May 30th 1897 Daddy’s Birthday

Today would have been my Daddy’s 114th birthday. He was born May 30th 1897, and died May 8th 1974. It’s hard to believe he has been gone for 37 years. He was a good, kind, honorable man. There‘s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him.

My Daddy was an amazing storyteller. We would gather around him as he brought to life the stories of his past. One of my favorites was about the time he was drafted in the Army during World War I. He was twenty one and had never been away from home. The Army sent him to Camp Funson, which was an attachment to Fort Riley Kansas. He was constantly homesick and hated every minute he was gone. Camp Funson was about 200 miles from the little farm he lived in Missouri, but it felt like a million miles away.

Daddy’s was a guard to the American Indians and Negro soldiers that were assigned to the camp. Daddy said the Army treated the troops like animals. Tears would come to his eyes as he told us how they lived in cold wet filthy conditions. In 1918 the flu epidemic began at Camp Funson. Soldiers would contact the flu then carry the virus throughout the states and overseas. Due to the terrible living conditions, many of the Indian and Negro troops became very sick and malnourished. In turn they contacted the flu and pneumonia. Most of the soldiers died due to not receiving any medical treatment. Daddy would be sad for a long time after telling us these stories. He was a very kind hearted man. He couldn’t stand to see anyone suffering or being mistreated.

During his stay at Camp Funson he stood guard in the bitter cold Kansas winter. He was always cold and wet because he didn’t have proper coats and boots to wear. Daddy also caught the flu and pneumonia. He became very sick and almost died. The illness left him with a hearing loss and heart damage. The Army decided he was no longer fit for military service, and was honorably discharged in January 1919.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tsonoda148
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 00:16:32

    Wow that’s amazing Mary. I didn’t know that. Or you told me and I’d forgotten that. Wow.


    • Mary
      Jun 02, 2011 @ 00:06:24

      Thanks, I don’t think I talked much about my Daddy. He was quit old by the time they had us kids. Huggs, Mary


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