These Thirteen Postcards Survived World War 1
(and so did the two brothers that mailed them home)!
On May 18, 1917, the Selective Service Act was passed. . .and on June 5, 1917, the first WW1 draft registration was enacted. Three brothers from Atlantic City, New Jersey. reported to the draft board on that same day:
Archie Summervill Scull, Age 29
Horace Scull, Age 26
Oscar Charles Scull, Age 24
Oscar Charles Scull was sent to Camp Dix in Wrightsville, NJ., and assigned to the 112th Headquarters Company, Field Artillery. He mailed his 1st postcard from there – home to his mother, Mrs. George T. Scull:
Horace Scull was transferred to Camp McClellan in Anniston, Alabama, where he became a soldier with the 117th Engineers Regiment, and he mailed his 1st post card to home to his sister, Reba, from there: (Reba Scull became Mrs. John Fennell (called “Jack” by her brothers. She eventually became my maternal grandmother):
Before being shipped overseas, Oscar was also transferred to Camp McClellan, and he mailed his 2nd postcard home. This one was sent to his sister, Reba (then Mrs. John “Jack” Fennell):
After arriving in Europe in November, 1917, Uncle Horace manage to mail more postcards home; 8 to his sister, Reba (my grandmother), and one to his mother, Eva.
I believe that my Great Uncle Horace Scull’s 117th Engineers Regiment became a part of what was then called the “Rainbow Division,” (and eventually, a part of the American Expeditionary Force) and that his path through WW1 first led him to France where he fought in the Baccarat Sector, Lorraine, and in the Esperance-Souain Sector, in Champagne. If this is correct, Company D then fought in the Champagne Marne Sector on July 18, 1918 where 14% of his company’s soldiers were killed or wounded. He survived that battle, moving through France, Belgium and Luxembourg with his company which was eventually demobilized in the United States on May 14,1919 (http://militarymuseum.org/Rainbow.html).
On January 7, 1918, My Great Uncle, Horace, mailed a postcard from Neumahr, Germany, to his mother, Mrs. George T. Scull, stating that he “hoped to be home soon. . .
. . . but no one had heard from his brother, Oscar, for over 11 months for reasons that later became very obvious. The 29th Division was first constituted on paper 18 July 1917 in the Army National Guard.:319 The division’s infantry units were the 57th Infantry Brigade, made up of the 113th Infantry Regiment and 114th Infantry Regiment from New Jersey, and the 58th Infantry Brigade, made up of the115th Infantry Regiment from Maryland and 116th Infantry Regiment from Virginia. Its artillery units were Maryland’s 110th Artillery Regiment; Virginia’s 111th Artillery Regiment; and New Jersey’s 112th Artillery Regiment. As the division was composed of men from states that had units that fought for both the North and South during the Civil War, it was nicknamed the “Blue and Gray” division, after the blue uniforms of the Union and the gray uniforms of the Confederate armies during the American Civil War. The division was actually organized on 25 August 1917 at Camp McClellan, Alabama.:319
The division departed for France in June 1918 to join the American Expeditionary Force fighting in World War I The division’s advance detachment reached Brest, France on 8 June. In late September, the 29th received orders to join the First United States Army‘s Meuse-Argonne offensive as part of the French XVII Corps. During its 21 days in combat, the 29th Division advanced seven kilometers, captured 2,148 prisoners, and knocked out over 250 machine guns or artillery pieces. Thirty percent of the division became casualties—170 officers and 5,691 enlisted men were killed or wounded. Shortly thereafter the Armistice with Germany was signed, ending hostilities between the Central Powers and the Allied Powers. (http://www.pbs.org/now/society/vetbenefits.html).
On Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1919, My Great Uncle, Pvt. Oscar Charles Scull, mailed his final postcard home to his sister, Reba:
He mailed this card from Vals-Les-Bains (Ardeche) in Southern France, and it read in part, “hope to be home by Easter…”
He arrived a bit late since his unit did not arrive back into the United States until May, 1919 – but he made it!
Mrs. George (Eva) T. Scull
Reba Scull (Mrs. John Fennell)
Elmer E. Scull
Horace and Oscar Scull were born two years apart. Each of them lived for 84 years and, ironically, they died two years apart.
Uncle Oscar married a lady by the name of Mae, and they moved into a big house on the SE corner of the Mays Landing-Somers Point Road & English Creek Avenue; the first house on your right after you crossed the English Creek bridge when heading for Ocean City. Although they lived just a few miles away from the home that I lived in for the 1st 9-1/2 years of my life, I barely new them. Uncle Oscar and I shared the same birth date; June 21st. He died in 1976 at the age of 84.
I know even less about my great Uncle Horace. In fact, I only remember seeing him one time, and that was at my great aunt Mildred’s funeral on January 1, 1963. He arrived in the passenger’s seat of a brand new, bright red, Corvette convertible that was driven by a young blonde woman wearing an extremely short mini-skirt (also bright red – and much too short; especially for a funeral), and they were both “drunk as a skunk!” Uncle Horace passed away in 1974, also at the age of 84.
In case you might be wondering about what happened to the 3rd brother who registered for the draft in Atlantic City on June 5, 1917, Archie Summervill Scull: My great uncle, Uncle Archie, was already married (his wife was the former *Marion English) and he and his wife had an 11 month old son, Elmer. Archie, who was a postman in Atlantic City, was deferred from the service because of his age and marital status. However, he eventually moved to English Creek and became the lay minister of the Asbury United Methodist Church in English Creek, New Jersey (now named Egg Harbor Township, NJ). During the early years of my life I often road to and from the church on Sundays sitting in the back seat of Uncle Archie’s car since he was also the church chauffer! My grandmother and grandfather, **John (“Jack” to the Scull brothers) & Reba Scull, lived in English Creek (mailing address then: RFD#1, Mays Landing, NJ), Although I do not remember ever meeting Archie’s son, Elmer and my mother were friends and he even assisted her (mom) in the sale of our family home in the late 1970’s.
*Marion English was a descendant of Wolphert Gerretse Van Kouwenhoven and her family history can be traced back to 1702.
**More can be learned about the Fennell Family by watching “The Fennells of English Creek (La Mia Famiglia Italiana;” a video posted on my blog (thesumofme2.wordpress.com).
Although I have searched far and wide, so far I have not been able to located photographs of my Great Uncles, Archie, Horace, & Oscar Scull; nor have I been able to establish contact with descendants of the Scull family now living in the Binghamton – West Springfield, NY area. If anyone can help complete this task, please contact me.
NOTE: While performing research for this document I discovered Elmer Scull’s obituary on line. He was born in English Creek, NJ., on June 25, 1926 and died in Agawam, NY., 96 years later on December 29, 2012. He worked at one time as a technician on the Space Program, and he held a distinguished military career as a Naval Commander during WWII and the Korean War.