Lost Letters from WW I

What’s in Mrs. Hale’s Receipt for the Million 1857?

3863. If you would avoid the diseases which your particular trades and work are liable to produce, attend to the following hints:
3864. Keep,if possible, regular hours. Never suppose that you have done extra work, when you sit up till midnight, and do not rise till eight or nine in the morning.

WW I Doughboys in the Family

00j Mom saluting her brother Rufus

Mom salutes big brother Rufus.

My mom, Martha Bailey Osborn was born in Gooding, Idaho April 3, 1915. The youngest child and the only daughter of my grandparents, she was also at least seventeen years younger than her brothers. I always grew up hearing the stories of Uncles Bill, Merle and Rufus Bailey and how they had been dough-boys in World I.; how one had been in an accident and had been injured while training in California; another getting the measles and never going with his unit to France. (The unit perished in the trenches from what I was told) My uncles were all small town boys, off to new places outside their rural hometown.

Uncle Rufus was her favorite brother, in her words. I only met him a couple of times in my life as we lived clear across the country, first in Washington D.C. And then in Pittsburgh, PA. She was heartbroken when he died. He was funny, caring, and professionally, a highly admired attorney in Los Angeles.

Letters to Nana

Uncle Rugus attorney

Rufus Bailey, attorney

Mom passed away at age 99 in April 2014. While at her home for her memorial, I gathered up all the family files that dealt with her side of the family. I had promised that I would continue her quest to learn more about the Baileys. She had already continued my Nana’s quest to find her March ancestors way back to 1638 in Massachusets, but the Baileys and Hulses still needed some searching.

A couple of days ago, I started to put some of those files into order. One file marked Bailey in my mom’s handwriting contained a picture of my Uncle Rufus as he appeared in the 1950s. There were some letters. Only when I looked closer, did I see the postmark: 1915! Uncle Rufus was writing home to Nana in Gooding Idaho from his training camp in Moscow, Idaho. (Later he would pass his Central Officer’s Training and be sent down to the Presidio in California). I looked again last night to get ready to start writing this post and burst into tears. Nana had also put a clip of my hair as a little girl as well as Mom’s hair when she was a toddler. Nana was keeping track of me. But back to the letters. Here is one of the letters from Moscow, Idaho:

Oct 27, 1918
Dear Mother:
Just got your letter a few minutes ago and as I have nothing to do but listen to some poor home sick love sick gink pick away on the piano I will rite rite (sic) away. Am glad you have gotten (or getting) those blankets because it is sure some cold here night and day. We have been issued nothing but a few of blankets by Uncle Rufus envelope Oct 1918the gov’t. All our uniforms are here but there is the usual red tape to go before they are issued.

I need a couple a heavy underwear just send some of those old ones there at the house. Don’t buy any cause is about 15 days we get an issue. Of course, I can wear them but no need of it. But I do need blankets and a quilt and a pair of kid gloves. I have a pair in the old dresser in the upper Right Hand drawer of the center one.

There was an issue of Red Cross sweaters here yesterday but with my usual luck I didn’t get one. George W. gave me one and I want you to call Mrs W. up and thank her for me cause I was slowly freezing to ice. I am going to get one other some place to wear outside my shirt and then after I get a pair of gloves I will be half way warm maybe.
Say when you send those blankets send Merle’s Army overcoat and I’ll send back this civilian overcoat of mine. He can wear it and can’t wear the other. I sure need a warm pair of gloves or mitts of some kind. My hands have been so cold that the blood has been forced into them so hard I couldn’t move my fingers or wrist for hours after formation. My fingers well up so I don’t shut my hand.

But far be it from me to kick on it and as soon as we get fixed we will be all fine.

Uncle Rufus in uniformSaw Vernon (his brother, my Uncle Bill) the night before last and he is sure fine. He is corporal of his squad and is as fat as a pig. Looking better than I ever saw him. He has had a case of home sickness but smiles it all away now. He has a fine bunch in his squad all young fellows. He has not seen a sick day since he hit here. Two from the barracks have died of Spanish Flu. But we are in the best place in the world to get medical treatment.
We have certain regulations to live up to and here are about 10 fellows in each barracks see we do. Small pox has broken out. 2 cases but they were immediately taken care of so no harm has come from it. I have a cold from being on K.P and working over the stove and hot water in washing dishes and then standing retreat. But I am getting along fine. Looks like my vaccination isn’t going to take. Have I ever had the small pox?

More good news. I have a High Private rating here now and for the past week have been second in command of the squad. Lieutenant Merham commander of the Co. B took my name day before yesterday for a corporal.

I have already served twice there. Am sure going to work hard for it and land the job if I can. As every little bit counts. Of course I don’t’ say I have a cinch it as a corporal is “bust” as easily as he is made. But if I get the change that is all I ask of anybody. My school work is nill as yet but will get settle soon I hope.

Madelyn Schafer Bailey Rufus' first wife2

Madeline Brown Bailey in post high school

Got a swell letter from Mad (his girlfriend, later wife) and Mrs. Brown. They have a sweater started and will send some candy also. They are coming back to Gooding so they say.

Did you get a letter there from her for me? She said she sent one a week ago. Had a picture in it for me. So of course I can’t afford to lose it.
Must close, for now and “resume the March.” We have a bunch of local entertainer to amuse us now – They have gone now so I’ll close. They had a male quartet, a reader. and Saxophone trio. They were sure swell. The people here have big bin of apples and they sure come in handy. The people of Moscow keep it full all the time of regular apples.
Send the stuff and a few stamps as soon as possible. I make veryone send a stamp for an answer to their letters. With Love from Rufus.

Send the “stuff” here Zeta Chi alpha 222 S Lily Moscow
but send my letters here — Put E.R.B. S.A T.C. Co B. Bym Barracks Moscow Idaho.

P.S. They just brot in a box of apples and we had some  rough fancy for them. I got three.

Here’s to all the veterans of all wars, including my own Vietnam vet, Rolf.



One thought on “Lost Letters from WW I

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