Posted in Letters, Uncategorized, World War 1

“About the only thing we fear is the gas”

These are letters sent from Private Allen L. Gooch to his family in Arizona during World War I. Up to this point, the letters have all been from his training camps in the United States, but this is the first of his letters from France. As you will see at the end, the letters are censored by the military so he doesn’t give away any sensitive information. This is the 7th letter in a series. To view the others click: 1 2 3 4 5 6

[Transcribed by Dayna Gooch Jacobs and in her possession. Slashes indicate line breaks on original letter.]

Some Where in France

Aug 15, 1918

Dear Sis and Bob,

Well I guess you/ think I have forgottan/ you. But I havent./ You know how I/ am about writing/ and besides I cant/ allways write when/ I want to, I got/ a card from you/ the other day addressed/ to camp Mills, N.Y./ Also a letter from/ mother, But havent/ received any mail direct to the A.E.F. [American Expeditionary Forces]/ as yet. But hope to soon for I sure/ [2] would like to hear/ from you all./ Well sis I know/ you expect a long/ letter and lots of/ news. But there isnt/ much I can tell/ you except I am/ feeling fine, getting/ plenty of eats. And/ realy getting fat/ I weigh about 134 lbs/ my duty isnt very/ hard. But it is/ getting rather serious./ While I dont mind/ that for that is what/ I am here for./ I cant see what, the Huns want with, this country for it, [3] doesnt look good/ to me.

We are now where/ we can see some/ excitement quite offen/ can hear the big/ guns offen and at/ night can see the/ flash from them./ Fritz comes over/ most every night in/ his aireoplains and/ drops a few bombs./ But I am getting use/ to that and seldom/ awake, only when/ our anti air craft/ guns begins. They/ almost awake the/ dead. I have also/ saw an aireal fight/ [4] there was about ten/ or twelve machines in/ all, they were so/ high up I couldn’t/ tell one from another/ but it sure was/ interesting to see/ them dive at each/ other and see the/ fire fly from their/ machine guns. There/ wasnt any brought/ down.

Tell Bob this is/ about as interesting/ as the hunt would/ have been that he/ and I was planning./ But we will get/ to take that hunt/ yet for this isnt/ goeing to last long./ [5] This whole world over/ here is lousy with/ soldiers and most/ of the soldiers is lousy/ But they have got/ the pep and mean/ business. About the/ only thing we fear/ is the gas. But we/ are well protected/ against that we have/ a mask which we/ carry at all times/ that is absoulate protection/ so don’t worry about/ Nig for I’ll get bye/ if any body else does./ Tell Cap to write. I/ written her several/ cards from Mill N.Y./ [6] and will write her/ again soon./

I sent mother 285/ Franc’s the other day./ That’s $50.00 in American/ money. Expect to send/ her some more soon/ for I cant spend it/ here like I did in/ N. York. While of course/ we have the Y.M.C. A./ where we can get most/ anything that we/ want. Also have a/ Salvation Army hut/ run bye two N.Y./ girls that sells nuts,/ candies, lemonade, ects./ So you see it isnt/ so bad over here/ at that. Its not/ [7] half so bad as I/ expected./

Will close for this/ time and write/ you ever chance/ I get. Be good and/ I will see you/ again some time./ Genl Pershing says/ Heaven hell or home/ bye Christmas but I/ dont believe it hardly/ that soon./

Love and Best Wishes

Your Bud

Censored bye

Y.E. Lowle [his signature]

Capt 314th M.P.

Posted in Archives and Libraries, Military, National Archives, Uncategorized, Websites

More Federal Records to Rock Your Socks (pt.2)

I recently posted about interesting federal record groups at the National Archives that most of us have never heard of, but are pretty awesome. I thought you would like to learn about some of them, so here is Part 2 of Record Groups to Rock Your Socks. Refer to the original post for a step-by-step guide to finding these and other great records.

Did you have a veteran ancestor who was a resident of an Armed Forces Retirement Home?  Today’s gem is “Records of the Armed Forces Retirement Home, 1803-1943.”  Notice the link to search the OPA (Online Public Access) for entries from this record group.

Armed Forces Retirement Home 1. annotatedJPGThe NARA website gives this summary of the retirement home history:  “Established as the Military Asylum, Washington, DC, by an act of March 3, 1851 (9 Stat. 595), with branches (1851-58) in New Orleans, LA, and East Pascagoula (Greenwood’s Island), MS, and at Western Military Asylum, Harrodsburg, KY.”

Look at the cool things you can find for both inmates (residents) and employees:

Armed Forces Retirement Home 2 annotatedWhenever you find a record group at the National Archives you would like to access, check to see if they have created a finding aid, such as this one:

Armed Forces Retirement Home 2To obtain copies or view records, use this contact information:

Armed Forces Retirement Home 4Well there you go!  There are plenty more to explore, so stay tuned…and Happy Trails!

Posted in Uncategorized

Happy 162nd Birthday California!

California became a state one hundred and sixty two years ago today, (September 9th, 1850 for the math-impaired among us). I am sharing an article by Michael Leclerc posted on Mocavo’s website where he shares 5 great resources for California research.

I even learned that the first daily newspaper in California The Daily Alta Californian has been digitized. The first capitol of California was Alta, later known as Monterey—my stomping grounds.

I recommend them all and thought Leclerc did such a good job describing them it would be best to just provide the link. Happy (California) Trails!

Posted in Letters, Uncategorized, World War 1

“…I am just about all in from another knoclalation [sic] taken this morning.”

This is the second in a series of 14 letters I will be posting—letters which were written by WWI Private Allen Lee Millard (“Nig”) Gooch to his family back home in Duncan, Arizona.

We will follow Pvt. Gooch from his first week in boot camp to his last letter from France at the close of the war. Readers will catch a glimpse of his fears, girl troubles, concern for his family, and his duties as an MP, as he grows from a young man who doubts he will see the trenches to a soldier on the front lines of the final offensive of an epic WWI.  So follow along as this story unfolds…

[Letter from Allen Lee Millard Gooch (Nig) to his family, 12 May 1918 from Camp Funston, Kansas.  Transcribed by Dayna Gooch Jacobs.  Slashes indicate page breaks. Original spelling and punctuation.]

                                                                                                                                                                 May 12. 18

 Mother and All:

Just received/ your letter of interest/ which cheered me so/ much.  Am so proud/ you all are getting/ along alright.  I cant/ write much tonight/ for I am just about/ all in from another/ knoclalation [inoculation] taken this/ morning.  This makes/ three knoclalations/ and two vaxinations/ and this one was a/ [p2] hard one to stand/ as the needle was/ so large and they/ stuck it so deep/ didn’t hurt so bad/ untill about an hour/ afterwards then it made/ me sick and my/ arm sure is sore.

I don’t feel like writing/ much but want to/ send you all another/ picture of me and a/ friend of mine in/ the same tent./

This is Sunday and/ [p3] my first day off/ but don’t feel like/ running around. Wish/ I was with you all/ but know I cant be/ for some time,/  but am sure I will be/ some time.  No one/ here seems to think/ we will ever see the/ trenches.

Ma I have no/ one I knew except/ the ones came with/ me.  Jinnie Pittman/ and Josh Clark and/ some boys from/ [p4] Clifton including/ Edd Bonita they are all in this Co. I/ think Ross went/ to California, Believe/ me we sure had/ some dinner today./  Chicken and noodles/ with strawberry short/ cake and ice cream./  We have plenty of/ eats all the time and/ believe me I sure do/ eat too.

I just sent you a letter explaining my insurance/

[remainder of letter missing]

To read other letters in the series click below:

1    2   3    4   5    6    7    8    9    10    11    12    13    14

Posted in Uncategorized

“…spit with the wind, not against it.”

Wells Fargo Stagecoach

Travel by stagecoach was no sissy way to go west.   Check out the rules posted in every Wells Fargo stagecoach:

  • Abstinence from liquor is requested, but if you must drink share the bottle. To do otherwise makes you appear selfish and unneighborly.
  • If ladies are present, gentlemen are urged to forego smoking cigars and pipes as the odor of same is repugnant to the gentler sex. Chewing tobacco is permitted, but spit with the wind, not against it.
  • Gentlemen must refrain from the use of rough language in the presence of ladies and children.
  • Buffalo robes are provided for your comfort in cold weather. Hogging robes will not be tolerated and the offender will be made to ride with the driver.
  • Don’t snore loudly while sleeping or use your fellow passenger’s shoulder for a pillow; he or she may not understand and friction may result.
  • Firearms may be kept on your person for use in emergencies. Do not fire them for pleasure or shoot at wild animals as the sound riles the horses.
  • In the event of runaway horses remain calm. Leaping from the coach in panic will leave you injured, at the mercy of the elements, hostile Indians and hungry coyotes.
  • Forbidden topics of conversation are: stagecoach robberies and Indian uprisings.
  • Gents guilty of unchivalrous behavior toward lady passengers will be put off the stage. It’s a long walk back. A word to the wise is sufficient

Elizabeth C. MacPhail, Wells Fargo in San Diego, The Journal of San Diego History, Fall 1980, Volume 28, Number 4. (as posted on Wikipedia)

The two main stage companies were the Butterfield-Overland and the Central Overland.

The Butterfield-Overland Stage route was later taken over by Wells Fargo:

The Central Overland route took passengers from Salt Lake City, to Carson City, Nevada, and into California.

The coming of the trans-continental railroad in 1869 made stagecoach travel obsolete. Well, it was fun while it lasted!