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Letter from Winston “Scout” George, Renville Star Farmer, 12-19-1918

George “Scout” Winston
March 9, 1892 – November 23, 1966

Somewhere in France, Nov. 18th, 1918

Dear Mother:
Well Ma I’m still living and thank the good Lord the war is over.
I was over the top six times in this last big drive which ended the war, and talk about close calls, I guess it wasn’t my time to die. I was completely covered up twice with dirt thrown by high power shell. Got my back wrenched and can’t hear out of my right ear.
I was taken out of battle of the veteran front, two days before the lost shot was fired.
Billie Ashley’s outfit was fighting just on the right of us and was pretty well wiped out so I’m afraid Billie was killed but don’t know yet.
My outfit started fighting July 4th and have been at it ever since with little rest. If you could have seen me when I came off the firing line this last time I’m afraid you wouldn’t have known your son, my clothes all torn and full of “cooties,” whiskers an inch long and clay and mud from top to bottom and my helmet full of bullet holes.
I ought to be home soon.
Your son, Winnie

Rev W L Hart Cited for Bravery, Franklin Tribune, 12-19-1918

Father W.L. Hart
1863 – 1953

The people of this community will be proud to learn that Father W. L. Hart, who was pastor of Franklin, Birch Cooley and Morton parishes for seven years prior to his enlistment in service as an army chaplain, has been cited for bravery in service. We knew very well that Father Hart would not be found shirking his part and we are glad of his recognition for valiant service. The following is taken from the Minneapolis Tribune of Saturday last week:

“Father William L. Hart, for 10 years pastor of St. Marks Catholic church in St. Paul, now a chaplain with the American army in France has been cited for bravery, according to word received in St. Paul yesterday. Father Hart was attached to the 140th infantry and he was cited for bravery by command of Major General Traub and the citation was made by Col. H. S. Hawkings. The citation says that Father Hart in battle on September 26 to October 1, 1918, not only rendered spiritual aid to the wounded but gathered stragglers together and by word and example, without regard to his personal safety, encouraged them to action.” St. Paul Dispatch.

Letter from Ed Foss, Franklin Tribune, 12-19-1918

Ed Foss Writes of Life in France to Thomas Grimes
Stenay, France, Nov. 17, 1918
Dear friend Tom,
It seems a long time now since I last saw you but, Tom, take it for granted it won’t be long now before we can be together again. Have been intending to write you for a long time. In fact, I did start to write you a letter but I did not have time to finish it at the time. When I came back to finish it a few days later I thought the letter was not worth sending so I simply tore it up and I thought I would write you when I was in better humor. Now that time has come as we all feel happy now being that war is over and Peace has taken its place. Now we can look forward to good times. I sure will be a happy boy forever hereafter as this war has given me much experience. Have gone through a lot of hardships but I have forgotten all about that now and it seems to be ancient history to me. I pulled through this war just as healthy as when I entered the arm. In our company we have had several killed and wounded. Our company has been right at the “Front” all the time with the division and we have some of the best officers that any ambulance company could have. Germany did not have any explosives that could scare them. That of course put a lot of pep in us. Our captain was continually at the Front but I don’t believe he ever slept in a dug out. We also have a jolly set of boys and not a yellow streak in any of them. Am proud of being with such a company.

Have seen much of France and its pretty sceneries. But after all they cannot surpass those we have in the states. Have seen parts of England also. These countries over here, as it appears to me, still live in the stone age as we read about in history and you can judge from what this country looks like. The soil that I have examined from time to time in the different parts we have gone through in much inferior to any I have seen in the states that I know anything about and that probably is the reason why they do not advance as we do in our country.

You can’t make a progressive agricultural country or anything else from hills, rocks gumbo and “yellow clay”. Have yet to see a field with black loam with clay subsoil. Now, you know I was brought up on the farm so I ought to know something about soil. Here in this country you won’t find any farm houses or homes. They all live in villages and work their farms by driving out to their land in the morning. Then they would try and work a few hours with farm tools and machinery so out of date that we in the states would be ashamed to sell to a black whiskered Jew. When the hour for dinner came they would drive back to the village. I also noticed that these foreign people sure take their time about everything and haven’t the push and speed that the American farmer has. I could write you about many things but my letter is getting rather long so I will stop here for this time and will write in the near future if time permits. Have tried to give you an idea of the people I have seen but whether this applies to all of France I could not say. When I get home again I will have a talk with you and I can give you more of an idea of what this country is. etc. etc. Am sending (you) greetings to you all.

Yours respectfully, Pvt. Edward S. Foss.

315 Sanitary Trains, 357 Ambulance Co., A.E.F., A. P. O. 770

Editor’s Note: We do not have a photograph of Edward S. Foss.

Raymond Mantel, Fairfax Standard, 12-19-1918

Raymond Mantel
August 7, 1892 – October 17, 1918

Wounded in France
Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Mantel received a message from the War Department Monday that their son Raymond was severely wounded while in action in France. The telegram stated that Raymond received his wound October 17, and while no further word has been received it is feared that the injury has proved fatal. While the news of the injury casts a deep sorrow over the father and mother, and they have grave fears for his present safety, at the same time they feel that even if the worst has happened that it has been a sacrifice for a most worthy cause, and for the safety and honor of their country. Mrs. Mantel says that she felt that her boy should do what he could, and that she had been proud to know that he was offering the best in him for his country.

Early in the war Raymond offered to enlist, but at the time failed to pass the medical examination. Later, last June, he was drafted, entering the service from Montana, where he had taken up a homestead. He at first went to Camp Lewis, Washington, then to Camp Cairo, California, and to Camp Mills, New York August 5, Soon after this he proceeded to France, from where he wrote home in September, which is the last letter his parents have had from him.

Fourth Liberty Loan Bond Flag, Bird Island Union, 12-19-1918

Editor’s Note: What happened to these Service Flags? The Renville County Historical Society doesn’t have one in their collection. Each town received a flag with a specific number of stars on it! Contact the Museum if you have information on the Renville County flags.

Our Flag Contains Twelve Stars, What Does Yours Contain?
Tim Hurley came into the office on Saturday forenoon with a broad smile on his face, and something wrapped up in a late issue of the Bird Island Union tucked away under one arm. We met him face to face and Tim said never a word, but just smiled – that was all. We knew something was going to happen pretty soon, so we remarked, “What’s on your mind Tim?” Then we began to imagine a whole lot of things. Perhaps it was a Xmas turkey for ye editor, (such accidents have been known to happen) or a clean office towel, or a thousand and one things an editor ought to have that he is short of. After we had held our breath for about ten minutes or less, he succeeded in removing the newspaper and unfolded a handsome Liberty Loan Service Flag, three by four and one-half feet, which contained twelve blue stars on a white background and showed us a letter he had just received from County Chairman F. G. Nellermoe, (Tim is naturally a little sensitive, you know and we promised not to print the letter, and must keep our word) but we are going to away the most of it, so here it is:

“In appreciation of the splendid showing made by your village in the 4th Liberty Loan Bond Sale, your Government herewith presents to your village its 4th Liberty Loan Bond Service Flag, This time dollars of over subscriptions do not count, as to the stars in Flag, but the percentage of distribution per capita of population in village, as figures on file with Federal Office at Minneapolis, is used as basis for allotment of stars in these flags. Your village commands 12 stars in its flag, which is a very nice showing upon its patriotism and loyalty to our Government. This flag is the property of your village, you will know where to place it, or to whom it should be turned over to.”

He said he was going to place the flag in the Drug Store window where all could see it, as all had an interest in it, and all are proud of it. The flag will have good care and will no doubt be in existence for generations to come. We congratulate the local chairman and his corps of workers upon the outcome of their labors in the Fourth Liberty Loan Drive.