O. F. French and the other a V. B. ride grenade. Also there is a shell from a pom pom gun, a couple of bullets and a British livens head from a shell. Whatever I pick up on the front I shall send back. I hope to get some Boche junk, but no telling. I am enclosing a photo taken on the march in sunny (?) France. I and the dentist. I am on the left. Did the Christmas package reach you o.k.? Also my letter about the insurance? When you get this you might start sending me a good pair of leather gloves, six 8 1/2, each week. They do not last long and cannot be bought over here at all.
You might, each week, send me one pound of crystal (cube) sugar. It is scarce here and helps a lot. Except gloves I have plenty of clothing and get all I want from the Q.M. Incidentally, I wish you would send me and Ingersoll watch with night dial, for emergency use in case anything happens. Well, I guess that is all for today. More later.
Love to all, Sid. 1st Lieut. H. S. Bonney, Inft. U. S. R. R.G.O. 1st U.S. Engineers, Amerexforces, France
Clarence Bell, Ordnance Supply School, Camp Jackson, S. C. (Denison Review 3-13-1918)
Descriptive of the South Land:, write Parents:
The Camp has 30,000 Men There:
Accorded Royal Welcome at Every Stop Made Enroute -
Many interesting Sights for Strangers:
Camp Jackson, S. Car.,
Well, I am here. How do I like it? Well, I don't know. We are getting a royal reception. We got here about 1 o'clock today (Thursday). On Monday we reported and were told that full arrangements for our transportation had not been completed, so we left Chicago Tuesday morning at 9:10 a.m. Went to Indianapolis, Ind., then south through the middle of Indiana to Louisville, Ky., where we got off and got supper and a regular banquet it was; strawberries (fresh) and ice cream for dessert. We went through Kentucky at night. When we got up the next morning we were in Knoxville, Tenn. From there we went to Atlanta, Ga. Got in there about 1 p.m. and after getting dinner were given our liberty till suppertime. After supper we were dismissed till 8 o'clock and left shortly afterward.
Got in Clinton, S. C. some time in the night and got breakfast there, then came on to Columbia, S. C. and on out to camp. We left Chicago on the I. C. After we got out of the city we saw lots of corn to pick; most all the corn was in the field; occasionally we would find a field picked. The ground was jut as level as a floor until we got to southern Indiana. The ground looked as if it never would dry out. At Louisville, Ky. We got off the cars and went up town for supper, but right after supper was over we left. We have a good time there the few minutes we remained. Of course we marched in file and the niggers tried to kid us by counting "one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, etc." Was sorry we went through Kentucky at night. We woke up next morning at Knoxville, Tenn.
Got breakfast on the dining car and got into Atlanta, Ga. For dinner, as we had our freedom there we though we might as well see what we could, so four of us hired a car and rode over the city. It is a very interesting place, population about 170,000; lots of negroes. People sure take life easy, they ... around and talk and move as if they had all day to do it. A Negro and mule make a team here. I saw more one- mule wagons than anything else. No self-respecting white man works. We went through the mountains at night but did see a few small ones. The soil from Knoxville on was as red as red brick. It didn't look very productive to me. Cotton and corn seemed to be what they raised.
They said they raised better corn than cotton in northern Georgia. So I don't think they raise very much cotton. The corn stalks looked to be about the size of my finger and one stalk to the hill. Didn't see any stock to speak of. A few razorback hogs were stropping themselves on pine trees. Saw lots of timber, mostly white pin. People were plowing with one mule, of course; they use a 6 or 7 inch plow. Saw a good many rail fences and some log buildings. There were some houses with the fire place to cook by. From the time we left Knoxville until we got to Atlanta, I saw just three towns with sidewalks.
So he old phrase, "Do they have sidewalks in your town," is not out of place down here. There were towns every few miles, but they were not over 100 inhabitants and on some building that looked more like a granary than anything else would be a sign of groceries and farm implements or something of that sort. A painted building is a curiosity. This is quite a hot day and we got warm walking one mile. Over at Atlanta they said that it got pretty cold there last winter. It was below zero but they didn't have any snow. The nights are rather cool here. Will say that we rode on several roads, the I. C., Big Four, B & O, Louisville & Nashville and the Southern.
We received royal treatment all the way. We had a Pullman and enjoyed the trip. We have a fine bunch of fellows at Atlanta. We ate dinner at the station and only fifty could eat at a time. I was in the second bunch. Some of the fellows kidded because the dishes were not very well washed. The waiter, a white man, said "It was some job to wash all these dishes for you all." I guess I have related most everything down to our arrival at the camp. We are 4 miles from Columbia. I'll tell you about the camp the next time I write. In passing, will say there are about 30,000 men here. I think I am going to like it. Most of the fellows do. Saw two Drake men tonight; that makes four of us here. It took us 52 hours to make the trip. We turned our watches one hour ahead. I will close for this time. Am rather tired so am going to turn in.
Clarence Bell, Ordinance Supply School.
Albert Starkey, Dow City. (Denison Review 3-20-1918)
A letter recently received by Miss Ethel Cole from Albert Starkey, who is now in France. It has been requested that we send the letter in for publication. The letter reads as follows:
A. E. F. France, Feb. 5, 1918.
I receive your most welcome letter a few days ago so thought I would drop you a few lines to let you know that I am thinking of you and the rest of my Dow City friends. I have been moved and am in another town now. We had to hike it this time. It was about fifty kilometers and we were sure tired when reaching our destination. We had to carry our packs, which consist of 2 blankets, 1 raincoat, 1 shelter half, 1 towel sap, 1 pair socks, 1 pack carrier, 1 mess kit, 1 cup, 1 canteen, 1 cartridge belt, 100 rounds ammunition, also a bayonet, so you see we have s strong back and a weak mind. Ha! Ha!
We also have now a pair of hip French boots. We had one man fall out of our bunch. This sure is a swell place around here and it certainly is a pretty country, but oh my, this town. I can't say much for it. I suppose Dow City is a swell place with the new store and school house. Say Ethel, I received a box from the Methodist Ladies' Missionary society which I thought was so nice. I want you to tell them I received it o.k. and am very much obliged to them. It reached me just in time before we started on our hike January 1st, so will you please thank them for me and I will get the Kaiser in return. The happiest days of a soldier are when he hears from home. Well, I expect when you hear from me again I'll be in the ditches. It is now retreat time so I will have to close.
Hoping to hear from you soon, I remain; Your friend, Albert Starkey
Private Emmett Quirk, Vail. (Denison Review 4-3-1918)
Mrs. Mary Quirk received the following letter from her son, Emmett, who enlisted some time ago and is now in France.
France, March 3, 1918.
I suppose you have received my other letters by this time or have received a couple of them at least. The last letter I received from you was the one you wrote on Christmas day, the day of all days to be away from home. We have had a very mild winter and for the past two weeks men have been working outdoors in their shirt sleeves. The French people have already begun to make their gardens. No doubt you are busy attending lenten devotions now, as you always have in the past.
The French people from what I have seen of those that are Catholics are very devout and have some lovely churches and cathedrals. I am getting fleshy and have lots of hard work, but it is plenty to eat and the regular sleeping hours that is doing it. I wish I knew Harold's address so I could write to him. I just can't help thinking of him. Why I might meet him over here. It would seem like a dream. I am sending you a picture I had taken last Sunday with a couple of comrades.
At the time we had them taken we did not know it was against censorship rules to send more than your own personal photo, so I cut my part out. We are at war now and everybody tries to be happy and do the best he can. We have had plenty of tobacco lately and our taste for sweets is well taken care of at the present. I would like to see some papers from home to find out the latest news. Hope we get the Kaiser soon because I am lonesome to see you all. I hope to hear from you in a short time. Love to you, Lela, Charley and the babies.
Sincerely, Emmett. Address me Private Emmett Quirk, Bakery Co. 327 A. E. F. via New York.
Lieut. H. S. Bonney, Inf. U. S. R. R. C. O. 1st U. S. Engineers, Am. Ex. Forces, France. (Denison Review 6-5-1918)
(... missing 1st part of letter) - chance to work a machine gun in a mess of men at short range but when you see what I have seen in France, and endured half what I and the men have at the hands of the hun and talked to people who have been in the regions that he has passed over, you too, will change your opinion of all that has been told of humanity in war. This war is simply a game of kill or get killed and it will be the survival of the fittest when it is all over.
I have some perfectly good clothes ruined by pieces of metal made in Germany and lost a set of darned good teeth from some gas from the same place, and by the little tin gods of war, I want to get a few of them to play even. A Lieutenant Bonney was killed a couple of weeks ago in a scrap at 4,000 meters up in the air. He crashed so that they found a lot of little fragments o his plane and some stains on the ground that represented him. A shell burst in his machine after he got the boches he was after. Some method of going west, what?
Love to all, Sid - Lieut. H. S. Bonney, Inf. U. S. R. R. C. O. 1st U. S. Engineers, Am. Ex. Forces, France.
John Lang (Denison Review 6-5-1918)
*Mrs. Anna Lange received a letter last week from her son, John, who is serving with the colors in France. Mrs. Lange is justly proud of her son. The letter is one that will appeal to every mother and especially to those who have boys "over there". The letter follows:
Your letter with all its sweet thoughts came a couple of days ago. I get many dear letters from the United States from friends as true as any man can have, but I never got more enjoyment from a letter than I experienced when I read yours. All that is good and kind in this world is you, sweet mother, and if I had no other reason in the world to fight, I would gladly fight the rest of my life for you. You have fought for me all my life. You say someone sent you a service flag from Seattle. Although I do not know who did it, I believe it must have been Mrs. Mylroie, the lady at whose house I was at home for three years.
She does things for me that I would expect of a mother or sister; it may have been her unmarried sister, Kathryn, who is a very good friend of mine. I haven't exactly a fiance there but just the best of a friend. Perhaps she will let me know in one of her letters if she sent it. Mrs. Mylroie has already sent me two big boxes of things over here. Mother, you are very thoughtful. You say you're sending me two more boxes of nice things. As soon as they come I shall let you know that I received them. I smoked the cigars you sent very sparingly, but they are all gone now. Our office is going to move to another town soon.
I am sorry because I don't like to leave Juliette and many other friends I have made here. But I suppose it will be possible to make others in the new place. If I ever get a chance to visit the 168th infantry, I shall surely look up Orris Suiter. I want to thank Mrs. Suiter a thousand times for making that wonderful helmet. A couple of us have a room and bed together and tonight we are inviting another friend up and we are going to have a little supper. We are going to have butter on our bread, milk in our coffee, jam, and maybe a little piece of beefsteak. Its going to be a regular time. But, really mother, we get pretty good meals here. We have nothing to complain about.
Heaps of Love, John. Wood Supply Branch, Adv. Cec S O S
Omar H. Murray (Denison Review 6-5-1918)
From Omar Murray - Mrs. R. W. Bamford is in receipt of a letter from her nephew, Omar H. Murray, who is serving in France under Pershing. Omer spent several years in Denison, making his home here with his aunt, Mrs. Hattie Ferrell. He attended the public schools of Denison and later was employed in the men's furnishing department of the Balle-Broderson store. He has many friends here who will read with interest the letter written to Mrs. Bamford:
France, Saturday, May 4, 1918,
Dear Aunt Maggie:
I know all of you will be surprised to receive a letter from me, but I know you get all the news of me through Aunt Hattie. Was very sorry to hear that you were sick and hope you are better by the time this reaches you. I was just thinking over tonight the many good times I had while I was at Denison and they are certainly pleasant memories. Had a very fine trip coming across and have been over here for two months. We are billeted in the homes of the French people and are well fed by our government so feel contented. France is certainly a very pretty place although the people here are far behind the times compared to us. The weather is sure beautiful just now and I am enjoying the best of health.
We are many miles from home, but the way our government handles the situation makes it seem different. We have the daily editions of the New York Herald, Chicago Tribune and two weekly American papers which are all published at Paris. They even go as far as to issue us fresh beef and bread each day with our rations. There are many interesting things I would like to tell about regarding where we are and what we are doing but it is prohibited. Just remember that when you read about the 32nd division, I am with them. Even though I am not much on writing letters, I would like to hear from you. If you do not feel like writing, have Bernard or Grace do it. Kindly give any of the Denison people whom I know, my best regards and do not forget Fancheon and her husband, when you write them. It is quite late so with my best wishes to all of your family.
Your nephew, Omer H. Murray.
Cpl. Allen L. Lyon, Denison (Denison Review 6-12-1918)
Southern People Most Cordial -
Allen L. Lyon, Son of Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Lyon, Stationed Now at Americus, Georgia -
Instructs Care of Aeroplane -
Southern People Treating the Boys Fine -
Furnish Cars for Church Going on Sunday -
Signal Corps Aviation School Southern Field, Americus, Ga., June 11, 1918 - The Denison Review, Denison, Iowa.
Am writing to thank you for the Review which I have been receiving for some time past, and have enjoyed reading very much. It has been forwarded to me from San Antonio, Texas, since I left there over a month ago, but also wish to add that through some source I have been given a much higher rank than the one which I actually hold. I have written several times to my mother and father at home and also to my friends using the abbreviation for corporal, it being Cpl., which I believe may have been the cause of the mistake, as I most certainly have not written or told anyone.
I have no expectations of receiving any such rank during this war period, even if it should last twice as long as Hon. L.M.Shaw thought it would. I wish you would please see that the error is corrected as several of my friends have already written to me offering congratulations on having a rank which I do not possess. (Editor's Note: The rank Mr. Lyon refers to as not having attained was mentioned in the Review a short time ago, through being misinformed). This climate does not agree with us here in Georgia after being eight months in Texas, though it is burning hot down near the border, the air is much better there than here.
After having been in charge of a training used by the cadets both here and at Kelly field, have now been changed over to assistant hanger chief. My work now is to instruct new men in the care of their airplanes and help them when there is engine trouble or any part of the plane needs changing. An airship that is well balanced will fly straight ahead without being held there in any way by the pilot, unless air conditions make it impossible. We are treated fine by the southern people here; every Sunday the people in town send out cars to our camps so that those who wish to do so may attend church. We sure are working hard to whip Germany. At 4:15 the day has commenced for us but we can stand more work when they are ready to hand it over to us. Thanking you again for the Review,
I am respectfully yours, Cpl. Allen L. Lyon
Transcribed by Melba McDowell