m  a  r  k    e  r  i  c  k  s  o  n    p  a  i  n  t  i  n  g  s

Ernest Julius Erickson's 1917 Diary Writings
From the Dakotas to Oregon

Part I of the Dakota Diary Trilogy

Ernest Julius Erickson's "Oregon Diary”
January 22nd through October 3rd, 1917

The beginning was in Wilton, North Dakota in the middle of winter, when my uncle Ernest Julius Erickson jumped a train for Bismarck. From there the journey took him towards the Pacific to the train town of Glendive, Montana. He then headed to Butte and Dillon, Montana where he hooked up with his brother, my grandfather Frank Severin Erickson. It had been six months since they had seen each other. Frank had been living in Montana the previous year. The two brothers continued on westward.

Next stop was Pocatello, Idaho and more towns followed, Astoria, Vale, Pendleton, Ontario, Huntington, Vale, Baker, Weatherby and finally ending in La Grande, Oregon. There on the West Coast they signed on to become Deputies on the Oregon Railroad, just as the country declared war on Germany on April 6th of 1917. Ernest wrote daily in his book through-out the year.

Transcribed by Mark Henninger – Bismarck, North Dakota – December 2016
Ernest Julius Erickson Images and Diary Contents - Mark Erickson © 2017

Below the image of the brothers, Frank Severin Erickson and Ernest Julius Erickson are the transcriptions of “The Oregon Diary,” dated January 22nd through October 3rd, 1917

© Mark Erickson 2017 All rights reserved.

This copyrighted material may not be republished without permission.
Contact via Email @ Mark Erickson or visit his website @
Links are encouraged.

My uncle Ernest Julius Erickson’s compelling story surprised me, as he stretches his life with his brother, my grandfather Frank across the pages of multiple diaries he wrote in the 2nd decade of the 20th century. He was a prolific diarist and wrote in good and difficult times, lonely and dangerous times. Fortunate enough that my father, Ernest Anders Erickson kept them safe through the years.

Now in the 2nd decade of the 21st Century, my cousin Mark Henninger of Bismarck, North Dakota transcribed the diaries of Ernest Julius. Mark’s grandfather is Andy Sebran Erickson, Ernest Julius and Frank’s younger brother and it was fitting that he would join in on the diary project. To put the diaries in order for the light of day became my destined obligation to the family and to these men. I am hoping that the diaries will be read and appreciated by anyone interested in history and in a good adventure story.

After 100 years these diary entries come to view, showing two lives originally from Sundsvall, Sweden and both since having immigrated to the Dakotas at the turn of the 20th Century. The two young men obviously had “Cowboy Dreams" growing up, as they certainly lived that life back then.

The journal books have been a family secret, held by just a few. Kept in old cigar boxes on the top shelf of my father’s closet and mixed in with other family treasures. My father had read them and felt like me, an inclination to write about them. The diaries, wrapped in cloth, caught my attention in 2014 along with the hundreds of photographs and letters of the family going back to the late 1800s in my father's archives.

It took time to deal with the content of Ernest’s writings. It was real, it was as if a ghost was talking to me. His words were direct and often sweet, almost innocent at times. He truly was a likable guy. I began to know him and then life and work got in the way, so I put them aside until recently in the late months of 2016. That is when Mark Henninger attacked the transcription duties. I now can read them in full with this final piece of the written trilogy complete. Ernest’s words have become alive in my mind.

This diary referred to as “The Oregon Diary,” is a year long tale of the two brothers. Their 1917 adventure from the Dakota’s to Oregon and soon enough to the battlefields of France in 1918, as members of the American Expeditionary Force is a compelling narrative of a century passed.

Ernest scribed the passages in small towns in the West bares the truth of their lives, however unusual from most anyones life today. It is a testament to an era long gone in America, where the west was still an adventure to be followed. The writings begin? at the train station near his home of Regan, a town called Wilton, North Dakota.

Trains and train tracks become an important part of their story as he lays out an account that reads like a short story. For now, their story through his words, can be read here.

Both Ernest and Frank left the family farm in Painted Woods, along the Missouri River years earlier and had traveled out west to California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Mexico. The lure of the West was always drawing them out here.

By 1916 it was time to hit the road and Ernest heads to Bismarck by train, the only way to fly in those days. The train takes him to Glendive and Butte, Montana, where short bursts of story telling begins. A dinner here, a wait at a train station and onto Dillon, Montana where Frank awaits him and they are reunited. From there they continue through the Great Plains to the train towns of Pocatello, Idaho, Astoria, Pendleton, Ontario, Huntington, Vale, Baker, Weatherby, and finally Le Grande, Oregon.

All these places he writes about. Sometimes short but sweet, but in the long run something passes through all these daily entries, something intriguing. Heading westward on the dead of Winter with his younger brother Frank seemed like a promising idea with thoughts of warmer climates.

The intent was to look at land for themselves, start something of their own and then the daily life of work or seeking work, the various jobs, the multiple boarding houses and camp sites out in the woods come into factor. Destiny hits when they both sign up as Deputies on the Oregon Railroad. The war in Europe was hot and the two mull over a decision to join the army or the navy. They await to be called up for duty.

By joining the army, the two brothers headed on a course that would eventually take them straight to the trenches of the Western Front in France, the most dangerous place to be in the entire world at that point in time. It's a solemn reality when you look at this year of their lives. 1918 would culminate in a momentous change for both men.

I talked to my grandfather about the war and he often answered uncomfortably on the subject. He knew I was interested, so he obliged. But many of the stories from 1917 and 1918 were forever unspoken. Frank gave me certain possessions over the years from that time, his hunting rifle, his camping compass, a Lugar he took from a German prisoner, his service revolver. Even though my father took some of these items away from me, for good reasons, I had a connection to that era growing up.

Quite a few of the photographs on this site were taken in Oregon and in the Dakotas that year along with shots taken in France during the war. The diaries are golden glimpses at these two brothers lives, as they head from the Dakotas to the West and ultimately into combat in France. To finally unravel the unknown about these two in that year before the war, and see into their lives unfold is quite an unique experience. Legends are born out of certain stories to a young boy and the three 1917 diaries* hold the attention of Ernest Julius’s life quite well to me now. I am getting to know my uncle better after so many years of him being a mystery.

Both “The Deer Hunt Diary” and “The Forest of Argonne (France) Diary”
have links below so you can read.

The Deer Hunt Diary - September 18th - 26th, 1917

The Forest of Argonne (France) Diary - September 26th through October 8th, 1918

Here on January 22nd, 1917, at a train station in Bismarck, North Dakota,
Ernest Julius Erickson begins:

Monday January 22nd, 1917
Left Wilton to Bismarck. Arrived in Bismarck at 1:45pm. Train was 10 hours late.

Tuesday January 23rd, 1917
Still waiting for the Northern One train, was due in at 11:45am.
Left at 10pm and stopped we sure stopped a lot. We stopped at Glendive, Montana for lunch, putting Glendive behind us now.

Wednesday January 24th, 1917 Arrived at Butte, Montana at 11:10pm. Have to wait for partner, he got here this evening.

Thursday January 25th, 1917 Left Butte, Montana at 6:45pm for Dillon Mt. and arrived at Dillon at 9:30pm. Saw Brother Frank first time in 6 months.

Friday January 26th, 1917 Well, taking our time today, have been taking pictures of the hills and rivers as we are leaving towns.

Saturday January 27th, 1917 Left Dillon at 9:40pm and crossed into the Idaho mountains.

Sunday January 28th, 1917 Arrived at Pocatella, Idaho at 4:00am, no snow to speak of. Left Pocatello at 9:35am. Arrived in Astoria, Oregon at 6:30pm. At the end of the trip as far as we know.

Monday January 29th ,1917 Left Astoria, Oregon at 1:30pm, arrived in Vale, Oregon at 3:30pm. We are going out west of here to look at some land.

Tuesday January 30th, 1917 Frank bought a horse today, then set out and took a look at the water wells near Vale, Oregon.

Wednesday January 31st, 1917 Nothing doing today, took in show tonight, Called “Baby, a black fellow took the prize, the rest a no show.

Thursday February 1st, 1917 Nothing doing today again we will go to medicine show tonight.

Friday February 2nd, 1917 Well another slow day gone and so is the money. $0.80 left this evening, suppose I will have to lone.

Saturday February 3rd, 1917 Have been in Vale a week now waiting for Carl’s money. Had to get some from Frank ($5.00).

Sunday February 4th, 1917 Have not done a thing yet, money getting lower all the time, have not heard anything of Carl’s money yet.

Monday February 5th, 1917 Today the same, will have to go to work pretty soon if the money doesn’t come.

Tuesday February 6th, 1917 Over to the sanatorium today and had a bath in the hot wells. Some bath. No money yet.

Wednesday February 7th, 1917 Still making no change in the money quarter and don’t know how it will turn out, but it don’t make no difference.

Thursday February 8th, 1917 Heard word from William to day about Carl’s money. Looks a little bit better now.

Friday February 9th, 1917 Clancy supposed still mailing, as soon as we get it we will be planning to take in the show tonight. Liberty, a good show.

Sat, February 10th, 1917 Carl got his money today so the outlook is better now will start for Pendleton, Oregon tomorrow if we get a train.

Sunday February 11th, 1917 Left Vale, Oregon at 5:15pm, stopped at Ontario and Huntington, Oregon in heavy rain. Arrived in Baker, Oregon at 10:45pm. I did not like stopping here as the winter is too long. It generally gets like spring here about the last part of April or first part of May.

Monday February 12th, 1917 Arrived in Le Grande, Oregon at 11:45pm, Carl got left back at Baker.

Tuesday February 13th, 1917 Carl got here at 12:30am this morning.

Wednesday February 14th, 1917 Went to the mill today and got a job doing some work on their engines. Just what I want, got to get up at 6:00am.

Thursday February 15th 1917 One days work is done, kind of tired tonight helped to take a locomotive down the rails for repairs.

Friday February 16th 1917 Another day at the mill, snowing to beat the band today. Am beginning to feel better working.

Saturday February 17th 1917 Another day gone with just a little hard work. Got the engine pretty near done, got $10.00 cash.

Sunday February 18th, 1917 Evening is here and nothing doin' but to eat and took in the show, took in two today and that is all.

Monday February 19th, 1917 Frank and Carl started to work at the mill today. Pretty tired tonight, I put in a hard day.

Tuesday February 20th, 1917 Another day at hard work. Boys getting sleepy tonight, they have got hard work to do.

Wednesday February 21st, 1917 Worked 4 hours today, too much snow so we had to quit at 11:00 o’clock, going to bed.

Thursday February 22nd, 1917 Moved to a new boarding place today, Lilly’s, good food and room at $25.00.

Friday February 23rd, 1917 Nothing important today but work.

Saturday February 24th, 1917 Been snowing today.

Sunday February 25th, 1917 Pretty nice day today, a little cold.

Monday February 26th, 1917 Work again today

Tuesday February 27th, 1917 More snow today, snows every night out here.

Wednesday February 28th, 1917 Went to bowling contest tonight, we lost by 165 pins.

Thursday March 1st, 1917 Too darned cold to work today, so I laid off.

Friday March 2nd, 1917 Worked 9 hours today out loading wood as there was no work on the engine.

Saturday March 3rd, 1917 Worked on the engine today and got through with that job.

Sunday March 4th, 1917 Snow today. Have to lay off tomorrow, don’t know what I will get to do now, probably go to woods.

Monday March 5th, 1917 Nothing to do today, snowed all day so don’t think we will get to work for sometime.

Tuesday March 6th, 1917 Got my first check $23.37 from the George Palmer Lumber Company today. Some payday!

Wednesday March 7th through Saturday March 10th, 1917 Nothing else but snow and show days. Looks like the mill won’t open for some time, too much snow up in the woods.

Sunday March 11th and Monday March 12th, 1917 There is nothing doing yet and who knows when we will get to work again.

Tuesday March 13th, 1917 A Chinese got shot in town today, he was shot in the front of the P.A., he was shot 3 times.

Wednesday March 14th, 1917 Well took in the show today that is all we can do to kill the time.

Thursday March 15th, 1917 Worked again today, it is hard to get to work after laying off so long.

Friday March 16th, 1917 Work today, a little more snow.

Saturday March 17th, 1917 They put Carl and me on the shaver today, worked what seemed like 5 minutes and done.

Sunday March 18th, 1917 Day of rest.

Monday March 19th through Thursday March 22nd, 1917 Working some day shift now, but it snowed to beat the band today. I understand that they had 3 feet of snow up in the woods, so I guess that we won’t get to work for some time again.

Friday March 23rd, 1917 No work today too much snow no logs down from the timber.

Saturday March 24th, 1917 No work for a week. We had a Dakota snow storm here last night.

Sunday March 25th, 1917 Another day of rest.

Monday March 26th, 1917 Went over to the Railroad office and got a job, as a deputy guarding the rails and tunnels. Going to start in the morning.

Tuesday March 27th, 1917 Well we worked till noon today and that was all. Had to shovel ashes and didn’t like it.

Wednesday March 28th, 1917 Leaving this place today for bridge guard work at Weatherby, Oregon. Arrived 3:20am.

Thursday March 29th, 1917 Stood guard all last night, 12 hour shift. Seems funny to work night, it is first time.

Friday March 30th through Saturday March 31st, 1917 Getting used to working nights now, but they look awfully long.

Sunday April 1st, 1917 Had a narrow escape from a train this morning, hit by a spreader*,but got away clean.

*A spreader is a type of maintenance equipment designed to spread or shape ballast profiles. The spreader spreads gravel along the railroad ties. The various ploughs, wings and blades of specific spreaders allow them to remove snow, build banks, clean and dig ditches, evenly distribute gravel, as well as trim embankments of brush along the side of the track.The operation of the wings was once performed by compressed air, and later hydraulics.

Monday April 2nd, 1917 Rained like the devil last night, got soaked to the skin.

Tuesday April 3rd, 1917 Getting more guards every day now, got full crew pretty soon.

Wednesday April 4th 1917 Got two more guards today that took over 2 of my bridges, have only 3 bridges and one tunnel now.

Thursday April 5th, 1917 Four more men came today, cut me down to 2 bridges and one tunnel, am going to shrink to 2 bridges.

Friday April 6th, 1917 Frank and I moved in together today, going to work till 12 tonight and I guess until 12 tomorrow.

Saturday April 7th, 1917 War was declared with Germany yesterday. Camping is the life.

Sunday April 8th, 1917 Got 12 soldiers to guard the tunnel, Brother and I have still got 3 bridges to guard, some walking.

Monday April 9th through Saturday April 14th, 1917 We have had three bridges to watch, no excitement so far but some of the guards not far from here have had real work to do. Have been broke ever since we came out here so it has not been very pleasant, but money someday I hope. This place mined some time ago it is full of place mines, no work going on at the present. Women are a scarce article around here. Only one that I have seen so far and that is a farmer’s daughter. Fine little lady.

Sunday April 15th, 1917 Snowed all day today, yesterday and today kind of nasty to be out but can’t help it.

Monday April 16th, 1917 Snowed till noon today, still raining a little, going the same old place yet.

Tuesday April 17th through Wednesday April 18th, 1917 (only one entry) Got a guard on one of our bridges that is too scared to go out in the dark, have to keep him company. But he always goes to bed after 1am, some guard!

Thursday April 19th, 1917 Moved to our last stand today, got 2 wooden bridges now. Some snafu.

Friday April 20th, 1917 Went up on the mountain today, some view from up there, seen a town some miles away.

Saturday April 21st, 1917 Getting to be some cooks now, backed our first bread today.

Sunday April 22nd through Saturday April 28th, 1917 Nothing different yet, we got sworn in as Deputies Friday the 27th. A guard down the line shot himself through the foot Saturday the 28th. For lack of other excitement I suppose he had to go to the hospital the next day. They will not let anyone cross the bridges anymore, everyone has to walk around. Been raining most of the week and pretty cold.

Sunday April 29th, 1917 Played ball at Durkee’s today, game was 2 – 4 in their favor. Game was no good at any time.

Monday April 30th, 1917 Warm today, this is the last of our month on this job, soon get some money.

Tuesday May 1st through Saturday May 5th, 1917 Well there is nothing that has have happened out of the ordinary so there is not much to write about. They have dropped our salary to $75.00 a month now but I guess we will stay in though unless we get in the Army. There is sure some wind in this campaign.

Sunday May 6th, 1917 Weatherby and Durkee met again today on Weatherby's diamond and so…Durkee won 11-2 and then they played again, Weatherby 0 – Durkee 11.

Monday May 7th, 1917 Going to sleep on duty now means the same punishment as the regulars get. Got to stay awake.

Tuesday May 8th, 1917 They are getting stricter every day now spys out there most everyday so we sure got to be on duty.

Wednesday May 9th, 1917 Getting rather lonesome out here so far from any lady. But they say stick to it and you will make out.

Thursday May 10th, 1917 I see that our old pal Carl is out in Tacoma, Washington,now trying to get a job on the street car line.

Friday May 11th through Saturday May 12th, 1917 Government says not to let anybody over the bridges, not even the farmers that farm on both sides of the track, have to swim I guess.

Sunday May 13th through Thursday May 17th, 1917 Here is a space that I have to fill in with but one of these (a large ? question mark is drawn in black ink across the page)

Friday May 18th, 1917 Got my first pay from the Oregon Washington Railroad and Navigation Company today, seems good to have a little money again.

Saturday May 19th, 1917 Frank went to get his pay today, $83.40. Pretty Good!

Sunday May 20th through Friday May 25th 1917 All these days have been quite nothing doing but got up and got on duty and then 12 hours later came back in and go to bed again, such is the life in the far west. Carl left for Alaska today, said he would be gone about 6 months so I probably Wont get to see him for some time. All depends on the conscription if I go to France or not.

Saturday May 26th, 1917 Went out and caught some fish today so I can have fish sometime later.

Sunday May 27th through Monday May 28th, 1917 Now got some big ones today, it is more like camping now since I can catch a fish once in a while. But they are nothing but suckers, it gives me the idea how it would be to catch a real fish.

Tuesday May 29th, 1917 Well I did my first washing and I sure do enjoy to do a women’s work (not!).

Wednesday May 30th through Thursday May 31st, 1917 Having quite a lot of rain here and wind blowing every day. Just like North Dakota yet. Suppose we will soon be in training camp.

Friday June 1st, 1917 Have now marched well over two months and everything is OK.

Saturday June 2nd, 1917 Had frost last night that did some damage to potatoes and such things.

Sunday June 3rd 1917 through Monday June 4th, 1917 Had some more Frost last night, looks to be a cold place and lots of rain. If we had this much rain in Dakota we would have a good crop every year that we could get it.

Tuesday June 5th,1917 Went and signed up for Uncle Sam today, so if he wants me I’m ready to go.

Wednesday June 6th, 1917 through Friday June 8th, 1917 Tried the 8 hour shift today, but it didn’t work worth a darn. We have just about made up our minds to change back to the 12 hour shift as we only get 8 hours sleep every 48 and that ain’t enough, so today we took the good old 12 again. Works better.

Saturday June 9th, 1917 Rain again today, nights cold so a man can sleep all right.

Sunday June 10th, 1917 Sunday that’s all it is, don’t count at all out here, so good night.

Monday June 11th, 1917 Well our job ran out today, they are going to put us I don’t know where.

Tuesday June 12th, 1917 Got laid off today in the morning. Went looking and got a job with Blare Budy Contractors.

Wednesday June 13th, 1917 Started to work today and like it first rate.

Thursday June 14th, 1917 Good board at this place, better than Bantokeny anyway, not so much money.

Friday June 15th, 1917 Another day for work, not very hard work, so I think I will stand it for a while.

Saturday June 16th, 1917 Got our pay today pretty good check too.

Sunday June 17th, 1917 Shot first U.S.A. rifle today at 400 yards, got 3 bulls-eyes out of 5 shots, 20 inch target.

Monday June 18th through Saturday June 23rd, 1917 This has been a week of bridge work. Flagging most of the time, saw my first rattler snake Saturday the 23rd, 9 balls and one button, but I did not keep his rattle as he was killed too quick. They had a dance here Saturday night in a box car, first time I have seen a dance in a railroad car. Soldiers had the dance.

Sunday June 24th through Saturday June 30th, 1917 There is nothing to write about these days. I am having the hardest time to make up my mind about joining or waiting until I am called. If I can stay for 2 weeks more I will join the Navy.

Sunday July 1st through Monday July 2nd, 1917 No entry for either day.

Tuesday July 3rd, 1917 No work today as most of the boys are given out to different towns.

Wednesday July 4th, 1917 Had a celebration here at Weatherby today, not much of a crowd.

Thursday July 5th through Wednesday July 11th, 1917 No entry for these days.

Thursday July 12th 1917 Left Weatherby for Baker to enlist in the Navy. Frank will follow, have to take a 4 year term.

Friday July 13th, 1917 Have to go to Portland for examination so came back to Weatherby today.

Saturday July 14th, 1917 Had some dancing here tonight but I did not dance.

Sunday July 15th, 1917 I’ve moved to Duskee today, have spring work to do here.

Monday July 16th, 1917 Still here but am not working as I am waiting for my pay.

Tuesday July 17th, 1917 Frank quit today at noon, so we will head for La Grande today.

Wednesday July 18th, 1917 Got to La Grande today, rain is first I have seen for over a month, not so warm now.

Thursday July 19th, 1917 Still here waiting for the drawing which is coming about Saturday.

Friday July 20th, 1917 Well tomorrow is the day we will see how the things will come out.

Saturday July 21st, 1917 Number 1748 was in the first 20 and that is mine, Frank’s did not show up.

Sunday July 22nd through Monday July 23rd, 1917 Frank’s number 1749 did not come out, so I am alone in that deal. Got to Pendleton today to go out in the harvest fields.

Tuesday July 24th through Friday July 27th 1917 Am here in Pendleton waiting to see if I am in the first draft so I can go to work and if I am not in the first. Getting tired to lay around doing nothing, but it can’t be helped. Just now this is the finest town I have seen here.

Saturday July 28th, 1917 Nothing has developed yet will stay around and see.

Sunday July 29th through Tuesday July 31st, 1917 Still here at Pendleton waiting for my number to see if I am in the first draft or not, so can’t go to work unless I find out.

Wednesday August 1st through Thursday August 2nd, 1917 Getting tired of laying around here any longer but will have to for a time any ways.

Friday August 3rd, 1917 Frank got notice to appear for examination, so I am leaving for Baker tonight at 1:30am.

Saturday August 4th, 1917 Got examined today and think I will pass O.K…..3 out of 5 fell through the physical.

Sunday August 5th through Monday August 6th, 1917 Passed the examination here yesterday alright and it sure took a load off my mind now I know just what to do, but I didn’t before.

Tuesday August 7th, 1917 I sure would rather pass than not for there is so many that can’t go.

Wednesday August 8th through Saturday August 11th, 1917 Started to work for White Pine Lumber Company today and will work here until I am called into the Army which I understand will not be till the first of September. We’re not told anything, as the newspapers come out with many different reports.

Sunday August 12th, 1917 Have to call 60 men more as there were only 18 that passed and there is so many claiming exemptions.

Monday August 13th through Thursday August 16th, 1917 Have been working these days but have been a pretty sick boy, at least I think I am, but maybe not so darned weak Thursday that the lumber feels almost too heavy for me to lift.

Friday August 17th, 1917 Had to lay off today as I am getting worse right along.

Saturday August 18th, 1917 Had the doctor come by today, pretty sick believe me.

Sunday August 19th, 1917 Feeling a little better today, but this evening a little worse again.

Monday August 20th, 1917 Laid off this forenoon but went to work again this PM, feeling fine again.

Tuesday August 21st through Saturday August 25th, 1917 Have been working steady this day, got a notice from the exemption board to be ready to leave on 24 hour notice when notified. So everything is now settled out. I am sure glad nothing to worry me anymore and I feel that I am pretty lucky to be able to go into Army. I will probably come out a different man, would like to change my ways.

Sunday August 26th through Saturday September 1st, 1917 Have been working steady this week. I heard that they are only going to take 2 men from Baker County so I won’t get a chance to go in the first Quota. But hope it won’t be long before they might call. Had some letters from home and see that my brother, Sebran (Andy) enlisted as a motor driver. He passed his physical so I guess there won’t be any chance to see him for some time.

Saturday September 2nd through Saturday September 7th, 1917 Well another week passed and nothing new, same thing over and over again. This seems to me to be an awful dead place, but I guess it is my own fault as I am not very much of a miser at any case. Frank and I are thinking of taking a hunting trip very soon and it all depends on when I am called for duty. I sure would like to get out for a deer hunt this fall as I am in a grand hunting country.

Sunday September 9th through Monday September 10th, 1917 No entry for these days.

Tuesday September 11th, 1917 Had some rain last night, the first for a long time. Things are hard, but brighter today.

Wednesday September 12th, 1917 No entry for today.

Thursday September 13th, 1917 Rained again last night so I guess we are going to have rain after all.

Friday September 14th, 1917 No entry for today.

Saturday September15th, 1917 Quit the mill today, going out on a hunting trip.

Sunday September 16th, 1917 No entry for today.

Monday September 17th, 1917 Getting ready to go out to get our ammunition and our camping outfit.

Thursday September 18th through Wednesday September 26th, 1917 are covered in Ernest Julius’s, "Deer Hunt Diary”

*The Deer Hunt Diary - September 18th - 26th, 1917*

Thursday September 27th, 1917 Got back last night feeling fine, hope to get out again someday soon or next year as it may be.

Friday September 27th through Saturday September 29th, 1917 Frank tried to get a job at the mill again, but there was no shortage as they have too many men for the timber they are getting.

Sunday September 30th, 1917 Getting some tired of laying around town, but will have to.

Monday October 1st, 1917 Frank left for a job at the lumber camp today.

Tuesday October 2nd, 1917 Frank left for the woods this morning and it was some lonely here. Will leave myself soon enough.

Wednesday October 3rd, 1917 Leaving tonight for the woods to join Frank, so this will be the last entrance in this book this year.

(the diary ends there)

Ernest Julius and Frank Severin Erickson would both serve in the American Expeditionary Force on the Western Front in France. My grandfather Frank Severin Erickson was a member of the '308th Regiment - 77th Infantry - Company H' and was a participant in the "Meuse - Argonne Offensive" and would eventually become a member of what was later referred to as "The Lost Battalion.” A surviving member I must note!

The Lost Battalion, the name given to the nine companies of the United States 77th Division of the American Expeditionary Force, consisted of 554 men that were surrounded by German forces in the Argonne Forest in France between October 2nd through the 8th of 1918. Roughly 197 were killed in battle and approximately150 went missing in action and or were taken prisoner. Only 194 remaining men walked out alive. Frank was one of the lucky ones

Ernest Julius Erickson was a member of the 361st Regiment of the American Expeditionary Force. He found himself along with his regiment in the midst of the Battle of the Argonne Forest, in what would be referred to as The Meuse - Argonne Offensive located on the Western Front in France. It was fought from September 26th 1918, until the Armistice on the the 11th of November, 1918, a total of 47 days.

The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the largest in United States military history, involving 1.2 million American soldiers, and was one of a series of Allied attacks known as the Hundred Days Offensive, which brought an end to the war. The battle cost 28,000 German lives and 26,277 American lives, making it the largest and bloodiest operation of World War I for the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), which was commanded by General John J. Pershing.

* Ernest Julius would write from the Western Front in France on the battlefield in his diary starting on September 26th, 1918. He wrote in often dangerous situations and seemed comfortable writing in dire circumstances and often with a sense of humor. It is an intense tale. It obviously was part of who he was.

* Both “The Deer Hunt Diary” and “The Forest of Argonne (France) Diary” have links below so you can read.

The Deer Hunt Diary - September 18th - 26th, 1917

Ernest Julius's in-the-field (in the Argonne Forest) diary entries
from September 26th through October 8th, 1918

© Mark Erickson 2017 All rights reserved.

This copyrighted material may not be republished without permission.
Contact via Email @ Mark Erickson or visit his website @
Links are encouraged.

Return to Family Photographs & Paintings

h  o  m  e

Contact           510.893.2800           Biography