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These are WWI letters to Julian Eugene Applegate from Union residents.


Becky Applegate

Union, Nebr.
Nov. 22, 1918
Dear Gene: -  I read a letter from you in the Ledger today and you mentioned getting some letters from Union, so judged by that, that you would be glad to hear from most any one,  -  therefore I am writing to you.
  I suppose it seems good to be back in the U.S.A. again, although your experience must have been wonderful.
  There hasn't been any thing of much consequence happen here lately,  -  only, it snowed today nearly all day. The first snow of the season! If there is anything in superstitions, I suppose we are in for twenty-two snows, as this is the 22nd.
  Mr. Hall had his sale today. They are moving to Nebr. City. They bot property near Duff's. If you remember where that is  - .
   Our town has been rather dry this fall, so far on account of the "Flu."   -  Everything was closed for about two weeks. And has hardly revived yet. There were several cases here, but none were very bad. It is about all over now.
   I don't know whether you knew Ross Jay, or not, he died about two weeks ago of Influenza. He was in Calif.
   I don't know very much about many of the boys who went from here.   -   Mrs. Roddy said Eugene wrote that he would be home for Christmas   -   rather he expects to be.   -   Mr. Gruber said Simon would be home soon, just on a furlough I suppose.   -   Ed Fahrlander is at Manhatten Kans.   -  that is as far as he got   -  so far at least.
   Lemuel Barritt didn't go, so he is back on the mail route again. He tried to enlist in the S.A.L.C. but was too old.   -   Orval Hathaway just got across a short time ago.
   I guess every one is rejoicing tho because the war is over, no matter where they are. People will sure feel like killing the "fatted calf" this Thankgiving[sic], as well as the fatted Turkey.
   The Baptist Church is going to give their dinner, as usual, this year.   -   I expect to celebrate tho by going to the dentist. I don't get a chance to have such pleasure very often. I am working in the bank now. I began about two weeks after Gene left. I like it real well so far. Am rather 'dense' tho at times, on seeing thru some things.
   I just got thru packing a box of cookies to send to Nettie. She is at Peru this year. She likes it quite well. She stays at the Dorm, tho, is always glad to get a "bite" from home. Last week I sent her some candy. It was the first candy I had made since the war started. But we can get more sugar now and I expect to keep in practice a little better.
   Nettie rooms with Fay Hansell, only Fay has quit just at present. She came home on account of the flu and didn't go back. I hardly think she intends to go at all now.
   Ida Reynolds still goes there. She will graduate this year.
   I don't know very much about the Union school this year. They have two new teachers, Miss Whitford, the Superintendent, is mighty cute. She is quite young too. I don't know how she is in school. The kids all like her tho.
   There isn't a man on the job, to help run the school, except "Gabe" Austin, the janitor. Miss Tuchenhagen isn't even here to "run" things.
   Mr. Thorne, the Baptist minister left Tues. He expects to go over seas. He has been in Kentucky about two months. He is a Chaplain now. There will probably be plenty he can help do there.
   Mr. Garrison has his new house almost finished now. It is certainly fine. He had it built just South of their other house. They expect to be in it soon.
   Roy Austin is home now. He has been away for sometime. He hasn't changed much tho, looks about the same as when he left. Austin's had quite a hard time with the "Flu," Sherman & Octa especially. Mary and her father were the only ones who escaped.
   Angie is asking me if I am nearly done, so I judge by that it is time to retire.
   I don't know now just what I have written.
   Perhaps I have written things that happened before you went away, however my intentions were good. And we are all (every body at Union) glad that you arrived safely back again, and hope that you will soon be able to be home.

Fannie McCarroll
[postmarked Nov. 26, 1918, no return address]


Elma Hall to Eugene APPLEGATE

 Information inside brackets are my best guess for the full names of the people
Elma is speaking of when she uses only nick names and given names.
Union, Neb.
August 29 - 1918

Dear friend Gene:

It has been some time since I have written you but guess you won't mind it, will you?

We were all so sorry to hear you were wounded but trust you get along O.K. and I know you must be in good care.

We have sold our farm and bought a house in Nebraska City. It is between 17th & 18th St. on first ave. [sic] a grey stone house, maybe you know the place. We think it is very nice so when you are visting [sic] your N.C. [Nebraska City] friends, call on us, about meal time, if not any other.

Luty [Luther B. Hall] is in Washington D.C. but expects to be sent to Galveston Texas. Clyde Lynde is there. Durwood [Durwood B. Lynde] is going to an officers Training school in Camp Hancock Georgia. It is a machine gun school. He has only been there 2 weeks.

I guess Ino. Erinin [? illegible-- John C. Ervin] goes to war from around here the last of the month. Ardon Rhuman expects to go about the 5th of next month. I expect the rest of the 21 year olds will go about same time he does.

The Marines certainly has been doing splendid work, and you can't imagine how proud we are of all our Union Boys.

Rev. Barnes from Nebraska City was here today. He is ready to be called at any minute for Y.M.C.A. duty. Dorothy [Hall-- Elma's younger sister] wrote you some time ago but she sent it on to your old address.

Gene Roddy is in New Jersey Ino[?John E.] Frans at Sandy Hook New Jersey and Bernard [Roddy -- Robert Bernard Roddy is listed as having been killed so, sadly, he never did come home] is still in Ireland. Union had the Old Settlers Picnic last Friday and Sat. It was the same old story only lots more dirt & dust. There seemed to be more strangers this year than usual and not any young boy to speak of. The ones a person did see wondered why they happened to be there.

Ellis LaRue, Clifton Clark and Emmet Morton gave a dance the first night and Orvil McQuen gave one the last nite. I didn't go to either one. Syracuse Band furnished music for old setters [sic] and Nebraska City orchestra for the dance.

I suppose you know Rich Smith is married. He and Nettie [McCarroll] live just east of us on Jessie Todd's place for the Present time. Jessie Todd has sold her land to Bert [Burton] Everett.

Mama talked to Grace Applegate the other day. They are all real well, your Grandmother wants Mama to come over and see her.

Dorothy & Eula F. [Frans] are down visting[sic] Grandpa Davis. They have a great time with Gweldyn[sic] , George Stites youngster.

Do you get to hear any music over there. Hope so as you always liked it.

Ida Reynolds is going back to Peru to school this next year. Margaret [Niday] still works in Omaha. Guess she has a real good job.

Alta [Alda] Taylor and Loy Pell [Robert Loy Pell] seem to be as lively as ever, run around so much and the such. Saw Alta [Alda] at the Picnic and guess that was the first time that I saw him all summer.

I hope you and Forest Frans [a rumor was circulating that Forrest Frans had been wounded] happen to get in same hospital. It would certainly be luck if such a thing did happen.

I hope to hear you are O.K. by this time. Wishing you the very best of luck and courage. I know you have all the pluck that there is needed.

Hoping to hear from you some time in the near future.

Your schoolmate,

Elma M. Hall


From the Plattsmouth Journal — December 2, 1918 Page Six

From Henry Lamphear

October 19, 1918

Dear Mother and All:

          Will drop you a few lines to let you know I am well and hope these few lines will find you all well and able to get around. I have been well every day since we arrived in France and never felt better in my life than I do right now. I suppose you are getting ready for winter. Well this winter will hit me in pretty good shape. I have plenty of good warm clothes and I can always find a hole somewhere to crawl into.

          Well, ma, we have been hitting along pretty good. We have been in one battle and expect to go in again soon. It is a great experience and affords a man sensations he will never forget. I have had my gas mask on several times but never got it much gas. We have the Germans pretty much on the run. At times they throw over some pretty big sized shells. They sound like the north wind whistling around the corner, when they go through the air. I have never had but one close call with them.

         I suppose Burney is still around there. Lucky boy! Lucky boy! I never hear from any of the boys. I guess they know where I am but do not know how I feel apparently. Eva writes about twice a week and tells me all about my little baby. I long for the day when I will get back to my little girls, but as long as I know they are well I am satisfied.

         Say, ma, I am working with a fellow who is a cousin to George McDonald or Peck. His name is Orval Manning and he is from Omaha. He is a cook and I have been made a cook now also. I like it fine.

         Well, there isn’t much more I can tell you except that the United States is on top and they are going to win this war right soon. I must close for this time. Hoping to hear from you soon, I am your son, a U.S. soldier. Good bye, mother and good luck to you all. — Cook Henry Lamphear, Troop B, 314 M. P. A. E. F., France

Plattsmouth Journal, December 23, 1918

France, Nov. 14, 1918

Dear Mother and All:

         I will drop you a few lines to let you know that I am all right, and trust you are all the same. Well I guess the end has come, it sure looks that way over here. I expect to be home soon. I saw "Skip" Dalton the other day. It was during a big drive, he was riding a horse but looked fine. I did not get to talk with him. We are in a great place now, the town is pretty well shot up and must have been a pretty tough battle from the way the country looks. We are pretty well situated, and sleeping on a feather bed and good blankets. I am still with Orvil Manning, he knows lots of Plattsmouth boys. I saw John Miller about two months ago. I do not think he saw me for he was riding in a truck. I can tell you more when I get home. I have seen several of the fellows who left Plattsmouth the morning I did, but these twenty men got pretty well scattered. I will probably be home by Christmas or New Years. I do not think they will keep us over here longer than they have to. I understand they are needing a good many men now and as I am lucky, I expect to find a good position on my return. Well this will be all for this time. Good luck to you all.



Plattsmouth Journal, December 26, 1918


He Says He Can Shake Hands With Himself the Rest of His Life, and Say He Is a Lucky Boy

Somewhere in France.

November 24, 1918

Dear Mother and All:

         Will drop you a few lines to let you know I pulled through the war alive. This letter leaves me feeling pretty good, although I have been pretty sick for the past two weeks. I hope you are all well at home as we hear of so much sickness in the States. We are at Laneville now right across the Muise river from Stinay one of the places you probably have read about but we are leaving soon. We are going to Germany I guess. I wish we were going back to the U.S.A. but no such luck. We have had some pretty tough times over here and had a few narrow escapes but outside of that everything is great. We were at Beaufort when the war ended, came pretty near getting me there. Got somewhere around 41 there in one day. I was just lucky, that’s all. There were several times when they made me think of all the bad things I had ever done. I can think back now and it all seems like a dream. We were under shell fire about nine weeks, so I guess I’ve seen and done my part in this war. I can shake hands with myself the rest of my life and say lucky boy. Well I look to be home soon, probably in January. I don’t think they will keep us over here after peace is signed. I want to get back to New York by New Years Day if possible, for I want to start the New Year right, right across the states for So. Dak. Any place in the states would be home compared to this forsaken country over here. Of course, we haven’t seen any country over here, but what was pretty well shot up, but now I guess we will get to see some real country, if we go up into Germany. If you have a big Xmas dinner, think of me, but don’t think that I am not eating, for a cook always eats. If you write to Eave, tell her she can look for me any time. Tell her to have about a dozen pumpkin pies baked ahead and a loaf of home-made bread and some good butter would go good too. Well I suppose George and Roy will be coming home soon, probably before I do. There is not much more I can write, only leave the back door unlocked for I might wander in some cold night. I will have to close with a good place to sleep and plenty to eat and plenty to wear. I am still a soldier of Uncle Sam.

Your son,


Address: 89th Military Police Co., Am. E. F. France

Plattsmouth Journal, January 16, 1919


Henry Lamphear, Cook in the U.S. Army, Pens Mother Letter from Kyllburg.

From Monday’s Daily

         In a letter to his mother, Henry Lamphear, who is with the American army of occupation, tells of interesting things that are happening as the boys move forward toward the River Rhine, and where when they arrive they intend to have new movements put in, "The ‘Watch’ on the Rhine." He also sends some pictures of the place in which they are located at the time of writing, but which we cannot produce. They are excellent views and equally as interesting as his letter, which follows:

Kyllburg, December 12.

Dear Mother and All:

         Will drop you a few lines to let you know I am well and hope these few lines will find you all well. We are now getting pretty well into Germany. We came through Belgium and Luxemburg. They are both pretty countries, but the prettiest country of all is the one we are now in. This country is great. We are located in a pretty good sized town now. We got here a few days ago. I guess we are scheduled to leave soon, however. I do not know where we will go but I hope we get to go home. I would certainly like to start home — not that I don’t like it over here, but I like it better back in the States. I guess we will be home before so very long however, for it at least looks that way now. They have started sending men home already and I think my turn will come soon — at least I am hoping to get home before the last of January.

         I have seen John Miller. He is here in this town. Alpha Cook is located about a mile from here — or rather his company is. I haven’t seen him but presume he is there. I am going down there if we stay here long as I’d like to see him. Well what is father doing; still in the shops I suppose? Is Burney around there any place? No use asking what he is doing; loafing as usual I suppose. Well he is a lucky boy — lucky is right.

         Well, I have been pretty lucky myself. I suppose you will have a big time Christmas. We had a big chicken dinner Thanksgiving. I do not know just where we will be Christmas.

         Well, I am hoping that I get home by the middle of January as that is not a bit too soon to suit me.

         Will close for now and good bye to all. Answer soon.

-Cook Henry Lamphear, 89th M.P. Co.


Plattsmouth Journal, June 5, 1919


Writes From Camp Upton, New York, Just Back From Overseas Will Soon Be Home.

From Tuesday’s Daily

         The following letter was received from Henry Lamphear who is just back from overseas, and was stationed at Camp Upton at the time of writing, but expected to depart from there in a short time. Here is what he had to say:

Dear Mother and All:

         I will drop you a few lines to tell you that I am on my way home and expect to be there about June 9th, should nothing occur to prevent or put the date of arrival off farther.

         I have written Eva telling her to meet me at Plattsmouth, so you had better look for us both. We are leaving here soon for Camp Dodge, from which place we expect to be discharged from. I shall expect to come from Camp Dodge home. Will you please write Roy and Bert, telling them I would like to see them, also round up Burnie, for I desire to see all the boys before I return to South Dakota. Say, don’t you think it would be a good idea to bake up a strawberry short cake and fry a few of those chickens ahead for I am pretty d--- hungry. Well, look for me at any time.

H.G.L. (Chick).


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Last Modified on:Sunday, 06-Dec-2015 11:12:35 MST