From Em, Charlestown Mass. 7/27/1916

Dear Sammy.

Your letter recieved and I’m glad your feeling good. Uncle Al is coming tomorrow to take Pa to Lawrence to see Mr. Snell a cousin of theirs. Pa goes back to work Aug. 1. Lena sent you some stamps and mailed her letter before yours was recieved telling us not to send any more but I guess you can use them. We like to send them because sometimes some other fellow might need them and you could give them to them. Some fellow might want to write a letter home but not have a stamp and I would be glad to know that you and I helped him out. For instance. A girl in the shop goes with a fellow who is down there and his mother hasn’t heard from him since he left and I told her that maybe he has no money or stamps. She is worrying now because she knows that I hear from you most every day. So if a fellow wants a stamp give it to him.

Have you seen Jimmie Coyne yet? I think John wrote to you telling you he was in Co. H. of the Fifth. I think he must be crazy because he wrote home and told his mother not to believe the papers because he could go anywhere he wanted to at anytime and do anything he wanted to. Can you imagine that Bull.

You told me in one of your letters that the Non Comps had some pictures taken and I’m still waiting for them. Say will you tell me if there is any fellows down there who did not take the Federal Oath as I had an argument in the shop. There was a piece in the paper that 600 men who didn’t take the oath have to return to Framingham and these 2 who are against me in the argument say they are at the border and I say that they must be in their homes. The paper didn’t say where they were but only that they must return to Framingham.

As for the City of Somerville I think is all graft. I didn’t hear or see about any one getting any help as yet. They had fire works and charged admission and I saw them selling ice cream Tue. night but I fail to see where any one got any thing from it. They ask for money to buy underwear and goodies etc for you fellows and as you say you don’t nead it what is the money for? I fail to see where the families are getting it. Its all Graft I think.

Bill who works with Pa got a Texas newspaper from his son and I would like you to send Pa one as I know he would enjoy reading it. As I wrote to you yesterday and Lena wrote today there is not much news. I will ans. your letters all right and send mail every day but some of it will be postcard as I don’t have as much news as you.

Everyone is well and Pa is still enjoying his vacation. Lena and I have been alone since Mon. and the house is very quite. You say you like ice cream and as long as you don’t want paper and stamps I will have to send you a gallon of ice cream and a bottle of ginger ale. Hoping this finds you well I will close

With Love from all

Jane Smiley.

P.S. If you see Jimmie Coyne and he starts to throw the Bull just show him where he gets off. Get me. Em.

© Copyright 2009 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

From Em, Charlestown Mass. 7/21/1916

Dear Sam.

Recieved your nice long letter and had Bert sharpen my pencil to ans. it with. I have sent you a few papers but now I’ll only send you the Malitia news. I was up to the pictures last night as I stated in my letter and the picture was good. It showed Gen. Cole telephonning and stated that the fellows were all in their armories in 48 hours. It showed the malitia marching through Haymarket Square. It showed the fellow in Co. C. getting married in the rain. It then showed them taking down the tents and marching away. There was the rookies marching and doing exercises and they looked funny.

Little Mary got home and came up with me and when they were showing the review parade Mary kept saying “Is Sam gone by yet?” I was explaining to her about it and I told her I was down there. Meaning Framingham. And then she wanted me to take her to see you next Sun. But of course I told her I couldn’t. When it showed the fellows marching over the field to the train I told her they were going to Mexico. And she hollered out, “And did they have to march all the way?” Then it showed them loading the trains and she said, “If they walked they’d be tired wouldn’t they?” You can imagine the fun I had.

Yes I understand your letter all right and when you tell about your drills and guard duty ets it makes the letter very interesting. Tell Corp. Marks I was asking for him and glad he is feeling well. Also give Walter Kingsman my best regards. I hope you enjoyed your trip to M. and also glad you took no time in tripping back again. Your some busy guy alright but still its better to be over some one than to have them all over you.

I hope you get your picture all right and be sure and send it home because you know it will be saved here. I’ll send Henry’s picture as soon as I get it and also one of Mary’s. When you go to El Paso sent home some sort of a souvernier if you can. Anything at all will be excepted. I glad you had a chance to dress up and Im also glad your wise enough to can all unnecessary work such as base-ball.

I took your post cards in the shop to show the girls and they thought it was good of you to send them home. Mary is very anxious for me to stop writing so she can write, too, but I going to fill up this paper anyway. Pa recieved a postcard from Bill’s son who is in Fort Bliss. It was good of him wasn’t it? Pa is feeling good and when he got through reading your letter he said it was a fine composition. Of course we read your letters before we sit down to supper and then talk it over.

You are certainly doing fine in writing and when I don’t have to wait for and ans. from my last and you don’t either it keeps us close together and I don’t relize even yet that you’re so far away. As long as we have something to say every day to each other we will be all right.

Will have to close now wishing you the best of health. I am going to help Mary with her letter now but will only spell the big words for her.

With Love from all


© Copyright 2009 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

From Em, Charlestown Mass. 7/20/1916

Dear Samakel

Recieved your letter and send a card saying a letter would follow and here it is. Gee, you’re a funny guy. Why don’t you get in the first row when you see them taking your picture? The picture of the “City of Tents” looks fine through the glass we have. I showed Henry your mail, he was over last night. We asked him if he was coming over Sun and he said “Sure, and don’t forget to have some biscuits.” There is no bread eating here now except 1 slice by me in the morning. I guess Lena will have to stop buying bread & butter altogether.

I was over to Molly’s with Henry last Sun and Henry was talking about cooking. He must be some cook himself. We stayed to supper and Molly said she was sorry she didn’t have something nice for him. He said, “If you want to have something for me next time make me some of your potato cakes and plenty of it.” You would think some one gave her $100. to see how pleased she was. I was glad he sprung it. Oh Henry is some boy now but don’t worry I won’t let him cut you out.

Nora and the kids are well. Madge feels alright sometimes and then again she don’t. If you write her a nice long letter she will feel pleased I know, because she loves to have me bring down all the letters and read them to her. I’m saving them all and intend to keep them for you to read.

Bert, Lena, and little Mary have gone down to Nantasket Beach today and I got the supper. I’m going up to Peason’s tonight because they had it advertised that there would be moving pictures of the boys at Framingham. I going up to see if I can see you and will tell you all about it in my next letter.

I have to close because I have to wash the dishes & meet Sadie Mack at 7.30. By the way she told me to tell you she was asking for you and to tell you to try and not get sun burnt. Hoping this finds you well and happy I will close.

With Love from all & everybody

Emily Jane.

P.S. Pa is fine and he starts on his vacation next Tues. Lena wasn’t here to address the envelope and I did it myself. How does it look?


© Copyright 2009 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

From Em, Charlestown Mass. 7/18/1916

Dear Sam.

I have just got your letter and I’m glad mine cheered you up. When I first read your other letter I thought something was the matter with the mail but when I looked it up on the calender I knew it would be all right. Little Mary had just written to you and put it in the box when she got yours. I just wish you could see how glad she was. She is staying over with us now. Lena plays the graphanola while she dances. Isadore Duncan has nothing on her.

Well to tell the truth Sam I couldn’t blame you for getting nervous in not receiving mail and I hope now it never stops coming. Seeing that you are writing so much, Lena thought you ought to have more stamps. I saw in the paper this morning about your out post duty. It told about some of the boys seeing the horsemen shot down and I’m just sending that much.

Mrs Holland received your letter today and Catherine showed it to me. She said it was real nice of you. Henry told Molly that if she moved to Charlestown he would, too. And if he did it would be to stay. He was telling us that last Sat. night Nora asked him what to get for Sun. dinner and he told he didn’t care what she got for herself because he was coming of here for dinner.

The Hollands are putting in a bathroom down stairs and ours is beginning to get lonesome now for you. Hurry up home and you can have it all afternoon without them chasing you out. Napolean is the same old scout and Maggie is doing fine. I told her about you writing home but I was afraid if I told her you was asking for her she would tell me to buy some butts to send down to you.

The little birds are still there across the way. Your thoughts are certainly around here alright when you thought of them. Pa is feeling fine and working every day. I haven’t got Henry’s picture yet but when there developed I’ll send it.

They have Mary playing statue and I can almost write. Well I guess I better close now as my paper is all used up. Hoping this letter finds you in the best of health I will close.

With Love from all


© Copyright 2009 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

From Em, Charlestown Mass. 7/13/1916

Dear Sam.

Received your letter today and must say that your doing fine. Thats a good picture but you should have been in Marks’s place. You want to pull your pants down, youre a big boy now. Madge and Molly were both very glad to get your cards and they said they would answer right away.

I see by the papers that you have ball games down there. Do you play or are you too busy to take interest in them. I save all your mail to show to Henry when he comes. When we get the pictures of him Ill send one down to you. Mack is going to be shifted over here to work and Molly is thinking of moving back to Charlestown. If she does Ill send her address.

I saw Norman Rinney up the band consert the other night and he was asking for you. He said he was up to the Armory to see you but you wasn’t there. I guess it was the night you came home to sleep. I gave him your address and he said if he remembered it he would write.

The reason we don’t send you more papers is because they don’t have hardly anything about the Eighth. But we will send them any way now. We are having pretty hot weather up here. Lena wrote a letter yesterday so I haven’t got much news. Pa is feeling pretty good for such hot weather. He is certainly sticking it out.

While up the band concert the other night there was a crowd of girls standing behind Sadie and I and one of them said to the others “They don’t seem to be any nice fellow down here tonight does there.” And I turned around and said, “No, all the nice fellow are down the border.” That made everybody smile and they all had something to say about “Those poor fellows.” I bet when your walking up and down along the border you wish it was Bunker Hill St. Well cheer up it could have been worse.

Now please don’t do anything you’ll be sorry for, and if you can’t be good be as good as you can. It was Bert who send you that paper and he also send you a card. Do you hear from your boss? I am sending you a paper so you can read about the “Rookies.”

I am glad you have enough to eat and hope you can eat all you get. Wish this finds you well I will close.

Love from all


© Copyright 2009 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

From Priscilla to Madaline, 11/18/1918

Kings Park, N.Y.

Nov. 18, 1918

My dear friend-

I received your letter Saturday evening and I really cannot express in words how shocked and grieved I was to hear of Joe’s death.  It seemed to come so suddenly that I can hardly realize it to be true.  I feel that there must have been a mistake made and that we will hear that he is still alive.  As you say, there is some consolation in knowing that he died a hero and that will help us to bear our sorrows as bravely as he gave his life.

I have always written to Joe regularly and especially since he has been “Over there” and have had a letter, sometimes two or three every week until Sept 14th which was the last I received and in which he enclosed a very pretty little handkerchief.

I sent him a photo of myself Nov. 3rd because he had been asking for one so often and I thought it reach him by Christmas.

If you should learn any details as to Joe’s death, I should deeply appreciate hearing from you.

With sincere sympathy, believe me to be

Very sincerely yours,


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

From Priscilla, 11/10/1918

Kings Park, N.Y.

Nov. 10. 1918

My dearest Joe-

Well how are you?  I have been watching every mail for a letter from you.  I do wish you could drop me a few lines, so I shall be convinced that you are well and safe.  Goodness, New York just went crazy last Tuesday, when the papers announced “Germany Quits”.  Every factory and shop closed at 12 o’clock, peopled paraded for hours.  Then next day that papers contradicted it.  Isn’t it just wonderful if its really true, I am so anxious for it to end.  Aren’t you?  Joe dear, have you received my letters, and I sent you a picture of myself last week?  Only the picture makes me look so much older than twenty.  Nevertheless you will be able to see some likeness anyway.

How are you making out with French?  Can you speak any yet?  Don’t forget, I want to take lessons from you when you come home.

The “Spanish Flu” seems to be getting hold of every one in K.P. there are nearly two hundred cases it seems to be increasing rather than decreasing.  Lets hope you boys wont contract it over there.

I was going over to see your sister the other day, but didn’t get a chance to do it.  I suppose you get many letters from her.  But I bet she can’t be any more anxious to see her big brother come home that I am and I surely hope it will be soon.

Joe dear, I don’t know what else I can write you as things are very much the same as ever.  No news only excitement over the Kaiser quitting.

Although I cannot get time to write you as often as I would my thoughts are ever of you.  I am always wondering if you are well and safe.  The 27th Div. is royally praised for its good work.  Every time I see anything about the 27th or 105-6-7 Infs I always wonder what part you took in the victory.

Well Joe, I must close as I am so sleepy, please dear boy, write me when you can.  Goodnight and God bless and keep you safe.

Yours with lots and lots of love.


[Editor’s Note: This letter was “Returned To Sender” and never received by Joe.  The back of the envelope is marked with “Deceased.  Verified Casualty Section. Central Records Office”.  There is a handwritten date on the front – 4/28/19. Priscilla kept the letter as a memento of her love.]

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

From John, Jamaica N.Y. 8/12/1918

John J. O'Farrell, Joe's brother-in-law

Jeffry Ave, Jamaica, N.Y.

12 August 1918

Dear Brother Joe:

I suppose when you get this letter you will have seen some action for according to the latest press reports the 27th Division is now at it.  We all hope and pray that nothing serious will ever occur to you, but in the moment of supreme peril think of the sacred duty you are over there to perform and I feel sure that you will measure up as a real American, the kind that Fritz is getting a taste of along the Somme.

The latest news from the front is the most encouraging we have had since the war began and I think that the superiority of American grit, daredevilness, and gameness is turning the tide; the spirit that is in the breast of an American exists no place else in the world – what our boys lack in military science is more than made up for by their grit, and the people you boys have left behind are as pleased and as proud of you as it is possible for mortal to be.

An old friend and playmate of mine, whom I had not seen for several years was killed recently on the Somme, Major James McKenna of the 165th.  His brother Bill is a captain + regimental adjutant of the same regiment, both old L.I.C boys.

Mr. Grill told me yesterday he had written you during the week but that he had not heard from you recently. I received a letter from John Wulforst a few days ago and just as I expected, he was kicking about his Army life; but you know what to expect of him, a little discipline will make a man of him.  The other brother, Al, tried to enlist in the Navy but was rejected on account of guess (?) – his good eyes.  Bill Zimmer and Ed Fisher are now “over there”, I hope that you run into them some time.

Our baseball team at the Depot defeated the Pelham Naval Team Saturday by a score of 5 to 4, some game.  Gus Sandberg played with Pelham and he is a corking good catcher.  You remember him I guess, he caught for Rochester in the International League for the past two years.  Madaline and I were pleased to hear of Lieutenant Wulfenden’s promotion and we want you to remember us to him and convey our best wishes.

If you need anything please call on me and I will endevour to get it for you.  I realize, perhaps better than anyone, what you are up against over there, but keep a stiff upper lip and think of your God and country and I feel confident that everything will right itself.  Don’t lose your nerve in a tight place for that is a most dangerous thing.

Write me when you can.  With love and kisses from Bob, Madaline, Pop & myself, I remain,



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

From Priscilla, 8/5/1918

Kings Park, L.I.

Aug 5, 1918

My dearest Joe.

I was so happy to receive your always welcome letters and two cards.  Joe dear, do you receive the letters I write you?  I write every week and you surely ought to have quite a few.  I am so glad you aren’t in the trenches and I hate to think what might happen to you when you are in them.  Every night in my prayers I always pray for you and Jim, that you both might come back to us safe and unharmed.  Yes, and I’m afraid my kid brother will have to go now, as Gen. Crowder says all men + boys from 18 to 45 must go.  You must have a great time sleeping in billets with horrible rats running around.  Your army life is no cinch is it.  Well Joe we all hope for the best + are anxiously looking forward to when our boys come home again.  Joe I am sending you a little emblem of good luck, five leaves means extra good luck, so just put it in your purse for safe keeping.

If the weather in France is any thing like its here you boys have my greatest sympathy.  Yesterday it was 102 degrees in the shade, but thank heavens it’s a little cooler today.  I wish it was winter time.

Ours boys are doing wonderful work in France, the papers give wonderful news which I follow very closely.

Joe, my cousin and I are going to take some pictures today and if they turn out half way decent I’ll send you a couple.

I am still going to school, how I wish I was finished.

Do you hear very often from any folks in Jamaica?  Have you met any of your old friends yet?  I guess chances are slim in that line.  There are three brothers from here who were scarcely a mile apart and didn’t know it until they were moved to other towns.  All the boys from here always write and ask where Jim is thinking they might run across him, but none have so far.

I want this letter to catch the next mail so I’ll close with lots + lots of love.

Yours for ever


PS:  Excepted for the duration of the war + ever after.  Get me?

Be sure + write as soon as you can.  My cousin says she is going to write to you.

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

From John, Jamaica N.Y. 7/24/1918

John J. O'Farrell, Joe's brother-in-law

Jeffry Ave, Jamaica, N.Y.

24 July 1918

Dear Brother Joe:

I neglected to write you for a couple of weeks and ought to be kicked but you will forgive me I know.

Well, at last we are getting good news and the Huns are beginning to feel something new, the American spirit of youth and rightesnous which has never yet tasted the dregs of defeat, and I feel sure that before long Fritz will be back in his own yard, a pretty well licked cur, and when this war is over, the rest of the world will look up to Uncle Sam and his boys and salute them as the saviours of the world and liberty.

John Wulforst is now down in Georgia and will be going “Over There” before long.  My old boss, Paymaster Karker, is now on duty in France and has asked me to join him if possible.  I am seriously thinking of it and will go if I can arrange things in the Navy Dept for an indefinite leave of absence; I am sure that if I get duty with him it will only be a short time before I get a commission.

This war, as I told you once before is a man’s size job and is no skylarking expedition, but I know that when the time comes to show what you are made of, you will show the true American spirit of fearlessness and will do your duty as a real American patriot.  I trust that you will distinguish yourself and earn promotion by your valor in a true Spartan manner.  Our daily thoughts and prayers are for you, that you may do your duty and that God may decree that you shall come back to us again safe and sound and a better man for having gone through the fire and seen men do things that shows the fibre of which they are made.

I will close now, dear Joe, and trust that when this letter reaches you, it will find you in good health and spirits, and ready to knock hell out of any hun that you run up against.

With love from your father, Madaline, Robert and myself, I am, as ever,

Affectionately yours,

John J.

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


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