(Ed Note: Russell was J Ikeda's father. The family lived at 615 Seed Street, (near where Seed Street School was.) Their parents were Christopher Columbus Crawford & Mary Etta Knepper.Thanks to J Ikeda for allowing us to publish the letter and the photo. )
Fort Mills, P.I.
December 25, 1920
Just a few lines to let you know that I am still here and existing under the hot sun of the Philippines. I must say that here it certainly does not seem like Christmas to me for there is no Snow like there was in Siberia last year and instead there is nothing but hot sun every where you look.
Christmas here seems like Easter in the United States and what is more Easter here seems like the Fourth of July in the States. So you probably see by that that here everything is exactly opposite from that in the States and that we poor Soldiers have a pretty hard time trying to imagine this day Christmas when it seems so improbable.
I suppose you had your usual good times on Christmas and New Years, did you not? I hope so at least for I am certain that you always had your good time there in spite of all other hardships that may chance to come before you. I hear that you are getting more and more like me every day that you live and that I will scarcely know my own brother when I get home again.
I wonder what I will want to try when I get through with the Army? I have tried everything that I have heard about in the last 20 years and am still existing and in fine health and happy. I think that I was created as a rounder and that I would have died long ago if I had been locked in some place where the life was quiet. But, listen here Brother; I am going to settle down when I get out of this hole for good. Why you would be surprised to what a change the Army has made in me. You would scarcely know your own brother.
Here in this Camp, or rather Fort, we are allowed all the privileges of the average American Soldier and more too for we are allowed to do anything but commit murder here for there are no people living here except Americans and when you take a bunch of Americans and put them out on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean you cannot be surprised at anything that they might attempt to do. You see the Officers of the Army here are looking at it that way and are trying their best to get us anything that we want for amusement; for our only form of amusement is Baseball and motion pictures and you know, yourself that those two soon get tiresome to one.
Well, Elmer, I have written about a dozen letters home today so I will have to make this one short for I have nothing to say, so I will close and write again soon.
As ever I am, Your Affectionate Brother. Merrill
Merrill E. Crawford
Finance Department, U.S. Army
Fort Mills, Corregidor, P.I.
P.S. Say Elmer, this time next year, I will be with you on a furlough.
Ed Note: It was common during this time to write letters to be published in the newspaper. The Society published a book, Letters Home from Former Sons and Daughters of Lawrence County Ill, 1915-1919 containing letters published in The Sumner Press. Filled with information for genealogists, and an interesting book just to sit down and read, it sells for only $25.00. You can order one from the website, www.lawrencelore.org or purchase one at the Museum or Genealogy Library.)