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John Early Andrews Collection of Letters
Memo from Edward James Early to Major Phillips January 1919
American Expeditionary Forces
Signal Corps Replacement Depot
Office of the Zone Major
January 25, 1919
FROM: Edward J. Early, Captain Ordinance, H. R. & C Zone Major.
TO: Major Philips, Personnel, R. R. & C., Tours.
SUBJECT: R. R. & C Work in Cour Cheverny.
1. The Field Signal Battalions in this area are being concentrated in the
local town, leaving the twelve towns in the zone free of troops.
2. Previous to the embarking of the men from the different towns, we held
meetings with the mayors and billet owners and had all owners of billets
sign short forms giving the outgoing troops clearance of all and any
damage to the property, and in the majority of cases where claims were
presented, we had an adjustment made between the property owners and the
battalion officers, paid by battalion funds. The enclosed form from the
town of Cellettes will give you a fair idea of the way the claims were
sent in and how adjusted, leaving but one claim open.
3. I have a squad of men who go into each town after the troops leave,
repairing all stone walls, fences, broken plaster and damage to the
woodwork in the area, and, in several cases, doing repair work on the
roads, etc. I found it necessary in a few cases to call in the
representative of the Franco-American mission in Orleans.
4. There will be several claims which it is impossible to adjust other
than by R. R. & C. funds, which will be forwarded shortly to the Claims
5. The continual shifting of battalions since my arrival at this station
has kept me so busy that it prevented my writing you at an earlier date.
Will endeavor sometime in the coming week to get into Tours on a few
E. J. Early
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Edward James Early was born in September 20, 1888 in Green bay, Wisconsin
and graduated with a civil engineering degree from Marquette University
around 1907. One of his sisters became a nun and the other, a missionary
nurse living in China, surviving a grueling four years in a Japanese
prison during the Second World War. In 1918 he was serving in France as a
captain in army ordnance during the opening phase of the Meuse-Argonne
Offensive that ended the “Great War” when, while mounted on his horse,
his pistol discharged sending a bullet thru his shin causing him to be
returned to the states for medical treatment. Reunited with his family at
war’s end and anticipating economic opportunities in the bourgeoning
automobile Mecca of southeast Michigan, he moved his young family from
Green bay to Detroit. There he founded the Michigan Drilling Company, an
engineering firm that drilled and analyzed core soil samples to determine
foundation strengths for the skyscrapers being built during the boom
years of the roaring twenties. He developed a friendship with Henry Ford
and Thomas Edison and did the soil testing for Ford’s River Rouge plant.
His rigorous work ethic built wealth for his family and his savvy
investment sense spared him the great economic losses visited on so many
other families during the depression.
Read more letters in the John Early Andrews Collection