Correspondence from my Hicks relatives
This is a letter from my 1st cousin, twice removed which was printed in the Newton Press, Nov. 15, 1918 after his death in WWI:
"The following letter from William M. Hicks to his mother was probably
the last one ever written by him, as he was killed in action a week later, Oct. 10. He tells of capturing a German
and forwarding the latter's picture home. Mr. and Mrs. Hicks contemplate having the photos of the two opposing
soldier boys in uniform enlarged, put together, with the name of each, William's age, war service, incident of
capture, and date and place of death printed thereon for a memorial souvenir.
Oct. 3, 1918
Mrs. F.M. Hicks, Newton, Ill., U.S.A.
Dear Mother and U All: I am fine and dandy; just got back from the front line; we sure had some fun up there; the last time we were up we had one of the largest battles that ever took place; it was Sunday, Sept. 29 at 5:45 in the morning and lasted about all day; we captured 31,000 prisoners. Had but just a few of our boys killed and a few wounded.
Roy Newlin is missing. I don't know for sure where he is.
I am an S.B. (stretcher bearer); about the same as a doctor in time of a battle. I take care of the wounded and dead. I had three days of hard work. I had eight prisoners to help me; believe me I did work them some.
I claim we broke the Hindenburg line you have often read about, that the Boches said we could not break, but we walked right through it. They had lots of girls with them in the trench; we captured them just the same; we have them in the hospital to help take care of the wounded.
I was lucky; I never got a scratch; the good Lord was with me for once.
Here is a picture of a German I captured. He gave it to me. Take good care of it for me till I come home. He was a fine fellow. His name was Mike Nickelsan.
From your loving son in France. Goodbye to all.
William M. Hicks
James Melvin Hicks was the eldest son of my gg-grandparents Ellis Hicks, Jr. and Mary Elizabeth Wilson.
A letter from Leander McCulloch to J. Melvin Hicks
Printed in the Newton Press
Wednesday, July 24, 1889
"A Former Jasperite"
Sioux City, IO., July 15th, 1889
J. MELVIN HICKS, Newton, Ill.,
DEAR SIR: Your kind letter of the 3rd. inst, was received on the 5th, and for which I shall ever hold you in grateful remembrance, as I have neither met nor corresponded with any of my relatives or acquaintances in that country since I left there in 1864, nearly twenty-five years ago. Yes, I do remember you very distinctly and also your father (submitter's note: Ellis Hicks was Mel's father). Well now for a series of interrogatories:
Where are uncle William and Thomas Eagleton and D.P. Smith? Also their families if living? Where are Mr. John Badger, Polk Smith, Capt. Lawrence Banta and Mr. Benjamin Kilburn? I came to Iowa in Sept., 1877, landing in Keokuk, thence going to the western part where I have remained ever since, now almost 22 years. I have been engaged in the pedagogic profession all the while with the exception of _______ (illegible) a commercial college in Des ____ (illegible). Consequently, I may hereafter be considered on the retired list, not however, from the amount of wealth accumulated in the business, but from declining health. My first visit to Sioux City was in the year of 1870, remaining about one week. I revisited the city again in 1883 and made it my home in the following year, 1884. Its phenomenal growth and rapid development has been mainly since the last national census when it contained a population of 7,200; the city now containing 45,000 inhabitants. A large steel bridge spans the Missouri at this point costing over $2,000,000; one pontoon is now in use for footmen and teams and also connecting the cities of Covington, South Sioux City and Stanton, in Nebraska with our great and growing city in Iowa. The city has 25 miles of street car lines, two Motor lines of railways their length respectively being 3 and 5 miles, one cable line of 3 1/2 miles, 3 large packing houses, one extensive foundry with several other manufacturing establishments now in process of erection in the new addition of Leeds. Sioux City has 35 churches, 25 public school buildings. The North Western Business College is located here, the Normal and Training School is in charge of Miss Eva D. Kellogg. Sioux City is finely located, its boundary on the west being the Missouri, on the north the Big Sioux river, on the south the Floyd river. The area of Sioux City is 64 square miles. I think our city is destined to become the new Chicago of the great north west. The productivity of our exceedingly fertile soil and healthful climate all tend to the development of this beautiful city as the great metropolis and commercial highway between the Atlantic and Pacific seaboards. Among the number of railroads centering or terminating here may be mentioned the Sioux City and Pacific R.R., Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha R.R., Chicago and North Western R.R., Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul R.R., Union Pacific R.R., and the Pacific Short Line R.R., now being built extending from Sioux City to Ogden, Utah Ter., 969 miles there connecting with the Central Pacific from San Francisco. Our 3rd Annual Corn Palace Festival begins Sept. 23rd and closes Oct. 5th, continuing two weeks and is to be on a more magnificent and grander scale than ever, more costly and built and operated upon a larger scale. After ____ (illegible) pay us a visit at that time if you can do so conveniently.
Write soon and give me the foregoing desired information.
Very Respectfully Yours,
Newton Press Editor's Note: ["In the early part of the war McCulloch and Marion Kilburn, then boys not over 18, were sitting on a log in the woods of Grove township talking. One of them suggested that they enlist as soldiers and acting on the spur of the moment, they at once started for the residence of John Nichols, now of Kingman County, Kan., where before night they had enrolled their names in defense of the government. When the war was over, Kilburn returned to this county and afterwards moved to near Casey. Wm. Eagleton, John Badger, Benjamin Kilburn and Polk Smith have been dead for several years. D.P. Smith and Lawrence Banta live in Newton, and Thomas Eagleton on a farm in Grove township"]
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