Posts Tagged ‘WWI’

James Packett’s WWI Registration Card

October 27, 2009
JamesPackettWWI RegistrationCard

X marks the spot

Letter from James Packett, Camp Jackson, SC, 1918

October 22, 2009
Page 1

Page 1

Page 2

Page 2

Page 3

Page 3

Camp Jackson

SC

Friday 14 – 1918

My Dear Wife

            I will try and write you again as I have wrote you one letter since I arrived at Camp Jackson Sunday evening but have not heard from you yet.  Well dear you no that I am crazy to hear from you & little Ruth it seems as tho you have forgotten me.  But dear I will forgive you for this time as it may be possible that you did not get the letter.  I have been under the weather every since I have been back but I am feeling a little better now.  I hope you are well by this time and be sure and take good care of baby Ruth.  Dear I don’t know when I will get to come home again for they say we won’t stay here very long the company commander said this company should have been made up and sent to France before we were organized they are giving us our equipments as fast as they can they have issued our rifles.  I am going to have my picture made soon as I get the money and send you all one.  Tell Lucile that Louie Richies brother is here in camp with me and he said to ask her if she ever heard from Louie.  Tell Ed I don’t every see Mr. Lively any more and tell Mother Webb that I said to be good and write to me tell all the children howdy and to be good and be nice and take good care of your self for I don’t know when I will get to see you again but dear I hope some day we can be together again and live happy for if I have to cross the waters I am going with a full determination of coming back to you.  So I will close for this time by saying good bye from your husband.

            From      James Packett

to Wife

Address James Packett Pvt

Second Corps Artillery Park

Camp Jackson

S.C.

Truck Co. B.

*****

This letter appears to have been written in June, 1918.  My mother, referred to as the baby Ruth, was born in May, 1918, so I believe that her father James Packett had been able to get leave to go home when she was born.  The letter is dated simply “Friday 14 – 1918”, and June is the only month in 1918, after my mother was born, with Friday the 14th.

Yesterday evening I made a startling discovery, at least to me, about James Packett.  On www.ancestry.com, I found a record of his WWI draft registration on June 5, 1917.  He stated that he had no dependents – no mother, father, wife, child under the age of 12, brother or sister under the age of 12 – who depended upon him for support.  “No one” is how he filled in the blank.  So it appears that he and my grandmother married and had my mother within the year, which certainly isn’t impossible.  That’s not the startling thing.  At the bottom of the sheet, on the signature line, he made an “X”.  He couldn’t write his name.  He couldn’t even sign his name.  I’ve heard of people who couldn’t write anything except to sign their name, but my grandfather couldn’t write his own name.  It’s hard for me to imagine that someone in the 20th century couldn’t WRITE THEIR OWN NAME.

Yet we have these letters that my grandfather wrote from Camp Jackson and from France.  I would now doubt that he achieved reading, and writing in cursive, in only a year.  So when I compared the letter above with the one that I previously posted, it is clear that the handwriting is different.  Different people wrote these letters, none of whom were my grandfather. 

When he came home from the war, he went back to work in the textile mills.  He was also a preacher.  So how did he read the Bible?

Letter from James Packett in France, Oct. 27, 1918

October 11, 2009
My grandfather writes to my grandmother during WWI

My grandfather writes to my grandmother during WWI

Page 2 from France

Page 2 from France

My grandfather James Packett was in WWI.  He wrote home several times to his wife, who was my grandmother Ruth, and mentions “Baby”, who was the oldest child, my mother.  She was the only child at that time.  This letter’s transcription follows – comments welcome.

*****

Some Where in France

Oct. – 27 – 1918

My Dear Wife: – I will try and answer your sweet letter just received.  And was glad to hear from you and baby again.  I was glad to hear that you all were well.  Well Darling this leaves me well and sincerely hope that you all are well.  Well Darling I am sending you and baby a post card and handchief a piece.  They are not as nice and pretty a card as I would like to have sent you but they are the best I could get ahold of just now.  Well Darling you said in your letter that Jerry Lee’s wife was taking his allotment and going with the boys and having a good time on the money.  That is nothing more than could be expected of her.  She ought to do him that way for he knew her before he married her.  Darling – she is not much.  I knew her myself.  She lived out at Fountain City and his mother is not what she ought to be so I would rather that you would not have any thing to do with either Barb or Jerry’s wife and I no I say for you not to that you will not.  I am certainly glad that I have got a sweet wife that I can trust.  You asked me if I loved you like I used to?  I certainly do.  Darling I don’t know how to express my love for you if you only knew the secret of my heart.  I am certainly that you would have not asked me that question for all of my love and best wishes is for you and baby.  I very often look at those little pictures you sent me and how bad I wish I were with you all but I think and hope that I will be with you all soon.  Let us hope that way any how.  I very often have the blues so bad that I do not no hardly what to do but Darling we must make the best of I that we can and hope for better days.  So don’t worry about me for I am getting along alright and take good care of yourself and baby for I want you all to be pretty and sweet when I return home to you again.  And Darling you spoke pretty girls in this country.  You said you no that they were here but there is no one one earth can take the place of the one I left behind.  So I will close for this time.  I am hoping to hear from you again soon.  Give my best love to you and Baby.

I am as ever your

Loving Husband

James

Co. A.

2nd Corps

Arty Park

American Ex. Forces via New York           

OK

Roy (illegible)

1st Lt.

 *****

Home from the war

Home from the war

The three little children are Millard James, Etta Marie, and Cecil Paul.  The tall child is my mother.  She didn’t like her stick-straight hair.  Etta got the curls.  I’m guessing this picture was taking on Easter Sunday.  That seems to be the tradition in my family.  Get dressed up for church and get your picture taken.  For that tradition I am grateful, for this is the only group picture I have of this family.  James contracted some sort of lung disease while overseas, and was sickly for the rest of his life.  After he died, my grandmother remained a widow for about 40 years until her death in 1984.