Monday, October 15, 2018

Military Monday - Letters from Henry part 15

Well, those were the last letters that I have from Henry.  He must have returned to duty, because in November, his parents received this telegram:




Deeply regret to inform you that it is officially reported that Private Henry Steinbrecker Infantry died Oct. seventeenth of wounds received in action.




His body was returned home and he is buried in the Pettisville Lutheran Cemetery near his parents, grandparents, and brother John.



There was a small write-up about him (along with other Fulton County Casualties) in the Standard History of Fulton County, Ohio.



Monday, October 01, 2018

Military Monday - Letters from Henry part 14

More letters asking about the harvest and school.  Henry is still apparently with his second company although it is hard to tell if he has left the hospital and returned to duty.

He had some pictures taken in uniform and is sending them home.


France Sept. 15, 1918
Dear Parents,
Will try and write you a few lines this Sunday morning and sure is a lovely one could not wish for a finer morning. No doubt you people are all going to church today, sure would enjoy it very much if I could be with again and hear one of Rev. Bunge’s sermons for I have not heard a good sermon for a long time. I intend to attend the services here this morning but they not like our Minister.
Had some photos taken of myself and will enclose three in this letter mail one to Marie and the others you can have unless you want to give Wills one but don’t forget one belongs to you Arthur.
I am fine and dandy getting back to myself again weighed 173 a few days ago that is nearly my average weight again.
Hope you will get them O.K. I will send some of them to Rosa for I have three of them left over.
How is everybody by this time and is Grandmother able to up the same as usual don’t for to tell her that I send her my Best Wishes.
Do you hear how Coles’ and Clara and their families are getting along this summer. How do you like school by this time? I bet you are studying like a good fellow. With Love and Best wishes.


France Sept 19 1918
Will try write a few lines before going to dinner as it is nearly time to eat once again. I would like to have dinner with you folks again but this is impossible just now so we will have to wait a little longer. Come to think of it Lorenz had another birthday if I am not mistaken he is 20 yrs. Old now. Is he still working in Hammond?
Hope you folks are all enjoying the best of good health the same as I am.
You need not be alarmed if you do not hear from me so frequently as you have in the past month or so. You should have received at least two (2) letters each week in that time. Also some photo’s last week in a letter hope you have received them O.K. had some taken that perhaps you would like to get a glimpse of me. You must not expect to see a model of anything of that sort for it is just my own self the same as always A little more fleshy then I was about four weeks before that, this short rest helped me a great deal and I weight nearly as much as other summers and feeling fine so you must be a real good boy.
With love and best wishes


France Sept 27, 1918
Dear Parents & Arthur,
Friday afternoon and have nothing else to do just now so I thot perhaps you would be glad to get a few lines from me for a change.
Hoping this will find you all well and happy the same as I am at present. I sure would be glad to receive a letter from you, for it is a long time since I got a letter from any one. I expect to get where some of my mail is in a few days, and sure ought to have quite a bunch of it by this time.
I suppose you are going to school and studying like a good fellow. How are the parents getting on this summer? I hope the rheumatism is not bothering them so much this summer as usual.
Do you get to see Wills very often? Give them my best wishes, I will try and write them a letter in a short time for news is quite scarse with me at present.
Suppose you all had a ood time at the fair this year I wish that I could have been there with you. I want you to be careful and not eat too much turkey for Thanksgiving. With Love and Best Wishes to all.



He must realize how long the mail takes, because he is asking about the Thanksgiving turkey and it is only September.

Again, note the censors mark in the corner.


Monday, September 24, 2018

Military Monday - Letters from Henry part 13

The next few letters are about everyday things.  Henry asks about the harvest and gives Arthur some advice about school.  Remember, Arthur was the youngest of his siblings and would be  twelve years old in 1918.

Arthur Steinbrecher (1906-1989)



France Sept. 5, 1918
Dear Parents & Arthur,
How is the world using you all by this time!
No doubt you will be going to school by the time this letter reaches you. If you study real hard you will soon finish the country school and then you can go to high school and study for some professor. How would you like that.
Do you have any melons this year? If you do don’t forget to eat some for me. And also pumpkin pie. What ever you do don’t over eat for it might make you sick.
I suppose you have threshed the grain by this time and had a good yield.
This pen is getting stubby the ink don’t want to feed at all. I wrote a letter to Rosa and told her if she did not need the money that Dad has from me to let Father use it another year.
But if she needs it I suppose it belongs to her for she comes first in that.
How is Grandmother by this time same as always I suppose.
News is getting scarse with me whatever you do, don’t eat too much chicken for thanksgiving dinner. Will quit for this time. With love and best wishes to all,
Henry

He mentions his sister Rosa.  She was 2 years younger than he was and had been married for 8 years to Fred McQuillin.   All I could find was a picture of her in 1980 age 88.

Rosa Steinbrecher McQuillin (1892-1980)


France Sept 8 1918
Dear Parents
Sunday noon just had dinner and so you know I am all set till this evening.
Only wish I could enjoy one of those real home cooked meals again for they sure would hit the spot. I see in the paper that joy riding on Sunday with the auto’s was to stop in order to save gasoline for the army trucks here in France.
So I suppose you will have to ride your bicycle instead.
What are you doing to pass all of your time?
Bet you are working like a real man, digging spuds, cutting corn, and helping the neighbors thresh.
I am busy resting for the present but this is about to an end again and then it will be a different story. For my wound is nearly healed up.
Have a little sore throat and they wanted to remove my tonsils, but I will keep them a little longer, unless they trouble me too much then out they come.
I am going to an entertainment this afternoon at one of the wards, have to go and spend some of the time for it is too lonesome staying in the town all day long.
How is Rosa and her children getting on this summer? Bet they are growing like a weed, and Fred is he ale to keep working all time. The first time you see them don’t forget to say hello for me.
With love and best wishes,


France Sept. 12, 1918
Dear Parents & Arthur
Hope you are all well and happy the same as usual, only you might be a little more busy now then you have been for several months. for it is about time for the school to open again so it is dear old school days once more, how do like the walk to school each morning and back in the evening? I bet you don’t walk but ride your bicycle.
Hope you have a real good teacher and all mind him well for you know what usually happens to the naughty schollars they have to do extra study after school hours and that is not very nice.
How is the Ford doing by this time, and has Father learned to drive it yet? I bet he is a real speedster.
How do you go to church on Sunday for I see in the papers they want the people to stop using their motor on Sunday to save gasoline.
How is the weather this time of the year around there? Hot enough to make anyone loke for a shade tree I suppose it is not so hot here any more. Rained nearly all nght. Last evening we were at the movies at the Red Cross and when the pictures were about half finished the electric current went of and we had to go back without seeing it all. So you see they put one over us that time.
With love and best wishes,



Of course, the letters are all censored (note the stamp on the bottom corner of the envelope), so there isn't a lot of details about where the troops are.


Monday, September 17, 2018

Military Monday - Letters from Henry part 12

Henry is still lonely - he states he is the only one of his company there - but then mentions that he is in the hospital with a shrapnel wound to his elbow!  Remember back in August of 1918 he mentioned that he was having a "vacation" with a new company.  Apparently he didn't want his parents to worry that he had been wounded.




France Aug 30 1918
Dear Parents,
Hoping this will find you all well and happy the same as I am at present. Have you heard from Clara and Lorenz lately. By the papers I see that he will soon get a chance to be in it to.
I have not got any more of my mail for about two months and don’t expect to get any till I am out of the hospital.
Think I will be leaving next week for my elbow is all healed up again it was only a small shrapnel wound at the left elbow and in a few days I will be good as ever.
It is quite lonesome here I am the only one from our company. Been away rom the company since three weeks Wednesday. How would you lik to have one of these little jack ass and a two wheel cart the have here? Give my best wishes to all, With Love, Henry
Pvt. Henry Steinbrecher .
Co.B 38th Inf
A P.O. 740
American E.F.



Here is a telegram dated September 27 informing his parents that he had been wounded on August 7.
Clearly communications 100 years ago were not nearly as rapid as today.



Monday, September 10, 2018

Military Monday - Letters from Henry part 11

Henry is still feeling a little homesick.  He wants to receive more mail but thinks it is getting lost.  He is able to keep up on news from home in the Army newspaper.

Lorenz Steinbrecher (1898-1968)


He asks about his younger brother Lorenz Steinbrecher who had moved to Hammond Indiana to find work.



France Aug 24, 1918
Dear Parents,
Trusting this will find you all in the very best of health the same as it leaves me. Come to think about it this is Clara’s birthday, also Pa and Will had theirs a short time ago. It may be a little late but better late then not at all.
I wish them all many more happy birthdays and if I am not mistaken, Mother’s will be sometime this month. And for my birthday you can send me a keg of good beer with plenty of ice.
Have you threshed any of the grain this summer? How are the crops. I see by the paper that they were better than last year. We have been getting a paper every day here at this place. They are printed especially for the A.E.F. here in this country but I been at places where we could not get any for several weeks.
There is usually a little in it every day about the U.S.A. I don’t know what I will do if my mail ever find me and I afraid I will have to take seeral days off to read it all.
One of the men here got 75 letters all at one time going some isn’t it. Have not been able to see Dan. Wrote him a letter long time ago but have not received an ans. yet. Met a man from the same company he is in and he told me that the last time he saw him a few weeks ago. Dan all O.K. feeling fine.
Have you heard from Lorenz lately is he still at Hammond at the R.Y. office?
I see by the papers it will soon get him for if I remember right he is 20 years next month.
When you see Wills’ give them my best wishes and any of the others also. Would like to write them each a letter, but that is impossible so they will have to be satisfied without. I want you to be a real good boy and mind your teacher. You can take Rosa to the fair for your girl this year, she will show you a good time.

With love and Best Wishes, 

He remembers that it was his sister Clara's birthday.  Clara was born August 24, 1895 and married William Stromberger in 1914.

William and Clara Steinbrecher Stromberger 1914


He also mentions taking Rosa to the fair - this was probably the Fulton County Ohio fair that was celebrating its 50th anniversary in 1918.



Monday, August 27, 2018

Military Monday - Letters from Henry part 10

Henry is still somewhere in France - and missing his family.  He is only allowed to write one letter per week and tries to split his letters between his parents and his wife. 

On July 15 he writes:

Dear Parents
You may be wondering why I do  not write more than I do, but I will tell you why.
At the other camp we were allowed 2 letters a week and here only one, so you see that I can’t write to everybody. Some one will have to be disappointed. I will try and write one to the parents, and one to Rosa, then you will have to try and exchange letters.
Got a letter from you and one from Fred and Rosa this evening that is all the mail I have received so far but expect some more tomorrow. Have not received any from Rosa yet.
One of the boys got a letter yesterday with a news paper clipping with a bunch of names, and I see that John was in it for June 24 so by this time he has been at Sherman for three weeks already wonder how he likes to learn a new job this hot weather but there is nothing like getting used to it. What did he do with his auto? Are you running them both if you are, I cant see how you can stand so many auto rides. Was glad to hear that Rose and Eva and families are getting along fine. Don’t forget to let me know how Julis is?
I suppose Lorenz and Clara were home the last week in June, I wish I could have got to see the new son bet he is a real bouncer. You can write a card to all the rest of them and give them my regards for I will not able to write to any of them unless we will be allowed to write more later on.
How are the Parents this summer, is the Rheumatism bothering them so much again. I hope not and Grandmother getting more feeble every week. Give her my best wishes and also to the neighbors. How is Rev. Bunge? Hope he is able to occupy his place on the pulpit again.
It was quite hot today rained this morning in fact it showered every day for nearly a week. In the day time it is quite warm and very cool at night. Daylight here till nearly 10 o’clock at night. I will put a French postal card in this letter if the consors do not throw it out. Just for a souvenier that is about all I can send. You can let Rosa (my wife) read this letter and she should let me know if she got any of her allotment yet.
Best Wishes to All,
Pvt. Henry Steinbrecher
Co. A, 329 Inf.
American E.F.
Lille Sarthe France

He mentions his brother John (my grandfather) who had just left for Camp Sherman.



On August 27, he writes:
Dear Parents & Arthur

How are you enjoying this hot weather for it sure was some hot yesterday or I might say all this week and the sky was as clear as a crystal.
This is a funny country some places it rains nearly every day where I was a week ago we had to wear our slickers nearly all the time and wade through mud shoe top deep. Here I is just the opposite for has not rained while I am here. I am having a vacation now pretty soft is it not to have a vacation in the army but nothing is too good for a soldier.
I will be back with the Company again in a week or two, don’t know where they are at now but will find them somehow. Am anxious to get back with the boys again for I am the only one of our home boys here there are some others here I know, but they are not like old pals.
Are you taking good care of Rosa if you don’t know what else to do you can take the Ford and go joy riding come and see me once in a while for I sure would enjoy a auto ride again.
What have you been doing all this summer taking life easy I suppose by the time this reaches you, you will be going to school again. Be a good pupil and some day you will be thankful for it. I only wish that I would get my mail but may have to wait till I am with the company again. Sure have been traveling some been nearly all over France but this is the best place I have struck yet.
How would you like to see them having two cows yoked to a wagon. I see that every day so if you don’t know what else to do yoke up two of the cows and go for a real ride. With love and Best Wishes to all,
Henry
Pvt. Henry Steinbrecher
Co. B 38th Inf
APO 740
American E.F.


There is a gap of a month before the next letter - possibly some went to Rosa, or they never arrived since he is apparently with a different company by this point.  He has moved from Co A 329th to Co B 38th Infantry.



Monday, August 13, 2018

Military Monday - Letters from Henry part 9

Henry did not have very much time to see the "pretty little town" in England, because within a week he was writing from France.  Note the signature of the censor on the envelope.


On June 30, he wrote:

Dear Parents
I am fine and dandy this nice Sunday morning sure is a dandy no doubt you have been looking for a letter from me before this but you must remember that we are in France and not Camp Sherman.
We were in England for several days and now are in France where we will be for some time. We sure have been  doing some traveling since we left Sherman. It was not so bad in England for there we could talk with the people and here we cant. It will take quite a while to be able to get them to understand us.
I have seen all I care of seeing over here now but no doubt will get to see some more of it before long. I only wish I had taken more smoking tobacco. Had several cans of it but so many wanted to chew of it so I am out now. Bought some here but it is too strong it almost walks off with me. I think after a while we will be able to get some of our own at least I hope so.
You should see how the people here do their hauling. One horse on a two wheel truck some of them load as much for one horse that I used to load for two. The farmers are all busy making hay. Haven’t seen any corn here or in England, some quite nice wheat, oats, and rye. And especially  some very fine potatoes.
You can write to Marie and the rest of them for I will not be able to write to them all. With Love and Best Wishes,
Henry


Haywagon similar to Henry's description - from wikimedia commons
Then on July 7 -


Dear Parents
I am still at the same place we were last Sunday don’t know how much longer we will be here yet.
I hope we will soon move again to a real place where we can buy a few things once in a while. This is only a small town here so you see it is hard to get very much. They sure have plenty of wine and cider, and some beer but I have not been able to get any of it yet. I wish I had a few bottles of real good beer off the ice. That would sure go good for a change.
We did drill yesterday afternoon or today I done some washing yesterday and scrubbed some of my dirty clothes. This is sure fine weather we have here, always warm in day time some times it gets quite hot, but at night it is usually cool especially towards morning it gets quite chilly.
I suppose you had a good time the Fourth did you have company? I thot maybe Rosa would be there. Or am I mistaken? We did not have to drill that day so we had it quite nice at that. We had some soap and tobacco issued the other day mine is all gonve but expect to get some more in a day or so.
The forenoon I slept nearly all the time, and this afternoon, I was satching the boys play ball. And wrote a letter to Rosa so after this one is finished I will nearly have my week’s allowance of writing so I can take it easy for a week again.
Give my regards to the rest of them and especially to Grandmother.
With Love and best Wishes, Henry


He is missing the beer and tobacco from home.