Category Archives: WWI Letters

William Abram O’kelly Jr. served in World War One as a Sergeant of the Louisiana Army’s Motor Transport Company repair unit 310. Abe left for army camp at Jessup, Georgia in 1918, and was shipped overseas to France in the latter part of that year. He was stationed in Coblenz, Germany from 1918 to 1919. This collection of army letters was written primarily by Abe to his father and sisters in Monroe, Louisiana.

1918 United War Work Campaign Contribution receipt

November 12, 1918
Mary O’Kelly contributes the sum of $5.00 to the United War Work Campaign.

The United War Work Campaign brought together 7 organizations – the YMCA, the YWCA, the American Library Association, the War Camp Community Service, the Knights of Columbus, the Jewish Welfare Board, and the Salvation Army – into one large funding drive charged with raising over $170 million for the war in 1918.

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May 16, 1919 Nerobergbahn railway postcard

Nerobergbahn, Wiesbaden, Germany May 16, 1919 to Monroe, Louisiana

William Abram O’Kelly Jr. to his sister Jane Calderwood O’Kelly

May 1919 Postcard front

Picture postcard of the Nerobergbahn, a funicular railway in the city of Wiesbaden, Germany.

Am sending you three boxes today. Look out for them. Abe

Am sending you three boxes today. Look out for them. Abe

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Filed under Jane Calderwood O'Kelly, Letterheads, Photographs, William Abram O'Kelly Jr., WWI Letters

May 5, 1919 Took a long walk down the Rhine River yesterday afternoon

May 5, 1919

Coblenz, Germany May 5, 1919 to Monroe, Louisiana

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

Dear Bootsie:
Your letter of April 18 was received yesterday and I note you say you are waiting patiently for me to answer some of your letters. Well I think I have always answered them unless it was one or two I received where I got one from all of you the same day and at that I think I have written you as many letters as I did the rest. The mail is not coming through very good now but what does come in good time as you can see by the way the one you wrote it came in 15 days which is fine.

So Clay has another boy. Where is he living now and what is he doing. I did not know he was in trouble till Jennie mentioned something about his trial in her last letter.

We are having fine weather here now and got a new issue of light underclothes and socks today, Also a new coat and a service stripe as we will be one here 6 months on the 9th and will have to put them on there.

Took a long walk down the Rhine River yesterday afternoon. It certainly is a pretty place. All of the hills are covered with cherry apple and peach trees which are in full bloom.

So those pictures showed up all right. I did not whether you could  locate me or not where they were fixing for the picture I was in town and so was way in the back and I moved my head so I could not tell whether you could locate me or not. I was on the end opposite the officers and was in the back. So if  that is where you have me located I guess you have the right one.

Had a letter from Adolphe Saturday he is down in France somewhere. I notice by the paper that lots of Monroe boys are getting back I guess I`ll be dragging in some of these days.

Say I wish I could be in on some of those strawberries, English peas, new potatoe etc. I wrote that the Dutch are just planting potatoes the peas are just coming up and the strawberries have big vines but no berries or flower on them.

I was so glad to hear that papa was improving so much as it makes me feel good to know he is better. Well Bootsie I have written about all I know so will close for this time with lots of love and kisses to all.

Your affectionate brother
Abe

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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

April 8, 1919 News is very scarce

Coblenz, Germany April 8, 1919 to Monroe, Louisiana

William Abram O’Kelly Jr. to his sister Jane Calderwood O’Kelly

Dear Jenn,

Received a letter from you a few days ago and had intended answering sooner but have just neglected it, and news is very scarce.

We are having fine  weather here now regular summer time. Last Sunday Eve I went to Arenberg about 7 kilos from here to see an old Church there. It is very wonderful and interesting to see. I am enclosing some pictures so you can see what it is like.

I had a letter from Miss Armandine today she says that she has been very sick in bed for five weeks but its better now and her husband is with her.

News is so scarce that there is simply nothing to write. The latest news is that we won`t get out of here till after July 1st.

Lots of love and kisses to all,
Your affectionate brother
Abe

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February 8, 1919 I have a great Military secret to tell you

February 8, 1919 Envelope

February 8, 1919

Coblenz, Germany February 8, 1919 to Monroe, Louisiana

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

Dear Bootsie:

Your letter of Dec. 7th and January 8th were received yesterday I was so glad to get them as I was beginning to think you had forgotten me.

I was glad to hear that you had such a nice Christmas and received so many nice presents. Sure wish I could have been in on that good dinner you all had. I can just picture it in my mind’s eye, and my mouth waters every time I think of it. But we are not faring so badly as you may think as we are having lots to eat and the government gives us a 1/2 pound of fruit tablets a week and we can buy all the chocolate and chocolate candy we want at the Y.M.C.A. so you see we do not want for much of anything in the eats or sweets line. Some of the boys complain but lots of them are getting better than they did at home but they would like if they were in homes.

The K.C. [Knights of Columbus] has a branch in our camp. Opened up last night. I went over to their place. Got a cone of chocolate and a Cigar free. Then went over to the Y.M.C.A. and saw some good wrestling and boxing matches. So you know we are not suffering from lack of entertainment.

We are going to get paid for sure tonight as the money and pay [?] came back from the [?] office today we have been looking for it ever since the first but today was the first time we had a sure sign. There will be much joy in Camp tonight as some of the boys have not been paid since being here.

I have a great Military secret to tell you but you must tell no one. That is I believe I have the Cooties as I have felt something crawling over my back all day. I am going to look tonight and see for sure and will advise you further in the premise later on. Well they say you are not a soldier till you have them so why should I worry.

I had a nice long letter from Elizabeth dated Jan 18, this is the latest I have received also got a Christmas card from Evelyn. In fact I got more mail this week than I have any time since I have been here. Tell Evelyn that I not only answered her letter but have written her several letters but have received no reply. Tell her that I think it is the other way round.

Today was an awful pretty day and the sun is shining fine, but it is pretty cold in fact, the coldest day we have had since being here.

I am glad you and Jennie are starting out to win those prizes at 5.00 two this year already is pretty good I think . Carry on with the good work.

Well Bootsie news is scarce so will have to close for this time.
Lots of Love and kisses to all,
Your affectionate brother
Abe
Am sending you one of the 3rd Army insignias. It is worn by the Army of Occupation on the left arm 2 inches below shoulder seam.
Abe

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January 15,1919 Postcard from Coblenz

Coblenz - Lutzel Mariahllf- und Josephinenstift

Coblenz, Germany January 15, 1919 to Monroe, Louisiana

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

Our camp is about a block and a half from this place. We are getting fixed up in fine shape. Have iron beds to sleep in and will get our straw twins in a few days.
Lots of love and kisses to all
Abe

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Circa 1919 Abe sends his picture home from occupied Germany

Abe O'Kelly

Abe sent this photograph of himself posing outside of the military post office in Koblenz, Germany to his family in Monroe, Louisiana.

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