15 September 1918 Communing with Floyd




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

Gertrude spent time thinking about her faraway son, Floyd. He was missing the Sandwich Fair, but Gertrude wrote a newsy letter to let him know what was happening at home.

Letter from Gertrude to Floyd, 15 September 1918.

Home Sun. 7. A.M.

Sept. 15, 1918

My Dear Floyd,

I’m sitting before my dressing table this quiet autumnal morning communing with one of God’s richest and dearest treasures, my Floyd.

Looking from my east window, away to the east and over the tree tops trying to penetrate the sky line into where? into what?  But it isn’t best I should know.  Some day, some time lad, we will have a glad reunion, sit by our hearth and hear your experiences.  It will take months, however, to relate it all.

The fall weather is cool only an occasional warm day.  Nearly had a frost two or three nights.  Last nite clouds were heavy for rain but as yet have escaped. 

Weekly Almanack, September 1918, Chicago Tribune.

Gertrude reported about attending a service flag raising. Her sons Floyd and Albert were among the soldiers recognized. She attended with her future daughter-in-law Rose Klink and stayed at the Klink’s for supper. Rose and she could talk about Albert who was succeeding in his own army assignment.

To-day, Montgomery has a service flag raising at the Hall to which I shall go.  It is at 2. P.M. a storm will not prevent.  On my way from A– last nite I called to see Rose and she told me about it and askt me to come there for the P.M. and stay to supper, which of course I shall do.

Letter from Gertrude to Floyd, 15 September 1918.

Rose has been so very good to me all of the time. Comes up so often and phones. She and her mother spent last Wed. eve here till 10:30. She is a very interesting girl and grows dearer to us all of the time. The more I know the family, I find they are very clannish as much as my own boys.

Albert sent Rose a service pin which she was so proud over wearing it to school showing it to the teachers. She had it two days when she had a letter saying it was the wrong one (He got it thru the Y. and to return it. She made an extra trip up here to show me first. It was an aviation emblem.

Albert writes his class of 26 had an elimination test with a result of 15 remaining in class, he being one. He says the study grows harder all the time – trigonometry and algebra being hard as he hadn’t had them. He will be so bitterly disappointed if he fails.

Letter from Gertrude to Floyd, 15 September 1918.

I wouldn’t be surprised at any time to get word he  is going.  He surely is eager and uneasy to reach the same soil with you.  He says “to help bring you home.” At one time in his tent was a boy from Sandwich, Plano, Montgomery, Aurora (3), Batavia, St. Charles and Elgin.  He said it created a tincture of home at least. He is still putting in his long hours – says there is no chance for a furlo.  Well, son, we will all hope and pray for a long end less furlo for you all, very, very soon.

Gertrude also spent time with her other future daughter-in-law, Florence Manning. Florence was recovering with a very scary appendicitis attack.

I saw Florence at the hospital yesterday. She is improving very fast. Thursday, I spent all the afternoon with her and found out thru her nurse that they found gangrene in the appendix and the operation couldn’t have been delayed 3 hours, appendix would have bursted and she doubts very much if Florence could have been saved as peritonitis inevitably would have resulted. She has still her special nurse Miss Atwater, a very large girl and I’m sure you saw her when you were there. Florence goes home some time this week, the latter part. Mrs. Manning came home with me Thurs. nite and stayed till yesterday P.M. Rose was to come last nite but couldn’t. Rose sent Albert’s sweater yesterday.

Letter from Gertrude to Floyd, 15 September 1918.

Many of the Phillips family attended the Sandwich Fair. But Floyd’s brothers were still threshing wheat in Canada. Guy was still in Canada too, sharing news of a successful farming season.

I believe all of the Phillips’ went to Sandwich fair Thursday.  It rained all day Wed. The boys will be all of this week threshing. Our Can. boys finisht threshing wheat Tues. P.M.  I don’t know how long before they finish. Father wrote they would have 1000 bu of oats to sell but would keep them till spring as they could as well as not and then would get $1. per bu. Of course you get all of their news. Father said Arthur was surprising the natives by hauling with his tractor 3 triple box wagons of grain to the elevator. The grain is fair yet better than he expected.

Rose and I are going to Retta’s this Fri. nite if the dressmaker gets my silk coat made over.

Letter from Gertrude to Floyd, 15 September 1918.

Sleep problems? Sound familiar to any of you Phillips descendants? Gertrude had a good excuse for her restless nights. With two sons away in the army and her husband and other sons away in Canada, she was pretty much alone. She had hired a maid to help her at home.

The maid and I are getting along alone fine. I’m rather restless nites get but very little sleep. Sometimes afraid, but I think of you, Floyd, “over there” the dangers you may meet and it does much to quiet me. It’s the first time I’ve ever been left, you know, without someone’s watchful, tender care. There isn’t much news and when every one is gone, less to write for you get their individual items from Can.

Grandpa and Grandma wish to go to Uncle Frank’s most any time now. I know there is no use to ask you questions, as you will write all you are allowed. Retta has a new Edison so Judd Chapman told me. I have a new hand vacuum cleaner.  Some contrast! I’m satisfied with this for a year.

I sent you two Beacons yesterday. I’ve not found your dic. yet.

Letter from Gertrude to Floyd, 15 September 1918.

10:20 P.M.

Am just returned from Klink’s and am about ready to retire but will first write to Freda. The exercises were very very good at the Service Flag raising with Jim Yard as spokesman who did exceedingly well. Will Behir, the mayor, was to speak but didn’t. The state flag had become battered so there were two flag raisings. The school children sang two pieces with Rose as leader. A very good attendance. I think if it doesn’t rain I’ll make a special trip to town to tomorrow for your requests. I got 5 lbs. sugar in the house so will bake and send Albert a cake. Tues. In Rose’s last letter he mentioned he might be gone in another week.

Lillie and husband, Rose and Emma came home with me.  They are certainly some nice family. (Bill Dwyer!)

Letter from Gertrude to Floyd, 15 September 1918.

Say.  Floyd, every morning at 9.o’c., noon and 9 at eve I shall play on the piano, “Just before the Battle, Mother” and “God be with you till we meet again.”  It brings me so close to you to do it and you can always think of me at those hours as specially thinking of you.

I forgot to say our service flag had 23 stars arranged as a big star.  Your name was read from the list as the 15th and Albert’s 16th. Rev. Wheaton also gave a talk. (prayer)

Uncle Clare and Edna were out to Grandpa’s yesterday and went to see Florence.  Also got both of you boys addresses.  He certainly thinks my Floyd is grand – says he could love you as his own. 

Mon. morn.  This is a cloudy morn and threatening. Have corn relish cooking and am ready to fix mustard pickles.  Am afraid I can’t reach A– before to-morrow.

Must say a loving good bye for this time,


P.S. Aunt Mayme told me this morning Nelson askt Mildred to work in his office $13 per wk.  Under Hazel, She begins to-day and can ride back and forth in their car. That is great. Marjorie. gave up school and will take a few sewing lessons and then I guess go to business college sometime later. Mother.

Letter from Gertrude to Floyd, 15 September 1918.


From Florence to Floyd

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.

Tom and Millie Phillips Family

Guy was the son of “Tom” Albert Aveldo and “Millie”Amelia A. Brace Phillips.

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


“Mother” [Gertrude Lovin (Boyce) Phillips] (Illinois) to “Floyd” [Floyd Boyce Phillips], letter, 15 September 1918; copy privately held by Denise Krueger, Rochester, MN, 2019; original photocopied by Shirley Marie (Phillips) Johnson, circa 1989.

“The Tribune’s Weekly Almanack,” Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illlinois), 15 Sep 1918, part 7, page 8 ( https://www.newspapers.com/image/354941529/ : accessed 11 Jun 2019)

WWI Interactive Timeline, The National WWI Museum and Memorial ( https://www.theworldwar.org/explore/interactive-wwi-timeline : accessed 3 Jun 2019)

The Phillips Family

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One response to “15 September 1918 Communing with Floyd”
  1. Coralee Krueger Avatar
    Coralee Krueger

    The timing of your post is wonderful. We will talk about it at the 93rd Phillips Family reunion Saturday. Albert’s descendants are in charge this year. We will head to Illinois Thursday.

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