Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum
Continuing this week with more from the WWI Murray Morgan letters. While on a short leave Morgan wrote to his friend Capt. Pepper that he was in “Merry England” but within the sound of the guns from France. There were about 10,000 Canadians there with men being sent to the front while others had leave. Morgan was a member of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. He mentions a lot of activity in England and thinks “something is going to start here soon” as there were “2,000,000 soldiers in training this island alone and they are fully equipped.” He asks about the possibility of getting his trombone “for if it is not too much I will send you the money and you may get it for me. I may yet get into a band as there are so many skilled in that branch of service.” (Letter from July, 1915).
The letter dated Sept. 29, 1915 begins “will now drop you a line from the Front (France) which I have traveled several thousand miles to see, have been in the trenches which in places are only 45 yards from the Germans. We give them a lively time of it and throw ‘chestnuts’ at them which they don’t like.” He continues, “ don’t know if you can read this or not as my writing desk is part of a cartridge case across my knees but my trusty Waterman (fountain pen) is still working. My apartment here was formerly a ‘ecurie pour chevre’ (goat barn) but I have it fixed up some, the nearby canal affords us a good bathing place, we get lots to eat but would sell half my equipment for a piece of good pumpkin pie and a cup of American coffee the like of which I have never tasted since I left the old place.”
A November letter talks of the cold. “Snow fell on the15th and 16th but it has since gone off. The cold is much different from cold at home, it seems to penetrate more and although I wear thick woolen socks my feet get very cold at times.”
The letters continue through the fall and into December when Morgan sends some post cards for Christmas. One says, “Dec. 15, Somewhere in France. As the season of Yuletide draws near my thoughts travel back to the homeland and my friends. This year I will be unable to send any presents to friends but hope you will accept this little card as evidence of my friendship.”
Murray Morgan was killed few months later. He is one of the Millinocket soldiers for whom the Millinocket Memorial Library is named. Look for his name on the bronze plaque in the entryway (originally in first library, Central St.).
*** A Little Taste of History, a new cookbook featuring recipes from many Millinocket pioneer families and their descendants (wives of mill employees, businessmen, school and town employees and more. Includes some photos and personal notes. 200 pages. Each cookbook is $15.00 (mail orders add $5.00 SH each book). At the museum, Memories of Maine Gallery, Steel Magnolias, Katahdin General & by mail.
*** Museum HOURS…. Open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays from noon – 3 PM. The new OPEN sign will be lit.
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.