[Letter from Pvt. Allen Lee Millard (“Nig”) Gooch to his family in Duncan, Arizona, written 18 May 1918 at Funston, Kansas. Transcribed by Dayna Gooch Jacobs. Slashes indicate page breaks. Original spelling and punctuation.]
May 18, 1918
Troop A 314th M.P.
Dear Mother and All,
Well as I have changed/ my address had better write/ you again. Have been/ looking for a letter from/ you for the past week/ have only got one/ since I have been gone/ I was transferred Friday/ to the Military Police/ [p2] troops and I think I will/ like it fine consider/ myself lucky for every/ one in the 34th Co./ went to the infantry/ but me. The M.P./ are the army Police/ they guard camp, street/ car lines and towns/ for twenty miles/ around just like/ police in a city/ and one good thing/ [p3] if we are on guard/ we are boss. Can throw/ a captian in the guard/ house if we see fit/ or any other man except [President] Wilson. When/ we drill we are mounted/ I will get a horse tomorrow/ I think. When on guard/ we cary a pistol and/ a club and a rifle/ when mounted. In France/ we will guard the/ [p4] soldiers camps and/ prisoners, also do/ scouting. We are here/ in Funston in nice/ barrick’s it is far/ more comfortable than/ those tents. They all/ seam to think we/ will leave here soon./ But have no idea/ where we will go./ I have been having/ a time with my ankles/ they gave away about/ [page 5 missing]
[page 6]… for miles with/ soldiers and weman/ as today is visitors/ you friends can/ come and eat dinner/ with you and go/ most any where/ if the M.P.s will let you pass./
I saw so many/ mothers wives and, sweethearts walking/ [p7] around with tears/ in their eyes that/ I had to come back/ to the barrack. I thought/ of many things that/ there is no use to/ mention.
All of the boys in this/ troop seem to be/ content and are very/ good natured. There/ is several here from/ New Mexico that/ [p8] say they know me/ but I don’t remember/ them. There is one/ here that I know/ well from Hachita/ he is a orderly/ sergeant in this troop/ and I am glad of it/ he said any time I/ wanted a twenty four/ hour pass to let him/ know. Well I written/ such long letter to/ doll [his girlfriend] that I am tired./ [p8] [sic] Will close and write/ more latter. As I know/ theres a letter from you/ at detention camp. They/ will transfer it soon/ I guess. Tell the girls/ to write offen and/ don’t worry about me.
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.
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. /