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1914            «   World War 1   »         1919

April 2, 1914 – President Woodrow Wilson delivers war address to Congress at 8:32 pm and asks the House of Representatives to declare war on Germany.
June 28, 1919 – Treaty of Versailles signed in Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, officially ending the Great War.

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Pep Lightner’s letter to his Mother in 1917

The following is an interesting letter from Seward Lightner to his mother in 1917 during WW1. The original letter would not scan clear enough to remain readable for the internet; transcribed letter is shown below.  Obvious corrections are inserted in (parenthesis) and were omitted in the original letter.

Fort Russell Wyo.
Sept. 15, 1917

Dear Mother,
    I haven’t had any thing to write about.  It’s about the same thing every day. Haven’t got the artillery equipment here yet so the drilling is dismounted artillery drill in the A.M. and horse
exercise in the P.M. We were issued winter clothes and anything else you need.  Two pair leather gloves and two pair woolen gloves. Going to get overcoats to-day I think. I am fixed up fine for clothes lucky to have so many.  I’ve got two uniforms of woolen O.D. and a extra pair pants. One uniform of khaki and three extra pair pants, three pairs of shoes, six suits of summer underclothes and six of winter, about two dozen pairs of socks, four shirts, three pair leggings and two hats also a rain coat.  
     I was called in the orderly room last week and the Capt. told me to be at the non-commission officer school. He asked me how much school I had and a lot other questions. Been going ever since.  Maby (maybe) you don’t know what non-comm officers are.  They are Corporals and Sergeants.  I can’t get any furlough unless I have some excuse as important business or sickness. If you can find some business for me, write but don’t anybody get sick. I’ve got stamps you don’t need to send stamps cause that (is) the first thing I stocked upon last pay day.  This month just the minute I get my money I’m going to take a beeline for the post office and send 25 home. I could just as well send home 15 last month but waited to long.  If a guy didn’t have any money he(‘s) just as well satisfied but if he has it I’ll be dammed if it can be kept.  
     There is a big Y.M.C.A. just finished. Got ever(y) thing in it imaginable even moving pictures and it don’t cost a cent.  Have the best of grub. Something every outfit in the front don’t have. Butter every meal.  Of course the guy that runs the eats has a lot to do with it.  We feed on better than government rations and that is 47¢ a day for each.  The mess sergeant believes in everybody eating all they want but if there is any butter left on the plates hell to pay with the guy if he catches him.  If he can’t find him nobody gets any butter for a week.  Everybody likes him he’s full of fun.  
     I ain’t very anxious to move out of this place now.  I haven’t been to Cheyenne for a devil of a while.  Has Marie got back yet?  Tell Biddie not to tell anything about what I say.  I will write to her when I get my pictures I’m getting developed at the drug store up town.  I will have some good ones if they turn out all right.  Well this is all the junk I can think of.


  Thats like one of the buttons I wear on my collar the left side and a U.S. button on the other.

(Original letter from the Lightner family scrapbook)


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HartfordHistory Icon - Hartford MI

Pearls In Our Past - Hartford Michigan
A Pictorial History of Hartford Michigan
Emma Thornburg Sefcik
Competent Secretarial Service
History of Hartford Michigan
Copyright © 2000 - All rights reserved.

Revised: March 23, 2009