Monthly Archives: July 2013

December 7, 1918 The experience is so well worth the trip

Dec 7, 1918

Langres France December 7, 1918 to Monroe, Louisiana

William Abram O’Kelly Jr. to his sister Mary Catherine O’Kelly

Dear Bootsie,
I received two letters from you yesterday, one dated Nov. 1, the other Nov. 9. making three letters from you since being here. Have not heard from Papa or Jennie yet. I feel very fortunate in getting your letter as mail conditions are not very good over here but are pretty good considering.

Lots of people seem to be dying at home guess things will be changed up a lot when I get back as I have no idea when I will be home but don’t think it will be later than spring.

We are quartered in good barracks and have a big stove, so we can keep a fire going all night if we want too.
It has turned off warm and looks like rain and the mud gets worse all the time. Never saw such a place for mud. Quarantine was lifted yesterday and I guess I’ll go to town Sunday that will be tomorrow if we get paid off Today. Don’t think we will get paid though till Monday, but we can go any night.

The town is about a mile up the hill from the camp and looks awful pretty. It is an old town and if I can get some Post Card views of it I am going to send them to you. The town is all closed up during the day. The stores etc open at 5 pm. and close at 8 pm. this is practically the custom everywhere.

I met Audrey Blanchard’s brother [William Cecil Blanchard] here about 4 days ago he had just arrived at this camp. said he had been over about 4 months. He looked in fine health and seemed to be getting fat.

Tell Mrs. Haynes to write Tucker that he don’t know what he missed by not coming over as the experience is so well worth the trip.

There is no excitement now and I guess as soon as we get things cleared up we will start towards home, but hope it will be spring before we do as the trip back during winter will be mighty hard.

I wrote Uncle Tom when I was on the boat guess he has my letter by now if he is going to get it at all. Will write him again when I have time

I have received no papers yet if they don’t show up pretty regular will write you so you can have it stopped.

I wish I could be in on some of those pecans and divinity, but we get chocolate candy here for 55c per pound put up by Lowney’s it is real good. About like what you pay a $1.00 for in the states.

So my grip showed up. I sent every thing I wanted to keep home in it as the chances are that a man will loose his purse two or three times and while it is no trouble to get new equipment, his personal belongings are gone for good so that was why I sent my prayer book home for I did not want to loose it.

Well there is not much news so will close for this time with lots of love & kisses to all. And write often.


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Filed under Letterheads, Mary Catherine O'Kelly, Thomas Swan O'Kelly, William Abram O'Kelly Jr., WWI Letters

November 26, 1918 Everything goes up when the soldier comes around

Langres, France November 26, 1918 to Monroe, Lousiana

William Abram O’Kelly Jr. to his sister Mary Catherine O’Kelly

Dear Bootsie,

Your letter dated the 28th of Oct. was received this am and I was glad to get it as it was the first news I have had from you all since leaving Camp Jesup, so I was getting kind of anxious to hear from you and Papa had made out with your flu. Was glad to hear that you both had completely recovered.

I had some trip on the boat we only had two meals a day and were allowed no lights after 5 o’clock. It took us 13 days to make the trip and I sure was glad when we cited land. We were on the water until late afternoon when they landed us in Brest and marched us about 5 miles to Pontanezen Barracks. These barracks were started up by Napoleon. Our portion consisted of pup tents in a field for the first night then we were transferred to tents where we fared a little better. After staying at the Barracks for 4 days we were put 40 in a French box car and sent here it took us 4 days to make the trip. The trip was not so bad except the sleeping was rather difficult.

(the ink ran out here and I had to borrow my buddies pen. Therefore, the diff in the ink) The first night here we slept in a big warehouse. The next day we were moved over to big tents with cots and beds in them. There is 50 to a tent so we are getting along fine and I hope we can stay here as the food is very good and plentiful and I am beginning to get fat again.
When I first got here it it froze up every night but for the last two days it has been raining and is a good deal warmer. And Mud. You have never seen the like. The water does not sink into the ground just stays on top and forms mud.

I have been to town once it is quite a nice little place. With a big stone wall around it and a lot of big stone buildings. The streets are mostly narrow but paved. The occupation of the people seems to be like in the other towns I have seen and that is over charging the American soldier. Everything goes up when the soldier comes around. The only thing we get cheep is cigarettes which cost only 8c per pack.

It is reported that we will make a fag day this first and I hope it is so as I have not made one in two months and the herbs are getting kind of low.

I sure would like to have some of those pecans you wrote about or even some of those small ones as they would come in mighty handy.

This country is beautiful and I hope to see a good deal more of it before I go home. I have not been near the front yet, could have gone this am with a bunch to drive Ford cars but I am afraid of Ford’s so I did not go. All kind of reports are out as to when we will go back home but most of them are pure fiction and I have no idea when I will be back in the states but hope to be back in about 4 months or maybe less.

Well dear I have used up all the ink in this pen so will close for this time with lots of love and kisses to all.
Your Affectionate Brother,

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Filed under Mary Catherine O'Kelly, William Abram O'Kelly Jr., WWI Letters

October 27, 1918 Abe arrives at Camp Merritt

Camp Merritt, Cresskill, New Jersey October 27, 1918 to Monroe, Louisiana

Abe WW1 October 1918 envelope

Abe WW1 October 1918 Letter

William Abram O’Kelly Jr. to his father and sisters

Dear Folks:
Arrived here this am about 2 am. I have a nice barracks and a real cotton matress to sleep on and believe me, I am going to do some sleeping the first opportunity I get.

I am well and feeling fine. I hope Papa and Bootsie have entirely recovered from their attack of “flu”.
There is no news to write about so will close with lots of love and kisses to all.

Write to me often
Good bye

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Filed under Jane Calderwood O'Kelly, Letterheads, Mary Catherine O'Kelly, William Abram O'Kelly Jr., William Abram O'Kelly Sr., WWI Letters

October 23, 1918 I am sending my pillow back by parcel post

Knights of Columbus Stationary

Camp Jesup, Atlanta, Georgia October 23, 1918 to Monroe, Louisiana

William Abram O’Kelly Jr. to his father and sisters

Dear Folks:
I leave here tomorrow for somewhere, guess [?], did not know till five o’clock this evening that I was going so I have been kept busy ever since getting ready.

I have a complete new outfit consisting of two suits heavy wool underwear, 2 pr heavy hob nail shoes , 5 pair wool socks, 2 towels, 2 wool shirts tooth brush, comb, razor , shaving soap, mirror, toothpaste, shaving brush, soap, one heavy O.D. suit and a heavy overcoat, so I am well fixed. We are not allowed to take any of our things except a sweater which can be worn under a shirt, so I am keeping the one Jennie made.

I sent my grip bags today army express at the Y. M. C. A. and it will be several days before it shows up for they will not send them back for sometime after we leave. I am sending my pillow back by parcel post so look for it. I got Bootsies letter this evening and if my socks do not come in time I will have one of the boys send them back as they cannot be forwarded to me. I can have them with me if they come in time, and if they don`t I will write you later when and where to send them.
Write me as follows; Motor Transport Corps 310  Co.7 A. B. F.

I don`t even know how long we will stay in fort but will try and write you from there, the last bunch only stayed 36 hrs. but have an idea we will stay longer.

I will write you just as soon as I get across but don`t be worried if you don`t hear from me for a good while at a time for the mails are very uncertain but I will write you regularly.

My kodak is in the grip and is loaded with six films so you all can take some pictures.

If you all get any pecans send me a box full to Camp Jesup, I promised one of the boys some and he is going to look after my mail for me so he will get them in my mail.

I am so glad you all are getting better and hope that you are all soon entirely.

Well it is nearly 12 and the air is about to burn out my fire and I  have to take a bath so we`ll have to say good night for this time, with lots of love and kisses to you all,

Take good care of yourselves and don`t worry about me and be sure to write me all the news regularly.

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Filed under Jane Calderwood O'Kelly, Mary Catherine O'Kelly, William Abram O'Kelly Jr., William Abram O'Kelly Sr., WWI Letters

October 1918 Abe goes to war

Dear Papa & Bootsie

New Orleans, Louisiana October 1918 to Monroe, Louisiana

Jennie O’Kelly to her father and sister

Dear Papa and Bootsie,
Your letter received. We are doing very well at Uncle Tom’s. Abe wants us to stay until he leaves which is he thinks is Friday he says the latest but they don’t know he seemed so disapointed because we talked of going home before he left that I haven’t the heart to go away and leave him. The other day we met some of the boys on the street and he tells them all I have a friend now meaning me. So I guess I will have to stay until he goes. Let me know how you all get along at home and all the news.

We are on our way out to the camps to watch them drill. Everything is very high here 15 cts for cocola & soda and ice cream is 25 cts. Such prices they certainly know how to put [?].

Abe wants an Ingersol wrist watch in a black leather case they are $7.00 here so if you can find them any cheeper at home send him one. I haven’t had the money to spare to get it. I have never has his picture taken yet as he has never bee able to get leave when the studio is open. They will be one dollar a piece. Well write me in a while.

I haven’t been very well lately think I had a chill last night – but don’t know. Feeling a whole lot better to day. Well good bye for this evening with lots of love to you both.

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Filed under Jane Calderwood O'Kelly, Mary Catherine O'Kelly, William Abram O'Kelly Jr., William Abram O'Kelly Sr., WWI Letters

Circa 1895 Mary Catherine O’Kelly

Mary Catherine O'Kelly

Mary Catherine O’Kelly. Taken by E.W. Mealy, Monroe, Louisiana


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July 21, 2013 · 12:48 pm

Circa 1895 Jane Calderwood O’Kelly

Jane Calderwood O'Kelly

Jane Calderwood O’Kelly. Taken by E.W. Mealy, Monroe, Louisiana


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July 18, 2013 · 10:41 pm