Date Original

1918 April 28


On April 24, 1918, Benjamin Franklin Clark wrote to his sweetheart, Flora Hamilton of Enders, Arkansas. He described his first few days after joining the service during World War I at Camp Pike, near Little Rock, Arkansas. Some of the topics he discusses in the letter include arriving, medical examination, vaccinations, the barracks, receiving his first uniform, the food, swearing, and gambling. He also talked about missing his students at the school, where he taught in Vilonia, Arkansas.

Biographical/Historical Note

Benjamin Franklin Clark was born in Enders, Faulkner County, Arkansas, and taught school in Vilonia, Arkansas, prior to being drafted in 1918. His service during World War I included training at Camp Pike (Pulaski County, Arkansas) and Camp Taylor (Kentucky). Clark was honorably discharged November 28, 1918, and returned to teaching. During the war years, he corresponded regularly with Flora Hamilton of Enders. After the war ended, Clark and Hamilton broke off their courtship, and the letters only give hints of the circumstances surrounding this event.
The Clark-Hamilton Papers contains over 100 courtship letters from Benjamin Franklin Clark to Flora Hamilton between 1914 and 1919. The letters describe Clark's day-to-day activities, which included teaching school in Vilonia, attending classes at Arkansas State Normal School in Conway, and military training during World War I.
Camp Pike, known as Camp Joseph T. Robinson since 1937, is located in present day North Little Rock, Arkansas. Named in honor of Brigadier General Zebulon M. Pike, Camp Pike served as a home and training camp for the 87th Division (National Army) and then as a replacement training facility after the division deployed to France during World War I. Construction totaling about $13,000,000 on the camp began in June 1917 and was substantially complete by November 1917. The post was a demobilization station and home for the U.S. Third Infantry Division as World War I came to an end. Between World War I and World War II, the camp served as the headquarters of the Arkansas National Guard. During World War II, Camp Robinson became a replacement training center, primarily for basic training and medics, and a German prisoner of war facility. As of 2014, Camp Joseph T. Robinson serves as a 33,000-acre training facility for the Army National Guard and is the headquarters for the Arkansas National Guard.


Camp Pike
April 28, 1918.
Dear Flora:- I left Conway
friday night, got here and into
my barracks before twelve but
there was little sleep for me.
The song here is "I had
A good home, but I had
to leave it", and "We're
in the Army now."
We were examined this morning
and vaccinated for Small Pox
and inoculated for Typhoid
and I am rather sore from
the latter. The first of course
will not take. I have just
finished dressing in my
first uniform, gift of Uncle
Sam and won in his honor.
I see from this window some
other men writing, some talking,
some marching, some just arriving,
and some "Shooting Craps,"
some losing and some winning

money, some playing ball,
and some sight-seeing.
This is the regular days
program. We have a very
good equipment and a
pleasant place to sleep and
plenty of well coo
real Sunday dinner today
with ice cream and cake
for dessert.
Flora, when I left Vilonia
School thursday, I left my
students crying as if their
hearts would break, and they<
clean up the grounds but
my time will come soon
This swearing, card playing
and crap shooting may go on
here forever but I for one
will not take part in it. F80
U.S. POSTAGE [stamp]
3 CENTS 3 [stamp]
LITTLE ROCK [postmark]
APR 28 [postmark]
6 PM [postmark]
1918 [postmark]
PIKE BRANCH [postmark]

Miss Flora Hamilton

Physical Description

Letter (5 pages) and 1 envelope


Military camps; Military training; War; World War I, 1914-1918; Draft; Soldiers; Military cookery; Entertainment


Clark, Benjamin Franklin; Hamilton, Flora

Geographical Area

Camp Pike, Pulaski County (Ark.)




MS.000581, Item 69

Resource Type



Clark-Hamilton papers, MS.000581


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Letter from Benjamin Franklin Clark to Flora Hamilton, 1918 April 24, Clark-Hamilton papers, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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Letter from Benjamin Franklin Clark to Flora Hamilton, 1918 April 24