A Letter Home - David T Solley
from Lois Rekowski
This article was originally published in the December 2002 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society
Even though we seem to be stuck on our ancestor Silas Solley, who lived about 1800 - 1870, I have had the good fortune of running into a 3rd cousin who is far more tenacious about tracking down the origins of our particular Solley branch than I am.
Silas had relatives who may have been pirates in our state of New Jersey at the time of the American Revolution. We find other Solleys where he came from but are unable to connect them to him. We suspect the relatives were hung and that Silas wanted to leave all that behind him. Hence, no trail!
Anyhow, my cousin had me out and about this summer interviewing some of the relatives. One in particular had preserved this letter to her Grandmother Keziah Wood written by David T. Solley at the close of WWI. Silas Solley m. Lucy Tozer, son: Isaac Solley (b. 1837) m. Hannah Wood (Keziah's sister) son: David Silas Solley (b. 1871) m. Susannah Elanora Place son: and author of the letter: David Thomas Solley, b. March 24, 1895, d. Nov. 3, 1969
The lady who preserved the letter was not a Solley descendant, so it shows that it is often wise to check the "other" side of the family when searching for clues! She was reluctant to let it go out of her hands so I transcribed it, instead of scanning it.
I hope you enjoy the letter and its window on the past. The 'Earl Solley' that he refers to in his letter as being wounded is shown in the picture gallery on the website under "Solley in Pennsylvania."
LETTER FROM DAVID T. SOLLEY TO HIS AUNT KEZIAH WOOD
Keziah was the sister of Hannah and Mary Ellen Wood
Sgt. David T. Solley St. Sulpice, France
Headquarters Det. March 6, 1919
331st Service Bn.
Am. E. F.
My Dear Aunt Keziah,
I am working in the Issue Commissary here at Camp St. Sulpice. I am making out Ration Returns. We have over 300 different organizations and there is quite a lot to figure to one Ration Return. Sometimes I am so fatigued at night I donít even write to my wife.
Yes, I have heard from Earl Solley too, he had been wounded in the leg but was getting along allright.
This is the largest Supply Base Uncle Sam has in France. There are about 2 Billion dollars worth of supplies here in 109 warehouses. This is quite near Bordeaux, France. We came down expecting to embark for the states. We even had our sailing orders, when here they put us to work. We expect to start home sometime next month.
There is no snow here and they say they donít have any. There was plenty of snow where I came from up front. I was at Front Line for 5 months. Yes, I was in the Battle at St. Mehiel, but did not get hurt. Accommodations are very good at this Camp, while we were at the front we lived in tents with the earth for a floor and sometimes a bed. General Pershing was here to visit us last Thursday and of course we held Guard Mount and Review for him. There were about 500 Platoons of 50 men each with a Sergeant in charge of each Platoon. While on Guard Mount General Pershing came up and told my Platoon that they were the best drilled Platoon on that field and then complemented [sic] me personally on the way I handled them. Well you can imagine I grew two inches right there at once. If I didnít gain it in height I guess my chest swelled that much.
I understand times are getting rather hard in the States. I am real anxious to get home an get to housekeeping.
I remain Your Nephew, with love to all,
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