Letters Home: Will Runyon

The 1917 Skidmore News sent copies of the paper to local boys who were serving in World War I, and it encouraged them to write to the editor so everyone would know how they were doing.  In the November 8, 1917 edition, the paper published a letter from Billy (Will) Runyon, who was stationed at Camp Funston in Kansas.

From Will Runyon

Camp Funston, Nov. 4, 1917
Dear Editor Skidmore News:
I will write you a letter for I have just got the pen in hand and had better write while I am in the notion.

Well I am enjoying life at the best up here and sure have some time.  We boys play foot ball and all kinds of games, when we are not tired.  They are drilling us some and I am sure standing it fine and so are all the other boys that are from the town of Skidmore and county of Nodaway and we all feel fine.

I expect you enjoyed seeing some of the boys that were up there last week and was sure sorry that I did not get to come up, but I had to stop in Kansas City and did not have time.

I received your paper and it sure was a welcome guest too.  I certainly enjoy reading it as it gives all the news about the folks up there.

Well I hope the boys that will have to come up in the next draft will get in some of the companies that we are in as it is pretty lonesome for a fellow and three or four days seem like months to them, or it did to me.

Clyde Collins and I are in the same company and we bunk next to each other.

Say we had a sham battle Friday and it sure was a battle; I sure enjoyed it.  We captured about 30 prisoners and did not get to capture any more because we had to quit for dinner, but I hope we will do better next time.

Company L has the finest captain and lieutenant that I think there is in camp.  They certainly treat us fellows fine.

Well they are starting church so I will stop and join in the singing and will finish later.

The Y.M.C.A certainly is fixing up things fine for us boys and we appreciate it too, as it knocks the homesickness out of a fellow.

We were an awfully sleepy bunch when we got in camp Monday morning.  The train was so loaded with soldiers that they could hardly sleep and the train was late for reveille, but it was all right as the train was the cause of it.

I hope we boys from Skidmore can all get off on Thanksgiving and all get up there and see the folks and friends and enjoy the great day together.

I certainly think those pictures that Frank Barrett took of us boys were fine and I sure thank him for the ones he sent me.

I certainly hope that no men with families will have to come here as it is pretty trying on ones nerves.

Well I guess I will close, hoping we will come back as good and, if anything, better men than when we left.  Reubin Hall and I have just made the rounds of camp looking for some folks from around Skidmore, but guess we are out of luck, but we hope some of the folks will come up and see us boys as we certainly enjoy showing them the camp and hope some will be here before the bad weather sets in.

Well I will close.  I remain as ever a friend to all,
Billy Runyon, Company L 356 Inf. Camp Funston, Kansas

P.S. Say tell all the folks and young people of Skidmore to write to all us boys as a letter is always a welcome guest, as it makes a different feeling in a fellow; he knows that he is not alone and has a friend.  Now cheer up and write.  W.R.