13 August 1918 Letter from Cousin Donald




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

Floyd’s 11-year old cousin Donald James Phillips wrote a very newsy article. His account of a family trip to see Camp Grant really gives us insight to how traveling was different in 1918 than today – lots of flat tire glums.

Letter, Donald Phillips to Floyd Boyce Phillips.

Montgomery Ill
Aug. 13 1918

Dear Floyd,

Was glad to hear from you.

I am out to your place on the porch writing this letter. Its been some hot this last week one hundred and five in the shade yesterday and the worst of it is I got a cold and cant go swimming. I caught it up to the Y.M.C.A. taking shower bath. There was about a hundred people over to the lake last night.

Mrs. Fellows kids are staying at our house the youngest one Vivian who is eight is wearing my cloths more than she wears her own.

I went uptown yesterday for your mother to get some fruit jars at the Manhatten Café.

“Mid.” may have been Donald’s older sister Myldred Evelyn Phillips who would have been 17-years old at the time.

Mid. is working at the scrapper works mow for Miriam Atwood.

Letter, Donald Phillips to Floyd Boyce Phillips.

Pa and Ma were Charles Floyd Phillips and Mayme Stanton.

Pa started threshing week before last he is using the old engine because the one he bought was sure some junk ‘nough said. He’s going to send it back. Something breaks about every day on the separator.

Helped ma wash this morning some hot too.

Cousin Donald tells a vivid story about a trip to Rockford. Three cars full of 18 friends and relatives took the day-long trip that today would take less than three-hours round trip. Brothers “Hal” Harold Everett, “Ed” Edmund B., Guy, and Charles were all part of the activity along with Ed’s wife Hattie and Charles’ wife Mayme. Donald was one of several children along for the ride including his sister Marjorie and cousins Ruth (Ed’s daughter) and Vivian (Hal’s daughter). The part about Ma’s father being Lawrence Reynolds doesn’t make sense as Donald’s mom was Mayme Stanton, the daughter of James Stanton. The identities of Aunt Kit, Aunt Joe and Uncle Lew haven’t been figured out yet either.

Camp Grant was an army camp near Rockford, Illinois. It opened in 1917 and was mainly used to train infantry soldiers.

Went to Camp Grant about three weeks ago. Some ride. Hal took his car Uncle Ed his and Pa took ours. Uncle Hal took Mr. & Mrs. Martin and their two kids and Jack the fellow that worked for Martiner. Uncle Eds car was occupied by himself and Hattie, Ruth, Aunt Kit, Uncle Guy and Mrs. Waidley and Marjorie. In our car was Ma, Pa, Vivian Phillips, Ma’s father Lawrence Reynolds and I. We stopped at Sycamore to see an engine. When we got out of the car we had flat tire glums! Pa was sure mad. Well after about four punctures we got there at 12:30. Met Aunt Joe and Uncle Lew at Rockford and went to some park to eat. After dinner we went to camp Grant. Some place. We seen the German prisoners that are there. Started back to Rockford. Rockford is ten miles from Camp Grant. We left May and Ruth at Rockford as they are going to Aunt Joes. We left there at 3:30 got home at 11 bells.

On the way home Uncle Ed had a puncture and fixed it and started on and hadn’t gone 100 yds before he had another one. Hard coal.

By the time we were home we had nine punctures altogether. Pa had four, Uncle Ed three and Hal had two.

Hoping this finds you well and happy will close for this time.

With love Donald Phillips


From Charles in Canada

Who is Who?

Donald James Phillips

Floyd and Donald were first cousins. Their dads were brothers.

Relationship chart, Floyd Boyce Phillips to Donald James Phillips.

Millie and Tom Phillips Family

In his letter, Donald wrote about several uncles that he shared with Floyd. These were sons of Amelia “Millie” Brace and Albert “Tom” Phillips.

Family Group Sheet, Amelia A. Brace and Albert Alvedo Phillips family.


“Donald Phillips” [Donald James Phillips] (Montgomery, Illinois) to “Floyd” [Floyd Boyce Phillips], letter, 13 August 1918; privately held by Denise Krueger, Rochester, MN, 2019.

“Camp Grant (Illinois),” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Grant_(Illinois) : accessed 8 June 2019).

The Phillips Family

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !! Please contact us to discuss getting copies of the material.