LETTERS HOME

Personal Correspondence of Harry A. Ford to his family, during WWI

Generously donated to the Ford descendents by Cindy Tutt Scaife


Cindy Scaife was able to contact us through GenForum.  She was looking for Ford descendents in order to return some very special letters from Harry A. Ford.  Harry had written these letters home to his father and two brothers, during WWI while stationed in France.  I cannot express my gratitude to Cindy for her kindness and generosity.

Harry served with Co. F. of the 13th Engineers.  A newspaper article found with these letters mentions these Engineers:

These engineers are "working hard in order to be ready to contruct and operate roads in France and to fight for this privilege if necessary," the dispatches say.  You "Sammy Backers" are going to have a chance to get some firsthand information about all this work and preparation and at the same time you are going to do a world of good to a "Sammy" who is over there fighting your fight as well as his own.

Now is the time to get into this thing and give the Sammies a boost.  They are there.  They need you.  Letters by the bushel keep coming into the "Sammy Backer" editor enlisting the patriotic men above draft age who have been wondering how they can help.  Suggestions and helpful ideas by the score are also being received.  The poets, too are being inspired by the "Sammy Backer" idea and numerous verses have been received.

Will Reed Dunroy, associate editor of Vaudeville, one of the first of the "Sammy Backers" to respond, contributes this for the cause:


"Come on, you older fellows,
who cannot fight in France,
Come, join the "Sammy Backers"
And give the lads a chance;
Enlist your time and money,
Your moral courage, too,
To help the boys in khaki
Who've gone to fight for you."

"Come, get behind the colors,
with cash and time and wit,
And back some sturdy Sammy
with your remaining grit.
All forward, now, for freedom!
Let no one dare to lag!
Drive hard against the German
For country and the flag."






To: Mr. W. J. Ford

Dongola, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

June 28, 1917

Dear Father

Will write you a few lines to let you know I am still here but I think we will leave Chicago about Monday or Tuesday for somewhere east - can't say where we will go but I suppose we will go through New York. Suppose we will start across the water in a few days after we get there. Did you get the picture I sent you? And was it in good shape when it got there? I suppose you can find me on it all right. That is a part of the company I am in - There are 6 companies in this regiment. 168 men in each company. I am taking a camera with me and will send you several pictures as I go along - We are doing plenty of drilling everyday now but I like it fine - It is better than working in an office. I will send you a good picture of myself alone in a few days If you have anything to write me very soon address it here but we will be gone from here by July 4th any way I am pretty sure - Then my address will be

{ Private H. A. Ford

Company F - Third Engineers

National Army U. S.

Expeditionary Force

Care adjutant General

Washington, D. C. }

Be sure it is all there so it will go through O. K. All mail will have to be addressed that way to Washington, then it will be forwarded to us, where ever we are. Well I will close for this time. I will write you again when I find out for sure when we leave but I think it will be Monday or Tuesday - Love to all

Harry


To: Mr. W. J. Ford

Dongola, Illinois

U. S. A.

Somewhere in England

Monday, August 13th, 1917

Dear Father

Well here I am after crossing the big pond all O. K. - was on the water a long time but it was very calm most of the time; only 1 or 2 days that we had any rough sea. I only lost part of one meal by sea-sickness. Only felt dizzy just a few minutes. Am sure having a great trip. This sure is a pretty country. We are in a big camp here for a while for some training. Don't know how long we will be here, I suppose it will be a week or two. Will close for this time as it is hard to write when I don't know what will be cut out by the censors. We can't mention any name of towns we are in or what boat we came on or where we are going, so we don't know what we can write only that we are well or sick or something like that. I am feeling fine and hope you are all well-Love to all-

Harry

Company F - 13th Engineers U. S. A.

Expeditionary Force in France

Care adjutant General, Washington D. C.


Post Card

To: W. J. Ford

Dongola, Illinois

U. S. A.

Y. M. C. A.

With American Expeditionary Forces

Somewhere in France 8/23/1917

Arrived safely and am in good health. Was in London one day and enjoyed it very much. Saw the King and Queen of England and several of the most notable points of interest.

Harry

Military Mail on Active Service

From: H. A. Ford

Co. F 13th Engineers

U. S. A.

c/o adjutant General

Expeditionary Force

Washington, D. C.


To: W. J. Ford

Dongola, Ill.

U. S. A.

Soldier's Letter

Somewhere in France 9/14/1917

Dear Father,

Will write you a few lines to let you know I am still here and doing fine. Have not done any real railroad work so far but I guess will be put to work before long. Have been in camp in a pretty big town for about 3 weeks but now in a camp which is only a military station. Am just close enough to the front to hear the big guns firing night and day Have seen a few air battles that is, I have seen shells bursting around the aeroplanes that were being fired on from the ground. Have had some beautiful weather, but it has been raining and is cold today. Was almost in Paris one day - was close enough to see the famous Eifel tower. I think will have a chance to visit Paris later on. Will have lots to tell you when I come home but am not allowed to tell much in a letter. Some of this may be censored. Will close for this time hoping this reaches you and that you are all well. I am still in good health and enjoying myself.

address now is

H. A. Ford

Co. F. 13th Engrs (Ry.) U. S. A.

A. E. F. via New York

Capt L. Overpeck reviewed for censoring


Soldiers letter

To: Mr. W. J. Ford

Dongola, Ills.

U. S. A.

Sept 29th 1917

Somewhere in France

Dear Father

Will write you a few lines to let you know I am still enjoying good health. Have a position as a station master or agent in a town that has been almost destroyed by shell fire in the beginning of the war. It is a military road, only used for moving troops and supplies, no passengers. Not a woman in the town now, nothing but soldiers. Before the war it was a very beautiful town of ten or twelve thousand inhabitants. From here I can hear the battles and see the reflections in the sky at night and can see signal lights that are sent up like sky rockets at night, but there is practically no danger here. There is very little work to do here. All trains are run at night as a rule to avoid being shelled or bombed by aeroplanes. I work one day and night then off one day and night. I wrote Mary a couple cards but I don't think I will ever live with her any more. When I get back to U. S. will come home before I go any where else. Will close for this time. - Harry

Address now - H. A. Ford

Co. F. 13th Engrs. (Ry) U. S. A.

A. E. F. via New York


Soldier's letter

To: Elmer J. Ford

3945 McPherson Ave.

St. Louis, Mo.

U. S. A.

Somewhere in France

Oct. 5, 1917

Dear Brother.

Will drop you a line this morning as I am not very busy - Rained last night and it is damp and chilly today. I am working as a station master on a military road which only handles military supplies and troops. Most all trains are run at night without any lights so they cannot be seen by aeroplanes. There have been a few bombs dropped from aeroplanes pretty close to the depot and quarters where I sleep, too close to be comfortable. There is a cave in the side of the hill just outside of station that we jump into when we hear a German plane coming over. On bright moon-light nights they keep us busy going in & coming out.

I have a camera and expect to have a few good pictures when I get home again if the Germans don't get me.

I guess you are having a good time in the city Seeing plenty good shows. This is sure a pretty country would like to see all of it if the war was over. Will close for the present. Write me some news. My address is

H A Ford

Co. F. 13th Engrs (Ry) U. S. A.

A. E. F. via New York


H. A. Ford

Co. F. 13th Engrs (Ry.)

Soldier's Letter

To: C. F. Ford

First National Bank

Mound City, Illinois

U. S. A.

France Apr. 25 - 1918

Dear Bro:

Received your letter and was very glad to hear from you - Had a letter from Elmer a few days later telling me you are now at Mounds Glad to hear you are doing well. We had a mild winter here compared with what you had at home. I am doing practically nothing but eating and sleeping just now. It has been very quiet here for some time but we can never tell when it may become very lively. I am in good health and weigh more than ever before. I suppose you see cousin Frank Corzine occasionally. Give him my regards if you do. You can get more news of what is happening over here, from the papers than I would be permitted to write and you can form opinions just about as nearly correct, so I will close as I can't think of much to write - Hoping to hear from you again soon -

Your Bro.

Harry

Co. F. 13th Engrs (Ry.)

American E. F.

via

N. Y.


To: W. J. Ford

Dongola, Ills.

U. S. A.

Somewhere in France 10/17/1917

Dear Father:

Still at work and in good health. It is getting pretty cold over here. Had some big fronts. I sleep on a canvas cot with a straw mattress and 2 blankets under me and 5 blankets over me. I wrote to Elmer a few days ago. Hope his arm continues to improve. Just 4 1/2 months today since I became a soldier. Almost every man I see in this country is in the uniform. Will close for this time - Hope you are all well, write me often.

Your Son

Harry

Co. F 13th Engrs (Ry) U. S. A.

A.E. F. via New York


H. A. Ford

Co. F. 13th Engrs (Ry)

Soldiers letter

To: Mr. W. J. Ford

Dongola, Ills

U. S. A.

Somewhere in France Nov. 21 - 1917

Dear Father:

Will write you a few lines to let you know I am still alive and getting along very well. It rains a great deal and is very muddy, otherwise I like it very much. Were there many boys drafted from there? Is Elmer still at St. Louis? I wrote him but no answer yet. I suppose Clarence is still in the bank. Some of the boys are going to Paris now and they all say it is the greatest city in the world only 3 men can go at same time and can only be gone 3 days. I don't figure on going until spring or summer. I bought 4 Liberty bonds, which takes $20.00 a month out of my salary but that will be $200.00 I will have next July. I am going to take some insurance too - Don't know how much yet but I think will take $10,000.00 which will cost me about $8.00 a month. That will leave me about $5.00 a month out of my check but I think I can do very well on that, after I take my trip to Paris. The policy will be sent to you when it is fixed up, which will be some time in February I think. The insurance is paid in monthly payments for 240 months. Which would pay me about $50.00 or more a month if I were to be disabled. Will close for this time, Hoping you are all well -

Your son

Harry

Co. F. 13th Engrs (Ry)

A E F via New York


This is a small, blue piece of paper folded in half. On the front, it reads:

Soldiers Letter

Mr. W. J. Ford

Dongola, Ill.

U. S. A.

Inside it reads:

From Harry

Co. F. 13th Engrs (Ry)

A E F via New York

Somewhere in France

Nov. 27 - 1917

Merry Christmas, A happy and prosperous New Year to you all - Hope to be home before another one.


H. A. Ford

Co. F. - 13th Engrs (Ry.)

A. E. F.

To: Mr. Elmer J. Ford

Dongola, Illinois

U. S. A.

#15

France July 23rd, 1918

Dear Bro:

Will write you a few lines to let you know I am still in good health. I think I forgot to send you a copy of our paper for June so I am enclosing a copy in this letter. I suppose you are saving them. Would like to have you keep all of them as it will be a pretty good history of the 13th. Have you missed any month since it started in Feby? If so, I will try & get any that you miss. Just rec'd. the letter you wrote June 30th - Sorry to hear Aunt Eliza is not doing so well. I get the "Talk" but there doesn't seem to be an awful lot of news in it. I don't get it very regularly. It is generally a month and a half or 2 months late. Sometimes get 2 or 3 at same time then won't get any for about a month. Would like to be there to help you eat the strawberries and all the other good garden stuff. When I do get home I will sure keep somebody busy feeding me up for a while. My appetite is sure a good one. Just one year ago today we left the United States. It sure has been a long year. Will soon be 33 years of age too, what do you think of that? I can't hardly realize that I can be that old. I feel like I was about 24 or 25. Well I will close for this time. Write soon, Hoping you all are well and that I can be with you again by next year this time.

With love to all,

Harry





If you descend from the Dongola FORD family, please contact Susan.



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