Collection (1917-1933, bulk 1918-1919) mainly consists of correspondence (29 May 1918-29 April 1919; 115 letters) between U.S. Army Pvt. Roscoe Jackson and his wife Lucile E. Jackson of Barnesville, Belmont Co., Ohio, and also with his father, mother-in-law, and grandfather during World War I. He writes from Camp Sherman in Chillicothe, Ohio, Camp Mills in Long Island, New York, and from France where he is serving with the 138th U.S. Infantry, A.E.F.
U.S. Army Pvt. Roscoe Jackson of Barnesville, Belmont County, Ohio, served with the 138th U.S. Infantry, A.E.F., during World War I. He wrote letters (29 May 1918 to 29 April 1919) to his wife and other family members while training at Camp Sherman in Chillicothe, Ohio, and at Camp Mills, Long Island, N.Y., and serving in France.
Roscoe Jackson was born on 8 December 1895 in Woodsfield, Monroe County, Ohio, to William and Missouri Jackson of Barnesville, Belmont County. He was raised on a farm, growing tobacco, corn, and other crops. In June 1917, he registered for military service in accordance with the Selective Service Act of 1917. He then entered training at Camp Sherman in May 1918. At the end of August 1918, Roscoe and his division were sent to Camp Mills in Long Island, N.Y., arriving on the 24th. He was then sent abroad to France at the beginning of September with Company H of the 334th Infantry. While in France, Roscoe moved through many towns and was fortunate to see little to no fighting. He was transferred repeatedly between different infantry units and companies, ending his military service with Company B 138th Infantry 35th Division. He served in France until 17 April 1919, when the company was sent back to the United States from St. Nazaire, France aboard the U.S. navy transport ship, Aeolus. He arrived back on U.S. soil on 28 April. The company was then paraded through multiple cities before going to Camp Sherman to be mustered out.
Prior to his military service, Roscoe married Lucile Evalyn Thomas on 15 November 1917. Lucile was born on 28 March 1901 in Ohio to Asa Elmer Thomas and Phoebe Kester. While Roscoe was away at camp, their daughter, Violet Mildred, was born on 1 September 1918. She would later attend Sugar Grove School in Belmont County, and eventually marry Hugh Washington Gunion, Jr., with whom she had two daughters.
Though he filed a draft card for World War II, there is no evidence he served in that war. There are no images of him in the collection; however his WWI draft card does provide a general description of him. He is described as having blue eyes, black hair, and of medium height and build.
Roscoe passed away on 15 June 1966, while Lucile lived until 1 January 1994.
Collection (1917-1933, bulk 1918-1919) mainly consists of correspondence (29 May 1918-29 April 1919; 115 letters) between U.S. Army Pvt. Roscoe Jackson and his wife Lucile E. Jackson of Barnesville, Belmont Co., Ohio, and also with his father, mother-in-law, sisters, and grandfather during World War I. Roscoe wrote from Camp Sherman in Chillicothe, Ohio, and Camp Mills in Long Island, New York, where he was in training. He continued to write after 21 September 1918 from France where he served with the 138th U.S. Infantry, A.E.F. The corresponding letters report on family matters, detailing life at home and work in a middle-American farming community during wartime.
The letters display the couple's affection for and devotion to one another and their deep religious values. Both talk regularly of reading the Bible and praying for one another, Roscoe states in a letter dated 5 June 1918 that he kneels to pray before bed every night despite what the other men think about it. Though he tries repeatedly, Roscoe is never able to receive a pass to go home before being sent abroad. This was due in part to confusion within the camp that had him listed as a deserter. Roscoe discovers this at the beginning of July 1918 and has to go through much work to prove that he is not. He was visited at Camp Sherman near the end of July by his parents and younger sister.
Beginning in September 1918, Roscoe's letters come from France, where he served with the American Expeditionary Forces during WWI until April 1919. The letters discuss the long gaps between writing and receiving letters while Roscoe was stationed in France. All describe their anxiousness at waiting for a new letter, with Roscoe waiting more than a month before receiving a letter from Lucile because of the delay in the mail system. In these letters is the first mention of the birth of Roscoe and Lucile's newborn daughter, Violet. Lucile's letter dated 8 September 1918 is the first to discuss her birth, though subsequent letters show that she had written sooner, they are missing from the collection. Beginning in October 1918, letters from Roscoe's family members discuss the Spanish influenza and its detrimental effects on life at home and in the military camps.
The collection also displays the vernacular of the changing times of the early 20th century. In her letters to Roscoe, Lucile regularly refers to her father-in-law's automobile as "the machine." Roscoe discusses the troops' troubles with "cooties," by which he means body lice.
Purchased with state funds from Carmen D. Valentino.
Processed by Allison N. Miller, 2013
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.