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

Letter from Claude Smith published in the Morton Enterprise June 28, 1918

Claude Smith

Hampton Roads, VA

Dear Sister,

Well, I guess it’s about time to answer your welcome letter I received some time ago. I thought I would tell you about the trip down here. Some change from the Great Lakes to Virginia, believe me.

We left the Great Lakes at 3:30 Friday. There were eleven coaches of sailors, four hundred and seventy-five men in all. We had fine cars with berths and we ate on the train too. After leaving the lakes we stopped in Chicago for an hour or so, so we just merely got started Friday. Saturday morning I woke up in Covington, KY, Just across the river from Cincinnati, OH. There was a train load of solders standing alongside of us. They were headed for some place in Virginia too but I didn’t learn the place. They had come from Ft. Riley, Kansas. We left Covington about 5:30, followed the Ohio River a long way. West Virginia was the rough country. We went thru the Allegheny mountains—some twisty track, believe me. We went thru twenty-five tunnels the longest one being a mile and a quarter. When we went thru the first tunnel I was standing guard between I didn’t realize what was the matter for a little while. They have a guard at the end of each coach so you have to stay in your own coach. We saw all kinds of coal mines and a place where they make coke, while w were in that rough country. We went a route where there weren’t many large towns and it’s a good thing for there was some hollering and waving, believe me.

About 8:30 we hit Richmond, VA, and the next large town was Newport News, there we left the train and boarded the “clid” which took us across the Bay to Hampton Roads.

It’s awful sandy here and warm—102 in the shade yesterday and the negroes say we haven’t had any hot weather yet. We have to sleep in hammocks here—six feet from the floor. One fellow in our bungalow fell out last night and landed on his back.

Well, I don’t seem so far from home even if I am 1200 miles away. I’ve done got to go to chow so think I’ll close for this time.

Your brother,
Claude Smith
Co. 127, Unit B-15-2
Hampton Roads, VA

Renville Boy Makes Supreme Sacrifice published in the Renville Star Farmer July 4, 1918

Palmer Adwell

Message Received Tuesday Evening States That Palmer Adwell Was Killed in Action In France

Everyone was going about in the even tenor of his way, reading the dailies on the war situation, meeting the expense of bonds, Thrift Stamps, Red Cross, etc. with scarcely a thought of the toll of human life that hung in the balance on the different fronts occupied by American soldier boys overseas until Tuesday evening Wm. Adwell received the following message from the war Department:
Washington, D. C.,
July 2, 5:36 p.m.
William Adwell
Renville, Minn.
“Deeply regret to inform you that cablegram from abroad advises that Private Palmer Adwell, Marine Corps, was killed in action between June second and tenth. Body will be interred abroad until end of war. Please accept my heartiest sympathy in your great loss. Your son nobly gave his life in service of his country      Geo. Barrett, Major General commanding.”
This brings the war right home to each one of us, and should make us redouble our energy in every way to aid the government in the prosecution of the war to a successful termination. Every man and woman at home regardless of all else should put their shoulder to the load and by unanimous and united action of all to the end that success will crown our arms in the briefest space of time possible.
Palmer Adwell was born at Iroquois, Illinois, on April 16, 1898. When ten years of age he came to Renville with his parents in 1908. He attended our schools and for some time worked for Bottge & Hassinger. When the call was made for troops to go to the border at Leo Grande, Texas in 1916 he enlisted in Company H of the Third Regiment National Guard, at Olivia. At the end of that campaign he was honorably discharged and returned home.
In April of last year when President Wilson issued his proclamation of war against Germany and called for volunteers Palmer was among the first who responded to the call by enlisting in the Marine Corps. He was stationed in California for a time and then was sent to Quantico, Va. While here he was granted a furlough to come home and spend Christmas with his folks. He looked so well at that time and met a hearty welcome home. Early in the spring he left for France and gradually worked to the front line trenches where he was giving a good account of himself until the final summons cam on the field of battle. Palmer was a good and fearless soldier, one who would never flinch when going “over the top” and he met his death like the true soldier he was. This is only the first fatality. With so many “over there” we know not what a day may bring forth.
Memorial service will be held on his death at the M. E. church on Sunday afternoon at 3:00 o’clock.

Edward Subgrunski writes home published in the Franklin Tribune August 8, 1918

Edward Subgrunski 

Camp Wadsworth, S.C.,
To my Friends in Franklin:
Arrived at Camp on Sunday at nine o’clock and was glad of it for we were tired riding on the train so long. Saw some grand scenery on the road. We were treated very fine in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The band marchd up and down alongside the train and played “Over There” and the Red Cross gave us fruit. We surely did thank them for it too. All the whistles blew in the whole city and the people waved flags at us and bid us good bye.
I give my most hearty thanks to the Red Cross for the comfort kit, which I received of them. We surely appreciate everything from them.
I am assigned to the 56 Pioneer Infantry Supply Company and I surely like it fine and the rest of the boys do too. This is the most sanitary camp in the United States. That is its record as only one death here so far yet.

Sincerley,
Ed. Subgrunski

Letters From Our Soldier Boys on Land and Sea published in the Morton Enterprise August 8, 1918

Letters from Albert Lussenhop, Harry M. Donlon and Charles Jones

Letter From Albert Lussenhop

Somewhere in England,
July 12, 1918
Dear sister Bertha:
I am over in England now. Cannot tell you where I am at, as I have to be careful what I write on account of the censor.
This is a queer county. Everything is different from our states. The houses here are mostly made of brick or cement, very few frame buildings. They are built very long, some are a couple hundred feet long and about a dozen families live in one house.
The streets are quite narrow, about half as wide as they are back home.
Also the railroads are very much different than ours. Engines and coaches are smaller and the coaches are made with doors on the sides and long seats for passengers.
The time here is about eight hours ahead of ours. The days are very long and the nights short. It gets dark at 10:30 at night and daylight at 3:00 in the morning. Some short nights believe me.
I am in a fine camp and have good eats. Sure had a splendid trip.
My letter won’t be very long but will write more later if I can. Do write me often and give my address to anyone who wishes to write or send me books or magazines or anything for pleasure. I will write again in a few days.

Your brother,
Albert
Co. A Artillery, Camp Cody,
June Automatic Replacement,
Draft A. E. F.

Letter from Harry Donlon
A letter received by Mr. Frantz from Harry Donlon says among other things:

“If I were allowed to I could tell you many new and strange adventures I have had since I came abroad the U.S.S. Alabama. I have seen Yorktown, the place where Cornwallis surrendered to Washington, also Ft. Sumpter, where the first shot was fired in the Civil War. I have been to the homes of many of the old war veterans like Jefferson and Washington. When I was stationed at Hampton Roads I visited these places.
I have seen nearly all the most important places along the coast. It is very hot here and hurricane storms are frequent. They come up quickly and it rains about twice as hard here as at home.
We have boxing and moving pictures nearly night. We wear white suits nearly all the time and they are very cool. The chow is good and sleeping in a hammock over the blue sea is very refreshing. Ed. And I are both well. Write soon.

Your ex-scholar,
Harry M. Donlon
U.S.S. Alabama
Fortress Monroe, Va.
% Postmaster

Editor’s Note: We do not have a photograph of Harry Donlon

Charles Jones 

Letter from Charles Jones

London, England
June 22, 1918
Dear Mother,
Thought I would write you a few lines to see how you all are. I am fine. I have just written Uncle John a letter. I suppose he will be surprised to hear from me. The last letter Mary wrote she stated you had not hear from me in three weeks or a month. Please do not be worrying about me as the mail has a long way to go. We expect to be in France in a short time now. So don’t worry if you don’t hear right away for I will write regularly. I often wished you could see this foreign land. It looks so beautiful especially when you are up in an aeroplane. The fields look so square and all the rivers and streams look like silver ribbons. Sometimes it seems like a dream.
This morning I was up about 5,000 feet just as the sun was rising. The rays of sunlight seemed to flash through the slight haze gathered on the earth. You could not the dark places in the valleys and bright places on rises of the earth. Well, it’s all charming anyway. Well mother, I will close for the present hoping you receive this letter O.K. Good by.

Your loving son,
Corp. Charles Jones
154 Aero Squadron, A. E. F.
London Eng., via N. Y.

Olivia Times June 20, 1918: 147 Men Selected for Army: Renville County Sends Largest Quota Next Monday

The list of men to report here Sunday is a follows:

Leo Rudolph Abraham, Arthur Chester Abraham, Edward G. Agre, John Manley Allmon, Edwin Helsberg Anderson, Johannes Anderson, Leslie Antonsen, Joseph Henry Beck, Robert B. Bengston, Henry M. Bergman, Harvey Herbert Bertelsen, Ernest Boelter, Thomas E. Bowler, Freddie Hirrie Briggs, Joseph Brunner, Henry Vincent Brunner, Charles August Burggren, Ross Joseph Chisholm, Jens Christenson, John Morris Dahl, Arvid Dahl, Thore Danielson, Ray Ervin Davis, Henry F. Dobberstein, Hugo Albert Doege, John Doyle, August Carl Ecklund, Theodore A. Erickson, Frederick Charles Evert, Benjamin F. Evert, George  V. Fehr, Thomas Flannigan, William Flynn, Ernest A. Fransin, Abraham Freiborg, Archie Charles Gallery, John B. Glenn, O. Grosklags, Ed Grundeman, Tyler Hagen, Walter Hankel, William F. Helmer, Ernest Helwig, Ben T. Iverson, Albert Tom Johnson, Herby L. Johnson, John Peter Johnson, Arthur T. Johnson, H. William Julius, Joseph B. Kaisersatt, Laurence D. Kelly, Joseph C. Kodet, William Kohle, Arthur M. Korsmo, Arthur H. Krueger, Arthur Rudolph Kullberg, Wesley Arthur Lammers, Edwin Charles Lammers, Henry Lang, Joseph Lanning, Ole M. Larson, Palmer Lee, Cornelious Leegte, Gusta H. Lieske, Joseph Conrad Loftness, Palmer C. Lund, Edward Henry Maag, Freddie Herman Maag, Herbert Ferdinand Machke, Otto Elvin Magnusen, Arthur Mahlum, William Charles Manthei, Clifford Marlow, D.T. McKee, Joseph McParland, John F. Messer, Ernest Fernand Meyer, R.E. Miller, Laurence J. Molden, Edward James Murphy, Benjamin Clarence Nelson, Hans Albert O. Ness, Henry William Nickel, Paul Nordlund, Frank Novotny, Michael Patrick O’Leary, Albert John, Otto Paschke, Anton Person, Harry Albret Person, John Peterson, Andrew E. Peterson, Axel Peterson, Joe Polifka, Jacob John Postma, Harvey Edwin Rodmyre, Hans Romnan, John Royden, Frank Sander (Edwin), Fred Fredinand Schiro, Fred Schlief, Waldemar Charles Schmidt, Paul Robert Schuetz, Gust Schuetz, Martin Joe Teddo Schulz, Fred Schwartz, Edward Seesz, Ernest Grover Shaad, William L. Shore, Earnest Leander Skolberg, Alfred Francis Smith, Clarence Stelter, Alec H. Stewert, Oscar E.A. Stolp, Arthur C. Stucke, Herman H. Sunvold, Edward Swirz, Richard Carl Thiele, Alfred I. Thompson, Edward Timm, Dick Tjepkema, William Tolzman, Fred Tompkins, Ervin Vaughn, Joseph Alfred Viken, Carlton Omer Waldron, Everett Walser, Amos Oliver Walter, Gustav Adolph Weflen, Albert C. Wehking, Harry Wendinger, Robert August Wiehr, Alfred Emanuel Wolfe, Alex R. Yeschick, Carl J. Yock, Paul Yock, Theodor Ytterboe

Editor’s Note:  Those in red died during the war and are a part of the Renville County Honor Roll.