Letter from Private James William Widener

 to his sister, Bessie Widener Hillis, wife of Jacob Robert Hillis.


Jim was born September 19, 1892 in Burke County Georgia, to Andrew Jackson Ebenezer Widener & Georgia Theresa Royal Widener. He was sent to Camp Gordon, Atlanta Ga. for basic training during WWI. Private Widener entered service June 28, 1918. He was attached to Company B, 2nd Replacement Regiment, Camp Gordon, Atlanta, Ga.  After a few months of preliminary  training, he contracted spinal meningitis while in camp, which resulted in his death October 17, 1918, only two months after he wrote this letter.


August 17, 1918 Base Hospital Camp Gordon Ga.


Dear Bessie,

How are you this PM   just fine I hope. This leaves me getting along some better than when I wrote you last.  Hope this will find you all getting along allright. Wonder what you all are doing down there. Are you all done pulling fodder? Guess you are through. Well I think I will make it through my operation allright . Had it pretty tough one night. My stitches came loose and I almost bled to death. They had to sew me back up, then is when I nearly went west. Guess I would if I hadnt made up my mind I had to stand it. They had moved me to another ward now the convalescing ward they call it. It is a nice place to recover, have long screen porches, rocking chairs. But I havent been able to get to one yet. We have a nice victrola and plenty of music but dont get anything to eat. I am almost starved to death now.  Little Walter could eat all I get and then he would want more__ think I will be sent over to my barracks in 4 or 5 days so if it isnt too much trouble, wont you and Mama fix me something to eat and send me itwould do me a world of good. Need not send chicken just something that will keep if you send by special delivery.   Well Bessie I dont know when I will ever get to come home.  Just as soon as I get well I guess they will send me over the water.  There is a bunch of us that will go in about 3 weeks. I sure want to come home before I have to leave if I can., for I now believe if I go over I will never return.  dont know what makes me feel that way but I do. Well Bessie as I am awful weak I will have to close for this time. You all must write me sometimes, write more often and tell me all the news. I get some mighty nice letters from my little Girard girl. I get one from her every week sometimes two. Guess who she is_ Miss Leoline Dixon but dont tell everybody .  ha.  ha. Well tell all the children Hello for me. Tell Jake to write sometimes.

With love and best wishes to all

I am as ever your Brother

James W. Widener

2nd Relief Regt. Co. B. Camp Gordon Ga.


Lovingly transcribed by Sheryl Seymour Padgett, great niece of Jim, and granddaughter of Bessie. July 10, 2005


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