January 1918 Letters

World War I Tents in the Austin Collection.
World War I Tents in the Austin Collection.

In January of 1918 George Sidwell wrote to his friend Mortimer McKinley (Mac) Austin, stationed in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It was Mac’s nineteenth birthday.

George Sidwell, CAC 7 Co., Fort Amador, Canal Zone
January 5, 1918
Dear Old Mack,
Well this is the date you get a little older and tomorrow I do the same. Did four hours’ guard this morning. It is pay day and I go on pass this p.m., so will have time to write no more.

Drew just $13 yesterday. That is all that is left after my four liberty bonds bills, $.25 wounded soldiers fund, collected from loans $1.65, which left me just $8.40. When I went to town, I spent $5.20 for little odds and ends.

While in the city, I made up my mind to see the place. You talk of slums in New York, London, Chicago, but believe me they cannot begin to compare with the city of Panama. Yours, George R. Sidwell

Sometime in December 1917, Raymond Austin sent his brother Mac Austin’s Chattanooga address to the Lone Scouts Magazine, asking Lone Scout readers to write to Mac. The letters from girls in rural America arrived in January and February 1918.

Marnie Henry, DeBeque, Colo.,
January 4, 1918
Dear Mortimer,
I have just read a letter your brother Raymond has written to “Lone Scout” telling about you, so I decided I would write to you.

There has been train load after train load of soldiers passed through our town here, some were going East and some West. They looked splendid in their Uniforms.

One boy, a friend of ours died at Camp Kearney, California, and the remains were sent back here for burial. It was very sad. He was just 18 years.

I think the war is sad, yet it is for such a just cause. We (everyone) are trying to do all we can to help out. I am going to school and this year they are having school on Saturday, so we do not have much time for any work.

I love all the soldiers and we are so proud of our U.S. boys. I should be glad to hear about your army life and about yourself.

Best wishes to you from your unknown friend, Marnie Henry

Jewell Hamilton, Vandervoort, Ark., to McKinley Austin
January 1918,
Kind friend,
Saw your address in “Lone Scout.” Thought I would write you a few lines. Hope this will find you OK. How do you like the Army?

I have several friends who have gone to the Army. Oh it is so lonesome and makes me so sad to see them go. Miss Jewell Hamilton

Ottie Godsey, Peerless, Ind., to McKinley Austin
January 4, 1918
Dear Soldier Boy,
I saw an article that your brother had published in the “Lone Scout” magazine in which your name and address was given.

Although I am only a school girl living in a small town, I would enjoy corresponding with you. And if you will write, I will prove to you that us country girls can write as interesting letters as our city cousins.

Sincerely yours, Ottie Godsey

Porterville, CA Jan 6 Cleo
Duraham, OK, Jan. 7 Ila White
Vandervoort, Arkansas, Jan. 8 Jewell Hamilton
Columbia College, January 23
Lone Scout Letters February 1–5
Red Cross Tireless Workers, WWI
S.S. Tuscania

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January 1934

The Briggs Family would arrive in Barryville, in the Spring of 1934. Mary Briggs would walk past the old grist mill on the way to the Barryville Schoolhouse. Aida Austin Collection.

1934 January at the Leavenworths
Monday, the first day of January 1934, Garfield started work on some roads for the TCWA and continued into February. Howard Stevens was in charge of the project. Garfield was paid “his first $15 for road work” a week later.

Two bad accidents happened in January. Ed Crail, a boarder at Lou Kelley’s, had a terrible gun accident while hunting. Clinton Leavenworth, Morgan Sergeant and his family, Lou Kelley, and Bill Meyers visited Ed Crail in the Port Jervis Hospital.

Alice Sergeant Hill (Ella’s aunt) smashed her new car into a tree on the road between the Leavenworth home and Eldred.

The last day of January, Mary Kyte Wormuth and Cleta Myers Horton called at the Leavenworth home. Austin Smith was there at some point for his lesson.

February and March 1934

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January 1933

Herman Bosch and others cutting and harvesting ice blocks on Bosch Pond. Others in the community skated on the pond including my dad and his Leavenworth cousins. Photo courtesy of the Bosch Family.

January 1933 at the Leavenworths

Friday, January 6, Garfield played at the Hall for Dr. Smith’s send off.

Monday Austin and Dorothy Smith were at the Leavenworth’s for the evening.

Mid-January Anna and Jim skated on Bosch’s Pond. Anna also skated on Highland Lake. The men hunted rabbits, but no luck.

Jim didn’t make it to school the day it started. He fell in the brook and had to go home.

Friday, January 20, Clinton took Aunt Lou Kelley to see her sister Unita who was very sick. Monday evening Unita’s daughters were at the Leavenworth home.

Narrowsburg Lumber’s New Store
The Narrowsburg Lumber Company in Narrowsburg opened a retail store in Shohola, in 1933. It was located by the Shohola Railway Depot and made for easy delivery of building materials from Canada and western U.S.

February 1933

March 1933

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November 1941

Photo of old stones in the Old Eldred Cemetery, 2009.
Monday, November 24, Aida, in addition to her usual outing to the A&P, walked to the Eldred Cemetery. Photo from 2009, courtesy of CLB.
Art Austin worked at Sullivan County Highway. He often stopped by to help his aunt Aida Austin and her brother Lon Austin.
Art Austin worked at Sullivan County Highway. He often stopped by to help his aunt Aida Austin and her brother Lon Austin.

November 1941
It rained quite hard most of Saturday in Eldred. Herman Sr. and Jr. were down to see Lon in the evening. They asked about putting up signs forbidding hunting. Harry Wormuth was in to see Lon after the Bosches left.

Monday morning, November 3, Aida went to Mary Bosch’s to take back her bottles. Mary was not there. So Aida walked over a mile to Mae’s and stayed for dinner.

After dinner Aida walked to the A&P. She rode part way home with Mr. Kinne.

Tuesday, election day, was rather ambivalent—partly clear and partly cloudy. Lon went to the Village about two o’clock, but came back without voting.

Howard Stevens stopped by between three and four to take Lon and Aida to vote. Howard also drove them back home.

Wednesday morning Aida, stopped at the A&P before going to the Post Office where she saw Howard. On her way home Aida met Mrs. Winter. Lon went up to Wormuth’s to order coal in the afternoon. He met Arthur in the Village and Arthur gave him a lift home.

Wednesday Jim Leavenworth started working on the Stege place for Narrowsburg Lumber Company.

Friday was a pleasant day and Aida did her washing in the morning. Saturday morning she ironed. Mr. Briggs and his son John brought up some apples in the afternoon and made cider. Continue reading

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October to December 1917

November 3, 1917. “I am sending you some pictures I had taken in Chickamauga (Georgia).” McKinley is in front, second from the right. Photo in the Austin Collection.
McKinley (on the left) with a friend at Chickamauga, Georgia, possibly at Crawfish Springs, mentioned in his November 3, 1917 letter. Photo in the Austin Collection.

McKinley Austin, Chickamauga Park, Ga., to Jennie Austin
October 7, 1917
Dear Ma,
I am sorry you were worried about me. I might say though that it is best to always believe the best; you’ll hear of the worst. I have learned since I joined the army not to worry.

I would have written sooner this time, but we had 24 hours in the trenches, a long hike, and a couple of sham battles and I have been so tired when the day’s work was over, I didn’t feel like writing. The strike is over and we can go to Chattanooga when it doesn’t interfere with our duties. McKinley

McKinley Austin, Chickamauga Park, Ga., to Mort Austin
November 3, 1917
Dear Father,
I got out of the hospital alright. I wish I could get off and come home for a couple of weeks, but they are only giving short passes now.

I am sending you some pictures I had taken in Chickamauga. One of the pictures is of me on the bridge below Chickamauga, another of two fellows from the 52nd down at Crawfish Springs, another of another fellow and me at the same place and the other of a place on the road to Chickamauga. Continue reading

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Aida, the A&P, & the Post Office: October 1941

Tuesday morning Aida went to the A&P and Post Office in the Parker House.
Tuesday morning Aida went to the A&P and Post Office in the Parker House.

October 1941
Wednesday, October 1, Lon (84) received a birthday card from his brother Ell.

Thursday, October 2, one of the state police stopped in to see if Lon had seen anything of the neighbor’s adopted boy. “A lot of young fellows were riding horseback up our lane and down the field across the road. I think they must have been looking for Harold’s boy,” noted Aida.

Friday morning Aida was once again at the A&P. But they did not yet have the bread she wanted. Arthur and Lon had gone to 
Port Jervis in the morning. 
When they came back, Aida rode to the Village with Arthur for the bread. Art then drove Aida home.

Mae was over and told Aida that they found Harold’s boy with his aunt at Glen Spey.

“Listened to exciting war news of ship sinking off Brazil,” Aunt Anna Leavenworth of Islip wrote on Friday.

Monday, October 6, in Eldred Lon went to the A&P and the Post Office. Monday evening the Yankees won the World Series.

Wednesday Rowlee fixed the church door and the steps on the stoop at Aida’s. Aida was at the A&P and Post Office on Thursday.

Saturday was the Methodist Church Picnic. The group stayed in the Church Hall and didn’t go to the lake as usual, because it was too windy.

Sunday, October 12, in Islip, Anna knitted afghans for the British Relief.

Monday morning in Eldred, Lon went to the Post Office. Robbie Bosch and the Myers’ boy who worked for them, took wood over to Lon’s in the afternoon. Lon made some cider.

Ella Leavenworth who lived on the west side of Eldred, bought 100 pounds of potatoes from the A&P on Monday.

Tuesday when Aida got back from the A&P, she helped Lon finish carrying in his wood. Lon made some more cider. Continue reading

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Green Meadows‘ Activities

Green Meadows fawn in the kitchen.

A trip down nostalgia lane with a few more photos of activities and people enjoying their time at Green Meadows.

Thank you to Diane Pankow, for sharing the photos.

One summer a dog chased a fawn to Green Meadows, where it spent the summer—until the game warden said otherwise.

Baseball at Green Meadows
Mini golf, shuffleboard, BBQ pit. Behind that the golf area became the horseshoe area.
Outdoor movies.
Playing ping-pong outdoors.


Green Meadow Kitchen.
Green Meadows Kitchen.
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September 1941

 Early 1950s view of Eldred Congregational Church and old School in the background. When Aida and Lon went to town, they would see these buildings on their left as they got close to Eldred’s Four Corners. Photo courtesy of CSM.

Early 1950s view of Eldred Congregational Church and old School in the background. When Aida and Lon went to town, they would see these buildings on their left as they got close to Eldred’s Four Corners. Photo courtesy of CSM.

September 1941
Monday, September 1, was Labor Day. Art was at the old Austin farm for quite a while in the morning.

Tuesday morning Aida was once again at the A&P. In the afternoon her niece Lillie stopped by for a few minutes. On the west side of Eldred, Garfield continued working on the porch floor he had started.

Wednesday Arthur was on his way home from work when he saw his uncle Lon who had just bought some ice cream at one of the grocery stores. Art drove his uncle home. Then the two of them went to Aida’s, and all three (like true Austins) ate the ice cream.

Arthur and Aida talked a few minutes about an Algebra problem, then he went on home to Alfred and Bessie Hill’s where he boarded, or soon would.

Thursday noon Aida was at the A&P. Lon asked his nephew Bill (who hadn’t gone to work because it was so rainy) to give him a ride to Yulan.

Saturday morning in Eldred, Aida stopped at Lizzie Wilson’s on her way to the A&P. One of the boarders from the Rothman House accompanied Aida on her way home.

Sunday, September 7, Dr. Austin and Herman Bosch were in to see Aida after Lon went to church.

Monday Lon ate dinner at the County House with a minister’s organization. When he got back, Arthur drove him to his brother Bill’s and then back home.

It was terribly warm on Wednesday. Hopefully the butter Lon bought (along with some bread) at the A&P, did not melt on his way home. Continue reading

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September 1917

McKinley by the Railroad Tracks.
McKinley by the Railroad Tracks.
September 5, 1917
Dear Father,

We had a holiday today as this is the day when the drafted men were called.

There was a big parade in Chattanooga. My company was not in it fortunately and I had a day off.

I watched the men march down Market St. They took about three quarters of an hour passing. The drafted men marched behind the soldiers. There were a number of Civil War veterans in the parade wearing their old uniforms of blue or gray.

I bet the drafted men will be sick of war soon. We got some hard drill at first, but I don’t think it was anything to what the conscripts get.

Some of our non commissioned officers were transferred to train the National Army as the conscripts are called, and from the way most of the regulars feel and speak of the “d—- slackers” they won’t be shown as much consideration as we were.

Some of our men got awful lectures at first and the NC officers say that a man that has to be made to fight, doesn’t deserve to be shown the patience a volunteer deserves.

I don’t mean they will be ill treated because of the rules in the discipline that forbid striking a man and all that. But they will probably get some savage calling downs and be reminded they were forced to fight for their country.

At noon a couple of the boys and I were down on Market St. I was just going to look for a restaurant when a fellow came up to us and said. “Boys, there’s a lunch for you soldiers at the courthouse.”

The lunch was served by the “Daughters of the Confederacy” and they sure treated us fine. They seemed to be afraid we won’t get enough to eat and they kept urging us to eat some more. Continue reading

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