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100 years ago in France: Spokane soldier asks sister to send brown sugar

Mrs. P.T. Miller received a letter from her brother, Floyd DeBolt, from France where he was serving in the U.S. Army in World War I, the Spokesman-Review reported on Feb. 14, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Mrs. P.T. Miller received a letter from her brother, Floyd DeBolt, from France where he was serving in the U.S. Army in World War I, the Spokesman-Review reported on Feb. 14, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Mrs. P.T. Miller received a letter from her brother, Floyd DeBolt, from France where he was serving in the U.S. Army.

“Everything seems odd here,” wrote DeBolt. “The houses, cities, railroads and farms are all like ancient history. I stayed all night in a barn that was built in 1792. … Write and tell me the war news. We don’t get any over here. It seems funny to you, I suppose, but we don’t hear so much about the war here as people in the United States and we can hear the booming of the big guns plainly.”

He said they could not get sweets or American tobacco. He could do without tobacco, he said, but he asked her to send some brown sugar, because “that will keep.”

He closed by saying, “I am getting along all right. … I will come back when the war is over.”

Two weeks after writing this letter, DeBolt died of pneumonia in France.

From the enemy alien beat: Only 291 German “enemy aliens” registered in Spokane and police were convinced that many had failed to register.

Unregistered Gemans were now liable for arrest and police hinted they would begin a roundup soon.


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