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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Letter 3 ~ September 5, 1918

I am ordered to report to Camp Funston. On the 2nd anniversary of her sister’s wedding, Minnie writes me recalling her sister Bertha’s wedding at "Pinehurst." She describes problems with parents of her school children and of receiving news that Bertha and her husband Charlie Scholer are moving from Topeka, Kansas to Washington D. C. She says she plans to take the train to Topeka the following day to see Bertha before she goes.

Addressed to Mr. Ward C. Griffing, Manhattan, KS
Forwarded to Pvt. Ward C. Griffing, 25th Company, 164th Depot Brigade, Camp Funston, Kansas
[Sherman, Kansas]
8:15 P.M., September 5, 1918

Dear Ward:

Just as I wrote the date now, I was reminded that [my sister] Bertha was married two years ago today. I remember it was the Sunday evening before that you came home with me from somewhere –
Munger’s I guess – and I took you in the parlor and Bertha scolded me so for it afterwards because she and Charlie [Scholer] had fixed the wire frame for the arch in the south window. I know I felt kind of foolish when I saw it. I don’t know what you thought.

School went fine today.
Mr. Blow called up this morning and said the little girl said the water wasn’t good at the school and thought they ought to take an engine up and pump it out. Mrs. Parkerson told him he couldn’t always believe what children said and that the teacher said it was alright. Some members of the school board heard what he had to say and it sure made them sore. They told Mr. Parkerson that they never pay any attention to what he says. It’s all blow, but they mighty soon will shut him up if he tries to make any trouble. By the way, Ward, he is the fellow you’ve heard Papa speak of – that great big fellow that knew everything at school meeting and doesn’t own a thing to his name but a wife and two or three kids. I thought he was a bachelor but he is not.

I got a letter from Mama today containing a letter from her, one from Louisa, and one from a girl I met in
Hollister [Missouri] this summer. Mama sent a clipping from a Manhattan paper in which it told about the fifty-five men having to leave today for camp. I suppose you are one of them. If you are at Camp [Funston], I don’t see how you will get this letter, but I will send it to your home anyway. You don’t need to read these old letters but I love to write to you. I get so lonesome in the evening.

I do wish my ink would come. My pencil has worn off almost to the wood and I despise to write or read a letter written with pencil.

Mama said you boys were haying over at
John Kimball’s. It sure seemed nice to hear something about you, just to know that you people are in existence down there. I guess Mama knew that. I rather expected a letter from you today; sure will tomorrow, but I guess you are busy. I wonder where you are tonight. It seems awful not to know.

Good night Boy. I hope I get a letter tomorrow. – Minnie

10:25 P.M., September 6, 1918

Dear Ward:

Well I guess you are a soldier boy. Mama sent a card with the ink saying that you had a phone call to report at Camp Funston Thursday. I wonder how long you will have to remain in detention camp and if you can receive mail and send out mail?

I talked to Mama tonight, that is Central [Switchboard] had to repeat everything, and she said [my sister] Bertha and Charlie were going to Washington [D.C.] and for me to go to Topeka tomorrow. The folks are haying so they can’t come after me in the morning. So I am going to
Garrison Crossing (may half to walk) and take the noon train and will get in Manhattan in time to take that noon train. I will come back Sunday afternoon and the folks [will] bring me back up here that evening. Wish I could get a look at you, but I guess I won’t.

School is going fine – wouldn’t change with any teacher in Riley County. I sure like those [Krause] twins. I always was kinda crazy about twins it seems. I wish you could be at home. We would have the most fun this fall and winter. Kid, I wonder what kind of a hard old bed you are sleeping in tonight. I wish it was the kind I have.

With lots of love, Boy. – Minnie G. Frey

P.S. Remember our last trip to Topeka? No letter [from you] yet.

  • Minnie's older sister Bertha Marie Frey was born 11 August 1896 in Odgen, KS. She married Charles Henry Scholer, six years her senior, on 5 September 1916. They were married at "Pinehurst" -- the stone family farmhouse purchased by Minnie's father, Charles Frey, at 1820 Claflin Road in Manhattan, Kansas in 1911 (although the family had already moved to their new farm east of the college and north of Bluemont Hill by 1916). Pinehurst is now the student center of the Church of the Latter Day Saints.
  • Alonzo Munger and his wife, the former Alice Mosher, had a farm north of the Griffing farm on College Hill. Alonzo and Alice’s daughter, Stella Constance Munger, was born 17 August 1900. She was one of Minnie’s best friends and eventually married Minnie’s younger brother, John Charles Frey. Stella Munger also taught in a one-room school house at Deep Creek in Riley County during 1918-1919.
  • During the summer of 1918, Minnie attended a girl’s camp in Hollister, near Branson in the Missouri Ozarks.
  • John M. Kimball had a farm near the Munger's and Brubaker's not far from the Frey Dairy Farm northwest of Manhattan.
  • According to the Fort Riley Historical & Archaeological Society, Camp Funston was established as one of sixteen Divisional Cantonment Training Camps during World War I. Construction of the 2,000 acre camp began during the summer of 1917 and eventually encompassed approximately 1,400 buildings. Major General Leonard Wood commanded the camp. During World War I, nearly 50,000 recruits from the Great Plains trained here. They became part of the 89th Division that deployed to France in the spring of 1918. In addition, the 10th Division and black soldiers assigned to the 92nd Division received their basic training at Camp Funston. The first recorded cases of what came to be the world-wide influenza epidemic were first reported here in March 1918.
  • Charles Henry Scholer registered with the Shawnee County Draft Board in Topeka, Kansas on 5 June 1917. The following personal data was collected by the registrar: Name: Charles Henry Scholer Address: 1526 Tyler, Topeka, Kansas Date of Birth: 19 September 1890 Where born: Milo, Kansas Present Occupation: Civil Engineer Employer: Kansas Highway Commission Where employed: State House Dependents: wife Grounds for claiming exemption from draft: wife, eye trouble Physique: Medium height, slender build Color eyes: Blue Color hair: Light brown
  • Garrison Crossing was the nearest station on the Union Pacific Railroad that followed the Blue River valley. The station was a couple of miles from the Sherman school house where Minnie taught.

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