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Judson W. Dennis
Sergeant, Company L, 119th Infantry
American Expeditionary Forces
March 18, 1892 ~ October 17, 1918

"..for he was as brave and true as any man that has faced a German and was leading his men who loved him as a father when he met his death. ..." Sgt. P. Andrews, France 19 Jan. 1919


January 19, 1919 Beaumont, France

Dear Mr. Dennis;

I received you letter lately and will try to give you the information you're wanting.

Judson was killed October 17 while we were driving the Germans for all we could. He was struck by two machine gun bullets and they scarcely left a mark. He lived but a very few minutes and just passed away with a sigh. He was taken up by our army chaplain and carried back and buried. He now lies on a grassy slope overlooking the (Seone?) River, and Mr. Dennis you ask me about taking him home. I think it would be impossible to do this and it would cost you an enormous sum of money for he is over 200 miles from the coast and if it was me I would never attempt it. About what money he had will be with his final statement and his liberty bonds are paid up and are in the Federal Reserve Bank in New York and are all o.k.

Mr. Dennis I'm sorry that we have lost so many of our brave boys and you have my greatest sympathy. I know you must be grieved but you should be proud of the reputation your brother made for he was as brave and true as any man that has faced a German and was leading his men who loved him as a father when he met his death. And he leaves a reputation behind him that will always be remembered by his comrades. I hope to pay him a glorious tribute when I reach Stewart County. Perhaps you don't remember me, but I remember you and your two sweet little girls. I wish I had time to write you a long letter but hope to see you all when I get back and that is not long I think. Give my love to all of Stewart Countians.

Yours Truely,

Sgt. ? P. Andrews? (paper worn through from repeated foldings)

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Judson W. Dennis was a 24 year old farm boy from Model, Tennessee in Stewart County. He was an unmarried farmer and raised tobacco on land he shared with his brother, Tom. From his letters home, we know that he owned a mare, Old Annie, of which he was very fond. We also know he had many friends and was very fond of his brother Tom and wife Minnie's two little girls, Hazel and Helen. Judson corresponded with his mother Minnie Dunlap Murphy of Granite City, IL and his brother, Thomas Milton Dennis of Tip Top, TN from the time of his departure from Tennessee in Sept. 1917 for Camp Sevier in Greenville, S.C. until days before his death in France in 1918.

Following, in chronicological order are those letters, transcribed by his great-niece, Jan Dennis Philpot. Because of the materials with which he sometimes had to write, as well as creases in the paper, it is sometime difficult to make out all he is saying. In these few cases, a ? appears where this is unclear. Following his letters is a transcription of the telegraph informing Tom of his brother's death, as well as a letter from a soldier friend of Jud's who was with him at his death.

In the ten to twenty years following Jud's death, Tom wrote many letters pleading for the return of his brother's body. It was not to be and eventually the efforts ceased. In 1994, the above correspondence surfaced once again. Due to the concern of Judson's great-great-neice, Heather Grubb, her mother and Jud's great neice, Jan Dennis Philpot began the process of trying to have a memorial marker in Jud's name placed in the National Cemetery at Dover, TN. Through the help of Judy Bagsby, a federal employee, paperwork was completed successfully, and in 1995, almost exactly seventy-seven years to the day of Jud's death, a white marble marker was erected bearing his name.

My Story [an error occurred while processing this directive]

   

 

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