World War I Letters of Milo H. Main: January 21-27, 1919
In honor of the centennial of World War I, this is the second series in which we follow the experiences of one American soldier: twenty-five year old Milo H. Main, whose letters are held in Spencer’s Kansas Collection. On Mondays we’ll post a new entry featuring selected letters from Milo to his family from that following week, one hundred years after he wrote them.
Milo Hugh Main was born in or near Pittsfield, Illinois, on November 21, 1892 to William and Rose Ella Henry Main. The family moved to Argonia, Sumner County, Kansas, in 1901. After his mother died in 1906, Milo remained in Argonia with his father and his two sisters Gladys (b. 1890) and June (b. 1899). His youngest sister Fern (b. 1905) was sent to live with relatives in Illinois.
As Milo reported to the Kansas State Historical Society in 1919, after graduating from high school he worked as a store clerk. He resigned in July 1917 and took a position at Standard Oil Company, possibly co-managing a gas station in Argonia.
Milo entered into military service on September 21, 1917. He served as a wagoner – a person who drives a wagon or transports goods by wagon – in Battery F, 130th Field Artillery. He was stationed at Camp Funston (September-October 1917) and Camp Doniphan (October 1917-May 1918). On May 19, 1918, he boarded the ship Ceramic in New York City and departed for Europe.
In this week’s letter, Milo writes that he is “feeling fine to-nite for I took my Saturday plunge this afternoon. Slept until 11:30 this morning, in fact I do about every other morning. Am fat and lazy. I want to reduce to about 140 when I get back in “Civy” [civilian, non-military] clothes.”
M. H. Main
Bat. F. 130 F.A.
Jan. 25th 1919
Dear Father and Sisters:-
It affords me great pleasure to write you of the fact of attending a Masonic Club meeting in the historic and battle torn city of Verdun. Am enclosing a program of the occasion and will proudly state that I am a member of this A.E.F. Masonic Club now. They were about 300 Masons there, most of them R.R. men from Chicago. Will send program under seperate cover as it is to big to enclose.
Wild rumors out that we are starting home in the next 60 days. Nothing official yet.
Am still here in Chateau de Verdun in little city of Sommedeiue about 7 kilometers from where I was stationed on 11/11.
Am feeling fine to-nite for I took my Saturday plunge this afternoon. Slept until 11:30 this morning, in fact I do about every other morning. Am fat and lazy. I want to reduce to about 140 when I get back in “Civy” [civilian, non-military] clothes.
Weather has been clear and cooler for past 10 days. Sure great to be without the rain. Ground has been frozen for 4 days now, but no wind like Kans.
Have not had any mail for about 7 days now, time for a bunch to come in.
Will close for to-nite.
Trusting all are well at home, I remain
Your son & brother,
Milo H. Main
Bat. F. 130 F.A.
c/o Officers Mess
P.S. Must write Fern [Milo’s sister in Illinois] to morrow (1/26) I owe her two letters
Public Services Student Assistant