Junction City, Kansas 4/7/1918

April 7, 1918

Dear Mother and Father:

You see I am still here. A week or so ago I expected to be far away from here by now but we are still in the same old place and have no idea when we will get away. We have no further news about going and it almost looks as though we would be here a while yet. The men are pretty much disappointed. Their spirits were running high and they were filled with expectation and the delay has discouraged them somewhat. We are still prepared to go in case orders come at any moment but no one has any idea as to when that will be.

Yesterday being the anniversary of the declaration of war and the beginning of the Liberty campaign all the cities had parades. Junction City had one by the entire Medical Camp of Fort Riley. We walked from camp to town and then a couple of miles around town and back to camp again. It was around ten miles and we had our packs on our back all the time. I hope the citizens of Junction City appreciated our efforts and bought lots of bonds.

Today being Sunday there is nothing to do around camp so Sgt. Hill and I came into town this afternoon to write a letter or two and go to church this evening. I don’t know where we will go. It dosen’t make any difference to either of us as to which church we attend. I have been to several of the churches and I haven’t found any of them that had really good ministers. They are very small churches and I suppose pay small salaries so they get just what they pay for. There are a dozen or more churches and if there were only three or four they could pay more and have real good men.

We had quite a fire in one of our barracks a few days ago. It was in our tailor shop. Some men were here putting an oil preparation on the floors. The stuff had to be put on warm so they set a pail of it on the stove. It boiled over and caught fire and in just a few seconds that end of the barracks was burning rapidly. We got the men busy with buckets of water and in a few minutes it was out. We had several suits of clothes in the tailor shop and they were burned up. Our tailor shop has been given up now because we haven’t got a good tailor. We did have one but he deserted about six weeks ago and has never been heard of since. Our barber has been laid up with lumbago so we haven’t been doing much business in the company of late.

The tobacco, candy and other things that we bought to take along had to be turned back as we can’t take it along. Our company fund now has nearly a thousand dollars in cash which is mostly profit from the camp exchange.

I had a letter from Gladys a few days ago. They thought I had gone some time ago and expected that their letters would be delivered in France. If we are here a little while yet I may go down to Emporia for a day. It is about time for their Spring Festival and I will get to hear some good music as well as to see my old friends. They may think it strange that I have been here so long and have not been down to see them.

Sgt. Hill and I have good times together. We have lots of things in common and are interested together in many things. He expects to be married on the trip East. He is going to marry the woman he was divorced from two or three years ago. He went to visit his child a couple of months ago and things were patched up and they are going to get married again. He is older than I, about thirty-two or three, but we don’t seem to notice much difference in our ages. Nearly all of my friends are older than I. I know of very few my age or younger.

I don’t remember what day I wrote you last but I hope you haven’t been worrying thinking that I have been gone. Whenever we get word to go I will let you know so you will know for sure.

Father’s letter came early in the week. I will send some money after payday which we expect this week. I don’t owe as much as I thought I did and having no book I never know how I stand.

Love from

Joe

© Copyright 2014 by Alice Kitchin Enichen, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Junction City, Kansas 3/29/1918

Junction City, Kansas

March 29, 1918

Dear Mother and Father:

I have been going to write you a letter all week but we are kept on the go all the time and I haven’t done it. I can imagine that you feel badly about my going away but I really don’t feel that you need to worry about me. Of course our work over there will no be play and it won’t be the happiest and most pleasant kind of work but on the other hand it won’t be like so many boys are having to do right now. We will be taken care of pretty well and I doubt if we will ever have to suffer for lack of good food or clothing.

I like our company and the men and officers in it and I have a couple of good friends in the company so in that way I will be quite contented. It is not certain yet as to what work I will be assigned to definitely. When we really get started there will be a few positions open and any one of us may be put into them. It is possible that I may be put on the anesthetic work for awhile.

After we leave here we will go to Hoboken [New Jersey] and we don’t know how long we will be held there. Our letters from there will be mailed open and of course read by the censor. On the way there we can write as we please. There is no restriction on our writing while on the train. We don’t know when we will go but it probably will be some time next week. They never let you know very far in advance, they just tell you to get ready and some time after you get orders to get up and go.

For all we know we may be here a little while yet. It has happened before that a company got all ready to go and then didn’t go for some time after. We are not allowed to tell just when we leave on the boat, we won’t know it ourselves until we get on. We can mail a letter as we get on the boat and I will try to let you know in that way when we get off. We will probably be on the water about two weeks. That is the usual time. When we arrive you will be notified. I understand that when we leave we write a postal card which is left here and as soon as we arrive the card is forwarded.

I don’t fear the trip at all. The transports are as safe as can be and there isn’t any doubt at all but what we will get over in good shape. It will be a few weeks before you get a letter from the other side so don’t be worried if you don’t hear for a little while your letters to me will not be censored so you can write what you please. I will have to be pretty careful about what I say. I think we will be able to write letters all right.

As I write there is a dance going on here with a brass band for the music. They are making so much noise that I can’t even think straight. When I get some more news I will write you again and will say “so long” for the present.

Love from

Joe

© Copyright 2014 by Alice Kitchin Enichen, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Fort Riley, Kansas 3/25/1918

March 25, 1918

Dear Mother and Father:

I wonder if you are having as much summer weather in Chicago as we are here. We haven’t wanted any fire for a long time and overcoats have been put out of sight. If it were not for the wind which keeps the air full of dust nearly all the time the weather here would be ideal. The dust is very bad and it settles all over everything so that we can’t keep ourselves or our bed clothes clean.

The St. Georges Herald came today. There doesn’t seem to be a very great deal going on in the various lodges. I see the honor roll is growing with each new issue. The war will take away most of the younger men from the lodges and as time goes on the social affairs will be dropped. Music work in the colleges has fallen off a lot. Most of the boys are gone from school and the female attendance has dropped off, too. Next year will be still worse.

Our company is coming along in good shape. The men are improving right along and we have quite a reputation around the camp for being a first class organization. Evacuation Hospital No. One which left here last December is in active service now. Their commanding officer wrote quite an article on the work they are doing and it was printed in the Tribune last week.

According to the latest word we will be leaving in a few days. We are busy getting our things packed up as we are to be ready to go by Sunday. We may not have to go that soon but we are to be ready but it is very likely that we will go the early part of next week. It is probably that we will go to Hoboken [New Jersey] and I don’t know how long a time we will be there. The men don’t stay there any definite length of time because if they did that it would be easy for a U-boat to figure out when a ship would be leaving. This is not a bad time of year to go across and by the time we get located on the other side it will be good weather over there, too.

The men are glad at the prospect of going. Some of them, though, are not so anxious to go. We are fixed so nicely that those at home don’t need to worry about us. We won’t have near the hardship that many of the soldiers have and our work is a lot more pleasant and safe than many others. I have hopes that things will come out all right soon and we will get back to our old haunts again.

I had a letter from Gladys today. She thinks I have been gone for some time. It looks as though she had not gotten my last letter. I had a letter from Mrs. Davis also. It doesn’t look to me as though things were coming out very well for her. She is in Denver working now. I don’t know what it is all about but something seems to be wrong. Her husband doesn’t seem to be doing anything right now. He wants to go to France doing YMCA work but that hasn’t been decided yet.

When I get some more news I will write you again. I haven’t got Aunt Louise’s address so that if I got a chance to see her I wouldn’t know how to address her.

Love from

Joe

© Copyright 2014 by Alice Kitchin Enichen, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Fort Riley, Kansas 3/21/1918

JoeKitchin1

March 21, 1918

Dear Mother and Father:

Our company is on guard again and as I have charge of the guard house I am writing this from there. We have twenty one prisoners here now. A couple of them are men I knew then I first came here. Most of the prisoners are here because they took a vacation without permission. It is to “be expected” that right after pay day some men who cant get passes will go anyway.

Usually the punishment consists of a little stay in the guard house and a fine of anything up to fifty dollars. The prisoners aren’t so awfully bad but they just haven’t got sense enough to behave themselves. Most of them are young boys from eighteen to twenty one. Some of the prisoners complained to me that one of the men needed a bath so badly that he was a nuisance to the rest of them. I investigated and found out that he needed one all right so I sent him with a guard to scrub up.

I have been relieved for a little while so I am writing now at my own desk where I have better light and a better pen. We had a meeting tonight of the sergeants. We have meetings once or twice a week for the purpose of discussing various things in connection with our work. At present they think they want to have a banquet somwhere, either in Junction City or Manhattan. It is hard to find a good place to have those things as there is no place in either town that can really put up a good banquet. At first it was thought that we might have ladies present but that idea has been given up. I don’t care a great deal about a banquet myself but if the other men want it I will do whatever they decide.

Next Tuesday evening I am going to Manhattan to spend the evening with the piano teacher I met there some time ago. We played one evening a few weeks ago and spent a very pleasant evening. Some time I am going to make another trip to Topeka. When I do Professor Boughton, the piano teacher at the college and I will spend a little time playing. I get so little chance here to play with a piano that I am always glad to go somewhere where I can play.

When I got back here this evening I found Mother’s letter waiting here. I was glad to get it and the music clippings. I wish I could hear some good music around here once in a while. None of the towns down here patronize concerts at all. Kreisler gave a receital in Topeka three years ago and it was a financial failure. I see that Kreisler has retired until after the war. I hope it won’t be very long before he will be able to appear again.

joe_kitchin_4a

Joe motoring in his Betsy

The weather has been so fine the last week that grass and trees and bushes have begun to turn green. In some places the grass is quite thick. On Sundays especially, I often wish I had my Betsy here. Last year at this time I used to ride around every Sunday. Perhaps if we are here a while yet I may get a chance to get away and sell it. I really wish I had sold it last year when I had a chance. I don’t know what they are selling for this year or whether they are hard to get or not. I see a number of new ones running around so I guess Ford is still turning them out the same as ever. There are a lot of Fords here in Kansas but not so many as in Iowa. The state of Iowa has the largest number of automobiles for its population of any state in the union and I guess most of them are Fords.

It has started to rain a little bit tonight. That is the first moisture of any sort that we have had for a couple of months. The rivers around here are very low for this time of year. Usually they are up high and overflowing their banks, causing quite a little damage.

Our company is still plugging away at its drilling and classes. It has improved a lot lately and has turned out to be a very fine organization. The men have shown a lot of improvement in their work and themselves and the company is being run with a good deal of system. We are known around the camp for being a good company and other companies often come to us for advice and information and copy our ways of doing things.

I understand that five new evacuation hospital companies are being formed here. I also understand that Ft. Riley is going to be turned into a cavalry camp in a couple of months and that all medical organizations will be sent to some other camp. I don’t know whether we will be here by then or not. I wouldn’t mind going somewhere else for a change if we had to stay in America that long.

Well, pretty soon I must go back and take care of the poor prisoners. So good night.

Love from

Joe

© Copyright 2014 by Alice Kitchin Enichen, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Postcard from Somewhere in France, 9/20/1918

Sept 20th, 1918

Mr & Mrs John J O’Farrell

Jeffry Avenue

Jamaica

L.I, N.Y.

U.S.A.

Dearest sister Mad

Am feeling fine and dandy.  Love to you all back home.

Brother Joe

© Copyright 2011 by Lanny & Patti Brown, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Postcard from Somewhere in France, 9/20/1918

Sept 20, 1918

Master Robert E. O’Farrell

Jeffry Avenue

Jamaica, L.I.

NY USA

Dear Bob.

Am feeling fine and dandy.  Only hoping you are enjoying the best of health.

Uncle Joe

© Copyright 2011 by Lanny & Patti Brown, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Somewhere near Doullens, 9/20/1918

September 20th, 1918

Dear sister Madeline-

Am receiving mail from you and Anna regularly sometimes three times a week but am sorry to say that it was impossible for me to write you in almost one week on account of divisional movements.  Am going to ask you again did pa receive the thirty two dollar money order and the check for $150.  You see dear sister my worries are of home only but of course in order to stop home worries I’ve got to bring myself home to you all.  But still remember dear sister my chances are very good in coming back safe theirfore I have nothing to worry about except you all back home.  My thoughts are for you all back home and feel safe in saying that you are all enjoying the best of health that is according to your letters.

My health is great but I’ve got a felon on my first finger of my left hand and lose a few hours sleep each night and at times courses me much pain.  By the time this letter reaches you  I expect to have my hand back to working order.  The weather has been very poor in past days as it has done nothing but rain.  Sometime times for hours and sometimes all day.  I am sending a few post cards under separate cover.

Guess I will close for now, will write again tomorrow,

I am.

Your Brother

Joe

Corporal Joe. Maus

105 US. Inf. Co A

American E. F.

A.P.O. 748

© Copyright 2011 by Lanny & Patti Brown, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Somewhere near Doullens, 9/15/1918

Somewhere in France

Sept. 15th, 1918

Dear sister Madaline:

Today being sunday and nothing to do but sit around and enjoy the good weather today.  It seems unusual to have good weather as for the past month it has done nothing but rain almost continuously day and night.  I received mail again today from both you and Anna and I surely do feel fine to receive mail especially when I’m so far away from you all.  Our Yanky boys are doing wonders at their sector and believe me Sis I figure if we have a late winter this war is going to finish and the Allied Troops on top.  The reason I would like to see the winter come in late is to allow the allied army to continue their pushing and not allow Jerry to rest for the more we push the weaker Jerry’s army gets.  In my time over here I have seen many German prisoners and if I couldn’t lick at least five why I think I’m a weakling.  I’ve seen prisoners from 17 to 65 years old and a worse lot of men could not be seen in the world.  A german soldier’s uniform varies in color but not in quality their torn and patched and always dirted.  The average german soldier very seldom shaves and from their appearance I judge they spend many weeks in the line while the Allied troops very seldom spend more than eight days in the line.

Well dear sister I’m going to let you in on a secret if you promise not tell a single one well I’ve grown a mustache and its great.  Its one of these short Charlie Chaplins and honestly it looks neat.  It makes me look so much older but why worry.

Guess I will close now and tell pa that my moral is best ever.

I am

Your Brother

Joe

Corporal J. Maus

105 Inf Co A. U.S.A.

American E.F

A.P.O. 748

© Copyright 2011 by Lanny & Patti Brown, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Somewhere near Doullens, 9/14/1918

Somewhere in France

Sept 14th, 1918

Dear sister Madaline:

Received mail from both you and Anna and surely was pleased to receive same.  My mail is coming in very regular but I regret very much to see that you and Anna’s mail is delayed or held up.  We got paid yesterday and I received 106 francs but last night I got foolish and played poker and won 500 francs.  Of course dear sister it was only for past time and this past time has netted me this amount,  I know you will forgive me for this and as soon as I can get a money order I am going to send home $100 for pa.  By the way did you receive my last money order for $32?  Tonight I bought practically everything I needed 12 razor blades, 3 towels, one box of face soap 3 cakes in a box, shaving soap and cream, tooth brush, tooth paste, fruit candy, cigarettes.  and last of all but not least one good meal consisting of six eggs, mash potatoes and one bottle of Guinness stout.

I have everything now except one suit of warm underwear and I am going to put in a request to our major for underwear is too expensive for me to buy over hear.

Guess I will close now and will write again tomorrow.

I am

Your Brother

Joe

Corporal Joseph Maus

105 U. S. Inf. Co A.

American E. F.

A.P.O. 748

Love and kisses to you all.

Joe

© Copyright 2011 by Lanny & Patti Brown, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Somewhere near Doullens, 9/11/1918

Somewhere in France

September 11th, 1918

Dear sister Madaline:

Nothing much to write about except that I am in the best of health and enjoying my rest while in our rest camp.  In todays mail I received five letter from you dated July 30, 31 Aug 1, 5 +7.  I also received your cable gram while at the front and honestly it surely did make me feel fine.  At first I was afraid to open it but courage then came. I thought at first it might be ill luck from home but when I saw “Love from home” you can imagine how happy I was.  Since my stay in france quite a few of my friends have been faithful to me by writing me quite often but one girl that I am about to refer to is the young girl from Glendale.  I think you remember the short blond girl her name is Anna Westrich.  I invited her up to see you for I think you will take a liking to her.  I am going to try and persuade her to pay you a visit.  Priscilla has written twice every week since I have been away.  Has she been up to see you since I’ve been away.

Guess I will close now and write again tomorrow.  I am.

Your Brother

Joe

Corp. J. Maus

105 U.S. Inf. Co A.

American E. F.

A.P.O 748

Love to you all.

© Copyright 2011 by Lanny & Patti Brown, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

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