Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Grandma's First Husband - "Edith & I again tonight did most of the milking."

The largest part of the collection of letters that my grandmother, Anna Bell Barnhart, exchanged with her first Husband, James Calhoun, comes in March, partly because several of her letters to him survive. As noted in earlier blog entries, James was destroying most of the letters he received from his wife because he did not feel he had secure storage for them. As he wrote on March 1, “I wish I had been able to keep each one of the letter(s) you have written me but do not dare carry them about as some one will get them and read them.  Consequently I feel compelled to destroy them after I have kept them a few days and read them carefully.  I know you realize how I am situated.  All the property I now have is over in camp and open for the inspection of all so you can see how easy for people to get into it.” The March letters from his wife that survived likely were ones he brought home on his brief furlough at the end of the month (and after his hospital discharge, when he had a bit more control over his possessions at camp).

My grandmother of course was able to save all the letters. I have 75 very precious chapters of our love story put away in a place of safety up in the little room where I have our things.  I have 6 others which I haven’t put away yet as I always keep them for a few days and read and reread them.

James Health and Life at Camp Greene

James started the month still in the camp hospital. He spent another week there before he was finally discharged. But he continued to struggle with his cold throughout the month and into April.

He wrote on March 1 that “I feel good today but the doctor has not said for me to get out of bed yet.  I think he is afraid I would go to work as I did the last time he let me get up and get sick again.  He is going to keep me in bed until I am able to go out.  This morning he asked me if I would be able to go out soon.  I told him I felt well enough to go out now.…For dinner today I had a glass of milk, slice of toast, one soft egg and a dish of pudding.  The light rations are good here as they are partly prepared here at the ward but the regular rations are for people stronger than I. I had regular rations a couple of days while here and they were enough to make a well person sick."

On March 3, he reported that “This is my first day up since I went to bed from working in the kitchen.  The Dr. gave me strict orders this time to be careful about working. I feel funny when I stand on my feet.  I feel as though I would be unable to work for a week yet.”

James was in the hospital several more days but not bedridden. He was allowed to do some work in the kitchen but when the doctor found it made him quit that and threatened him with bread and water if he didn’t stay out.

He was finally discharged on March 7. His long hospital stay weakened him. It took him some time to get his strength back. He reported on March 16 that “My muscles are so sore from drilling that I can hardly move when I first start to walk.  I hope though to overcome that difficulty after a few more days.” He didn’t totally blame his hospital stay for this. His time in the orderly room in early February kept him from exercising and he later felt led to his illness that put him in the hospital.
Life and training at Camp Greene continued. On March 9, he reported “This morning we were taken to the gas house to learn to use a gas mask and to learn to distinguish different kinds of gas by their odor.  A number of us had not had instruction in the use of the gas mask so were not allowed to enter the room filled with gas but waited until the others had passed through the gas filled room and then we all marked back reaching the company street at about 10:30 AM.”
He was getting outside more once he left the hospital. On March 14, he noted that “The sun is making an impression on my face the past two days and my nose is peeling freely now.  A few days here will make us black like negroes.  When we came here early in the winter the white native population still had on some of the southern tan from the previous summer sun.”

On March 21, James wrote in his self-deprecating way about his promotion to Corporal: “No, I would rather that you would not address me as corporal because, corporal are made here every few days and are often some reduced to privates again.  I would rather that people did not know I had been made a corporal then if I am reduced they will not say I could not keep my job.  It is really much harder in time of war to keep such a position as men coming from civil life know so little about the army rules and so much is expected of them in such a short period of instruction.” He went on to comment on his health situation: “If I felt real strong I could keep up with the pace O.K. but as I am not so very strong it is pretty hard sledding.  My cough sticks to me and I get out of breath very easily.  If I could be in N.Y. a while I could get it to go away I think but the change of climate makes it hang on worse as it does with many of the boys.”

News from Home

James always thirsted for news from back home and commented on it frequently. He was particularly feeling homesick for spring back in the Catskills. In early March he wrote “You will soon begin to get some real spring weather up there and then hurrah! for sugar making.  I know I am going to be more homesick than ever when it comes time for spring up in New York and I am also going to feel more determined than ever not to let that homesick feeling get the better of me until the times comes when I can get home.”  

The Car

A discussion that James and Anna had in their letters during March concerned their car, Jershua. They debated back and forth about whether or not to sell it. They had sold it to Will and Vera Storie, but Anna wrote in early March that "Will and Vera do not want to buy the car, he says he hasn’t got the money.” She went on to write that “I sometimes feel that I want it here to use and then I think it will be a great deal better not to have it as you say the tires will rot and then the “juice” isn’t as free as water.  I do wish and trust you may get home and then you can do with the car as you want to.”

This whole discussion about the car shows how hard James and Anna were trying to accommodate each other. James wrote that “Certainly I think it would be nice to get the car and run it if you can for it only be careful and do not try any speeding.  Why need you ask me the car belong to you just as much as to me?” The incident also shows the frustration of communicating long distance by letter. Letters sometimes took a week to arrive. The last mention of the car comes from Anna: “I am almost sorry I mentioned selling the car as I believe you really wanted to keep it but agreed to sell it because you thought I wanted too.  This war is a nuisance, and no one knows how much suffering is caused by it but it must be for a purpose.” In the end, the car was sold after James went to France.  

This may be 'Jershua,' the car that Anna and James were discussing. There are three different cars in pictures from my grandmother's collection from this time, but in a blurry picture of the car being driven, the driver looks like James. So I think this likely is the car in question. 
Family issues

During March, Anna reports numerous contacts with James’ mother and siblings. James and Anna both feel the importance of connecting with each other’s families. Anna makes at least one visit to James’ mother and siblings in March. And from his letters, James has frequent contact with at least two of Anna’s siblings, Edith and Wilford. He did feel he went over the line a bit concerning Edith and wrote “I am going to stop teasing Edith because from what she said about Geo & his tatting I believe she resents it.  I wouldn’t have her angered at me for the world.  I used to tease you, as you know, but I had to discontinue that.” Anna wrote back that he shouldn’t worry about angering Edith.

James also expressed his happiness that Ralph was low on the draft due to being the primary breadwinner on the family farm (Ralph’s father died in 1916). James wrote “I bet Ralph feels pretty good about the way he came out in the draft.  I am sure I feel glad.  If I am one of the army boys yet that does not make me wish to see others in the service.  I am especially anxious to see all farmer boys stay on the farms.  They can do more to win the war working there than they could do in the army.”

Anna and James continue to exchange information about the family squabble with her Uncle John – John Miller, her mother’s brother. On March 2, he writes “I am sorry indeed that Uncle John’s people have no use for me.  I cannot remember when I wronged them and if I have unwittingly done so I am sorry.  I surely did not mean them any harm.  I often offend unmeaningly but perhaps I can repay them some day.” Anna wrote back telling him not to worry about it and hoping that it would all come right in the end.

Wilford was Anna’s ‘baby brother,’ and was at home the whole time of her marriage. He was 17 in 1918. He is mentioned frequently in her letters and on March 11 she reported to James that “I must tell you some more trash - Wilford took me on his knee today at the dinner table and fed me nearly a slice of bread.  He is quite cute by spells.”

James makes one reference related to the settlement of his late father’s estate (his father, Daniel Calhoun, died a week before he married Anna): I know from what mother has written that she fears trouble in getting the estate settled.  Most of the troubles are really imaginary ones and will never occur.  Harry will make her no trouble or none else.  I am very sure I shall never give her any trouble no matter how she settles things.  I want her to have every use and privilege of what is rightfully hers and furthermore I care not.  Mother has never had to carry such responsibility before and I think she fears the task. 

Other People in Bovina

March 20 from Anna - I don’t think I’ve written anything to you about Mrs. Copeland at Pittsburg.  I think you know who she is, a sister of Marshall Thomson.  She has been real poorly all winter and has been in the hospital part of the time.  A 10 ½ pound son was born to them  Sabbath day.  A short time ago she was sure herself that she would never live but she is doing nicely now. Mrs. Copeland is Laura Amelia Thompson (her brother Marshall was married to Helen Blair). And Mrs. Copeland did survive her confinement and died in 1958. The child was Andrew Laird Copeland, who lived until 2001.

Anna speculated about Mrs. Frank Coulter in March. Mrs. Coulter was the former Agnes May Craig and was the mother of Grace Coulter Roberts. I must tell you that I think there is something doing up to Frank Coulters.  I am not sure but the last I saw her I thought so and she doesn’t come to church any more.” She wrote later in the month I saw Mrs. Frank Coulter today and what I told you a week ago I feel sure is true, but a week later she wrote Mrs. Frank Coulter was at the meeting today and I do not feel very sure yet of what I have written before. If she was speculating that a baby was on the way, she was wrong. Mrs. Coulter would have been 33 and had had three children, her last a child who died shortly after birth in 1911, so it was possible.

Anna’s Home Life

On March 7, Anna reported that “Something very funny has happened tonight.  We have had very distinct northern lights and they have spread all over head of us.  And now at 11 o’clock they have all turned red.  There is so much red in the sky that the snow looks red.  There must be something queer connected with it but I don’t know what.”

Her letter on Sunday, March 17, reported that “This has been a beautiful day.  The snow and ice has moved alright today. Lifgrens were down to church with a sleigh and they had very poor scrubbing coming back. We all went today. There were 130 something at S.S. J.C. Strangeway came and asked me to teach a class downstairs and I asked him what one it was and when I came to find out it was one which Lois O[rmiston] substitutes for and so he went and got her.  You know how anxious we all are for those jobs.  Mr. Galloway’s scripture reading was the 22nd chap of Revelation and the 17th verse and his text.”

She went on to write “I don’t know as I can tell you who all inquired for you today.  J.W. Thomson, Viola Russell, Mrs. J.C. Strangeway, Margaret Gladstone, Mrs. Davidson, Jessie Stewart, Mrs. Lifgren, poor James Boggs, Aunt Bell, Jennie Miller.  I don’t who all asked the boys and Carrie, Mac and Mrs. Frank Miller were talking to mother about you and Mable is clear out of patience at them not sending you home to recruit up at least.” In 1921, Viola Russell would become her sister-in-law when she married her brother Wilford.

On March 20, she wrote that “I have mixed some oatmeal bread tonight.  I am using your receipt now for it.  I made one batch before and we all liked it.  I got the receipt from Cora she says you sent it home to her when you were in the West and that makes it all the better to me.”
This likely is the recipe my grandmother is talking about. It was recently discovered in a set of letters and postcards James received while he lived in Iowa and Colorado. Amazingly, this is very similar to a recipe that I have used since the late 1980s to make bread.
I’m presenting the following of my grandmother’s letters in full because I think it gives a good idea of what her life on the family farm was like at this time period:

Bovina Center, NY, Mar 18, 1918

My dear James;

I will start my daily message to you now while we are writing for our company to come.  This has been a real busy day.  To begin with Mr. Lifgren called at 5 o’clock and wanted Ralph to take Mrs. Lifgren to Andes with his car, she is away to the city.  Edith & I did all the milking except 3 cows.  Wilford hitched up his team and drawed out one load of manure.  Edith & I fed the cows the hay and by that time Ralph came home and we all had our breakfast.

Alfred & Viola have been and gone. We have had a nice time.  Alfred isn’t as bashful as he used to be and he is fleshier.  We, of course, had a good came of pewinkle and the three boys beat the girls by 106 to 91.

Viola brought our mail she brought me a letter from you written Mar. 14 also one from Mother written the same day.  They are all real well.  She sent me the pictures which I ordered two of.  I am enclosing one to you.  I wish you only had turned your face.  You would have looked so much better.

I will proceed to tell more of our work of today.

After breakfast Edith went out to water cows and I at the weeks washing.  After we finished the washing I washed out a piece of carpet.  The boys finished tapping and Wilford went after 2 tanks of sap.  We have 410 buckets out.  Edith & I again tonight did most of the milking.  I feel quite tired tonight after doing this days work and preparation for company and all.  I need not complain about work when I know of what you have to do.  I wish I might to some of your work for you.  I think the reason you did not get a letter from me the day you wrote was likely because of one not going out Sabbath.  It must be very dissagreeable when the sand blows so much.  I do not like to think of you as a negro but I expect you will get well tanned.  Leila and Mike finished tapping today.

Mother said they had tapped some.  She also said she had hoped you would get home.  Yes I remember not to write anything of help to the Germans.

I seem to have more cold tonight but don’t worry please it is just a little in my head and have caught a little more by washing.  I have felt well slept out today and if I can only get more sleep right along.  I shall feel better of course I am loosing some now but I must write to you in spite of it all.

Edith side has been better today of which I am glad.  I shall close wiht lots of love.

Your most loving wife Anna

Milk Testing Association

When James was drafted, he was the area’s milk tester. His job was to visit the local farms and test their cows and their milk for butterfat content. He had been hired through a local milk or cow testing association.

On March 4, James wrote in his self-deprecating way that he “received a postal from W.T. Russells and family showing they have not forgotten the milk tester with his evil ways and the trouble he used to cause.  I guess milk testing among Bovina farmers is a thing of the past.  Do you hear anything to the effect that another association will be started up again.  It seemed strange that no one could be gotten to do the job.  I was so poor at it I believe the farmers were all glad to have the association drop through don’t you?  Well perhaps testing doesn’t amount to much but we are going to test our dairy if we ever get the opportunity to possess such and we are going to test them thoroughly and we won’t need outside help to do it either because we can do it if cow testing associations have gone out of existence.  Can’t we because I shall need your help very much.”

Anna responded that You will know before you get this letter that a new tester has arrived at last.  I am sorry to say that were not in it.  No, the farmers were not glad to see the association fall through and I know how much they all thought of the tester even before.  I dared hope to own him.  You sure have many friends in Bovina and always will have I know.”

Their Future

Anna made a couple of references in her March letters concerning their future places, specifically concerning having a family. “I had some advice given me today.  Aunt Jane Miller always wanted children and couldn’t have any so she told me to have them if I could…. You talk of our family, it would be wicked of me to put my foot down and say “no” when you want one so much.  Anna said the other day that she bet we would both be disappointed if we never did.  The aunt Jane she mentions likely is her great Aunt Mary Jane Banker Miller, the wife of Gib Miller. They were married for over 50 years but did not have any children.

The Ward place is still waiting for you I guess or at least it stands there idle.  I do not know about the pasture.  (I well remember teasing you about the place). This may be a farm that was on Pink Street. From what I can work out, it is now the Hal Wilkie farm. On March 24 she makes another reference to this farm: “I know I laugh when I think of you on the Ward place with the old ‘Biddy’ hen and your wife.  I should be willing even to go on that place if we could only be permitted to live together.”

Anna wrote in later March that “I am not worrying about the home you provide.  I know what a happy one it will be.  I am afraid on my part that I cannot be what a wife ought to be to such a man as you but I am so anxious to make a trial at it just the same.  I do so much planning for that home and hope and pray we may soon realize it.” 

The War

As in previous months, James writes about some of the news about the war. He also has a couple of exchanges concerning a possible change of camp.

On March 5, James wrote that “I do not hear so very much about the war and practically nothing about the coming of peace.  Things seem to move along pretty slow.  I wish we could get at it and get the job finished.  This everlasting waiting is getting unendurable.  I have been engaged in the war business about three months and it seems like three years.  When the war finally does come to an end those who are left will be so glad they will be uncontrollable.   Some people try to make believe they like war but I know well enough [that] they are either crazy or else they are terrible liars.

He comments on the war toward the end of the month on March 26: “Battles are raging in Europe now and this may mean the last great drive of the war.  The Germans are sacrificing thousands of men in an attempt to beat the allies before Uncle Sam can get enough men there to prevent a victory for the Allies but the Allies are holding them back good yet and Germany is losing thousands of men.”

James also wrote about the status of Camp Greene: “There was talk of this camp being abandoned a short time ago but authorities have decided to maintain the camp and complete draining it so that the place will be more healthy.  It is not a fit place for a camp and it is a wonder that half the soldiers did not die during the rainy muddy spell we had here this winter.  For most two weeks it rained every day almost without fail and these has been other times since I have been here that have been nearly as bad.  Those who lived through such conditions as we had here this winter will go through most anything alive.”

On March 8, he writes “I did not wish to worry you by telling you the fact that this regiment is soon to go to Camp Merritt but since you have guessed the truth I may as well admit it.  I think we will be in Camp Merritt some time possibly a month and I am going to try and get a furlough to come home from there and if I cannot I thought perhaps you and someone else could come down there for a day or two.  I still have hopes that I shall be discarded as unfit for oversea service when we are finally ex- arrived at the port of embarkation but of course that is only a hope.”

Though it’s not stated obviously in their subsequent exchanges, it appears that James may have been reprimanded for writing about the move. A few days later, he wrote to Anna, telling her that “…under no consideration write to me regarding [the change of camp] because all information which might be useful to the Germans is strictly forbidden and anyone writing such if caught will be severely punished. I know one fellow who was given a sentence of 6 months in the guard house for telling in a telegram something concerning the movement of his regiment and especially the time and place of movement of troops.  Please do not write a word that you know but just wait patiently….  Keep writing here but do not telegram.  You may feel that I am sending undue[?] advice but dear Anna I would not have us get into trouble for the world besides we must play true to our country.  All will come right in time.”
James did go to Camp Merritt briefly in early April.

As in past letters, there are occasional references to the possibly of James being discharged. On March 6, he writes I am glad to know Edith still thinks I will get a discharge but am afraid she is doomed to disappointment as I am billed to fight Germans.  I will take a discharge if they give it me but do not expect it.  I will discharge my gun at the Germans the first chance I get.

Anna writes on March 8 that “Will and Anna say that Mrs. Lee says the boys at Camp Greene will never have to go across as they are to be on home guard a sort of standing army.  I would feel better if that were true.  I cannot bear to think of you going across.  Will felt sure you would get home when you were sick.  And he said he could have swore you went by in the stage the other day.”

On March 15, Cora thinks you might not have to go across because she thinks the drafted boys do not have to go across if they don’t want to.  I know you want to do what you can but I wish you might not have to go.

James and Anna also exchange information about some of the people they know who are in the war. On March 2, James noted “that Lauren Archibald was in officer’s training camp.  He will be trying for a lieutenant’s commission which should be quite easy for him to get as he has a good education and plenty of ambition for work or study.” In the same letter, he commented on the fact that Helen Thomson and her family did not get to see her brother Millard Blair “before he had to leave.  Notice to leave usually comes very suddenly, I think.” Anna noted that “It is pretty tough not to let [Millard] home before sending him across.  He hasn’t been home since he enlisted.” She also noted that “Blairs haven’t heard from Millard yet and they feel sure that he is on his way across.”

On March 8, Anna reported that “George Miller rode from Will Stories up to the Center with me.  Their son Clark is in France.” Clark would become Bovina’s first World War I fatality in May. She also wrote with more news about Millard Blair, writing that “Blair’s got word today that Millard is in France.  Got across alright.” The long gaps in communication from overseas would become a problem for many. Anna reported on March 18 that “Davidson’s haven’t heard from Fletcher in 4 weeks, his mother is quite worried about it and I think she has need to be.”  

End of March

The last letter Anna wrote to James that has survived was dated March 25, 1918:

Mar. 25, 1918

My dear James;-

I have fallen back into my old tracks again.  It is now after 10 o’clock.  I got interested in some crocheting I was doing , of course it is something for our home and it is no wonder I got so much taken up with it do you think?  I have to put the trimming on it yet but I have it all made.  I have seen a difference on myself since I have been going to bed earlier.  I have felt quite good today.
We did not get our mail today so consequently I didn’t get a letter from you.  I am disappointed though but we had sap together and I can send with Marshall in the morning for the mail.  I sent the Reporter, Express and Recorder to you this morning.
This has been quite a cool day with just a few flakes of snow in the air.  They gathered 5 tanks of sap today and boiled some more today but I will not try to tell how much. 
We did our washing today and the clothes were all dry after dinner so we brought them in and I got them already to be ironed and then spent the rest of the afternoon patching.  You know in these hard times we have to make everything last as long as possible. 
There is a great fight going on now over across.  I do pray that this may end the war.  Would you like to have me send you a quarterly again?  If you do I will get one and send or do they just make and extra burden to you?
I thought it had come warm enough weather so I wouldn’t need the soap stone anymore but my feet are cold now and I shall have to warm them on mother see what you are missing. 
It does seem as though I ought to be able to write a much nicer letter than this but I fail to find any thing to write about but promise you something better tomorrow night.

Please accept my deepest love dear James.  I am still hoping and praying that we may soon be together “forever and always.” 
Your most loving wife. 

James’s letter of March 27 shows that he is on the move again. He gave no indication in his previous letter that a move was happening.

Somewhere in U.S.
Mar 27, 1918

My dear Anna;

Am sending you just a few lines today to let you know I am very well and getting on good. 
This is a beautiful day and just the right temperature for comfort.
I am ready to tour and will send you my new address as soon as possible so you better not write for a few days.
The boys are all feeling much happier since the weather has become warmer.
Threes are green here and grass is getting quite a start.  Looks like June 1 up in New York.
We have just had our dinner and hope soon to be on the move.  There is not very much that I can tell today but do not worry about me, you will hear from me in a few days O.K.
Your most loving husband,

The last letter James wrote in March is about as vague as the previous letter:

Mar 29, 1918

My dear Anna;

There is not much that I can write but will send you this meager note to let you know I am well and getting on good.  I will not give my address now as I believe such is not permitted.  I should love to hear from you but I think it best not to tell my whereabouts.
Everything is more homelike here and we feel better.  The weather has been beautiful since I last send a letter to you.
Please do not think that I do not care because I have written so little because I should like to write a nice long letter.
With a great deal of love,

James would get a brief furlough on March 31. The story of that will be in the next entry in this blog series. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

March 1918 - 100 Years Ago "In That Thriving Town"

Late winter in Bovina saw damage to the Dry Milk Plant, which was behind the creamery, and some illness that closed some of the local schools.

March 1, 1918
George Cable is having a furnace in his residence.
Hilson Bros truck resumed its trips to Delhi on Monday afternoon. It was the first to make the trip.
H.W. White of Delhi, and the men at the Dry Milk Plant worked all Friday night making repairs. The frost had thrown all of the shafting out of line.
Two of the smoke stacks on the Dry Milk Plant were blown down by the high wind Tuesday. H.W. White of Delhi is expected Thursday to raise them back into position.
The primary department of the Bovina Center school re-opened Monday. Miss Kathryn Reynolds is still ill and Rev. Thos E. Graham is the teacher. It is expected he will teach until April 1st.

March 8, 1918
Rev. H.K. Galloway has purchased an automobile thru the agency of Russell Archibald.
An entertainment for the benefit of the Red Cross will be given in town hall on Thursday evening the 7th.
Scarlet fever has again broken out uptown and the school in the Maynard district was closed for a week, but reopened on Tuesday. Frank Rice, who lives with Ernest McKee, was taken down with the disease Saturday.

March 15, 1918
Frank Miller is now employed in the Center creamery.
The Red Cross realized $27 from the entertainment last Thursday evening at the hall.
Miss Jennie E. Miller has been repairing her house below the village for a new tenant.
John R. Aitkens and Arnold VanDusen were at Oneonta on Tuesday trying for chauffeurs licenses.
Hilson Bros have purchased a new auto truck of larger capacity than their present truck. It has not yet been received.
Mr. Hotaling has sued Mr. Eaton, the manager of the lumber camp on Dickson Mountain. It will come before Justice T.C. Strangeway on Thursday.
H.A. Ayers, who for several years had been the buttermaker at the Center creamery, left Monday for Grove City, Pennsylvania, where he will take a special course for a few weeks and will then enter the employment of the United States government.

March 22, 1918
Alex Myers has been presented with a solid gold hunting case watch by his niece Miss Lizzie Huber, of Delhi.
Alex Myers left Tuesday morning for Endicott, where he will assist his son Frank Myers at the painting trade.
The lawsuit that was to have been held at the town hall last Thursday was postponed until Wednesday of this [week]. [This probably is the case mentioned the week before, Hotaling vs. Eaton.]

March 29, 1918
The Dry Milk Company truck arrived Tuesday and will be used in hauling their produce to Delhi.
New slate blackboards have been installed in the school houses in the Bramley and Maynard districts.

Wielders of the Birtch - Teachers Engaged for Bovina Schools for 1918-19

The Bovina Town Board of Education elected the following teachers on Wednesday for school year 1918-19:

Biggar Hollow – Margaret Whitson
Ed Coulter district – Mable Mark.
Lake Delaware – Marjorie Lee.
Pink Street – Lois Ormiston.
Butt End – Jessie Stewart.
Maynard – Jean Hume.
Bramley – Hazel Russell
Miller Avenue – Nellie Miller.
Coulter Brook – Edith Liddle.
Bovina Center – Rev. Tho E. Graham, principal, and Ruth Ormiston, Primary.
Hobbie – Susie Crosier

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

This Day in Bovina for February 2018

Sixty-seven years ago today, the Bovina in the February 1, 1951 Delaware Republican-Express, reported that "Lauren Monroe, who is attending Westminster College, is home for the mid-term holiday." The same item also reported that Leonard Cairns is also home from Canterbury College, Indiana.

Ninety-two years ago today, on February 2, 1926, a program from the "Home Talent Minstrels" was held to benefit the "Basket Ball Team." The program included Clarence Becker, Frank Miller, Howard McPherson, Kenneth Kaufman, Sandy Myers, G.M. Banker, Sheldon Edgerton, Earl Smith, Lloyd Ormiston, George Storie, John Armstrong, Nort Forrest and Cecil Russell.

Ninety-nine years ago on February 3, 1919, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, "Mrs. Mary Swart, who has been in poor health for some time, suffered a shock about 5 o’clock Tuesday morning, at the home of her niece, Mrs. William Crosier, and lies in precarious condition." She died a few days later on February 8.

119 years ago, on February 4, 1899, Mrs. Violet Johnson died suddenly at her home in the Mountain Brook area while on the telephone. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, “John Hewitt was talking to her during the forenoon and all at once he noticed something unusual but supposed something was wrong with the instrument. When her son, Thomas, went into the house for dinner he found her laying on the floor dead.” Violet was born in Scotland in 1834, the daughter of Thomas and Helen Hamilton. She married Thomas H. Johnston and had four children. She was survived by two of her sons, “who are proprietors of the Woolen Mills.”

Seventy-six years ago today, this short Bovina Centre column from the Delaware Republican appeared in its February 5, 1942 issue.

115 years ago today, the February 6, 1903 Andes Recorder Bovina correspondent reported a rather horrible incident involving a former Bovina resident and a mad dog: "Last week word was received at this place that James. L. Ormiston and his two daughters, who resides at Wilmington, Delaware, had been bitten by a mad dog. The dog, which belonged to a neighbor, attacked the youngest daughter, aged about seven years, and an older sister went to her assistance, and both were severely bitten when Mr. Ormiston came to their aid. He succeeded in chocking the dog to death, but not until it had bitten off one of his fingers. His brother, Dr. Ormiston of Delhi, who went to treat them, reports that no hydrophobia symptoms have developed and it is thought that they will come out all right."

Sixty-six years ago today, on February 7, 1952, the Delaware Republican Express reported in its Bovina column that Mrs. Bernard Perry and Mrs. Boyce Rossman attended a Stanley Hostess party at the home of Mrs. James Kinsey in Bloomville."

117 years ago today, the Garnett (Kansas) Eagle, in its February 8, 1901 issue, reported on a call made by the congregation of the U.P. Church in that town. The report, later published in the Andes Recorder under the heading "A Bovina Boy,” went on to state that "At a congregational meeting of the United Presbyterian Church last Tuesday afternoon, it was unanimously agreed to call the Rev. W.T. Mabon to the pastorate of the church here.  Rev. Mabon has addressed this congregation a few times and the members were delighted with him.  He is a young man just graduated from the seminary at Xenia, Ohio.  His home is in Bovina Delaware County, N.Y.  It is understood that Rev. Mabon will accept the call. He will locate in Garnet in about a month."

112 years ago, on February 9, 1906, Dr. L.L. Van Slyke, of the [New York] State [Agricultural] Experiment Station, Geneva, NY lectured in Strangeway’s Hall.  His topic was the “Utilization of Barnyard Waste.”  The Andes Recorder, in promoting the lecture, reported that “The Doctor is under the Bureau of Farmers’ Institutes of the State Agricultural Department.  He will tell how to enlarge the bank account.  He is an interesting speaker and his address will both please and profit.” Dr. Van Slyke worked for the Geneva station for 38 years, retiring in 1929.

Sixty-three years ago today, on February 10, 1955, Mrs. Gertrude M. Parmenter passed away at the Delhi hospital after a five week stay. As later reported in the Catskill Mountain News, she was born in 1905 and "since living in Bovina has run a successful business known as the Bovina Lodge restaurant." She was the wife of Howard Parmenter. 

Seventy-five years ago today, the Bovina column of the February 11, 1943 Delaware Republican-Express reported that "Clarence Burns has bought the William Stock farm and has already taken possession."

129 years ago, on February 12, 1889, the Stamford Mirror reported that "Bovina people want a new U.P. church, just like the one recently dedicated at South Kortright. They are going to solicit about $3,500, and fix up the old church with new-fashioned notions. Let them go ahead." The renovations were carried out in the church that fall, making it look very much like it does today.

Ninety-six years ago, on February 13, 1922, the Bovina Town Board met "to make arrangements for building a new bridge to take the place of the stone arch bridge at the former Strangeway store in Bovina Center."  As later reported in the Andes Recorder, "The present structure was built about 1858, by James R. Scott, who furnished and hauled the stone and built the bridge for $100.  The highway commissioner was severely criticized for his extravagance, it being alleged that he would bankrupt the town."

Ninety years ago, on February 14, 1928, "Bovina experienced a very high-water Tuesday night.  Streams were over the banks and large cakes of ice were carried onto the highway below the Center.  Cellars were also filled, water ran through the barn of Lester Hoy on the former John Hastings farm."

106 years ago today, on February 15, 1912, Elmer Gladstone, son of George Gladstone, was operated on for chronic appendicitis. He came through the operation fine. In 1925 he was attacked by a bull on the family farm. He survived that too and died when he was 81 in 1956.

A heavy snowfall ninety-eight years ago today, February 16, 1920, prevented the delivery of the mail. It did make it through the next day. Another storm about a month later would prevent mail delivery on March 12 and 13.

131 years ago today, on February 17, 1887, as later reported in the Stamford Mirror, "A large and interesting meeting of the Delaware Co. Dairymens Association, was held in Hastings Hall…Many prominent dairymen from other parts of the county were present and took part in the discussions."

Commodore E.T. Gerry died in New York City ninety-two years ago today, February 18, 1927.  Grandson of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, he spent many summers at his home on Lake Delaware. His son Robert and daughter Angelica each later built their own homes at the lake.

Ninety-seven years ago today, the installation of radios in Bovina seemed to be the rage. The Andes Recorder of February 19, 1921 reported that "John H. Hilson has had a radio installed."  The same issue also reported that "John S. Burns in upper Bovina and Gaylie Hafele up Coulter Brook, have had radios installed."

130 years ago today, on February 20, 1888, William Clinton Burns was born. A lifelong Bovina resident, he married Emily Elliott in 1915. They had five children: Robert E., James, Eleanor, Clarence and Kathryn. Bill died in 1975 at the age of 87.

The February 21, 1902 issue of the Andes Recorder (116 years ago today) reported in its Bovina column that "Henry Hogaboom, formerly of this town, is now at the Military Home at Dayton, Ohio." Hogaboom was a Civil War veteran. Born in Sullivan County, he moved to Bovina as a boy and settled in Lake Delaware after the war until his move to the soldier's home. He lived there 19 years until his death there in 1921. His body was brought back to Bovina for burial.

138 years ago today, on February 22, 1880, Walter Thompson died. As later reported in the Bovina column of the Stamford Mirror, Thompson was a blacksmith in Bovina. The paper noted that "Mr. Thompson had been in poor health for some time, but was not confined to bed. On the morning of his death not feeling as well as usual a physician was sent for, but death ensued about half an hour after the doctor's arrival. The remains were taken to DeLancey for interment."

Seventy-seven years ago today on February 23, 1941, as later reported in the Delaware Republican, "Mrs. W.J. Storie gave a ten-cent tea at her home for the benefit of the A.W.V.S (American Women's Voluntary Services)…"

122 years ago, on February 24, 1896, a fire that happened during evening church services caused a ruckus. The report of the fire was in the Andes Recorder: "About 8 o’clock Monday evening [Feb 24] while the people were in the United Presbyterian church attending services, the startling cry of fire ran through the church. In an instant all was excitement and a rush was made for the door and the street was black with people hurrying toward the store of Hilson & Blair where the fire had been discovered. The fire had started in the rear of the store beneath the floor and within a few feet of the oil tank. Plenty of help was soon on hand and went to work carrying water in pails, tubs and whatever would hold water. Boards were torn off and the water poured on the fire and it was soon extinguished without much damage being done. No cause can be given for the fire as fire has never been kept in that part of the building. If the fire had gained a little more headway before it was discovered, or had occurred a few hours later nothing could have saved the store, as we have no way to extinguish a fire once fully started."

198 years ago today on February 25, 1820, the New York State legislature passed an act creating the Town of Bovina.

Eighty-eight years ago today, the Bovina column of the February 26, 1930 Delaware Republican reported that "T.C. Strangway has not been so well for a little while. Dr. Thomson was there on Saturday to bleed him. Mr. Strangeway had this done a year ago and thought it a relief." He survived this treatment a little over two years, dying in July 1932.

The Andes Recorder from 139 years ago today, February 27, 1879, reported the sad news that "Henry, son of Wm. D. Thompson, of Brushland, who met with an accident recently, which was supposed to have ruptured one of his kidneys, is not better, and when last heard from he was still failing. He is about fifteen years of age, and an only child." Henry, born in 1862, had had three siblings, but they had all died as children, two before his birth. Happily, Henry did recover from this accident and was married four years later. He died in 1930, leaving a widow and three children.

Ninety-five years ago, as later reported in the Andes Recorder, “The road from Bovina to Delhi was opened up Wednesday [February 28, 1923] for trucks, after having been closed for anything but sleighs for about two weeks.”

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Grandma's First Husband - “Do not let what I have written make you feel bad or worried”

This continues the sharing of the letters my grandmother's first husband, James Calhoun, wrote to her during World War I. February was a challenging month for James in terms of his health. He spent almost half of the month in the Base Hospital. His letters continue to report on aspects of camp life, how he misses home and rumors about peace. He also tells about one of his fellow soldiers, a married man, who is seeing a woman on the side.

This month’s entry will be excerpts of the letters James wrote from Camp Greene in February.

February 1, 1918
My dear Anna;
I was more than glad to get your letters of Jan. 26 & 27 combined.  You surely do get my letters by starts and jerks but I mail one from here almost without exception every day.  Some days I get two from you and some days I do not get one at all.…There is but three of us in the Orderly room night and sleep one in a bunk.  This is a more pleasant place to live than in tents with eight fellows.  It is always quiet here evenings and I can write and work and get something out of my work.
I am gaining a little on the work here and I have not gotten “balled” out as the expression goes here.  I am trying to give as good as I possibly can and hope to keep in right all around.
Many of the companies have a good many men of foreign birth but not so many in this company.  Many of our boys are from New York and the northern states.  Some of the men who are unable to speak English or are worthless are getting discharge[d].  I am dum[b] but I cannot see my way clear for discharge yet.  I think the company is taking me a long for the “goat.”
The outlook for peace is better now.  We may have to cross the pond but this thing certainly cannot last very much longer.  O “Joy” just think of the happy day when this fight closes up.  Then we will all be glad that we were soldiers and did what we could for our country.  Those who help at home and keep the “home” fires burning are just as much soldiers as those who serve in trench and field.
…Your most loving husband James

February 3, 1918
…It still continues muddy and foggy.  More rain came last night and the roads are nearly as muddy as any time before.  I feel sorry for those who must get out in duty but I do not need to do much tramping so personally I cannot complain.  As hauling has been almost impossible we are without fire wood or coal today but we do not mind.  I just put on more clothes and go on just the same.  I think we can keep enough for kitchen so can get our meals.
Another case of mumps this morning which means one more man in the Base Hospital and six more men held in quarantine here in the company street.  We had three men report for duty from Base Hospital yesterday and our hospital list is in truth growing smaller now.  Most of the hospital boys have gotten along good.  Two fellows have died there from this company since I came to camp.  When measles and mumps first broke out here all contacts were sent to our Detention Camp but that became filled eventually and then contacts of contagious diseases were quarantined in our company street and obliged to keep separate from the boys unexposed as much as possible, were made to eat separate at different time etc.  The Dentention Camp fellows are mostly back to the company again. 
I have a light cold again but do not think it will amount to much.  I used Sloan’s Liniment freely last evening and it has tended to loosed the phlegm and take out the soreness from my throat.
…I have done no washing for a week and think I must get busy tomorrow night.  Have a lot of dirty handkerchiefs, two or three towels, and a set of underwear to wash.  I hope we may soon get some fuel so we can get such cleaning jobs attended too.
…Time seems to go slow at times and I am only too glad to keep busy so I can keep my mind from going over our affairs so much.  I would be one happy lad if the war closes.  I am willing and want to do my part but I prefer civilian life and feel that most of the boys feel the same way.  …

February 5, 1918
…The company commander has just left and he says we are going to move.  When (exactly) or where no one knows.  I am ready to leave this mud and you should just hear the other boys rave about conditions.  We are out of wood again tonight but hope to get some in soon and then we can have a fire.
This has been a beautiful day.  The Earth was frozen this morning so one could walk dry shod but the sun soon melted up the mud and this PM it has been fine.  We will soon have a change.  The worst part of the moving is the confusion it always causes.  I have helped to move several times and it gets to be kind of an old story.  I am going to send home all the surplus clothes and things that I cannot use.  Underwear is one item you may expect. 
Papers daily speak of trouble in Germany and hope they know of what they speak.  As a rule I do not bank very much upon what they say.  However there are more indications of peace than at any time since the war started. 
I have been working on the war risk insurance papers most of today.  Many of the boys are just taking up insurance.  Had I known I would not have taken out mine until Feb. 1 and thus saved my insurance premiums for Jan and Dec approximately $13.60 which is worth while.  All enlisted men were automatically insured by the government to Feb 12 for $4500.00.  I am glad you have your money for Dec.  Do just as you wish with it.  I know you will dispense with it wisely.  I lent a fellow ten dollars last Sat to go home and see his sick father.  I think he will repay OK and I did not have the heart to refuse when he came and asked me for it although I think he is rather a hard luck chap or always pleads hard luck at any rate. 
…Remember me as your deficient, faulty but loving and well meaning husband, James.

February 6, 1918
I received two fine letters from my good little ‘frau’ today and I want you to know that I appreciated them.  I cannot get letters too often.  If you get my Sunday and Monday’s letters together I can just as well put them together as you do your Saturday’s and Sabbath’s. 

February 7, 1918
…Corporal Charles Emmey of whom I have spoken before (clerk in orderly room) is a married man.  He has been corresponding with a girl at Chatanooga, who of course thinks he is single and as Emmey is real clever with words the aforesaid Miss has become, as appearances show very much infatuated with him and has sent him boxes of dainties, her photo, a scarf, sweater and etc.  Emmey I suppose thinking that he had gone far enough had not written to her for a week or two so today a letter came from her asking him if the was sick and stating that she would come to his side if he were sick and if she might.  Emmey feels badly over the affair himself as he only intended to get her to write and did not think she would learn to love him.  If she is a nice girl I think it is a shame and when she know the truth as surely she will she will feel heartbroken.  It is very wrong for a man to play with the sincere feelings of a good woman.
I am only to[o] glad that I am married to the only woman in the world for me and thank God that I do not care for any other.  It is my earnest prayer that we are long may be permitted to meet and live life’s pathway in the light of each others love so dear and pure to each of us. 

February 8, 1918
This has been another beautiful day and the mud is drying up very rapidly.  Another day or two of this weather and travel about camp will be much better.  The weather is quite warm so we have been about camp today in our shirt sleeves and have had the doors and windows open.
… I have been in helping the supply sergeant Albert Zetterlund check up supplies and probably will help him tomorrow.  We are very busy now and you can scarcely imagine the business handled in the offices of a single company of 250 men or the cost of maintaining a single company of soldiers.  War is certainly an expensive business….  Consider the food for the men.  The money to feed a soldier is on an average not over $40 per day and besides feeding the men of Co “D” three hearty meals per day the company has been able to lay up a fund of several hundred dollars out of the allowance for food.  Uncle Sam’s cooks surely know how to get the most for a dollar and how to use the food without waste.
…  Do not let what I have written make you feel bad or worried because we have much to be thankful for as we are both in good health and surely God will spare us the affliction of years of separation when we long for the company of each other.  Feb 22 will mark the end of three months since I last saw you and many things have transpired since that time which seems like a much longer time.  Tell nothing to your people of how I long for the quiet home life as even those so near and dear sometimes fail to fully understand and I have too much pride to let anyone think I am a white livered coward but as I said before I am not afraid to fight but only long for the affair to finish. 
James Boggs poor boy is surely having his troubles (James’ wife had died in January).  I do not see how he can possible keep his rooms as they are but possibly he can.  He always was so attached to his home and worked so hard to make home life pleasant for Lizzie who was indeed a person who had many well-deserved friends.  I should write him a sympathetic letter but I can scarcely pluck courage to commence the task which you know is not an easy one. 

February 10, 1918
…To day the tents were all loosened about the sides of the side (wooden) and allowed to fall in against the center pole.  The floors and sides looked like a long row of platforms one each side of the street.  The sides of boards are up to the eaves of each tent.  It really does seem fine to have summer like weather and if the good weather will only continue, think I shall be able to get a little southern tan.  We have experienced some cold weather but nothing so real as Delaware Co can tell of.
I have been acting as sole clerk in the office today as the girl of whom I wrote you that Clerk Emmy was writing to came to see him and he went to Charlotte to meet her and stayed in town most of the day.  They were out long enough for dinner.  She and her mother came to Charlotte this morning.  She said she wished to come down and see him before he left Camp Greene.  I think he wanted to see her and wrote her to come in he would soon leave because no one knows that we shall leave.  We might be here a year or more.  She as I said does not know Emmy is a married man and if I am a good judge of appearances feels badly because Emmy she thinks will soon leave.  It is a shame for him to do as he is but I can say little as I have made girls’ hearts bleed but I did nothing of that style since I was married.  Please do not blame me for it because I could not marry a girl I did not love when I knew one I did love so well.  There is but one girl for each fellow and although he should admire other charming ladies yet he should think and know that his own wife is the nicest of them all.  I speak from experience.  If I were only permitted to live with and provide for her. 
…We have all turned in our long overcoats and instead have been issued overcoats of knee length.  They are a comfortable, handy coat but so short they make a fellow look like a genuine scarecrow.  And those who look that way already as yours truly are made to appear more so by the pesky short things.  My coat is much shorter than my wedding coat but I guess I can get used to it. 

February 12, 1918
My dear Anna;
…Yesterday I was fortunate in getting three letters and two packages in the mail and today I received the box of candy from Edith.  …  I must write and thank Edith for the box of candy and not only that but thank her for me for the many kindnesses she has shown me since the beginning of our acquaintance.  The mail to me yesterday consisted in a letter from you, one from Archie and Florence and one from Harold Campbell, a package of cookies from Anna and a package of good things from the Red Cross.  The package from there contained two khaki handkerchiefs, two or three kinds of candy, writing material, cookies and other things to eat.  Anna’s box of cookies are sure good.  I have so many eats on hand that I have not opened Edith’s box of candy yet tonight but I shall soon.  I know it will be best of all and I shall save that and eat it when I feel hungry for something extra good.
…No Anna I do not blame you for feeling rather worried at times and sort of worked up because I get that way myself and the tone of my letters must tell you that I also feel worked up at times and seem as though I can scarcely stand it that I must go on day after day and not see or be near my better half and all the ones I love and the home-i-ness for which I long.  I think we get sort of hardened to the constant routine of never ending duties but I for one never can get used to living without those I hold so near and dear. 
We had regimental inspection and all companies of the 7th marched out to the parade ground and were inspected with full field pack on by the reviewing officers.  The band was out and the music made marching much easier.  I got through without many mistakes of which I was fortunate because I have not drilled with the boys for a month now and they have had many new drills since I was out besides the benefit of constant practice.  In one way I should like to get out and drill every day because if am called on to drill later I shall certainly have a hard job.
…You should have the pictures of Company “D” before this.  I hope you may be able to pick out my scowling face.  I could not look at all pleasant because the sun was straight in my eyes.  Some of the boys pictures were fine especially those at the right hand side.  I am very glad to get a picture of the boys with whom I trained.…

Here's the picture James is mentioning in his letter. It was taken in January. James is marked with the blue line.

Here's the full version of the picture of James' company.
February 14, 1918
…Your letters are looked and longed for very much and yesterday I missed them very much.  It seemed to do no good to write each day as I get two letters at one time anyway and you do too.  I thought it nice to write every day so you could hear often and I could too but our plans even in that seem to fail.  I should like to write you pages and pages each day if circumstances only permitted as I love to think of you and ours.  No matter how affairs turn I looking forward to that time when we shall meet again and feel that it will surely come.  I shall come home on the first opportunity that offers.  I love my home ones and long for peace and pray that all mankind might be at peace.  There must be some great purpose disguised in this enormous struggle but to save me I cannot see clearly how the world is going to be made better by this terrible sacrifice.  Has Davison’s heard much from Fletcher since he has been in France.  As Russia has made peace the Germans are pouring troops from the Russian frontier to meet the British and French on the West and the chances are ten to one for a voilent battle there in a few weeks.  Germany will try to “Oust” the allies before the Americans get there with strong forces and equipment to aid the Allies. 
…I am glad you went to Ormistons and am sure you had a good time.  They as you say are so musical and such good people.  I do think it nice to hold family worship and believe the world throughout would be a much better place in which to live and perhaps would be peaceful if every family were to hold such in sincerity.  I must halt here as I am swinging back to war subjects again.  The twins are two bright children [twins likely are Marion and Marjorie Ormiston, who were 10 in 1918].  You said it seemed motherly to have one on either side but you failed to say if you liked the sensation.  I can not imagine what the “special” is that you are going to send me.  It will be just as well that I do not then I shall be surprised when I hear.  I hope it may be a happy surprise.…

There is an unusual gap in James’ letters of three days. When he writes again, Anna learns why this happened. 

February 17, 1918
Your most welcome letters of Feb. 12 came to me tonight and it has found me in a rather unexpected place.  I am taking a little vacation in the Base Hospital.  Came here Fri. night this 15th; have tonsillitis and had acute indigestion when I came here but that is better now.  My sickness is not at all serious although I may have to stay here a few days.  My throat and head has bothered me at times since I came into this climate.  I think if my tonsils were removed my trouble would be relieved, but I may not need that.  I have had no writing paper until tonight when two of the boys came and brought your letter and got me paper, envelops and stamps and as a fellow in the bed next to mine lent me his pen and the fellow on the other side gave me his writing board so I have no excuse for not writing to you.
… By coming to the hospital, I was excused from going to the rifle range Sat morning through the mud and rain with a full pack on my back.  I sure feel sorry for the boys who had to make the trip because it was indeed a hardship.  There is some talk of this place being abandoned as a camp and it surely should be if drainage and sanitation conditions are always as bad as they are this year.  The boys who are able to come through a winter spent in this place can pass through anything with a whole skin. 
…The boys came over today and the office clerk Emmey was over yesterday so you see they are real good to me.  The clerk is real anxious to have me in the office tomorrow as he wishes to go away but I cannot go until I am given permission to go here.  I am afraid Emmey is going to be disappointed as I am billed to stay here for a few days at least.  I do not mind staying here a few days as I am getting a little holiday and can get away from the responsibility for a short time.  As long as I was in the office there was not a moment I could call my own and had considerable responsibility besides.  This is the first Sunday in the past month that I have not had to work just as hard as on week days. …While John [Anna’s uncle John Miller] was kind to let you water your cattle at his spring and I think all would be well with us and them if it were not for the Mrs. Bertha and the girls don’t you?…

Feb. 18, 1918
Monday is here and finds me on the gain.  My head and throat feel much better; the doctor said today that they were better and I was placed on solid diet at dinner.  I shall be out of here in a few days if all continues to go well and will feel I have had quite a vacation from the never ending army mill.
…My stomach feel[s] much better and my head does not ache very much but yet at noon I did not care much for the beefsteak, potatoes, white bread and beans given and although it tasted quite good yet it took very little to satisfy me.  Previous to this noon I have had toast, malted milk and soft boiled rice.  In a day or two I shall be alright at my stomach. 
I knew Mrs. Archibald as she was at Scotts once or twice while I did testing there. [This is Carrie May Scott Archibald, wife of Russell Archibald. She was 40 at her death.]  Such deaths are always very sad and much worse it seems to a person just in the prime of life.  She was not a strong looking person.  Life is surely a frail thing at its best….

February 19, 1918
Will send you a letter today.  I am still on the gain I think.  Had some solid food to eat and my throat feel[s] much better.  I must stay her for a few days yet however. 
We had a nice little shower last night and today is damp and cloudy.
I think there is probably a letter from you over at Co “D” but it may be a couple of days before they get it over to me.  I know they will be very busy over there and do not expect them to get over to see me every day.  I scarcely know how they will get along if their clerk left them today.  I am sorry I cannot be there to help.  Sergeant Schneider will be jumping about very quickly today I think looking after affairs and Captain Russell will be just as bad.  They will get along someway so I am not going to worry.
…Since I came to the hospital I have had more time to think and dream of our own personal affairs and my mind has wandered back and lived again the happy times we have had together and some events that bear a sadder tinge but which have only served to bring our love out more fully.  How well I remember the day we went to the fair at O and many other happy times.  We had lots of fun the night that Edith and Wilford, you and I went out riding in the little tin Ford the first time; the night we drove to Doig’s gate and return.
I am afraid Willie and Vera will not have been able to get much use from the Ford (Jerusha) this winter but they will have a nice time when the snow leaves the state road and they surely will feel well repaid for having stored it during the long winter months. [This was the car that James and Anna sold to the Stories.]
Ralph will probably be back from New York by the time this letter reaches you.  I am sorry he and Ruth have failed to see alike well enough to become husband and wife but they know best.  I believe in letting people choose their own mates.  People tried to get me married more than once and talked as you know but I paid no attention to their hints and did my own choosing and am sincerely thankful I did.…

February 20, 1918
I will send out my daily message to let you know how I am faring.
This is quite a nice day but more rain came last night and this morning.  I think mud must be pretty deep outside although I am not in position to see for myself.
I am feeling quite good today and think that I am improving.  My throat and head are not entirely well.  I am going to see a throat and head doctor tomorrow to see if there is anything wrong there.  I hope to get out of this air a few days.  I am back on regular diet now. 
…The people who must work in the hospitals have long hours and the work must be very strenuous and trying to the patience.  Some of the patients are disagreeable enough and whine and complain if they are not attended to the minute they call.; Others are here who are just as patient as others are impatient.  The hospital corp hire[?] for their ward consists of one doctor 3 day and one night nurse, one ward master, one night orderly and two day orderlies.
…There are many nations represented here.  There are Syrians, Greeks, French, English and several other nationalities represented in this ward beside the Americans.  There is an English lad in the bed next to mine and he is very good.…

February 21, 1918
 I am back on my feet once more and feeling quite good.  Have been up nearly all day.  Was over and had my nose and throat examined by a specialist.  He failed to locate any trouble in my nostrils.  He said any trouble that was there came from the cold I had just had.  I think I shall be back with my company about tomorrow or next day.  I had not walked any since Fri. last and the first few steps this morning caused my legs to wobble.  I wonder how those people get along at first after remaining in bed for more than a month.
This is a beautiful day.  The sky is so clear and blue it will surely bring rain for tomorrow.  I am anxious to get back to C “D” and work again.  I would pity anyone who was compelled to lay idle all the time.  I have gotten along fine here though, since I could write, read and sleep.  The first two days were harder.
            …I am dreaming very much of New York now.  It always seems much nicer to be alive and look ahead at springtime than at any other season of the year.  Now comes the time when we can feel that the cold winter has passed away and plants will spring forth again…How glad I would be to be proprietor of a nice New York farm, how interesting to work out plans and live the ideal farm life.  Such has long been my ambition and though I must not for a while yet I feel that finally I shall realize my ambition don’t you?  I like to hear the boys tell where they are going after the war.  I just listen and say nothing regarding myself but I have plans for all of that.…
February 22, 1918
Will drop a few lines to you this P.M.  I thought I should get back to my company today but the doctor decided to keep me here another day as there is plenty of sleeping room here and the source of help is none to plentiful.  Consequently, they have been using me for dishwashing and to help wait on patients today.
…I do not mind helping do the work here, someone must do it.  I am wondering if I shall have my office work when I get back to my company or if someone-else will be doing the work I did.  I probably will have to go out and drill when I get back.  I am not particular and furthermore it would do me no good if I were.  We have to do as we are told in the army.
…There is a barber in this ward.  He is able to cut a head or tow of hear each day.  He isn’t very strong yet but he seems to know how to cut hair.  Most of the patients in this ward (B-I) are getting well.  No real bad cases at all.  Most of them are stomach, rheumatism, tonsolitis or those getting well from pneumonia.  Archie Saunders the boy from Co “D” and New York was up in a chair for the first time today.  He will get along nicely now unless he gets a setback.  He came to the Base Hospital on the 22nd day of January just a month ago today.
…I am very anxious to get those letters that I know you have written me and which await me at “D” Co. office.  Maybe some of the boys will be over from there tonight and will bring over the mail for the hospital boys.  Mail is looked for eagerly every day by the lads and it does me good as well as themselves when they get their letters….

February 23, 1918
 I am yet in the hospital but am not very sick.  I am going out tomorrow so the doctor said.  They kept me here as I have said before to help do the work.  I told the Doctor this morning that I ought to get back to duty and so he said I could go tomorrow.  I hope I may as I am getting restless here and anxious to get back to work.  I would not like to have my regiment depart and leave me in the hospital.
…  There is a number of southern lads in this ward and actually they haven’t ambition enough to move at all.  Two or three of them are nearly able to leave the hospital and though one of the hospital orderlies is sick yet those lads hate to make a move towards helping in any way.   May of the people of the warm states seem to lack the snap and perseverance of some northern people of my acquaintance.…

February 23, 1918
…I rec’d 5 letters from you from the office.  The first one was written Feb 13 and the last one the 18th.  They certainly did me good.  I am going to read them all over again but I will write this letter first and what I miss answering this time I will answer next.
I am glad to hear that Frank Munson is home.  He has had a hard time but has been really very fortunate in getting home so soon and having a furlough at Christmas also.  I bet Hazel and all of his people were only too glad to have him back.  He is certainly a nice fellow if I am a good judge. [Frank was discharged due to medical reasons and would marry Hazel Russell. He was killed by a falling tree in 1920.]
…You surely are getting your share of winter.  I can imagine just how the roads are up there now.  The tracks of the road get so high when the snow gets deep and then trouble comes when a thaw out comes.  It is fortunate Ralph returned before the worst weather came and traveling became so bad.  I hope his cold does not prove anything serious.  He no doubt had a good time and hope he did enjoy himself.  Ralph does not look upon farm life just as you and I do Anna and for that reason you should not blame.  We cannot all see things alike you know and if the things of the city appeals to our brother we ought not to care.  I am sorry he does not care for Ruth more than for Miss Lifgren but we must hope that he will change his mind yet…
The Doctor came around and said my temperature had risen a little tonight so I may be unable to get to my company tomorrow.  I had been working all day and he told me to stop and go to bed but I am going to finish this letter if the Doctor doesn’t come in too soon.
…Your milking will be getting quite heavy now if you have so much milk.  I expect you can have the privilege of drawing every other day...

[February 24, 1918] 

My dear Anna;
…I have had visitors today and there has been a good many visitors in the ward today.  Smith Bilby[?] one of New York’s first lads has been here.  He brought me some reading matter and indeed has been very good to me having come over every three or four days since I came here.  He came over with Wilford Wheatley’s from Charlotte the people who brought me the socks from the Andes Red Cross.  He has invited Beilby and I into Charlotte to dinner next Sabbath.  I think we will go if I am able to get out of the hospital previous to that time.
You know I had planned to get out of the hospital today but I overworked in the kitchen yesterday so the ward Doctor made [me] go to bed again.  I feel quite well today but I suppose I shall be unable to get out of here for a few days.
…I can imagine you were somewhat alarmed when you received my letter stating that I was in the hospital but you need not worry.  I have stated the facts of the case just as they were.  I am not worse than I have stated to you in my letters.  If I had not worked so much yesterday I could not doubt have gone back to my company today and feel that I shall be able to get back there some day soon.  I am getting along good here.  The Ward (B-1) Doctor is very good. He spends a great portion of his time with his patients, is skilled in his profession and I have never heard him say a cross word to anyone.  Some of the patients complain that they do not get as much to eat as they need but I cannot imagine the quantity that would be necessary to satisfy the hunger of some people.  All some people can do is to whine and growl anyway.
…Part of the nurses here have signed up for service oversea and part for home service only.  Those for oversea service are anxious to get started for Europe but I trust some of them will get enough foreign service to satisfy their longings for such before they get back to the good old U.S.A.  I for one am sorry it has become necessary for anyone to go oversea.…

February 25, 1918
Another day has nearly passed so I must get busy or my poor but well meaning letter will not go to you in the morning.  I have been taken cough mixture since yesterday which does not sit well with my stomach so I have not been feeling very much like writing as I am sick to my stomach and have the headache.  I wish I might get well enough to get out of here before many days and surely will.
As nearly all of my personal belongings were left at the company when I came here I am wondering how they are all faring.  I shall be very fortunate if they are taken care of for me.  Very little attention is given the belongings of the soldier if he is not there to care for them himself.  There value is not so great but some of the articles I should rather hate to lose as they are of value in my eyes.
…The hospital has been kept very warm since I came here, too warm an close for the good of those accustomed to sleeping in tents.  When I go back to my company I doubt if I go into the office again unless ordered to do so.  I doubt if I should have been sick had [I] never gone to the office.  I have just taken a dose of that terrible cough liquid.  I don’t wonder that it makes my head ache and my stomach feel a though it would turn over because it has a most nauseating taste.  Maybe it does me lots of good though…

February 27, 1918 (Wed)
I am feeling better today so I can sit up in bed and write you once again.  I did not write yesterday but succeeded in getting one of the boys to secure me some paper and envelopes today.  My stomach feels better today and I ate good at dinner and breakfast.  My bronchitis is not cleared up yet.  The doctor finally discovered bronchial trouble to be my chief sickness.  He thinks it will soon go away though but I myself think perhaps some good warm weather or a change of climate would be of more aid than anything else.  I hope to get out of here soon.
Your letter written on your way to Mae’s came to me last night late.  I can imagine how high the water would get at Delancey and at R. Mable’s.  I was testing at Delancey during high water one spring and the road was covered for several rods with water between the bridge and the railroad track.  It will be good to get rid of so much snow as must have gone during such a thaw.  I have been wondering when you received my letter stating that I was placed in the hospital.  I wrote to mother C the same time I wrote to you and I think she would get my letter when you were there.  I am surprised how long mail takes to reach you after I mail it.  Mail from you generally comes in three or four days and it takes most a week for my letters to get to you. 
…I am truly very glad that Ralph is in Class 4 - which means he will not be called for a long time at least…Mr. And Mrs. Wheatley were up again Mon night and brought a nice lot of magazines, books and papers.  Also two glasses of gelatine and newly baked cake.  I enjoyed the gelatine very much but could not eat the cake so the other boys enjoyed that.

Feb 28, 1918
I am still in the hospital but feeling the best for some time.  I feel I shall get out in a very few days now and can get back to my company and to duty.  Time at least will go faster when I am back at work.
The afternoon mail has just been given out but no mail for me.  Ray Stubbebine brought over the co “D” payroll so all boys from there in the hospital could sign it.  He brought me the postal card stating you had just gotten my first letter stating that I had been put into the hospital.  I know how worried you have been over this but I have gotten along good and surely will get out now in a very short time.
I am anxious to get a letter from you telling all about your Delancey visit.  I know how much mother and Mae have appreciated your visit.  I am sorry there was no one at the Depot to meet you.  They probably thought you would not come since the weather was so bad.  They do not know the Bovina grit do they if they thought that.
This is another beautiful day and if I can see right through the windows I believe the buds on some of the trees are getting quite large.  There seems to be no beautiful coming of spring like we have in New York.  The days just seem to grow gradually warmer day by day without the beauty of the spring days we get up in Del Co. 
It is now time for supper or chow as the soldiers call all meals.