Posts Tagged ‘Canteen Worker’

“The Average New Yorker” Becomes a Canteen Worker

February 26, 2009
Sterling S. Beardsley

Sterling S. Beardsley

ACTIVE IN WAR SERVICE

New Yorker Wins French Cross for Untiring Efforts in Red Cross Canteen Service

PARIS, July 28. — The services that the average New Yorker, over the military age, rendered at the front in France, have been recognized by the French army in the award, announced today, of the Croix de Guerre to Sterling S. Beardsley, a New York cotton broker. Beardsley served for nine months with the American Red Cross as a canteen worker in the fighting zone. Marshal Petain was the signer of his citation.

Captain Beardsley gained the nickname of “The Average New Yorker,” in the press dispatches. The idea conveyed was that Beardsley’s situation in life at the time America entered the was was about the average of thousands of New York business men. He was a broker, over forty-two, had been twice refused by the army, had a wife and two children. He bought liberty bonds, contributed to the welfare organizations and joined in various “win the war” activities.

But somehow this work did not suffice him and so he obtained a commission with the Red Cross. He sailed for France in January, 1918. Two months later he was in the midst of the biggest offensive the German armies had ever attempted — the Somme drive of March, 1918.

sterling-passport-red-cross

*CLICK the Red Cross passport letter for larger image.

Beardsley had never made a cup of chocolate or performed any kitchen labor in his life. But the night he reached the front on top of a rolling soup kitchen he started to scour pots and pans. He explained that he “just figured out” that the yought to be clean.

That night the enemy airmen came over where his soup kitchen was set up and he had to sleep in a damp rat-infested wine cellar. Next day he set to work to make coffee, cocoa and soup by the gallon. Two weeks later when he took his clothes off for the first time since his arrival he realized that he had become a first class soup chief.

He stayed at his soup kitchen in Compiegne for two months. Then he had orders to move to the Marne. He set up his kitchen in Chateau-Thierry. Forced out of there, he went on to another town where he found a hospital full of wounded with insufficient medical staff. He scrubbed floors and aided the doctors at operations and served soup and coffee from his canteen “on the side.”

Journal Six O’Clock, Lincoln, Nebraska, Monday,  July 28, 1919

sterling-article-heading

PARIS, June 13. Mrs. Belmont Tiffany, of New York; Sterling Beardsley of New York and Palm Beach, and James Oliver and Mooney Wheeler of Pittsburg, worked then days and ten nights at a Red Cross canteen with practically no sleep caring for retreating French and British soldiers and the mass of civilian refugees who streamed through Compiegne during the early days of the German offensive.
Beardsley, whose duty it is to organize Red Cross units in the field and get them started in full operating order, had just arrived in the neighborhood of Compiegne on the eve of the enemy’s drive. He was organizing a canteen at a certain place north of Compiegne. Oliver and Wheeler were with him to take over the outfit after he had established it.

Mrs. Belmont Tiffany was visiting that section of the front and inspecting Red Cross and Y.M.C.A. units when Hindenburg’s blow fell.

Had to Change Location.

In the first stride forward the Germans occupied the place where Beardsley had intended to open his canteen, and a large supply of stores, as well as several motor trucks and automobiles fell into the enemy’s hands. Beardsley, Oliver and Wheeler got away in an automobile, donated to the Red Cross by Mrs. B.D. Spillman of Warrenton, Va., and it was that car that they used for the ensuing two weeks in bringing up their supplies and in distributing them. It was the only piece of rolling stock that the Red Cross had in that region, as the roads were so choked with troops and guns it was impossible to get other machines up from Paris or elsewhere.

Mrs. Belmont Tiffany had been at the front and narrowly escaped being hit in a German bombardment with long range guns. She was taken back to Compiegne by the French staff officer accompanying her on her trip, and there she met Bear[d]sley, who was organizing his base supply station there as a canteen. Mrs. Tiffany volunteered to help him during the rush and her services were eagerly accepted, as Oliver and Wheeler were then only others on the job.

Canteen Sign Hung Out.

A counter was improvised, long stables were set up with boards on boxes, and benches were made, and then the Red Cross canteen sign was placed outside. Hot coffee and sandwiches made from French and American bread and potted meats were served all day and all night, as troops on the march were continually traversing the town and refugees from the territory over which the enemy was advancing were streaming back.

Mrs. Tiffany wielded a hammer and a saw as well as Beardsley in their amateur carpentering to make their storehouse into a canteen. Then when it was ready for business she presided at coffee and sandwich making and in pouring the steaming hot beverage from big pitchers.

Meantime, Beardsley stocked up the automobile with cigarettes, chocolate and tinned goods and toured in various directions out of Compiegne, distributing these articles to the weary soldiers.

Beardsley covered the districts near to the town in the day-time, and then ran up nearer to the front, in the Noyon-Lassigny region, at night. He was practically always under fire from the enemy’s six-inch guns, as the Germans were continually sprinkling roads and villages far behind the lines with shrapnel and high explosives.

On one occasion Mrs. Tiffany was riding with Beardsley as they were carrying coffee as well as sandwiches, and she had to hold the big tub steady as the little automobile skidded around shell holes in the road.

They stopped directly behind a French battery of seventy-five which was emplaced in hastily dug gunpits, directly at the edge of the road. They served the gunlayers and officers with coffee and sandwiches and distributed cigarettes and chocolate, which the French gratefully received. The battery, they were told, had been falling back for eight days, stopping two or three times in every twenty-four hours to shell the advancing Germans. They had not lost a gun, but had suffered heavily in casualties among the gun crews.

Gets Shell as Souvenir.

Mrs. Tiffany stooped and picked up the brass shell case of one of the projectiles which the battery had fired, but the French lieutenant in charge bade her throw it away. Then he snapped out an order and his crew rammed home a shell in the breach of one of the pieces. The lieutenant beckoned Mrs. Tiffany to approach the cannon. Then he showed her a lever and motioned her to move it.

She did, and the wonderful little gun barked viciously; the barrel leaped back in its oil bath recoil absorber, and a three-inch shrapnel projectile went screaming northward four thousand yards among the enemy. The lieutenant picked up the smoking, oily metal case of the projectile just fired, which had been automatically ejected from the breech. He scratched the date, the place, the number of the battery and his name in the brass with his diamond ring and handed it to Mrs. Tiffany as a souvenir.

“I suppose we will be called up on the carpet eventually because we distributed some supplies which were intended only for Americans to French and British soldiers and to women and children — poor French refugees from the country where the fighting was going on,” said Beardsley. “These troops certainly appreciated something to smoke and something to eat when I handed over the chocolate and sandwiches. Frequently they were not permitted to halt at all. Then we would stand at the side of the road and their officers would let them deploy into single file so we could hand everyone of them something.

Cared For Women and Children.

“The poor women and their tiny children coming back were not forgotten either. We gave them some milk chocolate which we happened to have and also evaporated cream and condensed milk for the infants. Some of the poor people were almost starving, as they did not have time to save a thing in many cases. Others, however, seemed to have salvaged everything they owned except the actual real estate. They had huge bundles of bedding containing clocks and pictures and similar articles, and they drove along with them their sheep, goats, cows, pigs and chickens. Of course, they were all attended by innumerable dogs.

“At Compiegne they were placed on board trains for transport to the east and south of France. They insisted that their livestock go right along with them, and I was in many compartment giving out food and supplies in which mothers, babies and aged husbands and fathers were sitting and sleeping among their goats, pigs and chickens. The railroad authorities managed to persuade most of the people to part with their cows, but one woman insisted on taking an animal into the baggage car and riding with it.

“Trains used for bringing up troops to that district were filled with these refugees for the back haul instead of being sent back empty.”

San Antonio Light (San Antonio, Texas) Jun 13, 1918

Sterling Beardsley Before the War

sterling-b-steamroller-pic

HUMAN STEAM ROLLER.
That Is the Sobriquet Given a New York Broker.

New York, June 22. — Just because the members of the New York Cotton exchange have christened Sterling S. Beardsley, of the firm of E.F. Hutton & Co., with the ponderous title of “The Human Steam Roller,” there is no reason to doubt the confidential assertions that the stage lost a popular “matinee hero” when this gentleman declared for a life in the brokerage ring. For even in the present, while lending his aid to the efforts to boost cotton toward the eleven cent mark, Mr. Beardsley harbors Thespian ambitions, and along with one Mr. Shakespeare, holds firmly to the belief that “the play’s the thing.”

Today, in point of physical displacement, Mr. Beardsley holds the record of being about the biggest member of the Cotton exchange. In his Harvard days, likewise, he had a weighty influence in affairs of the student body. It is recorded, also, that he made one of his greatest hits in that period by appearing as Fatima in a certain amateur theatrical performance sponsored by the Hasty Pudding club.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Jun 22, 1909

*For more posts about canteen workers, click on the WWI category or the “Canteen Workers” tag.

From Soldier’s Mother to Canteen Worker

February 25, 2009

mother-canteen-worker-1918-copy1

Her only son slain in France while serving as a lieutenant in the American forces, Mrs. Mabel Fonda Gareissen has left her home at No. 490 Riverside Drive, New York City, to be a Y.M.C.A. canteen worker. In service to the living, this Spartan mother has chosen her substitute for mourning. To make it more appropriate, she is to serve the canteen attached to the regiment of her dead son, Lieutenant Scott McCormick, for the colonel and other officers of the unit joined in a request that the Y.M.C.A. detail her there upon hearing of her determination to work in France.

Taking her place with the mothers of France who, though bereaved, have worked to aid the men, Mrs. Gareissen made the following explanatory statement:

“Our sons belonged to a peace-loving age. They had to leave loved ones, drop prospects of careers, and prepare for the most infernal war the world has ever known. They have done this without complaint, with a determination to put forth the best and highest within them. American mothers, no matter how their hearts may bleed, must rise to the leading of their sons. And if those idolized sons fall, still they must rise, keeping ever before them their sons who have gone up and up. In other words, they must be worthy of being mothers of the boys of today.”

Mrs. Gareissen’s son, Lieutenant McCormick, was killed on January 17 last by hand grenade explosion. Before attending the first Plattsburg camp for officers’ training he was in the employ of Edmonds & Co., bankers. When the United States entered the war he was among the first to resign his business connection for the training camp, where he was commissioned and sent to France among the earliest.

A few days after General Pershing had cabled the news of her son’s death, Mrs. Gareissen decided to go to France and filed her application with the Y.M.C.A. War Work Council for canteen work. She kept the fact from even her most intimate friends, among them Provost Marshal General Enoch N. Crowder, until a few days before she left for France.

The Coshocton Tribune, Wednesday Evening, June 26, 1918

Other posts about canteen workers:

Diary of a WWI Canteen Worker

Canteen Worker Goes the Extra Mile for a Wounded Yank

No Fillings for the Whangdoodle in Bloomers

This last one, you need to scroll down to read about her daughter, who was the canteen worker.

Charles A. Bonfils, Husband of Winifred Black aka “Annie Laurie”

February 11, 2009

In my previous post, “Diary of a WWI Canteen Worker,” the author of the diary excerpts mentioned Charles A. Bonfils.

This first article is just something sort of random,  but following are a few articles about his first wife, Winifred Black, who also wrote under the pen name of Annie Laurie.

Excerpt from “I Remember,” by Les Claypool, in which he writes about some premonitions he had during his life, including one regarding Charles Bonfils.

Declines Trip

In 1914 I was editor of the Kansas City Weekly Post. I was planning to take some time out soon to go to Europe with Charles A. Bonfils, editor of the Daily Post. I had made reservations and all other arrangements in so far as that was possible.

One morning, on the way to work, I had a strange feeling of depression. I had the feeling that I should not go to Europe. I told Mr. Bonfils that I was canceling out and he insisted on being told why.

“I can’t tell you why,” I replied. “I have a feeling that it would be dangerous for me to go to Europe at this time.”

Mr. Bonfils went on as he had planned. In a short time World War I broke out in Europe and it made travel in Europe a serious problem. Although he normally had adequate funds and his brother, the late F.G. Bonfils, was a millionaire, Charles was stranded in Europe and had to wait quite a while for funds and his travel plans on the continent were stymied.

Valley News (Van Nuys, California) Mar 12, 1965

This is what I found about his wives, Winifred being a rather interesting person to read about:

Winifred (Sweet) Black Bonfils

Winifred (Sweet) Black Bonfils

Winifred Black Dies in Frisco
(Assoiciated Press)

San Francisco, May 25. — Mrs. Winifred Sweet Bonfils, 73, veteran newspaper woman, who wrote under the names of Annie Laurie and Winifred Black, died at her home here Monday.

Though ill for several months Mrs. Bonfils had continued her daily newspaper columns and her friends said she died as she would have wished, “Still in the harness.”

After spending her earlier years in Chicago, New York, Washington, Massachusetts and Denver she came to San Francisco 34 years ago. She had been connected with the Hearst papers for 37 years.

Mrs. Bonfils was born in Chilton, Wis., the daughter of General Benjamin Jeffrey. She attended school in Chicago and Northhampton, Mass., and married Orlow Black in June 1892.

After his death she married Charles A. Bonfils of the Denver newspaper family.

Greeley Daily Tribune (Greeley, Colorado) May 26, 1936

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Click on the above news clipping  from the  May 26, 1936, New York Times for full size to read more details about her life.

Read a 1935 TIME article about Winifred online HERE.

The TIME article mentions that Winifred and Charles had been separated for years. Evidently, he waited till she died to remarry rather than divorce?

Bonfils funeral services pending

DENVER (UPI) — Funeral arrangements were pending today for Mabel W. Bonfils, widow of a one-time assistant publisher of the Denver Post.

Mrs. Bonfils died Sunday at her home following a long illness. She was 85.

She worked in the advertising department of The Post prior to her marriage to Charles A. Bonfils in 1936.

Greeley Daily Tribune (Greeley, Colorado) Jam 20, 1976

Canteen Worker Goes the Extra Mile for a Wounded Yank

February 10, 2009

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YANK WANTED ICE CREAM AND GOT IT
[By United Press]

Mainz, Jan. 28. Manna from on high is the only staple comparable to the ice cream which was assembled in a place which had neither ice nor ice cream components, all for a wounded American soldier whose fevered mind dwelt continuously on that favorite throat cooling dish of his native land.

A young woman canteen worker of the Y.M.C.A. wrought the miracle with the aid of the wounded soldier’s buddies, after the boy had confided that he had only one wish in the world, for a dish of old-fashioned vanilla ice cream. He was in the emergency ward of an obscure hospital, far from city comforts such as freezers or ice, and he admitted “I guess I’m a nut, but I lay awake nights thinking how good it would taste I know I can’t get it up here.”

The Y.M.C.A. canteen woman knew he couldn’t, too, as she turned away. Condensed mild she had in her canteen, and sugar she could get from the army commissary, but there wasn’t any ice, and there weren’t any eggs. She tried to put the thought away from her in the rush of work back at her canteen, but the young soldier’s wistful face lingered before her.

“Think it will freeze tonight, boys?” she asked some of the Yanks who came into the canteen. She told them the story of hte boy who wanted just one thing, a plate of old-fashioned, home-made ice cream. “I think I’ll put some water outside tonight, and see if it will freeze, though that won’t be much good without eggs for the cream,” she finished.

“That will be all right, we’ll tend to the eggs, half a dozen of the boys assured her. And they did. Two of them walked over 20 miles that night from one village to another, making almost house-to-house canvass for eggs, and coming back, tired but triumphant with them at dawn. It had been a crisp, winter night, and the water that the Y.M.C.A. worker had put outside had frozen solid in its bucket. She made a rich custard, and the boys froze it for her by turning a smaller bucket around and around inside a larger one full of cracked ice. Then she carried it  to the boy in the emergency ward. He lay rather paler and quieter than he had been the day before, but his smile was just as quick.

“Ice cream? No!” he said. “Don’t wake me up, I’m dreaming.”
He couldn’t eat a great deal of it, after all, only a few spoonfuls, but it seemed to satisfy him completely.

“It tastes just like that I used to freeze for Mother on Sundays,” he said. “Maybe you wouldn’t mind writing a letter to Mother for me? Tell her — Oh, well, just tell her I had some ice-cream.”

Sheboygan Press (Wisconsin) Jan 28, 1919

Diary of a WWI Canteen Worker

February 3, 2009

red-cross-canteen-worker-patch1

A RED CROSS GIRL
Her Diary Shows What These Noble Creatures Are Doing.

(To the Editor.)

Washington. — Here are a few extracts from a girl’s diary that take you right to the hospitals where our fellows are suffering so bravely. She is an American Red Cross canteen worker, and the story appeared in the Paris edition of the Red Cross Bulletin.

Monday — Worked at the canteen from seven until midnight, then went to the hospital. Heard wounded had been coming in all evening.

Tuesday — At the hospital at ?:20 in the morning. Doctor said there was nothing I could do since I am not a nurse. But I went into the wards. What did that doctor mean by “nothing to do?” The men were hungary — hadn’t eaten for days, some of them. Met the Red Cross chief. He rushed at me, handed me 2,000 ($400) and said, “go buy food and rolling chairs — there isn’t one here.” I bought 500 francs worth of eggs. Met some girls from the British Ambulance, and they offered to help. We hard-boiled the eggs, made 100 litres (quarts) of coffee, 100 of chocolate, and hundreds of sandwiches of eggs, jelly, ham. Two men cut ham and bread for twenty-four hours at a stretch.

Wednesday — Three men in front of hospital wounded. Helped was them — took all my nerve. Blood is ghastly and I know what blood sickness means. Edith slaved all night in operating room.

Thursday — Frightfully tired. Soldiers marvelously patient. Don’t understand how those girls stay night after night in operating room. German shells still whistle over, but haven’t hit this hospital yet. Must be an accident. Wrote ten letters for poor devils who may never dictate another. Wonder why I haven’t cried once.

Friday — Wrote some more letters and helped in operating room. Don’t know how I stood it. At night couldn’t stand up, hardly. Slept in a blanket just a few yards from a gun.

Saturday — Evacuating wounded, thank God. Feel hollow and haven’t strength of a fly. Feel at last as if I’d done something. Want to get back to the same work when I get rested enough.

Charles A. Bonfils

Charles A. Bonfils

Two air raids, a high explosive shell bombardment, a shrapnel storm which he through bareheaded, an attack of “three-day fever,” and a high probability that he is inhabited by cooties, all within his first week, made Charles Alden Bonfils, a Red Cross worker, feel that he’s “almost a veteran.” Mr. Bonfils had been rejected by every branch of the service because of color blindness, but when the Germans’ “big push” started he couldn’t stay out of the fight — said he “just had to get in somewhere.” So he signed up with the Red Cross “as stretcher bearer, casualty searcher, or anything, just so he got to help.”

Red Cross Verification from Passport Application

Red Cross Verification from Passport Application

He did.  This extract from a letter to a friend in the Central Division of the American Red Cross tells a bit of it:

“I came here a week ago today. Went to work in the hospital yard the moment I arrived, serving hot chocolate, cigarets and chocolate bars to the wounded as they came in, ambulance after ambulance of them. Worked from noon all night and till 10 next morning.

“Was sent at 10 at night to a place nearer the lines. Dozens of wounded lay or sat along the road. I had just reached the end of the line when a series of explosions began. I thought it was our own guns, about a hundred yards back of us, that had been splitting our ears, but a low cry of “shrapnel–schrapnel” went up from the wounded, and told me what it was. I had left my shrapnel helmet in the car. I tried for a moment to find it, but gave it up, and helped get the wounded into an old farm house.

“I worked all night. Next day, when I’d had two hours sleep, they packed us off to a place still nearer the front. The boche threw high explosives at us, trying to locate a battery not far away. They set fire to an ammunition dump, and for a quarter of an hour we were dodging exploding shells. That night they were afraid the Boche might bombard the hospital, so we were all sent back.

“Airplanes had been hovering over us, dropping ‘messages,’ and we had a hard rainstorm. Had the ‘three day fever’ but got out the second day. Think I have cooties, and begin to feel a vet? already.” — Red Cross.

—-Buy Bonds!   Buy Bonds!—-

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Oct 10, 1918

In case the link for “bosch”  goes dead again, here is the definition from wikipedia:

Bosch (derogatory)

Term used in World War I, often collectively (“the Bosch” meaning “the Germans”). From French slang alboche, from Allemand (“German”) and caboche (“head” or “cabbage”). Also spelled “Boche” or “Bosche”.


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Here is a later news article about Red Cross workers going to the front lines, and it mentions Charles Bonfils as well. By the way, all spellings are as they were in the original articles, so they are not my typos.

AMERICAN RED CROSS WITH RUMAN ARMY

PARIS, Aug. 8 — An American Red Cross unit accompanied the Rumanian troops in their advance on Budapest, according to advices received here today. The fighting was severe, the hospitals at Cradoa and Mara alone receiving 1200 wounded.

An American special train of fifteen cars went to the front from Bucharest loaded with surgical supplies. Another train of eleven cars has been sent to the Transylvania front and a third has been sent to Bessarabia. Major George Treadwell of Albany, N.Y., Major E.E. Hurd of Bound Brook, N.J., Major J.B. Bayne of Chicago, Captain Charles Bonfils of Denver and Lieutenant Homer Ingersoll have charge of these units.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Aug 9, 1919

No Fillings for the Whangdoodle in Bloomers

February 2, 2009
Woman in Bloomers

Woman in Bloomers

New Phase of the Bloomer Question.

A new phase of the bloomer question is disclosed by the dispatches from San Francisco.

According to these Mrs. Annie Kirk, of that city, has brought suit against Dr. W.A. Atwood, a dentist, for $250 damages because he refused even to examine her teeth after having agreed to put them in good condition. Dr. Atwood offers a decidedly novel defense. He says that when Mrs. Kirk visited his office to have her teeth overhauled she wore bicycle bloomers instead of skirts, and that he therefore declined to have any dealing with her in his professional capacity.

Has such a defense any force?

At first blush — if there are any blushes left in this bloomer age — one would say no. Most assuredly no business or professional man has any right to prescribe any code of dress for his customers — least of all his feminine customers. What concern is it to a man how a woman dresses — unless he pays the bills? What do men know about woman’s dress, anyhow? Whence the arrogance that prompts one dentist to regulate woman’s dress when all male creation could not regulate it if they abandoned everything else and combined in one great fusion for dominating the fashions?

At first blush, therefore, Dr. Atwood’s action in refusing to fill the teeth of Mrs. Kirk because she was not dressed to his liking was preposterous and utterly without justification. But some consideration must be given to the particular style of Mrs. Kirk’s costume. It was bloomers, a garb which defies both classification and justification. No dentist is obliged to fill the teeth of a whang-doodle*, or a jibjib**, or a dodo, and it is questionable if any jury would mulet him in damages for refusing to operate upon bloomers.

Dentistry requires skill and patience and steadiness of nerve, and it is safe to say that with most men a nightmare is hardly less contributive to these than a pair of bloomers.

Mrs. Kirk will doubtless have trouble in winning the suit she has instituted against Dr. Atwood. — Louisville Courier Journal.

Daily Telegram (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) Sep 13, 1897

*From: A DICTIONARY  OF SLANG, JARGON & CANT
Compiled and Edited by Albert Barrere and Charles G. Leland, M.A., Hon. F.RS.L.
The Ballantyne Press 1890

Whang-doodle (American). This eccentric word first appeared in on of the many “Hard-Shell Baptist” sermons which were so common in 1856. “Where the whang-doodle mourneth for her first-born.” It refers to some mystical or mythical creature. It was subsequently applied to political subjects, such as the Free Trade, Lecompton Democracy, &c.

**A “jibjib” is someone who is chatty, loquacious or nonsensical. (I had found an online reference for it, but lost the link and can’t find it again.)

Read about Amelia Bloomer and the Bloomer sensation in my previous post, “Amelia Bloomer, Dress Reform and Bloomers.”

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Here is Annie Kirk’s obituary:

Annie S. Kirk

Final rites will be held in Memory Chapel at 2 p.m. tomorrow for Mrs. Annie Summers Kirk, who died Tuesday in a rest home in Fair Oaks, where she had lived for the past two years. Born in Germantown (Philadelphia), Pa., Jan. 21, 1869, she would have been 86 years old in two days from the date of her death.

Mrs. Kirk had lived in Placerville for about 45 years, and for a number of years had made her home on the Kirk ranch on Sacramento Hill. Although in years past she had taken part in social activities in the community, for the past several years she had been inactive due to failing health. She was a member of the Order of Eastern Star for 55 years, having transferred from San Francisco to the Fallen Leaf Chapter in her early days of membership. She had received her 50-year pin some time ago.

Although unable to take active part in club work, she was always willing to help financially in the organizations with which she was affiliated. She was a member of the Placerville Shakespeare club for at least 10 years, belonged to the Daughters of the Nile, Sacramento Temple, and was a member of the Episcopal church in Placerville.

Mrs. Kirk was the widow of William S. Kirk who passed away 16 years ago. He has been remembered for having been an early publisher of the Placerville Republican, a daily newspaper, the El Dorado Republican, a weekly, and even earlier, the Nugget. He became the first Ford Motors dealer in El Dorado county and maintained that dealership for many years. When he also attained the Dodge dealership and it conflicted with the Ford policy, he sold that one and retained the Dodge Brothers’ dealership, thus becoming the first Dodge dealer in the county and the founder of the Placerville Auto Co.

In 1938, the year before his death, Mr. and Mrs. Kirk celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary by taking the Shrine Cruise to Honolulu.

Mrs. Kirk is survived by a daughter, Gertrude Cornelison of Clearlake Highlands and Placerville; a granddaughter, Gloria Kirk Smith and two great-grandchildren, Kirk and Belinda Smith of Placerville; her brother William J. Graft, who has lived with her for 16 years; and a number of nieces and nephews in New York and Philadelphia.

Funeral services will be conducted under the direction of Victor Leonardi of the Episcopal church, with the Order of Eastern Star officiating at the cemetery. Burial will be in Union cemetery.

Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Jan 20, 1955

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In researching Annie Kirk, (who seemed to me to be  rather progressive or inclined somewhat toward feminism, given the fact that she wore bloomers,) I also ran across some articles about her daughter, Gertrude Kirk. She seems to have taken a bit after her mother. She worked for her father in the newspaper business and also at his car dealership, where she taught customers to drive! AND, she was the first woman to register and vote in El Dorado County.  When World War I broke out, she enlisted with the YMCA as a canteen worker and went to Europe to help the war effort, as you can read below:

50 YEARS AGO
OCTOBER 26, 1918

Miss Gertrude Kirk, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Kirk of this city, who enlisted three months ago for overseas service, has received her appointment from the Women’s Division for work in the canteen and automobile service in France, and is awaiting her passport from Washington, expecting to leave in three weeks.

Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Oct 24, 1968

CANTEEN WORKER: The work primarily involved supporting the soldiers by serving hot coffee and chocolate to the men in the trenches, visiting and writing letters for the wounded, and organizing recreational activities.
From the Biography of Emma Young Dickson

Mobile Hut Staffers Preparing Coffee

Mobile Hut Staffers Preparing Coffee

Honor Returned War Workers

Mrs. W.W. Irish entertained several Placerville friends Friday afternoon of last week in honor of Miss Gertrude Kirk and Mrs. Geo. Pavey, lately returned from Europe.

Automobiles called for the ladies early in the afternoon and conveyed them to the beautiful country home of he hostess in Missouri Flat, where the time was spent in needlework, games, ‘Jumbled Cities,’ conversation and reviewing war pictures and relics sent to Mrs. Irish by her sons, Archie and Wilburn, while in the service. Both boys have lately returned from overseas with fine war records.

At 4 o’clock tea was served, after which Miss Kirk and Mrs. Pavey, who were dressed in their uniforms, gave interesting accounts of their canteen work in France and Germany.

Those present: Mesdames B.E. and N.H. Burger, L.M. Leisenring, F.W. Rohlfing, W.S. Kirk, L.J. Dormody, J.H. Snyder, W.W. Irish, Geo. Pavey and Miss Gertrude Kirk.

Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Aug 24, 1919

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Gertrude Cornelison
Funeral services for Gertrude Kirk Cornelison, 85 of Placerville were held Tuesday, July 9 at Chapel of the Pines. Father John A. Wright of the Epsicopal Church of Auburn conducted the services. Interment was at Placerville Union Cemetery.

Mrs. Cornelison, a widow, died July 7 at a local convalescent hospital. She was born in Pennsylvania and lived 75 years in California the past 65 years in El Dorado county.

She was a housewife and an active club member in later years. Mrs. Cornelison was a 60 year member of the Order of Eastern Star and a member of the American Legion auxiliary and the Shakespeare club.

Mrs. Cornelison was the first woman to register and vote in El Dorado county. Her parents, the William Kirks, owned the Daily Republican in Placerville where she worked with her father. She also taught new car owners to drive when her father owned the Ford agency. She went overseas during World War I as a member of the YMCA serving in American Expeditionary Forces.

She is survived by a daughter, Gloria K. Smith of Placerville; two grandchildren, Kirk Smith of Washington D.C. and Belinda Foster of Placerville, and one great-grandchild.

Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Jul 11, 1974

*Look for at leat one future post about canteen workers from WWI.