Memories of Camp Cody Weblog

September 28, 2008

Sergeant Henry H. Beaver during World War I – Part 4

Filed under: Main Post — Michael Kromeke @ 3:21 pm

2/12/18 Dad’s comments about radio: “I sent a message the other day by wireless. I was over in the other company. They have five outfits. I sent it to another station ten miles away. I don’t like army wireless but like the big instruments like on ships which can send a long ways.”

3/6/18 Camp Cody. “A Major General is here from Washington, DC. I wonder how he likes it here. We have a review for him in the morning. Hope the sand blows twice as hard just to see how he likes it. I have to take a guy to the hospital in a few minutes. No I won’t have to walk but will take a motor cycle with a side car. …. 30 minutes later : just got back form hospital. I don’t care much about driving at night because of the poor lighting. Just looking at the hospital makes me feel that I would rather die than go in one. ….Six of us took a trip to the mountains yesterday. We sure had a good time. Left here at 5:00 AM and after 14 miles got to the foot of them at 6:30. It took us 45 minutes to climb afoot to the top. Was sure steep in some places. Some times we had to use ropes to pull each other up the side. In other places we had a rope around our bodies for safety; then hung on with fingers and toes to get around a wall. We ate dinner at the top. We found an old mine shaft which was certainly deep. It took a rock 30 seconds to hit the bottom. The trip was worth more than all the hardships. Will have to have my shoes resoled from the cutting of the stones. There was even snow on top. … Recently the K of C hall nearly burned down. It is only about two blocks from here. We were just going to mess for breakfast when it was discovered. A few of us got a hose card but it did not have enough hose. Another outfit came with more. I was on the nozzle end of it doing my best and getting really wet. I looked like a drowned rat but we had the fire out before the Deming fire department got there. The fire didn’t do more than burn the roof off. . In the meantime a piece of glass fell and got a piece of my nose. I patched it back in place and it’s still there. All the men asked me who hit me and of course had to kid me about it.” So goes life in Camp Cody.

3/12/18 Dad wrote: “The YMCA is getting up a minstrel show which will have all solders in it. There will be 500 singers besides the rest of the actors. There sure are a bunch of singers in camp. I think the show will start this coming week and I’m sure going to go see it.” I took the lieutenants up town the other day. We got to the main corner in town just in time to see a girl (Mexican) hit a lamp post with her car. It knocked the sap out of her. We picked her up and put her into another car and somebody took her to the hospital. She was pretty well screwed up. She had a bottle in her sock. I had a hold of her feet and couldn’t help but see it. Of course I would not get a hold of it. No I don’t drink; only water. The officer with me said “why didn’t you get the bottle?” I told him he could have that job.”

3/31/18 “I am going to the mountains tomorrow. The 1st section is going out to work a telegraph line for the artillery out on the range. Out where the big guns boom. Don’t know how long we will stay. I don’t care. Glad enough to get away from camp that long. The range is between the big hills and is a very pretty place. When I come back I will plant a garden. At least start to. ….Can you imagine me pulling weeds.”

4/2/18 Camp Cook, New Mexico “This camp is 16 miles north of Camp Cody but has all Cody men here. The camp is right in the valley with mountains all around, with an opening to the south. Camp Cody can easily be seen but there is a sand storm blowing now and can’t see a thing. There are only eight of us from our company and we are in two tents. Our tents are about 300 feet from the bottom and we can see the big camp below. Sure is a pretty place. We have a telegraph line layed from the guns to the targets 5 miles away. The artillery here have only 3 inch guns and can’t shoot far. The shell can be seen going through the air. They are shooting shrapnel and they explode before hitting the ground. Our stations are only a short distance from the targets, but take it from me we stay a safe distance away…..heard a shot just then. I guess a ton of powder went off from the way it sounded. …I just went over to a place where they are dynamiting out a place for a gun. …Am going over and take a look at my horse (funny face).Gee my horse nearly eats me up being so glad to see me. He must be in love with me. He takes my hat off when I get close to him. Manners I’d say not.” Written by Larry Beaver

September 27, 2008

Sergeant Henry H. Beaver Photo

Filed under: Main Post — Michael Kromeke @ 2:29 pm

September 25, 2008

Sergeant Henry H. Beaver during World War I – Part 3

Filed under: Main Post — Michael Kromeke @ 4:47 pm

12/5/17 One of my men was sent to the hospital last Sunday and came back today. He had or has bad eyes. He was sure glad to get back. He said he was nearly starved to death and that it was just plane hell there. I never was in a hospital and furthermore they never will put me there. I will have to be so sick I can’t see and then I’ll have to be dragged there. From what I have heard from other men that have been there it must be awful. …It gets my goat when they treat a sick man like a dog. If things don’t change in a short time, all the men that go to the hospital will die. I am so sore at what I have heard that I don’t know what to do. Guess I had better forget it. I know you don’t like to hear that kind of news. …Saturday the section I am in is going to lay a line to the mountains 15 miles away. We lay our wire on the ground. We have stations all along the line. It is not only fun for us but it also is good practice. I am soldering better than I ever did. Helen I am going to get even with them Germans for getting my brother. Do you blame me?”

12/15/17 Dad commented: I look for the 7th to be turned into cavalry. It is the best branch of service for a fighting man. A horse is a good partner. Say do you like to be kissed by a horse? My horse kisses me good morning and good night. Some horse I have. I think the world of him. I can make him do most anything.”

!/2/18 Dad writes: “My horse has been sick the last few days. Gosh he won’t even kiss me anymore. Hope he gets well shortly. Have you seen the Battle of Verdon? It was played in real life at a park west of camp last night. I did not go but heard it was good. … I was over to division headquarters yesterday. They had a 300 piece band playing for the general (Blocksom). I certainly like to hear them. Three hundred is sure a big bunch. … Last Thursday we went on a hike to the mountain. Started at 3:00 pm laying wire and I was left five miles out with the first station. I had four other men. Had a fine time cooking our own meals. We camped at an old deserted ranch. I was the operator and did not have much chance to look around. If I was woke up once I was woke 100 times at night to receive a message from someone for one reason or the other. I slept with the receiver on my ear and got little sleep, being awaken with a start. We are going out again before long. I like to go. Helps to kill time and gives me a change of work. ….This is my second winter in the south and hope it is the last. ..It has been a long time since I have played cards. Gambling is not allowed. I have never played for money. I don’t even let my men play cards. If I did they would soon be playing for money and then I would be in trouble for letting them play.”

1/11/18 Dad is still at Camp Cody, Deming, NM Says has been there four months. He writes “Wednesday morning it was nice and warm. We were out laying wire, starting at 11.00 AM. We got about a mile from camp and a sand storm caught us. Believe me it was a real one. We could see only under our horses’ feet, but we kept on going. We were all right while on the road, but had to leave the road going to get to the corral. We kept going for about five minutes and not knowing where we were we stopped. We waited for it to let up a little, which it did in a short time. Would you believe it we were only twenty feet from our own stables. Such is life in the sand storms. The storm stopped about 3:00 PM and then it started to rain. We then went on a hike that night and boy did we ever get wet. No body minded however since we had a band in the lead to keep us in good spirits. The next morning we woke to find about an inch of snow on the ground. It was the first snow we had and the first rain in nearly four months. It was sure welcome as it settled the dust for a while.  Say you ought to see me in my gas mask. Oh yes we have them too. We have to breathe through our mouth since our nose is clamped tight. The whole face is covered with two round glasses to see out of. We do a lot of practicing with them. I can put it on in nine seconds. The fasted time is five so I’m getting along fairly good. Written by Larry Beaver

September 22, 2008

Sergeant Henry H. Beaver during World War I – Part 2

Filed under: Main Post — Michael Kromeke @ 4:06 pm

11/16/17 Camp Cody. Dad writes: “We had a battalion review this afternoon. We walked instead of riding our horses. The bunch was mad because we had to walk while our horses were not doing anything. We sure passed the reviewing officer in an awful shape. Tomorrow morning we go back out for a general review. Leave our company street at 7:00 AM and will get back about Noon. ….Tomorrow night the first section goes out towards the mountain, laying wire all the way, about 7 miles of it. You know Satchell is Section Chief and I am his sergeant. We have 14 men all together. We will sleep on the ground and cook our own meals. That is good work and I like it. I got a letter from my brother yesterday. He wrote it on the 20th of October. He was still alive and fighting to beat the Dutch at that time. … (Saturday 2:00 PM) The general review was great. I have seen a lot of them but this was the best I have ever seen. Over 20,000 troops participated. I was where I could see it most of the time. Of course our company was in it too. A division is not complete without a wire company of the Signal Corps. It is the nerve center of the Army. There were ten bands, one playing all the time. It took just four hours for all the troops to pass on point. If they had been in a column of four’s it would have taken all day. Glad it did not.”

11/25/17 Camp Cody. Dad writes: “I suppose you know that my brother (Victor Beaver) was reported killed. I just received a message from Emma yesterday morning. It sure hits me hard but I know for a fact that Emma takes it harder than me”. ( Victor joined the Canadian army to get into the fighting before the United States got involved. Emma is the younger sister). Dad went on to write: “I have not the least doubt about getting back all right; for I am doing my best to learn how to do my part. Of course my brother was in the trenches over three months. That is a long time. In my branch of service I will never even see the trenches. That is why I tried to get Harry (Mom’s brother) in this company. ……Helen, I set my mind on getting even with them Germans for getting my only brother. You can’t blame me for that.”

11/28/17 Camp Cody. Dad writes to Mom “This battalion has a band attached to it. They came today. There are 28 men in it and they are playing now. I can hear them plainly. It is now 7:30 PM. The music surely puts life in the men; me too. I sure like to hear them. In fact I know you do too. Remember the concert in the park? These men are so used to playing that in the big services I told you about they played for over 20 minutes without a stop. The band will wake me up in the morning. They will start to play at 5:30 AM. Then we will have to get up. How would you like to have a band play while you are getting up? … (Thursday evening 7:00 PM) I thought I would wait tell tonight to finish this letter so I could tell you about our big dinner. It sure was a good one. I ate more today than I ever ate before in one day. Here is what we had. Soup, turkey, potatoes, peas, gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, sliced tomatoes, celery, pickles, and cake. The cake was two and a half feet across. There was also pie, ice cream, figs, dates, and lemonade. Dinner was followed by cigars. Don’t you think that was a good dinner? I knew we would get a good one but never dreamed of getting what all we got.” 

Written by Larry Beaver

September 18, 2008

Sergeant Henry H. Beaver during World War I – Part 1

Filed under: Main Post — Michael Kromeke @ 5:42 pm

INTRODUCTION: This document is a recap of experiences and state of mind of my father Henry H. Beaver writing to my mother Helen Olson during his training at Camp Cody, Deming , New Mexico, his training at Camp Vail in New Jersey, his transfer to Camp Dix in New Jersey for overseas processing, and then service in France. It starts with him courting her and by the end he was a love sick puppy. I left all that out of course. Fortunately my mother kept all of dad’s letters providing an interesting insight to camp life and mental fortitude during those times. I hope you enjoy reading this. It was a real trip for me to do this. Lawrence Beaver 10/11/2006

4/21/1914 Henry Harold Beaver joined the Nebraska National Guard with a six year enlistment. His birthday was 9/19/1897 so he was only 16 years old at the time. Lying about his age made it difficult in later years proving he was the same person with two different birthdates.

 9/10/17 Henry Beaver left Fremont, Nebraska with his National Guard unit arriving at Camp Cody, Deming, New Mexico on 9/12/17 He had lied about his age and the army records show he is two years older then his actual age. He must have looked and acted his army age to be a sergeant soon after arriving at Camp Cody.

10/26/17 Dad as sergeant at Camp Cody, Deming, NM writes to Mom “Dear Friend Helen” He tells her “We sure are having a lot of sand storms here every day this week. One is doing it’s best to cover us up now. Can’t keep it off. Our beds are covered with it.” He goes on “Next week the men in the section I belong to are all going on a trip to the mountains. It sure is a great sport. Get up on top and look around as far as the eye can reach. We also do signal work when out. I will take some pictures up on top. Not allowed to take any in camp.” He signs with “I hope we can be best of Friends, as everWritten by Larry Beaver

11/1/17 This letter is on stationary for the 109th Field Signal Battalion, 34th Division, Camp Cody, New Mexico. Dad added “Wireless Company.” This is an early attempt by Dad to seek a closer relationship with Mom. Regarding his duties he said “We started intensive training the 15th of October. That is 8 hours a day; Twice as much as before. I like it better, have less time to kill. I was out today practicing jumping on and off my horse; on a walk and trot. It’s certainly a great sport. A big troop train came in today. I don’t know where from. I think they were draft men. There are 10,000 of them coming in here. This camp has over 80,000 men in it now. It is just like living is a big city. The camp covers as much ground as Fremont; a little more I think. People know we are here and training for war and that is about all. If they could see the men work, it would be a thing they never would forget. We have athletics and sports of all kinds that I have never seen of heard of before. Even things like that will help win the war. Take a simple thing like jumping. We are trained to do it. Maybe sometimes we will make a charge, and will have to jump a trench. If a man can’t how is he going to get across? So you see everything we do is going to help us out in the trenches. I suppose I told you the kind of work this company does. We do no shooting. Our work is to keep a line of information between the generals and the artillery. Not so much danger, but you never can tell. I sometime wish it was all over with. I have no doubt but what I will to. I have been drilling and training for a long time. Now I have to train new men. You can imagine the job I have. I am asked a 1,000 and one questions a day. I am kept busy all the time. A man asked me today if I thought he would get back from the war untouched. Was that not a foolish question? Another asked me how to get a horse down a 20 foot cliff, that being the only way down. No other way but to jump. Sure take a chance of breaking your neck. That is the way I answered him.”

Written by Larry Beaver

September 17, 2008

Have a story about a WW1 “Camp Cody” army soldier to tell?

Filed under: Main Post — Michael Kromeke @ 5:47 pm

This site is for anyone who wants to share the story of a friend or relative who served at Camp Cody in Deming, New Mexico. Clicking on ‘Comments” will allow you to communicate with others who are interested this WW1 Army Training Camp.

September 15, 2008

“Private Henry Winter, Jr.” Camp Cody Story

Filed under: Main Post — Michael Kromeke @ 7:15 pm

Private Henry Winter, Jr.

My father was born and raised in Nebraska. He moved to Wisconsin in 1917, I believe it was, and was married in 1919. I was born in 1926 and left Wisconsin in 1950. My father died in 1947 and my mother in 1978. I have one sister, who lives in Williams, AZ.

When my mother died in 1978 my sister and I went through her private papers and we found a scroll, or certificate, which was rolled up and in poor condition. It was a certificate of honor from the French government for Private Henry Winter, Jr. who had died in the battle of the Argonne Forest on October 6, 1918. The scroll, or what you may call it, said that his name was put on a cenotaph somewhere. I have not located that. However, I was led to the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and learned the location of his grave. A Belgian lady living near the cemetery took photos of the grave for me.

The American Battle Monuments Commission is in charge of the cemetery and needs to complete Henry’s record. They do not have a date of birth.

Using and other sources, I found a Henry Winter who was born in 1892. That would have made him 26 when he died. Except for the fact that that Henry Winter lived and died in Norfolk, Nebraska in 1975! Back to the drawing board.

Using census records I found a few more Henry Winters and one of them seemed to fit. Born in April 1896, but no particular day given. Going on, I ran across the name Venus Winter, and him I knew several years ago. I learned he had a daughter living in Tucson and I contacted her via email. There was no answer for about two weeks and I wondered why, and then she wrote that the day after she got the email, she and a brother went to Nebraska for a family reunion. The name Henry Winter Jr. was asked about, but nobody knew of a Henry Jr. She was told, though, that there had been another Henry, son of Ferdinand Winter.

When I read that name, I stopped in my tracks because I knew Ferdinand in the early ’40s. He had deserted his family in Nebraska and moved to Hayward, Wisconsin where he lived in the woods as a hermit. My dad and some other men had homesteaded some property in northern Wisconsin in the ’30s and built a small cabin on a small lake. We’d go there once or twice a year. And each time, we’d drive to Hayward to visit Ferdinand. But no women on the property!!! Nosireee! He hated women and my mother and sister and any other woman who might be with us had to stay in the car.

In the early ’40s, Dad got a phone call one day from the Sawyer Countty Sheriff, saying that Ferdinand had been hit by a car and was killed. The sheriff asked Dad to come up there. Dad asked how he had gotten his name, and the sheriff said there were letters from dad he had found. Dad gave him the names and phone numbers of family in Nebraska; but he called back the next day and said that nobody there wanted anything to do with Ferdinand. So Dad and I went up there the week between Christmas and New Year. It was cold!! We went into his cabin to look for things, such as deeds, a will, and whatever else there might be. I don’t remember, but that must be how Dad and Mother got that certificate/scroll. I can think of no other way.

But – who was Henry Winter Jr.? The lady in Tucson told me that she had gone through her father’s photo albums and other papers and found pictures of Henry in uniform. She is the one who told me he had been at Camp Cody. And she said there were several references to Junior! All referred to Henry. But why Junior?

While looking at census records, I decided to look up my wife’s family. I found a census from 1930 listing her family. William Elbert Decatur Isley, father, Lola Mae, spouse. etc. There was a Minnie Isley. I had never heard of her – nor had my wife. Then my wife remembered that her oldest sister, Leona, had been called Minnie within the family. Then there was Chester, Cecil, Grace, Mary Lee (my wife), Phyllis – and Junior Isley!

That brother’s name was J D. No names, just the initials J D. That’s what people called him, and he was known as Junior. Could it be because the name by which his father was commonly known as Dee Isley? So we had a Dee Isley – and a J D Isley. And Junior must have come out of that.

I’ve become quite sure that the Henry Winter I’m looking for is the one born in April 1896. I’m still looking for a day. I’ve struck out with county birth records because Madison County, Nebraska, did not record births for some period of time. Why not, I don’t know. But I think I can find out through other means.

Ferdinand Winter does not show up in census records with his family. I’ve learned that his wife became very ill and was in a mental hospital where she died. I’ve found a Henry Winter in a census record listed as being a grandson, and I have found Ferdinand listed in a record of Carl Winter’s family as being a brother. So it seems that Ferdinand moved in with family before skipping out to become a hermit in Wisconsin. There are no church records that I’ve been able to find.

This post written by Bill Winter

September 12, 2008

Interesting Statistics about Camp Cody

Filed under: Main Post — Michael Kromeke @ 3:41 pm

 1) Camp Cody cost American taxpayers $2,025,00 in 1917.
 2) 10,000 loaves of bread were baked for the soldiers each day.
 3) 30,000 men were stationed there for about a year and a half.
 4) Camp had three main streets and 18 cross streets.
 5) 1,200 mess houses to feed the men.
 6) 1,200 or more showers bath houses.
 7) Eleven enormous ware houses to store food, clothing and other necessities.
 8) Five YMCA buildings and at least one YWCA building.
 9) Sports arena with a seating capacity for 4,000 men with a 68-by-80-foot stage.
10) 6,000 tents – each was floored, framed and equipped for electricity.
11) A large remount station located at the northwest corner of the camp.
12) Camp Newspaper – “The Trench & Camp” was published from October 8, 1917 until December 5, 1918.
13) Large target range near Black Mountain, just northwest of Camp Cody.
14) Each Regiment had buildings for headquarters and a regimental exchange.
15) Each Brigade was provided with an office building.

Courtesy of El Paso Library in Texas

September 9, 2008

Loss of WW1 Army Records

Filed under: Main Post — Michael Kromeke @ 8:10 pm

A devastating fire on July 12, 1973 at the “National Archives and Records Administration” in St. Louis destroyed about 80 percent of the records for Army personnel discharged between November 1, 1912, and January 1, 1960. Many of these records were of solders who served at Camp Cody during World War One.

We know that about 30,000 soldiers were at Camp Cody in Deming, New Mexico from 1917 to 1918. A list of these names would be great to have. I get emails asking if a relative served at Camp Cody. I feel bad that I do not have this information. It would be great to write back with the answer. Sometimes just a small amount of information can help those who are working on their family genealogy.

Many of the soldiers saved their “Thanksgiving Day Menu” with a roster of the men in their unit. If anyone has one of these rosters I would really appreciate a scan of it to add to my list of Camp Cody names.

September 6, 2008

Scan a panoramic photo into your computer.

Filed under: Main Post — Michael Kromeke @ 4:18 am

From time to time I get questions about how to take a panoramic photo and scan it into the computer. Start by scanning in each part of the photo with at least 25% overlap. You also must be very careful to keep the photo straight as you move the photo after each scan. This will give you many scans with each scan showing you only a small part of your panoramic.

Then you use a program such as PhotoShop CS or PhotoShop Elements to stitch each on of your scans into one large scan. These programs will now take over and do the work. After a short wait you will see the results of your efforts. If you did not overlap correctly these programs will not be able to complete the job and will ask for your help. Practice makes perfect.

There is also a very good free program called “Autostitch” that does a great job putting photos together to make your panoramic. The “Options” default is set to only 10% of actual size and the JPG quality to only 75%, so check this before you are ready for your final result. See information below for the link to get this free program. Remember that practice makes perfect.

Autostitch – Demo Version

Matthew Brown and David Lowe – (mbrown[at]

Autostitch(TM) is world’s first fully automatic 2D image stitcher. This demo has been created to demonstrate the basic functionality of Autostitch. The user simply selects a set of images using the windows interface, and the software automatically stitches them into a panorama. This program has been tested under Windows XP/2000/98.

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