15 March 1919 A Letter from Balsy




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

One of Floyd’s brothers wrote him a letter and signed it “Balsy.” Comparing handwriting and based on the contents of the letter, it appears that Balsy was 21-year old Charles Verne Phillips, the youngest of the five Phillips brothers. He appealed to his brother Floyd for advice and support in regards to his participation in the Canadian farming operation.

Charles Verne Phillips (probably) letter to Floyd, 15 March 1919.

Oswego Ill.

March 15, 19

Dear Floyd.—

It certainly is one day out alright. It is raining out, and it has been for ever since noon. It rained quite a little last nite so I guess we’ve got enough rain for a while. The roads are the worst that I ever saw them. Auto trucks are certainly awful had on the roads. One can’t hardly drive a car on the account of bad roads.

We just received your pictures to_day. And all of them are sure nice. I suppose those pictures represent where you have been? I suppose you have had the time of your life in traveling around Paris?

Wouldn’t it be nice to have those pictures? Wonder if they still exist? Wonder if someone in the family has them tucked away somewhere? If so, it would be great to collect copies of them to add to Floyd’s story.

Charles Verne Phillips (probably) letter to Floyd, 15 March 1919.

It certainly was coming to you and the rest of the bunch. The returned soldiers sure are sore about it because they didn’t get the chance. On the other hand they have a rite. I suppose you don’t know when you’ll be coming this way do you?

Are you still at your old job?

A report is given on the boys returning from military service. The first guy mentioned was Glen Mighell, their second cousin.

Glen Mighell has been home for over a month. He was here several Sundays ago, but he has left for St. Paul last Sun. He certainly has had a lot of experience. I guess he was in all the big battles. He was head and chief cook. Bud Dotty just got back two weeks ago. He sure looks fine. He doesn’t seem to like the country over there very well. Albert Kessinger has been home for quite awhile.

Charles Verne Phillips (probably) letter to Floyd, 15 March 1919.

He said he almost got the chance to come over and see at the camp where you were. I think if I am right he said that you sent a fellow over to see if he could him. He seemed quite disappointed in not seeing you. He says that you fellows have find weather out there, out of a week theres six days of rain what about it, is he about right?

This brother didn’t want to have to go to Canada in the spring of 1919. He was hoping Floyd could understand his reasoning. He wanted to hire someone to take his place in the spring, and then go up there in the fall for harvest. He thought this should still entitle him to be part of the company that the Phillips men had formed to farm together.

Say Floyd I have a little proposition to make or ask of you. I have decided not to go north this spring for several reasons and maybe you know some those reasons. Well anyhow I am not going. And what do you think about me going in with the co. this spring, or do u think that I should stay out of it until next spring?

Charles Verne Phillips (probably) letter to Floyd, 15 March 1919.

This the way that I look at it. If I furnish a man until harvest time, and then go up myself and work. Roy thinks if I don’t go you this spring that I should stay out of it entirely. But I can’t hardly see it that way. I figure this way, I spent two yrs up there, and that’s just about the same as though if I would go in the co. at 23 yrs. I don’t want you to think that I have made any supreme sacrifice in those two years, but I think that those two years are just the same as next two yrs. Well think it over and let me know. If you all look at it the same I am more than willing to not have any ownership in the co. until next spring.

Charles Verne Phillips (probably) letter to Floyd, 15 March 1919.

Father will give me so much a month, and what ever that will be I’ll turn it over for a man. I can’t see any great crime if I stay home for a couple months and by doing such that I should lose my interest.

A report was given about a play that had been performed. There was also some news shared, perhaps about a romance. It all seems a little cryptic but maybe the girl in question was named Hazel? It seems to be saying that a surprise party had been given for their cousin Myldred Evelyn Phillips, but a girl named Hazel’s mother called Myldred’s sister, Marjorie Kathryn Phillips with an excuse that Hazel had to go to the doctor. Somehow this seemed suspicious to our letter writer.

We had our play March 11 and say every thing went off great. There was about 65 including my friend? After the play she commented me on how good I did. As long as I am speaking of her. Let me tell u what happen about three weeks ago. I guess it was only two weeks. They had a surprise on Mildred and the day before the surprise her mother called Marj and said Hazel had to go to the Drs. Looks kinda funny doesn’t it, it does to me? And I think I am almost right.

Charles Verne Phillips (probably) letter to Floyd, 15 March 1919.

But since than I have meat her at uncle Charles and she seems quite friendly. I have been doing some thinking for the past several weeks. And maybe she has been doing some suffering too.

We had to give our play over the next nite by request. Not a very large crowd. We cleared (took in) 70 dollars not too bad. We are thinking of giving it to several other places. Certainly wished you could have been here.

Well Foe I guess I’ll have to close for this time. Hoping this will find you well or on your way home.




A Letter From Arthur

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, Gertrude Lovin Boyce and Guy Allison Phillips family.

Glen Migdell

Glen Leroy Mighell was a second cousin to Floyd Phillips. They shared great grandparents Jacob W. Phillips and Betsey Holmes.

Relationship chart, Floyd Boyce Phillips to Glen Leroy Mighell.

Uncle Charles

Uncle Charles was Guy’s brother, Charles Floyd Phillips.

Family Group Sheet, Charles Floyd Phillips.


“Balsy” [Charles Verne Phillips (probably)] (Oswego, Illinois) to “Floyd” [Floyd Boyce Phillips], letter, 15 March 1919; privately held by Denise Krueger, Rochester, MN, 2019.

The Phillips Family

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