Wednesday, June 11, 2008

American Expeditionary Forces 1919 Memo


American Expeditionary Forces Signal Corps Replacement Depot Office of the Zone Major A.P.O. 925
January 25, 1919

FROM: Edward J. Early, Captain Ordinance, H. R. & C Zone Major.

TO: Major Philips, Personnel, R. R. & C., Tours.

SUBJECT: R. R. & C Work in Cour Cheverny.

1. The Field Signal Battalions in this area are being concentrated in the local town, leaving the twelve towns in the zone free of troops.

2. Previous to the embarking of the men from the different towns, we held meetings with the mayors and billet owners and had all owners of billets sign short forms giving the outgoing troops clearance of all and any damage to the property, and in the majority of cases where claims were presented, we had an adjustment made between the property owners and the battalion officers, paid by battalion funds. The enclosed form from the town of Cellettes will give you a fair idea of the way the claims were sent in and how adjusted, leaving but one claim open.

3. I have a squad of men who go into each town after the troops leave, repairing all stone walls, fences, broken plaster and damage to the woodwork in the area, and, in several cases, doing repair work on the roads, etc. I found it necessary in a few cases to call in the representative of the Franco-American mission in Orleans.

4. There will be several claims which it is impossible to adjust other than by R. R. & C. funds, which will be forwarded shortly to the Claims Department.

5. The continual shifting of battalions since my arrival at this station has kept me so busy that it prevented my writing you at an earlier date. Will endeavor sometime in the coming week to get into Tours on a few special cases.

E. J. Early EJE/FRT


Edward James Early was born in September 20, 1888 in Green bay, Wisconsin and graduated with a civil engineering degree from Marquette University around 1907. One of his sisters became a nun and the other, a missionary nurse living in China, surviving a grueling four years in a Japanese prison during the Second World War. In 1918 he was serving in France as a captain in army ordnance during the opening phase of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive that ended the “Great War” when, while mounted on his horse, his pistol discharged sending a bullet thru his shin causing him to be returned to the states for medical treatment. Reunited with his family at war’s end and anticipating economic opportunities in the bourgeoning automobile Mecca of southeast Michigan, he moved his young family from Green bay to Detroit. There he founded the Michigan Drilling Company, an engineering firm that drilled and analyzed core soil samples to determine foundation strengths for the skyscrapers being built during the boom years of the roaring twenties. He developed a friendship with Henry Ford and Thomas Edison and did the soil testing for Ford’s River Rouge plant. His rigorous work ethic built wealth for his family and his savvy investment sense spared him the great economic losses visited on so many other families during the depression.

Submitter: John Early Andrews

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