30 September 1918 A Letter from Father




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 this seemingly obligatory letter, Guy Phillips wrote from Canada to his son Floyd who was serving in France. Since the Phillips men worked together on their international farming operation, Guy shared details about the crops and pigs. Floyd and Albert were away serving their country, but the other sons, Roy, Arthur, and Charles, were all in Canada. Roy’s wife Freda and oldest kids, Katherine and Russell, were there too. Guy taunted Floyd a bit by reciting the bountiful dinner menu he had enjoyed and shared a compliment from the neighbor. We don’t know if Guy told all of his boys that the neighbor thought they were best, but Floyd probably appreciated being appreciated from afar.

30 September 1918, Guy Phillips letter to Floyd.

Dear Floyd,

Well I am a little ashamed to think I have not written you a letter direct since you have been in France. I wrote some in a letter one of the boys sent a week ago. I was going to write a letter that day but found out two of them were writing so thot I’d wait so I could tell you some news. We got thru threshing at Alf’s Fri. P.M. his job will clear after we pay help outside of Roy. Chas & I also when we pay oil and gas will have clear a little over $140000. We are threshing for Fred Magnus now are thru with his wheat Rye and have 25 of oats. Andy has 110 acres of crop and a Goodam has 2 ½ days. Then our own feed crop in all outside of our own crop were 7 ½ days at Alf’s tho there were some rainy days in between. This pays for your Engine & Separator this one year clear and we will hardly know you’ve done it.

I guess I and all the rest have told you how much wheat we had. We took 3600 bu to elevator. Not quite have 250 more on south farm which we have not threshed yet. All went 1 northern first car 1 ½% dockage and last car 3 ½ can’t see why so much difference. Will have 900 bu of barley, 1000 bu of oats south of track that they will sell for seed as they are very nice.

30 September 1918, Guy Phillips letter to Floyd.

Surely our pigs are doing fine. There are 84 I think have not counted for sure but pretty good. Trafford whom they traded a boar for a barrow with came for him to day. I said he would weigh 135. Trafford laughed at me. We weighed him and he weighed exactly, and we have 3 or 4 that will weigh a triffle more.  They surely are doing find and we are crowding them for all they are worth. We are going to throw out 15 sows and let them run and confine the rest and think they we can all them grow. The sows will take care of themselves until snow covers feed in the fields. Roy says the sows this spring never got one kernel of grain till they farrowed, and they were in pink of condition. I think more of this country this fall than every before. Land is up 1000 per acre. Arthur & Chas are down at lake now getting water to mix feed for hogs. We ought to have 1000 hogs right now.

Map, Sugar Grove to Fannystelle. Today, it would take 13 or 14 hours to travel the approximately 900 miles by car. The duration would be much longer in 1918.

Mother is talking of coming here in a few days. I do not know why she has made up her mind to come for when I am ready to go home. It sure is hard to get up before day light and ___ out to machine work all day till after dark go to house eat supper then bunk in cook car. I have not had my overalls of for two weeks till last nite.

Guy Phillips with tractor, undated. (It is not known whether this was taken in Canada or Illinois)
30 September 1918, Guy Phillips letter to Floyd.

That’s going some for the “old man” but any 100% father ought to do this for his sons when they are fighting for him and humanity and I am mighty glad to do it. With full appreciation of the great sacrifice you lads are doing and it surely is great yet we all are putting up a big fight. I have two more weeks to stay here then I can go home and enjoy my new home.

We sure had some feed for dinner to day. Roast turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, white bread, cabbage salad, scalloped corn, crab jelly, English walnuts, candy coated fudges, cream pie, raspberry pie, tea. Can’t think of any more but how does that sound to a soldier. It surely was some feed. It is now right about 9:30. Freda, Roy, Art, Chas., and I are setting around table in kitchen dining table is out in kitchen and we eat here.

We have just figured how the hogs are going to bring $250000.

We think we are going to have about 300 acres that will do for wheat next year. The stock loader surely works good. With men so scarce it was a great thing.

Alf surely was pleased with his job. He came over to Fred’s yesterday and in speaking of my sons he said this to me. “You surely have 5 fine boys. But Floyd is my favorite. He surely is a smart boy and a good boy.”

30 September 1918, Guy Phillips letter to Floyd.

Pretty good for a Frenchman around here.

I am going to send an appeal to Albert’s officer in command for a furlough but think it will be fruitless.

I think this years crop around here will build up the country around here a great deal.

I heard that Uncle Rush had put on an injunction on the road. I got my $75000 for my part of it anyhow and that is only a lease on that land as long as it is used for road purposes. So I’m not worrying. They surely was sore at me forgetting the road part on them.

Florence Manning surely had a bad time with her operations for appendicitis. She did not stand for 19 days but is home now.

Roy was going to write you to day but as I was bound to he will delay till next run. Well as my paper is running out and it is getting nearly 11 o’clock I’ll have to close. Hope the fates will not draw you too far into the danger line. I think you should see some of Europe before you come back. If Albert comes over there it will be fine for both of you. So Good bye with love. Father.


A letter from Albert

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.


Floyd Boyce Phillips, “Journal” (Army, 1918-1919).” privately held by Denise Krueger, Rochester, MN, 2019.

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

Google Maps ( https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Sugar+Grove+Township,+Illinois/Fannystelle,+Manitoba+R0G+0P0,+Canada/data=!4m8!4m7!1m2!1m1!1s0x880ee5e961c8f3e3:0x73c6fae232c18f0b!1m2!1m1!1s0x52c207984dbab4b3:0xe7bc832a4dd1e7e3!3e0?sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiOraKC393iAhUFXq0KHaSNA1gQ-A8wAHoECAsQDA : accessed 9 June 2019).

The Phillips Family

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