Letters Home: James Tyson, 1918

From the April 18, 1918 Skidmore News, page 10:

James Tyson Writes to The News

Somewhere in N. Y. April 14, 1918
The Skidmore News, Skidmore, Mo.
Dear Sirs:–

While I have a little time, I’ll drop you a line or two to notify you of my change in address, also will try to tell you a little about our trip.

We left Camp Doniphan Wednesday at 1:30 and we sure were some happy bunch. We left Fort Sill on the Frisco railroad and went to Oklahoma City where we were delayed about an hour. We arrived in Oklahoma City about 5:30 and pulled out for Kansas City about 6:30. We arrived in Kansas City and were taken off and marched through town. We left Kansas City about four o’clock on the Chicago & Alton and everyone thought we were bound for Chicago. The next morning we were taken off again at Bloomington, Illinois, for exercise. Here, instead of continuing toward Chicago, we were transferred to the Lake Erie and Western railroad.

I believe the prettiest country I have ever seen was in and around Bloomington. The land was as level as could be, well drained, and the best of farm homes. But one thing I could not help but notice, I have yet to see my first tractor since I left Missouri. But they are ahead of us when it comes to silos; every farm seems to have one.

Our first large town in Indiana was Oxford, but we didn’t stop. We have made very few stops for the length of our journey. Nothing of any note happened until we reached Tipton, where we were delayed for almost an hour by a hot box. Everyone came to the depot. All along the line we have been given magazines and other good things, such as cigarettes and oranges. At one small town a lady gave one of the boys a big jar of peaches.

The next place of interest was Muncie. Here, the railroad ran right through a national cemetery. It was the prettiest sight I ever saw. The grass was as green as could be, and right in the center stood a large stone church. It was built of ordinary rocks — what we would call “nigger heads” — and it sure was beautiful. In the right-center stood a large shaft, I guess about 100 feet high — maybe more maybe less. A new grave could be seen, all covered with beautiful flowers, which showed up so bright among the other mounds covered with green sod. One corner was filled with soldiers graves, Civil War heroes, and at the head of every one was a small flag.

Night came on us here and when I woke up we were at Cleveland, Ohio. Since daylight, we have been riding along the banks of Lake Erie. Lots of ice can yet be seen on the lake and here and there we see a patch of snow.

At Erie, Pennsylvania, we again paraded. The towns here are all manufacturing towns. Seems as if there is a town every mile or so and all of them large ones. We have just passed through Dunkirk, N. Y., so we are in our last state. We have passed through Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York and I guess we will be in the edge of Canada. It all depends which way we go from Buffalo whether we go through Canada or not.

We have had a pretty good trip, Pullman cars with three to a section, so we are not crowded for room, and have been fed fairly well.

Well I must close, as I expect I have written too much now. The porter says we still have about twenty hours of riding.

Hoping that this will find all my Missouri friends enjoying the best of health, I remain

Sincerely yours,
James H. Tyson.
Co. L., 139th Infantry, American Expeditionary Forces, New York.

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