Monday, April 10, 2017

The World War II Letters of Billy J. Campbell, Letter 6

Somewhere on Luzon
June 13, 1945

Hello Everbody

Well I am on solid ground again and am feeling O. K. Its kinda hot but I am getting used to it fast. Boy I am glad to get off that boat though, I was really getting tired of that. I can tell now that we stopped in the Hawaiian Islands on the way over and I have seen Manila.

We have been buying cocoanuts and pineapples from the natives here. They are high as heck but naturally an American is curious about everthing new and odd. And I mean these natives are odd. You get on a train and have to stop it to run the Philipine children off the track or so it seemed to us. The favorite pastime of the natives seem to be raising children. They dont have many clothes but I havent seen one yet with dirty clothes on. As soon as the children are big enough to walk, they learn to say "Hello Joe" to an American soldier. You can get a handful of Jap money for two cigarettes. They all smoke when they can get anything to smoke young and old alike smoke it doesn't make any difference how young or hold.

Gilbert and Mason are just across the road from me. We have been together all time since we were at home. I still haven't seen Alfred since I was at home. I hope Gilbert and I stay together.

How is Susy and Ham? I bet they are both getting a good sun tan. Are Doris and Anne out of school? Are they going to school anywhere this summer? Joe should be busy now that he is out of school, driving the tractor this summer.

I guess I had better close now. There isn't as much here to write about as I thought there would be. Tell Susy and Ham to be good. Tell everbody hello and don't worry about me. I haven't gotten any mail here yet but I will pretty soon, I hope.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Teachers in Russell County, Castleswoods District, 1878-1883

Here is the listing of teachers for Castleswoods District from 1878-1883. There were approximately 1,000 students each year.

Castlewoods District 1878 1879 1880 1881 1882 1883
Adkins, Mrs. R. J.x
Banner, Daniel E.x
Begley, Abner C.xx
Begley, Miss Malvie J.xx
Banner, Daniel
Bird, Michaelx
Bostic, J. W.x
Bowser, Hobson Boyd (col)x
Cox, Thomas C.x
Dickenson, Caroline C.x
Dickenson, H. J.x
Dickenson, James A.x
Dickenson, Nannie V. (Miss)x
Dickenson, Rusha (Miss)x
Dickenson, T. M.xx
Dillard, William H.x
Dotson, John C.xx
Fisher, C. C. (Prof.)xxx
Fraley, D. A.x
Fraley, Jennie J. (Mrs.)xx
Frazier, G. A.x
Gibson, George M.x
Gibson, H. V. (Miss)x
Gibson, Mattie V. (Miss)x
Greer James W.xxxx
Gose, S. C.xx
Harmon, W. A.x
Hicks, James W.x
Ingram, M. L.x
Jessee, Harvey G.xx
Johnson, G. L.x
Keith, Noah B.x
Kiser, A. L.xx
Kiser, Noah W.xx
Kiser, O. B.xx
Lee, Jennie B.xx
Mead, J. C.x
Musick E. F. (Rev)xx
Musick Granville
Musick, Kernanxxxx
Musick Major A.x
Rasnick, H. C.x
Smith, Cowan D.x
Smith, J. W.x
Steele, Thomas J.x
Tow, A. H. (Rev.)x

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Grand Jury, ca. 1905

First Row: W. B. Kilbourn, H. W. Dougherty, I. F. Carter, Judge H. C. McDowell, H. L. Anderson, G. H. Burton.

Second Row: Henry Fletcher, J. V. Campbell, Jasper Kern, J. E. Lambert, C. W. Allen, M. A. Thompson, A. R. Kilgore, Mart Owens.

G. D. Jenkins, Photographer.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

World War I Letters of Russell County, June 21, 1918

The following letter appeared in the June 21, 1918 issue of the Lebanon News.

"Supply Co., 38 Infantry
A. E. F. France, May 25, 1918

Dear father and mother:

As I have been in England and France since April 2, and I haven't heard from you all yet, but you know as well as I do I am a long ways from home and it takes about 60 days for me to get a letter to you and a reply. After I start a letter it goes to the mail box and then taken to the orderly room and censored by the captain. It then leaves the company and goes to other officers to be censored and I do not know how many hands it goes thru before it leaves the foreign countries. I have written you all several letters, but I do not know whether you received them or not, but hope you have. This leaves me well and happy and liking army life over here in France just fine. I only wish I had joined the army sooner. Well I can say Uncle Sam is sure treating the boys as nice as can be over here. We sure do get plenty of good old U. S. grub to eat here. We get our chow three times per day regularly. We do not get the same thing every meal either. The American Y. M. C. A. keeps all kinds of candies and cakes. They keep the boys well supplied with writing paper, envelopes, pens, ink, chairs and tables to write on. Well mother, I want to say this much if it wasn't for the Y. M. C. A. here in France, I do not know what the boys would do. When I get out of the army I am going to contribute and boost the Y. M. C. A. I attend church here as often as I can. All the Sammy boys are welcome when they go. Most of the services are held in the Y. M. C. A. in the old stone buildings about a century and a half old, large rooms and high walls, the window panes stained and decorated with beautiful flowers and pictures. You ought to hear the French kids sing. They sing so well and look so cute with their rosy red cheeks and patched clothes and bare-footed. They call on the Sammy boys and ask of them, "cigarettes for pap, penny for mama, candy for me." And every chance we get we are teaching them American slang they sure do learn fast. I found everything quite different from what I expected to find it. This is a beautiful country and every thing looks so nice over here. The land is mostly smooth and everything is kept in the best of shape. They can do this as each man has such as small tract of land. The roads are good, nice stone walls for fence.

I haven't met many of my chums of the training camps as yet but hope to meet them later and talk with them.

Well I guess I had better close for this time as you know I am not allowed to write so much. I do not know how much of this will pass the censor. I hope this will find you all well and enjoying life to the fullest extent.

Don't worry about me for I am getting along fine and I hope to be back with you soon, as I think the war will soon be over for Uncle Sam has enough soldiers over here now to lick the Germans and most of us will get home soon. I will be pleased to have a letter from you all at once. Will write as often as I can.

Your son,
Private A. L. Smith"

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Teachers in Russell County, Moccasin District, 1879-1883

Here is the listing of teachers for Moccasin District from 1876-1883. There were approximately 600 students each year.

Moccasin District 1879 1880 1881 1882 1883
Alderson, T. C. (Rev.)xxxxx
Bird, Michaelx
Cross, Robertxx
Dickenson, Mollie E.x
Dickenson, M. M.x
Debusk, R. S.xx
Duff, Henryx
Gilmer, N. H.x
Harris, John (Dr.)xxxx
McFadden, Mollie E. (Miss)xxxxx
Scott, Peter H.x
Vicars, Ira F.xxxx
Vicars, Joseph C.x

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Old Russell County Church Group Picture

Here's a large group picture, taken somewhere in Russell County, possibly at a church, although probably not for Sunday service. None of the children are wearing shoes, and not all of the boys are in suits. Other contemporary pictures show shoes and suits. None of these children are identified. Recognize anyone? 

As for the date, I'll guess circa 1900-1910.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

William L. Ball, Soldier, Saint, Swindler

William L. Ball was born in Russell County, Virginia on April 22, 1844, the son of John Tunnel Ball and Margaret Honaker. On July 12th, 1861, he enlisted in Company G of the 37th Virginia Infantry. Existing records are sketchy, but he was listed as "On furlough" for March and April 1862 (probably after re-enlisting), and present for May and June 1862. Subsequent 1862 muster rolls list him as absent without leave.

Ball then enlisted in the 22nd Virginia Cavalry on May 1st, 1863 for three years. The muster roll for the time period up to October 1, 1863 show him as present as a 2nd Lieutenant in Company D.  In early 1864, Confederate Special Order 5/25 resulted in his arrest and return to Company G of the 37th Virginia Infantry, his former unit.

No further military record of Ball can be found, with the possible exception of a record for a William L. Ball in the 6th Battalion Reserves stating an enlistment in April of 1864 and a status of absent without leave. However, this could refer to the uncle of William L. Ball, who had the same name.

Interestingly enough, William L. Ball's brother, John Wesley Ball, also served in the 37th Virginia Infantry and enlisted in the 22nd Virginia Cavalry on the same day as his brother, so it seems apparent that they both enlisted (or transferred) to the 22nd at the same time.

William's brother, Elihu Kiser Ball, wrote a memoir later in life that discusses his family's first introduction to the Mormon Church (Latter Day Saints.) He writes:

"When I was a boy of about fifteen years of age, two Mormon elders came in our vicinity preaching the gospel. This was about 1870. I then lived in Russel County, Virginia, with my father and mother. The names of these elders were T. B. Lewis and C.H. Riggs. There were two of my brothers that met up with them, William and Martin. They embraced the gospel and were baptized. After they joined the Church they invited the elders to my father's house."

Either the Mormon elders came to Russell County earlier than 1870, or William immediately left for Salt Lake City. He appears in the 1870 Census living in Salt Lake City, his occupation is listed as schoolmaster. On January 15, 1872 he marries Louisa Kennedy in Salt Lake City.

Then next historical record mentioning William is in his brother's memoir where he recalls traveling to Salt Lake City in 1878 and finding his brother living there:

"On May 5 I left West Virginia and got on a steamboat at Louisa and sailed down the Big Sandy River to Cincinnati and there I took the train to Salt Lake. I arrived in the city May 13, 1878. I stopped overnight at a hotel named the White House. The next morning I made inquiry if they knew where my brother, William L. Ball, lived. I was told that he lived four blocks south and five blocks east of the hotel. After finding his place (I found he lived in a big two-story house), I knocked on the door and his mother-in-law answered it. I asked her if William L. Ball lived there and she said "Yes, but he is not in. Are you his brother that he is expecting?" I told her yes, but not to tell him I was there. I wanted to see if he recognised me. She said she would go and call him. I set my valise behind the door so he wouldn't see it. He came and spoke to me politely and seated himself and we began talking and I could see he didn't know me. We talked on for awhile and I said, "William, I see you don't know me." He said, "Is that you, Elihu? I'll swan, what made you fool me." He told me then to make his house my home."

William continued his involvement in the LDS Church and, after baptising his brother in 1878, he apparently served a mission in the southern states for the Church. Both brothers ended up in Manassa, Colorado by 1881, where Elihu marries Minta Kirtland. Brother William, serving as Presiding Elder, performed the marriage. William had returned from his southern mission with a large group of converts, mostly poor farmers hoping for a better life. By 1881, these recent southern converts were clashing with the established Church members in Conejos County, Colorado. The established Church members, mostly holding leadership positions, were generally of Scandanavian origin and spoke their native languages better than English. In addition, the southerns were greatly disappointed by the prospects for farming in a land that was "nine months winter and three months late in the fall." Manassa was at over 8,000 feet of altitude.

The two camps soon began to clash, and William L. Ball was firmly in the camp of the southerners. In February 1883 he was removed from his position as Presiding Elder of the Conejos County Mormons. Also in that month, reports began to appear of southerners opposing the Church and suffering further hardships - cattle missing, gates open, and fences and crops destroyed.

Meanwhile, in Salt Lake City, celebrated newspaper columnist Kate Field was researching for a series of lectures she planned to give on the LDS Church. She began a communication with William L. Ball and wrote of the Manassa troubles in the Salt Lake Herald. Newspaper reports appeared as far way as Boston, with most articles opposing the Church. The official Church newspaper, the Deseret News, opposed Ball and raised questions about Ball and funds raised for the poor settlers at Manassa.

The schism between the southern converts and the Church came to head in 1884, where the Church reportedly began buying votes in the Presidential election of that year. William L. Ball spoke out harshly against the Church and was excommunicated, along with hundreds of other recent converts. In a March 16th, 1884 letter to the Salt Lake Daily Tribune Ball writes from Wichita, Kansas:

"I am not at all surprised at the attack made upon my character by the Deseret News, which I denounce as an infamous and malicious falsehood, concocted for the purpose of destroying my influence."

Ball goes on to detail his involvement with the Church and defends himself from allegations of embezzling the funds raised by Kate Field for the poor southerners at Manassa. Ball never returned to Utah or Colorado, or the LDS Church. His parents, who had moved to Manassa during Ball's tenure there, moved to Kansas in 1884, settling in Sedgewick County. William L. Ball lived in Kansas briefly, and eventually moves to Woods County, Oklahoma, one county over from his brother John Wesley Ball, who had moved to Woodward County, Oklahoma in the mid-1880's.

William L. Ball died on October 5, 1912 at the home of his daughter in Jet, Alfalfa County, Oklahoma and was buried in the Thrall Cemetery. The funeral was preached in the Christian Church. During the funeral the preacher recalled Ball saying "It is all right after it is all over if a man is just prepared to go."