Honey Grove Preservation League

Saving and Documenting the History of Honey Grove, Texas

World War I Letters Home to Honey Grove

During World War I the local Honey Grove newspaper published letters home from Honey Grove soldiers. The Honey Grove Preservation League has found over 130 of these letters and retyped them, with the assistance of Honey Grove high school students, to make them available on the internet and in printed format.

One letter is that of Rufus Shelton, the first soldier from Fannin County to die in World War I. His unmailed letter to his mother was found in his pocket after his death. Other letters were written to family members and some to the Honey Grove Signal directly. The subject matter varies from the horrors of war to French country life (including the attractive French girls) to patriotism and religion. The letters are frank and direct. They provide insight into the history of our community, the lives of the soldiers who served from Honey Grove, their perspectives on the war, the value of home and family, and the freedoms they held dear.

Printed copies of the letters have been compiled into notebooks which are available at the Honey Grove Library.

_____, Frank; World War I Letter, September 18, 1918, Honey Grove Signal

Camp Dix, N. J., Sept. 18, 1918 – My dear Sister and Family: I will try to answer your letter I got a few days ago. You can never know how much I enjoy reading your letters and letters from the others at home. I got a letter from dad yesterday and I was sure glad to hear from him and it makes life easier to live here. 
I would like army life the best in the world if it wasn’t for the sinful life that so many of the boys are living. It has made a better man of me, and there is more good than bad in it after all. I have learned a lot here that I would never have learned anywhere else, and I am glad to be able to fight for the cause of right. God is with us and will bless us with victory. 
It is raining here today, and we did not go out to drill. It looks as if it might rain all day. It is a slow, winter rain like we have in Texas and it is real cool. 
You asked if we had any milk and butter. We have butter sometimes, but no milk except canned milk. We eat light bread all the time. We have been eating white bread until the last few days. We are eating Victory bread. I have gotten used to light bread now and like it fine.
I don’t know how far it is to the camp where Dee is, but if I can I will try to find him. If you know what company he is in let me know. It is like looking for a needle in a hay stack to find any one if you don’t know his company. I don’t see the boys from home much that are in this camp, as I don’t have much time to look for them. 
I am sure glad the folks at home are doing what they can to help win the war. We could not fight it if they did not help us. I think I will buy a liberty bond when they come out again. Of course we can’t buy many with the small salary we get, but we can pay some each month and help some. If each soldier buys one fifty dollar bond it will help quite a bit and we are going to do what we can. 
Pray for me and that we may soon have peace again. With lots of love, I am,
Your brother,

Allen, John Porter; World War I Letter, September 3, 1918, Honey Grove Signal 
John Porter Says Take a Little Money to France.

rance, September 3, 1918.
     Dear Mother: We are having a regular outline of duty now and its taking off a little of the surplus fat we took on the past month. Rations have increased a little and we do not have to dream of beans continually now. Something sweet is hard to get, all the people do not have sugar, and a very small can of jam is hard to get. The price is pretty high. We were paid Sunday afternoon and received quite a stack of French money, but everything cost several francs and I think I will quit buying; for I don't intend to ever be broke in this country again. If you see anyone coming across tell them to be sure to save a little money for the time they land. Tried some of this French wine, and after a person tries it once he will never drink any more. As our captain said, the people here have been trained for a thousand years to drink it, and I believe he is right.
     I visited a French cemetery last week, and they are quite different from ours. The flowers are made of beads and some kind of metal and they look like real flowers until a close look is take at them. 
     Most of us are enjoying good health, only a few being sick, and I suppose change of climate is the cause. All the water here is impure and has to be doctored, which is, I suppose, the reason the people never drink it.
Sincerely, John Porter Allen. 
Battery C 132 F.A., American Expeditionary Forces.

Avary, Willie; World War I Letter, September 28, 1918 (Letter #1), Honey Grove Signal 

September 28, 1918 – My Dear Sisters: How are you enjoying life by now? Well, I am doing fine; have just finished supper and a piece of chocolate candy. 
I guess you all have heard from me many times by now. I got a whole bunch of mail the other day. I got a letter from Bee, May, Lois and some others, but haven’t answered any of them yet. I haven’t had writing on my mind this week, but as this is Saturday night I will write some. I guess you all are busy picking cotton and gathering corn. I hope you made good crops this year, as cotton is a good price. 
I made a fifteen dollar allotment the first of August. I guess it is coming home by now. All the money I see now is francs. I guess you know what that is (French money). 
Has Matt or any of the boys that went to Mexico come over yet? I haven’t seen Earl or any of the boys yet, but have heard of them several times. 
I guess you all heard of the St. Mihiel drive? Well, I was present most of the time. I made it just fine. Had to dodge a few shells, but that wasn’t so bad. Am feeling fine now. 
When have you seen Herschel or Aunt Jennie’s folks? Write me Merie’s address. She wrote me but I didn’t get it until she had gone to her school and I don’t know her address. I got one letter that was on the road a month to the day, and some were two. Is V. going to school this year? I guess if so she is going to Honey Grove. Do you ever see Aunt Beulah or any of them? Tell them hello and to write to me. I would enjoy getting a letter from all of them, but like it is I don’t have time to write to all I would like to. Ask Aunt Tish if she is still waiting for that letter. Tell her that I am going to write some day when I get time.
Love to all, your loving brother,
Private Willie H. Avary, 
Company C, 345 M. G. B’n, 90th Div., American Expeditionary Forces.

Avery, Willie; World War I Letter, January 14, 1919 Letter # 2, Honey Grove Signal 

Dusemond, Germany, January 14, 1919. –My dearest Sisters: How are you all by this time? I am doing fine, only I am so lonely I nearly die. I sure wish we could get home, but there is no use thinking about that yet, for I don’t think we will get home before summer or may be fall, but if you all are well and nothing happens we will have a great time when I do get there. Tell pap not to wear out his car, for I want one more chance at it when I get there.
How is the wheat this year? Did pap sow any? I guess it will be sowing time when you get this letter. I wish I was there to help make this crop. I believe I could do a little work now without it hurting me much, but if we have to stay over here all winter and spring I don’t know whether. I’ll be much account for work or not, but I guess I can get out of it a little. Are there many boys coming home now? I don’t guess there are many coming home that have been in any battles unless they have been gassed or wounded, and I don’t know of any that were that live close to home. I read a piece in the paper that said Roy Chaney was wounded, but that was a mistake, for I saw him after the armistice was signed. I also saw Harry Roddy. He was o.k., and Grady Blaylock; in fact I don’t know but one boy from around home that was killed, and I wrote you about him. It was Bink Merrill. He was killed in one of our drives, November 2, with a machine gun bullet. I sure hated that, but a fellow can’t do anything but just go on when anything like that happens. You ought to see Charley K. he is as fat as a pig. He is as large as his father and lots fatter. I expect I will weigh more than I did when I left home, and I am some taller, but that don’t do me any good in this country. I want to get back where, when you say anything to someone, they won’t answer you in German. I wish I had studied my German more when I had a chance. I can get along very well on what I know and am picking it up a little, but I think German is easier that French. I can’t understand a thing they say hardly.  We stayed over there a good while, but were not with the people like we are here. We are with these people all the time and you know we have to talk to folks some time.
Are the young people there having many good times now? Well, I will say this much: If I was there I would go all the time. You people ought to celebrate every day, for if the boys of the A.E.F. get a chance they will. I guess I will be wearing two service stripes when I get home. I am wearing one now, and have one month on another. I guess we will be covered with things when we get back. We are now wearing one service stripe and an O and an A. That is for army of occupation. It has a blue background, red A and white O, so you see it is red, white, and blue.
I am sending you a little card that I got on my way over into Germany. I got it in Luxemburg. That is a good country. I sure had some fun while there.
Well, I must close. With love,
Willie H. Avery

Baker, Robert E.; World War I Letter, November 21, 1918, Honey Grove Signal 
Robert Baker Tells of German Surrender

Rosyth, Scotland, November 21st, 1918 -- Dear Folks At Home: Now, all together, help me shout glory hallelujah, Judas priest, catfish and jumping Jehosephat, over the glorious events of this one day. They are all too glad to even believe. Guess you see from the heading of this letter what one of the most important ones was—yes, that’s it exactly: “the censor lost his job.” As the war was over his services were no longer necessary; he was discharged with all the honors of war. ? ? Believe me, this was a happy crew this afternoon when the word was passed that no more letters would be censored – to write what you pleased and seal them when you mailed them; that they’d not be read until opened by the person to whom addressed. Aren’t you glad with me? Oh, no! I guess not. Now calm yourselves and be prepared to sit and listen to quite a long line as I try to tell you a story of my stay in this land called “over there.”
I’ll begin by telling a little bit of our location at the present moment and something of the events of this day. Probably the most of this story will just comprise those two things, for my time is limited tonight and I have several letters to write, so be contented with what I have to say this time, and I’ll promise to write more each time hereafter. 
We are now riding at anchor on the Firth of Forth, just below the great Forth bridge that spans the Firth from North Queensberry to South Queensberry, said to be the largest span bridge in the world. By “we” I mean the 6th battle squadron of American superdreadnaughts comprising the following five ships: the New York (our flagship), the Texas, the Arkansas, the Wyoming and the Florida. We are within sight of several quaint little Scotch villages and also some of their larger cities. We see Dunfermline, Rosyth, Kirkaldy, Edinburgh and numerous smaller places; most all of these I have visited many times while on liberty. So now rejoice that the mystery of my location called “Somewhere Over There” has at last been solved. And bring out the old map of the British Isles, find Scotland, place your finger on the Firth of Forth and say, with a grin, “There’s where he is, or rather was, on the 21st of November, but goodness knows where he is now.” And there’s no telling where I will be, either, for one day we are one place and perhaps the next we are somewhere else. Anyway, I’ll be somewhere on the North Sea side of the Isles. We are now with the British Grand Fleet and have been operating with them ever since we have been over here. 
‘Twas on the 11th day of last February that the good ship Texas dropped anchor in Scapa Flow, a big enclosed bay and harbor in the Orkney Islands. There we joined the 6th Battle Squadron. With them then was the Delaware, but since, she has returned to the states and the “Arky” (Arkansas) took her place. Soon after the arrival of the Texas, we (the 6th B.S.) joined the British Grand Fleet and have been operating with them in the old North Sea. Many things have happened. We have done most every kind of duty imaginable from convoy duty for transports, freighters, mine layers, to chasing the subs and German cruisers while on patrol duty. We have certainly done our part. Though we have seen practically no fighting at all, other than a few crack shots at a submarine occasionally, we have won our victory by forcing a blockade of the North Sea. The German fleet was defeated by being blocked in the Kiel canal and Baltic sea, where they had no chance to do any damage whatever. Had they ever gotten out into the Atlantic they could have certainly played havoc with the transportation of American troops and supplies overseas. I am not a survivor of any great battle, but have done my part with the Texas and the British fleet as we cruised the North Sea anxiously awaiting a time when the German High Seas Fleet would get up nerve enough to try to break through our line for the Atlantic. For almost ten months we have been here waiting for that time. 
At last they did come out! ‘Twas day before yesterday morning the fleet of German warships steamed out of the Kiel for Rosyth and the Firth of Forth. But they were not coming to fight. They were not flying the flag of fight and battle but instead the white flag of defeat and surrender. They sailed forth to surrender to the Allied Fleet, according to the naval terms of the armistice. So we have been cheated out of our great naval battle that every American sailor over here has longed for so long. 
This morning about 3 o’clock we (the 6th B.S.) with several English squadrons, numbers of torpedo boat destroyers, one large French cruiser and two French destroyers (indeed an allied fleet) steamed out of the Firth to meet the coming of the enemy. About 9:30 we sighted them on the horizon. Up went our battle flags, general quarters was sounded, and all hands rushed to their battle stations. The guns were manned and ammunitions made ready to load and fire at the first sign of fight made by the approaching ships. We wanted to be ready and not caught napping should they pull any sort of strategy. We are like the old negro private who was sent out to bury the German dead in “No Man’s Land.” Upon returning his captain inquired how many he had buried and if he was sure they were all dead. “Sir,” he soberly replied, “I buried 7, and Ise sure the first six were dead, but the last one said he wasn’t dead, but I buried him just the same, ‘cause you know you can’t believe a word these Germans say.” Likewise, we were not sure of them, and met them prepared. We were all anxious for them to prove hostile and the signal to commence firing to be given, but we were disappointed, for they peaceably sailed into our lines and surrendered. Then, in single column, with our ships on the starboard and the English on the port, with the French bringing up the rear, we escorted them into the Firth of Forth as prisoners of war. Soon they will be interned in Scapa Flow, in Orkney Islands, and there kept until finally disposed of when the terms of peace have been agreed upon and signed. Thus today the German navy passed away and the seas are again free to the commerce of the world. Believe me, I shall never forget the events of this one day. 
Guess, though, that you have already heard all this through the same papers or perhaps actually seen it in the movies, for pictures were made of it, and I am sure they will be shown throughout the states. So now when you read this letter just think the story over again and know that you were represented in the great surrender; that your boy was with the victors. 
From your letters I received today I am glad to learn that the “flu” has subsided and that schools and public places have been opened again. Hurrah for old Honey Grove for the showing she made in the Fourth Liberty Loan drive. You people are made of the right kind of stuff all right. 
‘Tis bedtime now and time that all honest sailors were turned in and dreaming of those beans for breakfast. Will close with a promise to further describe my life in the war zone in later letters. With love and kisses to each of you, I am,
Your son and brother,
Robert E. Baker

Baldwin, Fleetwood C.; World War I Letter, November 15, 1918 (Letter #1), Honey Grove Signal 

France, November 15, 1918 – Dear Homefolks:  It has been some time since I wrote you all, but I have been on the front line, and haven’t had time or paper either.  I hope you are not uneasy about me, for I am well and feeling fine.  I think God has been with me, for I have stood everything fine and have not been wounded.  I was slightly gassed and went to the hospital for four days.  I don’t think I got enough gas to hurt me very much; I don’t feel it now.  Everything seems awfully quiet since the firing ceased.  When the firing ceased Monday the Germans threw up their hats and hollowed and had a big time in general.  We all built big camp-fires, and smoked as much as we pleased after firing ceased.  I wish we could be home for Christmas, but don’t know yet.  I wish I knew that Lenwood is all right.  I haven’t gotten any mail yet, but think I will get some before long.  I hope you all are getting along all right.  Much love to all.

   Fleetwood C. Baldwin,                Company H, 316 Infantry, A. E. F. 

Baldwin, Fleetwood; World War I Letter, January 23, 1919 (Letter #2), Honey Grove Signal 

January 23, 1919 – Dear Dad and Sisters: I’m sorry you all heard I was missing.  I was gassed on November 1st and went to the hospital for a few days, but I went back to the front lines and dodged the big guns til the armistice was signed.  I have been in the hospital three times, but came out safe each time. I had the flu twice.  I feel more like writing since I get my mail regularly.  We get mail every day at noon, and I nearly always get one or two letters, and some days I get a big bunch of them.  I sure enjoy them, too.  I got my Christmas and ten letters today.  I never did feel half so happy before.  I am sure enjoying the eats.  Everything sent comes in handy, and I needed all of them badly.  I never had gotten any mail till since Christmas.  I’m sorry to hear of Sim’s and Jessie’s death.  I am at a camp about twenty miles from Verdun.  We don’t drill very hard now; three hours in the a.m., and one in the p.m.  Don’t do much drilling, mostly play games, such as Molly-ball, foot ball, two-deep and games that are good for exercise.  We have picture shows at the Y.M.C.A. and services on Sunday.  It never gets very cold here, but it rains nearly every day.  The sun is shining today, though.  We have a maneuver twice a week; usually capture a machine gun on the wind-up.  The war is over, but we still have imaginary battles.  It would look good to you all, I guess, but we get tired of the same thing so much.  We are getting better eats now.  Have some dandy meals, such as steak, gravy, mashed potatoes, jam, bread and coffee.  Pretty good, eh?  We usually get rice or oat meal for breakfast.  I have a good appetite, but have the heartburn lots.  Guess it is the gas I got that causes it.  I think we will be home by early summer, maybe sooner.  I am ready to come myself, but I don’t have the blues, since I hear from home.  I got eighteen letters one day.  I never have gotten the Signal.  I feel tonight like today was Christmas.  I hope pap’s health is good.  I feel fine, but have bad feet.  We will have lots to tell you when we come home.  I hope you are all well.  I am going to send you some souvenirs some of these days when I get a chance.  Nothing here where I am now.

            I am in the 79th Division now.

            Write often.  Lots of love to you all.

            Fleetwood C. Baldwin  

Baldwin, Lenwood M.; World War I Letter, September 23, 1918 (Letter #1), Honey Grove Signal 

From Lenwood Baldwin “Somewhere in France”, September 23, 1918—Dear Sisters: At last I got a letter from home and was awfully glad to hear from the U.S. I never knew how much I loved the old U.S. ‘till I left there. I don’t believe I have written you since I left Waco. We stayed at Camp Merritt three weeks and really enjoyed life there. I went to the City, and as you can imagine I saw a little of most everything. I saw the Statue of Liberty, which is beautiful; also saw the Sailors and Soldiers’ Monument there – so you see, I have already seen my tombstone. I looked Broadway over from one end to the other.
We sailed the 17th; reached France the 26th, unloaded the 28th. We had a wonderful trip and never thought of getting seasick. We had a quiet sail all the way. On our arrival here we marched six miles and spent the night; then next day we loaded up and came here—not allowed to say where—but we are a long ways from the house—about one hundred miles from the front lines. This is a beautiful country for scenery, but that’s all. The farms here are about one to five acres in size and have hedging all around them. Every house is made of stone and lighted by windows on one side only, that is, most of them; and they are built so a stranger would get lost on his first visit to see his friend. There were built in old times—and they show it. 
Lots of good-looking girls here. But what’s the use. I haven’t any chance at all. Haven’t learned enough French to know whether they are “cussing” me or making love to me. Tell Fleet to practice his French as much as possible, for it helps here. I pick up a little of it, but guess we won’t be here long enough for a fellow to learn much of it, but I can get by with what I have learned.
The people here seem to be as happy as can be, but they are sickly-looking, and no wonder—the way they live. Every other store is a wine store, but not many of the boys get drunk, and I am sure if they would think twice they would let it alone. I tasted it once and that did me.
You ought to see the money here. The 2c piece is as large as our half-dollar, and the paper money tears like tissue paper, and that is the kind they have mostly, but it spends, and that is all a fellow wants, you know. The people are sure nice to us; seems like they can’t do enough for us, and of course we more than appreciate it. We have lots to eat and it tastes good, too—if you don’t care what you say. I haven’t had any syrup since I left home, and you know how that hurts me, for it makes a wide gap in my menu. What you want is exactly what you don’t get.
 We went off on a –something—last night—gone all night—have been on duty thirty-six hours, but I feel find as a two-year-old tonight and can sleep without being sung to.
The trains here look like a joke by the side of our trains—they would make a monkey smile a little.
All the work is done by one horse and a two-wheel wagon; sure does look slow.
They carried about three hundred wounded soldiers back to the ship we came over on. Sure was a pitiful site. Made me want to go right to the front. We have the 34th band with us and have music every Sunday afternoon; makes a fellow feel more like fighting when the music starts.
I never have the blues here; in fact, I don’t have time. Lots of real soldiering to do, but I really enjoy it; it is for our good and is all new work. Wish you could see our company when we got our gas masks on. We have lots to interest us.
Has Fleetwood crossed yet? Here is hoping he gets to come over. The trip is simply grand—lots to see and learn—and the fighting—that will be a little dangerous, but just sport for us. We have a jolly company, and all ready to go. I think we have a little fun, after all. We have to get into quarters at 8, and have reveile at 6:30, so you see we get lots of sleep, but I guess its best. I am well, getting fat and feeling fine. Don’t worry about me for I am faring fine. You and Eddie write me every chance you have, and when I get to write a letter it is for both of you. I would like to see you all—but then—“Some sweet day after while.” We got our first mail today, and I got 15 letters; sure did enjoy them, too, believe me.
September 1st—my birthday—think where we all were four years ago, and now so far apart, it’s awful, but look at the cause, and it’s not bad at all, is it?
Since I wrote this letter, an order has come for us, so we leave for 3rd line trenches this eve at 2 o’clock. Don’t know when I will get to write again, but will write as soon as possible.
September 28—Since I started this, we have moved closer in; can see the flash of the guns and the roar sounds good if there were not so many boys suffering from it. Guess we will be in it in a few days. We moved again tonight closer still. I now see my first American lady today, here. It makes me homesick, but guess we have several days yet in France.
Later—October 2—We got our mail again today. I got 16 more letters from all of you, and Era. We have a chance to mail letters tomorrow. Remember, I can’t write every day, and you all write whenever you can. I am not allowed to write the things you all really want to know. Would like to tell you just where I am, and how I got here, but the censorship is strict.
Lots of love to papa and all of you and the kids, your brother,

Private Lenwood M. Baldwin, Company E, 34th Infantry, 7th Division, American Expeditionary Force Via New York.

Baldwin, Lenwood M.; World War I Letter, December 30, 1918 (Letter #2), Honey Grove Signal 

Longuyon, France, December 30, 1918. – My dear sisters and Dad. Well, today is the kind of day that makes you get homesick-raining and the wind blowing, but it has been raining about fifteen days straight. We have moved again and are now close to Belgium. We passed Wurtemburg and stayed at Briey. We were hiking four days through the mud and the rain; we made forty-seven miles with our pack. I never did realize what I was until now and now I guess I am a mule, for sure carry a load. I don’t know how long we will be here at Longuyon; we are guarding Germany artillery here and believe me it is some job wading around in this mud. We guard and recount the guns. Our squad has 35 guns to look after-from 3-inch to 8-inch guns; one 5-inch gun with a 24 foot barrel, long range. I guess it is the kind that makes us get low on the ground. No telling how many pieces of artillery there are here in this town and the machine guns stacked like wood and trench mortars, lots of everything in the Hun’s line of business. Lots I would like to bring home, but we already have too much to carry without picking up pretties. I stood guard on Christmas day. It was some dull for me, but I am thankful that I was here to see it come. I thought of you all and wished to be with you, but then I will be there next Christmas if nothing worse happens. I know you all had a good dinner and thought of us over here, but we are not suffering from anything at all, only to come home, but don’t have the least idea when that will be. As you know, we never get any papers here, nothing at all to read while we are off duty, and you know we get lonesome. We got papers everyday at Thiarcourt from the Salvation Army, but nothing at all here-can’t get any la’tobac. So you know I am in misery. I did not tell you about losing my ring, did I? Well , at any rate ”somewhere in France” I will always have property that money could not have bought. I have torn my watch up from falling on it, and my cigarette case is mashed in 40 different shapes from falling on it when I would hear a G.I. can coming, but I have fallen so many times and so fast and hard  that I would have bent a railroad iron. You asked which army I belong to, I am in the 2nd army. I sure will be glad when time is up over here. It is not long until I go on guard and still it rains. I tell you a soldier’s life in France is h–. 
     I sure do enjoy reading the Signal. However, I have received but two copies of it, but it brings me back home on a visit, then comes the “blues.” You asked me if I was on my way to the Rhine, that’s just where I have started- don’t mind it much, but had rather be started toward Brest or Bordeaux.
     Papa wasn’t any prouder when the war was over than his son was, for it was getting worse and worse. I was in the front lines 33 days. I believe I wrote you about it, but the censor might have cut it out. I was in one drive November 1st, and on two different fronts. The Y.M.C.A. surprised us Sunday. Each one received 2 bars of candy and 3 boxes of cigarettes. The candy sure was a treat to us, first I had seen in a long time. I hope you all don’t have the flu. It seems to be a dangerous disease there. I was in the hospital in October with it, but I got through it o.k. I can’t find anything at all about where Fleetwood is; you never know anything over here only you are in the army. You all write often as you can for that’s all I ever get to read and you can’t imagine how much good they do me. Lots of love to you all.

Your son and brother,
Lenwood M. Baldwin.

Baldwin, Wyatt; World War I Letter, October 18, 1918, Honey Grove Signal
Wyatt Baldwin Relates Training Camp Experiences

Dear Father: Our Company just came back from the trenches.  It was exciting, and I feel confident that I know a great deal about the trenches. For three nights we did not sleep one minute, and we worked in the day time.  It was a sham battle between four companies, or 1,000 men. All night attacks and trench raids were under fire.  We came back to camp Saturday at noon.  This week we study only machine gun fire and the problems are going to be complicated.  The French and English instructors are not clear.
            So glad to hear of Moore and Ben Sam’s success in receiving a commission.  There is only one consolation for me, and it is that this course is more complicated then artillery or infantry.  We rank them in service, and this is the main reason the War Department added two extra months.  The summer had flown and this is on summer I have not wasted time.  My lessons in the army and actual experience have helped me every way.  From this date we have four weeks of machine gun fire and two weeks of graduation.  This has been the longest of any training camps, almost a half of a year- from 5:45 in the morning till 9 at night.  Yet there are 2.000 men just like me who have lived on the assumption that we would have been commissioned by August 15, 1918, but now it is October 18, 1918.  One fellow in my tent broke down with malarial fever and lost out a month, so he is put back until November 15, 1918. He has been in the army fourteen months and still he laughs.  So I can’t kick, for as our officers say, if you can’t play the game without kicking it is better to kick out.
             We had three lines of trenches –the “firing line,” “the support,” and the “reserve” in our trench battle last week.  One night we occupied the reserve trench, next night the support, and the last night the front line.  The trenches have dug outs, shelters and communication trenches.  They are boxed in and drained with laterals in the trenches.  All of our meals were served in the trenches and the first night one slice of bread for a man was all that was allowed, and one canteen of water for every twenty-four hours.  This experience was great, and at night rockets and colored lights kept the sky bright.  Of course all the ammunition was dummies or the lead was removed before we were issued the ammunition.  Machine guns, automatic rifles, bombs, grenades, gas and trench mortars were all firing at the same time.  This was all kept in harmony, yet each group worked in separate boys of the trenches. Enough of this, but I thought it might be of interest to you. 

            Wyatt Baldwin.

 Bartellet, Ollie; World War I Letter, August 14, 1918, Honey Grove Signal
Short Letter From France

Somewhere in France, August 14 –

Dear Mother:  I guess you have been wondering why I have not been writing oftener.  You see we are in the field now, and things are hard to get in the line of writing material.  Once in a while the YMCA men are kind enough to come around and give us paper and envelopes.  At present we are back of the lines and resting up.  For awhile we were busy up at the front and working pretty hard.  Believe me, things are pretty lively up there, and when one of those big shells come along they sure do make us duck.  But there is no cause to be worried as I have never been in danger and am in excellent health enjoying the army life very much.
        How is the weather in the states now?  I bet it sure is hot and you all are trying to get out of the heat.  Wish you could send some heat over to us, as some days are rather cool.  We have had quite a little rain, but it all goes to help the crops grow, so we do not mind it.  Don’t worry, as I am taking good care of myself and I want you to do the same.  Give my regards to all at home.  I send you my love and hope you are in good health.

                                                Your loving son,
                                                Ollie Bartellet
                                                Company F. 3rd Am. Trn., American Expeditionary Forces, France. 

Blalock, Henry G.; World War I Letter, August 14, 1918 (Letter #1), Honey Grove Signal
On Active Service with American Expeditionary Forces, August 14th 1918

Dear Sister:
I will answer your letter I received a few days ago. I am o.k., hope you are the same.
     We are having some fine weather at present and enjoying army life as well as we could expect. You asked me about the country: It is very pretty country. We are in a very hilly part of France. The people are very kind to us and good to us. They raise everything they eat, and you can’t buy anything over here to eat except from our canteens and Y.M.C.A. We can get Camel cigarettes at seven cents a package, and we get “Bull Durham,” and soap is issued to us. We can buy lots of nuts, for they raise them over here, and lots of wine, for the French people are great wine drinkers. Catholic is their religion. You don’t see very many horses over here. The war has taken nearly all of them. They do a great deal of their farming with oxen. They raise hay and some grain, chickens and lots of vegetables. They live in stone houses. You don’t see any wooden houses. They live in one part of the house and keep their stock in the other.
    We spent a few days in England coming to France, and were given passes to London the 4th of July. England is a very pretty country, but France is better. But, speaking of them all, there is none like the U.S.A. fir anything.
Well, I have told you about all. Give all my best regards and to me.

Your brother,
Cook Henry G. Blalock. Co. E 359th Inf., American Expeditionary Forces

Blaylock, Henry G.; World War I Letter, November 18, 1918 (Letter #2). Honey Grove Signal 

Somewhere in France, November 18, 1918 -- Dear Mother, I will write you a few lines to let you know that I am all right.  Everything is fine over here now.  How is everything at home?  I have been away from my company since the last of September.  I am still cooking.  We are having some real snappy weather—have ice and frost every morning.  I have seen some wonderful sights and have had some wonderful experiences. 
     I saw Percy Gauldin the other day.  He is the only Honey Grove boy I have seen since I’ve been over here.  
     We have been on the Meuse River, one of the notable rivers of France.  If the Lord is willing I will be home some day and can tell you about it. 
    I am sending you a German helmet. 
    Your loving son and soldier boy,

            Henry G. Blaylock  

Blalock, Henry G.; World War I Letter, December 20, 1918 (Letter #3)

Honey Grove Signal 

Dain, Germany, Dec. 20, 1918. 
Honey Grove Signal: We are now touring Germany. Our division is one of the noted occupation divisions. We are located along the Mozel River. I wish the Signal and my friends a very happy and prosperous New Year, I remain,

Cook Henry G. Blalock

Blalock, Henry G.; World War I Letter, December 29, 1918 (Letter #4)

Honey Grove Signal

 Daun, Germany, December 29, 1918
J. H. Lowry: I want to write you a few lines about Christmas in Germany.  We are located in a small village; it is called a dorf in German.  It is located about seventy kilometers from the Rhine river and about thirty kilometers from the Mozel.  The area we are occupying is called Rhineland.  This section of Germany is the most beautiful scenery that I have seen since I have been here.  Our division has the honor of being one of the occupation divisions.  The buildings are all built of stone.  The country is very hilly.  We are quartered in a hotel.  Have good beds and the accommodations are good.  We have been in Germany one month now.  I have seen one German auto and one German auto truck.  Horses are very scarce and what few they have are of very poor class.  They work cows to their wagons – work them all day and milk them at night.  The railroad engines are of small type and their coaches are small.  Their road beds and tracks are good.  Eggs are worth one mark apiece.  Butter is worth 15 marks for one pound.

            On the night of December 23rd it began to snow.  Christmas eve morning when we woke up the ground was covered with about five inches of snow.  We had a beautiful white Christmas.  I spent the most of the day sleigh-riding.  In front of our quarters is a good hill.  We would get on top and get a good start and coast to the bottom.  That is some sport.  Some of the boys spent the day snowballing.  We served dinner at two in the evening.  We had very nice dinner.  We got a package from the folks at home through the Y.M.C.A.  It consisted of a bar of chocolate, two packages of cigarettes and a cigar.  That was our Christmas present.

            The Y.M.C.A. has certainly fallen down over here.  When you go to buy something if you are not there at a certain time or if you happen to be a little bit late you are out of luck.  I was in the hospital in France about five weeks.  When I went there I had not drawn my pay for two months.  I had left my soap, towel and tooth brush and paste, comb and brush at my company headquarters.  I had to have my toilet articles, and as I did not know anybody there I went to a Y.M.C.A. canteen.  Upon the shelves were tooth brushes, soap, combs and everything.  I could look and that was all.  So I went next door to the Red Cross place and there they gave me a bag containing all that I needed.  That is just a mere instance.  You may ask any soldier who saw service over here about the Y.M.C.A., and they will tell you that it is a joke.  The Salvation Army and the Red Cross are good.  They can’t be praised too much.  The Y.M.C.A. will be a back number among the boys who saw service in France in years to come.  It is a joke.

            Wishing you a happy and prosperous New Year, I remain,


                                                            Henry G. Blaylock   

Blaylock, Henry G.; World War I Letter, January 6, 1919 (Letter #5)

Honey Grove Signal 

…. Germany, January 6, 1919
Dear Mother: How are you by this time? I am … I guess. I received your letter yesterday dated November 24. You said that you had sent me a box, but I have never received it and this is January 6th. I am not in Company E any more, but I am in the 90th division. My address is American Expeditionary Forces, A.F.O., 770, 90th Division, Q.M.C. Was glad to hear all are will. I sent you my picture some time ago; hope you have gotten it by now.

We are having a good deal of rain and cold weather over here now. I think it won’t be long before we will be sailing home. I got a copy of the Signal the other day. Where does Sallie Mae live and what are they doing now? Sure wish I could see the kids. I have been thinking what I am going to do when I get back home, if I get back all right, and all the boys are thinking the same, and we are all talking about it. I am still cooking. I am cooking for officers; have eight regulars and sometimes have more. I am tired of cooking and I don’t want to see any more bakeries, so I haven’t made up my mind. I don’t want to stay in Honey Grove.

Well, I guess I had better close. I hope to hear from you soon.

Your son,

Henry G. Blaylock     

Bond, J. Reid; World War I Letter, October 6, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

J. Reid Bond

October 6, 1918 – My dear Mother, Sister and Auntie:  Mamma, don’t think I am dead because I am not writing any more than I do; I have not had any chance to write.  I have been in the hospital ten or twelve days for treatment.  I was gassed on the 12th of September and also on the 26th.  Don’t be worried about me, for I will come out all right.  I sent my dear little wife a letter yesterday, but didn’t tell her anything about being in the hospital, so don’t get alarmed over anything  I  have been over the top, and it was a successful drive, so if I don’t get to go over any more I have done all I could for our dear old states.  I can say that I have had the privilege of bagging three Germans.  I want to say further that the Red Cross nurses are doing a grand and noble work in behalf of the boys.

            Write soon to your baby boy and brother.

                                                                                                J Reid Bond   

Bragg, Albert W.; World War I Letter, February 27, 1919

Honey Grove Signal 

France, February 27, 1919 – Miss Annie Leinart – My dear Friend:  Have received two more than welcome letters from you in the last few days.  You can’t imagine how much good it does a fellow way over here to get a few letters from the folks back at home.  I am a very poor hand at writing letters, but since I have been over here I sure have learned the appreciation of receiving letters from some of God’s people from God’s country.  You asked me about the French girls; they are real pretty and are good company.  They try to show us a good time, but take it from me, give me the girls from the U.S.A.  Surely will be glad when I get back to where I can hear the good old English language again.  I have been over here nearly eight months and it seems like eight years.  Have picked up enough French to make myself understood and make out the most of what the people say to me.  This is a beautiful country – if it didn’t rain so much.  Have seen quite a bit of the country.  I am running a U.S.A. engine in advance section of service of supplies; never did get up to the front, so didn’t get to see any actual service.  Certainly did have to work hard up to the time the armistice was signed, and am still doing quite a bit.  Our regiment certainly has been scattered over this country; we have men out of our outfit all over France, some in Belgium and Germany, and yesterday fifty of our men were sent to Russia.  If they send me anywhere sure hope it will be to old Fannin county.  There were four of us boys from home who volunteered in this regiment, thinking we could all stay together, and at present there isn’t any two of us at the same place.  Have seen some few boys I knew on troop and hospital trains, as the road we are operating on is a direct line of communication from coast to front.  I have had one furlough; surely did play  lucky, as it was granted during Christmas.  Spent seven days at Wrige les Bains, which is up on the Alps mountains; sure had a grand time; spent one day in Lyons, second largest city in France, and one day in Paris.  Saw some great sights.  Paris sure is a great city, and there are so many historical sights to see Uncle Sam sure is good to his boys to give them a trip like I had.  Believe me, it sure was great to get to sleep in a sure enough bed after having to sleep on a hay tick so long.  The French sure do have good beds.  We were all in the best hotels and the best of everything was there.  There was no reveille to get us up in the mornings.

            Will close now and tell you more of my experience in France when I see you, for I surely want to see you in the near future.  Wishing you the best of health, good luck and hoping to see you soon, I am, as ever,

                                                                                    Your friend,

                                                                                    Albert W. Bragg  

Brown, Frank; World War I Letter, February 3, 1919

Honey Grove Signal 

Angers, France, February 3, 1919

Dear Papa: I have a few minutes to spare, so I will answer your last letter.  I had one from sister a few days ago and she said the money had been sent; also I had one from her about a month before that saying the same thing, but then I got your letter saying that it had not been sent.  What is right?  Anyway, if you want any souvenirs you will have to send some money, because, as I said before, they are very expensive on account of the officers going through here on their way home.

            I have transferred back to the Motor Transportation Corps, but this time I got a little promotion out of it, as much as corporal, not much, but helps some; raised my pay by $6 per month, and that is all that counts.  I am a motorcycle messenger now, or as they say over here, courier.

            You would be surprised at the amount of French a man can pick up in a few months.  I came over here in November, about the first, and for the first six weeks I had no opportunity whatever to get out and learn anything about the language; since that time I have been thrown more or less with people who could speak nothing else, so I had to learn it to get along at all.  I can speak it enough now to go anywhere I want to by myself without have to take some one along to talk for me.  Of course I don’t say that I can speak it as the book would put it, but I get along just the same.

            For the last two weeks I have been having one devil of a time with what the soldiers call French itch; in America we call it Scabees.  They are a very tiny bug, more like a microbe than anything else and they get in the pores of the skin and make a little pimple, that gradually gets into a sore if you don’t tend it right away.  I had it for three weeks before I knew I had anything; thought it was my woolen underwear scratching, but I went to the hospital and the doctor soon enlightened me, and he gave me some sulphur ointment, sweet essence of hell, if it don’t smell ???.  I have to put on a gas mask to go to bed.

            Well, time is short and there is nothing here of any unusual interest so I’ll close for the present.

            Next time address me at Motor Transport Co., 609, Casual Office Camp, Angers, France, A P.O.

                                                                                                                        Frank Brown 

Burkett, Ed; World War I Letter, November 8, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

Stenay, France, November 8, 1918.

Dear Mother and All:  I will write you a few lines this Thanksgiving night.  How are all of you?  I am just fine and dandy.  As the censor has been raised we can now write what we want to.  I am now at Stenay, near Verdun, where our doughboys did such hard fighting.  Three of my friends and myself went out today and stayed all day.  We sure did see lots of things the Germans left, such as rifles, and just wagon loads of ammunition.  We found us some good rifles and have practiced most all day.  We got in about four o’clock and the cook had lots of hot biscuits cooked.  We sure did enjoy them.  I will tell you where we have been in France and you can look on the map and trace us.  We crossed the English Channel at Southhamptom, landed in Cherbourg, rested two days and went to Camp Hunt at Latests, near Bordeaux.  Had six weeks’ practice with the French 75s, and were issued horses.  The most of the horses died, and I think that is one reason we didn’t get to back up our infantry at the front.  We went from Latests to Vignes, near Andelot and Rimaucourt, and were billeted there six weeks.  Stenay is a very pretty town.  Our regiment is all in one garrison.  We have nice quarters here, in sections, 16 men in a large room.  We haven’t any horses now, but are expecting to get them one day next week.  Hardy is here.  I see him most every day.  I guess you have read that we are one of the nine picked division to go into Germany to watch on the Rhine.  I know in reason we won’t be held there long after a peace treaty is signed, so I feel like we are very lucky to get to see it all and without so much danger.  I saw Dead Man’s Hill, near Verdun, where the French lost 5,000 men, and the Yanks went over.  As for us, we have not fought any but our doughboys gave them ----.  I saw small towns on the way here where there was not a roof left on the houses, and lots of shell holes as large as box cars.  The Huns held this part of France a long time and they hated to give it up.  I was going down the street the other day and saw this sign:  Krownprinx Wilhelm.  It was the crown price’s quarters.  There are lots of German signs here.  I have seen the graves of several of the 358th Infantry boys who were killed during the last few days of fighting.  The French sure did celebrate November 11 when the armistice was signed.  They sure were happy.  They said they were fighting for Freedom and that the U.S.A. was fighting for souvenirs.  We sure have a fine captain now.  He was first lieutenant when we left Travis, but our old captain, Duval, was transferred, and he was promoted.  We sure do all like him.  Our boys are now spending spare time hunting souvenirs.  Don’t feel in the least uneasy about me.  I am in fine health and well satisfied.  With love to all,

                                                                                    Your boy,

                                                                                  Ed Burkett. 

Burkett, Edgar; World War I Letter, January 28, 1919

Honey Grove Signal 

Edgar Burkett 

Handheim, Germany, January 28, 1919 – Dear Mother:  I will answer your letter received some days ago.  This leaves me well; hope you are all the same.  I am sorry to tell you but there is no chance for me to get a discharge until the regiment comes back to the states, which I hope won’t be very long.  I know I am needed very badly at home.  Have you had a letter from me since I have been at Handheim.  I have written you several.  I have a very nice place to stay here, as we are staying in the homes with the Dutch.  Three friends and I have a nice room.  They are real nice to us.  I guess it is because they think they have to be.  They do our washing and keep our room clean, so you see that is fine for a soldier.  I have heard that the 36th Division is coming home soon, so I guess that Newt will beat me home.  I had a letter from him the other day, dated December 27.  He was all right.  With love to all,

                                                                                                Your boy,

                                                                                                Edgar Burkett  

Carter, Elmer; World War I Letter, November 10, 1918 (Letter #1)

Honey Grove Signal 

Elmer Carter 

Calt Enidon, France, November 10, 1918 – My dear Uncle and Aunt:  I am well and doing very well.  I went to church this morning, and I am thinking of the day when I can come back home and go to church and hear and see all of the people I left behind when I left to go where Uncle Sam called for me to go.  He called for me to come across the deep blue seas to fight for France, Belgium and my own country, and I am here trying to do my part.  I am looking for the Huns to give up any day, and when they do I want to come back home – I have seen as much as I want to see.  France is a pretty country, but it rains too much for me, and I can’t understand the people very well.

            I guess Christmas will be dull for me this year, but I had a good time last Christmas.  I would like to be at home this Christmas, but no chance I guess for me to.  There is one thing – if I ever get back over there I can tell lots of things that will interest all of you.

            I don’t know much to write.  Tell everybody hello for me.  Be good, and write to me often.  Your nephew,

                                                                                                Elmer Carter 

Carter, Elmer; World War I Letter #2 (no date)

Honey Grove Signal 

Somewhere in France. -- My Dear Father and Mother: How are you all by this time? Well, I hope. I have a very bad cold this morning and am not in the best humor in the world. Everything goes wrong. It is pay day and most of the boys are feeling very good. I would like to be at home now; I would show you the kind of money we get over here. It looks like soap wrappers, but it’s as good as any kind of money. We have just got through firing at the target. We are all good with our little three-inch guns. I am No. 1 on the gun, and that is the place I want to be. It is the best place on the gun. I get to pull the trigger, and if we kill any Huns I will know I helped to do it. I went on a little hike yesterday. A trio of boys and myself went where the guns had been firing and the old houses they fired at had been torn down. We went inside one of them. The houses here are all of rock—some few of brick—and dirt floor. It is olden times over here. You can look in your Bible and see lots of places just like these. You see no young boys over here at all; they are all old men and women. I have ridden on some trains over here, and they put us in box cars—about 40 to the car—and the trains are not as big as nothing; they are all little ones. Sure look funny to me. The wagons are two-wheel carts and one horse to them. There isn’t anything to spend your money for but wine; there is plenty of that. There are lots of pretty places over here. I am in a good house now, have a good fire and a good bed to sleep in. There are lots of pine trees and chestnuts over here. I like to get the chestnuts off the trees and eat them in the woods. Write to me.

Your son, Elmer Carter 

Carter, Elmer; World War I Letter – March 25, 1919 (Letter #3)

Honey Grove Signal 

Camp Stewart, Virginia, March 25, 1919.--R.J. Carter.--My dear Father, Mother, and Family: How are you all by this time? Well, I hope. I am well and landed safely in the good old U. S. A., and I sure am glad to get back. We had a very good trip across, but it was very rough two or three days. It was fine after we got over our seasickness, but we are here and proud of it and probably will be home soon; hope so anyway. I would not take anything for my experience in France. We had a very good time over there. I have a few little souvenirs. I weighed today and weighed 165. I never felt better in my life.

This is a very pretty camp, and we sure are having some good eats now. Beef steak, sweet potatoes and fish, and believe me, it sure beats cornwillie and slum. I hate to think of the way we were done over there. When we landed at Brest, France, we didn’t get anything to eat for forty-eight hours, and believe me we were some hungry bunch. We couldn’t get anything to eat at all, but we made it fine and dandy. We thought for awhile we sure were up against it.

Be good, and I will see you soon.
Love to all, as ever your son,
Elmer Carter.

Caruthers, William Bedford; World War I Letter, October 14, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

October 14, 1918 – Dear Mother and Folks:  As it has been a couple or more weeks since I have written to you, think I had better write you a short letter.  I have been in the hospital about two weeks now.  I was slightly wounded during our last drive, and my eyes have just gotten so I can see how to write.  I will be all right in a few days.

            I hope you had a nice time at Ben’s.  I would like to have been with you, but we will go again when I get home, and from the looks of the papers the thing will be over soon.  Of course it may not, but they will wish they had stopped before we get through with them.

            Well, I must close, as I am lying in bed writing, and I can’t do a very good job.  Love to all,

                                                William Bedford Caruthers

Company C, 2nd F’d B’n, Signal Corps, American Expeditionary Forces

Chaney, Frank; World War I Letter, September 11, 1918 (Letter #1)

Honey Grove Signal 

Honey Grove Soldier Boys Hug in France.

            Wednesday, September 11, 1918 “Am somewhere in France, having a grand time;  just wish I could see you to tell you all about the country and people. It’s some country, believe me.  We are now in rest camp.  Hope to move tomorrow.  Oh! Yes, had a grand experience yesterday evening; met old Huston Robinson, Bob Cobb, Spot LaMaster and nine other boys I knew from that country-that was some treat, believe me.  You should have seen old Bob Cobb and I hugging each other-well, that’s all we can or would hug over here.  With love to all,   

Frank Chaney.

Med Det 56 Inf, American Expeditionary Forces, France.

Chaney, Frank; World War I Letter, October 31, 1918 (Letter #2)

Honey Grove Signal 

October 31, 1918.—Dearest Home-folks: Your letter of September 26th received a few days ago, but haven’t had a chance to answer before today. Yes, no doubt our minds were running in the same channel they day you wrote, for I always think and remember the 26th of each month how long I have been away from home. I am just wondering if I will be away as much longer as I have already been. You was asking if I had ever gotten the papers you had sent me. Well, four months from the day I left home I got y first papers on this side—found two Signals addressed directly to me and one(t he Bonham paper) which was sent to father. You see the papers seem to be too much for the runners to bring out on the field, so I get them when I go back, and can go back every few days now, for am real close.

            Could never have pictured myself living under a bridge before, but now another private and myself are doing that very thing, and it’s a fine place, too—in trench, and trench runs under the road; about three feet wide. It’s a little crowded at night, but you see that enables us to sleep warm. So you see we are enjoying all the pleasure of “trench warfare.”

            Will try and write a little oftener, only haven’t had a chance this time. Answer soon


Frank Chaney   

Chaney, Frank; World War I Letter, November 2, 1918, (Letter #3)

Honey Grove Signal 

France, November 2, 1918

Dearest Friends:

   Have been having several letters from dear old Honey Grove which I have sure appreciated, and noticing several of the boys have had letters in the Signal, have decided I would answer a few of the letters in this way (provided that I am not putting too much on the editor.)

   Today I saw my first German prisoner, though we have had quite a few, but today was the first time I had the pleasure of feasting my eyes on one of them.  He seemed to be very well satisfied, as he was getting fed at our kitchen, “so he should worry.”

   Am now living in a German dug out.  It’s not the first one I have lived or stayed in and not the best one, but we feel perfectly safe here “when the shells go flying by.”

   But as I said I was going to answer some letters in this way, had better get busy.  A couple of days ago I went down for the mail.  Found seven big, fat letters waiting for me.   Gee, I was sure glad to get them, too.  While there, I learned I was going to be made a first-class private, so what better do I want?  “None.”

   Well, of course we always read the letters from home first, so the first one was written on August 7th.  The reason I was so long getting it was, it was only addressed to the medical detachment, not specifying any certain one, so I think the boys much be on the job to find me at all.

   The next one was written about the first of the past month.  Learned the crops were almost, as the French say, “finish.”  But the worst of all, my father was still having trouble with his mules.

   And a letter from a friend or pal, Harmon Harral, who is now lieutenant in Paris.  Was glad to hear of his commission, and know he is capable of his job. 

   A letter from Mrs. Daniel.  It was sure appreciated, too, and told of the interest the people at home are taking in the boys “over here.”  Can never tell her how much I appreciate the newsy letter (and you need not worry about us and the French girls over here, for we never have time for them) and when this war shall end then we won’t take time. 

   And a letter from Mr. Bob Lane stating he was sending me a package.  You can never imagine how we appreciate the good things you all have done for us. 

   And of course it would not do to mention the letters received from sweethearts, or some of them might get mad, so will answer them in person.  But love to all, and may God be with us ‘till we meet again.  I am hoping we are on our last round, and will soon come marching home. 

   Front lines, November 12, 1918

Yesterday at 11 o’clock was the happiest hour for this bunch of men I have ever seen, when the artillery ceased firing, and I know our people at home are just as happy.

   Had a letter from brother Roy yesterday.  Will tell you the rest when we come marching home.

                                                                        Frank Chaney, Med. Det. 56th Inf., A. E.

Chaney, Frank; World War I Letter, November 12, 1918 (Letter #4)
Honey Grove Signal 

Front Lines, November 12, 1918
Yesterday at 11 o’clock was the happiest hour for this bunch of men I have ever seen, when the artillery ceased firing, and I know at home are just as happy.

Had a letter from brother Roy yesterday. Will tell you the rest when we come marching home.

Frank Chaney 
Med. Det. 56th Inf. A.E.F. 

Chaney, Frank; World War I Letter, December 22, 1918 (Letter #5)
Honey Grove Signal

Mannonville, France. December 22, 1918 
Dearest Homefolks – Three more days – then Christmas. Know you are going to miss us boys. But one thing sure, you won’t miss us any more than we will miss you. But that’s alright. We don’t mind to stay over here, for it’s not so awful had, but of course, we all want to come home. Though am in favor of first over – the first home. Am sending you a list of the equipment we have. Suppose to cover everything we have. As the Top Sergeant is away, had one of my friends, who came into the detachment the same time I did, to stay overnight with me last night. We first took a bath as neither of us had had one in about three weeks. Can you imagine taking a bath out of a medium-sized wash pan? Well, it was all we had. After we got cleaned up I asked him if he would like to eat some real candy once more? And of course he did. We just couldn’t help eating the second box. He agreed that it was the first real candy he had eaten since leaving the states, so just have one box left for Christmas now. But must save it. Am going to tell you something now “It’s still raining.” Seems to never let up over here. Have never heard from Ray in writing. Be sure to tell me about him for seems I can’t hear from him.

With love to all,

Frank Chaney 

Chaney, Frank; World War I Letter, January 24, 1919 (Letter #6)
Honey Grove Signal

January 24, 1919 – Dearest Homefolks: Will endeavor to answer your two letters which came to me night before last, and was so glad to get them and to learn that old Santa Claus did not forget you, but was very nice to you, and about myself, you couldn’t have sent me anything that I would have appreciated more. 

Well, for the last few days it has quit raining. Turned cold and partly clear; the ground has been frozen for three or four days. 
Had a good time over at Toul; was there two days. But it sure costs. Each meal costs from 11 to 14 francs, so you see with everything else in proportion it takes quite a little bit to get by. Room for the night 10 francs, practically $2. But I should worry about that. First time I had been off since I come in the army. Do you think I would work any place else that way? No.

Appreciated the letters from the kids very much; am always glad to have them write. And the clippings that Earl sent were good, too. 
Have been taking a bath and then washing my underwear. Have one bucket to do it all with. Boil my clothes in the bucket, take a bath in the bucket, and then use the bucket for drinking water. But think I clean it up pretty good.

Am so glad to hear that you are able to be back at your work again, Mother.

Well, am sure you have heard from Roy again by now. Guess the reason you didn’t hear in so long was when they were hiking up into Germany

Love to all.

Frank Chaney    

Chaney, Roy C.; World War I Letter, November 9

Honey Grove Signal  

Sunday morning, November 9. Dearest Mother: This morning the church bells began ringing and made me think of you all and the old church in the little village back over there and the Sabbath after Sabbath that I have gone to church with you. When I went to the Y for some stationery the morning service was just beginning and I stayed and took sacrament. It was the first time I had heard a sermon since I saw you last- you know how long that has been. I had most forgotten the time we used to go to church together, but haven’t forgot our God to whom you pray for Frank and me and everybody else every day. Mamma, your prayers for me have been answered often. Have not heard from Frank since we came so near meeting, but know that the same God is caring for him, too.
Everything is looking so good. Oh if it would only stop when the clock tolls eleven tomorrow. Is America offering up a universal prayer to that end today? God only knows how I want to see you all, and may it be His will that it will be all over and we many soon be on our way to you and the other mothers of America.
 Give my best regards to everybody. With all my love for you and all the family, I am your soldier boy for Liberty and the Cross,
Roy Chaney   

Chaney, Roy; World War I Letter, January 19, 1919 (Letter #2)
Honey Grove Signal 

Kinhein, Germany, 
Sunday, January 19, 1919 – Dearest Ones: Sunday evenings are very lonesome; nowhere to go, nor nothing to see but the same old stuff, for everything that I have seen from the western coast of France to here looks very much the same, except the battlefield and there is quite a bit of difference there. 

Have just read a letter that Van Gainous wrote; was very glad to see it, for I had heard that the boat he was on was at the bottom and he was among the missing.

They say that today is the last time we will get to send any mail in quite a while; that we are going to hike five days to Coblenz, then in a few days start on our homeward journey, but have been in the army long enough to know that you can’t tell anything about what you hear and to be surprised at nothing you have to do tomorrow. I hope that this is the last letter I will get to write – at least from Europe. 
Hope the war dodgers are at ease and all the boys that were in training are at home, but am afraid they will have to leave off their uniforms before I get back, but that isn’t long – just 90 days, and half of that for travel.

Have not heard from Frank since I wrote. Hope he does not have to come up here, that is, if he has to walk.

Give my best regards to everyone and with love to all,

Roy Chaney   

Cobb, Bob; World War I Letter, September 7, 1918 (Letter #1)

Honey Grove Signal 

A Few Lines from Bob Cobb.

            Somewhere in France, September 7, 1918. –Dear Sister and Family: I received your letter several days ago, and believe me I was sure glad to get it.  I’ve heard from several people at home since I’ve been here.

             We are in our third camp since we landed, and I like this place lots better than the others.  We are in French barracks and they are made of concrete.  Probably why I like it better, we have American women here.  We hiked about twenty-five miles over here, and the Red Cross girls met us twice on the trip with cigarettes and chewing gum. It was lots of the boys first time since we landed to see an American girl, and they simply went wild.  France is some beautiful old country, and I’ve seen lots of things since I left home I would like to tell you about, but guess I will have to wait until I see you, they don’t raise cotton and corn here like we do, but what they lack in that they make up with apples, pears, grapes and blackberries.  There are millions of blackberries here, and the French people won’t eat them.  You can imagine what we boys do when we are not on duty. 

            I heard today Ed Whitley was elected for sheriff and Hobby governor. That sounds good. We get the Chicago Tribune and New York World here, but they don’t give much local news.

            With love to all,            Bob.

Cobb, Robert; World War I Letter; November 11, 1918 (Letter #2)

Honey Grove Signal 

France, November 11.—Dear brother and Family: I have been intending to write to you for some time, but seem like I’ve never had time. You know we didn’t come over here on a pleasure trip or vacation, therefore, I have been busy, but today the war is over; Germany signed the armistice at 11 o’clock today, and all France is celebrating by ringing the church bells, sounding sirens and firing artillery. I have a great deal of experience, seen lots of wonderful places, and visited lots of noted places here that helped to make the history for France. I am sending you a picture of myself. I weigh 160 pounds and still growing. I believe this is a healthier country than ours, after all. Seem like the people in the states have had their share of influenza, but hope they now are getting it under control. I think when I get back home I will be ready to settle down and try to make a start for myself. Wish I had more time to write, but I am always busy. I hope to be back in the states in the near future. Give my love to all.

Your Brother,

Robert Cobb. 

Cobb, Robert; World War I Letter; November 15, 1918. (Letter #3)

Honey Grove Signal 

November 15, 1918.--Dear Mrs. Black: I received your letter the day before yesterday and certainly was glad to get it. There have been times when it seemed like we never would get any mail, then when it would come we would get lots, and you can imagine how good it would make us feel. We have been having some pretty cold weather lately, but it doesn’t seem to hurt us like it does at home, probably though it's because we have such good clothes. They are all pure wool and we have hip boots and leather coats.

Mrs. Black, I wish you could have been here the day Germany signed the armistice. It is impossible to tell how people received the joyful news, and I know everyone felt it from the depth of their hearts. It was one great day in France and I will never forget it.

I am awfully sorry to hear of the influenza being so fatal at home. I had heard of John Norton's and Ralph Pierce's death. I have noticed here it seems like the healthiest and most vigorous ones are called away first, but the influenza here hasn't been bad at all. Most of the boys are healthier than they ever were. I haven't had a sick day since I left the states, and I weigh 160 pounds and still growing.  I am sending you one of my pictures.  The boy with me is Raymond Johnson from Bonham, and we've been together since I enlisted. The pictured isn't good, but the scenery is beautiful here, and that's real live holly behind us. We tried to think of a suitable name for the picture, so we decided "The Two Babes in the Woods" was the most appropriate.

I think of you and our Brotherhood Class lots. Just keep it going until we get back, then if any of the boys are A. W. O. L from Sunday school we will put them on duty.

I could write you lots about France, for I've been to lots of places that were noted in ancient history, and have seen lots of things that help to make history for France now, but I prefer to keep it until I get back home, so I can tell it just like I want to.

Give everybody my best regards, and remember me as one of your Sunday school boys. Write me again when you have time. 


Robert Cobb

Cobb, Bob; World War I Letter, November 25, 1918 (Letter #4)

Honey Grove Signal

Bob Cobb

France, November 25, 1918 – My dear Mother: I received lots of mail today.  Got a letter from Willie, and it made me feel good to know you were all well.  I have thought of you lots lately, and dreamed about being at home for the last three nights in succession.  I know my letters must be very uninteresting, and each one a likeness to the one before, but I know you are glad to get them if I only say I am well and doing fine.  We are going to move in the near future, and our direction will determine whether we are on our way home or not.  The war is over and some of us will start for the states soon, but we can’t all leave here at once.  I have been to lots of places and have seen lots of sights since I left home.  I’ve lived in Napoleon Barracks, I’ve been in the house that was once Julius Caesar’s, I’ve carved my name over the coat of arms in one of the German war lord’s castles, I’ve visited the noted Gothic cathedrals, and I’ve been to lots of places that’s world history, but one hour by the fireside with my little mother tonight would be far greater to me than anything I could wish for.  Remember, I love you best of all, and intend to be with you again in the near future.  With lots of love to you and may God bless you,  Your son,

                                                                                                            Bob Cobb

[The following poem was enclosed in the letter]


And here’s a line to Mother,
The best of all the lot,
With a simple little message,
Just a sweet forget-me not.
It’s sent to her from someone,
Sealed with a kiss of love,
To wish her joy and comfort,
And blessing from above. 

May it find her well and happy
As the morn I went away,
May it make her burden lighter
As she works from day to day;
May it chase away the wrinkles
From her apt-to-worry brow,
And keep that smile a-smiling
Till we’ve we finished up this row. 

There’s a brighter day a-coming
For us, and those back home;
There’s ships of Joy and Happiness
To sail us o’er the foam,
And sights will be most wonderful
As loved ones greet each other,
But none will be so tenderly
When Sonny meets his Mother.
--Emil Dorrsh

Cobb, Bob; World War I Letter, December 23, 1918 (Letter #5)

Honey Grove Signal 

December 23, 1918 – Dear Homefolks:  I received your letter a few days ago, and would have answered sooner, but have been too busy.  We got some news the other day that made us all feel “powerful” good, and could you believe us, we have orders to proceed to a port of embarkation as soon as possible to return to the states.  We’ve had a pretty tough time here, but I believe our troubles, worries and hardships are about all over.  Of course we have lots of work to do before we are ready to start back, but you can imagine how fast we can do it when we know the sooner we get it done the sooner we get home.  I believe we will leave here sometime in January, and we ought to be in the states by the middle of February,  if we have good luck.  We will go back to Camp Bowie, and I suppose be mustered out shortly after we get there.  This was a great life here while the war was going on.  Something new and interesting every day.  I didn’t think about getting homesick, but after the armistice was signed it has been somewhat dull, then, after we heard we were going home in the near future sometimes I feel like I’m just a little homesick.  I want to get back where the people speak the English language, and put my feet on dry land once more.  I have been in a camouflaged world since I left home.  The pines, the spruce, the firs and the grass are all green here, and seemingly they are trying to camouflage the winter that is here.  Tomorrow is Christmas eve, and we are off duty for a day and a half to have a good time and go sight-seeing.  There’s always something new to see in France.  Be sure and save the post cards I sent you, for I’ve been to all the places and they all have history.

            I heard today Mrs. Henderson and Mrs. C. L. Wood were dead.  I hope it isn’t true, but if it is I am awfully sorry to hear it. Honey Grove, as well as lots of other towns, has surely paid the price, but we are all too feeble-minded to understand why it is best.

            Shortly after you receive this letter you can look for me, for I’m sure coming home this time.  Just keep writing to me until you hear I’m back in the states.  Hope to hear from you again soon.  With love to all.

January 17 – Dear Homefolks:  I haven’t written to you in two weeks, for they told us we would beat a letter home, but now for some reason we are held here for awhile, but at any rate it won’t be long before we will start home.

            I told you about the boys getting furloughs.  I didn’t intend to take one, but they came to me and told me I had made a good solder and could have a several days’ leave with all expenses paid, so I took it.  I went up on the English Channel and had one of the greatest times I ever had.  Saw some very interesting places, among them was the High Life Casino at Dinard, a second “Monte Carlo,” so to speak, where Harry K. Thaw first me this wife, Evelyn.  Also visited Mount St. Michel, one of the seven wonders of the world, and numerous other places where tourists from all over the world visit in summer, but tomorrow will be the greatest trip I’ll ever take in France.  All the boys are wild about it, and I can hardly wait myself.  Our doughboys are going to play foot ball in grand old Paris Monday for the championship of the A. E. F., and if they beat it just means the 36 Division are the champions of the world.  We leave here by special train tomorrow, or rather the ones who can show as much as 100 francs before leaving, and I happen to be lucky enough to have mine.  My head is too full of notions to write tonight, but maybe I can tell it better when I get back home.

  Hope Bess has recovered from the flu, and the rest of you are well.  Hope to see you some time in February.  Love to all.                                       

Bob Cobb    

Cobb, Bob; World War I Letter, February 3, 1918 (Letter #6)
Honey Grove Signal 

Camp de Coctquidon, Morbihow, France, February 3, 1919 – Dear Homefolks: It has been several days since I have written to you, and thought for awhile it wouldn’t be necessary to write any more, but for some unknown reason we are held here for awhile longer, however, I don’t think it will be very long at the most. We have been having some pretty cold weather here for a week, but it has turned slightly warmer today and the ground has thawed a little. Everybody is doing fine, though and all the boys are in good spirits. We didn’t get to make our trip to Paris, and you can imagine how disappointed I was, but I still think there is a chance if we stay here long enough. We will have been here six months the 12th, and will put on our service stripes then. I think most of the boys are looking forward to it. There are two dates I’ll never forget—the day we left Hoboken and the day we entered the harbor at Brest. It was the strangest sight I ever saw, but maybe you think it didn’t look good, for we had been in a nest of subs for twenty-four hours. That’s all over now and almost forgotten. We are thinking more about how we are going to make the Statue of Liberty ball the jack when we get back.

Just keep writing until you hear of me being in the states.

With love to all, 
Bob Cobb 

Cobb, Bob; World War I Letter, February 16, 1919 (Letter #7)

Honey Grove Signal 

Camp le Caotquidan. February 16, 1919. Dear Homefolks: It has been several days since I've written to you, and it's been much longer since I've had a letter. We have been expecting to leave for some time, but that is very uncertain at present. I am sending some views to you and want you to save them for me. I have either lived in or visited all the places, and nothing could buy them. The views of Mt. St. Mihiel are not very good, but it was the best of it I could get. They started building it in the year 709 and finished in 1819. You can imagine from that what a wonderful place it is. I like the views of St. Molo and Porame most as well though.
     I had a letter from Willie Johnson the other day; said he was getting along fine. We have not had any mail from the states lately. Think they are holding it in New York. Don't quit writing on the strength of that, though, for we may be here for some time yet. Hope everybody are getting along fine at home, and hope to hear from you again soon. Give everyone my best regards. With love to all,

Bob Cobb.  

Coker, Bruce; World War I Letter, November 23, 1918 (Letter #1)

Honey Grove Signal 

France, November 23, 1918.—Mrs. Bruce E. Coker—Dear Wife: I must try and write you tonight, for it has been so long since I wrote you must think  I have forgotten you. I received a letter from you this evening. Sure was glad to hear from you. This leaves me well, only a bad cold. Yes, the war is over, and I am glad, for I don’t think it will be long before. I will be with you, and I know you are glad, too. I have been through it lucky—only a slight wound. We were in the drive at the Argonne Forest. It sure was some battle, too. We have been on several fronts. We have whipped the Huns in every fight. We were at first in Vosges Mount, and were on the Verdun front when the war ended. I will tell you all of that when I come home. We have a good many hardships, but we all feel well repaid—we have helped to make the world fit for man to live in. I think I can come home and live a better man in the future, for I will know more how to enjoy freedom. I have never seen any of the boys from home, but I have heard of some of them being in the same battle we were in. Tell my buds I am glad the war ended before they had to come over. Of course I know they would like to have seen this country, but I want to see the good old U.S.A. as bad. I have been playing on a fiddle some of the boys captured in one of the drives against the Dutch. I sure enjoy the old tunes I used to play at home. I play for the boys every night. They always want me to play “Home Sweet Home.” I will close for tonight. Kiss father and mother for me and write me soon.

 Your soldier boy,

Bruce E. Coker.  

Coker, Bruce; World War I Letter, December 7, 1918 (Letter #2)

Honey Grove Signal 

            France, December 7, 1918. ---Dear Father and Family: Will take pleasure in writing you a few lines this afternoon, as you say you never hear from me. I have written to you several times; don’t know why you fail to get the letters. I have only heard from you once. This leaves me well; hope these few words will find you all well. I am having a pretty easy time now. I don’t know how long we will be over here. I understand some of us will have to stay over here for awhile, but we don’t know whether we will be the lucky ones to come home first or not. I am sure you was glad when you heard the good news that the war was won. I certainly was, for we do not have to move so much now. You know it rains most of the time over here, and I never will forget the rain-soaked roads of France. I do not like France as well as I do the U.S.A. Most of it is a very pretty country and the people are kind to us, but their old-time way of doing things does not suit an American boy. Will be glad when I can get back on the old farm. Have just received the Honey Grove Signal, and have received several lately, and I sure am proud of them, so I can know what everybody is doing at home. You asked me what I am doing. I never could tell you just what I was doing or where I was. I have been on several fronts; am close to St. Mihiel now. I have been an orderly most of the time. I am now wagoner again. I will tell you the rest when I come home; I don’t think it will be so very long until I am home, and it would take too long to write all I would like to tell you. Tell Pearl I received the candy and enjoyed it very much. We have plenty of everything we want except candy. The French do not have good candy like we have at home. I have just finished supper and had a good one, too. You would laugh to hear us trying to make the French understand us. I make motions with my hands, and that is my only way of speaking French. You have to tie your tongue in a knot  to speak their language. They all drink beer and wine. I drink a little of their beer but I don’t like their wine.

            Some one was telling me that Pearl thought I was crippled, but I am all right in every way. Well, daddy, I can’t think of much to write. I hope to see you soon. Write to me often.

            Goodbye,        Your soldier boy,

            Bruce Coker 

Cook, Fred; World War I Letter, September 14, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

From Kelly Field

San Antonio, Sept. 14, 1918 – Dear Homefolks:  I guess you have received the card I wrote you stating that I was leaving Camp Mabry.  I have landed safely in Kelly Field and like the surroundings fine.  This is an aviation camp, so you can see I have made quite a rise.  They issued us aviation buttons and signets yesterday and believe me I sure am proud of them for they signify the highest branch of the mechanical military service.  There were just about fifty out of my company at Camp Mabry that came here, and all are well pleased.  I don’t know how long we will be here, but probably stay two or three weeks at least.  If I am here the first of next month, I am going to try for a furlough.  I haven’t been feeling very well since last Tuesday, but am feeling better now.  I can’t imagine why I didn’t hear from you all before I left Camp Mabry.  Our eating here is quite different to what it was at Camp Mabry.  Here each man takes his mess kit, consisting of a double plate, knife, fork, spoon and cup, passes by the kitchen, where he gets his food, then on to the mess hall.  After you get through you pass out so some kettle of hot water and wash your dishes.  We are located in floored tents at present, and this morning we had to move everything outside, sweep out good, scour out the tents, then police around the tents and pick up every match, cigarette stub, in fact everything down to a straw, so you see the army is no dirty place.  We have inspection at 8:30 and after that we have the rest of the day to shave, wash our clothes and clean up in general.  We are about eight miles from San Antonio, and can go to town every night, provided the captain signs your pass, and he seldom refuses unless you have some demerits against you.  But going to town at night and getting up at 5:30 don’t go very well together.

I sure wish you all could visit this camp and see the immensity of the aviation training.  Airplanes are so numerous in the air at all times of the day that it would be impossible to count them.  Unless a person can visit an army camp it is impossible to imagine what is to be seen at these places.  I wouldn’t take anything for what I have seen and learned since I left home.  The nine weeks I have been in the army has been of more value to me both physically and educationally than any other nine weeks of my life.  It is also impossible for the people at home to realize the indispensible good of the YMCA for the boys of the army.  I have received my diploma from the S.M.A. and will send it home soon.  Guess I had better close for this time.

   Answer soon.                                   

As ever,

                                                Fred Cook

Co. I, Casual Detachment, Concentration Brigade, Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas  

Cooper, Gustav; World War I Letter, October 11, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

Gustav Cooper 

Somewhere in France, October 11, 1918 – Dear Father:  Received your letter this evening; was glad to hear from you.  I was visiting a certain place today and met up with several of the boys, but Ray had just left.  He talked with Pat Brantly and told Pat to tell me he was all right.

            And Windom is going to buy eighty thousand dollars worth of bonds?  Well, that speaks well for as small a place as that.

            And they have 1500 stars at Bonham representing the boys in the service, have they?

            I am glad to hear that cotton is bring such a good price.

            Oh, yes, we boys all know the folks back at home are proud of us, for they furnish us with Y.M.C.As – a place to rest and write letters, and musical instruments, games and magazines to read.

            Things look brighter every day.

            I will close for this time.

                                                             Your son,

                                                            Gustav Cooper   

Cravens, Walter O.; World War I Letter, January 13, 1919

Honey Grove Signal 

Toul, France, Base Hospital, January 13, 1919. ---Mrs. Lem Ramsey--- My dear Grandmother: I received that splendid letter you wrote me on my birthday, and Grannie, you have no idea how much I appreciated your good letter, written all by yourself and especially for me. It certainly is wonderful how you can compose a letter; you can say so many good things and make a fellow feel like he is talking to you face to face. Yes I know I have made many mistakes in my life and am still making them, but am trying to profit by each mistake and not make that one again.

            You surely made me hungry when you were speaking of those good things you would prepare me when I come home. We get plenty to eat and it is real good, but of course it is not like good old home "eats."

            I received today that extremely nice Christmas package you folks sent me. It more than was nice, and I am so proud of it. I even wanted to save the wrappings and I am keeping the little ribbon and tags. I was very much surprised to get it, for I did not expect one. Everything in this said box is just as nice as can be, even to the fine-tooth comb. No, don't really need it to scare the "cooties" away, as they don't get quite as high up as the head, so am afraid a fine comb would not prove a very successful exterminator, but am going to try it on my head right away. Susie surely did think of the very things I needed. Those toilet articles and flash light are things I needed the worst kind and was a little too stingy to buy them. Tell Sis that "Lady Baltimore" cake was just as good as it could be. It had been so long since I had eaten any real cake I had almost forgotten how it tasted. It was not the least bit stale, in fact, I believe it was the best cake I ever ate, and I let several others have a taste of it and they made the same statement. Am going to give the Nabiscos to some of the patients.

            I am sure you already know I was operated on the 12th of last month. I think I am doing fine to be out and work so early, don't you? I am orderly in the office of chief surgeon. It is light work and I enjoy it very much after a month of idleness. I never felt better in my life. Of course my side is a little tender yet, and I could not stand to do hard work. The doctor said a little work would do me good. I know I am better satisfied since I can get out and run around part of the time.

            I would like to be back with the 90th division, but it is impossible for me to get with them any more, as you know they are up in Germany.

            Did I write you that I got to meet up with Dr. Cravens? Sure was glad to see him. He is in splendid health and weighs more than he ever did in his life. I've heard he is now on his way home. At any rate he has left the place (Toul).

            Hope you folks are feeling dandy and having splendid weather. Would you believe it, the sun has actually peeped out two or three times in the last week- for a few minutes each time. I sure hope the Spanish flu has been blotted out over there by this time. Am glad to say there is very little of it over here, in fact, almost none, only among men fresh from the states, and of course there are very few of them now.

            Grannie, you don't know how much good it does me to hear you are keeping up so well and still able to help with some of the work-- churning, for instance. Yes, sir, I get mighty hungry for some of your good butter at times, and some of these days I'm going to have some of it, but nobody knows when that time is coming.

            Now, listen here: You mustn't feel like you haven't done your part in the great cause of helping win the war, for sure you have. If every one had done as much accordingly things would be lots more different in many ways.

            Most all the doctors, nurses and men of this hospital are from Virginia, and believe me I have tried to make a good impression on them because they have been so nice to me and that they are from the same state you and grandfather were from.

            You should have seen the good things we had to eat for Christmas. Santa was real nice to us fellows in the hospital, too. When I woke up Christmas morning I found a pair of real good sox full of good things from the Red Cross. Among them were some cigarettes and holders. Of course I gave them away, for I had no use for them. The Y. M. C. A. gave each of us two nice big bars of chocolate.  Then that night we were given a real turkey for supper. Besides turkey we had lots of other good things. We all ate so much that before nine o'clock most everyone in my ward was sick. One of the fellows that sleep next to me had gotten a hot water bottle and was applying it to his stomach. When the nurse came in and asked him what was the trouble he told her he had the "turkey-gitis," and by no means was he the only one that had that trouble. But thank goodness none of us felt the worse from it next day.

            Hope you folks had lots of good times during the holidays. I thought of you many times and wished that I could be with you. Wish I could have sent each of you a nice little present, but it was impossible over here under the conditions. Never mind I will make up for it when I get back.

Give everyone my best love.

Your boy,

Walter O. Cravens  

Deupree, Felix; World War I Letter, December 22, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

Sunday, December 22. 
Have marched from Stenay through France, Belgium, Luxembourg into Germany. Crossed Mosel river at Remich. I am now at Weiten. Spent last Sunday at Longwy, arriving there Saturday night. 
December 26. Spending Christmas at Dhron, near Bernscastle. Had a very nice dinner--three courses. The last was cake, candy, cigars and cigarettes.

Your friend, 
Felix Deupree           

Dixon, James H.; World War I Letter, October 19, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

France, October 19, 1918 – Dear T. E.:  I have a few minutes to spare this evening, so I thought I would write you a few lines.  The war is sure going on over here.  I am just back out of the line for a rest.  We stayed in ten days or at least some where about that.  That doesn’t seem like such a long time, but things are so different.  We went in one night and started our advance the next evening.  As we came out of the little grove of woods Fritz spotted us and turned his artillery loose on us.  I laid in one shell hole for the next four hours, and thought my time was next.  I didn’t know I could get in such a little hole and stay so long.  But a fellow can do many things, especially with the Dutch artillery using him for a target.  We finally won our point and dug in for the night.  You know when we were at Camp Bowie it was quite a task to get the boys to dig trenches.  But over here all you have to do is stop him long enough and he goes to digging in.  A fellow will loan you his gun or anything else but his shovel, and the best way to start trouble is to get someone else’s shovel.  You see, T.E., almost all shrapnel that hit the ground and burst will go up, so the nearer the ground a fellow can stay is the best place for him.  Our boys are making an awful good showing.  A general has recommended the division for the way they went into action.  We were in a big drive that is now going on.  Fritz is sure making for the Rhine, but is covering his retreat with artillery and machine guns, with a few snipers along the way.  Almost every clump of bushes has from one to two machine guns in it.  We ran into a nest of these guns one morning at ten o’clock and fought until night.  Fritz is sure pat with his machine guns and put a good many of our fellows away with them.  Those bullets sure do sing a fascinating song as they go round or over a fellow at the rate of ___ a minute.  During our stay we found only one man chained to his gun.  The rest all beat it after a short scrap.   I haven’t seen any of the Honey Grove boys, but am pretty sure Spot and Port have been on the line for many weeks.  Be sure and give the bunch my regards.  I have been over the top four times and came out all right, so I think I’m an awful lucky lad.

            Well, T.E., I guess I better close for this time.  Be good, and I’ll try to get back in time for a winter suit.  Are Karl and Ralph still at home?  How is Bert Luttrell these days?

            I don’t know how long we will get to stay back here, but I have a feeling it won’t be very long.  Be good, T.E.  Wishing you and yours the best of luck, I am, your friend,

                         Corporal James H. Dixon

                        Company B, 144 Infantry, American Expeditionary Forces, France, A.P.O. 796   

Eoff, William H.; World War I Letter, December 29, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

Senzig, Germany, December 29, 1918. –Dear Mamma: Will write you a few lines to let you know that I am well; hope you are the same. I am at present in Germany, having a very good time, and the people treat us very nice, but would much rather be at home with you. Don’t know how long it will be before I will be at home; hope not very long. I don’t think we will be in this place any longer than the 10th of January, but don’t know where we will go. You spoke of Hollace being wounded and in the hospital; when you write to him again tell him to write me.

Well, mamma, I guess you and all the family had a good time Christmas. Hope so anyway. My Christmas was very little, but when I get home I will have a good time, for I think I am behind with Christmas, New Years and all the holidays, but would love to have been there with you all for Christmas, for I know you had a good time and plenty to eat and lots of it.

News is scarce, so will close. I hope to hear from you soon. Will send you one of my pictures if they are any good when I get them. Goodbye. With love,

William H. Eoff. 

Eubank, James C.; WWI Letter, September 1, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

     Somewhere in France, Sunday, September 1, 1918. 
Dear little cousin: It has been some time since I heard from you. I am well and doing just fine. I am better than I have been for some time. 
     I have sure traveled some since I left the states. I have been in some large cities over here, but they are so different from those of our country. It is a curiosity to see the way they wagon over here. They use carts and work but one horse. When you see two horses to a cart they are strung out one in front of the other, and mostly women do the hauling and other work.
It is just about time for retreat and I have to shave so I will close. Write real soon. Your loving cousin, 
James C. Eubank. 
Battery B, 343 F.A., American Expeditionary Forces P.O. 778     

Eubanks, James C.; World War I Letter, October 22, 1918 (Letter #2)

Honey Grove Signal 

October 22, 1918 – Mr. and Mrs. Saylor – Dear Friends:  As I am not busy this afternoon I will try to write to all of my friends.  I am just fine and hope you all are the same.

            I guess you are busy gathering your crops.  I hope you made good crops, for the prices are some good.  I get the Signal, so you can see I keep up with the market prices.  There are not any crops in this section of France to speak of – a few patches of spuds and a few sugar beets constitute the crops.  I see lots of strange things over here, especially in the way they farm, haul, and in their buildings.  They use nothing but two-wheel wagons over here.  They work but one horse in the shafts.  Of course on some occasions, such as hauling feed, they put the cow in the shafts and the horse in front.  The cow pulls by the harness and the horse with a wooden collar covered with a sheep skin.  The roads are all rock.  The women and girls all wear wooden shoes, and you can hear them coming down the road making a noise like a shod horse.  The people live in stone buildings, and the horses are in the same buildings in which the people live; I mean the barn joins the house.  Everything in the way of eats over here is very high.  A grown hen costs from 17 to 20 francs.  It takes five francs to equal one dollar of American money, so you can see about what the prices are.  A Belgian hare, otherwise a common old rabbit, costs from eight to ten francs.  Eggs are worth one franc each.  Can you think of an egg costing 20 cents?  I have thrown a many a one at a fence post, and here I can’t get one to eat.  As far as eats are concerned, we have plenty – we are fed just fine.  We have bacon, beans, rice and coffee, also bread.  Of course we do not know what biscuits are over here.  If we were to see one we would think it was a German bomb and would run from it.  But our bread is white and nice as can be.  We get it at six o-clock, twelve and six in the evening, so you see one kind of bread is all they have in the army.  Sweets are hard to get over here in this section of France, but we manage to get our part all right.

            I saw in the Signal where you Allen Point people had a real good meeting.  I sure would like to have been there to have attended.  Here if I were to hear a church bell ring I would grab my musket, thinking it was a gas bomb.

            Mr. Saylor, you remember the day I came by your work when I left for training camp and you said if I had to go “over there” for me to get a Dutchman for you.  I will do my best to bring a corner of one to you, if I get back to that old country again, and I feel sure of seeing you all again.

            I will close, hoping to hear from you soon.  Your friend in France,

James C. Eubanks   

Eubank, James C.; World War I Letter, (Letter #3)

Honey Grove Signal 

Somewhere in France – W. O. Eubank – Dear Brother and Family: As it has been some time since I have heard from you all I will try to write you a few lines this evening.  I am fine and dandy.  I am sure I would have heard from you, but I am not in one place long enough to get any mail.  I landed in this place in the night last evening; it is a city that had been in the hands of the Germans for four years, but believe me there is nothing here now of them but just some dead ones that haven’t been picked up yet.  This city was shelled up to the minute of the signing of the armistice.  Our boys were advancing on the Boches so fast with the infantry and machine guns that we could hardly keep up with them.  You can’t imagine what a battle field means, and I sure hope you never will have to see one, but as long as I have come this far and  have not been hurt – and as it had to happen – I sure am glad that I could make the trip to this European country.  It is hard to look over the trenches and see where our own American boys are buried and nothing to mark their grave but a board with their name on it.  I am sorry to say it, but I saw where they had laid several of the boys in the bloody trenches.  It is hard to stand and look at the graves of close friends and think of the being left over here.  I just went out to show some officers their quarters.  They were moving into a Y.M.C.A., and I saw a real American lady.  She sure looked fine.  She is the first American lady I have seen in over four months.  I assisted in carrying her baggage into the Y.  She and I had a very nice little chat.  She noticed my medal of marksmanship and praised it very highly.

            I could write a book of just what I have seen in the past few days but I must close, and don’t forget I am very busy – don’t look for letters from me very often, for I am on a long hike.  I don’t know just where we are going, but it is all right with me.  I will have to learn a different language now – you can guess where it is.  Write to me soon, maybe it will catch up with me some time.

                                                            Your loving brother,

                                                            James C. Eubank

Eubank, James C.; World War I Letter, January 4, 1919 (Letter #4)

Honey Grove Signal 

Cammens, Germany, January 4, 1919.—Mrs. Katie Eubank.—Dear Sister and Family: This leaves me fine and dandy and I hope you all are the same. Guess you had a nice time during the holidays, but you can tell the world that your brother did not have a great time. We were on a long hike during the holidays; lay over for Christmas, but I had as soon marched on as to have lost the day. But we got some mail, and a few of the boys got their packages, and the Y.M.C.A. gave us a package of cigarettes and a box of candy, so that was my Christmas package from the Y. For our dinner we had army beans and corn, and hard tack for bread, so you can see I had a big time. I had some money then, but wasn’t allowed to spend it for eats, and I am now in a burg where we can’t get thing, but we haven’t had any pay in so long it would not do any good if there were ever so much to buy. I have signed the pay roll twice and haven’t seen any pay in over two months. I heard one of the band boys say we wouldn’t get any pay in Germany. There are all kinds of rumors about when we will get too come back. Of course you can’t afford to listen to any of them or it would run a fellow crazy. I sure hope I won’t have to spend another Christmas over here, but that is about as good a guess as I can make. If I live and nothing happens I will probably be home before next Christmas. I believe the 90th division will be among the first of the third army that comes back, for it is the one that did they most of the work. You can see in all the papers where this division did some good fighting. This is the darndest place I ever saw. The poor classes of people are sure in a bad shape for something to eat and wear, but the country as a whole is lots better off than you can imagine after such a hard tug as they had. They are still are treated fine by them. It is the poor class fighting for something to eat. It suits me fine just as they fight among themselves and I can get too knock one of them every one in a while.

            When you see Mr. Saylor tell him that I got his souvenirs and carried them along time, but finally lost them, or got them misplaced in some way. I intend to bring all of you a present from this country if there is any possible chance, and I think by spring we will be in some larger towns than we are in now. If we are and I get any pay I want to get you something you can keep that will be useful, too. There goes the bugle, so will finish after supper.

            Well retreat is over and feeding is done until 7:45 in the morning, so I haven’t anything to do but eat supper and write you, and as the censorship will allow me to, I will tell you of a few places we have been.

            On the second day of July, one of the warmest of the twelve months of the year, we were in Noviscotia, Halifax. We had just started on our journey overseas, and were harbored there for about 48 hours on account of being in a dangerous zone of submarines, and, by the way there where I saw my first snow in July. It snowed a few flakes while a shower of rain was passing over. After staying there two days we left, traveling north and eat for a long time. One real foggy, dark afternoon we had a German submarine to bob up and shoot at us, but his work did injury only to himself; almost as soon as it was level of the sea it was cut into two by one of our big 7-inch gins. We have a quiet sea almost all the way over. We landed in England, stayed there just a short time, and then crossed the English Channel, and believe me, it was a rough old night. There was a load of horse on the upper deck and we were on the next deck, under them, and there were soldiers all over than ship, hanging all around it. Since we landed I have been all over France and all along the edge of its surroundings country, but I haven’t seen anything that looks as good to me as the dear old States. It looks now like it will be sometimes before we get to put our feet on U.S. soil again. We thought this would be out winter quarters, but we just drew five days traveling rations, and that mean go somewhere else. Those cars I sent the children are of a burg where I was when the Dutch stopped shooting at us, but we were in a pretty quiet place, for we didn’t have horses to advance as fast as they were retreating. What horses we could get would die from being gassed. That gas they used was something to dread. It would put out your eyes, cut off your breather and run you crazy at the same time.

            I will write you every chance. Tell everybody hello for me. Lots of love to everybody hello for me. Lots of love too all.

Your loving brother,

James C. Eubank

Eubank, James C.; World War I Letter, February 9, 1919 (Letter #5)

Honey Grove Signal

                                        Private Eubanks Writes From Germany

In Dutchland, Sunday, February 9, 1919 – Mrs. Katie Eubank – Dear Sister and All:

It is with pleasure that I write you all a few lines this evening.  This leaves me just fine and dandy.  I haven’t anything new to write this time.  It is just the same old story.  I am still here, nothing sure about when I will ever get home, but I am in hopes it won’t be very long, for I am sure getting sick and tired of this kind of life, especially in Germany and as I am so badly needed at home.  Sister, I sure have had the blues for the past few weeks, especially since father died, and just a few days ago I got your letter saying mother had the flu.  I never heard of anything being so bad as it is over there.  I get the Signal and it is just full of sickness and deaths.  I worry all the time for fear some of you will take it.  It seems so fatal over there.  That –the flu—or at least I haven’t heard of anyone in our regiment having it.  We are not having much sickness of any kind among the soldiers around here.  This sure has been a healthy bunch of fellows all the time.  We had a few pretty sick men when we were down close to the Spanish border at Camp Nocarno, France, but I think it was caused from the dust and hot weather that we had down there and we were getting some hard drill shot at us about that time, getting us ready for the front.  We are now in the snow and ice in this country and have to travel up the slick hills.  I have a bunch of post card views of several villages along the Moselle river.  We are just up a long hill from out of Berncastle.  It is right on the river; part of it on one side and part on the other.  I have several cards of that place, and some of them are sure pretty scenes. 

            None of you have ever told me where Mr. Darby went after poor, Mrs. Darby died.  I am sure that country has changed a lot in the last twelve months, for there have been so many deaths and all the boys have been in the army, only the few who have gotten their discharges, and that is a very few.  Say, didn’t our country have hard luck with its boys that had to cross—two-thirds of the boys that went in training from there when I did either got bumped off or wounded and lots of others that went down to Travis later.  I remember some of the expressions that Ernest Winningham made the day we left.  I think of them often, and now he is lying over here in No Man’s Land with nothing but a dog tag left for identification.  That… is tough.  I remember the … we left Bonham how his dear old mother cried for him, and I am sure when he was lying up there on that front when the Dutch were dropping  those Gi Cans around him he thought of that day.  I promised his mother that if he did not write to her often that I would let her know how he was getting along, but we were separated and after we crossed I never heard from him any more.

            Well, this letter is growing so long I better bring it to a close.  I want you to write to me often and tell me all the news.  If I hear anything of our getting out of here any ways soon I will write you at once, but don’t worry.  I think in the spring there will probably be a change made.

            Your loving brother.  James G. Eubank     

Evans, Ralph; World War I Letter, October 29, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

Somewhere in England, October 29, 1918

Dear Burnett: 

I will write you a few lines this Tuesday afternoon.  We came into port yesterday morning. I am writing this in the “Y” here at the naval base. 

            We chased a German sub nearly all night one night recently, and it was dark as pitch.  We don’t know whether we got it or not.  Anyhow, there have been no ships sunk around here lately.  At another time we were out one pretty moonlight night and saw a submarine without doubt half a mile away, and we put out for her at full speed.  There were some more boats with us, and I looked around to see if any of them were near us, but we were a good way in the lead.  I was wishing that some of them were with us.  We (our boat) has credit from the American government for sinking a submarine a few days ago.

            I don’t know much news to write. This is rather a “newsless” place.  I received 10 letters yesterday and a safety razor, which was the first mail I had gotten in 16 days. 

            I bought a hundred dollar bond on the last issue.  I don’t know if any Americans who didn’t buy one or two. 

            I am glad you are having some pretty weather.  It has been raining here for nearly four months, almost every day and night. 

            I get plenty of liberty when we are in port.  They have stopped our out-of-town trips to London, etc., because of the influenza.  There is quite a lot of it, but I am not worrying about it.  I have never been sick yet.  I hope that none of you have it.  I will close for this time. 


                                                Ralph Evans   

Evans, Ralph; World War I Letter, December 29, 1919 (Letter #2)
Honey Grove Signal

Plymoth, England, December 29, 1918

Dear Mother and Father: This is Sunday after Christmas and also after dinner. I haven't written since last Sunday, a whole week. That is the longest I have ever waited to write to you since I have been away from home. I have been to London this week. I went up there Tuesday and came back last night. The railroad fare didn't cost anything nor did anything else. I will explain. The people all over England sent us sailors and soldiers invitations to spend Christmas at various homes. I received one from a family in London. They are very wealthy people. Believe me they certainly showed me a good time. Their son is a captain in the army and he met me at Eagle Hut Y.M.C.A. Tuesday morning and took me out to their home inn his car. They have about three cars. I hardly knew how to act at first. You the English are a very aristocratic people, some of them, Well, this family wasn't a bit "stuck up" and the old man and old lady did everything in their power to show me and their son a good time. They had one girl and two more girls, their nieces, were visiting there. We played every kind of game we could think of Tuesday. The English eat four meals a day- breakfast, dinner, tea and supper. They wouldn't more than get to tables cleared off for one meal than it would be time to start another one. When I got up Wednesday a maid brought me in a pitcher of hot water. This was to shave with, but I didn't known at the time what it was for. A few minutes later she came in and announced that my bath was ready. We were entertained Wednesday as we had been the day before, and Wednesday night we went to Drury Lane Theatre, one of the oldest theaters in London. Thursday we went to town to see President Wilson. We waited in line about three hours and finally he came along riding in a coach with King George. In the next carriage was Queen Mary and Mrs. Wilson and Princess Mary. Thursday night we went to another theater. I almost forgot I was in the navy this week. I didn't know that the English could treat a fellow so nice, but this family sure treated me nice. All over London you can hear people singing "The Yanks are Coming." I saw President Wilson and Mrs. Wilson again yesterday.

I received a letter from you this morning written in Fort Worth December 10th. I am not getting much mail here lately. I suppose it is because you think I will be home before many days, but I don't know exactly how long it will be. I am hoping to go in the early part of January, but I may be here three months yet.

I will close for this time. 

Lots of love.

Ralph Evans.    

Favors, Hugh; World War I Letter, October 4, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

October 4, 1918, American Expeditionary Forces

Dear Sister and Family:

   I will answer your letter which I received a few days ago; was glad to hear from you again.  It is strange that you haven’t heard from me.  I have written you several letters.  You asked me in your last letter if we were still in training.  We are no longer in training, though I am enjoying this life very well; am still cooking.  Tell Uncle Walter that I will do my best to give the Kaiser hell.  The Huns are catching hell now.  Have me a good Christmas dinner.  I think I will be there to eat it (I mean I will be in the front line trenches.)  There is a sure enough American girl working in the Y.M.C.A. here, and believe me she sure looks like home to me.  Tell the rest of the boys to hurry up and come over and see sunny France.  The sun shines about 15 minutes every day and it rains the rest of the time.  Tell Mr. and Mrs. Green I saw Hosea yesterday, and that he is well and is getting along fine.  He is talking of transferring to my company.  I have been trying to get him to. 

   Answer real soon and a long letter. 

                        Your bud,

                        Hugh Favors, Company B, 144th Infantry, American Expeditionary Forces. 

Gainous, Van A.; World War I Letter, October 30, 1918
Honey Grove Signal

Somewhere in France , October 30, 1918.- Mrs. W. M. Laycock, Windom, Texas.- My dear Friend: This leaves me well and hope it will find you the same. I guess you will be surprised to hear from me, but my thoughts are of all good people of Windom. I would like to write to them all. It is getting very cold over here now. We have been working very hard up to the last few days. We have been living in our little tents and dug-outs, but we are in some old wrecked building now, and it is much better than writing you ever since I heard that Virgil had gone. I guess you hear from him quite often. How is he getting along and where is he now? I haven’t met a soul that I knew since I have been over here. I guess Virgil is about ready to come over, if he has them much training these days. I don’t guess there are many boys around there now. We will all make up for lost time when we get back home. I will close for this time.

Your friend, 
Van A. Gainous

Co. D, 102 Ammunition Train A.E.F.  

Gauldin, Percy; World War I Letter, January 1, 1919

Honey Grove Signal 

Hendicourt, France (near St. Mihiel), January 1, 1919

Dear Brother:  We have just returned to our camp; have been down in Southern France after new trucks for the past two weeks, and believe me we certainly had some awful weather on our trip.  I was reading the clipping that Bernice sent me from the newspaper stating the opportunity a driver would have when he returned home, but, take it from me, when I get out of this army I certainly won’t want the job of driving a truck.  I have had all the experience I want.  I intend to find something much better to do than that.

            I am enclosing a clipping from a Pittsburgh newspaper which gives an official statement of the excellent work we have done.  You will notice the two towns which I have underlined (Varemmes and Mortblainville); they are the two places I will never forget.  I had a load of supplies for the infantry and was following them up when they took these places and you talk about hot places, they certainly were.  I have been at all the other places too, but these two were the worst.  I hauled supplies through the Argonne Forest for over a month, which I know you have read lots about.  We were in it from the start – for 77 days – then went to the Argonne sector, and at present we are on the St. Mihiel sector.  I could write a whole tablet, but I will have to wait until I come home, which I certainly hope will be in the near future, then I can tell you everything.

            You will notice in the clipping that our division is one of the “fighting reds.”  Be sure and let Mr. Lowry read the clipping.

            Well, I guess you and Bill are doing lots of hunting now.  I sure would like to be there to go with you, but may be it won’t be so very long now until I can be back and eat quail with you.

            Well, Herb, I guess I will close.  Give Dad Morgan and all my regards.  I hope to be home in the near future.  With love to all,

                                                                        Your brother,

                                                                        Percy Gauldin   

Gauldin, Percy; World War I Letter, September 24, 1918 (Letter #1)
Honey Grove Signal
From Percy Gauldin

Somewhere in France, September 24, 1918.- Dear Bernice: Received two letters from you yesterday, also a postal card from Miss Kate Norris. I certainly was glad to get them. You were telling me of lots more who were writing to me, but at present I haven't received any letters but yours and the card, but you know you can't judge the time I will get mail now. I am sure I will receive all the letters, but it sometimes takes a month and a half for your letters to get to me.

You were asking me in your letter if I had seen anyone I knew. I haven't yet seen any of the boys. I have tried to find where their division is but I haven't been able to find out anything about them. I am certainly anxious to see them.

We have now moved into the strongest sector in the whole front lies, and are at present making one of the greatest drives that has taken place since we have been over here. Where w are now, the Germans had not been moved for two years, and believe me, we are certainly having to hit them hard, but you know what it takes to do that. We happened to have it. I have been driving for two days and night. I arrived at camp this morning at 3 o’clock, and as I do not have to make a trip today thought I would write to you.

I have been at the lines all the time and believe me it certainly is an awful place to be; as I have written you before, you can imagine what it is.

I am sure you have read of the big drive we made which started July 14. I was in it from the start up to a few days ago. Now they had moved us to a new sector, where another big drive is just starting, and quite awhile. I think the reason we are put in these drives is because we have one of the best division the “Iron Division’” and believe me he certainly must think so, because he puts us in every big drive, but we don’t mind at all to be in it; we are willing to do anything to end this. Of course it is just like going through a burning hell to have to drive through that tremendous shell fire, which we have to do nearly every time I go to the lines, but I am expecting to make it through alright- just so one of the lists don’t come over with my name on it.

Well I guess I have written enough for this time; will write again soon.

Which much love to all,
Your brother,
Percy Gaulldin

103 Supply Train Company F, A. P. O. 744, A. E. F.      

Gorum, A. E.; World War I Letter, November 24, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

November 24, 1918 – Dear Father: As the day has started off very beautiful, but cold as blue blazes, and also today is father’s day, when each solider in France is supposed to write to his father, with practically no restrictions on his writing, I will try and write you a real letter.

            First, I want to tell you of France and its people in as few words as possible.  The country is very beautiful and picturesque, being mountainous, with most of the mountains in cultivation, plowed in long narrow strips and planted in different things, and as a rule the soil is very fertile and grows stuff very abundantly.  The roads are all beautiful, graded and a thick layer of white rock on them, having been there for many years.  On each side, at intervals of about 40 feet, a tree from one to four feet in diameter stands and in the spring and summer the road is shade and as we often say, looks like “lovers’ lane.”  The people do not live on their farms as we do in the states.  They all come together at some convenient place and build them a little village, so you see villages in France are very thick.  I would say that you can’t go four kilometers in any direction hardly without hitting a village.  Now, for a description of the villages and people.  The houses are all built of rock stuck together with lime or mortar and covered with tiling or flat rock, all buildings being built together along one common street.  Most of the buildings were built hundreds of years ago.  The one I am in now dates back to 1814 and even some of them back to 14 or 15 hundred.  But the funny part of their living is this – their one house also consists of the barn, stable, pig pens and all.  They walk out of their living room into the stable with the horses and cows, so when walking along the street every other door is a stable, and all of them have manure piles for fertilizing their fields, but instead of putting it in the rear of the house they pile it in front of the house between the front door and the street.  You can see the big red-cheeked girls with a wheelbarrow and spade hauling manure form the stables to the pile or else shoveling it on a wagon to haul it to the fields, something a girl in the states would not think of doing.  The most of them go nasty as hogs during the week, but when Sunday comes and you see them coming from their village church they look altogether different, because they sure know how to dress, but most of them wear black.  So much for that.  Now, I will tell you of my rounds and experiences since being here.  When I left Thesee, France, after first coming to this country I traveled by rail for two or three days, and landed in Millery, where I was transferred to my present company, that was doing duty near the front at a town called Dieulouard, on the Moselle river, about 22 miles south of Metz.  Up until this time I had never experienced anything pertaining to war, but this first night Jerry came over and began dropping bombs.  Some 10 or 12 search lights were looking for him, and fool-like, I got in the window and watched the performance, but thereafter I went to a dug-out.  This would happen each clear and moonlight night.  I was located in this town when the first drive for Metz was made, the artillery being stationed not over 100 yards from us before the advance was made, and long toward the last of the drive, while I was working nights, about 5:15 on Sunday morning, I heard my first shell from an enemy gun, when it passed over our building and  hit up in the village.  They continued coming every eight minutes for three-quarters of an hour, and then stopped, but next night they started at 11 o’clock and shelled for a couple of hours, shells falling all around us, but what were we to do?  We were getting wounded from the front.  We worked on.  Next night was the same, but one of the shells hit our kitchen, playing havoc with us.  We then moved back to Millery and stayed for a few days and from there to Passevant, near Verdun, where we rested for a few weeks; leaving there I saw my first effects of real war as we went through the towns where the walls of the houses were only three or four feet high, and then we stopped in Clarmont for a couple of days.  Leaving there at night about 10 o’clock, none of us knew where we were going and then the next morning I saw a sight I will never forget.  At daylight we passed through battery after battery of artillery, ruined villages, trenches and barb wire entanglements, and such a roar of artillery you never heard; still we went on, and I had come to the conclusion we were going to the front lines, but soon the major jumped down off his truck, looked around and says, “This is good,” so we all crawled down off the trucks and began unloading our equipment to set up the hospital, but I couldn’t see where we were going to place it, as there was not space enough between shell holes and trenches to put up a tent, and if there had been there was too much barb wire.  Right at the road where we stopped an American rifle was sticking, bayonet in ground, with a little American flag flying from its highest point and also a doughboy’s identification bag fastened to it, showing he had fallen in action.  Some equipment was scattered around on the ground.  We pitched our hospital and went to work (near Varvenues), but about 1 p.m. shells began to come over, for we were only 1½ miles from the front lines.  They continued coming as long as we stayed there – four days- but our boys were advancing through the Argonne woods all this time, so we advanced again to Appremont.  Our boys had captured a German hospital, so we moved to it, but this time we passed the dead on the field as they fallen, also all kinds of guns, ammunition and everything just as it had been left by our advancing Yanks.  It was some sight to behold.  The hospital was at the foot of a mountain just below the forest, or on the edge of the plains, so when we first arrived I saw the Germans set fire to a village and leave it.  I saw several barrages put over while I was there and we were under shell fire each day and night, besides being visited by planes on moonlight nights.  I also heard the barrage that was put over that ended the war, and believe me I had never heard anything like it and I had heard many.  We were relieved the day the Germans were to go over to talk about peace, and were on the hike the next day and have been on the move ever since; seem to be located for a spell now in a village about 50 kilometers north of Dijou.  We may be here for a month or two and then we may leave tomorrow.  I had hopes of being in the states by Christmas, but can’t tell yet.

            Well, as I think I have given you a general outline up to the present I will close for this time by wishing you all a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

                                                                                              Your son,
A. E. Gorum     

Green, Hosea; World War I Letter, February 25, 1919
Honey Grove Signal

Rugny, France, February 25, 1919. 
Dear Mother: Will now answer your letter, which came yesterday; was sure glad to hear from you again. Sorry you are having trouble with your head and had to have your teeth puller; hope you are better by now. I don't see a chance to get home before July, as they have the list up to the last of June and we are not in the list, but I think we are lucky to get home then, (or lucky to be living after going through what we have), but nevertheless we will come home sometime.
Well, I haven't any news that would interest you, so will stop for the president and write again soon.

With love, as ever, your son,
Hosea Green     

Green, J. H.; World War I Letter, September 16, 1918
Honey Grove Signal

Somewhere in France, September 16, 1918.- Dear Home Folks: I will try to answer your most welcome letter, which I have received, and oh, I am so glad to hear from you and home. This is the second letter I have received since I arrived in France.

I am truly tired and sleepy this evening, as I was out all of last night and believe me it sure put me to the bad. There isn’t much over here that i can write about. You doubtless know more of what is going on here than I do, but I believe we will be back in the United States in a short time- I truly hope so anyway. You ask if i can get tobacco. Yes, but cannot get Camels, so if you can get some of them please send them to me. Well, I have just eaten a good supper, and feel better now.

Hugh’s address is same as mine, only in Company B. I have seen him only once since I have been over. I am so tired I must stop for this time.

Yours Lovingly’
J.H. Green         

Green, John H.; World War I Letter, December 9, 1918
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Rugny, France, Dec. 9, 1918.

            Dear Sister and Family—Will now answer your letter after so many days.  How in the world are you all by now?  I am just fine and getting along alright and am so fat you would hardly know me.   I am now at an old French house and have just finished supper.  These people are sure nice to us.  I don’t know very much at present only that we are drilling again, but only five hours daily, but that is almost the entire day as it is dark at five o’clock and we think it is late to get to bed at seven or eight.  So you see we will not be sleepy when we return home.  Tell Buddie that he had better have plenty of good clothes when I come home, for I am going to have to dress up in his clothes when I get there until I get some of my own.  I don’t have any idea when we will get to come home but hope it will not be long.  I saw in the paper where President Wilson had sailed on the same boat we came over on – the George Washington.  Believe me that is some boat, a great deal larger than one would think.  I must stop for tonight. 

            Your loving bud,

                        John H. Green

Green, John H.; World War I Letter, December 3, 1918 (Letter #2)

Honey Grove Signal 

John H. Green

Rugny, France, December 3, 1918

Dear Mother and Family: Will now answer your letter, which came yesterday; to be sure I was glad to hear from you once more.  I am just fine and having a good time.  Guess you want to know why I haven’t written in so long; we have been moving so much – have been on the move for the last two weeks, and yesterday is the first mail we have gotten since we started moving.

            Well, there isn’t any news at present and I am in a real big hurry, so guess I’d better stop.  Write me real soon – a long letter.  With love,

                                    Your son,

                                                John H. Green   

Gross, William O.; World War I Letter, November 11, 1918
Honey Grove Signal 

William Gross Writes of Armistice Day

 [Mrs. Sallie Allen, who is visiting her brother, W. H. Gross, of Mineral Wells, has received the following letter.]

On Active Service With the American Expeditionary Forces, Somewhere in France, November 11, 1918.- Dear Aunt Sallie: Things have been going too fast for me to have as much time to write home as I would have liked. But today the armistice went into effect, and there has been no firing since 11 o’clock this morning, and now I hope to have more opportunity to write letters.

It is a great satisfaction to know that the war is practically over, and that we will all one day be “homeward bound.” The French soldiers in this vicinity are elated and are especially friendly with the Americans. They all seem to want to fall on your neck and yell “La guere fini.”

I am in an observation Squadron, and for some time we have been in an airdrome said to be the closest to the lines.  It is close enough that we could feel the concussion of the guns, as well as hear their roar and see their flames. The 4th of July and the “Last Days of Pompei” are not in it, especially just at the dusk and daybreak, the “hours of hate.” This time last night our guns were sending “peace terms” to the cross roads and areas behind the German lines, and woe be to any ammunition or supply train or troops that happened to be there when they arrived. I have seen lots of Boche planes being dealt misery by our archies, and have heard the keen whistle of their wings as their night bombing planes prowled around in the dark. Our observation balloons look very imposing bobbing along the lines all day.

Some weeks ago I had a very pleasant trip, which took me to some of the largest cities in France, including Paris. I saw many interesting things and places, and had my impressions of this country radically reformed. The large places are very much alive and uptodate, but the small towns are all of another age. I don’t think I have seen a wooden building since I have been over

except temporary ones for war purposes. The French people are strong for forestry and they have some wonderfully arranged and cultivated trees, which they prize highly. Their roads are fine, and I have had the pleasure of riding over them quite a lot in the side car of a motorcycle, as well as looking down at them from a height at which they look like No. 8 thread.

I came over as Sergeant Major of the 354th Aero Squadron, but have now gotten a commission and am an aerial gunner. Our work consists in going out as protection to observation and bombing planes and fighting off enemy planes while the observer or bomber does his work. There is no protection to be had from archies and “flaming onions” except luck and altitude. Today we had a parade up and down the lines without any fear of being bumped off by archies.

I have not heard much music since the band concerts we enjoyed on the transport coming over, until one day not long ago I happened to be where I could attend a concert given by a certain Division band Music seems to affect one’s emotions much more under the present circumstances that ordinarily, and “Just Before the Battle, Mother,” “A Baby’s Prayer at Twilight” and “Homeward Bound” touched me very much. Happily, they nearly always end such concerts with inspiring selections like “The Stars and Stripes” and the national anthem.

I don’t want to come home until the war is over, but when I do get back I will know better how to appreciate the peace and quiet and luxury of a home.

I am enjoying good health, although the climate is cold and damp. At one time, soon after we came over, we had 76 men from our squadron in the hospital with influenza. There is not much of it now. I have escaped so far.

You of course know I can’t tell many details of the most interesting things. I wish I could describe to you the workings of an airdome close to the front where men go out day by day on dangerous and delicate missions, some of them never to return. I have stood and watched for the return of some that never came in, and realize how much more it means than it may appear to in the papers.

The sox you knitted for me have come in for good use. We are all well equipped with heavy clothing, and are fixed to go through the winter comfortably. I imagine it will be summer before we get home.

I hope you are well and happy. With lots of love and good wishes,

            Your nephew, 

Bill (William O. Gross).  

Hartman, Ray G.; World War I Letter, November 28, 1918 (Letter #1)
Honey Grove Signal 

France, November 28, 1918 – Dear Mother:  I received your letter November 25 at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.  I was the happiest boy on earth because it was the first time I had heard from home in four months.  I was so busy when I got the letter I did not get to read it until the next morning.  I tried to read it in the dark, and the next morning I got up and read it all day long. Just think! this is Thanksgiving day in France, but, dog-gone the luck, it certainly is hell, because I have no place to go.  These old frogs don’t seem to know what Thanksgiving day is.  I think I will take a walk this afternoon to see my little sweet France girl.  She lives only 10 kilometers.  I think she will have turkey for dinner.  I certainly do have a hard time trying to understand her.  This is the way we talk to each other.  I say do you compree Americaine; she says no, do you pollyvou Francias.  I say no compree Francias, so we have to make signs.  I find out I can talk with my hands , fingers, nose, ears, eyes, head, feet and toes, with most everything but my mouth.  When the bugler blows the mess call all the boys run like chickens.  That’s the best call of all.  The worst call is to get up in the morning. 

            I will close, the old frogs are making so much noise I can’t write, so good-bye.  Love to all. 

Ray G. Hartman 

Hartman, Ray G.; World War I Letter, January 11, 1919 (Letter #2)

Honey Grove Signal  

Somewhere in France, January 11, 1919.- Miss Myrtle Hartman: I received your letter on January 11 at a.m., and was so glad to hear from you. I am sorry to hear father is sick. I hope he has recovered. I want to come home, but I will have to wait until my time comes, I guess; it seems that way, anyway. I will happiest boy o earth when my foot steps on that good old U.S.A. soil again. You say it has been three months since you heard from me- I have to work hard all the time, and don't feel much like writing at night; after I am through with my day’s work I’m pretty tired. Myrtle, I hope you are learning fast in school now. I remember the time when I went to school at Nubben Ridge, and I had a good old time, too, while I was going, but I don’t have the time I used to have now.
 You ought to see me read the Honey Grove Signal when it reaches me. It makes me feel like I am at home when I read the news in it. Nothing could please me any better than my own home paper. I can sit down and read it over and over and look back and think what a good time I used to have. This is Saturday, but it does not seem like a Saturday to me. Every day seems the same to me. It rains most every day in France, and its cold.
 I am fine and dandy; weigh 140 pounds.
 I will close for this time. Goodbye’

Ray G. Hartman.    

Hartman, Ray; World War I Letter, January 28, 1919 (Letter #3)

Honey Grove Signal 

Ray Hartman

Sales Commissary Unit No. 30, Somewhere in France, January 28, 1919 – Dear Mother: I thought I would drop you a few lines to let you know that I am fine and dandy; also hope you are the same and all the rest of the folks.  It is very cold this morning; snowed yesterday and trying to snow again today.  It quit raining and went to snowing.  Reminds me of last winter at home.  I would like to be at home instead of here; certainly would enjoy it better if I were.  I don’t think it will be very long before I get to come home; I hope not, for I want to do what I started to do, and intend to if I ever get back where I started from.  I certainly did have a good old time while I was at home.  I went rain or shine.  It is a shame the way I drove the old car, but I had to have my fun – that is my middle name.  I dreamed last night that I was on my way home.  I was on the boat going home.  When I awoke the cook had me by the hair of the head and told me to sake a log.  I was so mad I didn’t know what to do.  The cook and I sleep right together.  He and I certainly do have a nice old time.  I have to get up pretty early every other morning.  You don’t know how a man feels over here.

            Well, mother, I have to get to work so will close.  Tell everybody hello for me.  Good luck to all.  Goodbye.

                                                                                    Ray G. Hartman  

Hartman, Ray; World War I Letter – March 11, 1919 (Letter #4)

Honey Grove Signal 

France, March 11.--Dear Father:
Will write you a few lines to let you know I am still in France and all right. I am still in good health. I don’t think I will stay in France always--if nothing happens I think I will be in the good old U. S. A. once more, and then I will start life over again. I was in the 82nd division, now I am back in the S. O. S. There will be no more pleasure trips for me now. I was happy thinking I would get to go home with the 82nd division, but the day before they moved there was an order came for us to go to Lemans, so the bunch is S. O. S. I am feeling fine just the same and hope all of you are. Lemans is a very big city.  Answer soon.

Your son,
Ray A. Hartman 

Hodges, Herman; World War I Letter, February 28, 1919

Honey Grove Signal 

Camp Merritt, N.J., February 28, 1919. – Dear Father and Mother:  Received your letters o.k., and the one you sent the major, but I had already gotten your letters then. 

I am feeling much better now and am getting a little stronger every day, as I have a pretty good appetite and am eating three hots a day.  Yes, I was pretty sick for three or four days, as it was an unusually hard operation of this kind.  It had been bothering me so long, I am very glad to have it over with, although it was pretty tough.  Lucky for me to get sick when I did, as I was to start for Fort Worth the day I was operated on, but it can’t be helped now.  I couldn’t ask for a nicer place to stay and got the best of treatment.  These people do everything they can to make one feel at home, so you need not worry about me, as I will be well taken care of here.

I was not aware of them sending you the telegrams.  What did they say?  I hope the weather is better there by now, and I know you must be nearly worn out riding horseback so much.

Give all the folks my regards.  Hoping that it won’t be long until I am home.  I am,         

Yours with love,
                                                                                                           Herman Hodges   

Hudson, James D.; World War I Letter (nd)

Honey Grove Signal 

James D. Hudson

 Camp Dix, N.J.

Dear Mother and Family:  We are still in Camp Dix, and will be here for some time.  The boys are dying like rats in the camp.  We have over 80 in our company sick now – three died today, and the hospital is overrun, but I’m still feeling good.  There have been between 200 and 225 deaths this week.  That’s taking them faster than any flat heads could.  We would have been in France if the boys hadn’t got sick, and believe me, here’s hoping I stay well, for it might near means death if you take it, and I haven’t killed me one German yet, so I am not ready.  We are quarantined for 21 days, and I like that, don’t you think I do.  If bad luck don’t overtake me I’ll see all of you some day.

            October 10th – Will try to write a little while the boys are packing up.  We are going to make another start, and I think we will make off this time if something don’t happen mighty quick.  The orders came in to have everything ready by seven o’clock in the morning, and we are very busy tonight packing up.  Don’t guess we will get to sleep much.  Don’t worry about me, for I’ll make it if anybody does.  You take care of yourself, for I want a mother when I get back.

            Love to all.  Write often.  Goodnight.

                                                                                                You son,

                                                                                               James D. Hudson     

Huggins, Waldo J.; World War I Letter, November 23, 1918

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Prevtine, France, November 23, 1918 – Dear Sister and Homefolks: I received your letter written October 21st today, and I sure was glad to hear from home. I am now in a village that was held by the Germans for over four years.  We are on our way to the river Rhine to do watch over the Boche.  We left Vavincourt yesterday morning, and were on the road most of the day.  We came through Verdun, the town the Germans couldn’t take and believe me it sure was shot up.  We crossed the battlefields north of Verdun, and it was a great sight to look at.  I wouldn’t have missed the trip for anything I know of right now.  We are billeted in a barrack now; it is built in small rooms.  We have stoves in them, and we are living fine.

            Well, I will tell you something of my travels since I left Gordon City.  We left camp June 30th at 11:30; went to Manhatten Island.  Was put on a ferry boat and went to Hoboken, New Jersey.  Went on ship at 1:30 o’clock; left the dock the next day, July 1st, at 11:30, sailed out by the Statue of Liberty and bid her goodbye.  We were on the Von Stomben, a big German boat, the U.S. got hold of.  We left New York in a convoy of nine ships and two days out were met with six ships from Newport News.  We traveled together for a day until the Henderson, a big ship, caught fire.  It was loaded with sailors and marines.  They couldn’t put the fire out, so the Von Stomben had to stop and take the sailors and marines on board.  We were there the best part of the night taking them on.  Sure was some excitement.  Then we started out alone, and believe me we sure did some traveling.  The Von Stomben can make it in five or six days, but losing so much time we made it in nine days.  We were attacked by subs twice, but they were out of luck.  We landed at Brest and went out to Napoleon’s rest camp, but we didn’t know what rest was.  Stayed there five days, then took the ride in box cars to St. Maxient in the southern part of France.  Stayed there four days, and was sent to the 91st aero squadron at Gonderville on the Toul sector.  Was there for the St. Mihiel drive and believe me the Yanks sure put over some barrage.  I never will forget it.  I had several passes to Nancy and Toul while at Gonderville, and was in Nancy several times when the Boche came over with their bombs.  Then we moved to Vavincourt for the Verdun drive and were there until the armistice was signed, and now we are following the Germans back to the Rhine.  We will make two more moves before we get to our stopping place, which will be Cologne, as far as I know.  We will go through Luxemberg, in Alsoce-Lorraine.  Our next stop will be close to Luxemberg and we’ll stay there three or four days, and as soon as peace is signed we will probably start for the good old U.S.A.  Don’t know how long that will be – hope it won’t be long.  The Germans sure had this place fixed up –just like they were going to stay here always they had only been gone from this __five days when we landed here, and the boys are finding _ of souvenirs, but I haven’t had much time to look for them.  Will probably find some on the next move, which will be a day or two from now.

            No, I haven’t run across any of the boys from home yet.  Would be awful glad to see some of them.

            I haven’t had the flu yet; not very much afraid of taking it.

            Well, I am now a member of the 91st Aero Squadron; am awful proud of it.  They have done some awful good work.

           It is about bedtime, so will close for this time.  Save me some of that good buttermilk.   

                Your Brother,   

Huggins, Waldo J.; World War I Letter, December 26, 1918 (Letter #2)
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Trier, Germany, December 26, 1918 – Dear Mother and Homefolks: How do you all do today? Having lots of Christmas I guess. Well, this has been an awful Christmas to me. Sure did miss being at home. Didn’t hardly realize it was Christmas. We had a Christmas dinner, but I missed it. Was on guard when they all ate dinner, and when I came off guard there wasn’t anything left. Went down to Trier Christmas eve, and believe me there was a large crowd of people out shopping. They don’t celebrate Christmas here like we do in the states. You don’t see any fireworks of any kind. They have Christmas trees for the children, but I don’t know whether they have them in the churches or at home. But they have lots of toys and all other kinds of Christmas presents, and it is all pretty good stuff. I have bought a few things to bring back with me. 
Well, I haven’t heard from you all. I have begun to think that you have forgotten me, but I know you are writing, and I don’t know why I don’t get the letters when everybody else gets letters. When any mail comes all I get is the paper from home. I enjoy looking it over and reading the letters from the boys in France. 
We had a little snow the other night—the first we have had over here. We haven’t had but very little cold weather and I am glad of that and hope it doesn’t get very cold here in Germany. 
I guess we will be moving in a few days; at least I hope so. I want a look at the Rhine before I go back and I want to see Coblenz. I have a few views of Coblenz and a lot of Trier and other places. Will send some of them home. 
Hope to be home soon. With love and best wishes. 
Your son,
Waldo J. Huggins

Jackson, Adlai; World War I Letter, December 12, 1918
Honey Grove Signal 

Adlai Jackson 

Hasborn, Germany, Dec. 12, 1918

Mrs. Bertha Green.  Dear Sister and family: - I will answer your letter.  This leaves me well and hope you are the same.  As this old war is over I guess everybody is happy about it, at least all of the boys over here are proud.  I trust Mr. Green is getting along all right.  I hope I will get back in time to make a crop next year, but I am afraid I will hardly get back in time to make one.  Don’t think we will have to stay over here any longer than March 1.  I hope not any way.  I got a letter the other day from mamma and she said they were all well, but there was a great deal of sickness near there.  We have been on the march for about ten days and it is sure getting old.  We are in Germany and it is about the same as France.  When I get back home will come over to see you and will tell you my experience in war – and I don’t ever want to be in another one as I just did get through this one.  I have a scar on my hip about one and one-half inches long, but I did not go to the hospital, in fact, there were very few in the company knew anything about it.  It just knocked the bark off, but it sure did scare me.  This is the worst country I ever saw.  I don’t believe the sun shines over here, as it has only made its appearance about eight times since our arrival over here.  It rains a little nearly every day.  I hope it won’t rain so much when we get back home because I am tired of it.  I never see any of the boys from home except Fred Clifton.  I don’t think any of them have been killed but Hayslip; I hope not any way.  When we all get back there together we will spread one.  I must bring this letter to a close as paper is scarce and hard to get.  I am in a German school house writing this letter and it is a nice place.  Give my love to all.

                                                                                    Your brother,
                                                                                    Adlai Jackson    

James, David; World War I Letter, February 22, 1919
Honey Grove Signal 

Epeneard, France, February 22, 1919—Mrs Donnie Clark—My Dear Sister: I received your letter and was glad to hear from you, as I am like most of the boys—always anxious to hear from the folks at home. I am well at present and hope you are. At the time of the armistice signing I was at a little town called Chamont le Aube, and we had intended going to the Verdun sector about November 14th, so you see we were lucky, as there would have been lots more lives lost had we gone to the front again. We were on the Champagne sector, back of a little hill for several days, and old Fritz sent shells over us as regularly as meal times come and at night he sent them over thicker, and mines went off back of us that the Germans had put there, intending for them to explode as we passed, but they never went off until we were way in front of them. I saw lots of air battles, saw the Germans shoot down a French balloon, saw lots of German prisoners—some, and most of them, were of the younger age; some of them didn’t look to be more than fifteen years old, and the older ones around fifty. They were all a pretty hard-looking bunch. I am sending you a franc in French money—about seventeen cents in American money—as a little souvenir.

Love to all,

David James     

Johnson, William P.; World War I Letter, November 10, 1918
Honey Grove Signal

November 10, 1918. This is Sunday p.m., and I have no better way of spending my time than writing to you; aren't you glad? I'm now in a Y.M.C.A. hut, and some of the boys are singing, some playing different kinds of instruments and others writing to dear home folks- like I am doing, or in other words, you see that all of the American boys are enjoying life. Mother, I'm somewhere in England; of course you understand that we are not allowed to make mention of out exact whereabouts. this is a very pretty place and I would enjoy staying here for some time, but I well know that my desire will not come to pass at present.

All of my company will get a pass to visit the city tomorrow. i am quite sure we will have a good time, because I know we shall see some wonderful sights. i consider it wonderful to have opportunity of being able to see so much of this country. I have seen the greater portion of England, but I'm sorry to say it has not come up to my expectations. The dear old U.S.A. is far ahead of this country in every respect. Everything here is as old as the Rock of Ages; while America is new and uptodate. The railroads remind me of Fulton's first intervention. the passenger cars are very short to cut off in sections to accommodate only eight persons, and they have no convenience whatever about them. The doors open on each side and are very unhandy. The coaches are coupled together with ordinary chain links. Just think of it! Box cars are only sixteen feet in the length and very narrow. The engines are about one-third the size of the ones used on our fast trains, but are capable of running eighty miles an hour. It is a mystery to me how they stay on the track.

England is a very rugged country. There is no farming land at all. the land is cut up in small plots, ranging from one-fourth acre to probably two acre plots, and each plot is fenced off by a stone wall, which makes it very pretty. In the pasture lands where the grass is still green these walls are simply beautiful.

Mother, I have an insane desire to see all of Europe while I am here, because I know that I'll never come across the Atlantic again. I should like to visit Venice and Rome and the Holy Land. When the time comes for me to put my ideas into execution why I am going to try to go. 
The war news today looks as though it was just about over. I am sure you read all about it in today's Dallas News. We receive was news here only a few hours sooner than you do in America. American troops will be returning home in a short time.

It is now almost supper time, so I had better go down to my barracks and eat lunch. I'm coming back to the "Y" tonight to hear a preacher from Indianapolis, Ind., and by the way, I saw a lady yesterday who lives in Ladonia; wasn't that great? And, too, there are two boys in my company who are from Fannin county.

There are more men in my company from Texas than any other state in the Union.

Will write you every opportunity I may have, and here's hoping you will do the same. Tell all the "home news" and also send me the Signal.

With a kind goodnight,
Your fond son,

William P. Johnson
Company O, 21st Engrs., A.E.F.   

Johnson, William P.; World War I Letter; November 17, 1918 (Letter #2)
Honey Grove Signal

Rest Camp in England, November 17, 1918. -Dear Parents; I am spending the afternoon in a Y.M.C.A. hut. The weather is rather gloomy, as the wind is blowing pretty strong from the southeast and it looks as if though it might set in snowing, therefore I prefer staying in close to a good fire.
Mother, I attended Thanksgiving service this morning in one of the greatest cathedrals in the world. It was a very impressive service and, too, it was certainly an honor (I thought) to have the privilege of worshiping God in such a noted place. Oh, I'll have so much to tell you about it when I return.
How is uncle Ike, and is he staying with you? I hope he is, because I know he is lots of company at night. I am quite sure he won't try to do anything with his oil drilling during the winter. He will have plenty of time to see after it next spring as I will be home to take his place in business. Though probably you won't be satisfied or rather give your consent for me to leave home again soon after such a long absence this time. 
Write me a long letter and tell me all the news.

Lots of love,

William P. Johnson. 

Jones, Jesse; World War I Letter, September 13, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

Letter from Jesse Jones.

             With the Colors, September 13, 1918. – Dear Father: I received your letter all right and was glad to hear from you all. I am getting along fine. Am sorry I got so far away you can’t come to see me, but the chances are I will be further away.  I was glad to hear that you had a good meeting.  I hope to see you all someday, but don’t worry about me-I know you can’t help it.  I suspect I am faring better than you folks at home and I feel it is my duty to be in the service. Oh, say, we had fish for dinner. The inspecting officer is coming, and I will have to close, so good-bye, your son,
Jesse Jones.

Co M., 135 Infantry, American Expeditionary Forces, France, via New York.  

Jones, Jesse; World War I Letter, December 29, 1918 Letter #2
Honey Grove Signal

Interesting letters from our boys in France
Ellenz, Germany, December 29, 1918.

-Mr. Fred Jones- Dear Brother:
How are you by this time? I am well, and hope this finds you the same. I went to church this morning. We sung “Count Your Many Blessings” and the Chaplin made me talk about home. He heard the boys say on our hike that they wanted to go home. Then he referred to our heavenly home- after our work is done we want to go home.

How did you come out with your crop? Fine, I hope. I heard cotton was a good price. What kind of crop did you make? 
What did you have for Christmas? I had all the slum I could eat for dinner, and the Y.M.C.A. gave us a package of chocolate and cookies. It was a good Christmas for me. I guess you wonder when I am coming home, and I am wondering the same thing to myself, but I guess some time next year. We just have to wait until Uncle Sam says, well done, you good and faithful servant, you may go home. I am the Fourth division. Write and tell me all the news. Goodbye. Your brother,.

Jesse V. Jones. 

Joyce, Ernest; World War I Letter, November 15, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

     Somewhere in France, November 15, 1918.--Dear Mother: I will again write you tonight to let you hear from me. I am all right; hope you all are the same. I guess you rejoiced when you heard the good news. The guns ceased firing Monday at 11 o'clock, November 11. I guess you can imagine how funny it seemed at the front. For four years and a half the big guns had pounded away and all at once they all stopped and everything was quiet. 

     What is dear little Martin and the rest of the folks doing? Guess if Martin hasn't gone to training camp yet he won’t have to go, unless the Germans spring up again, and I don't think they will do that. I think they have had enough of war to last them awhile. I hear Uncle Martin has quit using tobacco. Tell him I said no wonder the war ended. Say, Mamma, has Johnnie Calloway come to France yet?  If he has and you know his address write me and may be I can find him.  I have never heard anything of Clyde.  What is dear little Catherine doing?  Guess I will hardly know her when I  get home, as she will be such a big girl. Well, I am getting sleepy. I will quit for this time. Hoping to hear from you real soon,

Your son,

Ernest Joyce.  

Key, Jerry; World War I Letter, January 16, 1919

 Honey Grove Signal

 Le Rouielle, France, January 16, 1919. – Dear Mother and All: Hope this finds you all well and happy. I’m just fine, only awfully homesick. Was talking to Rouland a few moments ago—believe me, he is one more homesick boy.

    Had a card from Mollie Marsh today; first time I’ve heard from her since I’ve been over here. Do you remember Ernest Guinn of whom I sent you a picture while we were at Fort Leavenworth? He died of wounds received while riding a motorcycle in the Argonne.

    Well, mother, I suppose I’ll be home by June, if nothing happens. I am still shoeing horses in the engineers. I received the pictures the other day that Luella and Belle sent me. Was glad to get them.

    I have quite a few Boche souvenirs I intend bringing home. One is a ring I would not part with. What are the boys doing now? Is papa still on the road or in Little Rock? Will close and write more the next week. Love from Your son.

Jerry A. Key.

Kilpatrick, Charley; World War I Letter, January 3, 1919

Honey Grove Signal 

Felzen, Germany, January 3, 1919. 
Dear Wife: Received your letter some time ago; was sure glad to hear from you. This leaves me well and have a good time and hope it will find everybody there well. Got my Christmas package all right; sure did enjoy it, but would have liked it lots better if I could have been at home. Don't know when we will sail for home, but hope it won't be long.
     Hope everybody back there ad a good Christmas and will have a happy New Year. My division (the 90th) went over the top several times and took lots of towns.
     We are having plenty to eat and have good beds, so don't worry about me, as I am getting as fat as a pig. We don't drill much nowadays. It sure does rain lots over here. 
     When I land in the good old U.S.A. I sure will be glad.
Will close for this time. Yours,

Charley Kilpatrick.

LaMaster, Joe; World War I Letter, October 6, 1918
Honey Grove Signal

Joe LaMaster Writes From France.

October 6, 1918. - Dearest Father: and Mother: I am sure there could not have been a more cheerful soldier in France than I when I received your letter yesterday. It was written September 10 and the last one I had gotten was in Camp Mills and dated July 20, so you can see I could not help but be disappointed at not hearing sooner.

Could not wish for better health that I am having over here. Have not even been bothered with a cold. As a while there has only been two or three cases of sickness in the battery. We are very comfortably situated here in barracks. Have hot and cold showers and electric lights. They are feeding us as good as when we were at Camp Bowie.

Feel more elated every day over our prospects of getting home, at least by Easter. They are certainly giving it to the Huns from one end of the Hindenburg line to the other.

Have gotten three copies of my paper. They came in last week.

Glad you have had the car repaired. I expect I have forgotten how to drive it is so long since I have had the opportunity. They have some queer looking automobiles over here, but they all seem to have excellent motors in them.

We have been having some rain here. Believe this is a damper climate that we are accustomed to. You should see the things over here. I don’t think I shall ever complain again over what we have. You can’t imagine how things are over here. These people certainly deserve sympathy.

There surely must be lots of money in circulation if cotton is selling for 38 cents. I suppose labor is very high.

Has papa been fishing very much? If so, has he caught one good bass? Would you like to be where I could use a dowagiac.

I imagine the village looks deserted since the ones have left for school. It must be very lonely there. I feel sorry for the ones that can’t be with us. 
How are the Rowens? Give them my love. Have intended to write them.

I expect you will have had your first quail when you receive this. I have not even seen a rabbit over here.

Please be more prompt about your letters for you don’t know how much I miss them. It is quite a different feeling when you are overseas. Love to all.

 Give my regards to my friends.

Your son,

Joe Lamaster.
Battery C 132 F. A., American Expeditionary FOrces, via New York.     

Leeman, Ray; World War I Letter, November 18, 1918 (Letter #1)

Honey Grove Signal 

France, November 18, 1918 – My dear Mr. Lowry:  My intentions to write have been excellent, but this is the first half-opportunity I have had.  Now, that the Hun is scuttling back to the Rhine we have a little time to sit up and gather together the threads of ordinary thought.  Also the censor will perchance look with more favor upon a letter which does not confine itself to generalities.  I have fought on two fronts – the San Mihiel and the famous old Verdun sector – was within a few kilos of the place where the Kaiser’s henchmen came through the lines with their swan song to Marshall Foch.  Saw Verdun the morning the news of the armistice came and witnessed the heart-stirring scene of the French refugees of Monzay and Stenay streaming down the high road waving their little French flags and carrying their pitiful all on their backs.  During the fighting on both fronts I had a number of thrilling experiences but shall not attempt to tell of them – the story has been told over and over by those who had a better right than I have to tell it.  Was knocked over by a big Hun shell, but didn’t get a scratch, just a 24-hour headache and a great big scare.  The Company which I command has been exceedingly lucky – only five casualties and one death.

            I believe an experience I had night before last will stick with my memory as long as any incident of the war.  I was sent at midnight to reconnoiter a certain road in order to determine whether or not trucks could negotiate it.  The moon was white and the night almost like day.  I had a motor car, a driver and an interpreter – I traveled by map.  After we had gone about ten miles we were halted by the last American outpost, who warned us that we were driving out of the Yankee lines.  We went on, perhaps ten miles further, when down the white road we saw two figures step into the moonlight.  They were Huns.  We halted and told them our mission.  They called the under officer to whom my interpreter explained.  He had to call an officer, who came spick and span and ultra-military.  He must have thought me a general in the dimness of the tonneau for all the time he stood at stiff attention, and when he had directed me, backed up a step and came to rigid salute – and stood that way; as we rolled over the hill I looked back and there he stood, this Prussian, in the moonlight with his hand at this capbrim, his entire body tautened in respect to rank – the very epitome of Prussianism.

            It is reported that my Division is to go into Germany; however, there’s no certainty.  If we do go, I shall try to write again from there.  I know you are a busy man, but would love to hear from you.  Dr. Page so kindly wrote and I shall reply soon.  Should you happen to see him please tell him for me that I shall write very soon and that I appreciate his thoughtfulness.

            I have not been lucky enough to see any of the boys from Honey Grove, but mother sends me the Signal every once in a while and I get the “dope” there.  Believe me when I tell you that the boys from Texas have upheld all the traditions of their forebears and the old Division has made a place for itself in future history second to no military organization the world has ever known – cited in orders three times and latterly used also exclusively as “shock” troops – and only five months in France!  Not a bad record.

            Please give my kindest regards to all Honey Grove folks and believe me when I say that I deeply appreciate your interest in me.  Very sincerely,

Ray Leeman, 1st Lieutenant, 315 Supply Train
American Expeditionary Forces

Leeman, Ray; World War I Letter, January 3, 1919 (Letter #2)

Honey Grove Signal

 Berncastle, Germany, January 3, 1919.-My Dear Uncle Huck and Aunt Annie: Received the fine letter from Aunt Annie this morning and am hastening to answer. It was sure fine to hear from you ‘way up here in Germany. I am with the Army of occupation and am quartered in this little town on the Moselle River, about 30 miles from Coblenz on the Rhine. Was near Stenay when the armistice was signed and we marched right on through Luxemburg into Germany-are now in winter quarters here and have no idea when we will be relieved. I was lucky: Did not get a scratch. Was knocked down and buried in the mud once by a big shell but was only bruised up a little. However, have seen many poor boys fall and many more badly wounded-it was a terrible thing and I thank God it is over. Of course I’ll have lots of tales to tell when I get home and I mean to come to Windom and tell you the whole story. I was constantly on the front from July to the day of the armistice and my division was cited for bravery in action five times. I am enclosing an iron cross for Uncle Huck-believe it is better souvenir than the helmets. This is what the Kaiser gave them for killing women and children. It is a genuine iron cross of the second class and was given me by a German captain who was also a baron.

     I’m hoping that this finds the flu epidemic over-it is a terrible thing but perhaps I cannot feel it as I ought-I have seen so many terrible things. Let me tell you that no man on earth can describe with pen or tongue the horrible hellishness of a battlefield-I have walked where I could  hardly avoid stepping on bodies-I have seen men torn to bits-have driven down roads where arms, legs, blood, etc, were scattered all over them. But it is over now and I believe will never come again. Please write very often and believe me I shall write every opportunity. Love to all.

 Ray Leeman.     

Luttrell, George, L.; World War I Letter, November 10, 1918
Honey Grove Signal
The Day Before the Armistice.

Limoges, France, November 10, 1918. – To the People at Home: I am very glad that I am at last in a place where I can tell where I am; here after you can say that I am in Limoges (pronounced Lemozg) instead of “Somewhere in France.” This is the city from which all the Haviland chinaware comes. Their plant is one of the largest plants in France, so you know it covers much ground. Since the war this plant has partly been used for a hospital. The population of this city is about 100,000 and is one of the neatest cities in France.

I will now try to tell just what I am doing. My duties are that of supply sergeant for the Chemical Warfare Service for this portion of the country. I keep a record of all the gas masks that are issued to the men of this section, also any other supplies in connection with the gas drills. And, too, I assist in the training of the men in the wearing of the gas mask. This is by far the best job I’ve had since I landed in France and I like it fine. Have a good warm office to work in and like my lieutenant fine. He has given me a pass which entitles me to leave the camp at any time between 2 p.m. and 9 p. m. I have seen many interesting things in this city, one of the most interesting was an old church, the foundation of which was laid in the eleventh century. There are only three men and the lieutenant in the C. W. S. at this place. The people are all very nice to the “Yanks” and do their best to talk with us, but as we can’t understand much French, and they can’t understand English it is very difficult for us to talk to each other.

Now for a little joke on my “Buddy” and I. We went into a café and as we did not have our French dictionaries along with us we were compelled to make signs for what we wanted. Well, I wanted eggs and French fried potatoes, also meat, and knew the words for potatoes and meat, but had forgotten the word for eggs. If you could only have seen me making signs and crowing like a chicken for eggs you would have laughed, but I finally made the madam understand what I wanted. Then it was up to me to tell her how I wanted them cooked. I think she wanted to serve them “hard- boiled,” but I finally made her under- stand that I wanted them “straight up.” My pal wanted rabbit, but could not figure out how he was going to make her understand what he wanted, but he was “game” and did his best. It was equal to a circus to see him down on the floor jumping around like a rabbit, but it wasn’t long till the lady said “wee wee” meaning that she understood, but she didn’t, for when she brought his order instead of it being rabbit he had a pair of “bull frog legs.” He took them, though, and said they were better than any rabbit he had ever eaten.

The war news as you note from the papers is very encouraging, and it is my belief that the German authorities who are now negotiating with Marshal Foch will decide to sign the terms that have been laid down to them. It is useless for them to try to hold out any longer. 
Will close and write again soon. -George L. Luttrell.

Chemical Warfare Service, A. P. O. 753. A. E. F., France.  

Mann, Dudley; World War I Letter, September 17, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

Camp Johnston, Fla., Student Co. No. 4, September 17, 1918 – Mr. John T. Mann – My dear Dad:  I suppose you got the card which I sent you from New Orleans.  The last time I wrote I had no idea that I would be down here so soon, but after the recommendations went into Washington it brought quick action.  Fourteen of us were sent here.  We left Camp Bowie last Friday, 9:40 a.m., and arrived here Sunday night at 9:30 a.m.  Had a very nice trip, all of which I enjoyed.  The Red Cross canteen service met us at four of the larger stations and gave us everything good to eat.  The Florida country through which we passed was not very much.  It reminded me of East Texas.  Lots of piney woods and some very low, swampy country.  But at the camp, which is located on the St. John river, and it is about three miles wide here, is very pretty.  Up the river (or down the river, I should have said) it is about twenty miles to the Atlantic, but across the country due east it is only a few miles.  The camp is 12 miles from Jacksonville.  You can take street car, auto or boat to town, 15 to 50 cents fare.  The training school barracks are in the choicest part of the camp.  My barrack is about 300 yards from the river and it is a very beautiful scene.  The Y.M.C.A., in which I am writing now, is one block.  The Y.M.C.A. is a great thing for the soldiers.  They furnish free amusement, and all stationery is free and a nice place to write.  I am taking what’s called a property accounting course.  The course is supposed to cover a period of eight weeks but after a man starts and they find him well qualified, he gets a commission in from 3 to 6 weeks; however, quite a number are here a great deal longer.  I hope that I will be fortunate enough to come out pretty soon.

            If I am successful in completing this course I do not know where I will be sent, might be overseas; however, I do not think so right away.  If I have a chance I will come by to see you all, but if not, of course it can’t be helped.

            The weather is pretty warm here in the day time, but very pleasant at night.  The sun rises 30 or 40 minutes earlier here than it did at Camp Bowie.  We have revelle at 5:15 a.m., breakfast at 6, drill 6:30 to 7; school 8 to 12 and 1 to 4 and two hours study every other night, so you see a fellow is kept pretty busy.  Also have retreat every evening from 5:15 to 6.  This is very pretty; we parade around some and the band plays while the flag is lowered.

            As ever,

                                                                                                            Your son,


McKinney, Jonathan; World War I Letter, October 29, 1918 (Letter #1)
Honey Grove Signal

October 29, 1918 – Mrs. J. B. McKinney – Dear Mother: How are all at home? I am all right. How is cotton picking by now? Slow enough, I am sure. Tell Capitela I like the army life fine. Have a great time, as every day seems like Christmas times. Mother, I thought I would write these few lines and let you know I am well. Guess it will be some time before I have the opportunity to write you again, so don’t be uneasy if you don’t hear from me again soon. 
Russell Burras is here. He said tell his folks that he was all right. I talked to Gustave Cooper last night. He is o.k. and so is Gib. Tell all the children hello for me. I sure would like to see them. 
Well, I will close for this time. Write often, and tell me all the news. 
As ever, your loving son, 
Corporal Jonathan McKinney  

McKinney, Jonathan Clayton; World War I  Letter, February 8, 1919 (Letter #2)
Honey Grove Signal 

Kinheim, Germany, February 8, 1919 – Dear Mother: How are you all this cold morning? I am all right. It is cold here—icicles hanging all over everything. It was clear when we got up this morning and the sun is shining—something unusual for this country; don’t think I have seen the sun shining for over an hour at the time since I have been over here, and we had a big snow Wednesday night and had a nice time snow-balling … Thursday. We put them …every time one stuck … head out we would give him a … ball --(our major made us quit). 
No, mother, I don’t think we have to fight the Russians and think the next move we make will … for the United States. Our captain told us we would sail about March 15, and then we heard we were here until mid-summer; then heard we would be at San Antonio for the Battle of Flowers, which is the last of April or the first of May. I can’t tell when we will sail. Our captain is somewhere in the United States. He was wounded in the St. Mihiel battle in the foot. His home town is Waco, his name is Fred Oliver. 
I have just received my pay; got paid in francs (French money) this time. I judge by that we won’t be in Dutchland much longer. Last month we were paid in marks (Dutch money). Lots of love to all. 
Your loving son,
Jonathan Clayton McKinney 

Melville, David; World War I Letter, January 26, 1919

Honey Grove Signal  

Commercy,France, January 26,1919

Mrs. D. E. Melville-My dear wife: I will now take a great pleasure in writing you a few lines. I am o.k., and feeling fine and hope these few lines will find you the same. We are still at Commercy, France. I don’t know just how long we will be here, not long, though, as we are billed for the states the fifteenth of next month, and I am praying for that day to come. I am sure getting anxious; that will be the happiest day of my life-when I get my discharge. I am hauling supplies for the company. I never have told you much about this country, for the censor would not allow us too, but as the censor has been raised, can tell you a few things. The largest portion of this country is very beautiful indeed, but of course where we have been fighting, looks horrible; it is completely ruined and looks very much like war there. The last battle I was in was on September 26, when we went over the top at 5:30 o’clock and we didn’t reach the Germans first lines before my best comrade was shot down; he looked up at me and said: “Goodbye I am gone: get all the Germans you can for me.” I fought, with dead all around me, and my little pack carrier, which I had on my back, was shot full of holes. I never told you about getting hit a couple of places in my left hand with shrapnel, but it didn’t amount to much. I went three days and nights without anything to eat or drink, fighting day and night, and you can imagine what kind of time I had. There were about 214 men in our company when the battle began and when it was over we only had about 80 left, and believe me I sure was happy when this thing ended. I just have given you a little sketch, but when I get home I can tell you lots of things. Hoping to be back home soon, I close with love, and pray that God will be with you until we meet again. 

Your true Christian husband,

David E. Melville  

Milford, Roger Q; World War I Letter, March 18, 1919

Honey Grove Signal

            Dudeldorf, Germany, March 18, 1919. –Mr. H. M. Milford. –Dear Brother: Your letter dated some time in February came this morning. Was glad to know that dad is well; was worried about him for awhile as I couldn’t hear from him. You asked me to tell you some of my experiences on the front. It is pretty hard to tell them for, as you know, when a fellow gets to telling about it he gets all excited and mixed up, and then when he when he gets home and tells it over he is liable to tell it different (safety first). I will tell you of an incident that happened near Nonsord, France, on the St. Mihiel front. We were camped in the Nonsord woods behind the front line trenches. There was an observation balloon near us, and every day several Boche planes would come over and try to destroy it. One afternoon the balloon was up—it looked to me it was higher than I had ever seen it before. Two Boche planes came over and I was watching the shrapnel from the anti-air craft guns burst all ‘round them and hoping that the next one would bring one of them down, when all of a sudden another German plane came out of a white cloud and made a dive for the balloon. Well, every gun that was near enough was shooting at the plane. There were machine guns, anti-air craft guns, rifles—all shooting. My heart was in my throat. I was longing and praying for one of them to get him. A baseball game is not in it as for excitement. Well, to get back to my story—the German plane was going so fast that it missed the balloon (the two observers dropped out of the balloon in their parachutes), but Fritz turned around and I could see blue streaks of smoke coming out, and in a half a minute the balloon was in flames and the Boche was making his getaway, but just in time out of another white cloud dropped one of our little Liberty machines and circled around the Fritz. There was more excitement then.  There were about seventy-five of us boys, yelling “Get him, Lib,” “Circle him, boy” (of course he couldn’t hear us). You have seen a little rooster whip a great big old “dominicker,” haven’t you? Well, in about five minutes old Fritz’s plane began to turn over and over and the pilot fell to the ground. We lost the balloon, but Fritz lost his plane and also his life. The next morning a brand new balloon was up just a little higher than the one that was destroyed.

            I was pretty blue when I wrote that other letter saying I was homesick. I do get pretty homesick at times, but when I see boys over here with more service stripes I feel I haven’t done my bit yet, and I want to stay just as long as Uncle Sam wants me to. It was pretty tough up on the front. I hauled ammunition eight nights in succession once without any sleep to speak of. You see I had my horses to take care of in the daytime. Dad did it four years for his country, and I can do it, too, if necessary, four more years. I was all through the 90thdivision a few weeks ago with the show, but didn’t see any one from Honey Grove but Grady Blaylock. He is dancing in an army show, too. He came up to find out what kind of shoes I used to dance in—the reason I found he was from Honey Grove.

            Take good care of dad, and write me often.     

Your brother, Roger Q. Milford.  

Myers, Robert; World War I Letter, nd
Honey Grove Signal 

Interesting letters from our boys in France

We haven’t the least idea as to how long we will be in this country. I know there isn’t a chance of leaving until after the peace has been signed and then it will be a long time before we are all gone, for I think they will keep an army over here some time yet. By the time Ches gets through fixing all the motor cars and other things which he will work on he will be an old man before he gets back. We motorized ourselves, and as I have charge of it all I know what it is to have broken tractors, trucks, cars and everything else that goes to make up a motorized outfit. I have sure had my hands full on this trip and do not ever want to see another motor. Raining all the time and bad roads, broken trucks and everything else that could help to make you cuss the Germans, and not that I have them where I want them I won’t have any mercy. 
We sure get enough sleep now since the hiking is over, for there isn’t anything else to do after it gets dark, and as the sun goes down about three thirty it isn’t long until night. 
Here is hoping that you and father had a nice time today, and that it won’t be long until I can see you. 
Love, from your son,
Robert Myers.  

Naugher, Malvin; World War I Letter

Honey Grove Signal 

Malvin Naugher 

Allerey, France – G. W. Naugher

Dear Father: I have written to you several times, and hope you received them all.  I have been in the hospital two months with a wound, but I’m o.k. now and am anxious to get home soon.  I expect to leave for God’s country any day.  I don’t know where I will land, but any place in the United States will suit me.  I hope to get a letter from you soon.  I have seen a lot of this country and lots of Heines, but we beat them any time and any place.  While we won’t march into Berlin we have them where we want them.  France might be good for some, but give me the U.S.  My division is in Germany now.  I expect to go to them soon. No Man’s Land is like a cemetery.  My captain and two lieutenants got killed in the first push.  We fought one battle thirteen days and nights, and I am sure lucky to be alive.  Lots of my comrades fell by my side.

            I spent the 4th of July in London.  Some place, but nothing like New York.  President Wilson is now in Paris.  Lots of boys are returning home now, and I’ll be glad if I can get home by March.  The American soldiers and French girls have a great time, even though they don’t understand each other, and I can parley French quite a bit.  I hope everything is o.k. on the farm.  I’d like to be there in time to go fishing.  It is not very cold here.  I am in Southern France.  We were twelve and a half days on water, and the land sure looked good when we landed.  Will close now.

                                                                                    Your loving son,
                                                                                    Malvin Naugher

 Alvin Naugher, another solder, has returned.  Before going away Alvin made his home with John Carter, south of town.  He saw much service in France – was in the Argonne and St. Mihiel fights and received a heavy dose of gas which sent him to the hospital for several weeks.  He was with the 90th Division.    

Nelson, John; World War I Letter, March 2, 1919
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Another Colored Soldier Writes

St. Noyire, France, March 2, 1919.
Mrs. Amanda Nelson – Dear Mother: I received your letter and was glad to hear from you. Your rletter found me not well, but I hope you all are well and getting along nicely. I received your photos and was sure proud of them. I have had some ups and downs since I arrived on this side of the sea. I have seen wonderful things and have experienced things that I thought I could not go through, as I am not strong. I have not been strong since I had that awful case of pneumonia. Since then I have been down in my back, and now I am no good. I suffer from rheumatism. All the same, I have always thought I was doing my duty – doing my bit for our country to save it from shame and disgrace. I cannot explain myself like I desire, but I hope some day I will see you again, and if I don’t see you in this world I want to meet you on the other side of the river Jordan, where parting will be no more. Mother, give my regards to the 8th Street church and tell them to pray for me, and tell Charlie to give my regards to the lodge – the dear old Odd Fellows. Tell all the members I am still alive and I have seen lots of three-link men since I have been away. I suppose I will be home some day, and when I come I will bring you something from over here. Give my best love to all.
Your son, John Nelson   

Parrish, John F.; World War I Letter, October 25, 1918 (Letter 1)

Honey Grove Signal 

Somewhere in England, October 25, 1918.

Dear Homefolks:

   I am glad of the opportunity to write you again.  I am feeling fine and had a very pleasant trip.  The weather was fine most of the way, with no bad storms.  We had very few cases of seasickness.  I was not sick at all, though I expected to be.  I saw some wonderful sights and guess I will see a lot more before I get back to the states.  We are stationed in a beautiful country, but it is a very strange country to us.  Of course we could not expect it to be the same as our country.  This is a very old and popular city.  I hope to get out and see more of it while we are here, but don’t know much privilege we will have.  We were given a royal welcome by the people when we landed.  As you know, we are not allowed to write very much, so I will quit, and will write again soon.

   With lots of love,

   John F. Parrish

Company C, 127th M. G. B’n, American Expeditionary Forces, via New York   

Parish, John F.; World War I Letter, November 17, 1918 (Letter 2)

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Lemans, France, November 17, 1918. –Dear Homefolks: How are you tonight? I am fine and dandy. We are having fine weather now, but it has been real cold for the past week. I have been working almost day and night since coming here, but I have no cause for complaint, as everybody is doing the same. I worked all forenoon, and having the afternoon off I took a walk over the city. It’s a very nice little place, but we have quite a time making the French understanding what we want, a very few of them understand English. The people here are so glad the war is over they hardly know what to do, and I don’t wonder that they are glad after seeing what they had suffered. I don’t know when we will be coming home, but soon I hope, although I am willing to see the boys who have been here longest go home first.  It is rumored that we will be back in the states soon, but it sounds almost too good to be true. While I like France all right, “there is no place like home.” I would like very much to hear from you. I have not received any mail since I landed. Write all the news. As news is scarce I will quite. Remember me in your prayers.  As ever, your son and brother,

 John F. Parish.

Headquarters Group, Classification Camp A.P. O. 762, A.E.F.   

Parrish, Frank; World War I Letter, October 8, 1918
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From Frank Parrish, Windom.

Camp Dix, N.J., October 8th, 1918. -My dear aunt: I was sure surprised to hear from you, but was glad to get a letter. We have had quite a lot of sickness and deaths here for the past month, but it is over now and I am glad, for it was sure a sight to see the big strong men that died here. I guess there were six or seven hundred died in this camp. We had about seventy men sick in this company at one time and you can guess we had some big job waiting on them. I was up almost day and night for a week,and I worked in the hospital for four days, helping to embalm and ship the bodies of the dead.

I guess you would not know me now, as I am a lot flashier than when you saw me last . I weigh almost two hundred pounds, so you see army life agrees with me and I like it fine, although it is a pretty hard life to live and we have to work pretty hard. We don’t mind the work, but what we want to do is to get the kaiser,and I think we will have a chance to take a shot at him soon, as we expect to go over in a few days. We would have been there now if the sickness hadn’t hit us. We are ready to go at any time. We will have to carry a pack on our backs that weighs about seventy pounds. We will use the Browning machine gun and it shoots about six hundred times a minute. I think we can get a few Germans before they get us. We do not carry a rifle, but we have a pistol for close-range shooting.

I guess you will be taking a ride in an airship as they are getting to be so thick there. If you do I wish you would fly over to see me. I would sure like to see you, and I am sure you would enjoy seeing our camp, as it is very beautiful place. And this country is great; with lots of timber and fields of corn and truck patches. We have plenty of fresh vegetables to at now, but guess it will soon be gone, as it is getting cold here now. This country sure did look good to me when we got here after being in New Mexico deserts for three months. We are about eighty miles from New York. I haven’t been there yet, as we will be until we leave. I sure had a fine trip from New Mexico here. We were on the train from Monday morning until Saturday night and saw some fine country and were sure reated well all along the way, but guess our next trip will not be so pleasant, but it will be new to us and think I will enjoy it.

I am trying to live as God would have me live, but it is pretty hard to live right in the army, as there are a lot of temptations here; but by the help of God I am doing my best, and I believe He will be with me wherever I go. I would like to come home for a few days and see all of you, but there is not a chance until the war is over. I think it will be over in a short while, and I am sure the boys will be glad to get back home.

Your nephew,
Frank Parrish (of Windom)

Parrish, Frank; World War I Letter, January 3rd 1919 (Letter #2)

Honey Grove Signal 

LeMans, France, January 3rd, 1919.

Dear Homefolks: How are you by now? I am fine and dandy. Never felt better in my life except when I was at home. How did you spend New Years day? I was on guard, so you can imagine I had a good time, but am hoping to be back home before the year is out, and I believe that will be the greatest day of my life, when I get back to my home and you. I am looking forward to that day with pleasure. Although a big part of the year may be past before I get back, it is good to know that the world is at peace again and we will not have to go through what France and England did. The effect of the four years of war can be seen here. The greater part of the labor is done by women and children, and very few able-bodied men are to be seen on the streets, except the soldiers that are being discharged. The railroad work is done almost entirely by the women.When i think of the conditions at home and of the blessings we have received I thank God again that the great struggle is over and that we escaped so lightly, and although it will be necessary for some of the A.E.F to stay here for some time I think we should be glad to stay, for we know when we finally return to our homes they will not be destroyed by the enemy and we can settle down to our peaceful occupations and soon forget we were away.
I got your letter dated November 11 a few years ago. I am sure the people were glad to hear of the war being over. I would liked to have been there for the celebration. I am still getting mail addressed to Camp Dix. Have got about fifteen all told. I Usually get a bunch of letters together. I haven’t gotten the Christmas box yet, but I'm expecting it any day. I have not received any mail from you to this address except the one from Alvin dated December 1. We were paid for October and November a few days ago, for $33, after the amount for liberty bonds was deducted. We get 10 percent more for services over here than in the U.S. We will be paid again soon. It is raining here yet; I guess we will have another month of it, then we will have some fine weather. I will sure be glad to see some more good weather and sunshine. I am off duty today, but on account of one man going away without permission we are all confined to camp. Doesn’t look fair, does it? But such is army life. I must quit for this time. Write often and tell all the children to write. With lots of love,

Frank Parrish.   (Windom)

Parrish, Murrell; World War I Letter, December 27, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

Kinheim, Germany, December 27th, 1918 – Miss Emi Parrish – My dear “littlest” Sister:  How are you all this cool morning, and did Santa Claus come to see you?  He found me Christmas Eve, and I sure was glad to see him, too.  The box got here all right, and believe me, the candy tasted good to me, also the cake, and the knife and purse were fine, too.  However, I did not need the purse very much.  Well, I guess you had a good time Christmas.  Sure wish I could have been with you all, but they are not done with me here yet.  Don’t have much idea when I will get to come home, but hope to be there before long, for this country and this kind of life don’t suit me at all.  However, we are doing better than we have since landing in Europe.  I have slept in lots of barns, in fact, nothing but barns and on the ground, till the last few days.  But now I am sleeping in a house and a “real bed,” with electric lights in my room, but no stove.  We have had a little snow here, but it is not as cold to us as you might think, for we have been out in it all the year.  I am feeling fine and am not bothered with a cold as much as I am at home and haven’t even had my lips chapped this winter.

            The censor is not so strict now, so I believe I will tell you about our “Hallowe’en Party” about the middle of October.  We moved from near Toul, up close to Verdun, and then gradually moved up toward the front.  On the night of the 30th we moved into a thicket, only a short distance behind the lines, and the Huns knew we were there.  We had to “dig in,” for they were sending them over right along.  And the next day I never saw so many planes in my life, and just before night Fritz began shelling again, and hurt several men.  We thought we were going to stay there that night, so some of us went to bed.  I was asleep, when about 8 o’clock the Sergeant awoke us, saying: “Get up and roll one blanket,” and we all knew what that meant.  So we got out and started, but only went a short distance behind a big hill and was ordered to “dig in,” as we were going to stay there until nearly daylight, and there is where we saw “spooks,” for it hadn’t been long since there had been a fight on that very ground.  Everything was quiet, except a shell now and then, so we began digging in and the first thing I saw was a dead boy that had been there ever since the battle before.  It sure made me feel curious.  Well, about 1 a. m. our barrage started and you never heard such a noise like that in all your life nor saw so many lights in the sky.  We were right in front of our guns, so we had to lie still, till nearly daylight, then we went over, or rather around, for our route lay in a half circle, and so we had a real big day.  Too big to suit me.  All the resistance we had was their artillery and machine guns, and believe me they sure knew how to use them.  They place their machine guns in holes, and you can’t see them.  They begin shooting when we get within half a mile of them, so a Company is sure to lose some men, for they use smokeless powder, and you can’t tell to save your life which way a bullet comes from.  Well, as I said, we had a big day on November 1st, but not so big as on the 2nd, for the Dutchmen sure did try to stop us that day, but couldn’t.  About sundown of the 2nd another battalion relieved us, so our part was finished for a few days, and we moved a little closer to the front, dug some more holes, and stayed until the 10th.  On that day we moved up just behind the lines again.  Got there about dark by going most of the distance under shell fire.  We made our combat packs and went to bed in the mud, intending to go over the top at daylight next morning.  But when day came and we were ordered to keep still, we knew something was going to happen.  About 9 o’clock our captain told us about the armistice and that firing would cease at 11 o’clock, and sure enough it did, and then things changed from war to a regular camp meeting in our bunch.  I saw Roy Sneed that morning.  He got through all right, but haven’t seen him since.

            Well, I will close for this time.  With lots of love to mother and all,

                                                                                                Your brother,

                                                                                                Murrell G. Parrish  

Pearson, Claud; World War I Letter, October 20, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

Over here, October 20, 1918.—Mr. J.E. Pearson.—Dear Father: I am well and feeding fine. The sun was fine yesterday, but no t so good today. Well, I have been over here for a good many months, long enough to have my service stripes when I left New York. I was eleven days on that miserable water, and that French chow was hard to get down but when we arrived over here our first meal was good old American. Believe me, it was the best meal I ever had. We were only there a few days and then left for another place, where we stayed a few weeks; had some hard drill. Then one night we left for the front. It took us a few days to get there. When we did, oh, me! There we started to live a real soldier’s life. And some more French chow, nut by that time I was beginning to like it. Well, we went to the lines from this place. As out turn came first, they put me in the dressing station, but I was always in it from the beginning of my training. We worked with the French until out boys came, and then of course we worked with them. When it came my turn to go up I was just tickled to death. There I was in the advanced station and everything else needed. Fritz began to drive us iron rations. The first one came over, and I said to my pal: That sounded good and like an American trolley car. That week up there out boys started the drive; there Fritz found out that Americans were fighters. The shells did not bother me                                                       the least bit. One evening they sent me to a certain place to see if there were any wounded Americans. They town was under heavy shell fire. The French guard stopped me and didn’t want me to go, but I went any way. Got to my destination and started back. I would hit the first about every three minutes. It was lots of fun, but I went on. Finally, I was standing watching them hit one two and three—that’s the one that knocked me cold. When I came to myself I was lying in a ditch. I got up and felt of myself and found that nothing was bit but my helmet—it had two big dents in it. I said to my good old helmet, well, it was the concussion that knocked me down. Well, I was lucky. I went back to my dugout. My pals asked me what was the matter; I told him, and about that time here came the gas. I was all in for a while but next morning I was on the job. We went back a few miles, then up again. I went boat riding in the river where we turned the squalls heads, and they have been going every since. Then we went back for a few days’ rest; then to another sector; stayed there a few days, and then we went nearly all over the France till we came to our present location. I must tell you about my trip. On rest we got a pass to go to any place we desired. Believe me, it was wonderful. I had the time of my life. It was scream from start to finish. The scenery, towns, people and the experience was wonderful. I expect to go again if I ever have a chance. Well, back to where I am now. We came to this place and have been here for 20, days. I haven’t had my clothes off since I have been here. The other fronts are palaces to this one. I believe it it’s the nearest place to hell I have ever been. Have had some very close calls. I am in a hole now, but it is all about over and we will have some rest. I tell you some parts of France are wonderful, but the battle fronts are torn all to pieces. The towns are absolutely shot to the ground. I was standing one evening looking into a valley watching a barrage. It was wonderful to see our boys creep along, making an advance. The people o f America can’t understand the horrors of way over here until they are in it. But after all I thank God I am living and I am coming back to good old America, the country I love, and spend their rest of my life with you and mother and my friends of good old Fannin county, the dearest place in the world to me, for their good deeds they are doing over here. Many times the Red Cross, too, for their good deeds over here. Many times the Red Cross came to me in time of need. I am going to stay over here until it is all over, and then my skirt are clear. We have the best company in the world. We are all just like brothers to each other, and our officers are like fathers to us. Captain Grimes, out company commander, is a Texas man and addresses us like a father. We all love him and confidence in him. This division has =the best bunch of fighting men in the army. They fear nothing. They kill Huns like killing flies in the summer time. I sure wish I could get a letter from home or from just anyone. You don’t know how much good it does us to get letter from the United States. Uncle Sam is feeing us good our chow is arranged in a way that it will do us the most good. After all life is a gamble and is worth living. We all say “over the top” and then go home. I am thankful that I am an American wearing a uniform.

            I must close. Take good care of yourself and don’t worry. I am right. Your true son,

 Claud O. Pearson. 27th Ambulance CO., A.E.F  

Letter, January 14, 1919
Honey Grove Signal

American Expeditionary Forces
January 14, 1919
T.W. Yant

My dear Uncle Tom and Aunt Sis:

Well, how is everybody at home? Fine and dandy, I hope. I am as well as could be, expected I guess. The war is over and I guess the people in the states are all in better spirits than they were a while back. I guess we feel better, but it doesn’t make much difference to a lot of us. We were having a lot better time while the war was going on. Well, Uncle Tom, I will tell you just a little of my experience while in the lines. I have been on four fronts. First, at Chateau-Thierry as infantry-now you know that was an exciting time. This is a little poem we made up while we were on that front, when Belleau Wood was to be taken, or was being taken at the time.

To the east was Chateau-Thierry, West by east the river Marne;
To the south shell-scarred Belleau,
South by west the Paris Farm.
“Twas there we waited orders
In a field of ripening grain.
This the day was hell and slaughter,
This the night of death and pain.
Food was scarce and so was water,
One by one death set us free;
In the crimson slope of Belleau,
There in Hell’s own cemetery.
But at least we got our orders
To take the heights across the way;
Then New England they went over
While the bochc lay at bay.
Faces blanched, but no one faltered
As the column swung in line;
“Twas as “skirmishes,””guide center”
“Forward march” and “double time”
‘Twas a sight of long remembering
That gleaming line of steel,
As the boys, sweating and panting,
Charged madly across the field.
Down the hill and through the wire,
‘Cross a patch of trampled grain,
Through a hollow filled with bushes,
“Over the top” and on again.
‘Twas there we lost our major.
Like a Trojan in the fight,
He shouted as we passed him,
“Give them hell with all your might.”
On the way the line grew thinner,
But never once gave way.
One by one the guns were silenced,
One by one the gunners paid.
When at last the line went over
With a good old Yankee yell,
Word came by a runner:
“Heights are our and all is well.”

I think that is a pretty good one, don’t you? From Chateau-Thierry we went to St. Mihiel. From there to Argonne Forest, and then to the Meuse (Verdun). Well, that is from one end of the western front to the other. I guess this will be enough for this time. Hope I can see you all soon. I am now a Vitrey, France. Goodbye and good luck. With lots of love to all,

Yours as ever,
James R.Pirkey 

Robinson, Charles Huston; World War I Letter, November 24, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

     Camp Coetquidan, France, November 24, 1918.--Dear Folks: I will attempt to tell you a few things that have happened since I left the dear old U. S. A. To start out--On the night of July 31 we got up about 1 a. m., and went down to Long Island City, and there we took the boat up the river to Hoboken; went on our ship, the one we came across on. We went on about 11 o'clock a. m. on the Orizaba and sailed from port about 3:30 that afternoon. We had two or three destroyers and one cruiser. The first night out I caught guard; the next morning at daylight we had gotten out of sight of land. We got along all right until Sunday, August 11, when we ran into a nest of submarines. We had about 12 or 14 sub destroyers by  that time and fought them almost all  the afternoon. We destroyed four or five. It was some experience for us.   We landed at Brest, France, on August 12. Believe me, we were sure some glad boys to see land again. It sure was some peculiar country. We stayed in Brest six days, and then caught on of those dinky little  trains for Redon, France, where we stayed for about two weeks.  On the first of September we packed up for a 25-mile hike to Camp Coequidan (prononuced Quakerdan); there we  went through oversea training for the front, and were ready to go when the  war ended. Our infantry boys saw some real action, but we never got to see the front. I have been lucky since I have been in France; have not been sick at all. I cannot say when I will be home, but things look good to me over here.  I will be home "some fine day."

 With love to all,

Charles Huston Robinson      

Rowen, Stewart; World War I Letter, November 17, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

Stewart Rowen Tells of Trip Across. Also of England and France.

Somewhere in France, November 17, 1918.—Dear Mr. Lowry: Just a short letter today to let you know I’ve arrived safe and sound in “Sunny France.” We landed at an English port, then came to France. I will try to give you a short sketch of the trip from the time we left “an Atlantic port” until we got here. When the word came that we were going to the port of “embarkation” everybody was excited. When we reached the port our ship was there and we marched aboard. In a little while the anchor was hoisted and we pulled out for sea. We had not been out very long until I got seasick and stayed sick until we landed. I always thought I wanted to be a sailor, but the army for me. On a train you pass towns, cities, scenery, etc.; on the ocean you see nothing but water. It is always the same color. Let me describe sea sickness.  Just imagine turning around and around for about one million times, getting dizzy, sick at your stomach, it comes up, your mouth flies open and you have sea sickness. You care for nothing at all. We saw some whales on the trip, but no submarine. The sea was very rough for the last five days. The ship would go to one side then the other. A fellow could start across deck carrying a pan of food, the ship would jump straight up, he would go to one side and the pan to the other. It was funny; at least it is now, but not then. After landing in England we stayed at a rest camp awhile. I liked that. We ate and slept. It is a nice camp. The part of England we saw was very pretty. Green farms, hills, old castles and houses form a pretty picture.. You can never tell when you are in the country. I go to see several of the old castles and they have quite a history. The roads are fine. They have been built hundreds of years and are sure fine. We go to see the English walnut trees. The nuts were not quite dry enough to gather. There are a great many sheep there. There was one herd of black ones; looked like it had about 200 in it. The people take their time; they do not hurry through life. The English money had us balled up. The pennies, half pennies, shillings, crowns, etc., kept us guessing. The store-keepers get all of your purchases before them and then figure the total. Their trains are different from ours. They are a great deal smaller, but they get up and go. I understand they make between 50 and 60 miles an hour.

            Now for France. It is a very pretty country. Grapes and wine are the chief products. Nearly all the old castles and farms houses have wine cellars. If you go to a farm house and ask for a drink they will give you wine instead of water. The old castles have quite a history. There is one especially; it has the moat around it and the drawbridge that can be raised in time of an enemy attack. They use oxen to plow and pull carts. They make about a mile an hour. Lots of the people wear wooden shoes.  I don’t see how they keep them on. It is a common sight to see an old woman driving her geese home. Now you see an old man leading a flock of sheep. They follow him like little dogs. If the chickens and ducks wish to walk into the house “it is all right.” The people sure are thrifty. They cut down the grape vines, let them dry and gather the twigs into bundles. They even use the leaves. Nothing is wasted. Their customs are the same as they were about six hundred years ago. We are resting here. That is, so many of us are billeted at each house. Five of us have a fine place to stay. Our family is “high-toned”—they rate a horse and buggy. Ha, Ha ! The French people are very patriotic towards the Americans. They are nice to us. There were great celebrations here when the armistice was signed. Everybody celebrated. Allied flags flew from all the buildings. They gave us fine old wine. I see by the papers there were great celebrations in the U.S. I wish I could have been there to celebrate with you.

            I must tell you about seeing some African soldiers. They are like our negros. They were a surprise to us. They were all well educated. They could discuss the different topics—knew about the U.S. and said “President Wilson ought to rule the world.” One of the boys asked “if they ate people in Africa.” The Africans said he had heard it said such used to be the case, but he had never seen it in his time.

            I saw some Scotch soldiers. I bet their knees get cold. We get to see a great many English Tommies and talked with them.  They told us about the “Front” and their experiences. Last but not least—“ha ha”—we saw the soldiers from Morocco. They are like our negros except they talk French. The African soldiers talk good English. I must also tell you about the Hindoos. They are funny. They are a very small people. We watched some eat. They reminded me of a pot of rats. The best reacher and fastest eater get the most. Their bread looked fine and we were going to eat some of it, but one of the boys told us how it was made and we did not care for it. They take a big pan of flour, mix water with it and tramp it with their bare feet.

I think I have told you all I know, so will close.

 Your friend, Stewart Rowen.

 Batter D, 127 F. A., A. P.O. 723, American Expeditionary Forces.

Russ, Gordon; World War I Letter, December 26, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

Bouillonville, France, Dec. 26, 1918 Dear sister and all:  Your most welcome letter received this afternoon and I was more than glad to hear that you are well. This leaves me fine and dandy and hope it will find you all the same. I sure do wish I could be there when you kill hogs, for I sure would enjoy it. But I don’t see any chance as our division has been placed in the army of occupation and we look to go to Luxemburg any time now. I sure would like to see all of Europe that I can while over here, for I won’t come back to see any more of it. Well sister as the censorship has been lifted I will give you a little sketch of my experience over here and where I have been. Left Camp Merritt July 30, loaded on transport U.S. S. Malory. Sailed from Hoboken on July 31, about 4 p.m. was attacked by subs; had quite an exciting time, but destroyers out a finish to them. They got credit for sinking two. Landed in Brest August 12. Camped in a field. Left Brest on dinky France August 19. Hiked over to Eivey about 14 miles and stayed in billets. We were the first American soldiers over here and the first people here ever saw. Had nice treatment. Went to Aisy one Sunday to go swimming. September 26 hiked to Nauts, took train to Chaligney, arrived here the 27th Hiked from here to Minorville.  Had to hike at night to keep under cover from airplanes. Took two nights to make it. Left Minorville October 2, hiked to Bonco and built the fourth army corps. October 16 left Bonco returned to Minorville. October 17 left Minorville for front in trucks. Were located in woods about mile and one-half from Montugeville. November 10 had been on the front 24 days. Was awakened early in the morning to go over the top and cut enemy barb-wire entanglements for the doughboys to advance through. Marched up to the front lines and laid there waiting to go over. Word came in they were about to sign armistice; drive held off. Laid in woods all day and moved down to St. Mariel farm in the evening and spept there that night in an old shelled up chateau. November 11, we got up this a.m. and soon Lieutenant came around and said armistice was signed to take place at 11 a.m. The last hour was marked by heavy artillery fire on our side. German artillery opened up strong about 9:30 a.m. and lasted for about half an hour. Were fairly quiet after that. Cessation of hostilities at 11 a.m. was greeted with cheers. Armistice saved us, as it was a particularly dangerous job we were to do. November 22 left our dugouts in the Forest Du Bois Le Petre, and moved to Bouillonville,  and so here we are. Guess our next move will be towards Germany or the United States. Hope it is U.S. This is just a little of my experience, will tell you all when I come home.

Your brother,

Gordon Russ.   

Sharp, Montie; World War I Letter, January 17, 1919
Honey Grove Signal 

Zeltingen, Germany, January 17, 1919.—The Honey Grove Signal.—Dear Sirs: I have come through the war without so much as a scratch, and now I am in the army of occupation helping hold down the Rhineland. The third battalion of the 36oth infantry to which I belong is now stationed at Zeltingen of the Mosel River, 100 kilometers from Coblenz and the Rhine. We arrived here on December 23, after a 350 kilometer march, which began near Verdun, France, extending through Luxembourg, a corner of Lorraine, the Duchy of Baden and into Rheinish Prussia. It was a long wearisome march and a permanent stop along with feather beds was a feature that appealed to all of us. Our present habitat is the picturesque town of Zeltingen on the right bank of the Mosel and hemmed in by the mountains. It is an old town, the streets of which seem to have been laid out along the wild boar trails that once led up and down the valley and sometimes wending their crooked ways down to the Mosel.  The houses are of stone, there-stored affairs and according to the French and German custom each house is the residence of the family—sometimes several families—and all livestock that the family happens too own. The town has a population of 2100, but when compared with a like town in the U.S. it is not in the same class. The stores are few and are run as side issues only. There isn’t a bank in town, nor a restaurant, and the win rooms even are scarce. The people are for the most part interested in the grape-growing industry. For ten months in the year they labor in the nearby vineyards which cling to the sometimes almost perpendicular sides of the mountains. The streets are narrow and high walled on either side. They are paved and when the troops march down or the populace streams by every morning to church the sound echoes and re-echoes into a mighty volume. The people present a well dressed, well-fed appearance. The German army uniform is common and the round caps are everywhere. There has never been any evidence of hostility toward us. Never was a conquered territory more peaceably occupied. The children are innumerable, incalculably noisy and our greatest admirers. As we march along they follow in our train. We are great circus, showing every day, rain shine—and they attend rain or shine. The major grows mighty peeved when the crowd grows too numerous.

            Our stay here is an indefinite one. One day rumor has it that we are to hike to Coblenz at an early date and them a later rumor refutes the earlier one and says that we shall remain in Zeltingen till our sailing date rolls round. I hope—and so do we all hope—that it won’t be many days before we are out on the rolling, misty Atlantic. Till then I am, Very truly yours,

Montie C. Sharp. 

Shelton, Clyde; WWI Letter, January 1, 1919
Honey Grove Signal 

Clyde Shelton

January 1, 1919 – My dear Mother.  As this is a new year, I will write you to let you know that I am well; feel better than I ever did.  Mother, I am as fat as a pig.  Sure hope you all are well.  That is all that worries me.  I haven’t heard from you since July.  I was taken out of the 39th division in October and sent to the 3rd division.  It was at the front.  I was put in the supply train.  They haul supplies to the front.  I made it fine, so you all can be happy.  The war is over and I can write you anything I want to.  I am in Germany now.  I am on the Rhine and will be here until peace is signed.  It won’t be long.  We came through in the trucks.  I saw the prettiest scenery I have ever seen.  The people here are nice to us – of course they have to be.  It will take me a good while to tell you everything I have experienced when I come home.  I hope you had a good Christmas.  We had a big dinner.  I am cooking for my captain and lieutenant.  It won’t be long until I come home, and I am still expecting that turkey dinner.

            I will close; rest easy until I come home.

                                                            Your son,

                                                                        Clyde Shelton  

Shelton, Clyde; WWI Letter, January 19, 1919 (Letter #2)
Honey Grove Signal

 January 19, 1919 --Dear Mother-- I'll answer your letter I received two days ago, the first I have gotten from home since July. Got my Christmas box and enjoyed it very much, but my letters was the best Christmas I ever had. I feel like a new soldier. I am well; hope you all are the same.

     You said some of the boys had come home from the camps. Guess they think they had a hard time, but they don't know what a soldier life is and they had better be glad of it.

     We are having a good time now, and we sure deserve one, for it is the first good time we have had since we left the states. I have sure been bowling the jack since I got here. I have been cooking for the officers. I am now cooking for my company. I have a good job. I cook three meals and my pal cooks three, then I can sleep or go anywhere I want to. They told my yesterday that they were going to give me a pass next week to Paris, France; that is about 200 miles from here. Paris is some city, something like New York. I weigh about 190 pounds; that is what cooking will do for a man. Kellie wanted to know if I was in any fights. I must say I was. If you all read the paper you will see whether the third division was in any battles or not. The third supply train was right in with the division. I hauled ammunition up to the front lines right by the big guns. I can tell things when I get home that will seem almost impossible, but I made it almost without a scratch and I am proud it is over, so you can rest easy about me for I will make it all right, and I hope I will be home soon. Don't know when I will be home, but saw where the married men would be sent home first. There is a boy in my company that was raised with Uncle Nick White's boys.

     Don't be uneasy about me. I hope to see you all soon.

Your son,

 Clyde Shelton

Shelton, Rufus A.; WWI Letter
Honey Grove Signal 

An Unofficial Hero

   Corporal Rufus Shelton was a Fannin County boy who fell in France.  In a pocket of his uniform the following letter was found, addressed to his mother. 

Dear Mother:

I am writing these few lines that in case I do not return you may know how I feel about the war.  Mamma, we are about to enter into the first drive that the United States has made in the war and I’m sure it will be a great success – in fact I know it will.  There are some of us who will not live through it, but, Mamma the reason I am writing you these few lines is to let you know that I am willing to give my life and more if I could I would give my life gladly and I think very little of the man who would not.  For me to fall on the field of honor I know would hurt you but not like it would if you knew I was not giving  my life freely for my country and that I am leading a better life – a life that when the Lord calls me I am ready to go.   Mother, we may not meet on earth again, but some day we will meet and there will be no sorrow there.  And, if I go mother, in my last minutes on earth my thoughts will be on the dear little mother who has fought the battles of life for the last fourteen years – long years to raise me to where I am now.  I have gone through many hardships since I have been over here that did not look like I could go through, but I went through o.k. and I am glad I have.  I have always tried to do my duty and be as cheerful as I could.  It does not matter what hardships I have gone through I could not compare them with yours or what you have suffered for me.  I know I am not worth half the trouble you have endured for me, but if I had lived to come back one aim in life for me was to come back and show the world that I could be somebody, and most of all to show mother how much I love here.  With love to mother, I remain your son.  God keep and bless you till we meet again.

Corporal Rufus Shelton

(Note:  Rufus Shelton was killed in action during World War I on the western front on May 28, 1918.) 

Shipman, H. S.; WWI Letter, September 2, 1918
Honey Grove Signal 

From H. S. Shipman

A.     E. F., France, September 2, 1918.

–My dear Father:  I am still wondering if you are well and o.k. everything is still moving; many sights, some thrills.  Fritz has a new type of aeroplane; they are 142 feet wings with a 72-foot from nose to tail; have room for a machine gun to shoot from the batton; carry four men and a quantity of bombs; but the boys get one this morning.  We have plenty of medicine for him and know how to serve it; and if they don’t come across with a part of that kraut we are going to slip him a few extras. C?

            What is the outlook for a cotton crop, and is corn good?  How do people feel about the war, and what is the general tone of the papers? Take your map and study the mountains around Toul.  Most of the peasants wear wooden shoes here.  I have been in one of their factories.  With love for you and family, I am, your son,

            H.S. Shipman.      


Shipman, H. T.; WWI Letter, August 5, 1918
Honey Grove Signal 

Short Note from France.

            Somewhere in France, August 5, 1918. –Dear Sister; Received a real dear letter from you, and also Fred, and was very much gratified to know he was improving. I am well and feel fine, and can tell you all more when I see you than I can write, for paper and pen are not sufficient to express my thoughts of what I have seen.  This is a very pretty country, but rough, with rock buildings and covered with rock, water piped from springs and hillsides to the towns white rock roads, and two wheels on a wagon with shares and one horse or oxen, old people working in the fields. They grow in this part of the state oats, wheat, Irish potatoes, and different kinds of hay.  They have plenty of wine, but it does not taste good to me.  Give my regards to all.

            Your Brother,      

            H.T. Shipman.

Hdqrs 345 M.G.B’n American Expeditionary Forces, France.

Simmons, Jesse A.; World War I Letter, October 9, 1918 (Letter #1)
Honey Grove Signal 

October 9, 1918 – I will try and answer your letter that I got a few days ago; sure was glad to hear from you.  This leaves me o.k.; hope all of you are the same.  Guess you think I have forgotten you as I haven’t written in quite a while.   I got the baby’s picture all right—sure am proud of it.  This is some country, and I have seen lots of it too.  It must have been a pretty place before the war, but they have us in a muddy hole now.   We are staying in a small town.  I have seen the front alright, and have seen some exciting times, but I am still all together.  My hair has stood right straight up on my head a few times.  I am coming back to Honey Grove some of these days, and it won’t be long, either; think I will get to eat Christmas dinner at home; hope so any way. 

            No, I haven’t a French girl yet.  This language is sure hard to learn. 

                        Goodbye for this time.  Your loving brother,

                        Private Jesse A. Simmons 

Simmons, Jess A.; World War I Letter; October 14, 1918 (Letter #2)
Honey Grove Signal  

Jess A. Simmons 

France, October 14, 1918 – W. H. Simmons – Dear Father:  I will try and write you a few lines today.  This leaves me o.k.; hope it will find you all the same.  It looks like it might rain most any time right now.  I have all of you bested when it comes to talking to the ladies.  I can talk to them and they don’t know what I am saying and I don’t know what they say.

            Well, I have been up on the front; sure saw some sights, too, believe me.  Saw lots of fighting, for I was right in the think part of it.  Never got a scratch.  We never lost very many men.  Believe me, Uncle Sam has sure got some fighting boys over here and they are not afraid to do it either.

            Yes, I get the Signal all right.

            Guess I better close for this time.  It is just about time for dinner; better come over for chow with us.  Don’t worry about me, for I am all right

                                                             Your loving son,

                                                            Private Jess A. Simmons,

                                                            Battery A, 129 F.A., American Expeditionary Forces   

Simmons, Jesse A.; World War I Letter November 16, 1918 (Letter #3)

Honey Grove Signal 

W. H. Simmons – Dear Father:

            I will answer your letter that I received a few days ago.  Sure was glad to hear from you once more.  This leaves me well; hope it will find you all the same.  It is rather cold here this morning.  There was some ice.

            Well, the war is over.  There isn’t any fighting going on; everything is quiet.  They are having riots in Germany, I hear.  Guess they are about to starve out.

            Sure is bad about Otis Gray dying.

            Guess they had some times over there when they heard the armistice was signed.

            Yes, I get the Signal every once in awhile.  Guess I have gotten all the letters you have written to me.

            I have been in a few battles; seen a few exciting times, too, believe me.

            Well, I guess I had better close for this time.  So goodbye. 

Your son.  Jesse A. Simmons  

Simmons, Jesse A.; World War I Letter, December 9, 1918 (Letter #4)
Honey Grove Signal  

Somewhere in France, December 9, 1918.—W.H. Simmons- Dear Father: I will try to answer your letter that I got a few days ago; sure was glad to hear from u all once more. This leaves me o.k.; hope it will find you all the same. This sure is some muddy place. It don’t rain very hard, but it tries to rain most of the time. Sure hope the influenza has stopped there by this time. Guess they did have sometimes. Guess they did have some time there when they heard of the armistice being signed. There sure was a happy bunch of boys over here. Was on the front when it was signed. Guess you heard about the Turner boy getting killed, the one that lived at Petty. I was pretty close to him when he got killed. The people are beginning to move back to the towns and places that they left. We are in a small town. It has been shot up some. They don’t have any wooden buildings un this country. Don’t believe it is any colder here now than it is there, but guess it gets pretty cold here in the winter time. Have seen just about all this country that I want to see don’t know when will get back to the U.S.A., but hope it won’t be very long.

Your loving son,

Jesse A. Simmons   

Smith, Ivan; WWI Letter, January 31, 1919

Honey Grove Signal 

From a Colored Soldier Boy

Ivan Smith 

Longwy, France, January 31, 1919 – Mrs. Virginia Smith. – Dear Mother:  I received your letter a few days ago and was more than glad to hear from you.  This leaves me well and I hope it will find you all the same.  Glad to know that you all got over the influenza.  I got paid off last Sunday, and I got eighty-one dollars.  I would rather not have had it, but they paid me and I could not refuse.  You ask me what we are doing.  We are policing up behind the war.  You see I can’t tell you, but if you all did know what we are doing I don’t know what you would think.  I will bring you something nice back if I ever get to come home.  I will have my photo made soon and send it to you.  We are in a town now that was not shot up, so we can get anything that we want, but everything is awful high.  I have got some German money that I found and some more souvenirs.  I wish I could tell you when I will be there, but I don’t know, but hope it will be soon.  I hated to hear about two of Eddie’s brothers being dead.  Eddie is sick.  He went to the hospital before Christmas; have not heard any more from him.  Will close.

                                                                                     Your son,

                                                                                    Ivan Smith   

Smith, Walter; World War I Letter, January 4, 1919 
Honey Grove Signal 

Saturday night, January 4, 1919 – Dear Wife Mary: This is some little old place in Germany. I don’t know the name of the town. We just blowed in here yesterday. We are here for only a few days to do some guard duty. Had some letters from you before I left Kinheim; was tickled to death to get them. You are real sweet to write me so often. Do you remember one year ago tomorrow we bought our new furniture and went to real house-keeping. How happy we were then and now thousands of miles apart. But I am happy to know I have one like you waiting for me at home. It is hard to stay away from you so long, but it will be grand when I do get back there, won’t it? I showed your picture in the button to the old lady where I stayed. She thought that was the cutest thing she ever saw. Every time any one would come in she would almost undress me trying to show them that picture and all the others, too. She is an awfully good old soul and asked me lots of questions about you; wanted to know if you could cook good things to eat and if you could sew on a machine. She almost taught me to speak Dutch. I can make them understand when I want waffles or something extra to eat.

Now, listen, Mary: I don’t like the way you talk about my mustache. You don’t know how cute they are or you wouldn’t care for me wearing them. You know how I used to hate those old “tubby” shoes, and you just kept wearing them? Well, I would say we are even. But I don’t have any mustache, so you are still ahead.

Tell Mother Swain I have read the Testament through since I have been here. I tried to read a chapter every day, but some days the shells fell so fast and so close it kept me busy dodging them. I guess she will say that was the time to read, and it was, and also time to dodge. But, thank God, that is all over and I want to forget it. We were under shell fire from August 18 till November 11. Sometimes it was light and at other times it looked like it was impossible for anything to live under it. But by the help of God and the prayers of you, Mother Swain and others, I am all together and not a scratch. I was captured Saturday, the 25th, but escaped that night, and by crawling four or five miles I made it back through our lines before daylight. 
I sprained my back while getting off a train and was in a hospital about a week. I went A.W.O.L., and come back to company and boys. Will tell you all when I get home.

Mary, I do wish you could see some of these Dutch beds. They are about four feet long and three wide. I am sleeping with Roy Chaney, of Honey Grove. He is six feet four and by the time he coils up in bed you can imagine what kind of a place I have to sleep in. We have a feather bed to sleep on and another to cover with.

We have been told that the 89th and 90th divisions would not receive any mail after January 1st, but just keep on writing; I’ll get it sometime.

God bless and keep you for me.
Your soldier boy,

Walter Smith     

Tatum, Noel; WWI Letter, November 1, 1918
Honey Grove Signal 

From a Colored Soldier 

[The Signal has printed many letters from our white soldier boys, but here is one from a colored boy who did his bit in winning the war.  In this connection we are proud to state that all the white boys, as well as the officers, have borne testimony of the loyalty of the colored boys to their country and of their bravery in battle].

 Somewhere in France, November 1, 1918 – Dearest little Mother:  With pleasure I address you a few  lines to let you know that I arrived safe overseas and had a very pleasant trip across.  Now, mamma, you must not worry about me, for I am well and happy.  I am with a fine bunch of officers and they are nice to us and take the very best care of the men of our Company.  France is a very pretty country, but a little odd.  I wish you was with me on this trip to see how pretty France is.  I know you would enjoy it.  Now, I hope you are all well.  Tell grandmother she will not know me when I come home – I am as fat as a pig.  Well, I am learning to talk French; will soon be a real Frenchman.  Ivan Smith is still with me.  I have not seen any of the home boys yet.  When you write be sure and send me Theodore’s address.  Say, do you ever hear from Roscoe, and is he still in Camp Travis?  Mamma, when have you seen Frances and Mary Alice?  Whatever you do, see that they want for nothing now.  Tell little Lige I will write him soon.  I am very busy now.  Give me love and best wishes to Shorty, Uncle Lige, Mack and Shaw.  Tell Shaw and Mack there is plenty of wine in France; they had better try swimming across, as there is nothing doing in that line in Texas.  I will write you a long letter soon, mamma.  You must write me three times a day, so I can hear from you often.  Kiss grandmother for me and tell her to pray for me.  I think I will be home soon.  Bye, bye.  Answer at once.

                                                                                    Your son,

                                                                                    Noel Tatum  

Taylor, Ray; WWI Letter, February 2, 1919
Honey Grove Signal 

Ray Taylor

Elleny, Germany, February 2, 1919

--Dear Folks:  How are you all?  Hope you all are well.  It is pretty cold here.  We had a snow Thursday, not a big one, but the snow is still on the ground.

            Suppose you have gotten some of my letters by now.  I have never heard from any one since I left the states, but think I will pretty soon.  Some of the boys out of the 34thDivision have heard from their folks.  The 12th of this month is my birthday; don’t expect to get very many birthday presents.  I hope I won’t have to spend another birthday over here.  Don’t know when I will get back; don’t hear much about getting to go back.  It depends on the peace terms, I guess.  Don’t see any prospect of getting back in time to start a crop.  Would like to be there to help start a crop.  Suppose most of the boys in the states are home by now.  Tell them all to write to me.  I am thankful for the health I have had over here, and believe the good Lord is hearing our prayers.  I hope and pray that He will bountifully bless me while I am over here.  I still read my testament every chance I have.  I have been to church twice since I came over.  Went today, but there was no preaching.  Think I will get some mail pretty soon.  Write when you can.  I am doing fine.  Love to all from your son,

                                                                                                Ray Taylor   

Taylor, Ray; World War I Letter, March 2, 1919 (Letter #2)
Honey Grove Signal

Nehren, Germany, March 2, 1919-- 
Dear Mother and All; Received two more letters today. Sure was glad to hear from you all. this leaves me fine and doing well. I received a copy of the dear old Signal and I sure put some reading; read it from top to bottom, advertisements and all. I don;t know when i will get home. the divisions are booked up until June, and the 4th is not on the list.; don't see any chance of being home any time soon. I know you all need me to help with the crop. Don't guess I will get off unless they relieve the farm boys.

Mother, I have a clean recorded have not been in the guard house or anything like that- haven't even had to carry a heavy weight. If a solider does carry a big rock from three to eighteen hours, owing to the nature of the deed. Nor have I gotten bawled out yet. I always try to do the right thing. We sure get plenty to eat now. We have coca instead of coffee for supper now; had pork for supper last night.

Spring is opening up over here. The little bushes are budding and the birds are singing their spring songs. They say spring opens in Germany March 3rd. Haven't had much bad weather; not as bad as it usually is back there. It has been raining most every day for two or three weeks not; was on last Saturday and Sunday. I dislike to be on guard Sunday.

Don't worry about me. We ought to be thankful I was not in the hard battles over here. the Lord has blessed me. I get home sick. But, I just trust the Lord for my safe return to my dear old home. Not a day passes but what I think of my church and Sunday school and offer prayer for help to live a Christian life.

Write me often.

Your son, 
Ray Taylor  

Thompson, Will; WWI Letter, October 24, 1918
Honey Grove Signal 

 Headquarters 11th Sanitary Train, Somewhere in France, October 24th, 1918. Dearest Allie: I will surprise you with a short note to assure you that I am well and in good spirits. I have been here for the past few weeks. Have been very busy since arriving in this country, or would have written you sooner. I have been on the go almost ever since we landed. Have traveled over there bigger part of France, and will say that it is the most beautiful country in the world. I have passed through some very old towns and villages. I was in a church a short time ago that was over six hundred years old. Was said to have been built two hundred years before Columbus discovered America.

            I suppose there are very few young men to be seem around Honey Grove these days, as the new draft catches a good many of them. If Joe hasn’t already arrived in France you can tell him he had better hurry on if he wants to get into the Heine drive. We drove them back about thirty miles a few days ago, and I have lots in store to tell you about the real battle front when I return to America. I have seen many dead Germans lying on the battle field, and on one occasion I saw them stacked as you would cord wood. This I saw in a small village. He Germans had stacked them in preparation for burial, but we crowded them to that they were forced to leave them unburied. The Germans try very hard to dispose of their dead, so as not to let the enemy know just what their causalities are. They put them in shell holes and cover them. This doesn’t leave the sign of a grave. They are also very trickly about planting mines in conspicuous places where our boys will come along and move something and explode the mine. Some days ago there was a burial force working in a field that the Huns had been driven over the day before; they found a German officer, and prepared his grave, two of the boys attempted to move the officer’s body and were blown to pieces by a mine that was attached underneath the body. I have had several high explosive shells to hit pretty close to me; on one occasion I was almost covered with dirt from one of these shells. There were the passed over just a minute ago. I heard them explode away over the hill. It is not very often that these shells hit anyone. You can always hear them whistling through the air, and if u lay flat on the ground you are not apt to get hurt, even though it hits near you. We are supposed to stay back out of range of these big guns with the field hospital, but on several occasions we have been under shell fire.

            I am in Train Headquarters and attached for duty in the supply office. We have twenty-four big heavy cargo trucks that I am on the road with most of my time bringing up supplies for the train. You should see me some times when I am on the road. Some days I get covered with mud from head to foot it rains about five out of seven days all through the winter months in this country. I have to wear rubber hit boots, leather and slicker most all time. I have so far kept dry and warm. That is one thing Uncle Sam is trying to do. He gives plenty and the right kind of clothing for this rainy and muddy climate. We also have plenty of good food. The men who are on the fighting front are getting the best food that is being issued by the government –or at least it seems that way to me. I have been eating with Uncle Sam for almost three years, and I have had more hot biscuits and fried steaks in the past few weeks than ever before since enlisting the army.

            I have to start early in the morning on a long trip after supplies. It sometimes takes two days to make this drive, if the roads are very slippery and muddy, or if traffic is heavy; you have to go very slow. I have at times been on the road when there were trucks strung out for miles, going both ways.

 You should see the little house that I’ve been sleeping in for the past few days. It is a half dug-out and is located in a pine forest and is so well camouflaged that you could not tell it was a house if you were a few hundred yards away, The interior is lined with heavy can matting which makes it very warm and comfortable quarters. It was recently occupied by some German officers. We also have a good piano and a German violin in one of our beautiful little huts. The Heines were crowded so close that they had to leave many things that afford as much pleasure and comfort. We have several men in our organization who have professional talent in music. We have with us one young man who is known throughout the globe, with his violin. It was only a short time before the war that he toured Germany, France and England. Our little musical studio still retains its German name, which we found painted across the top of the door. It is “Villa Edith.” I don’t know why such name would be in a battlefield, but it is possible and highly probable that there have been many girls with innocent and pure hearts kept, against their wills, by these barbarous brutes, I have heard the information has been obtained from prisoners that German soldier were supplied through authority of been, wines, and women the later from Belgium.

            I supposed there has been lots of peace news floating round in the U.S.A. We have, from the news that we get over here, through several times that it was near the end, but it looks now like we were, going to fight to a finish, and believe me, it takes the Americans to make these Heines throw their hands high in the air and holler “Kamerad.”

            Let me explain just what a sanitary train is. And then you will know its functions. It has four filed hospitals, four ambulance corps and a personal of 954men. It is something new in the army, and anybody who has not seen service does not know much of them.

            Tell the folks that a few words from home, or near home, are very hear-cheering to the American soldiers in the trenches. Your very true friend, Will Thompson                  

Tucker, Allie; WWI Letter, December 11, 1918
Honey Grove Signal    

December 11, 1918

Dear Mamma: -- Well I just received your letter and was glad to hear that you were all well.  This leaves me well.  I got a letter from Ruby yesterday.  You ask me if I had had the “flu?”  No, but I thought I was taking it when we came across but wasn’t.  You wanted to know if I had received your letters.  Yes I have gotten all of them and sister’s pictures too.  You wanted me to write a long letter, but I can’t think of much to write, but will be home before long then I can tell you lots.  I may be back by the last of January.  If we don’t get disappointed this will be the last letter you will get from me until I get back in the good old U.S.A.

            Good bye.  Your son,

Allie Tucker   

Waters, Albert A.; WWI Letter, September 8, 1918
Honey Grove Signal 

From France

September 8, 1918 – Dear Home Folks:  I am doing well and have seen lots of the country since I landed; have moved twice.  The little old trains look odd by the side of ours.  But they sure have got good railroads.  Have just received the letter you wrote the 3rd of August and got the ones you wrote the 6th and 7th of August last Friday.  I am sure sorry that it hasn’t rained there in so long, and that you all have to haul water.  There sure is lots of blackberries here and as large as I ever saw.  Do wish you had some of them to can.

            I have been wanting to write and answer your letters sooner, but I did not have any envelopes, but I managed to get one awhile ago. 

            It started to raining some time last night, and has been raining most all the morning; sure is a cold rain, but we have a good place to stay. 

            Tell all of my friends and relatives hello; that I am going to do my best.  Think I will be back before long.

Your son and brother,

Albert H. Waters,

Battery C, 133rd, F. A. American Expeditionary Forces, France, via New York

Waters, Albert; WWI Letter, October 4, 1918 (Letter #2)
Honey Grove Signal

Albert Waters

Somewhere in France, October 4, 1918 – Dear Homefolks:  I received your letter today that was written September 11.  So glad you are all well and getting along so well gathering the crop.  I think I will be there to help thresh the wheat next summer.  Guess I have gotten every letter you have written; have received eight or ten.  Wish I could hear from home every day.  The letters I got yesterday were just 21 days coming.

            You asked what kind of games we have over here.  They play foot ball, base ball, tennis; but our regiment hasn’t organized a team yet.  The games over here do not interest me like they do in dear old Texas.

            I have just eaten some mighty good candy – 30 cents a pound.  Jam costs 33 cents a can.

            I am feeling fine and enjoying splendid health.  All of the boys are looking better since they came over here.  They tell me I am getting fat.

            Believe me, I sure enjoy the letters from home and my old home paper.  I notice in the Signal that Mr. Whitley was elected sheriff, and you can tell them all he is the man that just fits the chair.  If I had been there he would have gotten one more vote.

            I am sending you a Christmas package coupon so you can send me a present.  I will appreciate any thing from my old home this Christmas, but I think I will be there by spring and then we will have the big turkey.  Don’t the papers look good now?

            I am letting my mustache grow, as it is the style.  The French think we are little boys if we don’t have mustache.  As ever,

                                                            Your loving son,

                                                            Albert Waters

Battery C, 133 F. A., American Expeditionary Forces  

Watts, Bedford; WWI Letter, November 14, 1918
Honey Grove Signal 

Last Letter from Bedford Watts

[Bedford Watts, a Honey Grove boy, died in France November 20, from wounds received in action, a notice of his death appearing in last week’s paper.  The letter, which is printed below, and which was written to a friend, was perhaps the last letter written by Bedford.  In this letter, Bedford said he would be “homeward bound” in a few days.  The words seemed prophetic, for in six days the soldier boy went to his home beyond]. 

Base Hospital #202, American P.O. No. 797, Orleans, France, November 14, 1918—Dear Miss Stockton:  Am printing a few lines to you today to tell you I have kept my promise I made to my dear sister and you—that I would join a church.  Chaplain L. B. Briggs, an army chaplain, baptized me last Tuesday, and he wrote to the church at home for my membership certificate. 

            I have some unpleasant news for you.  I was wounded October 10.  A piece of shrapnel hit me in the leg, and I was at once taken to the hospital at Orleans.  I was getting along pretty nicely for awhile.  But things turned.  A few days ago the doctors decided that the best thing and the only thing to do was to amputate my leg, and they did.  Although I have quite a lot of pain, I am making the best of it and it will not be long before I will be hopping around with a pair of sticks and having a good time around town.  Don’t worry about me.  I will be all right in a short while, and it will be only a matter of a short time that I will be “homeward bound.” 

            My new address is at the heading of this letter.  When you write to me address it in that way.  Hope everyone is well.  Will write to you again soon.

Your sincere friend,

Bedford Watts  

Weaver, Oscar; World War I Letter, nd
Honey Grove Signal

 A letter from Oscar Weaver 

Dear Uncle and Family:  How are you all tonight?  Fine I hope.  I got your letter today; sure was glad to hear from you.  You wanted me to tell you how I liked France and the army and fighting.  If a doughboy ever goes to hell it will be like taking a summer vacation.  I haven’t time to write and tell you much, as I have to get ready for inspection.

The French seem to like the wooden shoes, as they all wear them.  They have started farming some, plowing with an ox and two horses and sometimes a cow, or any old thing.  I think they work everything here but cats, and they would probably work them to milk carts if it weren’t for their fondness for milk.  I notice some of the boys say they like over here, but that is hard to believe.  The only time the sun shines in France is at night, and then it is “father’s son”.  We have part of the nights to ourselves.  We can visit the YMCA, if there happens to be such a luxury close enough.  I have learned three French words and I have practiced on them until I almost have lock-jaw.  I don’t see how the French ever get their tongues twisted in such shapes.  You said for me to bring some souvenirs; how would a box of hand grenades do?  I think it will have to be made of steel the way things look now – anything made of wood would be in the same fix old Rip Van Winkle’s rifle was when he woke up by the time I get home. 

Love to all.  Answer soon,

                                                                                                            Your nephew,

                                                                                                            Oscar Weaver 

Weems, George; WWI Letter, September 16, 1916
Honey Grove Signal

 George Weems

 Somewhere in France, September 16th, 1916

Mrs. Lelia Hill – Dear Auntie:  Will answer your most highly appreciated letter, which I received today.  Was glad indeed to hear from my old auntie.  I am not doing anything but sitting around feeling blue; nothing to do to pass off the time.  No place to go, so you see how I am “hooked up.”  I have just come up from the washing place.  Stayed down there and watched the French women wash until I got tired.  Believe me, they sure have some way of washing their clothes.  They boil them while washing.  They have a place like a pool, walled up with rocks.  The water runs in from the bottom, and that is what they use for a washing pond.  You can go down any time in the day and see old women lined up around the pond washing clothes.  They use a plank to beat out the dirt, where the Americans use a washing machine and tubs.  They are as far behind with everything as they are with their washing.  They have threshing machines here, but they are awful machines – these old time tread machines, descriptions of which you will find in the old geographies.  All of the houses are built of brick and mortar.  The village in which we are staying has an old church that was standing when Napoleon was in existence, so you see we are in a very old village.  Nothing modern about it.

            Hoping to hear from you real soon.

                                                            Your nephew,

                                                            Corporal George W. Weems.

Weems, George; WWI Letter, September 15, 1918 (Letter #2)
Honey Grove Signal 

Somewhere in France, September 15, 1918 -- Miss Birdie Wright -- Dear Auntie: What are you all doing tonight. As it is Sunday night, I am passing off the time writing. I haven’t anything to do from 7 at night until 5 in the morning. We are back in the rear of the western front, training, and believe me we sure are getting some training, mostly bayonet exercises and wearing the gas mask. When the division I am in starts to the front we are going right through to Berlin in time to eat Christmas dinner and go to the Christmas trees, so you see we are going to step when we start, and I don’t think it will be very long.

            Well, Birdie, you better not want to come to Europe, for you would have to walk everywhere you went. If you couldn’t ride on a bicycle you would be out of it, for nobody rides in a vehicle. The wagons are all two-wheel wagons, but they have good roads. I don’t know what kind of roads you would call them, anyway, the French people break up rocks and put over the roads. You can start out walking from one village to another and see old, old men sitting astride a rock pile, breaking up rocks to put on the road. Everybody works in France. The old women, one hundred years old, will start down the road with their wooden shoes on, pushing a wheel barrow, a bottle of wine in one pocket and a loaf of rye bread over the arm, for their loaves of bread have holes in them.

            My candle is about to go out, so will close. With love to all,

            George Weems.

Address: Corporal George Weems, Co. H, 144th Infantry, American Expeditionary Forces.

Weems, George; WWI Letter, March 3rd, 1919 (Letter #3)
Honey Grove Signal 

??ichey, France, March 3rd, 1919.-- s. M. J. Wright.-Dear Grandmother: Will try and answer your letter tonight (Sunday), which I received yesterday and appreciated very much. It looks as if it will rain again tonight. It rained all the morning, clear off this afternoon, but it is impossible for the sun to shine twenty-four hours over here in "Sunny France." The cold never interferes with our training in this part of France where I am stationed; stays about the same all the time. I am about forty kilometers from Bar-sur-aube, where I trained before the war was over. Bar-sur-aube was our first place to train after arriving in France August 7th, 1918; stayed there until September 14th, when we left there for the front lines. We were loaded on some stock cars-about 30 soldiers to a car. You can imagine how sociable we were in there together. We rode five hours and detrained at Espernay, the largest champagne center in the world. Espernay was the first town we saw that had been torn up by the big German guns, mostly by air raids. After we had gotten off the train, we began to realize we were about to get where there was real war. We were in about 40 kilometers of the front, and we could hear the big guns making their daily music, but that wasn't bothering us at all, for we were wanting to get to some place and put up for the night, but we knew we were going to have to sleep on the ground. We got orders that we had to hike 12 kilometers from town before we could put up, and we all had full equipment.  Of course you don’t know what full equipment is like I do, but I knew I had to pitch it, so I did it just as well as if I had been in a good humor. Then we pitched our tents, and had to go to bed without much supper, because we couldn't have fire, as the enemy airplanes would have located the men and we would have bombed from the planes. The next morning we arose early (in the rain-it would have been impossible for the sun to be shining in France) and hiked all day in the rain, stopping at a place called Juingwy, where we stayed three days and rested; and here where we were in our first air raid. After our three days’ stay at this place we started for the front under full pack- gas mask, helmet, and overcoat on besides- so you see we didn’t have very much to carry. But we got to the front quick enough anyway to satisfy me. Our first days’ experience of war was on the Hindenburg line five days after it had been broken. There is where I saw my first soldiers killed by the enemy; but saw lots of them there. We ate our lunch on Dead Man’s Hill at the Hindenburg line, but the worst of it all was that we were in shelling distance of the front, and we knew our next stop was the front. After dark we started up. That awful night I will always remember. We hiked for about twenty minutes and the Germans began to shell the road we were on, but we had to keep going. We lost some men, but went on into the lines and had orders to go over the top the next morning, so I began to realize I was right in the middle of war. We had to take Mont Blanc, which no one division had been able to take, but we took without a great loss. I did not feel very good going over the top.

Well, grandmother, I said I would not write anything about the war, but I have. I am lonesome tonight; no place to go, and as this village is so small there is no amusement of any kind.

March 13th.-As I am in the most wonderful city in the world will write a few lines here. I am now at Paris, France, and it is sure some city. You sure can get some experience here of all kinds. I will be here three days. I am going to try to see everything there is to see. I am going to Versailles tomorrow. President Wilson will be there. Want to see him one time for the novelty of the thing.

With love to you all, 

George Weems.    

West, John W.; World War I Letter, December 11, 1918
Honey Grove Signal

Balboa Park, San Diego, California, December 11, 1918. Dear Friends: I trust you will pardon me for having waited so long to write. Procrastination is a thief of time.

Events having been coming very rapidly since I was home on a furlough. I regret that I did not get to see active service. The dear old U.S.N. was just in readiness to meet the enemy when they threw up their hands and cried out—they preferred to be buried on land. We would have shown the patriotism and courage of the Blue Jackets that have won battles before us if we had only had a chance.

I was operated on for appendicitis on the 13th of November and I am now able to walk around the park by taking a slow gait. I reported for duty on the 9th of December, but was not able to carry on my work, and the doctor has granted me a sick leave, so I will be home to spend Christmas.
The boys are being mustered out rapidly, but it will be some time before all of us can return home. Hoping to meet many of you by Christmas, I remain,

Yours truly,
John W. West

Wilkinson, Joseph; World War I Letter, October 25, 1918 (Letter #1)
Honey Grove Signal

Somewhere in France, October 25, 1918

Dear Father and Mother:

I will write you again. I have not heard from you since August. Letters you wrote me at Camp Travis and Camp Mc Arthur I got after I landed over here. They were forwarded to me. Don’t worry about me, for all is well, and I will be back some day. When I come back I will take care of you and mother. I can talk French pretty well. There are lots of pretty French girls. I will tell you of the different things I have seen since I have been over here when I come home. I hope you made a good cotton crop, as cotton was a good price.

I am living a Christian life, so if I get killed or die over here I will be saved. Pray for me.
You ought to see me dodge bullets; you would laugh at me. It is sure exciting when they are bursting around me. I have been gassed, but I think I will pull through. I am a tough nut and can stand a whole lot, so don’t worry about me. All Americans are brave. 

Don’t forget to help the Red Cross. They come and get you when you are gassed or wounded; don’t forget them. If you have $2, give them one. Buy Liberty bonds. If you all will stand by us we will clean up Germany. We already have them about cleaned up. A Fritz can’t stand if when an American gets after hem; he runs. Tell them to cheer up and be ready to come over any time. They will see lots of sights.

Love to father and mother,
Private Joseph Wilkinson

Wilkinson, Joseph T.; WWI Letter, January 31, 1919 (Letter #2)
Honey Grove Signal 

Joseph T. Wilkinson

Pereguenx Dordogue, France, January 31, 1919 – Dear Homefolks:  I have not been with my company since October 12; have been in the hospital; came from the front trenches to the hospital.  You all don’t know how much good it does for any one to get mail from home, especially when he is in the hospital.

            France is some country.  There are some sights here, especially at the front.  I have seen lots of the world, but the U.S.A. for me.  I don’t think it will be long before I will be back over there.  We are having some very cold weather here.  Mother, don’t worry about me.  I will be home before long.  I will walk in when you are not expecting me, just as I have before.  Since I have been in the hospital I have been very sick, but am better, so don’t worry about me at all. I was only slightly wounded; in other words gassed.  I am Christian living right.  There is but one way to live, and that is to be Christian.  You all take care of yourselves and don’t worry about me.  Pray for me.

            There are lots of pretty French girls, and they like American boys.  I can speak some French.

            I guess you made a good deal out of your cotton crop.  I have $10,000 insurance - $5,000 for dad and $5,000 for mamma.  I have not forgotten you all.  I had a good Christmas; hope you did.  All of you speak well of the Red Cross; it sure is the solders’ friend.  Always help the Red Cross.

            Be sure and answer soon.

            Love to all.

                                                                                                Your son,

                                                                                                Joseph T. Wilkinson   

Williamson, Troy; WWI Letter, September 26, 1918

Honey Grve Signal 

From Troy Williamson
     In France, September 26, 1918 Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Newberry--- Dear Uncle and Aunt: Just received your letter and was more than glad to hear from you and to know that all of you are well. I am well and doing fine; don't have a thing to complain about now-- have a good place to stay. Was on guard last night, but that is not hard work, only a fellow has to be up most of the night.
     France is a pretty country, what I have seen of it. I have been in four different places since I landed, and the place where I now am is the best of all. Don't know how long we'll be here, but will be here several weeks I guess, for we will get all of our equipment here.
     You need not send the stamps you spoke of sending; I have some I had when I came across, but don't need them. It don't cost us a cent to send our mail back to the dear old U.S.A. Don't need any stamps at all.
     I have been expecting a letter from Allen and Fay, but haven't heard from them since I left Camp Bowie. 
     Has the school started or not? Guess if it hasn't it will before you get this letter; don't know how long it takes a letter to cross, but ought not to take very long. Would like to write a whole lot more, but can't. 
     With lots of love for you all, 
     Private Troy Williamson. 
Battery F, 133rd F.A., American Expeditionary Forces, France.

Wilson, Eugene A.; WWI Letter, November 15, 1918

Honey Grove Signal 

France, November 15, 1918 – My dear Father:  How are you today?  I am fine.  I feel like a new man.  I am very glad that you are getting along all right, and hope you will continue to.  I don’t know how long it will be before we can come home.  We have finished our work; we have whipped the Germans good.  They have given up, all in, and we have made a good job of it.  I am glad it is over.  Sure would like to see how they are cutting up over there.  Peace is here now and all the world is at rest, and it is a great thing to think of.  I was in the front lines when the hostilities ceased.  Sure was some glorious time when the fighting stopped.  It makes me feel fine to think I am still alive.  I guess we will come back as quickly as possible.  Put your arms around mother’s neck and say thank God, the boy is spared so long, and pray that I may return soon.                                                                                          Your son,        

                                                                                    Eugene A. Wilson