441 North Park Drive, Morton, MN 56270 info@renvillecountyhistory.com 507.697.6147

Letter from Owen Anderson published in the Franklin Tribune on July 18, 1918

The following letter received by Mrs. Owen Anderson from her husband, a Franklin boy, will be of interest to his many friends here. We reproduced it from the Carson, North Dakota Times.

Somewhere in England, June 4, 1918

Dear Frances: –I wrote a few lines yesterday and will attempt to scribble a few more today. This is a wonderful day—sun is shining bright and all we have to do is lay around and bask in it.
Most of the boys have gone to town but I did not care go as I saw most of everything yesterday. I didn’t tell you about seeing the Old Round Table about which we have all read. Well, I saw the Round Table and the names of the Knights all carved on it. The building itself is very old and made of rock. I also saw the west gate. It is still standing. At one time it was one way to get into the town when there was a wall all around it.
This city used to be the capital of England before London (Editor’s Note: Winchester). We also saw the statue of Alfred the Great. It stands in the middle of Main street. The streets here are narrow and also the sidewalks. The people walk in the streets as much as the walks. Everybody walks. The girls are all working in shops and fields and all kinds of manual labor. They all wear uniforms. The men are all gone except the very old men and young boys and those that are wounded.
America did not understand the conditions of this war. If they had they would not have had to draft men. They could not understand unless they were over here. If Germany won this war, it would have battled America.
A little way from our camp is an old Roman stronghold, one of the last they had. I don’t suppose this is of much interest to you, but if you were here it would be. I would not be so interested either, only I had read of it and thought it was all “bosh”, but it is so, I guess. I am going to dinner so will stop for now.

Letter continues….

Somewhere in France, June 7, 1918.

The last time I wrote you we were in England and am now in France. This is another beautiful country. It seems terrible to think they are destroying so much of it. We don’t know how lucky we are to be living in a country like America. You ought to see the people here for they are so much different than at home. The children just about mob us for a penny or for lunch we have. The poor things are about starved I suppose.
We are in a rest camp here, don’t have to do anything but eat, sleep and stand inspection. They tell us that we go somewhere to our permanent camp.
I wish that I could tell you all we see but its against the rules. Will try and remember what I cannot impart and tell you on my return. It is simply wonderful.
Had my hair clipped today. It is more sanitary and not so hard to keep clean, and as every camp is short of water it promotes cleanliness. I never felt any better than I do now. The weather is grand, days are warm and the evenings rather cool. We have plenty of blankets though to keep comfortable.

Letter continues….

Somewhere in France, June 18, 1918

We, we have finally “lit” I thought for a while we never would get stopped: We had quite a ride on a train—they are so queer here. The engines are so small and go like the dickens at times. The cars are about one-fourth the size of ours. Seems funny they stay on the tract for any length of time. We have a dandy location here. The people are awfully queer. They look at us though we were strange animals, but nevertheless they are quite friendly. None of them speak English so it is hard to get anything. I went down to a farm house last night to buy a canteen of milk and had to take the lady out and show her the cow before I could make her understand. It was the first milk I have had since leaving the States and it sure tasted good.
I don’t think we could have get a better location. The sun shines bright as a crystal every day. It doesn’t get as hot as you might think, just right to work in the open air. It looks as though we will be in this country for some time, but time flies when you are working.
We had quite a treat last night. While in the States we had a company fund, and before we left spent the money for candy and tobacco. We opened the box last evening and sold the stuff. It went fine, especially the candy tasted good. It’s quite a treat over here where you can’t get chocolate. Now don’t worry, am feeling fine and ill write more regular from now on.

Yours, Owen Anderson

MRS. HORACE JOHNSON GETS LETTER FROM BROTHER published Hector Mirror July 4, 1918

Somewhere in France

May 27, 1918

Dear sister:

Will write a few lines today. Have not much to write about, just to let you know I’m well and getting along fine.

Received the box of candy and other good and useful things you sent me. Many thanks. Seems to me you said something about R. Johnson putting in some things, but have lost the letter and don’t remember what it was. You thank her for me.

Got back some days ago from one of the hottest fronts in France; have been up and back from the trenches since the last of January but never seen the like of this. I’ve thanked the good Lord many a time for getting by some of “Fritz’s” big shells. Was taking a little nap one afternoon while in the front line, had dug in on one side of the trench where I laid when a big shell hit along side of me right in the trench. It cut up my blanket in several places but never got a scratch myself. Was pretty well shook up, but one gets used to that before he is up here very long.

Saw about 500 German prisoners go through here this morning which the Americans had captured, don’t know how many were killed. Sure hope this war is over before another winter comes along as it is terrible to stand around in the trenches those long cold nights. The weather here is fine now, the days are long and warm, it does not get dark until about 9 and is daylight at 3:30.

Have been expecting to see some of the Hector boys at some of the fronts we have been at, but have seen no one so far. Expect they are at some other place.

Thanks for the Hector Mirrors you are sending me. Received several while in the trenches and its sure good to sit down and read about happenings around the old home town. It makes one kind of lonesome at times but then we forget that soon when we think of the bunch that is over here and those that’s back there doing everything they can to help win the war, and we are going to win it, too.

See in the paper that McKibben and McLaren will be over here. I’d sure like to see them but don’t suppose I will.

Well I’ll have to close for this time, love to all and write soon.

From Elmer

Editor’s Note: Gladys’s maiden name was Otnes. Elmer Edward Otnes was born to Einar O. & Elsie M. on 14 Oct 1887 in Minnesota, baptised in Maynard, MN. He was on the 1910 he is on the 1910 census living in Hector, Minnesota working at a flour mill. He registered for the draft in Nergus Falls, Grant County, North Dakota.

Letter from W.H. Ashley to Mrs. Wm. Adwell published in the Renville Star Farmer July 18, 1918

Mrs. Wm. Adwell received a letter from W.H. Ashley who was in the same company of Marines with Palmer Adwell and was only a short distance from him when he fell in battle. We are pleased to have the privilege of publishing it since it give the particulars of this brave boy’s death:

June 20, 1918

My Dear Mrs. Adwell:

I am sorry to have to write you that Palmer was killed a few days ago in action. I was near him at the time and his last wish was that I would write to you. He didn’t suffer a bit and died like a man. He knew he was dying so I sat and talked with him for a few minutes.
He said to tell you not to feel too bad as he was fighting for a good cause and the more he saw of the Germans the more he was ready to fight and even to die for America. He said that he wished that he could have seen you again if it was only for a few minutes.
I am sending you a card of the place near which he was buried.
Palmer was one of the most popular boys in our company and they all miss him. He and I were almost like brothers, and I can hardly believe it to be true.
Offering you my greatest sympathy.

Yours very sincerely,
William H. Ashley
79 Co. 6th Regt. Marines

Memorial Services in Honor of P.A. Adwell published in the Renville Star Farmer July 11, 1918

Palmer Adwell 

People of Renville Do Honor to the Memory of Marine Who Died in Battle.

Church Decorated in Flowers

Memorial services were held at the M. E. church Sunday afternoon in honor of Palmer Adwell, who so nobly gave his young life that democracy might live on the earth. The house was crowded to its capacity on the occasion. The altar was nicely decorated with floral emblems and a picture of the deceased had a place among the flowers.

Following an impressive prayer by the pastor Judge Daly arose and with much feeling addressed the meeting and the parents and family on the heroic death of this young man on the field of battle, fighting for a cause that was dear to every patriot. Words were weak and could not be used except in sympathy to fill the place made void in the hearts of his parents, but the cause for which he died will live forever in the hearts of his countrymen and his name will be enrolled on the tablet of time and live forever as one who stepped into the breach in the time of his country’s greatest need and gave all that he had – his life.

 Rev. Henry Nobbs gave the closing address. In an able manner her described the life of a soldier at this time, not knowing what day may bring forth, the unspeakable methods of a cruel and relentless enemy and what the boys in Khaki must face at this time that they may make the world a fit place in which to live. It was a stirring patriotic appeal and comforting to the parents and family of deceased. The memorial was a fitting tribute to the first one to fall in battle from Renville county in the war.

Directions for Making Aviation Vests published in the Franklin Tribune July 4, 1918

Aviation Vests

Material—Outside of khaki color sateen, first interlining of outing flannel, second interlining of two layers of lining paper (Witchtex or any good brand), and ling made of used kid gloves.

Cutting Material—All material to be cut from the same pattern with paper linings extending down only as far as separately marked.

Darts—Make three small darts 2 ½ inches long on each front, one at neck, one at arm hole and the other at middle of front edge. Darts on sateen to be stitched on inside and pressed. Darts on all linings to be cut, lapped, and stitched flat.

Binding—Make binding from bias strips of sateen 1 1/3 inches wide.

Pockets—No pockets.

Fastenings—No fastenings.

Kid Glove Lining—Cut light weight wrapping paper same size as pattern. On this arrange the pieces of cleaned kid gloves. Pin to position with edges overlapping about ½ inch and past to paper. Stitch all edges firmly and tear off paper.

To Make—Make darts in sateen. Sew up shoulder and under arm seams and press open. On outing flannel quilt lining papers with long loose stitches with paper double over check and back. Make darts after being quilted. Sew up shoulder and under arm seams and press open. Next to paper place kid glove lining with finished darts. Lap shoulder and under arm and press open. Next to paper place kid glove lining with finished darts. Lap shoulder and under arm seams and stitch seams flat through interlinings. On the outside place the sateen and fasten together by stitching through all the material down middle of back and through shoulder and under arm seams. Trim all edges evenly and over cast firmly. Bind all edges with binding made as described above by first stitching on inside and finished on outside.