1897, October 26 – Letter from George Hesse to brother Lewis Hesse

George tells Lewis that he had joined the Navy for a 3 year term and will be leaving on the USS Wilmington. He confides that he left St. Louis due to lack of work.  Read a transcript of the letter below (original misspellings & all) or click on the image links to view the actual letter. As you read the transcript of the letter click on the links to view information & images about what they are discussing.


Click on a link to view the image: (some images can be further enlarged by clicking on them once they open)

Envelope Front     Envelope Back      Letter Page 1      Letter Page 2      Letter Page 3


Transcript of letter:

Norfolk Va. 10/26/97

Dear Bro; –

I Suppose you think it is about time I was writting don’t you well I thinks so too.  I bet you can’t guess what I have done Well I’ll tell you.  I have joined the United States Navy for a 3 years cruise so I will be all right for at least 3 years Last Wednesday I thought that I would go and try the Navy once mor and see if I could ship as I heard that they were enlisting men so I went over to Norfolk to see if I could join; Well I did pass and so here I am, stuck where I can’t get out for 3 long years and who knows what will happen in that time.  Why of course you will be married and settled down by the time I see you again.  I am having a nice time hear and if it is all like this why I will have a find old time.  I expect to catch the “Wilmington” just as soon as she is ready for sea and that will be about the middle of next month and then she will go to South America for the winter.  Well how is everybody at home?  All well and still kicking?  did you hear anything when I left st Louis?   Well it was the only thing I could do.  I tried my best to get a job but it was no use, all I could get was a day’s work now and again up at Coupples Station and I held on at my boarding house unitll the last weeks with the expectation of securing a job up there that would be steady.  If you run across any of them down there just let them know where I am and what I am doing and Say that I will Send the money as soon as I can make a draw on my wages.  I left st Louis with “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Shows” and when they broke up for the winter why I just shiped.  I was with the show 19 days and drew $9.50 when they closed in Richmond Va.  Well I have got a good thing now at $19.00 a month for 3 long years that means board too you know.  Well this is all the paper i have got so Good Bye and when you write address Your Bro

George A. Hesse

U.S.R.S. Franklin

Norfolk Va


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