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Wednesday April 24, 2024

Soldier's 1919 Mother's Day letter received by his granddaughter after a century

A 1919 Mother's Day letter written by an American soldier has been reunited with his family over a century later, just in time for Mother's Day

By Web Desk
May 14, 2023
Jan Bellis-Squires of Beaverton, Oregon (Left) seen holding the letter from his grandfather Carl Howe (Right) that he wrote for his mother. MyHeritage.com
Jan Bellis-Squires of Beaverton, Oregon (Left) seen holding the letter from his grandfather Carl Howe (Right) that he wrote for his mother. MyHeritage.com

A poignant letter penned by a young American soldier in 1919 has been unearthed and reunited with his descendants after more than a century. 

As Mother's Day approached, the soldier, Carl Howe, expressed his longing for his mother in a heartfelt message filled with love and appreciation, according to USA today. Recognising the letter's immense value, a researcher from MyHeritage.com stumbled upon it on eBay and immediately recognized the need to bring it back to Howe's family.

Roi Mandel, the director of research at MyHeritage, deemed the letter a priceless treasure and resolved to ensure its rightful place with the soldier's descendants. After purchasing the letter for $150, Mandel's team embarked on a thorough investigation to trace Howe's family lineage. 

This is the Mothers Day letter written in 1919 was salvaged from eBay and given to the granddaughter of the soldier who wrote it. MyHeritage.com
This is the Mother's Day letter written in 1919 was salvaged from eBay and given to the granddaughter of the soldier who wrote it. MyHeritage.com

Armed with the soldier's signature, delivery address, and his mother's name, the researchers combed through various records, including the US Census, enlistment documents, and records of Howe's marriage and untimely death at 36 from tuberculosis in 1928.

Through their diligent efforts, the researchers discovered the obituary of Howe's only daughter, who was merely six years old when her father passed away. This breakthrough led them to the names of her children, eventually connecting with Jan Bellis-Squires of Beaverton, Oregon – Howe's granddaughter. Finally, over a century later, the poignant letter reached its intended recipient, just in time for Mother's Day.

Emotional and grateful, Bellis-Squires expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to read her grandfather's words and witness his handwriting firsthand. Though she never had the chance to meet him, she regarded him as a brilliant and kind man, cherishing the connection forged through his heartfelt letter.

Mandel described the joyous outcome as a momentous achievement, underscoring the importance of returning such historical artifacts to their rightful place. He emphasized the letter's sentimental and historical value, surpassing any material worth. With the letter now in the hands of its rightful descendants, it will serve as a cherished heirloom, perpetuating the soldier's legacy for future generations.

The heartwarming discovery of this personal letter not only underscores the enduring power of family connections but also highlights the significance of preserving historical artifacts as a means to connect with the past. 

Through meticulous research and unwavering determination, MyHeritage has ensured that this emotional piece of history has found its rightful place, transcending time and delivering a profound message of love from a soldier to his mother.