This is the first in a series of letters I will be posting—letters which were written by WWI Private Allen Lee Millard Gooch to his family back home in Duncan, Arizona. Part of his military service record was already posted in previous weeks. Letters are a wonderful resource for genealogists, as you will see. For a closer look, just click on any of the images. The letter has been transcribed for you at the end of the post.
A.L. was drafted, and entered into service 25 Apr 1918. Here is the first letter in the collection, written—so aptly—from Camp Funston, Kansas (not exactly summer camp, but sounds like one!) on 1 May 1918:
Transcription of letter from Private Allen L. M. Gooch to his parents, 1 May 1918, Camp Funston, Kansas, letter in possession of Dayna Gooch Jacobs, King City, California. Envelope missing. Transcribed by Dayna Jacobs. [slashes in the transcription indicate line breaks]
May .1. 18
Dear Parents and All:
As my arm is / a little better will / write a little. Am / rather tired tonight / this is our second / day drilling and they / sure put us through / We are at Detantion / camp no 2. Where we / get our first grade / training. expect to stay / here about three week then go back to Funston / to the Barricks where / it will be a little / more comfortable. There / is eight in each tent / get up at 5:45 in the / morning, take our cots / out side scrub the / floor, line up for / the roll to be called / to breakfast get / our mess citts full / of fairly good grub / come back to our tents / and eat, go back and / wash our dishes, Then / then [sic] march to the drilling / grounds and / play afew athletic / games for exercise / then get bussy. I / didn’t think I could / stand it the first / day I was so sore / from vaxinations. / But I feel good today / and don’t think it / will be as hard as / I thought for I know / I can stand it if / others do. And all / that worrys me is / you folks at home.
I am goeing to take / out a ten thousand / dollar insurance which / will cost me about $6.00 / per month and if / I get killed you / will draw $57.50 a / month for 20 years / the government is giving / dependant Parents $10.00 / a month where the / soldier will give $15.00 / of his wages. And I / am goeing to try to / get that don’t know / if I can or not. That / will be 10 apiece for / you and paw and / 15 from me will be / $35.00 a month that / will help you live / and will leave me / about 8 or 9 dollars / for tobacco that’s all / I kneed. So dont / worry about me I /will do just what / others is doing, the / best they can. As I / want to go to bed / will close and write / you latter. Write / me offen for I don’t / have much time. /
With lots of Love
Use this address
Private Allen L. M. Gooch
164th Depot Brigade
Detantion Camp No.2