Introduction | LETTERS FROM A DOUGHBOY

“DOUGHBOY” WAS A POPULAR NICKNAME FOR THE AMERICAN INFANTRYMAN DURING WORLD WAR I.

Therefore, my grandfather, David Jesse Shumaker, was a Doughboy.

In the photo above, David Jesse Shumaker is second from right.

At some point in the past my great-aunt Azel Bathsheba Shumaker Pate, who was my grandfather’s only sister, gifted my mother, Catherine Shumaker Brinson, with a stack of letters.

These were letters that my grandfather had sent home to his family while he was in France during World War I. So of course Catherine put them together into books for her children, and I think she made some for her brothers as well. She titled the book

“LETTERS FROM A DOUGHBOY”.

Letters from a Doughboy - David Jesse Shumaker
This is the book that my mother, Catherine Shumaker Brinson, made for me. The photo is of my grandfather, David Jesse Shumaker, in his World War I uniform.

As I go through my mother’s things, I hope to find the original letters of David Jesse Shumaker’s “Letters from a Doughboy”. Even so, I feel fortunate to have these photocopies of my grandfather’s letters from the “Great War”.

Because they were written in longhand, with all the flourishes popular more than a century ago, the letters are difficult to read, and I’ve never made the effort to try to read them all. However, I’m about to do that, and I’ll be transcribing them as I go along. I’m sure we’ll all find them interesting, either for their heirloom value, or for their historical viewpoint, or both.

Every time I get one transcribed, I’ll be posting it here on the blog.

Watch for them!

And if you would like, I can make an actual book that you can purchase on Amazon, either print or Kindle. Just so you know, because it will have so many photos of the original letters, it would be fairly expensive.

Here is the introduction that Catherine wrote for this book:

“DOUGHBOYS”

In World II the troops were referred to as “GIs”,
short for “Government Issue”.
Everything they had was government issued
or “GI”,
such as their clothing, equipment, etc.
Soon the term also referred to the men themselves.

However,
in World War I
a different term was used, origin
unknown to me. The term was “Doughboys”.

Therefore, my father,
David Jesse Shumaker,
Along with all the other “boys” fighting in France
were referred to by that moniker.

David Jesse Shumaker is second from right in this photo of a group of World War I Doughboys.
David Jesse Shumaker is second from right in this photo of a group of World War I Doughboys.

This material was collected and/or edited by me,
Catherine Shumaker Brinson.
It is for the increased knowledge and enjoyment of members
of my family, the descendants of
David Jesse Shumaker
and his wife
Catherine Edna May Shumaker.

The letters are copies of actual letters that my father wrote to his parents. These letters were given to me by my aunt,
Azel Bathsheba Shumaker Pate.

Unfortunately, when my house was broken into and trashed, the letters were thrown around.
I spent untold hours trying to place the sheets of each letter together and with the envelope to match.
I was not always successful.
Actually I have more envelopes than letters,
but I have enclosed copies of all.
I made enough copies for each of my children and each of my brothers to have a complete set.

I have no idea what happened to the letters that Dad wrote to his bride, whom he married only days before he left for basic training.

I hope that you will treasure these letters as much as I do!

Catherine Shumaker Brinson

LETTERS FROM A DOUGHBOY, Introduction p. 1LETTERS FROM A DOUGHBOY, Introduction p. 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *