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1918 May 12
On May 12, 1918, Benjamin Franklin Clark wrote to his sweetheart Flora Hamilton of Enders, Arkansas. He described his life as a soldier during World War I at Camp Pike, near Little Rock, Arkansas. Some of the topics he discusses in the letter include inspections, dry dusty weather, going to Levy, Arkansas, writing letters for Mother's day, and services at the Y.M.C.A.
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.
Letter (4 pages - fronts and backs) and 1 envelope
Military camps; Military training; War; World War I, 1914-1918; Draft; Soldiers; Entertainment; Mothers; Inspections
Clark, Benjamin Franklin; Hamilton, Flora
Camp Pike, Pulaski County (Ark.); Levy, Pulaski County (Ark.)
MS.000581, Item 71
Clark-Hamilton papers, MS.000581
Arkansas State Archives
Arkansas State Archives
Letter from Benjamin Franklin Clark to Flora Hamilton, 1918 May 12, Clark-Hamilton papers, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.
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Military History | United States History
Clark-Hamilton Papers finding aid: http://www.ark-ives.com/documenting/manuscripts/fulldetail.aspx?id=215