Pages 5 & 6
It was a mighty lonely, homesick lad who detrained at Columbus, Ohio, one warm summer morning, to proceed by trolley to the Army barracks to report. Soon found myself attached to "F" Company, 20th Infantry, composed of more than one hundred hard boiled professional soldiers, much older than me, but with a surprisingly high code of honor and sound principles. Being the "baby" of the outfit, a raw recruit, The First Sargeant and other non-commissioned officers gave me the sort of helpful and yet strict supervision that was exactly what I needed.
My athletic qualifications now began paying dividends as I became a member of the regimental track and football teams. The summer of 1903 my battalion was ordereed to the St. Louis World Fair as a guard for President Theodore Roosevelt during his visit and I had the honor to salute him as he passed through an entrance doorway where I was posted and to receive his acknowledgeing salute. Was I proud! He was one of my heroes.
During a Thanksgiving Day football game with the All-Coaches of Ohio team that fall I received a head wound which became infected and put me in the Post hospital where I had a serious time of it. My regiment left for the Philippines while I was hospitalized, but when released I was gratified to learn the commander of "F" Company valued me enough to arrange for my transportation to rejoin it in Manila which I did following a month wait at The Presidio, San Francisco, and going through the scare of fire at sea on our transport two days out of Honolulu.
"F" Company was then stationed at the old Spanish Quartel de Meisic, Manila, but following after several months of duty there, during which I was fired upon while on guard duty one night, we were ordered to relieve the battalion guard on the Military Prison of the Philippines in Laguna de Bay from which the Basig River flows to Manila and the Bay. More than 400 civil and military prisoners with long term sentences were incarcerated there, some for life, and it was difficult to secure leave from the Island. Howver, I was ordered to join the regimental track team to participate in the Atlhetic West of all troops on the Philippines. After placing 2nd in the high jump and 3rd in the 120 yard hurdles I returned to my Company to find myself appointed instructor of the wschool for officers children, and later a class of enlisted men who knew little of elementary subjects. My one year of high school served me as well as a college education for all practical purposes then.
The long awaited day finally came when I left the Island to return to Manila and await passage to be discharged at San Francisco. During an almost unbearable delay of two months, during which time I saw the Russian fleet, badly defeated by the Japs, enter Manila Bay for refuge, I finally embarked on an Army transport. Following a three day stop at Nagasaki, Japan, and one of two days at Honolulu, we arrived at the Golden Gate in a fog, but managed to glimpse green hills which meant home. Seven days later, after serving three years, two months and twenty-two days I was discharged at Angel Island, receiving my savings and transportation money to my home totaling $276.00 all in gold except one silver dollar. Little paper money was used in the west in those days.
What a joy to be home! I soon secured training as a salesman for the Smith Premier Typewriter Company of Syracuse and was sent to its Baltimore office where I did well enough to be offered the Reading, Pa., office of the L. C. Smith Typewriter Company comprising a repairman, stenographer and myself. But the depression of 1907 finished that and I resorted to the second hand typewriter business in Scranton, Pa., with a character named Jack Swain. At least I'd eat regularly as part of the agreement was I'd live with Jack and his wife. That ended in a fiasco of being enveigled by Jack into a scheme for selling "canaries" in their cages from a numbered wheel at the large local amusement park. While that experience had many amusing angles, let it suffice to tate that we found the "canaries" one morning after a rainstorm, dripping yellow paint and dying off fast. I took French leave and managed to return to Syracuse.
A variety of jobs followed: in an insurance office, selling Underwood typewriters through the Finger Lake region, with the Elliot-Fisher Company, in charge of its Utica office, and finally with the Comptometer Company opening up a Syracuse office for them. It was just prior to leaving Utica that I filled in for a friend with his group planning to attend the theatre in honor of a visiting young lady from Cincinnati, Ohio. Thus it was that I met and fell in love with the beautiful girl I was to marry, Charlotte Elizabeth Clay, Kentucky born. Following the next Christmas week spent with her at her sister's home in Cincinnati, our engagemnt was announced there. We were married there the evening of May 18, 1911 in Mrs. Harris (Belle Clay) Hancock's home. We had a marvelous honeymoon at Eagle Bay, 4th Lake, Adirondacks, and then took up residence in an apartment in the University section of Syracuse where I had once walked my newspaper route.