World War I – Letter from Somewhere in France was written to my great aunt Nancy Beatrice Brumley in 1918, who was seventeen years old. She was living in Baxter Springs, Cherokee, Kansas in 1918 with her father Issac Walter Brumley and my grandfather John Leo Brumley her oldest brother. Letters were an important part of keeping in touch with family and friends during a period in time where most young men were sent off to war who had never left there small towns before in their life. It was exciting news when someone received a letter from the front lines or the soldier received a letter from their friends and family back home.
The American Expeditionary Forces was a formation of the United States Army on the Western Front of World War I. The AEF was established on July 5, 1917, in France under the command of General John J Pershing. It fought alongside the French Army, British Army, Canadian Army, and the Australian Army units against the Imperial German Army. The AEF helped the French Army on the Western Front during the summer of 1918 and fought its major actions in the latter part of 1918.
Printed in the Baxter Springs News (Baxter Springs, Cherokee, Kansas) on Friday, November 22, 1918
To Beatrice Brumley (she was seventeen years old)
“Somewhere on our way” October 1918
Miss Beatrice Brumley,
My Dear Little Friend:
I will now take the greatest pleasure in trying to write you a few lines as I have a few moments spare time and I haven’t heard from you for some time. We are now on our way back from the front. Our division did itself credit. We took about two thousand prisoners and about twenty-two miles of front, and the old 129th was sure a lucky bunch. Bud and Mike, your cousins, were among the lucky ones, and also the two Indian boys who are in my corps and say, you know them. They say Indians are hard to beat when it comes to fighting. Now what I mean they sure are, at least in this company. Of course, I know you know both of them Kishingky Bright Wing and Merton Eagle-Feather. They are both Tulsa boys — they are the ones who gave you the Kodak that Sunday evening we went out Kodaking in Camp Doniphan, Okla.
Say, did you ever get those pictures finished? If you did wish you would send me some of them. I sure would like to see some of them and especially the ones I have taken of you and the two Indian boys. I know they are good. The first chance I get I am going to have some photos taken of myself and my horse. I sure have a dandy. Sure wish you could see him.
Beatrice, you should have seen us coming back from the front about 3 weeks whiskers and some of us were not wearing enough clothes to flag a bread wagon, but we were not worrying about how we looked. We were all happy to get out alive. Just as soon as we get back a little farther we can buy fresh cheese and chickens and milk and all kinds of good things to eat. But just as soon as we get about a couple of weeks’ rest and some good hot meals we will be rearing to go again!
Say, Beatrice, what do all you good-looking girls do for past time? Have a lot more fun without we boys, I’ll bet. There are lots of good-looking girls over here but they are not near so plentiful as the ones in the dear old U.S.A. and they are a whole lot more trouble to talk to.
Well, from the way things look over here at present I think a good many of the boys will be home by Xmas. But for myself I am like the two Indian boys – I would like to stay over here until it is all over with, but at that, I don’t think it will be long. Oh, say, how is my little squaw getting along? Give her my address and tell her to write me.
How is everybody in old Baxter by this time? Fine, I hope. Tell all the folks hello for me and tell them I am as happy as a lark.
Well, I have written about all I know and it is almost supper time and I don’t want to miss it for you know if you miss a meal in the army you never catch up again. So I will close my letter and beg to remain your true friend.
Answer soon. “ Somewhere in France.”
Thank you to all that served or are serving now we honor you this Memorial Day!