Letters From/To Fred Williams during Spanish
American War - 1898
" A Gift From Tim Laros to People of Palo Alto County"
Camp Geo. H. Thomas
Co. K 52nd Ia Inf Vol
July 13th, "98"
Dear Cousin - I now seat myself to let you know that I am well and have
joined the army. I and three other young men came from Curlew. We arrived here
Monday Morning. We took our first drill Monday night. I enjoyed the trip very
much today is raining. Uncle Sam treats us very good. We will soon have our
uniforms. We have some of our clothes now. If you any notion of joining the army
I advise you to keep away. I have enlisted for two years. I am in Co K the men
are all very well but one but he is getting better but in some of the cos. there
is a great deal of sickness. Well I will close for this time. Write soon. From
your cousin Fred Williams.
Postmarked Mallard, Iowa Aug 4, 1898
Camp Geo. H. Thomas
52nd Ia Inf Vol.
Aug 1st, 1898
Mr. Fred Wiliams,
This will answer for two letters won't it.
I have a few spare moments and I will try to write a
few lines to you to occupy a few of your spare moments if you have any. Edla and
I have just come in from putting the caps on the oats and which have blown off.
it didn't take a very long time. I went to the creamery this morning alone as
Edla gave Pearl Steel a music lesson. I have not seen any of your folks since
the day I wrote some in that letter of your ma's. Aunt Deell is coming down here
next Friday. Mary and I are going up after her and I am going up and stay with
Cora. We will have a big time let me tell you.
Pa, Edla,and I were to a circus in Laurens last
Thursday. Golmar Bros. is the name. it was only a 25 center, but was very good.
Sauren [or Lauren] worked his way in. They were fair and let every boy in free
that worked for a ticket and they had no gambling on the grounds at all. The
clowns were good and they had two of the best trained pigs I ever saw. Well- in
fact this was only the second circus I was ever to but Pa said that and so I
took it for granted. I guess this is circus enough for you so I will try and
tell you about something else.
I have written to Jim but have received no answer as
yet. Edla and Myrtie are up stairs studying preparing for Institute. I suppose
you wasn't sorry to see Mr. Dodge. Say- I wrote to Jim just as if I thought
Dodge [black marks through writing] (excuse marking_ didn't tell the truth. I
wrote and said that Mr. dodge said he saw and shook hands with Jim and then I
(not Dodge ) went to work and asked Jim if he saw Mr. Dodge. I believed Mr.
Dodge all right but mean to ask Jim if he knew him (Mr. Dodge.) George told me
to day that he heard Jim was a professional COOK now I guess there will be a
sort of a celebration in Laurens the 15th. The brick buildings will be up then.
Well Fred I will have to close right away quick because you know why. Write
From your loving cousin Emma.
P.S. We are all well and hope this finds you the same down there. Steven hasn't
joined you there yet has he? or won't he be with you?
Edla started to write on this paper but I put a stop to it because I told her
I wrote you that you could expect a letter from em and I shouldn't have my word
Aug. 3rd, 98
Mr. Fred Williams-
I will write some more as I didn't send this by Pa this
morning. It is a bright morning something new. It has been raining every other
day lately. We are right in among a religious neighborhood now. The Methodists
are holding camp meeting in Archie Johnson's grove. The tent is right in their
front yard. Willie has been up three times but the rest of us hadn't attended
any. I don't know just how the minister's name is spelled but it is something
like this (De Bois). Grandpa had a bad spell again yesterday morning but is
better today. Edla is going to get some little apples for dinner. I guess she
don't mind that work much because she can eat some while she is picking them.
The papers seem to think that the War is near an end. I
hope so. Although I cannot volunteer I am quite Patriotic. I have a red, white
and blue apron. I think it is quite pretty. Of course I don't intend to wear it
only on special occasions. I made it yesterday afternoon.
John Johnson took up his duty this morning. He is going
to work in the Bank at Mallard as assistant Cashier.
My! I hope it is a nice day Friday so we can go to
How the weeks do fly. Here it is Wednesday and it seems
only yesterday was Sun. Does time go so fast down there. I believe you wrote it
didn't. Grandma is now reading to Grandpa about the man who wrote Dixie. His
name is Dan Emmett.
Charley Winchell has gone back to Seattle. He left here
a week ago Mon. I suppose he is now enjoying the City and street life. I thought
I would write you a long letter because I'm afraid you will be home before I
have another chance you will think I am crazy but the truth is I am writing so
fast. I can't write a little bit. Edla has read this letter over or a part
of it and she says you won't understand it. not because it is so eloquently
composed but because there is no composition about it.
Well you will not have such a bad time of it if you
will only bear this saying in mind. Take a Dutchman as he means not as he says.
I must close for this time. Write soon. From Emma.
Postmarked Mallard, Iowa Aug 9, 1898
Co. K. 52nd Regt. Ia Inf Vol.
Aug 9, 1898
I received your letter 5 days and am ashamed of my self to
think that I did not answer before but I am glad to hear that you are well I
hope that you have got good comrades. I have got the war fever just as bad as
ever but there is no place to enlist any more so I guess i will have to content
myself at home. well Fred Omaha is pretty well this month but I hope you will be
able to come here before the Exposition closes. we would have one of the hottest
time you ever had. I don't like Omaha very well so this fall I am going farther
west. I am sorry I could not come with the 3 reg Neb Vol but it can't be helped.
Well I hope your health will hold out well I will close for this time hoping to
hear from you right away.
From your cousin
Postmarked Curlew, Iowa Aug 12, 1898
Care Co K
52 Iowa Vol Infantry
Curlew, Ia., Aug 12th, 1898
Mr. Fred Williams,
Dear Brother, we received your letter tonight and was glad to
hear from you. Daisy and I went up town today. I think your badge is very
pretty. I would like to go to Emmetsburg tomorrow morning to Ralph Duncan
funeral. But I don't suppose we can. Daisy is here yet and she is still alive.
We went to the funeral today. Lou Eclands sister was buried today. The fellow
that preached the funeral sermon was a swede we could not understand what he
Dear Brother Fred I wish I could write good I would write lots it makes me
tired. I try to be a good little girl. Till you come home from
Dear Brother Fred
We received your letter tonight and was glad to hear from
you. We are all well and hope to hear the same from you. Well we just finished
stacking to-day. There is twelve Stacks all together. I am going to herd
to-morrow. Daisy, Nettie and Etta went to Miss Exlands funeral this forenoon.
There is a party to Matthesons to-night but we will not go on account of the
funeral. I think your badge is a dandy. There is going to be a Woodmen picnic
before long. They are pulling the hill down.
Well I will close fore this time so good bye.
I am well and hope to find you the same. We finished stacking
grain today and are not sorry of it. The machine has not come yet but they are
expecting it to-morrow night if it comes. Youngreen will thrash Monday. I think
we will let our grain go through the sweat before we thrash it. Bennet is
stacking grain and Frank is going to help him tomorrow.
Well news are scarce and what there was are all wrote so I
will close for this time from your Brother
I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know I am
well and hope to find you the same. Well news are Pretty scarce with us but I
will try to answer your letter. I would have written the other time but we were
all up the night before and ma did not say nothing about that she was going to
write. So Rhodda never expects to see Ia. again alive. We are all through
stacking grain now we finished to-day. We have been expecting the machine
tonight but it did not come.
We have roasting corn now. I am going to help Bennett stack
tomorrow we have 12 big stack up.
The Eckland girl was buried today. R.H. Duncan will be buried
There was going to be a party over to Matthesons to night but
we did not go it hasnt rained a day since a week ago to night when I was hauling
in grain. I got on quite a load with the big rack I mand? & Nelly and got
Well the Prairie Chickens are getting thick now on our land
pa wont let any body hunt there now old Sam can set then all right. We will have
a time ? when you get back. We hardly need at all we can almost catch them.
I took Sam out and he would not go the way I wanted him to
and so I went anyway and cared up a chicken and then the dog came along and set
the place where the chicken had been about 3 or 4 rods
Christina Thompson was over to Coakleys party Tuesday night.
We took our horses and didnt get home till 3 o'clock and the next day stacked
two big stacks of oats.
Well I guess I will close for this time Write soon. Love to
you and Jim.
From Frank. Best regard to the Boys.
Postmarked Mallard, Iowa Aug 13, 1898
52nd Ia Inf Vol.
Curlew, Ia., Aug 13/98.
We read your letter of the 9th just last night and was glad
to hear you were still well.
We are all done stacking. Youngren's friend from Ill.
is here and expects to thrash for several in this vicinity. they will not get
near all the thrashing in this neighborhood, as there are three other machines
owned near here Kunne's Pickford's Waldron's.
Youngren says his friends machine is a very large one. Would
come in and thrash us out before breakfast. it has not got here yet. They
expected it last night, it may come to night.
We will thrash our barley and let the rest of the grain go
trough the sweat. You will probably be to home to help by that time. It seems to
me Rhodda is very foolish to talk so discouraging. he not only discourage's
himself by talking that way, but is apt to make others that are easily
influenced feel down in the mouth. You boys there are so much better off than
those poor fellow down in Cuba (that had to fight in the trenches in mud and
water knee deep with the thermometer 110 deg or more in the shade) that you
ought to feel thankful. You will feel better and stand it better any way by
looking at the bright side of things, than you will by looking at the dark side.
The boys have told you about the Ecke and girls both it was
Selma that died.
The Reporter we got yesterday said they expected Ralph
Duncans remains last night and the funeral would be to day. I am not so very
busy to day. I have been doing all the work, all the boys done was to have up
the grain, and pitch it up to me and I done all the work, well as the rest told
about all the news I will close for this time we are all well, your mother is
feeling very well better than fore some time, give my regards to all the boys
from your father.
H S Williams
Dear Son I will just write a few lines the boys
will do most of the writing. I feel sorry for Mr. Rhodda if he is discourage you
bys must try and encurge him I dont think it will be long now till you boys will
be neer enought So we can go and see you all if you should be sent to Desmoine
some of us would go to see you well it is bed time so i will close for this time
I hope you dont feel like Mr. Rhodda poor fellow how does others boys feel i
mean B and F keep it A good bet the war is pretty neer ended we received your
badge all right I think it is very nice we will take good care of it till your
safe return well I must go to bed so good night from Mother.
Mr. H.S. Williams
Palo Alto Co.
Co. K 52nd Regiment.
Ia Inf. Vol.
Aug 14th, 1898
I received your letter and was glad to hear from you. I am
well and hope to hear the same from you.
Well prospects of us getting out of here are pretty good as
there is so much sickness. It is still on the increase. We are having nice
weather here now. Today it is still on the increase. We are having nice weather
here now. Today it is pretty warm. I had a letter from Steve Barker. Since Harry
Dickinson went to Iowa with Ralph Duncan I am now staying with Mr Rodda and
Leighton. Mr. Leighton is a fine boy. We have some great old times. Well news is
very scarce today. So I will have to close for this time. Write Soon.
From your Son Fred Williams. Tell the rest I write to them
soon and I haven't much time. We may have dress parade tonight.
No Envelope with this letter.
August 25, 1898
Dear Father, Mother, Brothers, and S...
I received the check all right, and I said in one letter that
some of us had not been in long enough to draw full pay so it run us short. We
have to have something fit to eat and that is all I spend my money for. The food
that the government furnishes is full of maggots half the time. They have to
keep sorting it over to get any thing fit to eat. The reason Bert Carter sent
ten dollars home he had $20 then and now he is broke. Next month I will send ten
dollars home. And the reason I moved in with Rodda and the other fellows they
had a big tent and only three in it and and we have a small one with four in it.
One of us intended to move and make it more comfortable for us all. And about
Radda [Rodda] wanting to get in with the school teachers is a mistake. Our
Quartermaster assigned us places and we had to take them. What questions is it
that ma asked me. I did see any questions. I will try and answer all you ask me.
Last Sunday we were off to the top of Lookout Mt. We could
see out ...[unreadable words]... states. We took the electric car from
Chattanooga to the foot of the Mt. and from there to the top we took the car. We
rode three ...[several sentences faded and unreadable]...Well I tell you it is
getting risky down here. There was one case of yellow fever. The man died about
two days ago. There is some talk of quarantining us here or in Des Moines. The
boys say if they don't get us out of here in a short time we will march out. It
is getting pretty tough. It is thought that we may get out of here Saturday
mourning. And yet it is doubtfull. I sat up with some of the boys in Co K one
night last week. It almost made me sick to see the boys. Some were so weak that
they could not brush their faces and there mouth, eyes and noses would be just
full with flies, and no one to brush them off. It kept us busy tending our boys
so we could not ...[cannot read rest of sentence].
It is raining now. We need it very bad. Well hoping to hear
from you soon. I will close for this time. Love to all. Fred Williams.