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Handwritten Old 1921 Letter from World War One Buddy in Frisco, Texas

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Early bi-plane serving in World War 1.  Photo was taken by my grandfather.

Early bi-plane serving in World War 1. Photo was taken by my grandfather.

Old Correspondence Letters

This letter was one of two old letters carefully tucked away for safekeeping in a vintage cigar box written to my grandfather from a World War 1 war buddy who lived in Frisco, Texas. This handwritten letter's date is January 9, 1921, and the other one's date is February 29, 1920.

They had formed a bond and lasting friendship while fighting in France during World War 1 and had kept in touch with each other since returning home. In those early days of airplanes and World War 1 aircraft, it was a rare breed of people engaged in that type of warfare.

The other letter written by this same gentleman to my grandfather stated the obvious. Many pilots did not get to return home and died while flying those airplanes. It often occurred because of mishaps in the air in addition to enemy fire. It was dangerous work!

Picture of my grandfather in uniform during World War 1.

Picture of my grandfather in uniform during World War 1.

Excerpts From My Grandfather's Obituary

"On October 24, 1917, at Fort Slocum, New York, when the country issued its first call for volunteers in the World's war, Mr. Vogt enlisted and was in the 50th Aero member squadron. He was advanced to a master election and remained with the company until the signing of the Armistice.

His squadron had its beginnings in San Antonio, Texas; he was transferred to New York and then overseas to England, where it became attached to the Royal Air forces for training. The squadron arrived in France on July 14, 1918, and was entrained for their first quarters at Goundrecourt.

As a non-commissioned officer, Mr. Vogt saw active service in the St. Mehiel drive and later in the Meuse Argonne sector for which he was awarded a service button. It is interesting to note that Mr. Vogt had charge of the first liberty plane to fly over the enemy's lines and charge over the aircraft that discovered the famous "Lost" battalion."

1918 Photo of 50th Aero Squadron, Harlaxton Airdrome, at Grantham, England

Picture of my grandfather and his squadron.

Picture of my grandfather and his squadron.

History

I can only wonder about the letters my grandfather wrote to Mr. Hubert H. Rogers in return. They were undoubtedly fascinating as well, given their historical timing.

From other letters of reference in this same vintage cigar box in my possession, I know that my paternal grandfather (before the war) had worked as a trained automobile mechanic in New York. It put him in good stead when being responsible for keeping those bi-planes and tri-planes in the air.

He had been trained at the Packard Chauffeurs' school and was in employment as a chauffeur for a bank president in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For several years, he also worked as a chauffeur in Pasadena, California, for a Mr. Robbins from Farmers and Bankers Investment Co.

After World War 1, he would have returned to his home and started his home building business in Okauchee, Wisconsin, where he constructed the house for his bride (my grandmother) as well as a string of rental cottages on the lake.

My dad was born in that same house. Sadly at the age of only 8, the young boy who later became my father lost his dad due to pneumonia. Those were the days before antibiotics, and pneumonia was the cause of death of many people. Who knows what my grandfather would have accomplished had he lived longer! He was certainly highly regarded by those who knew him, and he achieved much in the 46 years of his life.

Handwritten Letter

Mr. Rogers and my grandfather survived World War 1 and shared a common bond forged and cemented as only other war buddies can probably truly understand. Theirs was a strong friendship and yet notice the formality of this written old letter. Here is the letter in its entirety:

"Frisco, Texas

Jan. 9, 1921

Dear Friend, Mr. Vogt:

I want to thank you with my whole heart for your lovely remembrance of Christmas. To say that I appreciate these cigarettes is expressing my gratification in the mildest of terms. If it is possible to do so, they make me esteem you all the higher and appreciate your friendship all the more. They have indeed been a pleasure, every one of them giving me visions of you, your present whereabouts, and your movements - and making me realize that true friends mean more to a person than anything else in this world. I am always happy to count you as such, and I shall forever cherish you & your memory as one of the truest friends and the most real man whom I had the pleasure of knowing in France and since our return.

I would have written you much sooner - only I mislaid the wrapping which contained your California address, and only recently, my sister-in-law told me that she burned it, not thinking it of any value. So you see what Sister-in-Laws can do! I'm sending this to Wisc. in the hope that it shall finally reach you.

I have been working like a Trojan for so long that I have forgotten everything else. I resigned my place on the farm and went home for a week during Xmas. I had a good time too - kids all home from College; several girls had visitors, and I was lucky enough to be called onto help entertain them. That almost made me feel young again. I soon forgot about my rough hands, my gray hairs, and wrinkled brow - and I had a better bunch of honest fun than I've had for years. But now I'm back to the washtub - with a few more beautiful faces to haunt my memory.

Our wheat and oats are looking fine - and the green bugs seem to be here only in very small numbers. Papers declare that the prospects of a bumper grain crop in Texas are very good. I only hope the paper farmer prophets are correct.

I trust that you are enjoying California again and that everything is going well with you. I'd surely like to see that state as you have.

I imagine that you have seen a good many of the boys of old 50th. Whenever you bump into one, give him "Old Rogers" best. Those prune gatherers of old 50th were a jolly good crowd.

I hope that 1921 will find you realizing your dreams and reaching your ambition; that Dame Fortune will place her choicest wares at your disposal, and that Father Time will deal gently with you.

I shall be more than delighted to hear from you anytime.

With every good wish, and my most heartfelt thanks for your generous remembrance.

Sincerely your friend,

Hubert H. Rogers"

A portion of an old handwritten letter from Mr. Rogers

A portion of an old handwritten letter from Mr. Rogers

Mr. H.H. Rogers wrote his letters from Frisco, Texas, to my grandfather in Okauchee, Wisconsin.

Frisco Heritage Museum

Hopefully, readers of this old letter will glean some insight into handwritten communications back in 1921 from this particular World War 1 war buddy of my grandfather's who returned home to live and work in Frisco, Texas.

Both of those letters and the bi-plane photo, etc., are now in a Frisco museum. Someone from the Frisco Heritage Museum contacted me to see if they could have copies. After discussing it with my relatives, we decided to entrust the original documents to the museum for historical purposes. More people will find out what life was like back during those times.

From a Movie

Sources for Further Reading:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Peggy Woods

Comments are most welcome!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 19, 2021:

Hi Amy,

My grandfather certainly did play an important role in the early days of airplanes during WWI. Thanks for taking the time to read this article.

Amy on March 18, 2021:

Must have been a thrill for your grandfather to have been involved in the dawn of the air age.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 17, 2021:

Hi Jack,

I am so happy that this letter is now in a museum setting and will be preserved long into the future. It will be of interest to many history buffs. Thanks for your comment.

Jack on March 17, 2021:

Such a meaningful discovery and so well reported in your article.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 20, 2020:

Hi Harry,

I have heard many wonderful stories about my paternal grandfather. I also wish that he could have lived longer so that I could have gotten to know him. Thanks for your comment.

Harry on December 19, 2020:

These wonderful memories are very moving. You presented them beautifully. Sorry to hear your grandfather died at such an early age after surviving the war.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 24, 2019:

Hi Dale,

It was a fun discovery much like finding a letter in a bottle at sea...but for landlubbers. Ha!

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on August 23, 2019:

What a wonderfully romantic story! As you know I have lived aboard a boat for many years now so this finding an old letter in a cigar box idea automatically makes me think of the classic Letter In A Bottle.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 16, 2016:

Hello Robert Sacchi,

This certainly is a look at past history. Glad you liked this.

Robert Sacchi on April 13, 2016:

Thank you. This article gives a good look into the past.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 12, 2015:

Hi Patricia,

So nice that you still have some of your Daddy's old journals and writings. Things like that are real treasures! Appreciate your comment, votes and the share and sending good wishes your way this morning.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on April 11, 2015:

Finding treasures like this takes us back in time and gives us a glimpse at how things must have been I have found a number of writings from my Daddy to family as well as a few journals he kept ...what a treasure they are.

Ah...the bonds of friendship speak loudly down through the years.

So glad you shared this with us Peggy.

Angels are once again winging their way to Texas this morning ps

Gladly voting up++++ and sharing

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 26, 2014:

Hi Virginia,

So glad that you enjoyed it. That letter and another one are now in a Frisco museum.

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on November 19, 2014:

How marvelous to share this letter and your knowledge about it online.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 03, 2013:

Hi Peg,

The actual letters, this one and the other one dated 1920 are now up in a museum in Frisco, Texas. I donated them after I was contacted by some people who expressed an interest in them. Apparently the Rogers family were influential land owners and from what I was told have a school named after them and even a street somewhere in that general location of Dallas. Glad that you liked how this was written. I agree with you that modern communication methods will never be quite the same. Appreciate your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 03, 2013:

Hi moonlake,

Nice that your sister salvaged those old postcards. Old letters like this as well as postcards can tell much about the past and become bookmarks of periods in history. It is a shame that my grandfather had to die so young. Thanks for your comment, vote + share.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on April 03, 2013:

What an interesting piece of history captured in this handwritten correspondence from your Grandfather's friend. I love the way he expressed him fading youth: "That almost made me feel young again. I soon forgot about my rough hands, my gray hairs and wrinkled brow..." and the terms he gave to the forecasters: "paper farmer prophets".

The future will hold a different sort of remembrance, paperless tweets of font driven characters, lacking the unmistakeable personality of this handwritten thank you letter. So glad you preserved this piece of history and shared it here.

moonlake from America on April 02, 2013:

Loved reading the old letter. Sad that your dad lost his dad at such a young age. My mother was throwing away old post cards until my sister found out and saved them. Voted up and shared.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 02, 2012:

Hello Johnnyd44,

Nice to know that you enjoyed this bit of family history and how it related back to World War 1 and afterwards from this letter written to my grandfather in 1921. Thanks for your comment.

Johnnyd44 from Florida on March 02, 2012:

Peggy W,

Very powerful! I love the letters and the videos. Of course, I love history as well. Thanks for providing.

Johnny

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 01, 2011:

Hi EdwardB,

Thanks for sending your email address. I'll work on sending you more information of which I am sure you will be interested.

EdwardB on September 01, 2011:

I have sent another e-mail - I was able to get a copy of the image, but its a little fuzzy - so if you can send a copy of the original that would be great (ebujak@harlaxton.ac.uk)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 31, 2011:

Hi Edward,

I just checked and did not see it. Even checked the Spam folder to make sure. If you wish to copy the photo from this hub you have my permission. Do you know how to do that? If not try sending your email address again by using the orange colored envelope at the top right of this hub which says Contact Peggy W. Let me know when you've done that and if I do not receive it again I'll contact HubPages to see if there is another way to retrieve it. Thanks!

EdwardB on August 31, 2011:

Thank you - I have sent you an e-mail.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 30, 2011:

Hi again EdwardB,

I could actually email you a copy of this 50th Aero Squadron group if you give me your contact information. It might be faster than contacting the Frisco Museum folks. I will leave that to you to decide. If you contact me via the contact info. above, leave a comment so that I will be sure and look for it as it goes to a separate email address. If you feel comfortable leaving your information in a comment box, that would also bring it to my attention quickly. Nice to know that I can be of some help to you.

EdwardB on August 30, 2011:

Thank You Peggy W! I'll follow this up and try to get a copy of the above photograph of the squadron for the College - being able to link today's generation of Americans studying in England at Harlaxton with the generation who fought in the Great War and were stationed for a time on an aerodrome just beyond the tree-line facing our classrooms is simply awe-inspiring. Seeing the picture above and reading-up on the heroism of the 50th Aero Squadron has made this a very special day.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 30, 2011:

Hello EdwardB,

I have no idea if any of these photos were with the Museum of RAF Harlaxton. The name of the museum that now has these donated letters, the picture of the bi-plane and a copy of the 50th Aero Squadron in England (I kept the original) is the Heritage Association of Frisco, Inc., P.O. Box 263, Frisco, Texas 75034 Another method of contact is www.friscoheritage.org Judy Isbell (secretary) was my contact person with regard to my donations. Hope this is helpful to you. Thanks for leaving a comment and good luck with your research.

EdwardB on August 30, 2011:

Hello - I work at Harlaxton College (the overseas campus of the University of Evansville in Indiana)- and the WWI RAF aerodrome was on the hill behind the Manor that is now the College. I am researching the history of the Manor in WWI and airbase (in our garden) - I find it amazing to think there were Amercians here in 1917/1918 and in 2011! Were any of the photos now with the Museum of RAF Harlaxton? If so could you let me know the nam,e of the Museum please?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 05, 2011:

Hello scott33thomas,

A museum in Frisco, Texas now has both of those old letters as well as some accompanying photos...so their historical value is being preserved. Thanks for your comment on this letter from the WW1 era.

Manuel Porras from Germany, Colombia, USA, Panama, Mexico, Spain on July 05, 2011:

Imagine the historical value that will have this letter

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 11, 2011:

Hi Hello, hello,

Have you written a hub about that old letter in your possession? That would be interesting to read. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 11, 2011:

Hello Freelance Writing,

How very interesting!!! Thank you for this informative comment. One letter that was passed on to my brother and has now disappeared after his death was a letter from Windsor Palace thanking the U.S. airmen for their service. It was on official stationery.

Will have to look for that movie. THANK YOU!

Hello, hello, from London, UK on April 11, 2011:

I find them fascinating because there is so much heart and feeling in personal historical evidences. I have got a letter from my uncle from Tobruk, written on eve of the battle where German troops were defeated and the POW were shipped to America.

Freelance Writing on April 07, 2011:

Hi Peggy, and hello from England. I was interested to see the picture taken of your grandfather while he was stationed at Harlaxton. Harlaxton was originally a Royal Flying Corps aerodrome and was transferred to the Royal Air Force when that was formed by combining the RFC and the Royal Naval Air Service in April 1918.

The expansion of numbers, plus the sudden influx of American airmen, meant that overflow sleeping quarters had to be provided near Swinderby village some 20 miles away. Of course, only enlisted men were inconvenienced, not the officers. However, it did mean that if you saw RAF Harlaxton in 1918, you usually saw RAF Swinderby also, as I'm sure your grandfather must have.

Harlaxton and Swinderby were closed after the First World War but re-opened in 1939 when Round Two began. I did my own training at Swinderby after the second war and about the same time, RAF Harlaxton was closed down, except for a nuclear bunker that remained until the 1990s.

You may be interested to know that some of the barrack room scenes in the film Full Metal Jacket (about US Marines) were in fact filmed at RAF Swinderby. If you ever see it, you might get a glimpse of your grandfather's sleeping quarters!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 06, 2011:

Hi dahoglund,

Good thing that your sister had an interest in family history and accomplished what she did. The Internet certainly makes things easier! Remember the Dewey Decimal System and encyclopedias? That was my era when in school. Pretty well dates us, doesn't it. Ha!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 06, 2011:

Hi Truckstop Sally,

That is true. Years ago I cleaned out a drawer of letters that I had saved over the years from many different people. Looking back...wish I had kept them! They were letters from both of my brothers who were writing from Viet Nam; letters from my grandmother, etc. Now all of these people are gone and it would have been a nice link to the past. So much for trying to be neat and tidy!

Thanks for your comment on this old letter from WW1 war buddy to my grandfather.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on April 06, 2011:

Peggy W

In my family I am the junior member. My sister who did a family history and put much work into it is eight years older than me.Most of the cousins are in her age group and the aunts and uncles are passed away. I have difficulty finding out anything within the immediate family.She did a lot of work on it but it was the "old-fashioned"way without the help of internet resources.

Truckstop Sally on April 05, 2011:

What a wonderful connection to your Grandfather. I wish people still wrote letters. Thanks for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 05, 2011:

Hi Simone,

Nice that this hub about that old letter post WW1 could transport you back in time. Who needs science fiction time machines? Haha! Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 05, 2011:

Hi again dahoglund,

Wouldn't it be wonderful to discover more old letters from your family! You did a marvelous telling of Marie's journey with facts and suppostion making the story. Hope more people read those hubs of yours.

Did you get any oral history from your family members? The telling of oral histories can be equally interesting.

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on April 05, 2011:

Wow, what an amazing journey you have shared! Great Hub! Wowowow- between the historical artifact, images, and video, I feel quite immersed in another time and place.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on April 05, 2011:

Peggy

Thankks for the compliment.I'm sure there qre letters out there but unfortunately I do not know many members of the family nor do I liave near many of them who may be still living.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 05, 2011:

Hi Becky,

Glad that you enjoyed this old letter from a WW1 war buddy written from Frisco, Texas back in 1921. I found the formality of how it was written interesting as well as the contents. Thanks for your comment and votes.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 05, 2011:

Hi Cheryl,

I'm sorry that I never got to know my paternal grandfather except through stories. These old letters from Mr. Rogers who lived in Frisco, Texas after WW1 gave me an idea of their friendship that they had forged during the time they were involved in flying those early airplanes. I know that besides readying the planes for flight, my grandfather did some aerial photography which was some of the important work done during the first world war. They would be able to relay information to the ground troops as to what was being spotted from the air. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 05, 2011:

Hello Georgiakevin,

Yes I am certain that Mr. Rogers and my grandfather were both honorable men. Obviously the bond they formed during WW1 was a strong one. My grandfather's early death is probably what ended that friendship. I was happy to find these 2 letters after all these many years. As to writing fiction...not sure about that but thanks for the encouragement. :-)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 05, 2011:

Hi again dahoglund,

Aha! That was an interesting story! I thought that perhaps these were some new letters that were discovered. You did a good job with that "Marie" series.

Becky from Oklahoma on April 05, 2011:

Thank you for sharing your grandfather's old letter from a WW1 Buddy. It was very interesting. Love the pictures too. Voted up and awesome.

Cheryl J. from Houston, TX on April 05, 2011:

Peggy,

You have written a wonderful and memorable hub on Old Letter from War Buddy. This is great to know that Mr. Rogers and your grandfather were survivors of World War 1 and that their friendship lasted for many years. I am happy that the documents are preserved for history. Great photos and videos. Great hub.

Georgiakevin from Central Georgia on April 05, 2011:

What an interesting hub. It strikes me that your grandfather and his friend must have bewen good honorable me. it is too bad you couldn't find other letters but this does leave open an opportunity for you to create letters that they might have written to each other.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on April 05, 2011:

Peggy W

I guess I didn't relate this clearly. The letters I was referring to were the letters on which I based the series of hubs about "Marie' which you read and gave me useful comments on.

Family histories are full of stories.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 05, 2011:

Hi dahoglund,

After being contacted by a lady who read my first hub with the other 1920 old letter from the same WW1 war buddy in Frisco, she put me in touch with the Frisco Heritage Society which has a museum. They now have both of the letters, the picture of the bi-plane and a copy of a picture of the 50th aero squadron from that time. Mr. Rogers who wrote both of these letters to my grandfather is undoubtedly in the photo although I have no idea which one he is in the photo. So these letters (documents) are now preserved for history.

My grandmother had donated my grandfather's WW1 uniform to a museum years ago, so if she were alive, I think that she would have approved.

Your family letters sound interesting. Are you going to write about any of them?

Thanks for your comment and votes.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on April 05, 2011:

Today's interest in genealogy is probably helping preserve documents that might be lost otherwise.My sister came upon letters from my great aunt because she wanted to do a family history.I would not know about them otherwise and the grabbed my interest more than hers.

Social history is a fairly new specialty but these kinds of documents contribute a lot.

I voted this up and sent to facebook.

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