From John, Jamaica N.Y. 6/16/1918

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

Jeffry Ave, Jamaica, N.Y.

June 16, 1918

Dear brother Joe:

I suppose it will be some time before we get any mail from you but I know that you will be glad to hear from home, for when one is a distance from old New York they always like to know whether the old town is still on the map.  I don’t know whether you have heard of Fritz’s latest scheme, but he is now operating a few submarines off our coast, but like the brave man he is, he is attacking a few small unarmed craft and is taking damn good care to keep away from anything that looks like a war vessel or a transport in convoy.  Generally speaking he has made a fairly good mess of things.  My boss, Paymaster Karker, left for duty overseas the other day and before he left he fixed things so that I can follow him later if everything else is O.K.  I hope to be able to arrange matters, for I am really fond of him, as he is one of the most efficient officers in the Navy.  My old team, the Yankees are going pretty good so far this season and I am pulling for them to win the pennant.  Home Run Baker is pounding the cover off the ball and the rest of the team is following his example; the fans have nicknamed them “Murders Row” for the way the can slam that old ball.

Bill Zimmer, who formerly was quite a ball player here in town, I think you know him, was home from Camp Devens last Sunday.  He shapes up pretty good as a soldier and says he likes the life and that he has gained 20 lbs. in weight.  Doctor Hyland was around town in uniform yesterday.  He has just been made a first lieutenant in the Medical Corps and leaves in a few days for some camp.  Lieut. Fletcher, who lived down in Bergens house has also gone Over There.

I hope, Joe, that you are in good health and spirit, and that you are learning fast, so that when the proper time comes you will be able to fill any position of responsibility assigned you, for you are aware surely of our keen interest in your future.

I will close for now, dear brother, with the sincere wish that no matter what may happen you will always show the stuff you are made of and make us all feel proud of you.

With love and best wishes for all, and may God bless and protect you.  I remain, as ever.

Affectionately,

John

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

Picture Card from Priscilla, 1918

Priscilla in Nurse's uniform, April 1918

I have on a trained nurse’s uniform. I regret that I am not one.  I’d go with you to France.

Fondest love,

Perce

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

From John, Jamaica N.Y. 6/8/1918

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

Jeffry Ave, Jamaica, N.Y.

June 8, 1918

Dear Brother Joe:

We received your letter announcing your safe arrival overseas and you may rest assured that it was most gratifying news to the whole family, for we didn’t want our pride to meet with a mishap on the water.

The last time we saw you at Newport News I will always remember with a great deal of pride, for if ever I was proud of being an American it was that day.  To see the four young corporals, Maus, Jenison, Steed and the other fellow, I forget his name, with the look in their eye that they feared no hun that ever walked; four clean cut, typical American doughboys, the kind the Fritz will be sorry he ever came in contact with before they get through with him.  I always told you that the Marines when they got into action would show people some real fighting; well the last two weeks has proved this and the “hell hounds”, as the huns nicknamed them, have added to their old glory, for they have been pushing him back.  It seems ridiculous possibly for me to write you war news from here but it maybe that in your part of the world news is rather scarce.

This war is serious business and some people may speak lightly of it, but to me it is no child’s play, and I realize the position of yourself and the other boys, but I know that you will never flinch in the face of danger but will prove yourself more than worthy of the good opinion all your friends have of you, and that some day you will return to us with a medal of honor pinned to your breast, and in perfect physical condition.  You must remember that everyone that goes over does not meet his end, and dear Joe, you know that our daily prayers are for you, that you may do your duty and escape any serious injury.

Jamaica has very few of the boys you knew who are not in the service.  John Wulforst goes in a week or so, and as one fellow remarked the other day “its damned near time”.  I think Army life won’t hurt him very much; a little discipline will make a man of him.

The Navy Dept is still keeping me mighty busy and I have little time to myself, but I shall make it a practice to write to you regularly, as will Madaline and your other friends, for I know that word from home will act as the proper inspiration.  Mr. Grill asked me for your address, also John Creegan, and you may expect to hear from them shortly.  By the way, we are getting an “Over There” legend to place on our service flag.

Write to me when you can, I know there won’t be much real news that you will be allowed to give, but a word from you as to general health + life will always be awaited for eagerly.

Affectionately,

Brother John

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

From John, Jamaica N.Y. 5/9/1918

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

Jeffry Ave, Jamaica, N.Y.

9 May 1918

Dear Joe:

From your latest letter I know that you will soon be on your way to fight the battle of right for humanity and the good old U.S.A. and I wish to God that I was with you, but my home ties and responsibility to my family prevent it, but later on if I am called I will be there to do my duty in the way that every true American should.  But, dear boy, keep the light of faith in your heart at all times and you will be a credit to yourself and family and the country that gave you birth.  Our heart and mind will be with you always and our prayers for your safety and good health will not go unanswered I feel sure.

When the time come to show what stuff your are made of, I am positive that the Bosches will see a genuine sample of American pluck and determination who will never flinch in the face of danger.  Keep before your eyes the figures of the poor defenseless, half starved women and children of war ridden Belgium, who were desecrated so inhumanly by a lot of cowardly beasts, not worthy of the name men.  Think of what that bunch of yellow curs would do to your sisters and their children if they were successful in ever reaching our shores.

Remember your God and your church and receive the sacraments as often as possible, whenever the opportunity affords, for you know that a good Catholic with the love of God in his heart will be guided through danger by the mystic hand of Jesus and his blessed mother Mary.

I am exceedingly busy at the present time, mainly on account of increased movement of troops and can’t get away for any length of time or otherwise I would make the trip to Norfolk to see you before you go over the top, but because we can’t make the trip, Joe, don’t think that we are neglectful of you.  We all appreciate the seriousness of the situation and our every thought is of you, but please keep in mind that if we were to make the trip maybe the parting would be harder to bear and we want our son to go into the conflict with head erect and unmindful of other things.

If there is anything you may want don’t hesitate to ask and we will send it to you.

I will close now, dear brother, with my heartfelt wishes for your safety and good conduct I the face of battle and in the hope that your name will be among those decorated for devotion to duty and patriotic service.  May God bless you always, affectionately,

John

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

American Red Cross Reply, 7/11/1918

 

© Copyright 2010 by Richard Martin, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

From Em, Everett Mass. 8/24/1918

Dear Sam.

 

This has been another warm day but it is now a little cooler. This is Saturday and you know all the Saturdays are alike here. Lena and I are waiting for Bert and he ought to be here soon. They are putting new car rails down in Chelsea St. and he is flagging cars. He gets through at six o’clock. Pa has his hours changed this week from ten to eight and he wont get here until nine o’clock. Its vacation time now and he gets shifted around. Leonard is six years old today and he will be over tomorrow sure. They come over every Sunday and it makes it seem real homelike.

 

The old Priest of the St. Francis de Sales Church died this afternoon. You remember the time Mr. Holland introduced you to him don’t you? He was called “Father James.” He will be greatly missed on the hill.

 

I see by the papers that Sergt. Melvin has a commission as Leiutenant. How many of the old Co. K. crowd are with you now and who are they? We are trying to keep tabs on the old bunch. I hear that the three Coynes have gone over.

 

Well I guess Bert is not coming home right away so Lena and I are going to have our supper now and then go down the Square and do some shopping. Hoping this letter finds you in good health I remain.

 

With Love from all

Em.

 

[This letter was returned to sender while Sam was in hospitals]

 

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

From Em, Everett Mass. 8/17/1918

Dear Sam.

 

Received your letter dated July 2, and it sure was welcome news to hear you were still O.K. I am glad you received the pictures and I know it must seem good to you to received mail at the place you are in. We took some pictures of the kitten but they didn’t come out very good so I won’t bother to send any to you.

 

This is a fine day. It is nice and cool. We have just got through supper and I wish you could have had some of these beans. There was a piece in the paper about President Wilson driving all around Boston and no one recognized him. He went through Newspaper Row and the North End and down Revere. He certainly put one over on Boston alright.

 

It is such a swell night I think Ill go out. Uncle Al was over last night and I told him you received his letter. He said he would write again some time. Lena is frosting a cake. I guess she must be expecting Henry over. (Stick your nose in it, Sam). She gives him a loaf of home made bread once in a while and he certainly appreciates it.

 

Pa is out on the piazza enjoying his pipe and reading the paper. He is always out on the piazza and the kitten stays out there with him. Aunt Madge and her folks are all well and so are we. Hoping this finds you in the best of health I will close.

 

With Love from all

Em.

 

[This letter was returned to sender while Sam was in hospitals]

 

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

From Lena, Everett Mass. 8/13/1918

Dear Sam.

 

This has been a hot day but there is a little breeze blowing now which feels quite nice. I just came in from Bert’s mothers and I found Millie writing to you so I thought I might to do a little. Ive dreamt three times in a week that you was home and I hope soon one of those dreams will come true.

 

The papers are very encouraging latley and the French gave the Yanks great praise. Lil was over one night and I realy think she enjoyed herself. Billie Rogers and his wife was here the same night and they are as good as any team on the stage. I served a light supper of salad and “Im Neutral” was the hit of the evening. Bert had to play it 4 times for Rogers. You would have the time of your life if you was here.

 

We have a kitten that is ready to play every minute of the day. Just now she is in and out of Berts shoes. When pa is reaching she runs up his leg to his shoulder and he thinks she is some cat.

 

Now Sam there is no news but I know you like to get one of these letters even if they are short. Bert has to register Sept.3rd ages between 31-45. Every body is well and we all think of you in these days of the big doings. Just watch out and get home when its all over.

 

Love from all

Lena

 

[This letter was returned to sender while Sam was in hospitals]

 

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

From Em, Everett Mass. 8/12/1918

Dear Sam.

 

If you are getting mail regular you will wonder what happened to me and my mail. I haven’t written to you for a week but to tell the truth news is scarce and its the same thing over and over. I fool a lot of my time away playing with the kitten. She is lying in my lap now watching this pencil. We all leave here early in the morning so Lena goes back to bed and the kitten goes with her.

 

I saw that movie picture “My Four Years in Germany” written by Girard and it was worth seeing. There was no story to it, only facts and true happenings that he himself witnessed. Plants gave out tickets to his employees and I went with the Higgins.

 

It was another hot day and it will be a hot night. I received a card from Lil. She is on her vacation. I get one week in September and I am going to stay right here at home and rest. Leonard went home Sunday. When he saw his father he got homesick. Every night in bed he asked me when you were coming home. He says he’ll stay over six weeks. He likes to be over here but I guess he misses the kids on the street.

 

This would be a good night for the beach but I have to get up early in the morning. We are all well and every one sends their regards. Hoping this letter finds you well and in the best of spirits I will close.

 

With Love from all

Em.

 

[This letter was returned to sender while Sam was in hospitals]

 

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

From Em, Everett Mass. 8/7/1918

Dear Sam.

 

Received two letters from you last Monday night. Your letters were dated July 1 & 6. We all went down the movies and it was late when we got home. Henry was over last night to supper and he stayed quite late but as late as it is now I am going to write any way. Alice (Bert’s sister) was over all evening and she played the piano. It is almost ten o’clock and I am going to put few words down on this trusty old paper just to let you know that I am still with you.

 

This was the first mail we got from you for almost a month and it was good news to hear you are still well and on the job. In your letter you spoke of reaching your new sector. Yes I guess you are well into it now alright.

 

I haven’t been down the beach lately and in fact I haven’t been anywhere to speak since we moved out here. It is so late when I get home and anyway the back piazza is the coolest spot in the country. I roll out of bed at 5.30 and leave here and at 6.15. I get home at 6.30 and like to get to bed at ten o’clock. We took the kitten picture and we are going to send one to you when we get them. Leonard is all undressed and he is waiting for me to go to bed with him. We are great bed chums. We are all well and we hope this finds you the same.

 

With Love from all

Em.

 

P.S. After you kill some more germans and knock the Kaisiers head off come home. I think you are a fine soldier. With Love Leonard X X X

 

[This letter was returned to sender while Sam was in hospitals]

 

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

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