WWI related letters from The Golden Age, Overton Co.
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WWI related letters from The Golden Age, Overton Co.

Compiled by: Deborah McConnel

The letters are in alphabetical order by the author, not chronological.

Spelling errors are sometimes my typing and sometimes in the original.

Allred, Charles T.

The Golden Age

May 8, 1918

Camp Sevier

119th Inf.

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 like.

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

Golden Age:

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 write.

Your friend,

R. L. B.

Cole, Mack

The Golden Age

March 19, 1919

Beavment, France

January 27, 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 waves high.

As I havn’t much to write I will hush for this time.

Your son,

Mack Cole

Coleman, Grover

The Golden Age

Feb. 20, 1918

Camp Gordon

307 Engr. Tn.

Dear Editor:

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

Camp Gordon,

Atlanta Ga.

Coleman, Grover

The Golden Age

July 24, 1918

Camp Gordon

Co D, 6th Inf. Repl Regt.

To the Golden Age:

I will drop you a few lines this lovely morning. I am an Overton boy I am proud to say.

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. I think.

So I will close with love and best wishes to all.

Grover Coleman

Cooper, Joe

The Golden Age

Nov. 21, 1917

Death Notice

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.

Funeral 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 was short.

Serg. Ernest Estes accompanied the corpse home.

This is our first real grief and the entire community deeply sympathize with the bereaved family.

Copeland, Shirley

Golden Age June 12, 1918

Driffield, Yorkshire, England

The following 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 to.

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 to wheat.

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 sincerely.

J. W. Duggleby

Dale, Ryely T.


The Golden Age

My 29, 1918

42nd Division

April 22, 1918

Mr. A. L. Dale

Livingston, Tenn.

Dear Uncle:

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 you.

Give my love to the girls.

I am sincerely,

Your nephew,

Ryely T. Dale

Dillon, I. F.

The Golden Age

Sept. 25, 1918

Camp Gordon

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 few days.

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 schools.

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.

A friend,

Sergt. I. F. Dillon

Easterly, James, Pvt.

The Golden Age Aug. 14, 1918

82nd Division Headquarters

Somewhere in France

Golden Age:

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 $1.00

Yours truly,

Pri. James Easterly

82 Division Headquarters

Troops Annex Forces

Fletcher, Marion

The Golden Age

Feb. 27, 1918

Death Notice

The death 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 Mitchell’s Creek.

Norman suffered with pneumonia fever a short time before his death.

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 blessings.

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 to her."

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.

Frence, Paul


The Golden Age

July 31, 1918

June 23, 1918

Dear father and mother (Mr. and Mrs. K. L. Frence):

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 another try.

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 Mexican Border.

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 spades.

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 rolling.

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.

Your son,


Garrett, Joe Wheeler

The Golden Age

May 8, 1918

Camp Sevier

April 28, 1918

Dear Friends:

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 Kaiser’s scalp.

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

Goolsby, Benton

Death Notice

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.

Benton was a son of John Goolsby and leaves his parents and six sisters and four brothers.

Guthrie, Carson

The Golden Age

Oct. 23, 1918

115th FA

Death notice

A cable message was received here Saturday announcing the death of Serg. Carson Guthrie on Sept. 28. He was wounded on the 19th.

Young 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.

Guthrie, James – about

written by:

Kleeman, Karl

The Golden Age

Jan. 29, 1919

"More about Lieut. Guthrie"

Dec. 4, 1918

Mr. W. L. Guthrie and family

Crossville, TN

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 him.

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.

Believe me.

Your sincere friend,

Karl Kleeman

Keeton, B. E.

The Golden Age

Jan. 22, 1919


115 FA

"About James Carson Guthrie"

December 2, 1918

Mr. W. L. Guthrie

Crossville, Tennessee

Dear Will:

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.

Your friend.

B. E. Keeton

1st Sergt.

Battery F

115 th FA


Keeton, Burris


The Golden Age

November 20, 1918

Dear Sis:

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 saw.

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 again.

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 two.

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.

Koger, Victor H.

The Golden Age Aug 14, 1918

Somewhere in France

61st Inf.

[KIA 10/16/18]

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 all.

Yours as a friend,

Pvt. Victor H. Koger

Co. H, 61st Inf., AEF

Ledbetter, Benj. H.

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 highways.

So I will quit with best wishes to all.

Bugler Benj. H. Ledbetter

Little, Virdie

The Golden Age

April 10, 1918

454 Sqd. A. S. S. C.

Raymond, Wash.

454 Sqd. A.S.S.C.

Raymond, Wash

Golden Age:

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 a week.

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 Ocean.

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 homesteaded.

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,

Very respectfully,

Verdie Little

Looper, T. S.

Golden Age March 13, 1918

Camp Gordon

157 Depo. Brig.

Dear Editor 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 that time.

May God’s richest blessings rest and abide with us all is my prayer. Good by.

T.S. Looper,

Hq. Cas. Det., 157 Depot Brig.

Camp Gordon, Atlanta, GA

Looper, T. S.

Golden Age Nov. 28, 1917

Camp Gordon

3rd Training Batalion,

12th Co.,

157 Depot Brigade

To the Golden Age:

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 lower counties.

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 home.

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 readers.

T.S. Looper,

(soldier boy)

Looper, T. S.

Golden Age Feb. 6, 1918

Letter written 1/18/1918

Camp Gordon

To the Golden Age:

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 Overton.

May success and happiness dwell with the editor and it’s many readers is my prayer.

Most respectfully,

T.S. Looper

Looper, T. S.

The Golden Age

Feb 13, 1918

Camp Gordon

To the Golden Age:

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 lines.

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.

T.S. Looper

26th Co., 7th Rr.,

Camp Gordon,

Atlanta, GA

Looper, T. S.

Golden Age Jan. 2, 1918

Camp Gordon

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 done.

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 case.

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 my prayer.


Serg. T. S. Looper

Looper, Thos S.

April 17, 1918 The Golden Age

Camp Gordon, GA

Dear Editor and Readers:

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 should have?

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 not-intelligence.

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 departure.

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 "always."

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.

Most Respectfully,

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

August 19, 1918

To the readers of The Golden Age:

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 received.

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

Martin, Robert L.

Golden Age October 30, 1918

"Still After the Kaiser"

Dear 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.

Matthews, R. B.

The Golden Age Jan. 16, 1918

Co. H, 323 Inf.

Camp Jackson

Jan. 5, 1918

Dear Editor:

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

Matthews, R. B.

The Golden Age Nov. 28, 1917

Camp Jackson

323rd Inf.

To the readers of the Golden Age:

As my 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 Age.

Just now saw 400 troops come in from Camp Pike, Ark. They will be assigned to the different Companies here.

Guess I’ll close for the present as I want to go to town this p.m.

Yours Truly,

R. B. Matthews

Co. H, 323rd Inf.

Camp Jackson

Columbia, SC

Matthews, R. B.

The Golden Age

January 30, 1918

Camp Jackson

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 day.

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 Camp.

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 cared for.

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

Yours truly,

R. B. Matthews

Matthews, R. B.

Camp Jackson

The Golden Age

May 29, 1918

Hello Golden Age Readers:

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 war.

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.


Matthews, R. B.

The Golden Age

September 4, 1918

Camp Sevier

August 27th

Dear Readers:

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 now.

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 together.

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.

Yours Truly,

Sgt. R. B. Matthews

Matthews, R. B.

The Golden Age

June 19, 1918

Camp Sevier

Dear Readers:

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

Matthews, R. B.

The Golden Age

July 3, 1918

Camp Sevier

Dear Readers:

Just a few lines to-day while the gentle rain of the past few hours is still falling on our little white tents.

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 too much.

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.

Yours truly,

R. B. Matthews

Matthews, Ridley B.

November 14, 1917

Camp Jackson

To the readers of The Golden Age. . .

Will 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 possible.

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 eat.

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 again.

Yours truly,

Ridley B. Matthews

Company H, 323rd Inf.

Camp Jackson

Columbia, SC

Matthews, Ridley B.

The Golden Age

February 12, 1918

Camp Jackson

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 the time.

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.

Yours truly,

Ridley B. Matthews

Matthews, Ridley B.

The Golden Age

July 10, 1918

Camp Sevier

Ward 16

Base Hospital

Dear Readers:

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.

Best Wishes,

Ridley B. Matthews

Ward 16, Base Hospital

McCulley, Johnnie

The Golden Age

July 24, 1918

Camp Pike

Co M, 4th Reg.

Golden Age:

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,

Sincerely yours,

Jonnie McCulley

Co. M, 4th Reg.

Mitchell, John A.

The Golden Age October 9, 1918

119th Inf.


August 31, 1918

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 long.

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 right.

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 Fatherland.

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,

Your boy,

John A. Mitchell

Mitchell, John A.

News Story

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 line."

"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 it."

"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 just then."

"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 France too."

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 far."

"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

Mofield, Carl H.

The Golden Age

September 11, 1918

326 Inf., Co. L

Somewhere in France

August 19, 1918

Dear Mother:

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 information.

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

Mofield, Carl H.

News Item

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.
Norrod, Ernest L.

The Golden Age

November 14, 1917

Camp Sevier

119th Inf.

Dear Editor:

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 other organizations.

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 return.

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 I remain,

Yours truly,

Ernest L. Norrod, Corporal

Pryor, Edward C.

119th Inf.


The Golden Age

October 2, 1918

August 27, 1918

Mr. W. M. Pryor

Oakley, Tenn.

Dear Uncle:

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 write often.

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 quit swearing.

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

Ray, Soney

The Golden Age

January 30, 1918

Camp Jackson

317 MG Bn.

Jan. 22

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 trouble.

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 a man.

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.

Soney Ray

Co. B, 317 Machine Gun Bn.

Reecer, John

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 from Metz.

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 country.

We are carrying supplies now instead of ammunition. We have pretty good roads to run our trucks over.

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 homesick.

I am wishing you al a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

Pvt. John Reecer

Reeser, John

The Golden Age

July 24, 1918

Camp Merrit, NJ

To the Readers of the Golden Age:

Just a 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 man.

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.

Yours truly,

John Reeser

Reeser, John

The Golden Age

July 17, 1918

Camp Pike, Ark.

Dear Editor:

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 here.

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 Germans.

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 space.

John Reeser

Reeser, John

The Golden Age

March 19, 1919


4th Am. Tn.

American Ex. forces

Co. C., 4th Ammunition Train

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 us.

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,

John Reeser.

Sells, Dillard C. – death

The Golden Age

March 19, 1919


written by David W. Roberts, Red Cross

Mr. Alex L. Sells,

R. F. D. 2

Livingston, TN

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.

Yours Respectfully,

David W. Roberts

Captain, American Red Cross

Home Communication Service

Smith, Albert

The Golden Age Nov. 6, 1918

324 Inf

Somewhere in France

Sunday night, Oct. 1918

Mr. G. B. McGee, Editor.

Dear Sir:

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.


Smith, Charlie D.

The Golden Age

May 15, 1918

Camp Sevier

115 FA

To our 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 with us.

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.

Cam Sevier

Greenvile, S. C.

Smith, Mac B.

The Golden Age

July 31, 1918

Fort McPherson, GA

From Camp Hospital

General Hospital No. 6

Ward C

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 Tennessee.

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.

Sincerely yours,

Corp. Mac B. Smith

Smith, Mack B.

November 14, 1917

Co. B, 119 Inf

The Soldier’s Wish

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 for,

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 ember

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.

Speck, Thos. G.

The Golden Age

April 17, 1918


Head Quarters Co. 18 Inf.

Signal Detachment

American Force in France

March 14-18

Head Quarters Co., 18 Inf.

Signal Detachment

Dear Uncle:

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.

Your nephew,

Thos. G. Speck

Spurrier, J. M.

The Golden Age

April 10, 1918

U.S. Naval Hospital

Newport, R.I.

U.S. Naval Hospital, Ward B.

Newport, R.I.

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 over.

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.

Your friend,

J. M. Spurrier

Stockston, Forrest H.

The Golden Age Oct. 9, 1918

316 FA


The Golden Age:

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 duty.

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


Stockton, Forrest

The Golden Age

Oct. 2, 1918

Co F, 316 FA

Somewhere in France

Dear Homefolks:

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 throat.

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 roads.

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 much.

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,

Forrest Stockton

[The above letter was handed us by W. L. Stockton]

Stockton, Forrest H.

The Golden Age

Feb. 5, 1919

Ramaucourt, France

To the Golden Age:

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 Ramaucourt.

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 "cooties" yet.

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 you soon.

Forrest H. Stockton

Stover, Wesley G.

The Golden Age

February 5, 1919

St. Blin, France

316 FA

Jan. 6th 1919.

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 Percheron horses.

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 soldiers.

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 pleasures are.

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 glad.

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 them.

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 nature.

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 it’s washing.

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 prosperity.

Pvt. Wesley G. Stover

Baat. F., 316 FA


Terry, Lewis E.

The Golden Age Oct 9. 1918

Somewhere in France

105 Trench Mort. Bat.

Dear Mother:

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 at all.

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 our money.

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,

Your Son,

Lewis E. Terry

105 Trench M. Battery

A.P.P. 761, AEF

Windle, P. H.

The Golden Age

April 24, 1918

Camp Upton, NY

Camp Upton, NY

April 14, 1918

Dear Age:

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 pass.

If there is a boy here from Overton I do not know it. I would sure like to see some Overton boys today.

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.

Your Friend,

P.H. Windle.

Winningham, J. F.

The Golden Age

March 13, 1918

Camp Jackson

1st Corps Artillery Park.

Golden Age:

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 wounded.

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 field.

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

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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 the sun.

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 other things.

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 service.

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 in history.

Serg. J. F. Winningham


1st Corps Artillery Park

Winningham, John F.

The Golden Age

Jan. 22, 1919

Loxentzweiler Luxenberg, France

Dear Father and Mother:

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 home.

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 stopped.

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 dialect.

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 Niece.

I am in perfect health, hope you both are enjoying good health, with lots of good wishes to all.

Your son,

Sergt. John F. Winningham

Winningham, John Floyd

Golden Age Jan. 23, 1918

Camp Gordon

29th Co.,

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.

I 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 walk.

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 permanent company.

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

29th Co.,

8th Training Bat.

157 Depot Brig.

Winningham, John Floyd

The Golden Age

May 8, 1918

Camp Jackson

April 227, 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 great conflict.

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 days.

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 Headquarters team.

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 Columbia.

John Floyd Winningham

Wright, Collins

The Golden Age

October 16, 1918

[Adj records show him from Pickett Co.]

Mrs. Easter Wright:

Dear Mamma:

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 not.

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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