Date Original

1917 December 18


Letter from J. Harrell Burke at Jefferson Barracks in Lemay, Missouri to his family in Arkansas.

Biographical/Historical Note

Jasper Harrell Burke served as a clerk for the Army Mechanical Repair Shops, American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I from January 1918 to June 1919. He enlisted as a private and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant by May 1919.


Jefferson Barracks
Dec 18 1917
Dearest Mama[,] Papa & all
Well the two days
I have been fairing pretty well
since my name was called
I have been assigned to a
regular bunk at least for
a little while.
The vaccination for
Typhoid made my arm pretty
sore for about 12 hours but it
is feeling all ok again. I haven't
been to town but [illegible]
once we (or section 11) have
been waiting for our Finger
prints to be made since
Monday morning. We will
not get our uniforms untill [sic]
we have our finger prints
made and maybe we will
have to wait one or two
days after we get our finger
prints made.
They tell me that there
is about five thousand
drafted men coming into
this camp to be trained
here. Last night they made us
give up our cots and put air
mattresses on the floor. They
put the cots in two or three
toilets and made the ex-
tra men in there.
If they begin to send
those drafted men in here
that way it will mean
that we will be shiped [sic] out
pretty soon. I believe I told
you all about being split
from my crowd. I have
located both of them now.
I was called in section 11
and Lee was called in
section 12 and Matkin was
called in section 25 that was
getting split up pretty
well. We were not the
only ones that got all
split up tho [sic] it seems as if
most every one that had a
pal got split away from them
Since we three have found
out where each other is
we can manage to get
transferred to one company
"maybe" we are going to
try it anyway.
It is pretty muddy
up here. They have got
some of our Arkansas
clay out here on these hills
that sticks tight to ones [sic] shoes
especially have to just
skoot [sic] your feet along on
the ground to help them
from sliping [sic] off[.] other
wise the weather is very
When we come back
from the mess hall
(and that a very good name
for it) after supper every
night we have a quartett [sic]
& is it "spelt" right that gongs
around in our Barrack
and sings for about an
hour or more and then
we all go to bed and
get up at six the next
When we came in
here last Friday we had to
stack all our grips in
building and haven't been
able to get to them since
so there has been a regular
laundry out in the toiler
there is a special prepared place
for it. I got my first shave
this evening since Friday night
and he was or seemed to be
a green barber and to like to have
pulled all the skin off of
my face.
I am lieing [sic] dowing on
my cot writting [sic] this.
Will close for
this time. I am your
Son & Bro
Hello Clyde what are you
doing. going to school every
day. Have you sliped [sic] up
in the mud or snow
yet. I did this morning
and just cleaned up the
walk and mud was just
about an inch deep on it
so I had to go to the fire
and scrape mud for a while

Physical Description

Letter, 5 pages, 6.25" x 9"


World War I; War; Soldiers; Recruiting and enlistment; Military camps; Military personnel; Military training


Harrell Burke

Geographical Area

Lemay, St. Louis County (Mo.)




MS.000074, Box 1, Folder 1, Item 3

Resource Type



J. Harrell Burke papers, MS.000074


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Letter, Harrel Burke to his family, 1917 December 18, J. Harrell Burke papers, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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


Military History | United States History


image preview

Additional Content

Finding aid for J. Harrell Burke Papers



Download Full Text (2.1 MB)

Letter, Harrel Burke to his family, 1917 December 18