Sunday, December 30, 2018

Sentimental Sunday - One Hundred Years ago today....

My father was born.  Yes, he would have been 100 years old today had he not left us much too soon.
So in tribute to his life during 69 of these years, I am dedicating this post to him.

Donald Edward Ormsby was born on 30 December 1918.  His parents were Harold Basil and Jessie Marie (Hill) Ormsby.  He was born in Casey, Illinois.  When he was just over 3 months old his father died.  A few years later his mother moved to Toledo, Ohio with the boys.  She remarried and had five more children. 

Donald Ormsby with his father in early 1919

Don grew up spending time in both Toledo with his mother and in Casey with his paternal grandparents.  He attended schools in both places at various times.

Dorr school in Toledo, OH - Don seated at far left in 1930

Donald Ormsby wearing his Casey High School sweater

On 13 December 1941 he married Nadine Darling.  They had a son Larry and were divorced a few years later.

Nadine and Donald Ormsby in 1941

In 1942, he joined the Army Air corps.  He received a medical discharge in 1943 before seeing any combat.

Donald Ormsby 1942

After his military stint, Don attended the Internationl Training Institute in Chicago where he learned the skills necessary to repair large appliances.  He moved back to Toledo and opened a business, Efficient Refrigeration with a man named "Red" Richards.  This business was in the building that had been Collingwood Bottled water company, and they soon realized that the bottled water business was better for them.

Original Collingwood Water Company building on Prescott St in Toledo, OH/

On 4 January 1950, he married Ruth Steinbrecher. 

Ruth and Donald Ormsby in 1950

Don and Ruth had 2 daughters - myself and my sister Robin.

Don with wife Ruth and children Larry, Robin and Kim in 1981

Sadly, he died of complications of aneurysm surgery on 2 July 1988.  He was only 69 years old.

Dad, we still miss you.
Donald and Ruth Ormsby 1988

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Wisdom Wednesday - My first institute!

In looking over my blog posts for the year, I realize that I never published this one.  So, better late than never :-)

In July I attended my first Genealogical Institute.  This was something that I had wanted to do for a few years, but could never fit it into my schedule.

An institute is a week-long course on a given topic.  The course is coordinated by one instructor, but there are usually several "guest" instructors lending their expertise.  There are several courses happening at the same time.

The course I chose to start with was on Pennsylvania Research.  It was offered at LaRoche college in Pittsburgh.  This is a small private college and our institute took over for the week.

We began with check-in on Sunday afternoon.  Our accomodations were dorm rooms and we ate in the school cafeteria.  We had a welcome session on Sunday evening where we got to know the instructors and fellow students.

Classes began first thing Monday morning and continued all day with a couple of small breaks, and a break for lunch.  In the evening, we could work on homework (yes, there was homework!), attend some optional genealogical lectures, or just mingle with other genealogists.

There are also some informal get-togethers of other groups while we're there.  For example, people who had completed ProGen study met for lunch one day.

One evening I took a walk around campus.  It is in a lovely hilly area north of Pittsburgh.  And, as a bonus, there is a cemetery on the grounds.

We finished at noon on Friday.  I came home that week a little tired, but having made new friends, and ready to dig into my Pennsylvania families.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Society Saturday - The Suffragists

At a recent fundraising luncheon for another DAR chapter in the area, we were entertained by Annette Baldwin who portrayed several suffragists in "The Long Road to Victory".

She began as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and talked about how women in 19th century America had no rights of their own.  She told of meeting Susan B. Anthony and planning the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848.

Then, a quick costume change (while she continued to talk), and she became Susan B. Anthony.  As Susan, she told us how she had tried to cast a vote but was arrested and fined for doing so.  She gave portions of each ladies' speeches in their own words.

Next, she moved into the 20th century and portrayed Alice Paul.  As Alice, she told us about the Women's March in Washington in 1913, the silent pickets outside the White House, and being jailed at Occoquan Workhouse.

Finally, she spoke as Carrie Chapman Catt.  Carrie used different approaches with each state based on their political climate to help pass the 19th Amendment and later founded the League of Women Voters.

It was a nice overview of several suffragists.

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,

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,
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,

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.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Military Monday - Letters from Henry part 8

Henry didn't stay at Camp Merritt very long.  The next we hear of him is this postcard received sometime in June 1918.

According to the book "A History of the Transport Service: Adventures and Experiences of United States Transports and Cruisers in the World War" by Vice Admiral Albert Gleaves, USN, published 1921 (available on internet archive), there were nearly 280,000 troops transported to Europe during just the month of June 1918.  The transport ships could be American, British, Italian, French or Russian and there were approximately 128 ships in use that month.  One ship could carry as many as 10,000 troops on board!

from "A History of the Transport Service...." by Gleaves
Based on the next letter, dated "England June 23, 1918" - Henry's ship was probably sailing from June 5 - 21.  Of note, each letter written from this point forward bears the approval of a Censor, so there are few details about camps and battles.

Dear Parents
I am safe and sound in England landed here two days ago we were on the water 16 days had a nice trip no storm only a few days that the sea was quite rough.
This is quite a pretty town near this camp from what I could see by marching thro at night have not been able to get up the in day tim yet.
I suppose you are busy with hay by this time, I seen some of the people here were putting up hay if you need any help let me know and I will be there to help you but maybe not this year. How is every body same as always. How is Grandmother this summer I send her my best wishes. Don’t run your Ford too much or it will wear out.

Don’t foget to tell me all the news and you can write to the rest of them tell them I am getting along fine. With Love and best Wishes, Henry

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Surname Saturday - Klopfenstein Reunion

Last week I traveled to Grabill, Indiana for the "Worldwide Klopfenstein Reunion".  This was actually the third such reunion held in the past 10 years.  The attendees were all descendants of one of the Klopfenstein brothers who came from Frutigen, Switzerland by way of France to the United States in the early to mid-1800's.

We met in Grabill (near Fort Wayne) because there was a large number of Klopfensteins who settled in that area.  Many of us spent the night before at the Klopfenstein Inn in Fort Wayne which is owned by a distant Klopfenstein cousin.

Grabill is a small town in a very Amish area of Indiana - we passed several horse and buggies on the way there.  The reunion itself was held in a large building called the "Fudergong" - basically a converted garage.

Across the street was an old Mennonite church which had been converted to a museum about Grabill and the area.

There were nearly 190 people from 24 states at the reunion.  I attended with my mother and our cousin Emily Klopfenstein. 

Several people had brought memorabilia to show and stories to share.  We visited with distant cousins from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Florida, Texas and Washington State.

It was fun to meet people from all walks of life who all had Klopfenstein DNA in their blood.

My immigrant Klopfenstein was my 3rd Great Grandfather, Christian Klopfenstein.  He was born in Froideval France on 17 June 1788.  He was from an Amish family who had fled to France to avoid persecution.  On 15 January 1811 he married Catherine Stooky in Grandvillas France  Their first seven children were born in France before they emigrated to the U.S. Two more children were born in Ohio.  They arrived in New York on 27 July 1824 on the ship "Elizabeth".

Christian died on 12 January 1873 in Fulton County, Oh.  His wife Catherine died 2 March 1851 in the same county.  Both are buried in Johnson cemetery there.

Their daughter Mary Klopfenstein was my ancestor.  She was born 13 January 1817 and married Jacob Graber in 1842.  He was also from France but they met and married in Ohio.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Military Monday - Letters from Henry part 7

Well, Henry was finally on his way from Camp Sherman in Ohio.  But where did he go?

His next postcard was postmarked Jersey City, NJ on May 29, 1918:

Dear Parents.
I am at this Camp for a short time. Got here this forenoon safe and sound and my next trip will be over by the looks of things will try and write you a letter later. With Best Wishes, Henry.
My address. Pvt. Henry Steinbrecher. Co.A 329th Inf. Camp Merritt New Jersey

I believe that when he says "my next trip will be over" - it means "over seas"  or "over there".

He writes more the next day, telling about his journey over the mountains.  Probably quite an experience for this farm boy from northwest Ohio.

Dear Parents

Hoping these few lines will find you all well and happy the same as they leave me. Left Camp Sherman Monday at 2 pm. Arrived here on Wed morning 9 am fine and dandy.
We sure had some trip the second day we were among he mountains. Nearly all day just winding around them all the time the most crooked road I ever was on. I don’t believe that the track was straight for ten rods at a time.
Some places we went over the mountains and some places under them. It is quite cool here and last night it rained some.
This camp is in a woods plenty of shade trees all around some of these trees ought to be in Camp Sherman for it gets awful hot there some time.
We are only about 15 miles from New York City so you see we are near the ocean that makes it quite cool here.
I don’t think we will be here very long only long enough to get the rest of our Clothes and other equipment.
They are giving 24 hour passes to New York City to all those that want to go. About 40 a day. I don’t think that I will go do not care about going to the City have seen plenty of big cities they are all about the same.
Does John know when he will have to leave for Camp or not.  Has Rosa been to see you since she is back home again.
I want you to take good care of her and take her out riding in the Ford some time when you go to town or some place for you like that yourself. I don’t know much news so I will have to ring off but will try and write you some more before we start across if possible.
Don’t work too hard and don’t forget to write to me for I am always glad to hear from you.
With love and Best Wishes, Henry

Photo from wikimedia commons - LCCN2007664146

According to wikipedia, Camp Merritt was a transient base in Bergen County, NJ which served as the embarkation port for approximately 1 million troops.  From this base they boarded ferryboats to Hoboken, NJ where they left on transport ships for Europe.