My Grandfather’s Words: Friday May 10, 1918


I was up this morning about 7:30. I guess Mary and I cried a little. It may be the last night we ever spend together on earth. We were both rather sad. I did not feel like going anywhere so read a little, helped Mary fix up my bag – took the black Gladstone bag with me. She, dear girl, had many things for me to take that I knew I could not take. We had gone to meeting (the Plymouth Brethren church service) the evening before and then bought some oranges and apples. We had a time getting home with them as it rained and the bags burst. We carried them in our pockets.

Mary in her Red Cross nurses uniform
Mary in her Red Cross nurses uniform

Mr. Leask (Mary’s father) and Ed were coming home at noon to bid me goodbye. They were going to have a kind of extra dinner, but I had to report at two o’clock at City Hall, so had to leave before they arrived.

Honey girl went to the car line with me. I guess we were both near crying.

I arrived at City Hall. The chairman of the board did not show up til nearly three. I could have had that hour with Mary, as well as not.

We were marched around city hall by Lt. Mead a little. Then were taken to the station to catch the 4:20 train on the Rock Island train line.

Uncle John and Aunt Emma were there to see me off. There were some sad partings and the train pulled out. I received permission to leave the train at Waterloo and Mary was waiting for me there. I held her in my arms a moment. Then had to let go.

Oliver Smith’s family and the O’Neils and many of the Christians from the assembly were down to see me off. (Oliver Smith was an evangelist who would preach all around that part of Iowa. The Leasks –nearly all of Mary’s family were there. We re-boarded and pulled out for where…. Gilbert Smith was on the train. He was in the Waterloo bunch. I had a few (Christian) tracts, enough to cover two cars. I gave them out before we arrived at Cedar Rapids. We stopped briefly at Cedar Rapids. We were allowed sixty cents a piece for supper. There was a great crowd at the station to see us off. The train was run as a special from there on up to Jefferson Barracks Missouri. (South of St. Louis)

By CardCow -, CC0,
By CardCow –, CC0, as troops deployed to France during WWI



There were many on the train from all over the northern and central parts of Iowa gathered at Cedar Rapids and placed on this train. I gave out what tracts I had left after leaving Cedar Rapids and got into a conversation with a man named John Buel from Monticello, Iowa. We talked until quite late about the Lord. I was glad that, although not saved, he realized his need and wanted to be a Christian. I tried as best I could to explain. I believe I had liberty from the Lord in speaking to him of his need and of God’s provision for it. I found a common car around 11 PM. It was rather hard to sleep.

Gilbert Smith was not feeling very well. I don’t think he slept any at all.

I gave a card for Mary to Mr. Houser of the Waterloo bunch at the stop in Cedar Rapids. He was to mail it, but he must have forgotten. She did not get it until Wednesday four days later.

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