related letters from The
by: Deborah McConnel
The letters are
in alphabetical order by the
author, not chronological.
are sometimes my typing and
sometimes in the original.
The Golden Age
May 8, 1918
|I am an
Overton County boy and am with Captain Tim Stephens and
Co. C. 2nd Tenn. But every day finds us nearer
the front, as we are needed with the rest of the
Americans in France. Am sure there is not an Overton
county boy who is worried the least bit for we know the
time must come. Be proud you can send a son into the war,
for the nation will be judged by what her soldiers do. So
we are going to show to the world what Americans are
Friends be goo ‘till
we return. We don’t know when that will be, for the
nearest way home is through Berlin.
So will say good bye,
Charles T. Allred
Co. B, 119th Inf
|Brady, R. Lee
The Golden Age
September 11, 1918
|July 7, 1918
I am an Overton county boy in the
service of my country and now over seas.
Thought I would write you a short
message and see if you will print it.
All the boys from Overton county are O.
K. and I think like overseas life. But don’t like
the shells that the receive at night.
Its no joke to be in the trenches when
you can’t get a good nights rest for the shells
falling around you. You ought to see the Sammies duck
when Jerry sends them over.
Arthor Terry is awful anxious for this
war to end so he can go back to see his girl.
Charlie Allred had the Tennessee blues
and wants to hear from his girl, so you girls get busy
and write him.
For myself I am alright, but not well
satisfied. Would rather be back in the good old U. S.
where I could see my Jane ever once in a while, for I
believe that the States have the world skinned a city
block. I’ll just tell you how they live over here.
The people and their stock all live together. Their house
and barn are all the same building. I saw them harvesting
yesterday. They use an old fashioned reap hook and the
most of their wagons are a three wheel concern.
How I wish I could be back at
Livingston where I drilled my first day.
I left there with Capt. Stephens and
Maj. Burks, but neither of them is with us now.
Joe Judd is cook but says if he ever
gets back home he aims for Martha to do his cooking.
Hello James Hooten! have you quit
writing to The Golden Age? I saw one the other day and
your letter wasn’t in it. Say James, do you take the
paper now? If you o when you read it I wish you would
send it to me. My address is Lee Brady, Co. B. 119 Inf.
American E. F. Via., New York.
So all you girls write me as I enjoy
letters from my home place.
Well this is about all I think of to
R. L. B.
The Golden Age
March 19, 1919
Mr. W. H. Cole
Dear Father and Mother:
I will write you a few lines as I
havn’t heard from you in some time. This leaves me
well at present, hope when these few lines reach you will
find you the same.
I am having a nice time here now but I
sure am proud the war is over. I sure have smelt powder.
It isn’t funny to face those big cannon balls and
machine gun fire but I have stood up to duty and done my
part. I am glad I am from the good old state of Tennessee
and Overton county boy.
I have thought numbers of times we boys
were shot all to pieces wen those big five and nine inch
cannons were falling around us, although some of us have
come here to fight for our country that will never
return. I have seen some of my best friends shot down
beside me but was not allowed to touch them, that looks
hard but we had it to do.
When we came back from the Hindenburg
lines it sure was a gloomy looking time, there
wasn’t any of the Livingston boys with me but Pvt.
Corbit Smith, Corp. Wright and two of the Kyle boys but
were more than proud when we heard they were just
slightly wounded and in the hospital near by, but we are
all back together now except a few and they are back in
the states I understand. That is where I am longing to be
some time real soon.
Tell every body hello for me and give
three cheers for the red, white and blue for it still
As I havn’t much to write I will
hush for this time.
The Golden Age
Feb. 20, 1918
307 Engr. Tn.
Here I come with a few lines. I am an Overton
County boy and glad to say so. I left Livingston December
8, I and 9 other boys. We are all O.K. except Albert
Ferrell. He has been in the hospital some time with
measles. Health is reasonably good in Camp.
This is a busy place. They won’t
give a boy time to get lonesome. Uncle Sam sure feeds his
boys in this company.
I like camp life as well as I expected.
I believe I had rather be a plow boy if papa wasn’t
with me to boss. I always rather boss myself. We have a
few bosses down here.
I will close. You will find 25 cents.
Please send me your paper. I always like to read it.
Send to Grover Coleman
307 Engineer Train
The Golden Age
July 24, 1918
Co D, 6th Inf. Repl Regt.
|To the Golden
I will drop you a few lines
this lovely morning. I am an Overton boy I am proud to
Well we are having some nice weather
for July in Gordon. Most of the Overton boys are enjoying
life. I see Johnnie Beaty and James Smith quite often.
They seem to be having a good time.
They are sure sending the boys out of
cam Gordon, but the most of them are proud to start. They
go singing, "we are going to hang the Kaiser on the
apple tree." Most people have the wrong idea of
soldier life. We all have a good time and the best of all
we have lots to eat.
I hear from some of the boys over
there. They say they are having a good time and enjoying
life. They say it is a nice country. I hope to be over
there by the last of September. I know old glory is
floating high but I hope she will wave higher by and by.
We are all proud to see The Golden Age.
It is like getting a letter from your best girl, and you
all know a soldier boy is proud to hear from his girl.
Mr. Eddie Richardson is out of the
hospital where he underwent an operation. He is all O.K.
So I will close with love and best
wishes to all.
The Golden Age
Nov. 21, 1917
Co. B, 119th Inf.
|The body of
Joe Cooper, who died at the training Camp Monday morning,
reached here Tuesday evening and will be buried in the
family graveyard today.
services will be conducted by Rev. N. K. McGowan.
Young Cooper is a son of Mr. and Mrs.
Robert Cooper, and was one of our best boys. His sickness
Serg. Ernest Estes accompanied the
This is our first real grief and the
entire community deeply sympathize with the bereaved
Golden Age June
Driffield, Yorkshire, England
letter was received by Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Copeland from
their son Shirley, and explains itself:
Dear Father and Mother:
Am now going to attempt to write you a
few lines, should have written you before, but hope you
will forgive me this time as we can only write twice a
week; so here your letter comes for this time, will write
again next week. Am feeling fine, so do not worry about
me. Hope you received my other letters all o.k.
Has been raining enough here this month
but think it is going to change soon.
Don’t know any thing else to write
this time only this and that for you to get busy and
write me a few lines.
With love to all, your son, Shirley
The following letter was received by J.
M. Copeland, telling of his son, Shirley Copeland, a
member of the American army. Driffield, Yorkshire,
England. 16 West Promenade.
Mr. J. M. Copeland:
I am sending you a few lines to inform
you that your son and others belonging to your country
landed in Driffield on the 12th of April. They
tell me that they expected to go into France. Your son is
staying at my house. He tells me you are a farmer. Well,
my father farmed 1800 acres of land about five miles from
here. He was the largest farmer in Easy Yorkshire at that
time. We had four yokes of oxen when I was a boy. There
are none here now. Indeed I believe they were the last
used, and that was 62 years ago, a long time to go back
Now I must tell you. Your son is
working on land near one of the best farms in this part.
He [the owner] breeds the best Leicester sheep in
England. He has sent them to New Zaland, Australia,
India, South America and several more foreign countries.
Driffield and district is the best farming country in the
world. We have the best of stock – horses, best
sheep and pigs. We can grow more wheat per acre than any
other part. I have grown 15 gross of oats to the acre 2
years together. That is 120 bushels. It was old grass
ploughed up. If your son should be here when the corn is
ready for cutting he will see some crops. Turnips are eat
off by the sheep. In the north they cannot eat them off
as the land is too heavy. They grow clover and cut it the
same as we do hay and put it into stacks for winter use.
Our clover is eaten off by sheep in the summer, then sown
We have had a cold time since your son
came, snow and a little frost. We are a little backward
this season through so many gone to the war. Your son is
quite at home, and all right. They had a good reception
on arrival here, also at two places where they passed
through on the train – eatables, coffee, cocoa, etc.
waiting for them as they passed through the stations.
We are pleased to think the Americans
have come to help us in this great struggle for right. I
hope that victory will be on our side after so many cruel
deeds done by the Germans. I must say you have sent us a
lot of fine, big young men. I heard today there were
others coming. Where we shall put them I don’t know,
as our population is only 5,500. We who could take them
to sleep have done so. They go to work in motor wagons
and return for food.
I think I have told you what East
Yorkshire is. Hope to let you hear a little more next
time, send you more news. I will send you our papers and
you will see the cattle market news..
We are having a jumble sale next
Tuesday—stock, etc. grown by the farmers and others.
They hope to raise 2,000 pounds.
I must conclude. Accept kind regards,
though from a stranger. I remain, dear sir, yours
J. W. Duggleby
The Golden Age
My 29, 1918
Mr. A. L. Dale
I am sending you this letter to let you
know I am well and getting a long fine. Uncle I am close
up to the front can hear the big guns and see the shells
burst but I still have a steady mind. If it is God’s
will for me to die in this fight, I will die as game as
anyone that has crossed the sea. I am not uneasy.
I’ll get back home some sweet day.
Have been moved twice since I came here
am a long ways from place where I wrote you last. In a
different branch of service. The Rain Bow Division 42
Regualr Army. Like it much better than any service have
had. I belong to the Truck Co. B 117 Ammunition Train. We
carry out the munition to the front line, we are back 8
or 10 miles, but in lots of danger when we go out. The
enemy of course tries to locate our route, and they turn
the big guns on us we’ve got to slip out if we can.
Every thing we do in the army now is
dangerous. But we all hope to see you again.
Answer soon I like to get letters from
Give my love to the girls.
I am sincerely,
Ryely T. Dale
|Dillon, I. F.
The Golden Age
Sept. 25, 1918
|I decided to
write a few lines to the Golden Age as I see some of the
boys from other camps are writing.
I have been in camp Gordon ten months, but
expect to leave for camp McClellan, Anniston, Ala. in a
Camp Gordon has been made a Replacement
camp. A Replacement camp is where the boys are equipped
for overseas service, and from there they go to France to
join the casualty Co.
Health is good here with the exception
of a few cases of measles.
Most all the Tenn. Boys have gone from
camp Gordon with the Replacement Co. My Capt. is from
Memphis Tenn. Capt. W. M. Stanton. I am sure some of you
people in Livingston know him, as he was a member of the
Legislature in 1913.
I am proud to know of Judge A. H.
Roberts’ nomination for Governor. I am confident the
people of Tenn. made a wise selection when they nominated
him, and trust that every citizen of Tenn. that wants to
see a good man at our State Government will support him
in the coming election.
Since I have been with the colors I
have met so many young men who are unable to read and
write, and to my surprise, a great per cent of these boys
are from my home state.
We realize our Rural School system is
not the best to be had, and the people of Tenn. should
not be satisfied with anything less than the best of
We have some of the brightest minds in
our small towns and Rural Districts to be found any
where, then why not develop them?
I trust the people of Tenn. will be one
of the leading states in efficient Rural schools.
Sergt. I. F. Dillon
The Golden Age
Aug. 14, 1918
82nd Division Headquarters
Somewhere in France
I am from Byrdstown Tenn. and I will be glad to
have your paper over here to get a little news from home.
This leaves all the boys over here all
right and having some time. We have been to a party
tonight and had American girls to entertain us, and that
is the most of our pleasure. But there is one thing we
will have, a good time when we get home.
You will find inclosed a check for
Pri. James Easterly
82 Division Headquarters
Troops Annex Forces
The Golden Age
Feb. 27, 1918
angel visited Camp Sevier at Greenville, S.C. Jan 18,
1918 and claimed for its victim a noble young soldier,
Norman Fletcher, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Bob Fletcher of
suffered with pneumonia fever a short time before his
We are glad to say he was preparing
himself to defend his country. But, is it not sweeter to
know he had hope of heaven?
The Chaplain wrote to Mr. Fletcher: I
had the pleasure of visiting your son while he was in the
hospital. We talked on religious matters for some time.
He always asked me to pray with him. I feel sure he had
no fear of death. His faith was abundant in Him who can
keep us safe until that day.
The Holy Scriptures say "knock and
the door shall be opened." We feel sure Norman
called upon God for his blessings, God is just and
merciful to all that come to him asking for His
When leaving his home for Camp Sevier
his mother was asking him to accept Jesus as his Savior
and prepare for the future. He said "mother if you
knew the promises I have made to Autie (Miss Autie Smith,
a lady he had kept company with for about seven years)
you would think there was no use of anyone else talking
to me. I mean to live and die by the promises I have made
Norman was kind, generous and true to
all his friends. His character was formed of habits that
made him a high principled young man, worthy of the love
and respect which he received from all his associates.
He will be missed in his home and by
all that know him. But, it is sweet to know he has gone
to those Mansions that God has prepared for all that
repent of their sins.
We may not know why death should come
to take dear ones from our home. But tho’ our eyes
be dimmed with tears, the Lord knows why we’ll trust
in him. O, why should we in agony weep, when he has
sweetly fell asleep. The precious Lord his soul shall
keep. We must consider that God knows best.
The Golden Age
July 31, 1918
|June 23, 1918
Dear father and mother (Mr. and Mrs. K. L.
This is Sunday morning and about nine
thirty here. It is about four thirty at home.
I am still dispatch riding and in the
best of health for I am out in the open all the time,
even sleep in the open when it does not rain.
For the last few days things have been
pretty quite but I look for "Fritz" to make
You was wanting to know about the
farming over here. It is quite different from home. They
don’t raise corn at all. I haven’t seen a stalk
or grain of corn in over two years, not since I left the
They plow here when the mud is six
inches deep, I’ve seen them plowing when it was
pouring down rain.
They use very crude methods at that.
Over half of the work is done with a little hand plow and
You don’t see any farm houses out
in the country, they all live in villages and go some
times as far as six miles to work, bringing their tools
in every night.
Some of the farmers have good horses,
big draft horses. You never see any saddle stock.
It would take four horses at home to
pull their empty wagons over there but their roads are
all good, every little side road is piked here.
I often see one horse puling a cart or
wagon along with wheels six feet high.
Sometimes you see one horse in shafts
and two in front or three abreast. Sometimes a donkey in
front and two dogs in harness under the cart.
I have seen farmers taking the stuff in
on a wheel barrow, a dog pulling in front.
The women do most of the work, for all
the men are in the army.
Very few if any own their land, it is
owned by big land owners who have had it for hundreds of
years. They rent it out to the peasants.
All the land is under cultivation, no
large tract of woods.
We are way ahead of them in every thing
but roads but it will take two hundred years in America
to ever have the roads they have here. All the roads are
lined with trees. You can look across the country for
miles and tell where all the roads are by seeing a
straight line of trees.
The country is fairly level, kindly
Their houses are all brick or stone.
I’ve never seen a wooden house yet. Their houses are
covered wit tile. Every time a shell falls near them the
roof all falls off. Even their floors are tile.
They live in one part of the building,
the stock in the other. Their houses are built in an L or
square with a brick basin in inside where they throw all
of their refuse, barnyard manure, straw and every thing
else that will decay, after which they haul it out and
put it on their land. The smell is something awful.
Don’t see how they can stand it.
In their towns and villages their
drainage is very poor.
There are a grate many mines over here,
coal mines. But instead of them being in mountains they
sink shafts in the most level part of the country. The
coal is mostly soft.
They have quite a few cows, all the
same kind, big red ones, I’ve never seen any other
kind, most of them milk three times a day.
They have no fences at all. Sometimes
they use hedges for fence but mostly it is all open. They
have a perfect mania for building brick walls around
their houses, some of them are 20 feet high. All of the
houses have deep cellars. I know of one (Chatean) fine
home that has a cellar that will hold 700 men.
They don’t drink water at all,
every one drinks weak wine, beer and coffee. They always
have a pot hot no matter how poor or how rich.
Their religion is all the same, they
are all Catholicts. I’ve never see a protestant
church since I’ve been here, they go to an
hour’s mass on Sunday morning, come home, open up
their Estarnetes (Saloons) for the rest of the day or go
to work in the fields just the same as any other day.
My address is as follows: 513718
Canadian C.T.M.T. Co B.E.F. France.
I found out where Shirlie was, but when
I got there he had not been gone ten minutes. I have no
idea where he is, but will keep looking for him.
The Golden Age
May 8, 1918
We are having a nice time out here.
Guess you farmers back there are preparing to make a big
crop this year. But I think us soldiers are ahead of you
all for we are preparing to get the Kaiser this year.
Well all the boys from Livingston seem
to be satisfied except Mack Cole and of course we all
know he is worring about his girl.
We are all anxious to get started to
France, and will start soon I think. We are doing some
sure enough drilling now. It would be a surprise for you
all to see us boys going through our bayonet drill. We
all like to take the bayonet drill as you see we want to
be ready. So you all stick with us and we will get the
Our Lieut. told us yesterday that we
would have to quit studying about our best girl soon for
we would soon be where we would have to study about
whipping the Kaiser and coming back. But of course we
can’t forget the girls. Will hear from us soon.
Joe Wheeler Garrett
|The body of
Benton Goolsby, reached here last Thursday and was kept
at the home of J. H. Emerton overnight and taken on to
his old home near Butler’s Landing for burial. He
was a soldier and was killed in a train wreck enroute
from Camp Sevier to another camp.
was a son of John Goolsby and leaves his parents and six
sisters and four brothers.
The Golden Age
Oct. 23, 1918
message was received here Saturday announcing the death
of Serg. Carson Guthrie on Sept. 28. He was wounded on
Guthrie volunteered in the service in 1915 and was a
member of the 1st Tennessee. He was the
youngest son of the late Rev. W. S. Guthrie. Since his
going away the family has moved to Crossville, leaving
only a sister, Mrs. Langford, in this county.
James – about
The Golden Age
Jan. 29, 1919
about Lieut. Guthrie"
Mr. W. L. Guthrie and family
Dear Sir and Madam:
Sergt. B. E. Keeton is in receipt of a
letter from you telling us of the sad death of your dear
brother and son. I want to extend to you and Mrs.
Guthrie, as a sincere friend of Jim’s as we called
him, my heartfelt and profound sympathy. Of course at a
time like this, in your deep hour of bereavement, a lot
of letters are in the way but I feel it my duty to write
you all a few lines in regard to this dear boy, as I was
the last man in Battery "E" to see and talk to
We arrived at a place near Avoncourt,
France, to camp, after an all night hike. It was four
o’clock A.M. Our guns were moving up to a forward
position: about 30 minuts later all of the men had gone
to bed. I being Mess Sergeant was looking around for a
good place to put my kitchen, as breakfast had to be
started soon. The first shell burst about 300 yards from
us, that was nothing unusual. The second 150 yards. Some
of the men woke up. The third shell hit as I was coming
to go to bed. I was only 30 yards from where it hit
myself, saw a cloud of smoke and thinking it gas yelled
to the men to put their gas masks on. In the next instant
I saw Jim coming toward me, saying he was hit. I ran to
him, felt his head. He said he could make it to the road,
so he told me to go back to the boys that were hurt worse
than he. How is that for courage? I went back and found
two men severely wounded, who a few minutes later died in
my arms, Isham and Alonzo K. Smith, I, with the
assistance of two men laid these boys on the side of the
road and a few minutes later a car stopped by me. Jim was
in it and called me over and asked me who they were and
whether anyone else was hurt. I said: "Jim, are you
hurt bad" and he said "No." I then told
hime to get well and write me. He said he would. If I had
only dreamed of him being hrt bad I would not have left
him a minute but gone to the hospital with him. Shells
were hitting pretty close then so the car moved on.
Mr. Guthrie, I know you and your folks
grieve the death of this true and brave soldier, who was
a model for other men to copy after. I, too, grieve his
death but who can die a nobler one than for one’s
country? If I had to die, I would that it would be for
the land and the flag I love so dear.
Your sincere friend,
|Keeton, B. E.
The Golden Age
Jan. 22, 1919
James Carson Guthrie"
Mr. W. L. Guthrie
I certainly was very much surprised
when I received your letter yesterday in learning of
Carson’s death. We had not been notified of his
death altho I had written repeatedly to the different
divisions that we supported during the battles around
Montfaucon and in the Argonne Forest. I had only received
one reply that he had been sent back to the Third
evacuation hospital with a slight scalp wound and this is
all we had ever been able to find out. Captain Donelson
(our Captain) has also written quite a number of letters
in effort to find out something about him. I will use
every effort to try to learn what hospital he was in when
he died. I was not with him when he was wounded. It was
on the morning of September 27th, about four
o’clock. We had been in position about a mile South
East of Avoncourt, South of the Argonne Forest and about
five miles South of Montfaucon. Of course you read of the
hard fighting we did here. We had fired several hours in
this position and received orders to move up to another
position, and as Carson was First Sergt. of the Battery
proper, it was his duty to stay back with the Battery and
look after the details for the supplies, rations and
ammunition. I was First Sergt. of the Firing Battery and
was with them. We had started to move up and when we had
gone about a mile I heard the Germans begin shelling the
woods where the camp was. I had to send a Corporal back
to camp with a message and when he returned to the
Battery he told us Isham and Alonzo Smith had been killed
and Sergt. Guthrie wounded, but said that he did not
think it was serious as he had walked around and had
moved themen all to a safer position. Not until he had
seen every man in a zone of comparative safety would he
even stop for his head to be bandaged. Then Sergt.
Kleeman who was with him—did what he could to get an
ambulance but could find none and he stopped an
officer’s car and they took him back to the dressing
station. From there he was sent back to the Field
hospital and that was the last trace we had of his
whereabouts, but he would not let the car leave until he
had given instructions about the care of the men.
Carson was a soldier who always looked
after the carrying out of orders and the welfare of men,
regardless of personal danger or comfort. He was a
soldier for any family to be proud of, he was brave,
courageous and was always conscientious in the
performance of his duty and was never known to shirk
anything, no matter how disagreeable. I don’t think
there has been a day since he was wounded that quite a
number of the boys did not inquire of me if I had heard
anything of Sergt. Guthrie, and yesterday when I told
them of your letter, it seemed to cast a gloom over the
entire Battery for the whole day.
Altho I know it is very sad indeed for
you all, yet there is one consolation – he gave his
life that the world may be a safe place to live in. I was
slightly wounded two days later but it was only a slight
one on the hand. Carson was wounded by a German four inch
high explosive shell, a fragment, which struck him just
above and in front of the right ear. I will be glad to
give you any information I can in regard to where he was
buried and anything else you would like to know.
Carson was First Sergt. of the Battery
and as such he was always kind and considerate, altho
always fearless in the execution of his duty. All the men
in the Battery wish for me to extend to you their
heartfelt sympathy in the loss of your brother and their
comrade and friend, and to assure you that each one has
done everything they could to avenge his death,
especially the non-commissioned officers wish to express
their deepest sympathy. Several have asked me for your
address that they might write you a letter. We are still
on the front and don’t have any idea when we will
get to leave for home.
Well I wish I could find words to
express sympathy for you and your mother and sisters and
brothers. Please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss
of your brother and my best friend and comrade.
B. E. Keeton
115 th FA
The Golden Age
November 20, 1918
At last I have time to write a few lines, and
feel sure that I will have a few days rest. And it sure
will be appreciated for we have been pretty busy for the
past two months. I would like to tell you all I have done
and where I have been but will have to wait until I come
home. I have spent quite a lot of time on the front and
have seen some pretty lively time, but have been lucky so
far. I only got a slight wound on the hand. We have had
two killed and several have been wounded, no doubt you
have seen their names in the casualty lists. I wrote
Ester a letter last night, I have received several
letters and cards from her.
I have not heard anything from Red in
several weeks, I don’t think I have been closer than
200 miles from him. I will write him a card tonight and
try to learn where he is. I have not seen any of our
infantry since I have been in France.
You should see my home now, it is a
rustic bungalow about ten feet square. Myself and a
Corporal stay together. We have a stove and are all fixed
up for the winter.
We drove the Germans out several weeks
ago, I can’t tell you very much about our work on
the front, only we gave them _____and will again when we
get a chance.
We have plenty to eat most of the time
and get plenty of smoking tobacco and most of the time
have a dry place to sleep, so why should we worry. Unless
"Fritz" gets mad throws shells too close to us.
I have had some pretty narrow escapes. I have had sever
shell fragments to go through my clothes and one tore up
a paper I was reading.
My old chum, whose people now live in
Crossville, was sent to the hospital, wounded, several
weeks ago. I don’t know how he is getting along.
The Corporal and I have just been
talking about how we would feel on a real bed once more,
and what we would do if we were to sit down to a real
home cooked meal. Last night I dreamed of chicken (fried)
a few nights ago I dreamed of watermelons.
I guess about all the boys are away
from Livingston now, those who are not in the army I
guess are away at work. It sure is dark and rainy here
tonight and it sure gets cold every night. We have been
having frost for over a month. I think I would like
France fine in peace time as there sure is some pretty
country, some of the prettiest farming country I ever
I am getting hungry, wish I could get
into the kitchen at home and get a few things I know are
there. As it is I will gnaw a hard-tack and think of what
I will do and how much I will eat when I do get home
Spivey is just about the same as he has
always been, he asks me every week how they are all
getting along back home.
I received a nice long letter from my
girl in Nashvill yesterday. I have been getting my mail
alright and sure do appreciate the number of letters I
have received from you it sure is good to get one or two
letters a week from home. Do you know cousin Martha
Long’s daughter’s name and address if so please
let me know and perhaps I will get to see her. Tell
Alfred, Louis and mother I will write to them in a day or
Benton Little is still with us he is
saddler for the Battery he is one of the best soldiers we
have. I think he is in better health than he has been for
a long time.
Well it is time I was in bed I will
close will write A. M. in a few days. If we stay in this
camp I can write often if I can get paper I don’t
know how far we are from a Y.M.C.A. but I think it is
five or six miles. Well be good and write often and take
good care of mother.
Love to all, your bud, Burris
The above letter was received by Mrs.
J. W. Thedford from her brother Burris Keeton.
The Golden Age Aug 14,
Somewhere in France
|Just a few
words to the readers of the Golden Age. I have been in
France since April and like it fine. France is a fine old
place, its temperature is somewhat like the States.
My Regiment has been to the front twice. We are
resting now as we only got relieved the Fourth of July,
and you always get a rest after coming from the front.
The boys over here are having some hard
fighting, but of course we always win. My company has
distinguished itself twice on account of its fighting.
I am sending my best regards to one and
Yours as a friend,
Pvt. Victor H. Koger
Co. H, 61st Inf., AEF
The Golden Age
Feb. 5, 1919
Le Trochet, France
|Dec. 28, 1918
I will write a few lines to the Golden Age. I
havn’t forgotten dear old Overton and its good
people. My heart and thoughts are there and I hope it
won’t be long until I will return. I have had some
experience since I left home. I went to Liverpool to
South Hampton and across the chanel. The parts of England
that I saw were sure beautiful and the people were mighty
nice to us. I stayed in Romsy several days. Then we hiked
about ten miles to South Hampton with our packs, which
weighed about seventy-five pounds, then crossed the
chanel to La Harre. Stayed there about seven days. From
there to Fayl Bellet. Stayed there about twenty days,
went from there to the Marne. There was where we come in
contact with the Boche. He tried us every where we went.
I was near Chateau Thiery during the battle of the Marne.
Fritz came over the first night we got here and droped
several bombs, but failed to do any damage. Every time we
moved he would come over to see about us. It looked like
he had my number but he never got me. The war is won and
I am out without a scratch.
Well the French people are mighty
clever, they don’t seem to worry about anything at
all. I have been at their homes where they had been
shelled and torn almost down and nearly all of them have
a smile on their face.
France has some beautiful country.
Parts of it is pretty farming land. They raise lots of
wheat, oats and clover, Irish potatoes, beets and grapes.
I havn’t seen any corn at all. And one thing I will
hand to them, they have good roads everywhere. I would
sure like for the people of Overton County to see their
So I will quit with best wishes to all.
Bugler Benj. H. Ledbetter
The Golden Age
April 10, 1918
454 Sqd. A. S. S. C.
Since my arrival in Washington Feb. 17th
I have learned quite a few things of the climate
vegetation etc. which is so different to that of
Tennessee. The Puget Sound country here is now having its
rainy season, it doesn’t rain so very hard, just a
slow and easy rain, a big portion of the time its only a
drizzle, but we are getting rain about seven days out of
The The forests here are also different
to those back east. The timber is all green in the
likeness of cedar or pine, with the exceptions of a few
specimens. The trees are very tall and standing thinck on
the ground and there is a long swinging moss which grows
on the timber and underbrush, making the forest very
dense. There are some large spruce trees here, only a few
of the big ones, to an acres some of the big logs are 8
to 30 feet long containing about 9000 feet.
Raymond is in Pacific County population
about 5000, and on the Willapa river at point where it
widens out to form Willapa Harbor entering the Pacific
The Aviation Section Signal Corps is
doing some business now. Our camp is on Willapa river
only a short distance from the tide water of the Pacific.
Wild land here is from $10 to $50 per
acre, improved $50 to $300. Principal crops, garden
truck, berries and grain.
Prevailing nationality American.
There is still quite a lot of
government land west of the Rockies to be taken up and
The trip through from Tenn. to
Washington is somewhat of a journey. Leaving Chicago via
Omaha, Nebr. the Union Pacific Ry, a very scenic and
picturesque line, runs through the central Praries and
then finds its way over the "Rockies" through a
ragged country of fantastic rock formation, pinnacles,
spires and lofty peaks to the Pacific coast. From
Ju?esburg, Colo. to the summit of the Cascade Range, the
mountainous part of the trip Is very wild and impressive.
I saw but little sign of agriculture in Wisconsin and
Idaho, though I saw many heards of sheep, some of which
consisted of several hundred head. The forests of Wyoming
and Idaho, as to be seen from the car windows appear to
be somewhat depleted.
In Western Idaho and Eastern Oregon
Feb. 15th, we were in a snow storm that lasted
three or four hours. The snow fell from the dull laden
sky and came down rapidly in large flakes with a fierce
wind, piling up on the covering of previous storms.
The nicest scenery of Oregon was as the
train ran along the left bank of the Columbia River near
Mt. Wood, a few miles east of Portland,
|Looper, T. S.
Golden Age March 13, 1918
157 Depo. Brig.
and Kind Readers:
Will again jot
down a few lines from the Camp, as I see my last letter
failed to find the waste basket.
We are still having ideal weather which
is of course very enjoyable to all of us. We to date have
about 300 new drafted white men, and most 3000 negroes of
which we are taking care of about 1/3 of the new negroes
and they sure do keep things lively around here. All the
Overton county boys I spoke about in my last letter have
been transferred to various parts of the Camp, scattering
us entirely, and now Perry Windle is the only Overton
county boy left near me, he being with the Personnel
office, I think.
It seems very strange to be a soldier
when only 9 days ago I had the great pleasure of visiting
homefolks for the period of one day. And true enough I
hardly knew how to act in civilian life, and guess I will
entirely forget it by the time I have the pleasure of
living it again.
Was well pleased with the outlook of
the Livingston Red Cross and trust every body will push
it to the fullest extent. Each and every one should be
willing to do their bit in some way or other for their
friends or loved ones now serving or dying for the love
of their Country. And the most direct way to reach the
soldier boy in general is through the American Red Cross.
Am also glad to see our paper "The
Golden Age" increasing in news instead of so much
advertising as I feel it will prove more satisfactory to
the people in general, and certainly deserves praise for
the news contained in it.
Wake up you Henard and Okalona people
and let me have a word from you as I still exist, barely.
And you might as well expect me back to teach again in
the fall, for I think old Kaiser will fail to exist in
May God’s richest blessings rest
and abide with us all is my prayer. Good by.
Hq. Cas. Det., 157 Depot Brig.
Camp Gordon, Atlanta, GA
|Looper, T. S.
Golden Age Nov. 28, 1917
3rd Training Batalion,
157 Depot Brigade
|To the Golden
Kind readers and loved ones.
On last Friday morning I left home in
the Hartsoe cove, of Overton county reporting at
Livingston at 8:30 for the draft army, and was soon after
selected captain or foreman of the squad enroute to Camp
Gordon. Eight of us, namely: R. Dale, I.F. Dillon, Johnie
Waits, W.C. Threat, W. Ray, Oliver Ledbetter, Carl
Mofield and myself boarded the train. Though sad were the
scenes witnessed at the depot, all the boys kept in good
cheer and were lively all the way, more especially when
we were joined by about 150 other men at Algood from the
We reached camp at 7 A.M. Saturday
morning and were soon assigned to our barracks, or bunks,
and six of the Overton county boys are together the
others having strayed off. But all of we recent drafted
Tennesseans are in Depot Brigade as well as some N.Y. and
Penn. troops. All the boys seem to be well pleased, as we
have lots of amusements, the Y.M.C.A. and all kinds of
athletic goods at our disposal, and as there are some
50,000 of us and plenty of work to do, we don’t have
time to get lonesome or homesick. The boys got a bit blue
Saturday and Sunday but all over now as they got a good
teast of drilling today, except John Waits and myself and
we haven’t drilled any yet. We expect to be examined
shortly and transferred to another camp. I want to remind
the home folks not to be uneasy or worried over us in the
least as we are well cared for and I dare say the moral
and religious influences here are far better than in the
city, and we fare much better than you might think only
for the hard continuous work.
And we trust Overton county will
remember her boys in the colors and award them the
necessary equipments as other counties and states are
doing. And remain in fervent prayer for our speedy return
Hope I will be remembered by the
readers of the Golden Age, especially the Bethlehem
folks. Drop us all a line often. Will close hoping to
come again soon. Best wishes to the Oklona school.
A friend to the Golden Age and its
|Looper, T. S.
Golden Age Feb. 6, 1918
Letter written 1/18/1918
|To the Golden
As my piece on Good Roads
escaped the waste basket, I will try to write a few more
words to the grand little paper of Overton County.
The Golden Age is more than a welcome
visitor to Camp Gordon, for all the Overton county boys
want to see it and can think of nothing but the paper at
the time of its arrival.
There is no question but what we have
one of the finest little papers printed any where for the
money, and even at the dollar rate, no one should kick
for it is worth the money, and many times more.
All the boys in Camp here seem to be
jolly and gay, but most of them have great hopes of
returning home this coming year, and of course we would
be glad to be at home with loved ones and friends, but
all should be willing to do their bit.
Health is good, and has been, and we
boast of having the most healthful Camp in America, for
we have had only a few cases of meningitis, with several
cases of mumps and measles and very few dying.
Hello there, you Henard people why
can’t some of you write The Golden Age, for we boys
like to hear from any of you. It seems to me that more
people should write short clippy letters to the paper
each week, helping out the editor, as well as giving the
much appreciated news to distant relatives and friends.
Was so sorry to hear of the Bethlehem
church burning for it was a great unit for the people of
that surrounding country, and wielded great influence
over the young as well as the old. And I want to express
my thanks and gratitude to Mr. Luther McCormick in his
efforts and the powerful influence he has wielded over
the young that knew him, and he is a man that any
community should feel proud of and a man that our country
as well as our nation need more of, and I am surse we
Sunday school students appreciate his many efforts in our
behalf, and he will be long remembered for same, not only
on earth, but beyond "The Golden River."
Come again R.B.M. of Camp Jackson, we
are all glad to hear from you.
Let’s all wake up and give the
news from every section of our dear old county of
May success and happiness dwell with
the editor and it’s many readers is my prayer.
|Looper, T. S.
The Golden Age
Feb 13, 1918
|To the Golden
Dear editor and home
friends: As one of my letters escaped the waste basket of
my dear little home paper, here I come with a few more
Every thing in Camp Gordon seems to be
fine at present as we are having ideal weather, and that
is what the boys like when it comes to drilling or
guarding. And we are having extra health at present, only
heard of one case of meningitis in a couple of weeks,
other diseases most in proportion.
The boys of our Camp had a rather
enjoyable evening in listening to one of Americas great
orators, Ex-President William howard Taft, discussing the
war with and from a European stand point receiving
numerous applauses from the mass of soldiers assembled at
our new Theatre.
Several of we Overton county boys meet
and talk daily which of course is a great pleasure. The
following are now here in the Casual Detachment: Frank
Oakley and Joe Dillon in 23rd Co., Irving
Hammons and Sid Smith in the 25th Co., Wade
Ray, Carl Mofield in 21st Co., Irving F.
Dillon in 32nd Co. And I am sure that any of
these boys would appreciate a word from any old friend
there in our county. With the exception of one they are
all fine and dandy, he a bit homesick, ha ha! The boys
are all faring fine, as for myself I have only drilled
one day since in Camp, and am now clerk at Casual
headquarters long hours, but a bit more pleasant than
drilling, for me at least.
Just a word of praise for the wonderful
work now being carried on in the Camps by the Y.M.C.A.
and the Red Cross, for they certainly deserve praise for
their efforts now being put forth by them in behalf of
the soldier, and I trust that Overton county will not
have a slacker when called on to donate or assist in
helping either of these organizations.
I also want to cll attention of the
people of Overton county to the wonderful efforts now
being put forth by Rev. Sanders, as I consider him one of
the grandest men that has been among us in years. And I
trust that each and every one will give him their most
hearty support and co-operation in the religious work,
for I consider none more worthy.
Hello, to all the Rickman, Henard and
Oklona people and more especially the school children of
Oklona, for they are on my mind daily, and I will long
remember my pleasant association with them.
26th Co., 7th
|Looper, T. S.
Golden Age Jan. 2, 1918
|To the people
of Overton County:
The needs of a
Nation and its people are now greater than ever before,
and each and every individual should be aware of that
fact and put their duties into execution.
The greatest need of Overton county is
good roads and good schools, which of course run
together. But the question is how shall we obtain them?
I know we are all for the upbuilding of
our country and our county and would be for good roads if
obtained in the right channel, which should be easily
I have visited various counties in east
and middle Tenn. as well as a great may counties in Ga.
where they have pikes, and find a general dissatisfaction
where there are no good roads.
Heretofore we have tried to obtain good
roads by voting ‘Bonds’ on the people, which
does not adhere to their feelings and belief, for the
simple reason that the bond issue has been misconstrued
to the country people by outsiders, which has caused a
very disagreeable sentiment and feeling between the
country people and the town people, which should not be
The trouble is this: The town people
are in favor of good roads in general, and want them
regardless of cost, some of them at least. The country
people are in favor of good roads but want to consider
cost, and get the best possible an to obtain same, which
is nothing but right. And if the people of Livingston and
the surrounding country would work in harmony with each
other, and show their respect and rights to each other.
For no man should be considered wrong, for being for or
against good roads, as we know every man has a right to
his own opinion, but neither should be on the extreme,
for that is the leading issue that causes us to have no
good roads today. So now if the citizens of Livingston
would get together and put themselves up to work in
harmony with the country people, thereby establishing
union and harmony throughout the country, instead of the
friction that now exists, for the country people must and
will rule and when we respect their rights in that way,
and get up a proposition which is fair and square to all,
and one that cannot have a "hole" or a change
made in it, then the country people will support it and
not before. For to my personal knowledge there were over
one hundred votes changed against the good roads in the
last election, due to the sudden change made in the
articles just before the election. If it continues in
that way the question will never be settled successfully.
One of my greatest desires are that
Overton county may soon obtain the greatly needed good
roads, and not put it off. Tho I nor any of the soldier
boys may never have the pleasure of treading the soil of
the fair land again, we hope and trust for the best for
our people and friends we have left behind.
And I am sure that I speak the
sentiment of every soldier that has left Overton county
when I say we hope and trust that the people will get
together and work in harmony with each other, and adhere
to the calling of the Lord –"In union there is
strength." The divided condition should not exist in
our dear old country. And when our good roads shall have
been obtained, our county will begin its upward climb and
make its self known on the map, and it will have better
schools, better and more people, better churches, and
more money. But first of all we must realize we
can’t get them for nothing and without sacrifice.
And all get together and make yourselves worthwhile, and
live while you are alive for to-morrow you may die or be
called to the army as we have been. Get that old grudge
out of your hearts and minds and be something worthwhile.
And may God bless and unite you all in heart and hand is
Serg. T. S. Looper
April 17, 1918 The Golden
Camp Gordon, GA
We are having plenty
of rain at present, and new soldiers arriving daily from
Ga., Tenn. and Ala., part of which are the 1st
draft, but mostly the 2nd.
Beg pardon for misinterpetation the
editor took of my last letter, for I feel and realize
that advertising has its place in the world and on the
press just as everything else has its place. For
instance, Adam and Eve had their place in the "Holy
Garden of Eden," yet did they stop in the place they
And from the compliment the writer can
readily see the appreciation the editor has of his
efforts put forth to try to upbuild our home paper.
"But when the elephant steps on Fido’s toes he
is some to hollow." The writer well realizing his
The writer is now occupying one of the
snow white beds set apart by the Government at our Camp
Hospital where all convalescent soldiers are sent, as the
handle and care for the daily sick. It is here we have
the constant attention of the dear little Red Cross
nurses, which perform their duties daily, as well as all
night long, without a murmur, or shirk for the welfare
and benefit of each and every American soldier. And
father, mother, wife, sister and brother at home who have
loved ones in the army that you are waiting and praying
daily for their return, should feel proud and overjoyed
in your hearts at your loved ones having the privilege of
being under the care of the American Red Cross nurses
when sick, as well as when wounded on the battle field in
France. The first to their aid will be the nurse. So I
may say if you haven’t a friend, a prayer or desire
for the welfare of our grand and noble army of boys, then
do not contribute to the Red Cross and declare you have
no interest in any one but "self." And the Army
Y.M.C.A. as well, only it is for the pleasure and
comforts of the desolate, lonely and sad hearted that has
left a wife, child or dear loved one home to mourn their
We have an army of nearly 2,000,000 men
and growing daily. Never have a nobler bunch of boys been
together, for they are all realizing their duties and are
becoming brave hearted and true, with a great desire to
get across and have a chance at the "Kaiser"
and show what we are made of. Our present work on the
battle front shows we still posess the spirit and punch
that gives the heights of success. The same will
celebrate our grand and noble victory in the near future
we hope. But it is coming and it won’t be
The writer often wonders and tries to
remember each and every one in his evening prayers that
our loved ones at home may offer prayers in the right
spirit, and in faith. "For if ye ask in faith ye
shall receive," for without faith in God, and
earnest prayer through him to win this war we are sure to
lose. Butinstead of worry, put your trust in God.
"For He doeth all things well."
For fear of worry to the editor and
friends I bid you adieu.
Serg. Thos. S. Looper,
Hq. Cas. Det.
Camp Gordon, GA
|Martin, R. L.
327 Inf, Co D
Sept. 25, 1918 The Golden Age
Somewhere in France
To the readers of The Golden
Some time ago I wrote a few lines to
the folks at home through the columns of this valuable
paper, and so many letters have I received thanking me
for the same from its dear readers I have decided to
again write in response to the many thanks I have
Being an Overton county boy who has the
luck to say he is in France and already had a couple of
"cracks" at Fritz and so far came out O.K. and
again already set for another leap up the line. It may be
of interest to some to know what it is like here, so I
will tell you of my first trip up there.
The night we went up was dark and
rainy, we could not see a couple of feet in front of us,
so we missed our way and got lost in a wood, then there
was some loud talking and calling for one thing and
another so that the Germans whose front line was not far
from us, heard us and at once commenced shelling the
woods for 1 ½ hours, he shelled us without a break and
it was funny that we were not wiped out, his shells were
falling all around us, some as close as 10 feet. For
myself I felt very shaky but after a short time I settled
down and did not mind it at all. All we could do was to
lay there for we could not do a thing, and so with gas
masks on and covered with mud we waited for Fritz to
leave, which happened about 3 A.M., and then we crawled
into our trench which was all this time only a few yards
away on our right.
Never will I forget it, it was our
first experience of heavy shell-fire, strange too, we had
no casualties. After a number of days we were relieved
and came back to a rest camp. And on the way back we
passed through some small villages half in ruins from
being shelled. As soon as we arrived at the first village
back of the lines we were met by a Red Cross man, who
conducted us to a dugout and gave us all as much hot
chocolate as we could drink, how good it tasted, I
havn’t tasted any thing finer since I left home then
we received a package of cigaretts, socks and other
things and then made our way to our billets in the rear
camps, as we have to be off the roads by daylight, and it
was nearly breaking day and we had a long way to go. Too
much cannot be said in praise of the Red Cross as for us,
every thing is given to us free, and is worthy of all the
subscriptions as receives from the public.
I had the pleasure of meeting Carlos
Co? on the boat when we were crossing the ocean. I have
been with him a great deal and is now close to us, he is
in the same outfit as I only in Co. G. He is doing well
and enjoying the best of health.
Strange what a change time makes, at
first I had no desire to come to France or to be in the
army, but when one has been in France and see what he has
seen, then we fully realize that the Hun must be stopped
and I am glad to be here to do my share for it is our
duty and we know we can do it.
Since I have been here I have seen a
great deal of France while riding on a box car—cars
is the way we travel from place to place—such a
change from our coaches at home which are so comfortable.
One of our box cars would make three French cars, so
small they look like toys.
Well it is time to turn in so good
night and good luck.
R. L. Martin
October 30, 1918
After the Kaiser"
Friends: I will now write a few lines to the Golden Age,
as I have about recovered from my illness. I have been in
the Base hospital for some time but am able to sit up now
and think I will be O.K. in a few days. Hope I will soon
be able to go back to duty, as I want to give the Huns
one more hit before I go back to the States. Don’t
think the war will last much longer. Germany has got her
best troops at the front and they fall back. I guess
Fritz has realized now that they are up against something
hard. There is one thing I want to speak about and that
is the Red Cross girls and the nurses that are over here.
We will have to give them credit for the good work they
are doing. The nurses are mothers to the boys over here.
After we go to the front and get wounded and sick they
are ever ready to do all they can for us. I have been
treated almost like I would have been treated at home
since I have been in the hospital.
As I am getting weak guess I had better
close and go to bed. Best wishes and kindest regards to
all my friends.
Robt. L. Martin
American E. F.
The Golden Age Jan. 16,
Co. H, 323 Inf.
|Jan. 5, 1918
As I haven’t written to your newsy
little paper for quite a while will do so to night.
Have seen quite a number of my old
friends of Overton County since my last letter.
I was lucky enough to get a pass home
during the Holidays and I enjoyed to the limit.
I started back to Camp Saturday morning
Dec. 29 and arrived Monday morning. I found health in
Camp to be greatly improved to what it was when I started
home. I have heard of no new cases of menengitis for
quite a while, altho quite a umber have mumps. Five cases
developed in my Company this week, and we are
quarentined. But the general Camp quarentine for
menengitis has been lifted and the boys can go to town
again, of course we are not sorry of that. We are allowed
to go to town three times a week if not on special duty.
We have automobile and trolly service.
Hello, T. S. L. of Camp Gordon, why
don’t you write to The Golden Age?
Wake up everybody and give three cheers
for Roberts, he must win.
Wishing The Golden Age and its many
readers much success. I am yours truly.
R. B. Matthews
The Golden Age Nov. 28,
readers of the Golden Age:
last letter escaped the waste basket will write again. As
before have just come from Sunday School and the class
was somewhat slim this morning, but the few who were
there hat their morning lesson just the same.
We are having some real nice weather
here. The days are warm and the nights are cool. It has
rained but little since we came to this camp.
Health is very good, several have bad
colds, and there are several cases of measles. Everything
is moving along nicely in Camp. Everybody is ready to go
to France. Some of the boys say they had rather not visit
the Kaiser, while others express their wish to go.
Several thousand colored troops are to
leave here soon for France. Think they are to build
railroads. They seem to be in fine condition.
Athletics are on the boom here. There
are several foot ball games played each week, also basket
and base ball.
Come on you writer of Camp Sevier and
give up the news from that place. Would like to hear from
Ernest Terry, as I have a letter for him and don’t
know his address.
Hello there you Sunday School class at
Bethlehem, keep up you S.S. class and write to The Golden
Just now saw 400 troops come in from
Camp Pike, Ark. They will be assigned to the different
Guess I’ll close for the present
as I want to go to town this p.m.
R. B. Matthews
Co. H, 323rd Inf.
The Golden Age
January 30, 1918
|Jan. 22, 1918
Readers of the Golden Age:
Here I come again but will try not to
stay long enough to punish you very much.
It is pretty cold here the ground and
trees are covered with ice, and has been raining most all
We have one half Holiday today, and the
boys are off duty.
We have been on the Rifle Range for the
past few days. It is some three miles out of Camp. We
hike out in the morning and back in evening. We all enjoy
going on the Range.
We first get ten shots at 100 yards,
ten at 200 yards, and fifteen at 300 yards. Then comes
the rapid fire at short and long ranges.
Only two of my Company have failed to
qualify so far, but when old H. Company fails no other
need try, we only lacked one quarter point leading the
Regiment in an athletic track meet held Dec. 20. We also
have the champion Tug-of-War team, and best officers in
When we go to Germany Kaiser Bill will
either hide of get scalped.
While on my return to Camp Dec. 30th,
I had the pleasure of seeing the German prisoners who are
interned at Hot Springs, NC. They certainly are well
The boys have set in to give the
Barrack a general cleaning up so I suppose I might as
well close and get busy. No slackers allowed.
Wishing you much success. I am
R. B. Matthews
The Golden Age
May 29, 1918
Here I come again as
I haven’t written for a few weeks.
The regular routine of camp duty still
holds good, and the boys are getting some pep to their
work, which is of course very important. For a soldier
without pep is like a wagon with three wheels.
Have just been up into the Depot
Brigade which is being rapidly filled up with recruits,
some 3000 came in yesterday and last night.
I found a jolly crowd in the persons of
Forest Stockton, Lester Holeman, Asa Crawford and a few
more Overton boys that are here in Camp.
I am glad to notice that the people
back home are taking an interest in the Red Cross and
Liberty Loans, for I feel that their money could not be
given for a better purpose. And if the people don’t
come to the front and work together we can never win this
I could name men in Overton county who
could help the Red Cross quite a bit, and hardly miss it.
Even if you haven’t a son in the
army, some one else has.
Are you doing your bit? If not get busy
for you don’t know how many wounded soldiers your
$50.00 Liberty Bond might benefit, and you are not giving
the money away, but loaning it to the Government at 4 ¼
% int. that is a better int. than the banks pay you.
The 108th Field Artillery
from Camp Hancock, Ga., visited this Camp Tuesday night.
They were 2000 strong and traveled in 130 large army
trucks costing $5,000 apiece. The trip was to test their
endurance for long trips by car.
Orders were received here today from
the war department for the immediate transfer of Gen.
Raily and staff and Infantry units and Military police to
Camp Sevier. This camp is to be used for Artillery
purposes, so you see we will soon be on the kike.
Why don’t more of you soldier boys
write to The Golden Age.
I close with best wishes to all.
The Golden Age
September 4, 1918
May I ask for a few lines in the Golden
Age as I haven’t written for quite a while, altho I
feel that I don’t know much of interest to write
This camp is being filled up again,
after being vacated by the 81st Division,
which I understand has arrived safely in France. Although
they don’s seem like the same boys to me, two
Regiments of Regulars and the others are to be recruits.
A new Division is to be formed here. This camp has been
nearly empty for quite a while.
I have been back on duty some three
weeks and have the best officers in the Bn. My Co. is a
class Co. which I filled up with men who have passed the
overseas examination, and expect to see service over
there, regardless of some little accident which has
caused them to be left behind by their Division, most of
them have had broken limbs, or some simple operation.
Health is very good in camp now, a few
cases of mumps and some of us get a little homesick
sometimes, but we soon get over that to a great extent,
as soldiering and homesicknes does not work together.
I often thin of the schools back there,
and hope you all have good teachers and will have a long
and successful term. It don’t matter how hard your
teacher tries to teach a good school he cannot if you
don’t give him your support. Better schools, and
better roads are badly needed in Overton county and you
will never have them if you don’t get busy and work
We are having some awful hot times and
but little rain. You boys who have not been called had
just as well make up your minds to "pack your
troubles," for you will soon be where you won’t
have to buy your clothes. The clothes part of it will
save you quite a bit of money.
Must not stay too long so will close
with best wishes to all.
Sgt. R. B. Matthews
The Golden Age
June 19, 1918
Today has been a day of rest for most of the
khaki clad boys.
Religious services were held at the
Camp and of course as usual most of the boys went to the
city in the afternoon.
The people of Greenville try to make
the boys feel welcome, and furnish us various kinds of
amusements, such as dances and receptions. The boys
attend in large numbers. The music is usually furnished
by one of the Camp Military Bands.
They have a club for enlisted men to
spend their time at while in the city. It furnished free
games, stationary, etc. Also the K. of C. and Y. M. C. A.
buildings are for the same purpose. They seem pretty much
like home, and they really are a soldier’s home.
This camp is being rapidly filled up
with recruits 6,821 men to come from Ala. and 1,380 from
N. Y. and it only takes a short while to get them
examined and assigned to the branch of service best
suited to their walk of life.
Miss Margaret, youngest daughter of
Pres. Wilson, gave two recitals here last week. She was
highly welcomed by the soldiers turning out in full force
to hear her.
Was so sorry to hear of Thomas G.
Speck’s death. Hope we will soon make the Germans
repent of those awful deeds, and that the Beast of Berlin
will fall bleeding at the feet of the American Eagle
never to rise again.
Another officer training camp has
started here with over 1200 candidates.
Why don’t more of you khaki boys
write to your home paper? It would take only a few
moments of your spare time, and we would be glad to hear
from any of you.
We like this camp fine. Of course the
tents are not so nice as barracks, but we get by nicely
and, like the surroundings of camp and the city far
better than at Camp Jackson. We don’t have to walk
through so much sand up here.
Must say I am very proud of Overton
county for their Red Cross. I don’t think a
committee of better men could have been found.
With best wishes I am, yours truly
R. B. Matthews
The Golden Age
July 3, 1918
Just a few lines to-day while the gentle rain of
the past few hours is still falling on our little white
Nine months ago this evening at 5
o’clock I went into the service of our country, and
during that time have had the pleasure of visiting dear
old Overton county three times. Each time I go back some
more of my boy friends of dear old school days are gone.
It causes many heart aches, but they are doing their bit.
I also notice that the people are not
asleep, but up and doing for the Red Cross which makes
the boys in khaki still more proud of their home people.
The Companies are being rapidly filled
up from the Depot Brigade, and the regular routine for
recruits is being carried on to a finish, and they learn
very rapidly. Some $300,000 has been appropriated for the
purpose of installing a better system of water works in
this camp, which will make the camp far better.
All musicians of this camp are to be
given a reception at the Ottaray hotel next Saturday
evening which means a treat for us, but some are likely
to have t go to the infirmary the next day over eating
You new boys who are going to camp
Gordon in the next draft, look around on the hill where
the old 326th Inf. used to be and see if you
can find any of my tracks made there in the red mud last
fall. A fellow from Cookeville said tell you his tracks
were there too.
Will close. Thanks for the space.
R. B. Matthews
November 14, 1917
readers of The Golden Age. . .
try to jot down a few lines this beautiful Sunday
morning. Have just come in from Sunday school we have in
our Mess Hall. Most of the boys take a part in Sunday
school. It makes us think of the pleasant Sundays we used
to spend back home in that work.
The boys are very well contented with
army life, of course it isn’t as the life we lived
at home but we have been selected to do our bit in this
great war and we mean to play our part as near as
In a speech made to us the other day
our officers told up that we would be in France by spring
and if we go we won’t come back until Kaiser Bill
will have been scalped.
The Tenn. Boys have been sent from Camp
Gordon Ga. To this Camp and to the Camp at Greenville SC.
A few of the Overton county boys are here and the others
are at Greenville. We have fine officers and plenty to
The Y.M.C.A. is doing a fine work in
all the Camps. They furnish us plenty of writing paper,
books to read and athletic goods free of charge.
The soldier boys are always glad to
hear from home, and the people back there should write to
their friends in the army. The Tenn. Boys have hoped all
the while that they would be transferred to Nashville
Tenn., but hardly think we will. This Camp will
accommodate 45,000 troops.
Why don’t some of you Bethlehem
people wake up and write to The Golden Age, we would be
glad o read letters from any of you.
Harvey Lea says he would be glad to see
his girl, guess there are others in the same notion. Will
close and if this escapes the waste basket will come
Ridley B. Matthews
Company H, 323rd Inf.
The Golden Age
February 12, 1918
|Jan. 29, 1918
Well four weeks ago to-day I left my home in
dear old Overton county and started back to Camp.
Seventeen weeks ago today I went into service. The boys
all know just how I felt, when issued my mess-kit
composed of a tin plate with lid, a tin cup, knife, fork
and spoon, but I have learned to like them now, and greet
them three times a day. They sure serve me well.
I noticed Winningham’s letter from
Camp Gordon saying he didn’t have much to do, wait
until he has been assigned to some branch of service for
a while and he won’t say that.
My Company is on the Range to-day,
guess they are having a pretty tough time, as it is
misting rain and turning colder.
We have had some nice warm weather here
for the past few days didn’t even have fire part of
There are fewer in the hospital now
than at any time this winter, so you can see health has
improved very much.
My Company is still under quarantine
for mumps. One new case of spinal meningitis developed
near my Barrack Saturday evening. That is the only new
case I have heard of lately.
Ex-President Taft visited this Camp
Jan. 31. He reviewed this Division on the parade ground.
Rumors which have been current here
that this Camp was to be greatly enlarged in the near
future were unified here Jan. 26th, 6,500
Ordinance men are to be sent here. Also the next
increment of the draft to be called in Feb. are to be
sent here. That will fill the Camp to its capicity.
I want to say a good word for the Red
Cross, for they sure have meant quite a lot to the boys
in Camp. They have given 18,000 sweaters to the boys
here, and 8,000 more to be given out at once.
My letter is growing lengthy and I
don’t want to worry you too much.
Ridley B. Matthews
The Golden Age
July 10, 1918
Just a few thoughts this beautiful day.
Owing to a slight accident yesterday at
9 A.M. I am now occupying one of the snowy white beds in
the Base hospital, waited upon by the ever willing Red
Cross nurses, who are with us night and day.
I had the bad luck of getting a fall
breaking both bones of my left arm just above the wrist,
also dislocating the joint. Was under the influence of
ether some 30 minutes after which an X Ray was taken.
The Athletic committee has a fine
program arranged for to day. Most all organizations in
the camp will have representatives in the track meet.
I happened to be one of the number
selected to represent my Reg., but here I am.
Hello there Lester Holeman and others
of camp Jackson, why don’t you write me? I
don’t remember your Co.
I hope the rally in Livingston Thursday
will be a success.
Hello there uncle Martin Bilbrey and
wife, how are you? Where did you go to in Algood that
day? I never saw you after I got off the train.
Ridley B. Matthews
Ward 16, Base Hospital
The Golden Age
July 24, 1918
Co M, 4th Reg.
I am well and having a good time. I am at work
in the medical department have been here three weeks. I
want to say the bos who are yet to come that they need
not dread it for fear of bad treatment. Uncle Sam
don’t mistreat his boys. The better life you live
the better for you.
Well, my company will leave here before
long. I will not get to go with them. They have me under
quarantine for measles.
I got a letter from Livingston with no
name signed to it. I would answer it if I knew who to
write to. I will appreciate letters from anyone and will
try to answer all letters.
I will say no more this time,
Co. M, 4th Reg.
The Golden Age October
My Dear Mother:
I have just written dad a letter and
sent to Knoxville. Hope all are well at home.
How’s the school and how do the
children like it? Sept. always meant school to me until
recent years and may be it will mean that to me again in
about another year, at least I hope so.
I guess Albert and Chas. Boys are
walking and talking right along now.
How is Mrs. Stephens and Lt.
Roberts’ wife and boy? And all the neighbors, I
think of them all and wish I could see them, but
I’ll wait a while and may be it won’t be long.
Tell Albert and Joe to take care of themselves and not
work too hard. I wonder how Jess is. I’m anxious to
know if he has gone to the navy or where he is. I am
anxious to get some more mail and Iguess it won’t be
Hope you are well mother and that you
are not worrying about anything. Don’t be easy
bothered about things, and everything will come out all
I’m anxious to get back to the
outfit and see all the boys. I’m anxious to know how
they are getting along, and too when I get back I’d
likely have a lot of good mail and that’s very
important to me.
Teach the children to be good and have
a good time and learn a lot at school. And tell Prof.
Garrett that there’s one John Adron Mitchel in
France who is expecting great things of L. A. and am
sending my best wishes for a better year than ever before
however I’m afraid he’ll not be able to turn
out another graduating class like the 1916
class—tell him this for me I guess it will tickle
him, however I believe its true. Every boy out of that
class but two are in France. And one of them by name
Barker Zachry seems to be serving his country at home,
the other one Chas. (Baby) Judd I don’t know where
he is but he’s a good one alright.
I leave here today to join my unit I
don’t know just where they are but I’ll bet I
can come nearer guessing than you can. Do you know mother
they are and have been fighting all around and at the
same places they did years and years ago. These same
battles you read about in the papers I studdied about in
History when I was at school. I hope things will wind up
over here before long and I think its brobable within a
year for old Jerry can’t stand it long and we are
just beginning to hit our stride now, he has only had a
taste of Uncle Sammie’s boys.
I’ve found me a nurse and
she’s a real Yankee she’ll take care of me if I
am wounded. I was down to see here last night and we went
to the movies, there happened to be some pictures at the
Y.M.C.A. I am a little bit sorry to go back just now,
I’m not tho I’ll take that back. I want to get
back and get my mail and see the boys, my boys and Ernest
and Elmo and those boys too. I’m afraid my boys will
think I have forsaken them but I haven’t, we’ll
give the Boch one good dose together.
I was talking to a British officer the
other day who was wounded and he said he had seen the
Americans advance in an engagement I asked him how they
did and he said Jolly Good. I tell you we will make the
old Boche beat it back across the Rhine to his old
Don’t worry about me because One
who is stronger than we will look after me, because we
are in the right and we can’t lose.
Tell everybody hello for me and keep
thing going alright for we’ll likely be back before
many months about twelve any way. With Oceans of love,
John A. Mitchell
The Golden Age
November 20, 1918
Bullet Split Pistol Handle
Button Was Also Shot Off
Revolver Holster of Lieut. J. A. Mitchell
The "closest shave" ever
experienced by Lieut. John A Mitchell, 119th
infantry, was when a machine gun bullet split his pistol
handle and shot the button off his revolver holster,
according to a letter received by his father, R. L.
Mitchell, Jr., of Livingston. "I tell you it was
wonderful," he declares.
Lieut. Mitchell in the letter announced
his promotion to a first lieutenancy. He also describes
some experiences. Hi letter in part follows:
"Well I have been there and back.
I guess you read about the Tennessee, New York state,
North and South Carolina troops in the papers the day
after we did it. We have been in a drive and crossed the
Hindenburg line, and this paper that I am writing on is
some the I picked up in a big dugout in the Hindenburg
"I think the closest shave that I
got was when a machine gun bullet split my pistol handle
and shot the button of my pistol holster. I tell you it
was wonderful. I wish I could be with you and tell you
about it, but is hard to describe. The higher commander
congratulated the division and seemed to think that we
had done pretty well."
"You asked me if we had plenty to
eat. Certainly we do. I hope that you have as much as we
do. I am feeling fine just now after eating, you can
guess that we are pretty much worn out, but as the
division commander said in his general order
complimenting the division we are retiring for a
well-earned rest. When you see anything about the Yanks
that broke the Hindenburg line, that’s US!"
"We are in a rest camp now and
right by us is a canal of the prettiest water I ever saw.
If it warms up a little more I might take a bath in
"Have you heard much about the
Australians? Well, I had the pleasure of going over the
top with them the afternoon of the same day that we
started our show. They are the greatest fighters in the
world, and I do not make exception. The reason they are
such good fighters and are better than we are is that
they have had four years experience."
"I was pretty rookie looking when
I came out of the line. I had not shaved in over a week,
but that doesn’t make as much difference to me as to
some of them. All of us were muddy and dirty. Yesterday a
movie man was taking pictures of us as we marched through
a ruined town. I suppose they will run it and say that it
is one of the troops that broke the Hindenburg line. If I
were to see it I don’t know whether I would know
myself or not. I certainly did not feel like Mr. Mitchell
"If you remember reading in the
paper dated about September 30 of the taking of a village
by the name of Bellicourt you may be interested to know
that I helped take it. You might find it on a map of
In another he says:
"I am on the western front at
present sitting on a big tin can, my feet stretched
toward a small camp fire. We are quite a distance back of
the lines now but may be seeing some active service soon.
It is not very cold here yet, only cool like fall so
"My commander says that it is safe
to write and say that they are promoting me to first
lieutenancy. He said the adjutand said that there was an
order promoting Lieut. Hobbs, Whitman, and myself. Of
course I am glad and it makes me feel good. I did my best
and shall continue to do so."
From the Knoxville Sentinel
The Golden Age
September 11, 1918
326 Inf., Co. L
Somewhere in France
We have been relieved by a new division
and are moving back from the front. We started last night
and hiked to a little village a few miles back. We will
leave here to-night and make a few more miles, (we do all
our traveling at night) We pulled off a little raid
Sunday morning about four o’clock. I was not in the
raiding party but back in the support trenches. The party
got three Jerrys, first, second and third lines, and into
the little village behind their lines. We lost some men
and among them was a very good friend of mine, but they
brought back some German machine guns and a lot of
Willie Clark is just a few miles from
here. He sent me word the other day to come to see him
but I am not at home now and have something else to do
except jump into a Buick Roadster and start out. I am
well and putting on a little weight, my mustache looked
so sickly I cut it off.
Later. We moved back six more miles
last night. It is quite a relief to be able to go about
without a helmet and gas mask. The little village we are
in now is the cleanest I have seen in France and the
people seem to be of a better class they are at least
cleaner and more hospitable. The town is situated on the
side of a moutain and you can see for miles over the
surrounding country. You can see acres of grapes, the
kind that grow on bushes, these are cultivated and
sprayed like potatoes. I went out to see the town this
morning and the first place I went was the church. All
the churches I have seen over here are Catholic and they
look as if they cost more money than all the rest of the
town. This one looks like the Presbyterian church at
Nashville and is at least two hundred years old. It is
built of stone pillars. There is a large pipe organ at
the front, fine pieces of sculpture and magnificent cut
glass chandeliers. The altar is viaustone and there is
carved wood work that must have cost a lot of money or
(beaucoup faues) as the French say. There is a large
stone basin at each entrance for the Holy water and of
course I had to dip my fingers in it. This must have been
a prosperous country before the war. They have better
stock here even now, than you see in most of the states.
I have seen some of the finest cattle over here, I ever
saw. I saw a steer tonight that weighed 3100 pounds. Just
imagine how many cans of corned beef he would make.
I don’t know where we go from
here, nor when we leave, Don’t worry about me for I
am alright and am even gaining weight. I intend to send
you some souveniers the first opportunity. I have a
German ring but I want a helmet. I wish you would send me
that picture you and I had made.
Love to all,
Corp. Carl H. Mofield
|Corp. Carl H.
Mofield surprised his people announcing through a
telegram from Greenville, SC his return from the battle
front in France. He arrived here Sunday for a short
furlough, after which he will return to Greenville where
he has been commissioned as special instructor in the use
of the automatic rifle. He was one of two in his regiment
to receive such a commission. Carl is among the youngest
soldiers to go from this County and was hurried to the
front, where he gained some rich experience. He expects
to return to France in about three months.
The Golden Age
November 14, 1917
Not having heard from you, that is I have not
received your paper for two or three weeks I thought I
would write a few lines. We have all been transferred
some since we left Livingston. Most of us are here
together but a few of the boys have been transferred to
Health is good generally speaking.
Several of us boys have colds and some of the boys have
the measles. All of them seem to be getting along nicely.
We are having most delightful weather
here just now. The sun shines brightly every day while
the nights are cool and a fire is inviting. We were
surprised last Sunday by two of our friends from Overton
County, Mr. McDonald and Mr. Ledbetter, stepping up to
where we were. We were all glad to see and talk with
them. They have gone on to Camp Jackson at Columbia SC so
I have been told. We wish them a pleasant trip and safe
So please change the address on my
paper so that I will receive as I am always glad to hear
from my home county and I look to "The Golden
Age" to furnish me most of the news. I would be glad
if some one at Monroe would write to "The Golden
Age" every week.
Wishing you and your paper much success
Ernest L. Norrod, Corporal
The Golden Age
October 2, 1918
Mr. W. M. Pryor
After some delay will proceed to answer
your letter. I have not had time for sometime to write,
but am on a few days rest now.
I have seen part of this world since I
landed over here across the deep. I have received about
four letters from you since I crossed over. I don’t
see why you don’t write me every day or so, if you
knew how anxious I am to get a letter you surely would
Well I have been on the front line
since I have been over here. I wish you could see me
dodge shells it scared me half to death the first barrage
of Artillery fire I heard but I am getting so it
don’t excice me much now. I saw an air plane set
fire to two of Jerrys observation ballons today. Jerry
don’t send over one-third as many shells as our
Artillery does, but where one of these shells hits it
makes a hole in the ground larger than a house, and
bursts all to pieces and flies in every direction, the
shells contain pieces of old iron and steel. When a shell
hits close to me I hit the ground. The first shell fire I
was in seemed to me that I could not stand it, but I
shook up my nerves and am going thro it. I have seen
shells fall till it looked like a person would be killed
in spite of all, and perhaps on one hurt.
We have old Jerry beat in the air. I
wish you could see a lot of air planes fly over
Jerry’s line which our boys are sending him. Our
boys sends him ten shells to his one. You ought to see
our air planes fly over his lines and Jerry shoot at
them, but they go on just the same as if he was not
shooting at them. I have seen planes come down out of
control and no one get hurt. The closest shell that has
hit to me was about ten feet but it did not burst. You
can hear them humming a nice little song as they come
thro the air, and of course you don’t have to be
told to get down on the ground or in a trench.
You said you was sure this was a pretty
country, it has been a beautiful place before the war but
it will take a long time to fill up the shell holes and
repair the towns.
We uncle have a good time, don’t
worry about me I don’t want to come back home till
this war is finished. Of course it is not recorded that I
will ever get back, but I feel like I will get through
all right. It looks like sometimes that chances are slim,
when Jerry takes a spell of throwing their hateful shells
at us. Well I can’t tell you much will tell you when
I get home if it is God’s will and if I don’t
come home I have done my bit and it is what every man
ought to do. Read 24th chapter of Matthew, you
can’t lay down your life in a more honorable cause
than to fight for your loved country and the good old
flag. I have quit playing cards long ago and am trying to
I got your picture O.K. and it is very
much like you. So write anyway twice a week and I will
write when I get a chance.
Your loving nephew,
Bugler, Edward C. Pryor
Co. B, 119 Inf. AEF
APO 749 France
The Golden Age
January 30, 1918
317 MG Bn.
Ladies and gentlemen, married men and boys: I
wish to extend my thanks for the very best of health
which I have been enjoying.
Now what I wish to say to the boys at
home is this: stop, look and listen! Don’t waste
your time as I have. If you are not called into the army
stay at home with your dear old father and mother and
help them in every way that you can. If you do your level
best then you haven’t paid for one half your
This is the first job I ever had and
couldn’t quit or get fired, but it is the best thing
that ever happened to a young man.
I never knew what trouble was until
about twelve months ago when hard luck struck me. I never
knew what is was to want for anything, never knew how it
came or where it came from. I never appreciated one thing
but when I get out, if I ever do, I shall be a solid man.
Every thing else has failed, so I owe it to my dear old
mother and my uncle Sammie. My little home town has
thoght I was a coward but if I swore I would swear that I
don’t know the first letter of scare. I feel highly
honored to get in the branch of service I am in, that is
the machine gun.
To all the boys who may come here later
don’t come expecting to find a picnic for you will
certainly be disappointed if you do.
You can make it easy or you can make it
hard. So take my advice and make up your mind before you
come to take your load on your shoulders and soldier like
Can you realize we have been living in
a world of extravagance for many years? There are none of
us that have gone through with what our dear old fathers
did. Can you realize what dear old liberty means to you:
I am sure you don’t, or I never did.
I was just an old go-lucky happy kid.
But listen, you will all pay for your experience.
Let me speak of our modern
conveniences. There are none better. For amusements we
have the YMCA picture shows, etc.
The army is the place for the boy who
does not love home.
Dear flag of our country whose bars are
true, calls all her sons to defend her. God help us all
to be true to the red, white and blue. Listen, her
principles never surrender.
Dear friends in reading this don’t
forget the heart broken boy who is sending it to you and
if you ever wish to drop him a few lines if nothing but a
card it will be highly appreciated.
Good bye, good luck. God bless you till
we meet again.
Co. B, 317 Machine Gun Bn.
The Golden Age
Jan 22, 1919
|Just a few
lines to the readers of the Golden Age.
I rembmber very well where I was one year ago
today, as this being thanksgiving. I was in Chicago and
believe me I had some turkey dinner.
So I will have to tell you what I had
for dinner today. Corn wooly and spuds, coffee and bread,
that is good enough for a soldier, is it not?
We are now in Conflans France not far
The Germans had been left this town
something near a week when our train arrived, but our
Infantry was a few days ahead of us. We came through some
towns that was torn up not even a side wall remaning, and
this town is pretty well shot up.
This has been an awful war. Just wish
all of the people in the States could see this wrecked
We are carrying supplies now instead of
ammunition. We have pretty good roads to run our trucks
If I could only get a letter from home.
I haven’t had a letter from home since I have been
in France. And I am not with any of the home boys. Guess
there is a lot of us boys will know how to appeciate home
when we get back. Hope nobody will think that I am
I am wishing you al a Merry Xmas and a
Happy New Year.
Pvt. John Reecer
The Golden Age
July 24, 1918
Camp Merrit, NJ
Readers of the Golden Age:
few lines from camp Merritt.
We arrived here July 15. We had a right
nice trip from camp Pike up here. We were on the road 72
hours. It seemed all the boys enjoyed their trip.
I honestly believe that every girl
between here and camp Pike was at the stations to shake
hands with us. And believe me they would almost pull our
arms off, and you know it made us feel like we were going
to France for a good cause. And we are all anxious to go
as we think it is our duty.
We boys think a lot of the Red Cross.
They are so good to us any where we go.
We stopped at several towns and took
exercise, and the Red Cross would have candy, oranges,
cigars, cigaretts, and everything amaginable for us.
This company has quite a few Tenn. boys
and a few Miss. boys and also quite a few Ark. boys.
We all enjoy this pleasant weather up
here. It is not so hot as it was at camp Pike. And
believe me we can sleep these cool nights.
I believe they are planning on us going
to the North pole from the clothes issued to us. I have
got more junk than a horse could carry, and I have got to
carry it my self. I am glad that I am not a real small
Well, how is the jitney drivers getting
along in Livingston? I guess you all miss me do you not?
Just wait until we go and get the Kaiser and I will come
back and help you jitney boys out.
We are only about 15 miles from New
York city. We can get a jitney to the city for fifty
cents each, and I intend to get a pass and see that city.
Well I will hush and clean up my rifle
for inspection, that is one piece of property we have got
to keep shining.
Editor I thank you for this small space
in your paper.
The Golden Age
July 17, 1918
Camp Pike, Ark.
Just a few lines to the readers of the Golden
Age. I can’t tell you all very much about Camp Pike,
as we have been under quarantine ever since we have been
We were supposed to be put under
quarentine for fourteen days after we arrived here, but
about the time we were out one of the boys took the
measles and they have been leaving pretty fast for the
hospital ever since. But I think the rest of us have
already had them. So we hope to be out right soon.
We want to see most of the camp before
we go to France.
We took the over sea examination
yesterday and that sounds like we are going to have the
chance of going across the pond right soon.
We have been drilling real hard up
until last week, and we have been practicing shooting for
the last week.
I made a right good score on the target
shooting. But believe me I can do better shooting at them
There are over fifty thousand soldiers
here now, and will be about twenty thousand more the 18th
of this month. So you see we have got to get out for
those who are coming in.
I haven’t seen my brother Ruben
but twice since we arrived here. There are several
Overton county boys in this company.
Fred Bowman is K.P. today and Fred
Creasey is room orderly. We all get our turn, when we get
home our folks ought to be proud of us. We will know how
to do anything, ha! ha!
Some of us get quite lonesome on
Sundays. But probably there are some of you get lonesome
just the same.
I will hush. Thank you for this little
The Golden Age
March 19, 1919
4th Am. Tn.
Co. C., 4th
Jan. 19, 1919
Dear Bro. Ruben:
Just a few lines this afternoon. How
are you all? As for me I am OK. I can immagine how you
feel since you got your discharge and at home again. Just
wait untill I am at home with an honorable discharge you
will surely see a glad boy. You ought to have been my
round old boy. I guess you got disgusted being in Camp
Pike so long. I said hen I was there under quaranteen
that I had sooner be in France, but have seen a few times
that I had sooner be back at Camp Pike under quaranteen.
Those shells had a home sickening
whistle to them believe me, and along them times we did
not have to line up every Saturday for inspection like we
did back in the States. But now we are taking it up
again. Believe me we have got to be real soldiers in
Germany, and we should be. And we should be proud of
ourselves and our great victory.
The stars and stripes are waving in
Germany, and we are right here with her. And God is with
I don’t know how long we are going
to be in this country. We havent had a very bad winter so
far, not half as bad as I expected.
Well Ruben I am not with any of the
home boys at all. We were all busted up at Pontlevoy
France, I suppose some of them are back at home by this
time, are they not?
I will be glad when I can return home.
I must hush and go to guard mount, you
know what that means. Ans. soon.
I am as ever your brother,
Dillard C. – death
March 19, 1919
written by David W. Roberts, Red Cross
|Mr. Alex L.
R. F. D. 2
My Dear Mr. Sells:
Owing to circumstances over which we
had no control in consequence of the abnormal conditions
due to the epedemic of influenza during the past few
months, we are very sorry not to have been able to write
you earlier regarding the death of your son, Pvt. Dillard
C. Sells. He was admitted into the Belmont Road Hospital
Liverpool. Suffering from broncho pneumonia, and died
here on October 27th at 9:10 P.M. We can
assure you that your son received the best possible
treatment from the doctors and nurses, who performed very
heroic service at that trying time.
He was buried in the Everton cemetery,
Liverpool, on Nov. 4th. There were present at
the funeral myself, as representing the Home
communication service of the American Red Cross, and two
ladies, representing the local care committee of the
American Red Cross. A "triumph" wreath,
consisting of green cycus leaves, cream chrysanthemums
and maiden hair fern, together with a small stars and
stripes flag, was placed on the grave by one of the
ladies. The funderal service was conducted by the Rev. J.
F. X. Walsh (U.S. army chaplain) or New Orleans, La. Your
son was accorded full military honors.
The number of the grave is 218 section
N, in the U.S. division of the cemetery.
We feel that it must be hard indeed for
you to have had your son die so far away from home under
such conditions, and we extend to you the sincerest
sympathy of the American Red Cross in your sore
bereavement. We trust you will find consulation in the
thought that he has sacrificed his life for his country,
and in the interests of the great cause for which we have
been fighting—that of Righteousness and Liberty and
his sacrifice has not been in vain.
David W. Roberts
Captain, American Red Cross
Home Communication Service
The Golden Age Nov. 6, 1918
Somewhere in France
Mr. G. B. McGee,
As I am sitting here in my Dugout and
everything is still I would like very much to have a copy
of The Golden Age. It would be almost like a visit home.
It has been a year and four days since I left Livingston
to go to camp. I was first at Camp Gordon then at
Jackson, and from Jackson to Sevier just in time to see a
few of the Livingston boys before the 30th
Division left for over seas. In July we made our start to
an eastern Camp on our first lap to somewhere in France.
Since then we have been on the move, not knowing where
our next stop would be.
Am a member of the Wild Cat Division,
and by the way I can hear a real wild cat fight most any
night. Our insignia is a wild cat Cheveron, worn on the
left sleeve. It attracts attention wherever we go. The
Division is made up of men from Ala., Car., and Tenn.
interspersed with a few New Yorkers.
I came over on the same boat with
Forrest Stockton, Lester Holman, Sherman Wright and
several other Overton County boys, but haven’t seen
any of them since we landed, as they are in the Artillery
and I in the Infantry.
Am well and enjoying the best of
health, well clothed and have plenty to eat.
The Yanks are beating the Boche fast.
We are all anxious for this war to close so we can return
to the land we love.
Wishing "ye" editor and all
success and happiness, I am yours very truly.
Sergt. Albert Smith
Co. A, 324 Inft.
The Golden Age
May 15, 1918
friends at home:
As I feel like
it would be the most of pleasure to send a few
compliments to our homefolks. As we are now making the
attempt to start across the mighty deep. Of course there
isn’t a boy but what is leaving with a broken heart.
We know that we are facing our enemy, and will be lucky
to ever return but that don’t make us feel the least
bit backward for we know what we have to do.
Two years ago when we boys signed our
names to Uncle Sam’s paper at Livingston, Tenn., we
didn’t realize that the United States were in war.
Of course we were called to do some guard duty out on the
Mexican border which was just a trip of sport. We were
called back to our homes and mustered out of Federal
service. Then we of course thought the war had closed and
our good times were just ahead. But after spending 13
happy days at home with our sweet-hearts and friends,
there came a message saying the Uncle Sam needed his men
at once. We of course assembled at Livingston and after
spending a few days there we started for Nashville and
there we were stationed for several weeks. But now just
look where they have stopped us; in South Carolina.
We have been out for our target
practice for several days and we can safely say that
Battery F has won and exposed more targets than any
outfit that has ever moved to the Range. We are more than
glad of our Battery’s work. We are doing our best to
learn how to fight, we all want to do our part in helping
to win this terrible war, and it will take the saving of
every home to help us out.
We do hope that some sweet day we will
be able to return safely to our homes and bring freedom
I know that it is hard to have to leave
our homes and dear friends, but let us help to win this
war then we can come back home and live in peace.
Now we hope to be remembered by each
and every home in Tenn.
Love and best wishes I send to all.
Charlie D. Smith
Battery F., 115th Field Art.
Greenvile, S. C.
|Smith, Mac B.
The Golden Age
July 31, 1918
Fort McPherson, GA
General Hospital No. 6
Fort McPherson, Ga.
July 25, 1918
To the Golden Age:
Just one year ago to day Co. C then of
the 2nd Tennessee Regiment mobilized at
Livingston. That was the beginning of our training to
follow the Hun. To day with the exception of some half
dozen, those boys are over there. While I happened to the
misfortune of getting wounded on this side, my greatest
worry is that I didn’t get a chance to march through
Berlin with those brave boys from the volunteer State of
I cam to McPherson July 15, although I
had been in bed for four months and suffered great pain.
It would all have been a joke had it only happened at the
front. And I believe that will be the spirit of those
fellows over there.
Fort McPherson is sure a fine place,
and the Government is providing the boys in the hospital
with the very best. This is more like stoping at a hotel
than a hospital.
All who are able can go to the city in
the afternoon, or anywhere they like. And of course that
helps pass the time away.
There are several boys coming from
France, right from the front, and it sure is interesting
to hear them talk.
I went over the other day to se some
German prisoners that were captured from U boat No. 8
last November. I am sure they had rather be prisoners
than soldiers of war in their own country, or at least it
seems that way.
May I say right here, to those who have
friends at the front, never let a day pass without
writing him, by so doing you will be strengthing his
ambition to do a greater work of which you have a part.
With love and best wishes to the Golden
Age and its many readers.
Corp. Mac B. Smith
November 14, 1917
Co. B, 119 Inf
Let there be
no one sad hearted.
When I’ve laid away my gun.
When from life I have departed.
And life, weary days are done.
Let there be no tears or crying.
When life slowly ebbs away.
Let no one grieve when I’m dying.
When my body turns to clay.
Whether on the field of battle,
Amid the bullets’ twang and song.
Or mid the crash and rattle,
Of the ever moving throng.
Of a great and changing city.
Or when ever it may be.
Let there be no tears and pity.
When the reaper calls for me.
Let my friends not weep in sadness,
Do not weep when I am dead.
There is but one thing which I wish
And at the end of life’s long day,
That is some comerad may whisper
To my friends far away.
Tell them on to morrow,
Their friend will be far away.
Tell them not to weep in sorrow,
Kiss for me their brow.
Round the camp fire’s glowing
Let my comerades gather there.
Telling tales that each remember,
Let their laughter fill the air.
Let the enemies that jeer me
Join the others in their song.
And by singing they will cheer me.
Let them be a merry throng.
Lower me beneath "Old Glory"
Not like some exalted King,
But make it a simple story,
For I’m but a small, small thing.
Let there be no tears and sighing.
May each heart be filled with glee,
For I want no tears and crying,
When they’ve sounded
"Taps" for me.
The Golden Age
April 17, 1918
Head Quarters Co. 18 Inf.
Force in France
Head Quarters Co., 18 Inf.
Just received you most welcome letter.
A letter from home is the war half won. Uncle, I am back
from the front the second time. Of all the stories I ever
heard of are now going around, I mean over the States,
They say we don’t receive enough clothing and enough
to eat. I am here and ought to know a few things. First
in France then in the trenches, and laso the first
American soldier to make a raid on the Boche. You bet the
trenches are lively. That quiet old sector stuff
don’t go. Wonder where the civilian reporter gets
that old stuff, yes it is very quiet fifty kilometers
back of the front line trenches. You will read in the
papers about the attack the Boche made on us and got what
a little boy would get playing with a hornets nest.
Would like to give you some of the
souvenirs the boys got, will try and bring some back
home. We are well fed. I look like a two year old colt
well fed, that will give you an idea of how well I am
faring, never felt better in my life. But you know no
European country for me. Why we have got them skinned the
distance across the Atlantic. Yes they have some very
rich land but for fifty acres of tilable land there are
fifteen families to take care of it and of course try to
realize a living out of it, which back in dear good old
U. S. would seem like an impossible feat. Good looking
women and you have said enough.
Don’t know whether I ever
explained to you what I do over here. At present, I work
with telephones or any thing concerning signal work. With
a Regiment of Infantry we have T. S. F. T. P. S. signals
with lights, flags and of course telephone system which
is the staple all one other way which I don’t
believe I should mention in a letter. Of course these are
ways of signaling which the comon enemy knows about.
Our regiment has won the praise of a
French General and the French soldiers in general. This
Regiment has with stood heavy assaults in the past two
months. Our Band has just returned from a trip to Italy,
was picked out by General Pershing. Am very proud of the
outfit I am in. One of the best Regiments of Infantry
Uncle Sam has in service, such fine soldiers and such a
fine bunch of officers. The best Colonel I ever soldiered
under. Officers in general are a fine bunch of manhood
you bet. Don’t know any thing else to write about
that would be of any interest to you. With love to all.
Thos. G. Speck
The Golden Age
April 10, 1918
U.S. Naval Hospital
Hospital, Ward B.
Dear Editor and Friends:
As it is impossible for me to write you
all personally, I will write a few lines through The
Golden Age, for everyone who is interested in the affairs
of his community takes the county paper. Those who are
not interested enough in the happenings of the country to
take a paper, would not be interested in hearing from the
boys who are fighting for them. Therefore, I feel that
the few lines I write will not meet the disapproval of
many who read it.
As I’ve been in the hospital ever
since I got to Newport, I am not prepared to tell you ow
I like the Navy, but I know most that I will like it fine
when I get the "hang" of things. We sure get
good treatment in the hospital.
I had a pretty heavy attack of
lagrippe, came very near having pneumonia, but I’ll
be out in a few days now.
I believe that old Kaiser Bill has
begun to see that he will soon have to give up, but is
making his last strong effort in the present great
battle, which I believe will be the decisive battle,
although it may last for some months.
Don’t think about the dark side of
things. Instead think of the home coming after the war is
How many are making use of the vacant
lots around Livingston by making a "War
Garden." You can’t imagine how much it would
help if everyone would make a war garden that possibly
can. If any one should want to write to me my address is
as above. Would appreciate a letter from anyone.
May God be with you all is my prayer.
J. M. Spurrier
The Golden Age Oct.
As I am not on duty this
Saturday afternoon I will write a word to friends through
my home paper.
I have been doing fine most of the time
since I left the dear old U.S.A. We had a good time on
our way across the seas and through England.
France is a beautiful country, the
chief crops being cereals and forage crops. The people
are old fashioned in their manner of dress and farming.
They use oxen both for plowing and wagon. The wagons are
funny. Most of them being two wheeled vehickles. They
have a more primitive way of harvesting their grain than
with the cradle. They use the reap hook. The people,
cattle, chickens, dogs, and wood are all sheltered under
the same roof. The front room is used as a kitchen, the
second as a bed room but the next is the parlor which
opens out into the cow shed. The French people are polite
and nice to us. There are plenty of French girls to
grabble with when the "Sammies" are not on
We got our first mail on the 5th.
I received four letters dated one month back. It makes no
difference how old they are the "Sammies"
appreciate them just the same. Would be proud if you
people would write to us A.E.F. boys.
We have had ideal weather since we have
been here, we had one white frosty morning.
Three cheers for Roberts for Governor.
There are some dozen or more Overton
county boys in my Co. They are all getting along nicely.
We think it so nice to be together this way.
Would be more than proud to have a
letter from any friend from over the seas.
Forrest H. Stockston
Battery F. 316 FA
The Golden Age
Oct. 2, 1918
Co F, 316 FA
Somewhere in France
I wonder what you are
all doing this pretty Saturday. I have been writing to
you all pretty often. This is the 4th letter I
have written to you since I left the United States. I
will number my letters so you can tell if you fail to get
any of them. I have never got any mail since we set sail,
but think we will get some before long.
I am well except a cold and sore
The people over here are good to us and
are old fashioned in their manner of dress and way of
living. Their barns and dwelling houses are all under one
roof. They live in groups or villages to-gether. They
don’t settle out one family in a place like we do.
They work cattle instead of horses but they have fine
It is pretty cool over here we had some
frost this morning.
I am going to try to send some money
home before long if I can. I think it is going to be a
pretty cold winter.
Write me about Baley. Maybe I will get
some mail sometime. I am getting very anxious to hear
from you all. Don’t you all worry about me at all,
just take care of your selves, we will all get to come
back home again some day I think. Wish I could write you
a long letter but they all have to be read before they
are mailed and you see they had rather we would not write
I am learning to speak a few French
words, their language is funny.
I am still in the same company with
several boys from Overton County, we think it is so nice
to be together.
Call Bernice and tell her I am getting
along fine. Write me often and tell all the news.
With love to all,
[The above letter was handed us by W.
The Golden Age
Feb. 5, 1919
|To the Golden
As I have not seen many
letters in the Golden Age from the A.E.F. boys since
hostilities ceased I will write a word.
I have been in the hospital for the
past few days but hope to be back with the boys again in
a few days. If I don’t they will think I have
deserted them. They are only about eight kilometers from
I think there is something like 18 or
20 of Overton county boys in my regiment – six from
Overton in Bat. F.
We have all been pretty lucky so far we
thin, we are all husky enough to fight
I was proud to get a letter from my
friend Italy Bilbrey a few days past. They are located
about 24 kilometers away. I guess he is getting along
pretty well, but he seems to have the home coming fever
like the majority of us boys. We are always trying to
frame up an idea about when that will be.
We seem to have been passing trough the
period of the rainy season. I rained 7 days out of a week
for almost four weeks. So I gus it is over, it has turned
cold and the sun is shining again.
So, good luck to the "Age"
and all of its readers, we boys hope to be back seeing
Forrest H. Stockton
The Golden Age
February 5, 1919
St. Blin, France
I read your papers from
time to time after it comes across the surging billows
and reaches the soldiers from Overton county. I read with
admiration and delight the things which tell of my home
county, but I read other things that make me sad indeed
to know that some of us who came to France will not go
back, though our great Corrector knows best.
We came through England in August when
the great orb was sending his shining rays down on
everything and the only sign we could see of war was the
absence of the young men. The old men, women and children
were doing the harvesting of the wheat which was an
immense task for England looked almost like one vast
field of moving, golden grain, dotted here and there with
pastures for the favorite Durham cattle and the great
I would not dare construe the idea that
our mother country is interested in agriculture and live
stock raising alone; for they are educated and refined,
and their hearts are full of sympathy and love for the
We received a very hearty reception
especialy among the fairer sex with whom we played games
and enjoyed life in the highest degree. But our
pleasurers in England were only temporary as most earthly
After two days in England we left for
France, crossing the English channel in the night to
avoid the terrible monster called the submarine. But we
never came in contact with one, of which fact I was very
The following morning we landed in
France, about the first thing which particularly
interested me was the buildings which are made of stone.
I have since noticed that all the buildings are made of
stone and the people live in villages, towns or cities
and it is very seldom a family is seen isolated. Every
family has room in their house for their poultry, hogs,
dogs, sheep, cattle, horses and even their vegetables.
The French people are very industrious,
cheerful and happy, great lovers of wine and any favor a
person may show them is generally repaid with a glass of
the favorite beverage. If the person refuses to drink
they insist on his drinking or eating something with
There are as good roads in France as
are to be found any where. I have seen one horse pull
more than I ever dreamed of seeing one pull before I got
in rainy France.
The scenery over here is very beautiful
and picturesque. There is still, even tin the bleak
months of January plenty of grass green and beautiful,
while the young wheat is growing fast and goes to show
that the French work as well as fight.
Everywhere there is varied scenes of
hills, valleys and streams, so the scenery would never
become monotonous to the close observer or the student of
The motto of the French people is stand
fast. They certainly do believe in standing fast for they
are still plowing the ox and herding their flocks as in
the days of Abraham. They cook immensley large pones of
many different shapes, some in the shape of a dishpan
turned upside down, some in the shape of a ring and it
looks very comical to see the bread strung on their arms,
but rest assured that what this bread lacks in quality is
made up for in quantity.
It is wonderful to see how the French
plow up and down hill from the summit to the base or vice
verse or at least that is the way they plant and it looks
as if it had been plowed that way, and the land
didn’t seem to wash away any but I just imagined
some cover crop during the winter probably prevent
We soldiers don’t get very
lonesome over here as there are generally some kind of
entertainment at the Y.M.C.A. or some kind of amusement
or contest of our own. We have plenty of reading
material, also plenty of exercise, inspections, hikes,
drills, mess and everything most that a soldier would be
expected to do except fight and that has finished, and we
are more than glad that it is finished.
I send my best wishes to the people of
Overton county, hoping that each new day of this new year
will bring to you much joy, health and happiness and
Pvt. Wesley G. Stover
Baat. F., 316 FA
The Golden Age Oct 9.
Somewhere in France
105 Trench Mort. Bat.
I have just been over to a little town and got
me some writing paper so will write you a few words this
afternoon while I haven’t anything to do.
This leaves me well and getting along
fine, haven’t been doing anything much since I came
here but sleep and eat. The eats we have been having is
pretty good, lots better than I was expecting. If we get
half this much we won’t go hungry, but the bed was a
little bit hard for a few days but am sleeping fine now.
I had three letters from Margarett a
day or two ago expected one form you buid did not get
any. Guess you have been so busy with your canning you
haven’t had time to write.
Things here are pretty quiet, not very
much doing on this front. Don’t know when I will go
up. I saw my first balloon brought down a few days ago. A
few shells have hit pretty close to me. Have got so
don’t mind them much now. Can sleep just the same as
I always did. I haven’t lost any sleep from them
yet. The rats are the only things that give me any
trouble. They want to sleep with me but I can’t see
where I have any room for them.
I was talking to a K. of C. man this
morning that was with the Division that Carl Mofield is
in and he says they are about two miles from us on the
front. May get to see Carl if we don’t get any
farther away from him than he is. All the boys from home
are here in this sector but the boys in B. Co. None of
the Inf. That was with us are here. They may be tho
before long. Hope they may come here.
I went out to a big lake the other day
and took a big swim. We don’t have that chance very
often. The drinking water here is awful, I can’t
drink it to do much good. The French drink wine and cider
all the time. Guess we will have to. It’s not like
our whiskey. You can drink all you want and not make you
drunk. Some of it will, but we don’t get much of
that. I don’t drink any my self, don’t like it
I bought me a can of chocolate candy
today made in the U.S. and it sure was fine, the first
real chocolate I have had since I left the States.
It’s awful hard to get over here, but dosen’t
cost us as much as it would if we were to buy it back in
the States. Only 3 Francs a pound, or about 60 cents in
I haven’t received any of The
Golden Ages yet, hope to get them real soon. We
can’t get papers here very well, and that’s all
the news we get. I go crazy if I can’t see a paper
once in a while.
We got four fine boys yesterday that we
left in the hospital when we left Camp Sevier. They told
us a little news from the States. They say the ones that
took our place there were over here now. They came here
where we are so I hear. I know lots of the boys in it.
Well I guess I had better stop. Will
write more in a few days, haven’t got but little
paper now. So give my love to all and write real often,
am anxious to hear from you all.
With Lover to all,
Lewis E. Terry
105 Trench M. Battery
A.P.P. 761, AEF
|Windle, P. H.
The Golden Age
April 24, 1918
Camp Upton, NY
April 14, 1918
I will drop you a few lines to let my
many friends know that I am this far on my way to France.
We left Camp Gordon Wednesday evening and arrived here
Friday night. We were in snow all the way from Lynchburg,
Va. and had some snow here most all day Saturday, but the
sun is shining bright today.
The boys that are coming to Camp Gordon
should try to be satisfied, for I know it is about the
best Camp they will find. I feel like our boys will like
this Camp better in a few days when the mud settled.
Some of the boys have gone to N.Y.
today, I hope we stay here long enough for me to get a
If there is a boy here from Overton I
do not know it. I would sure like to see some Overton
Since we have to cross the waters I
hope to see some of my old friends over there. Our boys
are ready to go any day. We did not care much about
making this stop but we are in the army now and what
Uncle Sam says do, we are ready to do.
I am working in the office as many of
you know, and when they want me in the field all they
will have to do is call my number.
Our dear mothers should not try to keep
their boys from coming, since we are badly needed, and
others gone before who know we are coming to their
rescue. It is a long, long trip across the seas, but what
is life without a chance. When we leave here we may never
see our loved ones again, but God knows best so we are
leaving that with him.
I have experienced things since I have
been in the army I never dreamed of having to face but we
have to prepare to face whatever comes our way.
I will tell you al about my troubles
and pleasures after we get the Kaiser. So till the soil
and we will tilt the Kaiser.
The Golden Age
March 13, 1918
1st Corps Artillery Park.
I arrived in Camp Jackson Feb. 3, 1918 11:30
A.M. and was assigned to the Artillery Park, the first
ever organized in the United States.
On Feb. 22, was transferred to
Headquarters department in same regiment. Camp Jackson is
about the same as Camp Gordon in many ways. The people
here are more hostile. About all they care for a soldier
in Columbia is his money.
Camp Jackson is located in the sand
hills of Richland County, about five miles to the east of
Columbia. It extends from a point near Millwood on the
Garner’s Ferry road, to five miles across to a point
on the Camden road, and is estimated to cover an area of
four or five miles square and intended to accommedate an
army of forty thousand soldiers. It can be reached over
Columbia Electric Railway and by automobiles constantly
plying between the city and the Camp.
The grounds are laid out in streets and
avenues upon a scale for a modern city – or rather a
modern military encampment, The barracks for the soldiers
are upon a large and extensive plan intended to afford
every comfort and convenience. The headquarters for the
commanding officers yet incomplete, are also intended to
afford comfortable quarters.
A large hospital in now being built
which will afford scientific treatment for the sick and
An earnest effort is also being made
for the spiritual, as well as physical welfare of the
soldiers. To this end chaplins have been appointed by the
Government and secretaries of the Young Men’s
Christian Association and have been provided with ample
and comfortable buildings. At these offices the young men
are afforded reading and writing material, and during
their leisure hours an opportunity to entertain
themselves in games of various kinds. Every effort
therefore is being made to contribute to the welfare of
these sons of our country while they are preparing
themselves for the most strenuous duties of the battle
I do not blame any man for waiting
until he is drafted, but if I had any time to go over I
would volunteer, although I tried very hard to stay out
of the army but I see it altogether differently now.
It is a time for every man, woman and
child to make a sacrifice. I am no exception to this
rule. I am not so good that others hould go and fight my
battles. Men may class me as a fool, but I care not.
It is not many moons before I go over
the water, I hope. I may not come back. But before I
leave I mean to say a few words in the columns of The
Golden Age. I am prompted in writing this letter by some
observations I made on my way from Camp Gordon to this
place. I was on a train coming from Augusta, Ga., about
four weeks ago, and a lady got on at one of the stations
along the way and sat down on the seat with me. Naturally
we talked about the war and to my surprise she could not
see why the United States had gone to war. The war was
killing up our boys and causing us to make useless
sacrifices, she said. I wanted to tell her just what I
thought of her, but she was a lady and I could not.
"What are you fighting for?" She challenged me.
First and foremost, I am fighting for womanhood. Then I
read and here of womanhood outraged wherever
German-Austrian armies have been, from reports I know are
true, my blood boils. I would not be worth the
Anglo-Saxon race if I wee not willing to avenge
woman’s wrongs. Not only have Belgian, French and
Italian women been victims of the German beasts, but
American girls have also suffered at their hands. I read
in some daily newspaper some time ago about an American
girl who is now in a hospital in San Jose, Cal. Two years
ago, before the United States had declared war with
Germany, a pretty and attractive American girl, a Red
Cross nurse, was taken by the Germans when some French
prisoners were captured. She was taken charge of by some
German officers and was kept in their quarters. She
fought for honor bravely and heroically. To keep from
tearing at their eyes her hands were cut off. Some months
ago when those German hyenas could no longer use her for
their beastly purpose she was sent back to the French
lines. She is now in a hospital in San Jose and will soon
give birth to a child, whose father she does not know,
save that of some German hyeana. Is not such things as
that enough to make American men fight? You men of
Tennessee who read this tell me if you would claim
exemption from the army if that girl had been some
relative or friend, or to make it stronger, a sister of
your? Yet she is some body’s sister, perhaps
somebodys sweetheart, I would like to be with her
brother, sweetheart or cousin and meet hose Germans face
to face and know it. That is just one case I have read
of, I have heard of others equally as outrageous. I could
not look the world in the face after learning of such
atrocities if I were not willing to fight. How could I
look into my mother’s eyes and tell her that I loved
her and would protect her, and then want out of the Army?
Some might do so but not I. No store, office, farm,
workshop, mill or factory would be able to keep me back,
though I were president, the sole owner and every thing
else about the place. I realize this hits the slackers
pretty hard, (as I was one myself a few months ago.) And
they will try to dodge by calling me a fool then a
coward. Now that is just one of the reasons why I want to
wear the Uniform of the United States National army.
There are many other reasons which have been enumerated
in the State before. Everybody is familiar with them. Yet
there are people in loyal little old South Carolina who
are really aiding Germany by the remarks they are making.
I have heard some of the remarks my self, and I have
taken a keen delight in "calling" the makers
when they happen to be men. I start off by asking them if
they are Tennesseans. They always say yes. Then I ask
them if they were born and reared here. Then when I have
gotten through with
continued from page 1 . . . .
them they have a Lord’s plenty, ad
just in whatever form they want it, sometimes in a way
they don’t want it. The real Americans would do a
service to their country by putting a stop to so much
pro-German talk. It is high time for those who live here
to realize that they are American citizens. If this
country is not to their liking they can pull out and go.
Perhaps they would "cut more ice" in Germany.
We are Americans now, the best and greatest land under
President Wilson has said the real
crisis of the war comes this year. You can put it down
that he knows. He has the inside dope. But for us to win
we must make a tremendous sacrifice in men, money and in
Perhaps the first million or more to go
over, and I am in that million, will be almost wiped out
before those who stay at home realize that we have a
tremendous undertaking. I feel sure that when the heart
of America has been torn her sons will flock back to her
standard. When the great American heart has been pierced,
when America feels the force of the German test in the
face, America will fight and fight like a demon at bay.
But if America does not wake up to the fact that we are
fighting for honor, womanhood, democracy and
civilization, it alas! may be too late. The sacrifice of
a million sons may be all in vain. Will America fall in
this crisis? It depends upon you, not upon your neighbor.
Recruiting stations are open every day
but few recruits come. There should be only one reason to
keep a red blooded young man out of this conflict and
that is, that he is physically unfit for military
I get letters from a number of friends
that are now in civil life, telling me what class they
are in on their questionaires, and seems as though they
want to stay out as long as possible. When they realize
where we are and how the good old United States need them
they are going to wake up.
In this letter I have tried not to make
an unkind cut at anyone. I have endeavored to hit hard
and strong and if the blow hurts come and join my company
and we will be the best of comrades in arms, and together
evin show the Kaiser how Tennessee can fight. She has
always been the volunteer state so lets keep her name up
Serg. J. F. Winningham
1st Corps Artillery Park
The Golden Age
Jan. 22, 1919
Loxentzweiler Luxenberg, France
You will be surprised
to notice the above address. We can now write where all
we have been, and what we have done. This regiment is
part of the army of occupation and we are on our way to
the Rhine, and as soon as peace is signed we hope to be
The 250,000 men marching to the Rhine
are all picked troops as undoubtly you have noticed in
the papers. Naturally I feel proud of being among them.
Practically all of the men have been in most of the
drives the American have put on, while fighting. Our
organization has been on the line continually, without
any rest the longest of any, and we have been in two
drives. The biggest tow campaigns namely, Chateau Thierry
and the Verdner fronts. We were all through the heavy
fighting at both places, and feel rather proud of
ourselves. We set sail from Hoboken, N. Y. May 22nd,
and landed in Brest France on May 30th, from
there we went to St. Nazarra and stayed only a few days.
From there to Hondlaincourt and were there until July 8th,
and while at this place some of us were selected to go to
a big French celebration at Bar-Le-Duc on July 4th,
we had a wonderful time. Then too I must say, that day I
will always remember. After leaving Hondlaincourt we went
to a place called Magny St. Loup and entered into active
service, then moving fast to Cupsn and then to Beaux
Beza, and later Charteves all near Chateau Thierry, we
stayed on that front until the middle of Sept. then
moving East to Verdun Nixeville Germouville Blere court
and Cuisy, we were at Cuisy when the armistice was signed
living in dugouts. I slept that night in a dugout and it
was so quiet and still that I couldn’t sleep well,
what do you think of that? The night before Fritz had
come over and dropped some bombs in our front yard, and
one could hear the gun ramble on all sides, but thank God
they are silent now. We then moved to Dun-Sur-Mense, from
there into Belgium a little town called Aubauga. In
Aubauga the houses and streets were decorated with flags
bunting and wreaths. People would wave at us, and every
one seemed so happy. Poor folks the Germans had been
there for four long years and done just as they pleased.
They were surprised to see us not take
their things and use them. As a comrade of mine speaks
German I have learned a number of things. My comrade and
I slept at an old woman’s house in Aubauga, her
husband is a prisoner of war in Germany and has not
returned home yet, but no doubt will return soon. The old
lady saw us cooking our meals and eating outside. She
told us to come in to her house where it was warm. She
said why do you cook outside the Germans always come
inside and cooked their food on our stoves and used
whatever they please. I told her we did not do that way.
After we have finished I asked her for some water to wash
our mess kits but she took them and washed them for us.
They sure have been good to us, and we try to be good to
them. We were at Aubaugavnly two days, but I wish we
might have stayed longer, but we came here, and have been
here since the 23.
Last Saturday was my birthday but I
kept busy all day, but in the evening a bunch of us were
together and celerated a little. How I wish to be home.
But never mind it will not be long I hope. Practically
all of our clothing are new, and most of us are rid of
coodies or should be. We sure were a dirty bunch but
could not help it while on the front before the fighting
This is a pretty town here so quiet and
peaceful, such a contrast to the shell-towns and places
we have been in. The people of Lucemburg speak German
We are all looking forward to our trip
home. It is rumored that we will go home just as soon as
peace is declared, and the treaty is signed.
Well mail is as scarce as ever, but you
see we are on the move most of the time and we are a hard
bunch to keep up with. I have ot written much lately as I
could not. I have been busy all the time, and we have
been on the go continually, but keep writing and I will
get a letter once in a while. Mail comes in but I seem to
be unlucky for some reason. I am in the personnel office
helping to make out pay-rolls. Our office is in a school
house and it makes a good place, really the best place we
have ever had, not crowded so much as it usually is. I am
also sleeping in the personnel office here. I have a cot
with me that I can fold up when moving. We are entitled
to wear a gold chiveron on our left sleeve just above the
cuff of our coat. That is for six months overseas
service. We also have a three pointed star on the left
arm at the shoulder which signifies that we belong to the
3rd army corps but have been assigned to the 3rd.
And we are also in the 3rd army of occupation
as it is called. So I shall come home with all kinds of
decorations. I have made four trips across France and
enjoyed them all very much. The first one I made on the
train from Brest to Dijon there I was on the military
police force for three weeks. It was very enjoyable work
but not enough excitement for me as I come over to see
some actual fighting. Then when I left Dijon I joined my
organization at Lain Court, and then I was sent back to
Brest for four Candillass touring cars. So I reported to
my company at Magny-St-Loup. Had been back just a short
time until I was designated to go back to Breast for 20
motorcycles and was on this trip for about three weeks.
So I reported to my company at Cupree. After moving to
Charteves I was designated to go to Masseilles for 60
motorcycles and as you well know that Msseilles is on the
Mediterranean sea. And this was the nicest trip I have
taken since I have been in France. I sure did have a
swell time and a time I will never forget. On this trip I
had the opportunity of seeing quite a bit of country that
I had not seen before. I sometimes shake hands with
myself in getting to see so much of France. Niece was one
place I was longing to go before I left France, but it
was impossible for me to make the trip, guess there were
thousands of others that would have enjoyed a pass to
I am in perfect health, hope you both
are enjoying good health, with lots of good wishes to
Sergt. John F. Winningham
Golden Age Jan.
8th Training Bat.
157 Depot Brig.
|Well, I am
now a soldier in the national army and my friends ought
to see me dressed in my Olive Drab suit, you can imagine
I am some sporty looking soldier.
found everything much better than I expected to find it.
We get plenty to eat, sleep warm and haven’t had
much to do yet. Haven’t done anything since Saturday
at noon. We always get Wednesday and Saturday afternoons
off. Sunday we have all to ourselves.
Are having some unusually cold weather
for this place, the ground is so slick that we can hardly
Camp Gordon is 12 miles long by 8 miles
wide and contains about 40,000 soldiers. It is some show
to see them marching around here. We stay in houses about
200 to the room, each one has a cot with a straw bed and
plenty of cover also two tin pans which fasten together
with knife, fork and spoon inside and one cup. When meal
time comes we line up and pass by the kitchen window
where we are fed, then go back to the table and eat, if
we don’t get enough the first time can go back after
every body has been served once, after we are through
eating, we have to wash our own dishes and carry them
back to our bunks. Also have to wash our own clothing and
everything has to be kept clean.
One of my friends worked in the kitchen
one day and he told me he scurbed the floor three times,
everything else has to be kept clean in proportion.
Quite a few of the boys are being
transferred to other Camps. My lot fell with the boys
that remain. Ten in each Company remain here as a
The Y.M.C.A. is the soldiers Heaven,
there are twelve "Y" buildings here and we are
all as comfortable as summer-time furnished all the
reading and writing material we want free, each one has
three religious services each Sunday and furnish free
amusement of some kind most every night, also have a
piano and victorla at our disposal all the time. The
Y.M.C.A. also has a house called "The Hostess
House." This is where the boys entertain their lady
friends and is the nicest building in Camp.
We also have a very large opera house
in the center of our Camp conducted by the Redpath
Chautauqua Company, and every night I have gone to this
theater it is just fine. We get as good show here for 15
cents as we could get in most cities for 35 cents.
My home is at Byrdstown Tennessee. Have
been in the Army since Thanksgiving.
I almost forgot to tell you about our
Xmas. We had a real turkey for dinner and every boy in my
company seemed to enjoy it to the fullest extent. Just
thought I would write this to give some of the boys an
idea of Camp Gordon.
With best wishes to you and your paper
and all its readers. I remain yours very truly.
John Floyd Winningham
8th Training Bat.
157 Depot Brig.
The Golden Age
May 8, 1918
To the Golden Age:
Here I am again still in Camp Jackson
enjoying life lots better since I came back from home. No
soldier knows how to appreciate a pass home. It simply
was heaven on earth for me to be back home again for a
few days. None of us know how to appreciate a home until
we are away from our homes for awhile and cannot go back
when we want to go.
It was very plain to me when I said
good bye to my homefolks that it was the last time I
would look into any of their faces until the war is over
and I return from France.
I was very glad to say good by as I
thought at the time I would start to France just as soon
as I got back to camp but my Captain informed me since I
returned that probably we would be in this camp three or
four months yet. This was very disgusting to me, and most
all the other boys in the 1st Co., A., P. as
we are very anxious to get a cross and do our bit in this
While at home my brother and I motored
over to Albany, Ky. in his car and the good people of
Albany received me very highly. It was on Monday April 15th,
court was supposed to be going on but the Judge dismissed
court for the day to sell "Liberty Loan bonds."
At noon the Judge came to a soldier from Camp Sevier,
whose home is in Clinton Co., KY., and me, asking us to
carry the flag around the square and up in the court
house. Every body in town followed us to see what was
going on. The business men closed their business and
invested their money in "Liberty bonds." Talk
about standing at attention I sure did get my part of it
while they sold $28,000.00 worth of bonds.
The fast Headquarters Company team of
the First Corps Artillery Park won three games in as many
On Friday, April 20th they
defeated Truck Co. No. 3 of the First Corps Artillery
Park by the score of 14 to 0 in ten innings. The features
of the game were the stellar pitching of Charles Schmitt
and all around playing of the Headquarters Co. On Sunday,
April 21st, they defeated truck Co. No. 2
First Artillery Park by the score 6 to 5, again the
headquarters company team showing their best. On Monday
April 22nd they defeated the fast 313th
machine gun team by a score of 7 to 5. The game was fast
played and was featured by the stellar pitching of
Schmitt and the heavy batting of Buchner of the
A grand review of the 81st
Division infantry, artillery, engineers, signal corps and
tarins march in a grand review Wednesday evening in honor
of Maj. Gen. Charles J. Baily, Commander of Camp Jackson.
The review was held on the parade
grounds to the north of division headquarters. The
procession was about one and one hours in passing the
reviewing stand. On the reviewing stand with Maj. Gen.
Baily were his staff and Gov. Richard I. Manning, his
guest of honor.
A score of bands in the review lines
furnished music as the khaki clad boys marched in review,
while a band stationed opposite the reviewing stand
played when the bands in the column were not passing.
The officers and men in Khaki, the well
groomed horses, trains, Star and Stripes and all
presented a most beautiful spectacle, and the day being
ideal the review was witnessed by a number of people from
John Floyd Winningham
The Golden Age
October 16, 1918
[Adj records show him from Pickett Co.]
I will write you a few lines to let you
know that I am well, aving a good time and plenty to eat.
Well Ma I am in NJ now but don’t know how long I
will be here, just a few days I guess, for the officers
said for us to write to our folks and tell them not to
write us any more till they heard from us again. And Ma I
don’t know whether we will go to France or where we
will go; but Ma if I go to France I feel like I will get
back, but if I don’t I will meet you in heaven and
there will be no parting and we will live together
forever and ever. The Lord is with me and I with Him. Ma
you know the Lord’s will must be done and I want you
to persuade the rest of the children to be ready to die
when their time is up. I pray every night. I feel and
believe with all my heart that I will get back. I will
close and write again as soon as we get to the place
where we will stop. We have not had our over seas
examination yet, I don’t know whether I will pass or
I will write to the rest of you next
time for I havan’t time to write to all this time.
From Collins Wright to Ma
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