Friday, May 27, 2011

War and Soldiers and Loved Ones

Charles Leonard Davis mentions the Nebraska Guard recruits who are gathering in Wakefield and who will soon ship off to The Spanish American War. He is oblivious of the fact that War will strike again and again during his lifetime and bring much sorrow to him and his future family. (Please note that misspellings are Lennie's and not mine! As much as possible, I've typed as he spelled.) And please read to the bottom to see how future Wars affect Lennie's future family.

Sunday, May 22, 1898
Nice day.
Went to Sunday School.
Guy, Sam, Ellis & myself went out walking.

Monday, May 23, 1898
Planted potatoes in morning and afternoon.
Went to band practice.

Tuesday, May 24, 1898
Went over to see the soldiers drill.

Wednesday, May 25, 1898
Rained. Nothing much happend today.
I fixed Guy's wheel.
(his bicycle wheel)

Thursday, May 26, 1898
Recruits are in town to enlist.
Had a social at J.E. Dates? (spelling?)
Band played.

Friday, May 27, 1898
Had examination.
Fixed flag pole on schoolhouse.

Went to band practice.

Saturday, May 28, 1898
Soldires camped down by the railroad.
They have a hot time.

Sunday, May 29, 1898
3 trains of soldiers went through.
Staid down to train after school.

Monday, May 30, 1898
Memorial day celebration. Click here for history of Memorial Day, formerly called Decoration Day.
Band plaid.
Went to Wayne
(Nebraska) came home and went to band practice.

Tuesday, May 31, 1898
Went to school half a day.
Guy and I fixed his wheel.
Watched the soldiers drill.

When he wrote these words Lennie was seventeen years old. The presence of an encampment of recruits from the Nebraska Guard is big news in the small community of Wakefield, Nebraska. Lennie and his buddies will visit the encampment many times to watch the soldiers drill.

What Lennie does not know as a teenager is that war will affect his own family. His future brother-in-law, William (Billy) Kuckku, will die on the fields of Cantigny, France on May 28, 1918. You can read more about Billy here. He was 3 weeks past his 27th birthday when he died on the battlefield.

And his future wife's cousin, Dale M. Hansen, will be awarded the Medal of Honor after he dies in action on Okinawa in May 11, 1945 one year to the day after his induction into the Marines. Read more here. Dale was twenty-two when he died.

The bodies of William and Dale were both brought home for burial at the cemetery in Wisner, Nebraska.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lennie, the Soldiers, and His In-Laws

Today I'm bringing you two weeks from Lennie's diary. I got a little slack this past week and didn't post. Sorry about that! I've typed exactly as Lennie spelled and where I was unable to decipher his writing I included question marks. Charles Leonard Davis was 17 years old when he wrote about his daily life in Wakefield, Nebraska in the year 1898.

Sunday, May 8,
A cloudy day. Frank Schulz was here.
I took Betty out to school.
Had a union meeting.
Frank Rinhold Schulz must have been visiting his brother, Carl whose wife, Ollie, is a sister to Lennie. Frank lives near Wisner, Nebraska, and may already be sweet on Dena Gazena Nuttleman of Wisner whom he will marry in February of next year (1899). Frank and Carl's niece, Alma Matilda Kuckku, will come to live with Frank and Dena in 1907 when she is orphaned at the age of thirteen. It is through this familial relationship that Lennie will meet Alma who will become Lennie's bride. But that is still a long way in the future.

Monday, May 9, 1898
Prof got hot at me but did not hurt anybody.
George Smith went to war.

Had no band practice.
Don't you love that line? "Prof got hot at me but did not hurt anybody."
The poor Prof has put up with Lennie for some time now. He must have admirable control of his temper to "not hurt anybody!"

Tuesday, May 10, 1898
Had a award meeting last night.
Choir met at our house to practice.
Lennie has twice mentioned the choir practicing at their house. I wonder if he himself sang in the choir? Perhaps if the Prof could see Lennie, singing his heart out in praise of the Lord, well, perhaps then the Prof might deal a little more kindly with rascally Lennie. Or maybe not.

Wednesday, May 11, 1898
Ida and Lew were married tonight.
Band plaid for them.

Thursday, May 12, 1898
A social at Schulz.
I went and had a hot time.
Got a letter from Lew Walden.

The social was probably at the home of Carl and Ollie Schulz.

Friday, May 13, 1898
Nice day.
JOGT. Had a nice time at Lodge. Installed officers.

Took Nettie ?? home.
Got a new suit of clothes.
I don't know if all the ladies of 1898 looked this elegant, but if so, it's no wonder Lennie enjoys walking with so many of them.

Saturday, May 14, 1898
Rained in the morning.
Blew in afternoon.
National Garde met and had our 1st drill.

Sunday, May 15, 1898
Nice day.
Mack, Sam, Guy and me sailed boats on river. A hot time.

Monday, May 16, 1898
A nice day.
The corn shellers are thick.
Studied the moter in school.
Went to band practice.

Tuesday, May 17, 1898
4 sections of shelders (soldiers) went through here today.
Dismissed school at 10 to see them.

Wednesday, May 18, 1898
Brown & F. Rawlings went to Lincone (Lincoln) to get us in as National Gards.
Ellis Paulson came home yesterday.
Nebraska is filling its guard quota in response to the Spanish American War.

Thursday, May 19, 1898
Nice day. Rained afternoon. We met and drilled.

Friday, May 20, 1898
Nice day. Went to band practice. Had a social at Mrs. Neffs?

Saturday, May 21, 1898
Rained hard. Went to school in forenoon.
Several times Lennie mentions school on Saturday.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lennie Keeps Up On the War News

I'm late in typing this week's entries by Charles Leonard "Lennie " Davis in his pocket diary for the Year 1898. But here I am. And here is Lennie, of Wakefield, Nebraska.....his words are in black bold.

Sunday, May 1, 1898
Disagreeable day.
Took Nettie R?? home.
Rained bad.

Monday, May 2, 1898
A cloudy day.
Our Captain Dewey captured a Spanish fleet in the ?? Sea at the Philippines.
Started to take the cow to pasture.

From May 1 to 3, 1898, Commodore George Dewey of the United States Navy fought the Spanish fleet, manned by Spanish and Filipino sailors, stationed at Cavite Puerto at Canacao Bay. The battle was of great significance to Philippine history because it marked the end of Spanish sovereignty and the beginning of the American regime. In world historical perspective, the battle siggnalled the entry of the United States in the community of world powers. You can read more by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 3, 1898 Lennie makes no entry in his diary this date.

Wednesday, May 4,
A cloudy day.
Rained all day.
Social community met at Ollie's house.
(Ollie is Lennie's married sister.)

Thursday, May 5
, 1898
Jessie Dorf ? went out to pick flowers. No school. Art ?? came home.

Friday, May 6, 1898
Had an exhibition at school of the ?? work to be sent to Omaha.
Went to band practice.
On this day Theodore Roosevelt is named Lieutenant-Colonel of the Rough Riders who will charge up Kettle Hill and San Juan Hill on July 1. Actually only Roosevelt rode a horse. The rest of the fellas were afoot. You can read more here.

Saturday, May 7, 1898
Received word from Dewey.
He captured eleven vessels.
Killed 300, ?? 400 ??.
Lennie makes it sound as if he, personally, received word from Commodore George Dewey but I'm sure you won't mind if I say that surely is not the case. Why would Dewey be sending word to a rapscallion 17-year-old boy in Wakefield, Nebraska, who spends half his time walking girls home from church and the other half out riding his bicycle or going to band practice! Nope, I'm certain Dewey was not in direct correspondence with our Lennie. But at least Lennie is keeping up with the news....even if his handwriting is a bit illegible.

Meanwhile Omaha Bee reports that the Nebraska National Guard orders all commanders to recruit their respective commands to the maximum allowed by law, vis; eighty-one enlisted men. All recruits are directed to appear at Camp Alvin Saunders until May 2, 1898, after which they will report at the rendevouz at Old Fort Omaha near Omaha, Nebraska.
The paper is full of news on the war with nation after nation weighing in on how they view the situation.