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Compiling State War History, Morton Enterprise, 12-20-1918

Story of Minnesota’s Share in Great War to be Made Permanent Record
A meeting of the Minnesota War Records Commission, which was authorized by the Public Safety Commission and appointed by Governor Burnquist, will hold another meeting at the Historical Building, St. Paul, on December 20th, to consider further plans for making Minnesota’s record in the great war an important feature of the state’s history.
Between thirty and forty counties in the state have so far been thoroughly organized to handle this important work. Every county well eventually have its own history compiles and without a double every patriotic and public spirited citizen will be interested sufficiently to co-operate willingly in the compilation of our own county’s war record with those who are placed in charge of the work.
Questionnaires will soon go out to all county supervisors of the work which, after being properly filled out, will tell to the last detail the story of every man’s part in the war that had been in the service from this county.

Letter from Claude Smith, Morton Enterprise, December 20, 1918

U.S.S. Texas, Nov. 24, 1918
Dear Sister:
Well, I thought I would drop you a few lines tonight being it is Sunday. Censorship is lifted now so a person can write a decent letter.
I am well and I hope this finds you the same. The news now is that we leave for the states the end of this week, but I can’t believe it and a person can’t tell much about what you hear.
I put in application for discharge today but there’s lots going to be disappointed for nearly every one of the black gang was up there.
I’m in for Duration but I told them I was need on the farm so I think I stand a pretty good show. I’ll surely be glad if I can leave this place. Edinburgh is a pretty place but far behind a city in the States.
I was on the list for a furlough over here but I guess they are not going to give any more and I’d rather get on in the States.

A pound over here goes about as far as a dollar bill at home.

There were some French sailors and officers on board to-day.

I had a chance to see some of the German fleet. We went out ninety miles off Bay Island last Thursday, where we met them. They had to surrender or fight so we brought them into the Firth of Forth river and they are just outside the sub-nets. The only ship we lost was censor ship. I guess they are going to put me and another guy in the brig, Thanksgiving, so the rest can get something to eat. I believe I weigh 180 now, I don’t know for sure but I weighed 173 lbs. when I left the hospital.

We left the States on my birthday, July 14, and maybe I didn’t watch that shore as long as I could see it. When it went out of sight we didn’t see any more land for 10 days and that was nothing but little hills and rocks and mixture. There’s one little town they’ve got an iron fence around the only tree on the island. I guess it’s the Orkney Island north of Scotland. I haven’t seen hardly a board since I left U.S. Everything is made of rock and cement.

There are about 1500 men on this ship, about 450 being firemen.

I think I would have to work harder if I was on a transport. There’s lot more regulation on a battleship than there is on a transport.

When I get up in the morning I’ll have to turn into fire room No. 3. The fire rooms on this ship are nearly all painted white. Some swell looking place when it’s rigged up for Admiral Inspection. Brass work and white paint to handle soft coal in!

One of these ships is just like a town – black smith shop, electrical shops, laundry, canteen, carpenter and paint shops and firerooms and engine rooms, besides a few more things.

I rate a Foreign Service Chevon. They are gold and we are supposed to get them after being in foreign service three months. I’d be willing to go without mine if they’d turn me loose when I get back.

Well, here’s hoping I’ll eat Xmas dinner at home. I hope Louie will be home, too.

Your brother, Claude S. Smith

Flag Received Monday, Morton Enterprise, 12-20-1918

The following letter together with a Fourth Liberty Loan flag was received by the chairman of the Fourth Liberty Loan for the village of Morton, Minn.
Buffalo Lake, Minn., December 11, 1918
Dear Sir:
In appreciation of the Loyalty and Fourth Liberty Loan bond sales in your village, your government herewith present your village with a Fourth Liberty Loan Service flag, showing 6 stars, the stars stand for percentage of distribution of bonds per capita as per record of Minneapolis office of your village. This flag is the property of your village and when your boys return home “from over there” this flag should be displayed, thereby showing the boys, that you have backed them up here at home, while they were fighting for us. I congratulate your village, and you as chairman, upon the splendid showing in the last bond sale. It was not a one man’s job, and had the boys not waded in with the whim they did, our county might have failed in its efforts to reach its allotment. I beg to remain, Yours very truly, F. G. Nellermoe, County Chairman

Letter from Carl Hurtig, Buffalo Lake News, 12-20-1918

Carl Hurtig
December 29, 1895 – January 17,

The News received the following letter last week from Carl Hurtig who has been in active service in France for several months.
November 4th, 1918
Dear Mr. Foster:
You will probably be surprised to hear from me as it is such a long time since I wrote you a letter, In fact I have not written to you since I came over, although I have often intended to do so.
I have now been in France for several months, almost long enough to get my first chevron, which I will be entitled to in a few days. I rather enjoyed my trip across the pond, which did not take very long. It sure was a swell trip as we had fine weather all the way I can tell you that the soldiers who came across on the transport I came over on, were certainly fed good. We only got two meals a day but we sure got a lot to eat and as good as there was to get. I wasn’t seasick at all and enjoyed the trip but as long as I live I shall not forget the last few hours of the voyage.
After landing in France we were sent to the forests of southern France and have been there ever since. I have not been with my company all the time, as I have been away on detached service. I have been down to the Spanish border, and have seen the Pyrenees Mountains of which I have heard so much. Then I have been in the low lands of France where the land in only five feet above sea level, and then I have gone up in the mountains where the air is rare and cold. At present I am in these mountains in central France. We are in the highest point of the Arevergere Mountains and have been here for several months. I rather enjoyed being here at first as it was then a period of nice weather, but for a month or so it has been bad weather. It has rained a lot and has been pretty cold. But this is all in the game of the American Forester in France. It is quite an experience to work among the low hanging clouds in the drizzling rain, although I have been fortunate as my work keeps me dry under roof.
For about six weeks I have been working nights. I quite like to work at night as we have two whole nights and days off each week.
I am a tall sawyer in the mill that this company is operating. It is about the only job in the army that I have liked. There is not any hard work connected with it, but one has to be keenly alert at all times. Our mill is a ten thousand capacity mill and we are setting a pace for the rest that is hard to follow. We have cut thirty-two thousand feet in ten hours, which is going some for a mill of this size. I think we ranked first or second for last month among the mills of our class. This is going some as we did not come over here for this kind of work. In fact, we have one of the best forestry companies in the S. O. S.
I like it pretty well over here, but I sure will be glad when I set foot on good U.S. soil again. The French have many strange customs which seemed funny to us when we first came over but we are used to them now. I can speak French fairly well now, although I have not made a study of it. We have some fine officers in our company and they do all they can for us. Through their efforts we have always had plenty of good food. Since coming over here I have been promoted to First Class Private. Well I will close for this time, and hope this letter reaches you O.K.
Sincerely, Carl G. Hurtig, 49th Co. 2oth Engineers

Emil Herman, Renville Star Farmer, 12-19-1918

Gives His Life For His Country: Private Emil Herman of Crooks Succumbs to Pneumonia in France – Left Here in July Call

Ferdinand Herman on Friday received the following message from the adjutant general’s office Washington that explains itself:
Washington, D. C., 9-:36 P.M. 11-13-1918
Ferdinand Herman R. F. D. Renville, Minn.
Deeply regret to inform you that it is officially reported that Private Emil Herman infantry died of pneumonia and grippe September 27th.

Harris the Adjutant General.”

Private Emil Herman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Gustave Herman was born in the township of Crooks Nov. 9, 1891. He was raised there and attended school in District 75. On July 25th he went to Olivia to join his comrades in the selective draft and left with them for Camp Wadsworth, S. C. Sometime about August he went overseas, and the above message was the first that was heard from since. It is sad but the war brings many such messages to homes at this time and we can only hope that such a peace will come of the war that will put an end to war. In that case the sacrifices will not have been in vain. Besides his parents the deceased leaves five brothers and four sisters, Ferinand, Paul, Otto, William of Crooks, Gustav of Rogers, Minn. Mrs. Gersdorf of Crookston, Minn., Mrs. Wm. H. Bell, St. Paul, Mrs. C. J. Lissock, Flora, Mrs. Ferdinand Heineman, Winfield.