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On the Porch

The following excerpt is from a letter by World War I veteran and one-time editor of the Marshall Messenger, Wilbur Peterson, to his mother and grandparents. Peterson was born in Marshall in 1898 and passed away in Nevada in 1988. Peterson published his stories and letters from his service in the Army during World War I in books titled, “I Went to War” and “Solider WWI”.

The photograph featured this week is courtesy of Wilbur’s daughter, Mary Peterson Grota. The photograph is of Wilbur, sitting on the right, in uniform during World War I with a fellow soldier. The letter was written by Peterson on December 24, 1918 in Heppingen, Germany:

“Christmas Eve has arrived at last and tomorrow is the big day. All day, mail has been coming in, but up until about 4 o’clock all I had received was a Christmas card from my former high school principal. I had commenced to think that my package was not going to get here. About 4 though, sure enough there was my package. Believe me, I sure was tickled. I decided not to open it until after supper. It was some assortment. I am glad that I left it to you as to what to put in it. Everything was fine. I didn’t know one of those little packages could hold so much. It might not seem much to you, but after what we have had over here, it sure is a lot. Many thanks to you for everything.

I’d like very much to be home with you this Christmas, but that is impossible, so we will have to make the best of it. I’ll sure be there next year, and I hope a long time before. I have hopes of being in the states by Easter. We are going to have a good dinner tomorrow. Menus have been made and I will send you one. There are about 24 different things on it I think. I had a couple Rainbows made and sewed them on today. They are red, yellow, blue, and look fine. They are worn on the left sleeve just below the shoulder seam. Everyone in the Division can wear them now. We have no snow for Christmas, and as it is starlight tonight, I think tomorrow will be a fine day.”

The Lyon County Historical Society (LCHS) is a non-profit, member-supported organization. LCHS operates the Lyon County Museum at 301 W Lyon St in Marshall. In compliance with Minnesota Executive Order 20-103, the Lyon County Museum is closed through Jan. 10 or until further notice. To contact us, visit our website: www.lyoncomuseum.org, call: 507-537-6580, email: director@lyoncomuseum.org, or on our Facebook page.

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