Masonry, Limetta and Mr. Nielson

July 20, 1918 – Letter to Robert’s father:

July 20, 1918

Co. B, 140 Inf.

A.P.O. 743

Amer. E. F.

Dear Dad,

I am going into the trenches in a few days so I thought I better write to you now. I will be there some time + will not have a chance to do much writing, if any, while there.

There are no brothers in my company and there are very few in the Regiment. So I think I shall try to transfer. I do not like the Infantry anyway, and it is so hot here that it is almost unbearable. We have been drilling on these mountains for some time. We have worn them down some now, so they don’t seem so high or so hard to climb.

You know that the things I should know about Lodge are the things I have forgotten. I wish I could have attended a few more meetings before I left. I met a Y.M.C.A. man who belonged and he asked me where I was made. Before I thought what I had said, I told him, “St. Paul.” Now that’s wrong isn’t it? I know what I should have said.

I have not “worked the order” at all so far but I am going to soon if I don’t get a better job than being a buck private soon. There are some 200 men in the company who are more deserving of promotion because they have been in the army much longer than I have.

I got a letter from Jane + one from Ruth yesterday. I also hear from Mr. Nielson each week.

They put me on guard last night and today. I have no post to walk but just follow prisoners around wherever they go. They are Amer. soldiers. Most of them are in for being drunk. We got paid a few days ago and some of the boys get too much champagne. It costs about 15 Francs a bottle or $2.50. I would rather have a nickel’s worth of Limetta or ginger ale.

I wrote to Aunt Aggie some time ago but have not heard from her yet. I surely hope I will have a chance to go to Scotland to see her.

I should like to give you some real war news but do not know any, except what we read in the papers. There is very little activity on this front. Nothing that will make history.

Love to all,


This was a very strange one for me to read. I don’t know anything about the Masons or their practices, in 1918 or in 2018. I did find something that may help explain Robert’s mistake when he was talking to the Y.M.C.A. man. This is from the script of the ceremony in which a member becomes a Master Mason:

Q. Where were you made a Master Mason?

A. In a just and duly constituted Lodge of Masons.

Limetta (”The Drink of Drinks”), as far as I can tell, was a regional brand of soda, likely sold in Minnesota and surrounding states.


Lastly, perhaps Mr. Nielson is the mysterious “GRN” whom Robert has mentioned writing to previously?

Where was Robert today? See the timeline.

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