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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