Creator

Date Original

1918 Jun 27

Description

On June 27, 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 visiting Vilonia to attend the S.S. Convention, receiving mail, planning a trip home to Enders, a thousand newly drafted soldiers arriving at Camp Pike, baked goods and jelly given to him, attending a baseball game in Little Rock between Little Rock and Nashville, going to the Majestic Theater in Little Rock, and Flora working with the Red Cross.

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.

Transcription

[Image of soldiers loading cannon) U.S. Army
Camp Pike
June 27, 1918
Dear Flora: -
I went to
Vilonia again Saturday
and attended the S.S. Convention
there in the afternoon and it was
real good. On getting back to
Camp Pike, I hurried to the mail
box and found your nice letter
waiting for me. It always does
me so much good to read a
letter from you and from home.
I am still planning to come
home about July 13th or 14th but
I fear I cannot get but 2 days off,
and you know it takes a good part of
that time to make the trip
We are awfully busy now with the
new draft. I saw about a thousand
men unloaded a few minutes ago
but that is getting very common now.
I shall go to the Station tomorrow
night and try to see the Faulkner
County boys who have been taking their
farm furloughs. It's pretty hard on
them to have to leave their crops now
and hit this army.
Oh Say, you did not tell me whether
my army clothes become me or not.
Now honest, do you think I will make
as good a soldier as I do a civilian?
I mean as bad a one.
I hope you had fine luck with your
jelly, for you know I'm very fond of
jelly and might pass through Enders
some time and surprise you.
Edna sent me a cake and glass of
jelly which were awfully good.
A girl at Vilonia fixed me a box of
apples, Cake and things, and in my
hurry when I left, I left it in Homer
Calvin's buggy. I expected to get it in
the mail tuesday but have not gotten
it yet. I hated it awfully bad.
I received a little Khaki U.S. Kit,
containing, razor, comb, needles, and thread,
tooth paste, etc., from there last week,
Think I shall try it in a few minutes.
I went to Little Rock yesterday
afternoon with Reid, and
had a good time. Saw two League
ball games between Little Rock
and Nashville. Then went to
forest Park and back to the
Majestic Theater, catching a
jitney back to Camp at 9:30
P.M. I'm glad you have a Red
Cross Unit there. Am sure you
will do a great deal to relieve
the Soldiers. Every one in Little
Rock is very courteous to the
Soldiers and do all they can
for them. Hope Agnes does
not take Pers's leaving as
hard as she did before.
Tell Hattie and Wincie and
Joe Howdy for me.
Lovingly
Ben.
[Image of Soliders standing in line with pans] LITTLE ROCK, ARK, [postmark]
MAY 28 [postmark]
1 PM [postmark]
1918 [postmark]
PIKE BRANCH [postmark]
U.S. POSTAGE [stamp]
1 CENTS 1 [stamp]
U.S. POSTAGE [stamp]
1 CENTS 1 [stamp]
U.S. POSTAGE [stamp]
1 CENTS 1 [stamp]

Miss Flora Hamilton,
Enders,
Arkansas,
U.S. Army
Camp Pike Ark.
Co. 30, 8th tr Bn.

Physical Description

Letter (3 pages) and 1 envelope (front and back)

Subjects

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

Contributor

Clark, Benjamin Franklin; Hamilton, Flora

Geographical Area

Camp Pike, Pulaski County (Ark.); Vilonia, Faulkner County (Ark.); Little Rock, Pulaski County (Ark.)

Language

English

Identifier

MS.000581, Item 75

Resource Type

Text

Collection

Clark-Hamilton papers, MS.000581

Publisher

Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Letter from Benjamin Franklin Clark to Flora Hamilton, 1918 June 27, Clark-Hamilton papers, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Rights

Use and reproduction of images held by the Arkansas State Archives without prior written permission is prohibited. For information on reproducing images held by the Arkansas State Archives, please call 501-682-6900 or email at state.archives@arkansas.gov.

Disciplines

Military History | United States History

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Additional Content

Clark-Hamilton Papers finding aid: http://www.ark-ives.com/documenting/manuscripts/fulldetail.aspx?id=215

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Letter from Benjamin Franklin Clark to Flora Hamilton, 1918 June 27

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