Saturday, May 3, 2008

WWI Postcard to Pricy Craft

When I met Patty Craft McHone, she had retired from working at the Post Office in Millstone. The original post office for Millstone had been in her grandfather's kitchen. Patty had been spending the time since retiring going through things at home and doing a bit of downsizing.

About two weeks before my visit she had sent a packet of pictures to her uncle Watson Craft. She had another envelope of pictures she had gathered which were mostly mystery pictures to her. She let me take the pictures to copy. I hoped that someday we would be able to identify some of them. Patty, not knowing anyone in the pictures, found them useless to her, but thought that maybe her Uncle could identify them and would appreciate them.

In the mystery packet of pictures was a post card picture. I have found the post card pictures were common in the old pictures from the 20's through the 40's. My oldest Mullins pictures are in that format. I could barely read the writing. I took a magnifying glass, used bright lights, did everything I could to try to read that post card. It took me several hours, but finally I figured it out.

It said:

  • "This is not very good. Will have more taken some time. But remember wherever I go and whatever happens I will try and face it like a man. I go into this willingly to help protect you and your children and my country from Devils across the sea. Peter "

After I transcribed the post card then it was a matter of identifying who Peter was.

Pricey's grandfather was named Peter, but he was too old. I kept searching and found a Peter Adkins who was the right age, but he was living in the state of Washington. I found his WWI draft registration which said he had been born in Kentucky. Then I found Lewis F. Adkins, also in Washington. I didn't know enough about the Adkins to know if this were the right ones even with the Kentucky birth.

I love these draft cards because they give you a birthdate, a physical description and you get to see their handwriting. Peter is described as medium height, slender build, brown hair and black eyes.

I took the post card to Patty and gave her the transcription. I told her that it would mean more to whoever she gave it to as a momento. She said that some of the Adkins had moved to Washington state. She remembered some of them visiting Kentucky at one time. She said the post card wasn't going anywhere now that she knew who it was and what it said. I would imagine that having her brother so far away from Kentucky that it had been a special picture and post card to Pricy when she received it during WWI.

That's why it is so important to identify our old pictures so they don't become meaningless to the ones left behind. But that's another story.

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