Total Pageviews

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Letter 116 ~ December 14, 1918

Soldiers watching a football game at Camp Funston on Thanksgiving Day

I write my mother and brother that our departure from Camp Funston is imminent. This letter is abbreviated to eliminate some of the redundant material written in a letter to Minnie the same day.

Addressed to Mrs. Hattie P. Griffing, Manhattan, Kansas

Camp Funston
December 14, 1918

Dear Mother,

I have been sent over here to the “Y” to help answer telephone calls, run errands, etc. It doesn’t keep me very busy and so I can write in between. I attempted to call you up awhile ago but central [switchboard] said you didn’t answer so I will call again later...

Thursday afternoon we all had to go out and watch a football game in the rain. I don’t know what I would do these rainy days when we don’t drill it it wasn’t for the camp library. I have read several books lately and they are good ones too. I hope there is some kind of library where we are going but as it is only a small camp, they may not even have a “Y.” I expect guard duty will be pretty old before the winter is over.

... We have to get another shot in the arm either before we leave or shortly afterward for pneumonia.

I got me a pretty good ring but I paid more for it than I want you folks to spend on me for Xmas, so I will just call it my Xmas present from all of you and you won’t need to get me anything. This will be the strangest and I shouldn’t wonder but what it will be the loneliest Xmas I ever had. Some of the store windows show some decorations already. It doesn’t seem as tho it could be so near Xmas.

One or two of the boys’ fathers have been here trying to get discharges for their sons but they didn’t have any luck. We will just have to wait until spring anyway now,

Inspection passed off without any trouble this morning.

Harlow Hudson doesn’t know what he is talking about half the time. This division is not to be discharged and [General] Woods is still in command.

I am glad to hear that the sick folks are getting along alright and that Willis is getting the work done up so well. I hope the weather stays good now for awhile now that it has cleared off. Well goodbye and good luck, -- Ward

  • Ward purchased a plain gold infantryman's ring (crossed rifles on the face). He wore the ring until his son (my father) graduated from high school in 1940, at which time he gave it to him to wear in lieu of a class ring. The story goes that my father wanted to purchase a class ring but the family couldn't afford it so Ward gave him this ring instead. My father it wore it from that point forward, most of his life, until he passed it on to me and now I wear it. -- wjg
  • Harlow K. Hudson lived in an adjacent farmhouse on College Hill northwest of Manhattan.


  1. This phase of Ward's enlistment must be intensely frustrating. The Armistice is more than a month old and it should be plain to all the planners that hostilities have ended permanently. All the Central Powers are economically and politically prostrate. Keeping all these men in the Army is costing a fortune.

    The story of Ward's ring is lovely.

  2. I am very proud to wear my grandfather's ring. Not only does it remind me of him, but it makes me think often of my father...and all three of us served in the same branch of service, by the way. My mother tells me she is surprised my father never lost the ring. My dad wore it throughout his career as a veterinarian and had his hands in some places that....well, let's just say he was lucky to never lose it. Being gold, it's worn down to the point where it's difficult to even make out the crossed rifles anymore, but it hasn't lost its luster as far as I'm concerned. -- wg