23 July 1918 A Better Letter from Mother



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Many thanks to Coralee for providing me with artifacts throughout the years and especially for the stack of WWI-era letters that were delivered to me on 31 May 2019. They have provided countless hours of family history entertainment.

– Denise

In the last post in this series, we saw a letter that Gertrude Lovin Boyce Phillips wrote to her son Floyd, who was in training in Augusta, Georgia. She wasn’t satisfied with that letter, so held off mailing it until she could write more. A couple days later, she sat herself back down to write a better letter.

She shared more about the progress of home renovations and mentioned the new north asparagus bed. She noted growing fondness for her future daughter-in-law Rose and lamented that Floyd and his soldier brother, Albert, couldn’t be together.

Privates Albert and Floyd Phillips served in different companies. Albert was attached to the 40th Balloon Co., Aviation and Floyd to the 36th Ord. Division.
23 July 1918, Gertrude to Floyd.

Home, Mon. Eve

Twilight. July 23

My Dear Floyd,

Its only yesterday I sat in this same spot and made such a miserable failure of your letter that I have felt guilty, uneasy, unsettled all day and after I had neglected you so long too. To-morro is the 23rd, but I’m making doubly sure of the finish to get your other is directed and yet lies on the table and I am to mask them under separate covers. For this 23rd date is always special by itself. I wonder what you are doing now? It is about 8 – It has been a very hot day – Two boys & Arthur were pulling weeds in the new north asparagus bed. Hinchman finisht the living room papering to-day and father pumice stone rubbed the buffet and sand papered floors in the kitchen & diner.

23 July 1918, Gertrude to Floyd.

Well, it looks, Floyd, now as if we might settle before long. To-morro we ourselves get all of the down stairs floors ready for varnishing and possibly some of that.

Bleitz’ decorator puts up the window shades to-morro.

We are highly elated and satisfied with all the paper and the job. Uncle Chas. last nite stood & lookt at the dining room & said “You’ve got one swell dining room.” The tan is just the shade to suit me and seems to every one.

The living room border is simply grand. We are short of ceiling hall paper & he comes Sat. to finish as all is done but the lower hall.

23 July 1918, Gertrude to Floyd.

We are certainly proud of our home and land, what are the prospects of your having a fun laugh? If u no at any time let us no at once because we wish to have everything done in the house that is in our power to do.

Father has got to go North and I’m afraid much will be left undone.

We plan now to go to Chicago Wed. or Thurs. to look for things. Somehow I haven’t a bit of heart for selecting it has all been killed out – am getting cause it must be done.

Haven’t got your stones yet.

Rose & Emma just called in last nite. Rose comes often and father and I certainly like her better each time. Have you heard from Albert yet? Wrote in his last he had rec’d yours but had not ans. He wrote “I get so lonely for Floyd, dear lad, sometimes I don’t know what to do.” I am so tempted to send you his last letter but won’t without his sanction and perhaps he’d rather write in that strain to you himself. How I’ve wisht u were with him or he with you. He talks as if he may not get home at all.

Your last box was very ordinary Floyd, but a change. Was that ginger bread good? I’ve already decided what will be in the next. Not a very big box next time. Are your days filled with hard work?

Lovingly, Mother.

Do you get the war news? Be sure to write if so.

23 July 1918, Gertrude to Floyd.


Leaving Camp Hancock

Who is Who?

Guy and Gertrude Phillips Family

Floyd was the middle of the five sons of Gertrude Lovin Boyce and Guy Allison Phillips.

Family group sheet, Guy Allison Phillips and Gertrude Lovin Boyce.

Uncle Charles

Relationship chart, Floyd Boyce Phillips to Charles Floyd Phillips.


“Mother” [Gertrude Lovin Boyce Phillips] (Oswego, Illinois) to “Floyd” [Floyd Boyce Phillips], letter, 23 July 1918; privately held by Denise Krueger, Rochester, MN, 2019.

With the colors from Aurora, Illinois, U.S.A. 1917, 1918, 1919, J. W. Greenaway (1920), p. 54, Phillips; online images, Archive.org (https://archive.org/details/withcolorsfromau00gree/page/54).

The Phillips Family

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