Rogers Family

World War I Letters

1917-1918


Hanover students from His336 "The Search for Order, 1877-1945" (Fall 2017) , taught by Sarah McNair Vosmeier, transcribed these letters, which are a sampling of letters exchanged among the Rogers family during World War I.  The Rogers family includes Hanover College alumni, and their home, Bird Haven, is in Hanover, Indiana. The originals are available at the Duggan Library Archives, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).


Irene Rogers, letter to Alma Rogers, 7 Aug. 1918, Folder 1, Box 6, Rogers Family Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Eric Woodruff, HC 2020.

Note:  This letter was written on University of Michigan memo paper.  At the bottom of each sheet is "As a war measure of economy, this inexpensive standard letter head is provided and its use suggested for all intra-university correspondence."


Ann Arbor, Michigan

Aug. 7, 1918

My dear Mother: If you forgive my "business" paper, I'll try to write a bit to you all; you know I take turns in my letter-writing and it is your turn now. With Speed and Brother and friends and you folks to write to, I do not find the time to write as often as I would like or as often as I think of you. I try to get a letter to Speed every [strikeout: week] day but once in awhile skip a day; he is in Camp with nothing to do and the time passes slowly for him. And I try to write to Harris often because he is in the trenches now and letters mean so much to him. So you see if you do not get very many letters, you will know where my efforts are being used.

I keep thinking of your home and the splendid spirit that I found there and I get lonesome, sometimes, for you all; each of you fills a particular place in my heart, I am loving you all for different things but I am loving you all. Mother and I, alone do not furnish the comradeship there was amongst so many and I am remembering my few days there with you in a very happy way; they seem to be an incentive and an inspiration for me to be 'up-and-doing'. You maybe noticed that I was not very demonstrative and I have tho't since I left you that such a reserve on my part might be taken by you as disappointment? I feel sure you understand that reserve and know that there is a great big love in my heart for each one of you and as a family I am certainly proud to be made to feel so much one of you and it is my desire to be worthy of the place you have given me in your hearts and family.

Our weather-man is favoring us with some fine warm weather; today is quite bearable because of the wind but the last two nights have been "unsleepable". The breeze today is very welcome; as I sit here on the fourth floor of the museum there is such a strong breeze, I have to keep a weight on every paper in the room -- if it gets much stronger I'll have to weight myself down.

The elevation of Hanover and your splendid location seem quite enviable, now. Don't work too hard but just enjoy your summer comforts.

We had five letters from my Brother one day; I went home at noon to find Mother and Florence (Harris' best-girl) in tears over these letters; he has done two tricks in the trenches of two weeks each, with a two weeks interval and has of course endured the hardships of the infantry soldier -- on whom falls all the hardships. He writes of his troubles in a very humourous way but is so tired of war & longs for home so much, that the funniness doesn't cover it all up. The last dug-out they were in accommodated five hundred; when they wanted to go from one place to another, they jumped on a rat and rode -- there were about 40 waiting beside their "beds" for use.     I try to keep Mother cheered up -- I tell her it is a good thing the Lord gave me a heart of rock because he gave her one of ice cream and she needs me to offset her. There does seem to be lots of wisdom in the way folks are put together.

I suppose you have received the picture by this time; I never was so disappointed in a picture. I have mine sitting on the piano and every time I go to the piano I look at it and say -- "My Speed -- you don't look like that"! I'm going to remove it -- I prefer the picture I have of him in my mind & heart to that one. I am very sorry about it.

I enjoyed your good letter and Sallie's, which came along later and I am hoping for more of theirs; I can realize you are busy tho' & if it is between writing to me and Speed -- why -- write to him.

Give my love to Aunt Spencer and Aunt Curraleen and Frances and Jane and Sallie and Father and here's a lot for your self.

From your new-daughter,

Irene.

Byers Burlingame, letter to Alma Rogers, 10 Aug. 1918, folder 7, box 5, Rogers Family Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Morgan Livinghouse, HC 2018, and Caroline Brunner, HC 2018.

Note:  This letter was written on YMCA stationery.  At the top of each sheet is an American flag, the YMCA symbol, and "Army and Navy Young Men's Christian Association, 'With the Colors.'"  At the bottom of each sheet is "To the writer: Save by writing on both sides of this paper.  To the folks at home: Save food, buy Liberty Bonds and War Savings Stamps."


Camp Paul Jones

Aug. 10, 1918

Dear Mother Rogers,

I received your letter about a week ago and was certainly glad to hear from you. I saw Carter the Sunday afternoon after he came and we had a nice chat for about an hour or two. I haven't seen him since then as each of us I think have liberty only once a week and we never happen to see each other.

Wens, afternoon I had some visitors from home, Lula Catt, Edna Bell and Mrs. Willhiatt are on a two weeks trip so they stoped off to see me.

I have been here nine weeks tonight but it don't seem near that long to me. Almost every day since detention has been a busy one and have failed to do a great deal of writing but from now on will do better for you. You must know it is rather hard since detention to find time to write or if we do have time it sometimes happens am to tired to do so.

After spending my 3 weeks detention in Decatur I moved to Dewey for another week. These two have been sure good camps but since then the others I have been in are entirely different. From Dewey I went to New Aviation 1 wk then to Out Going Detention for 10 days and now nearly three wks in Camp Paul Jones. During this time we have worked seven days a week and instead of 12 hrs liberty a week and getting 12 noon sat. they made us work sat. afternoon's till 4:00 and then we could clean up and go on liberty. We all sure thot it was the limit the first wk, but each week we became more used to it and although our company should have gone to school some time ago we haven't given up but are sticking. The only reason we have been put here is to help make the new camps and a big athletic field and coming out of detention at the right time they took us. Others have gone to school ahead of us because after getting used to the labor they kept us rather than let us go to school and break in another bunch. I have quit working in the field (on the firing line we call it) the last week as have been appointed a regimental guard and guard nights.

There are now 11 camps on the station holding 68,000 men and work will be started at once on 4 more. Their aim is to have this a training camp of 100, 000 in a short time. I like the place fine and I surely will get to school in the next week as their are only 160 radio men outside of the school left. One way this camp is different from army is because [by?] volunteer men are always coming and going while in the army camp for the most part one bunch is in training together. They have been receiving recruits on this station nearly all summer at the rate of 2,000 a day which means they send out nearly as large a bunch each day. Although it is so large and handles the men so rapidly it is the most sanitary camp in the U.S. but everything that is done here is with the one purpose of making it the largest and best station army or navy.

We jacks are now posing before the movie camera each morning until all the flags of the allied nations have been formed. It certainly will be some wonderful pictures and I will be anxious to see them but they are to be shown in England and France before being shown in the U.S. The other morning, 40,000 posed for "America's Answer" 8,000 in white forming the letters and 32,000 in blue making  the field. In the morning another is to be formed (I don't know which yet) and our bunch will be in whites but there won't be nearly so many as in the one big one.

Every Wens. [Wednesday] afternoon is review day and 21 Battalions pass in review. After review they have drill exercise under arms and also sing for visitors in battalion square formation. We have 16 complete bands of about 70 pieces each besides one complete band battalion of over 300 pieces. They all are usually playing from early until late so we have plenty of good music. Another feature for the visitors is to watch the hydroplanes in practice flight. The people here surely deserve credit for they [do] everything in the world for us and never tire in it. On Wens. [Wednesday] reviews from 20,000 on up to 50,000 people attend and instead of decreasing the crowds increase so you can well imagine the intrest of the people.

The YMCA has some really fine buildings here and is establishing more and it is easily taking care of the men and doing fine work. Especially so in the detention camps where the fellows must get used to camp life. They have entertainments every night and usually it is the cleanest and best. Even people in nearbye towns try to come to some because great actors come here for practically nothing to entertain us which civilians would pay pay $5 dollars and up for same things.

If I ever get through school will get a 10 day leave and if I do I want to get back to Hanover and see you all. I would like to be back with you all again and go to school this winter but as that cannot be I will live in hopes I can in a very few winters. I like it very well the life, but am anxious to get to radio school so can leave for sea, and do something active in the war for up here so far and in some forms of work we feel like it isn't helping very much to end the war. Everything is so different in our new life that I feel even now that it will have a tendency to change us all.

I feel like I have strung out quite a lot in this letter so had better stop.  Give my love to all, Jane, Sallie, Francis (likely she doesn't remember me) Mr. Rogers and yourself.
Sincerely
Byers

Will be more than glad to hear from any of you quite often.

Byers A Burlingame
USN RF LER
Co 27  7 Batt  12 Reg
Camp Paul Jones
Great Lakes, Ill


Speed Rogers, letter to "Family," 12 August 1918, folder 8, box 6, Rogers Family Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Katie Koopman, HC 2019.

Note: This letter was written on YMCA stationery.  At the top of each sheet is an American flag, the YMCA symbol, and "Army and Navy Young Men's Christian Association, 'With the Colors.'"  At the bottom of each sheet is "To the writer: Save by writing on both sides of this paper.  To the folks at home: Save food, buy Liberty Bonds and War Savings Stamps."


Camp Upton, NY
In the Barracks

August 12, 1918

Dearest Family, --

Chances to write are, I find, rather few &  far between. Now I am located for a day or so or perhaps a week -- I know nothing of how long -- and am well rested from the trip.

We left the MC Friday at about 1: PM -- Hope you got the card I sent from there Friday. Looked an acquaintance in another unit to mail it for me. We had Pullman coaches & our meals were cooked by our own cooks in a freight car that was part of our train. Our meals were exceptionally good & carried to us on picnic paper plates. Their too numerous canteens conducted by the women of the Red Cross -- gave us refreshments along the way.

We spent from Friday until about Sunday noon on the train -- when we got to Jersey City. There we took a ferry across N.Y. harbor, past the Statue of Liberty & the Sky Line -- to Long Island  and from there we came about fifty miles east into Long Island by rail so that now we are almost at the opposite end of the Island from N.Y. City.

Our trip was fairly cool & pleasant all the way and here it has been very agreeable.  Had a whole seat & berth all the way & no duties -- so I enjoyed the country & rested. Part of the time especially [north?] of Richmond we traveled thru  the rain but one could easily see that ther had been a bad drouth.
It is now morning after breakfast and again I have a few minutes. We complete our gas drill today by going into the gas chamber. There we are warned gas & 6 seconds later gas is turned on, full force. I can get my mask on in a little less than 6 seconds & can hold my breath 90 seconds if necessary. After that we get some more clothes.

Today has dawned with the sum coming up into a clear sky. Haven't seen the sun since Friday so it is quite a welcomed sight. 

This camp is a huge affair. It used to be a national army camp but now it seems to be a sort of assemblying place for various units from which they go to the port of Embarkation. It holds 100,000 men and its extent is tremendous. Some of the men walked five miles last night & said at five miles away it looked just as it does on the next street -- no end to it.

Did I write to you about the Captain who I am to be under in the lab? He is one of the finest kind of men, and when I took him a couple of books to take across for me in the official luggage. He opened one & saw James Speed Rogers  written on the fly leaf. He asked where I was from and I told him and he asked if I had ever lived in Ky. I told him my mother was a Kentuckian and he told me his mother was a Miss  Speed from Louisville -- so is the Captain whose name is Bullitt -- don't know how he spells it. He says we are counsins of some sort. but  I guess it would take Aunt Spencer to work it out.

[Torn: It?] is almost time for formation now & ever so [far?] to the Post Office so don't mind if I have to stop now.

Don't worry about me a bit. I am well & happy & loving you all & very much interested and concerned in all that goes on at Bird Haven & with my Dear Ones.  Your faith in Gods protection and belief in this cause helps me very much more than you could know. Keep well & happy & don't work too hard and I will be happy all the while I am away.

Don't know when I will get any more letters but the last one from you & from Irene   brot good news. Write to her please Mother & help her. Your faith does help her and your love -- the love of all of you.

Your devoted son & brother,

Speed

 

Speed Rogers, letter to “family,” 20 Aug. 1918, Rogers Family Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Mikayla Rehor, HC 2021.

Note: This letter was written on YWCA stationery.  At the top is "National Young Women's Christian Associations, Headquarters, 600 Lexington Avenue, New York," followed in larger letters by "Hostess House, Camp Upton, New York."

Aug. 20, 1918

Dearest family,

Times for writing are becoming fewer all the time. This week we have a new schedule and from 6:00 AM to 5:20 PM we have no time to call our own. Drill, classes and other duties keep us on the jump.

There is little or no news.  Each day has but little to separate it from the others, except the letters that come. I do not mean it is hard or bad or even so very monotonous.  Sometimes we do cuss the drill that we do over & over again & it does [backes?] one  to make the men do over & over again formations in the sand that is everywhere here. But the exercise & the regular hours & weeks keep me feeling fit and time does not drag so very badly.

One evening since I have been here, I took some of the fellows over to the  beach & we had a good swim. It was quite a novelty for me and a very pleasant time.

There are a number of pleasant places around here - the camp I mean -- where one can spend a few minutes now and then.  This Hostess House on whose stationary, I am writing is one - and I am now  writing in a little alcove in the camp Library where all sorts of books may be found. Have even found some really good & unusual geological things.

My hay fever is touching me just a bit, but it is quite cool here &  close to the ocean & I do not fear much of an attack. It seems to be getting better these last few summers anyhow.

I am anxiously waiting your letter about all the new improvements about Bird Haven, and about you all. Dont want to worry you all too much about writing, but news does sound good to me.

No news at all as to how long we shall be here, we have had one or two false alarms about going but nothing has come from them. We are all ready but that doesn't mean to very much.  Hope we can get on & get settled before cold weather.  Cold weather - the last few nights here have had most of the boys shivering but so far I have enjoyed them splendidly.

Will have to stop now but hope to write again in a day or so. Give my love to Julia, Mortyn, & Bro Henry --  and you all know how much love my heart holds for all of you. Tell Sallie & Jane not to stop writing because I do not write to them individually. I am thinking of you all & loving you all in these letters & all of the time.

Your devoted son & brother,

Speed.


 


Irene Rogers, letter to Alma Rogers, 25 Aug. 1918, folder 1, box 6, Rogers Family Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Nick Vaughn, HC 2020.


Ann Arbor, Mich.,

August 25, 1918.

My dear Mother:

This is a beautiful Sunday morning and if I could go to church without crying all over everything, I would surely go.  I have thought of you all in your preparations for the morning.  We are very depressed and anxious over Brother; an official telegram came yesterday, telling of his being wounded severely. That happened August 3 and [strikeout: we're] we are only now being notified -- it is hard to explain the delay. At times we think he is in the Base Hospital and out of danger and then again we fear he is not getting along well or they would not notify us now. Several others were hurt -- one Lt. lost his foot, another Corporal his hand -- but we do not know the nature of Harris' wound. We are still hopeful and trusting, and Mother is particularly brave.

I received two letters from Speed yesterday -- none, the day before, so that accounts for the two -- He is very restless because of the delay and absence from work but he realizes how much worse off he could be and doesn't complain.

Your letter for me came last week with the card enclosed. You see every soldier is compelled to make an allotment to some of his people; if he doesn't do it the government takes some of his pay and keeps it until the war is over. The privates who get $30 a month, allot $15 to their wives or mothers or others; if to a wife, the government puts an additional $15 with it and sends it all to the wife. As a soldier's pay increases he can make larger allotments. This card that came to me merely explains the delay in the payment of this money; the draft should come along soon & it will also be send to Hanover. Speed gave my address as Hanover, as my own address at the time was not steady.  I will write to the Treas. Dept. to have the address changed as you do not want the bother of fowarded that letter to me every month.  Speed and I are planning on saving this money. i.e.  I will save and it will be a start toward our home, when he comes back.  I can live very nicely on what I receive fro the University and all of this gov't money can be kept.  Speed has probably told you who will get some of it.  We think some of it goes to you.

Aug. 22 -- my fourth anniversary of Apr. 22 -- I received a lovely gift from Aunt Bessie -- Aunt Beet I believe you all call her -- and her daughter, Sara Goodloe.  She said she wanted to give me something I wouldn't get for myself and she certainly did -- a flower basket of silver is about the last thing I would get for myself but it is so acceptable as a gift.  I love to look at it and think of the message which preceded it -- "that as I filled it with flowers to remember it was already filled to overflowing with love.  You have all been so kind to me, I would have to love you, even if I hadn't before I knew you.

One year ago next week I began my school in Owasso; it is good not to think of leaving my happy home again this year especially when conditions are so uncertain with our loved ones.  I like my new work so well & it keeps me in touch with Speed & his work -- it seems the working out of Divine Will that I can be hired.  And soon things will be better for the war cannot last many years longer and then our boys will be back.

Did I understand you to say that Carter was to go?  He sent a card to me to tell me he would write later so maybe I will hear directly from him.  His summer training is almost over, now and you can have him with you for a while anyway.  You will enjoy having just your own family once again.

= It is 8:30 Sunday evening now and I have only a few minutes before the mail goes out.  We have had company all day but I have been very lonesome -- the more company the "lonesome-er" I am because when so many are talking I can't keep with those I want to be with.

No further word has been received from Brother but when we do hear from him I will write to you. It is a great comfort for me to think of you and your faith and you all are a help in this time of anxiety even tho you, perhaps, do not realize it. We do not need to worry about Speed just yet and I do hope he can be spared the suffering that some experience. He is a very brave, noble man and will do his best, I am sure; it is hard to think of your loved ones suffering -- that's why we at home must keep brave and well in order not to add to the worries of the boys --

Goodnight to all with all love from

Irene

Aug 27 -- 1918

Dear Alma, All those letters came today.  Mr Lawson will bring you from Lexington for $2.00
Rained again today [Heavy?]
 

 


Speed Rogers, letter to Alma Rogers, 19 Sept. 1918, Rogers Family Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Antoine Baldon, 2018.

Dearest Mother, Father and Kids

It is really a shame that I have not written before this but writing has had for some time some almost unsurmountable obsticles.  I have written to the Lady and you will hear from her if that letter reaches the States before this one.

We are now located and are in luck.  I cannot now tell you where of course -- but it may be that later I can write you the location. However it is a pleasant country side about here and the hospital & our quarters are in new buildings that Uncle Sam is just getting finished.  At present it is somewhat rainy season but we have had some five days, and soon [illegible] the Indian Summer will be here with quite a chance for us [illegible] acclimated  and used to the absence of heated buildings.

Getting a bath has been a problem but one can have a long [illegible]  of water for a sponge bath & now we all look fairly presentable. On the boat -- when we were for some [several words marked out] [illegible]  bathing facilities & we were not permitted to even remove our shoes. However that is all over & coming back we will have more freedom.

I met another Hanover, Beta coming over on the ship, Doering now an M.D. and a first Lieutenant in the Medical Corps. [torn] a junior in my freshman year.  You may remember that he was out at Beechwood for dinner one day with Drows.

We are within about six miles of a large town or small city, [and?] I am told we can get any personal things we may need -- once we get [torn] I wrote to the Lady about some knitting for me -- and you might fix me socks you have time for. I can certainly use them. More about this later.

My address is:
J. Speed Rogers,
Sgt. First Class,
Base Hospital 65,
Base Section #5
A.P.O. 716
American Ex Forces, France

More in a day or so -- am well and happy --  and sending a heart full of love to you all.

Your devoted boy and brother,

Speed.


[inside a box drawn on the letter:]
Censored:
Capt. H. O. Linehergen
Captain D.C.
Base Hospital 65


 

J. Speed Rogers, letter "Mother and Father,"  24 September  1918, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover,Ind.)
Transcription by Logan Kunselman, HC 2019.

September 24, 1918

Dearest Mother and Father,

These little letters are far from what I want to write to you but just now paper is scarce, leisure is not plentiful and as for a place to write -- just now I am reclining on my bed as you may guess from the scrawl.  This is a stunt I learned from the Lady. 

I believe I wrote you that we are most pleasantly and presumably permanently located.  I cannot tell you where, as yet, nor am I allowed to describe the beautiful scenery all about us, even if I could.  We are near a chateau and there are a number of villas in the neighborhood.  These have some very pleasant gardens we may see from over the walls & the whole country side is a really wonderful landscape.

We are fast getting comfortable and at home here.  The buildings are not all finished but promise to be by cold weather.  Our meals are very good indeed and our appetites splendid.  For instance yesterday for dinner (at noon) we had steak, gravy, whole browned  potatoes, bread & coffee.  Several mornings we have had hot biscuits, scrap [scrapple?], bacon & coffee & I haven't missed a meal since we came here -- even tho breakfast is before sunup.  When I get back & we come to visit you, you wont know your son because now he is as sleepy as a chicken at nine & wake's automatically at about five.  Still I long often enough for another morning and a lot of them at home and the priviledge of rising to have breakfast at ten or eleven. 

At any rate I am fast regaining the flesh I lost coming over and am happy and well.  Since we have been here, I have done [strikeout: but] no work in the lab -- but then it isn't yet. Before more than a few days tho, I will be hard at it. I mustn't forgot to tell you about our quarters -- they are in new buildings, well ventilated and I have an iron bed, matress, two blankets, and pillow that in default of a better use  -- I put at the foot of my bed to put my feet under.  One blanket I have is really a luxurious one -- as [warm as?] the old blue blankets on the bed in my room at home. 

You will understand from a lot that I do not write that the [illegible] rules prevent.  It won't be any the worse for the telling -- so just [illegible]   I am longing for news from you all -- but I know it is too soon to hope for that,  and I know too that some where I have heaps of letters on the way.

We are not allowed to receive packages from home save by special permission.  So don't kill your rest times knitting.  Really, they say we can get things here as cheap as you can get the yarn at home -- still it would be nice -- mighty nice -- to have some you have knit -- and maybe I can find a way.  When you receive this letter, send me the girls & your glove  measures.  I saw some really beautiful gloves in a shop window in the city --  and they were quite modestly priced. 

As soon as we can get some thing, besides sponge baths -- we will be in  clover and when it comes to that we are better off here than about 95 % of the boys over here. 

I will try to keep letters going -- so that you or Irene one will alway have a letter on each mail ship.

Give my love to the kids -- and keep a lot for yourselves, and I know you are always sure that I am ever

Your devoted boy,

Speed

J. Speed Rogers --  Sgt first Class,
Base Hospital 65,
Base Section #5
A.P.O. 716
Am. Ex. Forces France.

[Inside a box marked in the corner:]
Ok censored
Capt. H.O.  Linehergen
[remaining text not transcribed]


 

H.C. Rogers, letter to Alma Rogers, 12 Oct. 1918, folder 3, box 11, Rogers Family Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind).
Transcription by Ian English, HC 2019.

Oct. 12th
Company Office Sat PM 1918

Dearest Mother;

Am fairly well settled now except for quarters, we are being moved around a little but hope to be settled soon. Am now in the office or a little corner set aside in the barracks for the use of the officers. Am not very busy now as quite a few of our men have the "Flu". Fifteen are in the hospital and several in bed here in the barracks. About fifty are on detail of various sorts and the rest for the most part are not in the best of shape so we are not drilling them now. I have drafted men under me and most of them are much older than I and half probably married. It seems strange for me to be ordering men around who are from twenty five to thirty and having them pay me all kinds of respect. And when this morning I went thru the quarters with the other two officers (2nd Lts) I couldn't get very fierce especially when so many of the fellows were sick. It hasn't been long enough since I was in their place. I never smiled nor even looked friendly but I couldn't "cuss 'em out".  It will come I reckon though with a little experience.

All the officers mess to-gether at a little cottage called the officers Club but the mess is all there is to it.  We get good grub and all the sugar we can eat. I ate bread and sugar last night for the first time since the war.

I might as well tell you that they have the "Flu" here pretty badly amonng the men though I [strike out: only] know of only one officer who has it. You need have no fear for me though for it is so warm here we have everything open, clean quarters and sulphor water to drink, and use. It is so warm here I go around in my shirt sleeves even at night. The trees and cotton fields are green and birds sing so sweetly out on the campus. It rained quite hard yesterday but today has been beautiful.

I went over to Bryan or Brien last night for an hour or so. It is the nearest town boasts 4,500 and they call it a city here. Most everything in Texas is closed to soldiers but we found the drug store open though they couldn't sell us sodas or anything of the kind. In fact had I not been an officer I could not have gotten out of camp but quarrentine of soldiers doesn't effect officers, except as pertains to attendance upon public gathering. The City of Bryan is about five miles distant and one reaches it by a trolley in about fifteen minutes for so many cents. It has several drug stores three or four picture shows one or two hotel and the other stores that go to make up such a town. I couldn't see much of the town last night.

Well I must not tell to much about the place or I won't have anything to tell next time.

We took the prescribed picture at Julia's. She surely did things up in style for me. Cousin Nell and Catherine were there to dinner which was a swell one. Martyn drove us all over the city and though only there for a few hours I saw the whole works.  Gee but [strikeout: It] it was great though the parting was most unpleasant. Will send the pictures when I get the prints. Will have a good picture taken when I can find time.

Nothing was said to me about being late. I just explained and no questions were asked. Officer's words good you see.

Must close now.

Lovingly,

Lt. Bengie
 


 

Byers Burlingame, letter to Alma Rogers, 19 Oct. 1918, folder 7, box 5, Rogers Family Papers Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Will Werner-Wilson, HC 2019.

Petersburg, Ind,

Oct. 19, 1918.

Dear Mother Rogers,

I have recoverd from the Flu and am now home trying to rest up and gain back all I lost. I was in the hospital three weeks and I have lost about 25 lbs although I still weigh about 15 lbs more than when I left last year. Of course I don't look like it because my face is so hollow and I have lost my tan and I guess I can't get that back till next summer. I think the second week was my worst as was out of my head most of the time and the second wire they sent grandmother said no expected to live, but I wasn't ready to die so it seems. I said I kind of hated to come home a sketeton but at the rate [strikeout: I] I eat if I came when well would have to have an extra cook.

I had wanted to come back to Hanover a few days about the 24th but I have only 12 days so am going to stay home and rest up and try and gain back a little weigh and then if I get extension will try and come down a day or so if you can have me.

Grandmother this evening said she didn't think I had been writing you or if had you hadn't received them but I have written you about 4 or 5 times Carter a long letter a month ago and Sallie a letter and a card while in hospital. Grandmother hadn't received pictures I have sent 3 different times so some of my letter to you may have been lost.

This is my fourth day out of hospital and am feeling fine so am sure will get along alright. Give my love to all.

Sincerely

-Byers.


 
 
H.C. Rogers, letter to H.M. Rogers and Alma Rogers, [1918], folder 3, box 11, Rogers Family Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.). 
Transcription by Emma Boomershine, HC 2020, and Baylee Roach, HC 2018.

On the Post
Saturday

Dearest Folks,

You write to be about not writing and I haven't missed a week while! You did miss one week writing to me. You never have told me whether or not you received the seventy five dollars for the bank. I know it's a trivial sum but one must watch the little things to get along in this world.

Quite a sad thing happened here on Thanksgiving day.  Lieut. Rollwage (the fellow whom you all took to be me in the company picture) died. He had not been the least bit sick but simply went over to the hospital to have his tonsils removed. The second injection of cocaine affected his heart before the operation was ever begun and he died in spite of the attention of three or four doctors. Quite sad in that it was so sudden, so uncalled for. I saw the major shortly after Rollwage died and he said when he went over to look at the body, he thought it was I. Such things make one a little more thoughtful.

We had a military funeral Fri. afternoon which was very impressive. I shall never forget the occasion [sic], the march down to the station where the body was to be shipped. Down the military road (see picture)(The two out side lines) stood the soldiers of the post, in two batallion[sic]-front  formations facing each other, at present arms, the salute for such an occassion. In front walked the band playing a military funeral march. (I made a mistake on the picture and got the dot in front of the band) after the band came the chaplin on foot followy [sic] by an army truck with the body (four soldiers standing in the truck to steady the coffin) Next the officers of the post followed in a column of two in order of rank. We marched from the building "A" to the Depot.

We were told the other day that we would begin mustering us officers out on the tenth of Dec. However I don't hope to get out before Jan. or Feb. for I have applied for the officers reserve and they will be kept in the army some longer than the ones who asked for immediate discharge. I wanted to stay in the army long enough to pay off my debt is the main reason why I asked for a place in the reserve. Of course asking for it doesnt mean I'll get it. If I don't I want to get a job some place until next fall for it wont pay me to start in school this year and I want to get that debt off my mind.

I spent a very quiet Thanksgiving here on the post. I didn't accept any of my three invitations to Colvert for various reasons. We had quite a good turkey dinner at the officers mess. To-day Lieut B.C Rogers and I ate dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Firtle (with whom we are rooming) we had a regular Thanksgiving dinner, turkey 'n everything.

Wednesday I received the candy. Thanks so much, it was fine. Also on that mail I got a box of candy from Dorothy and yesterday some from my girl friend at Calvert. All my good luck comes at once.

To-day is perfectly beautiful, warm and sunshining brightly. The last few days have been so cold. A few nights ago we had such a heavy frost it killed the sweet potato vines though the irish  potatoes are still green. Will enclose a few pictures I printed. Fri. night I got my printing outfit fixed up as good as new.

From now on will be very busy helping demobilize the men here. Our orders are to have it done by the 20th Dec. It's quite a job and will keep us all pretty busy .

My board is real good for an army boarding place. You see I board at the officers mess, run by a sergeant and room about a square away at Mr. Firths; a might nice place. It won't be necessary to send the down comfort as it doesn't get so very cold here. Julia did not send me a sweater but I hardly think I'll need any more for one of my girl friends is knitting one for me.

Lovingly,

Your Bengie

P.S. Why not send some of Speeds letters or does he still write by hand?
 
   

Henry Carter Rogers, letter to Henry Martin and Alma Rogers, n.d. [Dec. 1918?], folder 3, box 11, Rogers Family Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by David Jung, HC 2020.

Note: This letter is writing on "U S Army" stationery, decorated with an image of soldier in gold.

In my room
Sunday P.M.

Dearest Mother and All,

For the first time in all my short life I sit me down to write a Christmas letter home. How often of late I have pictured you all back home sitting around the table Christmas day or untieing your presents at the little table in the front room. And again I see you sitting around the open fire telling tales and cracking nuts thinking sometimes of Speed over in France somewhere, and sometimes you think of me, somewhere in Texas. Speed away serving his country and I - - - - willing, but never had the chance. And as you think of me, I'll think of you and wish that I might be one of that circle. But don't think of me as lost in Texas with no friends in a thousand miles for though I will have more of my kin to feast with and enjoy yet I have some very good friends here. I am going up to Calvert for Christmas as we won't get our discharges in time for me to get to Oklahoma City. I may be here until the first of Jan. or I may get out Tuesday. Nobody knows all the enlisted men (privates and non coms) have been discharged and we have nothing to do but wait. We report to headquarters here twice daily so that they will know where we are, at all times but aside from that there is nothing to do.

This morning I went to church and this afternoon I reserved for writing letters. Tonight I am going to church with Nettie Edge in Bryan. She is a real sweet girl, one of the few Southern girls who won't kiss you good-night! However, she only likes me because of my uniform as all the other girls do besides "Tiny". That is, in the South.

Mother, did Prof. Lawrence die? In one of your letters you said he was very sick and someone else told me that Jim had taken all his classes out at college but that's all I have ever been told. The trouble with my ever hearing any news of Hanover is that every one thinks some one else's has told me everything and I have to depend on passing remarks and my ability to draw conclusions for most of my news.

I keep changing my plans as I am more or less have had a wonderful time, I long to get back again where my influences are Christian. Like the children of Israel were sent to Babylon to be cured of idolatry so I in a strange land have been cured of the only thing I have ever done that is generally considered not to be right -- dancing. I still have been dancing at the home of one of my girl friends but have decided that I shall go to no more dances. I don't yet think that I was ever hurt by dancing, but the costumes or lack of costumes of the girls, the way they let the boys hold them, the late hours they keep as well as the conversations of the fellows after the dance, have caused me to come to this conclussion. I can honestly say that these things have not hurt me but if my sanction of dancing by my attendance on these dances will cause my brother to offend, "I will eat no flesh while the world standeth lest I make my brother to offend." As for drinking and gambling, drinking is no temptation for Texas is truely dry but there are very few officers on the post who do not gamble. The fellows I associate with gamble, at the mess they gamble, in their rooms the gamble, at times they sit until reveille in the morning, gambling. However, it has never been much of a temptation to me and I have never once tried my hand at it. I have seen Babylon and have longed to get farther away, back to Jerusalem.

Hoping this will reach you by Christmas and that you will all have a very bright and happy yule-tide, --

I remain,

Your loving son and brother,

"Bengie"

P.S. Oh yes, I nearly forgot to tell you that I have a little present for the family but as it is rather bulky, I couldn't send it by mail and it might get lost by express or at best be a month late so I should bring it as a part of my baggage when I come home. For Jane's benefit, I'll say that it is something to go in the parlor, no more can I tell untill I come home.

Obstinate,

"Bengie"




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