Alfred Johnston, was the son of Moses and Mary Ellen (Lamb) Johnston. He was raised in Gearhartville, Decatur Township.
Alfred was born in Philipsburg in 1895. By 1918, he was stationed “somewhere in France” as he wrote a letter home to his parents, not disclosing his exact location.
Alfred was a private in the U.S. Army Battery E. 7th Field Artillery. The letter reads:
A few lines to let you know that I am well and hope this letter find you all the same way.
First, I want to let you know just how small this world is. I am on the military police force here and was at the station last night when the train came in.
A gentleman came up to me and asked where he could find a good place to sleep, so I took a good look at him and who do you suppose it was — well I will tell you.
It was Bishop Israel, the bishop who confirmed me. I told him who I was, and he was sure glad to meet me. He wanted to know if there was anything he could do for me, but I told him there wasn’t, for I am very well fixed.
He told me to send his best to all, especially Miss Julia Hale. I have also met “Nibs” Cartwright in this country.
I took out a Liberty Bond and had it put in your name. I would have taken more but couldn’t do it on account of making the allotment.
All the boys from my town are getting along finely. Lou Jenkins had a sore hand but it is getting better now.
I will soon join my battery again, as I have been on detached service for over two months.
Send me lots of mail for I sure like to receive it. Well, I must close for this time, hoping to hear from you soon.
Your loving son, Alfred Johnston, E. 7.A. Amer. Ex. Force, France via New York.
Alfred wrote about several people from the area where he grew up; “Nibs” Cartwright, Bishop Israel, Julia Hale and Lou Jenkins.
On July 22 of 1918, Louis Jenkins was killed in action during the war in France. He is buried there but does have cenotaph at the Philipsburg Cemetery.
The Philipsburg Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3450 is named for Louis Jenkins. Private Jenkins died at the age of 22 years old.
Alfred Johnston made it home from France and went onto marry Gladys Eboch. They made their home in Philipsburg.
According to the 1950 census, Mr. Johnston is listed as being a juke box mechanic. Alfred passed away in 1964 in Philipsburg.