Her father, Thomas Edward Huston, owned, operated, edited and published
the Waveland Independent newspaper for 40 years Nellie was Waveland's
1st librarian for about (definitely an approximation) 20 years until
her marriage to Mial E. Lamb in 1917
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These are letters found in a trash dumpster in August 2011 & given to me by a neighbor. She thought they were very touching as well as a touch of history. ENJOY !!
Note: Nellie Huston was born 25 April 1877 in Muncie, IN the daughter of Thomas & Clara Huston, who were long-time newspaper people. Nellie not only worked on the paper but was Waveland, Indiana's first librarian. These letters show her love of and for her one-day husband. As far as I can tell, she must have been 10 years older than Mial E. Lamb, whom she married 28 Dec 1917.
Wurden (Ill) Aug 15, 1917 Dear Nella, I suppose you will be surprised to hear I am at home. I just came home yesterday. I have been having some bad luck since I wrote to you. I had a case of filmaine (?) poisoning. I was in the hospital a week just got out Mon evening. A week ago Mon I went out about 12 miles north west of Lincoln with a crew of men to start up some new work. We didn't get out there until evening and it began raining soon after we arrived and we scarecely got our tents raised, and never had a chance to put up our stove, so we had to eat a cold supper of canned stuff mostly and I was unfortunate enough to get poisoned, no one else had any bad results. Some doctor came out from Lincoln and hurried me in to the hospital. Mon night - I am still a little week and can't eat much but will soon be myself again. And now I have some more news for you. I found out on my arrival home that I am on the Ind call out have to be examined next Tues. They send 1284 out of our county and I believe there is about 870 ahead of me, so that makes it certain I will have to go if I pass the examination and I presume I will. My brother was in the first call. His call no was 357. He is afraid he will have to go but I don't think he will. He has a wife and baby and is a farmer so I think he will surely be exempt. You may write to me here if you write at once. I will be home until about Sat or maybe until next Wed. I am going to see if I can't arrange to be examined in Logan County where I am employed, if I can be, I will go back about Sat. If I am examined here I will go back next Wed. I intent to take off about 2 weeks before I report for duty, spend the first week with my sweetheart, and the next at home. I will let you know when I will come to you, as soon as I find out, the date I appear for exam. I won't be over two weeks before I see you I am sure. I am going to Edwardsville today our county seat and talk to the exemption board today so I will close. Write at once please. Sincerely Yours, Mial.
Warden, Ill Aug 19, 1917 Dear Nella, I am writing to you from Worden, however I leave here this afternoon and go back to Lincoln, don't write to me for a few days, as I am not sure of my address. I intend to work until the first of next month, and I will send you my new address as soon as I find it out. I don't expect to be called until the 1th of Sept or possibly later. I come in the 2nd call. There is the first call as the most of them will be called the 5th and the others every 10 days thereafter until they get their full quota. There are 1284 to go from this county. My brother was in the first call, but was discharge on account of having dependent wife and child. Now if we had been married about two years ago as we should I might not have to go. I don't object to going think I think every true American should be ready and proved to do what ever his country ask him to do. Yes, my sister Lottie and her little daughter Esther are here, they have been here about 5 or 6 weeks now and my brother in law was here two weeks, he spent his vacation here. Lottie is going home to Kansas City about Thurs. My mother is about broken hearted, because I have to go, thinks she can't stand it, but I think she can when she realizes she must. Lottie thinks it is something to be proud of, she says if she was single, that she would sure go as a Red Cross Nurse, and father says if was free to go he would too. I went down to Jefferson Barracks and tried to get a commission but I waited 2 or 3 days too long. They had received orders from Washington just the previous day that no one who had received official notice that they were drafted could be enlisted in the regular Army. I wish now I had enlisted 2 or 3 weeks ago. They said I would have landed a good job, if I had. They think I may any way even in the draft. Said they needed so many structural engineers. Now as to our visit, it would never do for you to come here unless we were married, this town is a fight people would talk something fierce. There are lots of fine people here and more that are not. Lottie said she would just love to have us out K.C. but that is too far. My mother is so anxious to have you. She thinks she could stand it so much better if you were with her while I am gone, she wants us to get married. She is alone so much, my father is out on his business every day,, so she is alone nearly all the time. Says she is going to him some one to stay with her, to keep her company, if you don't come. I am going to leave it all to you, your previous decision was probably the wisest, your are the one most interested in the matter so I will abide by your decision. So I will come to you. Now did you want me to go to Waveland and make the trip with you to Troy, or do you think it best for me to go straight to Troy? I think I shall work until the first, then come home a couple of days leave my things here and then go to Troy or Waveland whichever you decide upon. Either one is handy enough to reach from St. Louis. I would get out there say about the third or fourth. Now if you should (?) see your way clear to marring me, you could meet me in Decatur, we could commit the act there and then proceed home, but I am not asking or expecting that. Whatever you decide upon will be perfectly satisfactory to me, and please don't let anything I say, influence you in anyway. I feel absolutely sure you will decide what is truly best. Yours as Ever, Mial Lincoln, Ill
Aug 26, 1917 Dear Nella, I have both of your letters at hand, and I scarcely know what to say in reply. To begin with, I had passed my examination, when I wrote to you previously. The board of exemption were considerate enough to let me take my examination ahead of time and also were kind enough to tell me I had been accepted. I was one of the first on the list of the second call. Now as to getting married, I have been sorry every since I wrote that letter and I feel sure I wouldn't have written it in a calmer moment. You see I had just found out I was pretty sure to have to go and my mother was arraying me too she just seemed to think she couldn't stand it for me to go. I don't want you to make anymore plans or figure on marring me until I come out there and we talk it over together and decide what is best. It seems to me to be a rash thing to do, it might happen I won't pass the final test, the one by the US Government, if that should be the case, there wouldn't be any cause for us hurring up so and supposedly I do go, it might happened I wouldn't come back or possibly if I do I would be maimed or my health in such a condition I couldn't take care of a wife and horribly a child. I don't know but what we had, as I suggested, wait until I come and talk this matter over and come to a conclusion satisfactory to both of us. I don't feel uneasy or neither am I aggravated because I may have to go. I feel that is a honor to go and feel assured it is in a good cause. I know we must win and to do that we must all of us do our bit whatever it may be. I will let you know later when I will come but I imagine it will be Wed or Thurs that is a week from the coming Wed. I just have to go home first and get my clothes arranged. I intend to work this week and then come out to you as soon as I can arrange to do so. I hope the light in which I have considered this matter is satisfactory to you. I am trying to consider it in a manner that is the best for both of us and especially you, as you are the one that would be taking the most risk. I am getting over my illness rapidly. I feel at the present time almost as well as I usually do. I have some other work to do, so I must close. Yours as ever, Mial PS Just read your letters yesterday.
Warden, Ills Sept 4, 1917 - My Dear Girl, I hope you will appreciate properly my promptness in writing. I arrived at home at 10:30 a.m. It is now 1 p.m. and I have just eaten dinner and am now ?? I think I don't you think that extra good for me I never slept at all last night, I feel fogged out. I trust you feel better today than I. I miss you so dreadfully somehow it seems that you should be here too. My mother isn't quite reconciled yet, she was expecting I might not come back alone. I just told her it was all my fault, you said you would marry me any time, but I wouldn't' adhere to it. My sister feels like you and I go about it. She says she don't think I would be treating you right. She says whatever happens that I must always stand by Nells, she says she knows you are a grand woman . Don't you feel honored to hear my people home such a high opinion of you. I don't believe I have that of anything but you. I think that is all I have talked about to mother and she has been quite responsive. She was particularly to ask about your appearance, what color hair and eyes you have how tall you were, and how heavy. If you were a good worker and everything else she could think of. I had a letter here from my sister waiting for me and she was quite fluent on our affair as I told you. If I had only known it we could have carried out our plans concerning my visit. I don't have to go this week and not before 20th or possibly the 30th. The folks were mistaken. I am so sorry we never knew it. My visit was brief, but oh how dear I will always hold it in memory. I am so happy to think our time together (though so brief) was so happily spent. It seems Dear so hard to give up everything especially you. We will hope and trust for the best. You feel so close to me I can just see you. I don't care what happens to me let it be the worst or the best. I will always hold you dear and always love you. And Nella whatever happens, even if you don't hear from as frequently as you think you should, you know I may find it difficult to write at times, try think as kindly of me, as you can. I enjoyed every instant o f my time but there and I am so pleased with your family. They were all so good and kind. You have such a good family all of them. And I am so sorry I never saw the folks down at Troy. I don't believe I can manage to go by that way. You know you have to go when to how the exemption board tells you to. As soon as I find out the date I am going to go. I think I will go down and try to persuade them to let me go that way. You know there is direct route from St. Louis to Louisville in the Southern. I will see them and find out about it. I don't know maybe you wouldn't hardly feel at liberty to go down there though. If you would rather not say so. Do you think we should go thru the ordeal of telling each other good again. I am so tired I am going to close. I am yours always Mial.
Sept 21, 1917 (M. E. Lamb - Co C 333rd Camp Taylor, Louisville My Dearest Girl, I am now sitting up on my cot in my companies sleeping quarters writing to you. It is now about 11 a.m. will be time for dinner soon. I suppose you are somewhere believe St. Louis, Terre Haute on the train wish I was with you. I can't begin to tell you how much I miss you. I would like so much to be with you. You are such a dear girl and I love you so, I can't tell you how much. I suppose you can on the way home this morning. When you write tell me how the folks behaved after I left and did Mother go with you to St. Louis? I enjoyed our week so much, it was so dear of you to come to me. I hope you are glad you came. I am sorry, I never felt better the last few days. I feel pretty well this morning. We arrived in camp about 7;30 without anything unusual happening. My mail should be addressed to Co C 333rd Infantry, Camp Taylor, Louisville KY. I am in the infantry you see, of course I may be transferred later. I didn't want the infantry. We haven't been examined yet, we have been busy this morning, getting settled clothes measured names listed, etc. Camp Taylor is quite an affair everything is very sanitary. I think I will like it here all right when I get settled once. I must close for this time I will expect to hear from you soon. Give my regards to the family. Yours forever with lots of love, Mial
Sept 27, 1917 - My Dear Girl, I just rec'd your letter this morning and I will take your orders - answer at once. I have charge of quarters today so I haven't much to do. Anyway we have a holiday every Wed & Sat afternoon as well as on Sundaies (sic). All I have to do today is to keep the Co. barracks in order, take care of the mail and then this morning I had to take over all the boys to the hospital in Ace Co. that required medical attention. We receive mail twice daily first at 11:15 and again 5:15 I like it all right here and I am feeling better than I expected to, our board is usually pretty good, what there is of it (food?). We don't get as much of us are used to. Our dinner today we had boiled potatoes, gravy, wieners, cabbage, bread pudding and coffee. It is a little difficult for me to keep my mind concentrated we have a piano player now and someone keeps it going all the time. I like to hear it sometimes but not 10 or 12 hours a day. Oh yes I have been appointed corporal I have charge of a squad of 8 men. I don't know as it is final. I think we were just appointed for the time being imagine there will be changes made later. I am slow at drill, but I guess I will get it after awhile if I keep pegging away. I believe you had better address me as Pvt Lamb, it will be a little easier for them to keep our mail straight. They get the mail confused sometimes. Three of the letters I rec'd this morning for Co C were confused belonged t other Companies. You musnt address as corporal though as the appointments are not official. I am so glad you enjoyed your visit. I know I never enjoyed any incident in my life as much. And I am glad you liked the way the folks treated you. My father is nervous and when he is worried speaks sharply, he just couldn't help that break, that night he was so worried about me. I was foolish for getting angry and I am sure I wouldn't of had I been feeling right. I am happy to think you feel so affectionate toward me and I am anxious to see the day when we will be together. I feel like we will see many long happy years together. I am so thankful that I found such a dear sweet girl. I feel that I have the dearest girl in all the world. I must close for this time your brother writes interesting letters and I echo his wish that we were in the same camp. Give my regards to your family and write as often as you wish, your letters are so lovely. Your own boy, Mial Pvt Mial E. Lamb Co C 333rd infantry Camp Taylor, Louisville KY
Sept 30, 1917 - In Camp - My Dear Sweetheart I can't figure out who wrote last, but I am of opinion that you owe me a letter, be that as it may, I am going to write you a short note anyway, it just seems that I have to. I would that we could be together and it is impossible, I must do the next best thing and write you a few lines. I wonder just what you are doing at this morning and if you see me as clearly as I do you. It is now almost 2 p.m. I can see your face so plainly and yet it is so far. Dear I love you so. I pray that I will always feel this toward you. You are such a darling. I know a fellow never had a sweeter girl. You say you will enjoy being bossed by me, that is dear of you saying that but I don't imagine there will ever be much bossing done. I feel like we will get along dandy together. There is not much new going on here except we are getting our uniforms today, tomorrow. We will be real soldier boys. I am beginning to catch on to the drill movements at first I couldn't see any sense to them. By the way, I resigned my corporal job. I have all I can do to look after myself. If they want to give me an office after I am thru training they can but I don't want it now by the way one of my lt, his name is Stout went to Wabash College. He says he knows quite a lot of people around Waveland. He said he had never met you though. He seems like a fine fellow. Well I guess I will close for the time. Write soon. Yours in Love, Mial E. Lamb
Oct 4, 1917 -- My Dear Girl, I am on the bum today, but I will endeavor to write you a few lines anyway. I received both of your letters and your candy. I don't know how to thank you, I have surely been enjoying myself so much eating it and I can see you in my mind making it as I eat each piece. I can truly agree with your Grandmother Nella sure can make good candy. I am sure that it is the best candy I ever had the pleasure of eating. I am afraid you got in bad by letting me know what an expert you were. I intend to kiss you for each piece when I see you, so you had better be prepared to kill germs. Dear I want you so, I would give anything if you were here with me now, if it would only be I would love you to death. I think I would have to repeat all of those 98 lessons and maybe I would think of some new ones. I have been thinking of what you said about coming down here. I get each Sat off from 1 to 11:30 and Sunday 1 to 9:30 so if we headed (?) for you to come here, you could arrange to be here on Sat & Sunday. And we could spend the time I mentioned together. That is if we could think of some arrangement by which we could be together, as for me getting that job, it might move (?) of a possibility than imagined. I was ordered to report to the major of the last battalion of the 309th Engineers at 9 a.m. today so I went over and talked with him. He questioned me as to my education, practical experience, qualifications, etc. and indicated I would hear from him. So you see there is a chance of you getting to do as you said, I think you were joking though. I don't believe you would come and stay with me, would you? I have been faithful on that other scare we were talking about do you know what I mean? I am going to try to remain that way or at least be very careful and modest. It is hard for me, I am even times extremely tempted. There is nothing much new going on except that we will put a lot of new men in the next 2 or 3 days our co don't get any from home though. Yesterday we had another vaccination for typhoid, and it was a fright - several fainted and a lot have been sick every since. I stood it all right and felt pretty well yesterday but not so good today; I became so sick I couldn't drill this afternoon; I think I will be all right in the morning. It sure goes all thru your system I ache all over, have fever and am dizzy, but I am getting better. Mama said she received a nice letter from you and would answer it soon. I guess I had better close. Write soon. Yours forever Mial
Oct 10, 1917 - My dear sweetheart, I am just going to write you a short letter tonight and I am feeling a little tired. I am fully recovered from the effects of the typhoid vaccination. I feel fine now. Well I have been transferred to the engineers was changed over yesterday. I don't know how it will pan out. I can't see much difference from the infantry except there is more work attached to it. I suppose I may get a chance later to show what I can do, I mean to try and do my best. The initial training doesn't vary from the infantry it is just the usual military training. However the functions of the engineers came in later. Our work will be to construct roads, bridges, lay out fortifications, barbed wire entanglements etc. I imagine it is a little more dangerous than almost any other department excepting the aviation and certain signal corps. I wont worry about that though. I think and feel that I will come out all right. I will feel ashamed if you adern (? Concern makes sense but it looks nothing like that word adorn ? since he's talking about clothes ??) your self too much our clothes are rather common. I don't want you to come until I get my winter uniform it don't look so bad, I think we will get it in a week or so. I miss you so, our living together that week spoiled me, I want you all the time now. Well Dear I must close, I forgot to mention receiving your nice long letter, I wish I could write nice letters like that. Your own boy, Mial
Warden Ill Oct 19 I don't know what year think not certain born but if you could see what I have been doing you would forgive me. I have been trying and thinking I would write every day I would write the first week after you went away. I was busy working preserves and jelly of blue ? since that I have been canning peaches and tomatoes now I have pickles to make and next week. Mayme and I are going to make apple butter so you see will have plenty for the coming year. Thursday this week I helped the Red Cross fix boxes for the boys that were polled from Worden we packed lots of goodies they were nice we fixed them all alike. Growers (?) folks were in to supper last night. Mayme's father has been sick is getting better now we have had some real cold weather. It was ? for me to find time to revisit (?) my sister I think she will make me a aunt soon. We received a nice letter from Mial yesterday, I feel he will get through and come home safe. God helps those that are worthy and there is so much for one to do to be worthy if it was not for the sins and hard ? of notions we would not have this World War but I feel it will end in a way that the world will be better for it. I am not much of a joker. I like fun but realize that one must look at the clouds to find sunshine peeping through there is always happiness and live if we do our part in life so it looks for happiness in this struggle. It has caused great suffering in Europe but God will heal the broken hearts and homes again. Well guess I said too much on this don't want like to dad will try to beter next time. Sincerely yours, Mannie Tardt ?
Louisville, KY Nov 14, 1917 - Miss Nella Huston; Waveland Ind My Dear Girl, It is Tues afternoon and as I have some spare time I will write to you. I guess you are about to decide that I have elapsed into one of my periods of silence. So it is time I was writing to you. My mother was here last Sat and Sunday or I would have written Sunday. I was sure surprised Thurs evening when I received a note from her saying she and another lady, who has a son here was coming Sat. morning. I had to take part I big parade Sat morning so I never go to see them until afternoon. The whole camp took part in the parade, except those that had to stay and look after the camp. There were about 2600 of us that marched in review. I was so glad they came. I was so happy to see some one I know. They seemed to enjoy their visit very much. I was rather lucky I got a pass from 12 Nov - moved on Sat until midnight and on Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sat afternoon we looked the cam pover and in the evening went to a shopv (?) Sun we did about the same. This is all the paper I have so I will have to write on both sides. I never knew I was so nearly out. I want to mail this before retreat 5 p.m. so I must hurry. So you are having my picture enlarged? I was rather surprised to think you would get it enlarged. I don't think I take a good picture. I wish I could see you if I find out that I haven't much chance for a furlough I will but come here after awhile I just have to see you. You ask if I love you such a question. You know I do! Your own sweet man, Mial
J. Camp Dec 25, 1917 - Louisville, KY Dear Girl, I have all of your letters just received the last one last night. Many thanks for the helmet dear, It sure is a fine one my face and ears surely should never freeze. I shall all be thinking of you when I am wearing it. I haven't rec'd my sweater from Lottie as yet, but expect to any time. I certainly will be snuggly fixed out when I receive them. It is now about 11 o'clock a.m. I will soon be eating my Xmas dinner. I wonder how many more I shall eat under the same circumstances. I hope not anymore. We are having a white Xmas anyway. It commenced snowing early this morning and has been at it every since. It is awfully wet and sloppy underneath though. Well I start home at 10 p.m. this evening if nothing new comes up. I will get home then about 11 a.m. tomorrow. The folks don't know I am coming, but I think I will telegraph them before I leave. I wish it were plausible for you to come too, but I am afraid it isn't. My mothers sister and my grandmother are both home at present, so we are considerably crowded. So under the circumstances I believe it better for you to come here, I will get a 36 hour leave of absence and we will have a pretty good visit anyway. Please don't feel too bad about this, but I believe it best that way. I have to go over and get my furlough at 12 noon so I must close with much love and affection. Yours, Mial - I will leave and return Sat now and get here Sat evening
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