1900 Colon Business Directory

1900 Business Directory for Colon



1900 Listing of Businesses in Colon, from the Community Historical Society Museum, donated by Don King to the Colon Express: “At that time the population was 600.


Agricultural Implements              F. B. Buys

Agricultural Implements              C. A. Goodwin

Attorney                                    D. L. Akey

Baked Goods                             Fred L. Adams

Bakery                                       O. Hartman

Bank                                          Exchange Bank, Edwin R. Hill, Pres.

Barber                                       C. Anderson

Barber                                       A. V. Goodell

Bicycles and Sundries               Wolfinger

Bike Sulkies and Track Carts       Anderson Brothers

Blacksmith                                 Anderson Brothers

Blacksmith                                 G. B. Lytle

Blacksmith                                 Frank Selby

Blacksmith                                 A. E. Wilder

Builder’s Supplies                               W. B. Tomlinson

Butter Maker                              J. L. Bosworth

Butter and Milk                          John H. Mowry

Carpets, etc.                                         H. M. Roush

Concrete Blocks                         M. D. Lyon

China, Hand Painted                  A. J. Born

China, Hand Painted                  Niendorf & Mosher

Cigars                                         W. U. Chaffee

Cigars and tobacco                              Fred L. Adams

Cigars and tobacco                              Dickenson & McMillen

Cigars and tobacco                              A. V. Godell

Cigars and tobacco                              O. Hartman

Cigars and tobacco                              Niendorf & Mosher

Cigars and tobacco                              Chas. H. McKinster

Coal                                            Chas. H. McKinster

Contractor                                  M. D. Lyon

Clocks and Watches                   D. W. Chase

Clothing                                     The Hub Clothing Store

Dentist                                        Chas. H. McKinster

Dentist                                        A. B. Whale

Druggist                                     Chas. Clement

Druggist                                     A. E. Jackson

Druggist                                     B. M. Roush

Druggist                                     L. P. Teel

Dry Goods                                  Mrs. J. B. Sherwood

Flour, Feed and Grain                C. A. Lamberson & Co.

Funeral Director                         J. Elliott Mosher

Furniture                                    S. B. Wiles

Furnaces                                     M. C. Corsette

Groceries and Provisions                     Fred Adams

Groceries and Provisions                     Doclomspm & McMillen

Groceries and Provisions                     O. Hartman

Groceries and Provisions                     Chas. H. McKinster

Groceries and Provisions                     Niendorf & Mosher

Groceries and Provisions                     B. M. Roush

Groceries and Provisions                     F. E. Warren

Hack & Busline                          Brast & Frederick

Harness                                      H. A. Bell

Hotel                                          St. Joe House (C. B. Rogers & Son)

Insurance                                    John W. Lovett

Insurance                                    Orrin C. Shane

Jewler                                         A, J. Born

Justice of Peace                          Orrin Shane

Lamb Knit Goods Co.                Lamb Knit Goods Co.

Laundry                                     Colon Steam Laundry

Livery Stable                              C. L. Stackhouse

Meat Market                               L. D. Frary

Meat Market                               Shuck & Strunk
Milk and Butter                          The Colon Creamery

Millinery                                     Mrs. Bubb & Co.

Millinery                                     Mrs. L. M. Pifer

Millinery                                     Mrs. J. B. Sherwood

Newspaper                                 Colon Express Wm. S. Doty

Photographic Studio                  T. W. Geris

Physicians and Surgeons                     W. E. Doran

Physicians and Surgeons                     E. L. Godfrey

Physicians and Surgeons                     P. L. Hartman

Physicians and Surgeons                     C. L. Stackhouse

Plumbing and Heating                M. C. Corsette

Poultry and Veal                        I. W. Teller

Real Estate and Loans                John W. Lovett

Real Estate and Loans                Shanes’s Real Estate

Tailor                                                   A. Bonner

Wines and Liquors                               Moore & Ware

Wines and Liquors                               H. F. Palmer & Co.


4th Of July in Colon, 1906; Monk Watson

The 4th of July in Colon, About 1906-‘07


From the July 6, 1977 Colon Express; signed Monk Watson, HDQ Co. 125th Inf., 32nd Red Arrow Div., World War I:  “The day would start with some of the Old Soldiers, meeting on the corner of State and Swan Streets, talking about the war that they had served in. I was an interested kid who loved to hear their stories about Bull Run and San Juan Hill (I think that’s the way you spell it). I was waiting for the LKG (Lamb Knit Goods) band to form for the parade, and I could carry the music or perhaps the drum. The Ross brothers were the leaders of the band at that time. One worked in the factory and the other made cigars. This LKG band was a very good one, and was in demand all over the State of Michigan for parades. Wherever they went Jeff Hill was at the head of the band, with his gold-headed cane waving in the air, calling for “In the Good Old Summer Time”. That was his favorite for as long as I can remember.

After the parade they had races of all kinds, greased pig to catch and keep, the greased pole to climb to take the money that was in the cigar box on top of the pole, and bicycle races from the Hub (now Dawn & Phil’s) to the four corners and then across the road into town, now Old-78.

Now comes the big night … with Hartman’s ice cream, Clement’s grocery store open for candy, and the balloon race. Mr. Clement’s note for $5.00 would be pinned to the top of the paper balloon, to be brought in and cashed at the store. The paper balloon was about 10 feet high and Mr. Clement had to stand on the top of a ladder to hold it. When it was inflated (a small bit of soaked straw on the wire across the bottom of the balloon), he would let it go and away we kids went running and bicycling, trying to catch up with it for the prize. I was very lucky one night to reach the balloon near Sherwood. I took the note and returned to Colon. I also took the balloon which was not harmed in landing. However, it was never used again because I tried a rag full of fuel and it worked too well.









There was also the High Dive from a ladder standing at the east end of the dam. The water hole was very deep at that spot, and the platform was about 50 feet above the water. The diver, Mr. Emmell (I believe that was his name) reached the platform and looked down, and then gave up. It seems that Phil

Waite, the balloonist, had landed on the steeple of the Reform church, now the Church of God, and that upset Mr. Emmell so much that he called off the High Dive. It wasn’t too long before I was at the top of the ladder and yelling. “Everybody look at me!” I then dove off and was followed by at least a dozen of my friends.


I walked over to the spot where the ladder once stood, a long time later, and there in the ground was an iron eye that was used to anchor the cable that held the ladder.

The fireworks were made up of Roman candles and pinwheels, and now and then a skyrocket. How it suffered by comparison last night when Colon put on one of the nicest displays of fireworks. We stand-alone from other small towns with our Fourth of July.

Again I rode in the parade, with my Red Arrow cap, and thoughts of where I was July 4th, 1918. We were facing fireworks that were for real, and many of my friends are still in France from those bombings. No wonder I have a lump in my throat when our children march in our parades, and the Flags stand out so great head of the marchers. I saw a very few uncover their heads, of half-hearted salute as the flags went past. They seem to be afraid someone will see them salute. Times change!!!”


Remembering Colon in 1912, Dale Baad

I Remember Colon in 1912


Newspaper clipping from The Colon Express, April 9, and April 15, 1981, by Dale Baad.: “I remember when there were no houses or cottages on Palmer Lake with the exception of Maple Street. One of the favorite swimming holes was the “wash out” on the north shore of Palmer Lake … no swimsuits required. Another popular spot was the bridge over Swan creek on Evelyn Isle (now Blackstone Island) just before it emptied into Sturgeon Lake … also no swimsuits. When the girls were with us, we hiked two miles to Long Lake Bridge or stopped at the foot of Second Street, then known as Schmerhorns, wearing our swimming suits under our clothes.

I remember when the center portion of Palmer Lake was full of logs and stumps … excellent bass fishing but hazardous even for rowboats. One winter the water was abnormally low … the stumps stuck out of the ice as much as two feet and the logs laid on top of the ice. Volunteers started cutting stumps and logs, hauling them off the lake. The results were so dramatic to public minded citizens that the Lake Association started a “stump removal” fund. In 1948 they opened all the gates of the dam and raceway, lowering the water level to the lowest possible. This time they hired a gang equipped with some special saws, and assisted by volunteers, they left the lake as you see it now.

I remember, “hitching rails” on both sides of State and Main (Blackstone Avenue) Streets. On Saturday nights, the spaces were full of buggies and wagons.

I remember the “Jenz Gang” … a group of sportsmen and hunters who had a bunk house at Paulding in the U. P. for the annual deer hunting holiday. They traveled by train to Watersmeet, then by sleigh to their cabin. The “regulars” were: John Woilfinger, Wm. Tomlinson, Frank Hill, Frank Lamberson, Dr. P. L. Harman, Hart Schfmaster, True Mowry, D. L. Ackey and Eli Dane. I worked at Wolfinger’s Hardware nights, mornings and Saturdays. The hardware was the “clubhouse”. In case of emergency, any member of the Jenz Gang could be located after 7 p.m. at the clubhouse. After listening to the stories for two years, I am surprised there are any more “white tails” left in the U. P. or rabbits in St. Joseph County.

I remember the LIONESS, a steam driven launch, built by Mel Lyon, which operated between the village dock and Coney Point (now Palmer Point) on Sundays and holidays, transporting picnickers for a day’s outing. The power was generated by a wood fired upright boiler. The Jenz gang hired the Lioness to spear garfish, which lay on top of the water during the hot dog days of August. An afternoon of the sport removed a lot of predatory fish from the lake.

I remember Ambrose Crane, the “Pie Plant King”, who lived in a shack on north Swan Street. He was a college graduate and a cripple, using two canes in walking. He bragged that he and a college roommate took a vow on their graduation day that they would never do a day’s work in their lives … and Ambrose never did. He raised and sold rhubarb (pie plant), roots and stalks, and received assistance from relatives.

I remember the “hand pumper” fire engine.

I remember Dad Riggles, who made a good living catching and selling dressed “bluegills” … illegally … then as now. Not only Colon people patronized Dad, but salesmen calling in Colon would send one of Dad’s customers a card, ordering a number of fish for a specified time on Friday when they would be on their way home. The money passed on to Dad, and he rarely knew who actually got the fish.”

I remember when the first automobiles were equipped with acetylene gas lights.

Boys and girls sold corncobs for 5¢ a bag that were used as kindling to start fires. They picked up the cobs at the mill, free. They would fill five or six bags and made their rounds. Some “dealers” had regular customers  … one bag every Saturday.

Ninety-five per cent of the homes and stores were heated in winter by one or more “Round Oak”  heaters. Cooking and baking were done in cast iron ranges during the cold months and kerosene stoves in summer … kerosene was 10¢ a gallon.

The Sunday excursion on the “Air Line” to Jackson and Detroit … leave Colon on the 7 a.m. train and return on the 9 p.m. train.

I remember the arrival of the “Nickolo” movies … admissions 5¢ for children, 10¢ for adults. … black and white pictures, silent, but accompanied by a live piano player using the popular ragtime music.

Madam Marantette with her trained horse and ostrich act … performing on the street at least once each summer.

The horse drawn sprinkling wagon which wet down the main streets in summer to control the dust. The driver filled the wagon at the millrace with a hand pump.

Balloon ascensions … a feature attraction for every celebration.

The arrival of the “Kentucky Boys” and the “Indiana Gang” who tented on Sturgeon Lake for three weeks of fishing and entertaining.

The LKG (Lamb Knit Goods) factory whistle blew at 7 a.m. (begin work), at 12 noon (dinner), 1 p.m. (start afternoon work) and 5 p.m. (stop work). We set our clocks by the whistle.

“Gene” Grimes and his popcorn wagon on the SE corner of State Street and Main Street (now Blackstone Avenue). Even if you didn’t like popcorn, the tantalizing aroma “got” to you!

The large third floor hall … over Bartholomews and (J. Hartman’s (The Godfrey Block) was the location of public dances and a roller skating rink.

Gertle Palmer … dressmaker to the elite. She was a very clever designer and an excellent seamstress.”



Go-Getters 1925

Go-Getters Annual Reunion and Home Coming



Unidentified newspaper clipping from May 28, 1925; most likely the Colon Express:

You Are Invited Back to Colon Just for Old Times Sake

An Interesting History of the Go-Getters Club

An Appeal To You to Attend Reunion

We have been asked when and where and how the Go-Getter’s Club was organized, what it is and what it stands for.

We can readily name the time, place and circumstances of the organization of the club. This is a comparatively recent occurrence, but the spirit and the sentiment behind it and for which it stands – this is a different matter.

On the heart of the writer this sentiment was being fastened away back in the days when Marion (Shiper) McCabe, Ralph (Wab) Clement, Fremont (Cork) Adams, Rome (Skinney) West, Clare Godfrey and Fred McKinster who were almost inseparable and were known as Mack and Godfrey, these and several others composed the sand lot ball team and played on vacant lot south of the Factory where substantial and comfortable homes now stand, and many is the time we sat on the fence watching with envious eyes the “First Team” play, with Fred Bower, Fred Caton, Pearl (Colly) Atridge, Arthur (Deak) Atridge, Edgar (Nick) Doran, Will (Billie) Bradley, Charles (Buck) Savory, Will (Billie) Anderson, and others who called themselves “The Hungary Nine” on the diamond. We often wonder if we would ever be “one of the real ones” and, personally the writer never was. So far as baseball is concerned.

Later on the same sentiment was forming in the hearts of the boys in the days of the Indian medicine show when Roy (Duckie) Chivers,
Carl (Cark) Adams, Ferney Clement, Eck Doran and others were the front row boys and emulating the example of the then popular strong man gave exhibitions daily in any convenient building or vacant lot.

These are not serious recollections and are so fresh in our minds it is not necessary to recount them. From the earliest arrivals to the last departers not a moment was lost to any one present.

As at its first reunion, a thought was given to the friends of our youth whose voyage had led to “The (illegible)” from which no traveler (illegible) As if to welcome you – Back home.



Back home I hope the neighbors say

They miss me since I’ve been away;

There’s many there can take my place.

And do it with a kindlier grace;

There’s many that can do my tasks,

And yet I have somebody (illegible)


… lawn. J. L. Peters and his committee in charge. All residents of the village and community are urged to participate – Bring a pot-luck dinner for yourself and some extra. In this way it is hoped that your hospitality will provide abundantly for our visitors.

The main feature of the afternoon (illegible).

Dear “Old Timer” –

Another year has passed into history and the Colon “Go-Getters” is about to hold its Third Annual Reunion. Plans are underway to make this year’s event even more memorable than any of the preceding years. If possible to have every “Colon-ite” present on this occasion it would please me very much and I am sending this personal message to you with the urgent request that you lay aside your business cares for a few days and join “Your old time friends in your Old Home Town” on June 14th, 15th and 16th, of this year.

In 1923, thirteen former “Colon Boys” met in the “Old home town” and organized the “Go Getters Club” pledging themselves to return, on a given date, each year for the purpose of kindling anew that spirit of friendship and good fellowship that was engendered during their boyhood days. Last year invitations were sent out to an added list, who at one time or another, made their home in Colon. Over 100 responded to the call and one of the most interesting reunions ever held in any community was held in Colon. A complete report of this affair was printed in the Colon Express and numerous other town papers throughout Southern Michigan, some of which you may have read.

The Memorial services held at Lakeside cemetery in honor of departed schoolmates and friends was a long to be remembered event.

The Sunday evening services at the Baptist Church, over which our old time friend and pastor, Rev. C. F. Cyphers presided, will linger always in the memory of those present. The reception, given after the church services, by Mrs. Susan B. Hill, mother to the Go-Getters Club, and (illegible).

Included in this clipping is a picture of a group of men with at least ten deer hanging behind them.


The caption reads: “These bold hunters invaded the wilds of Northern Michigan in the fall of 1903. Shooting must have been pretty good in those days, if we may judge by the evidence shown. All but one of these men are still living and most of them reside in Colon. We will not publish their names but will leave it to you to identify them yourself. It will take the place of the cross-word puzzle for a few days we imagine.


Someone has written a few of the names (I count ten men): Frank Lamberson, Ray McMillan, Frank Hill, Dave Akey, Tom Anderson, Ture Mowry, Dr. Hartman, Eli Dane, Lee Frary.

St. Paul’s Reformed Church

St. Paul’s Reformed Church


Unidentified newspaper clipping donated to the Colon Community Historical Society Museum: “ST. PAUL’S REFORMED CHURCH – The land upon which the St. Paul’s Reformed Church was built was purchased of George C. Van Vorst of Colon, Township, St. Joseph County, April 15, 1873, and the church, a commodious structure, was erected that year in the midst of a splendid farming section, during the pastorate of Ref. W. G. Hackman. The church cost $3,000, and it has 200 sittings. It is located on a four-corners on Burr Oak Road three and one half miles south of Colon. Ref. S. I. Royer was the last full-time pastor to serve the church.

The South Colon Ladies’ Aid was organized in 1922, and it’s an active society of 28 members now. The ladies meet once a month and make pads, lap robes, quilts etc., for facility centers and the needy. It is through this organization that the church is kept clean and in repair, and every summer in August they serve a dinner followed by a bus8iness meeting, electing officers for the next year. A church service is then in charge of young pastors who were once students in the Eberhard school across the road to the west.

The South Colon cemetery across the road to the north has been enlarged, and the sexton keeps it in excellent condition, and many former members of the church have been returned here for funerals and interment.

In 1973 the church celebrated its 100th birthday with a community dinner, a service in the afternoon with 115 in attendance. Folks came from 16 Michigan cities, Florida, New York, and England.

Edgar Bergen Visits Colon

Mortimer Snerd Visits Colon

Colon Express, September 16, 1948: “Abbott’s fifteenth annual Magic Get-Together closed on Saturday night, September 11th. Percy Abbott pulled a surprise the last night that will be long remembered by all the visiting magicians and the local people of Colon. Unknown to anyone, Edgar Bergen, famous ventriloquist and radio and movie star, arrive quietly in the town at the Abbott residence. Percy had one of the Bradley cottages reserved for this event and Mr. Bergen and his party were taken immediately there. They arrived backstage just as the show started. Pat Patrick, who is known on the radio as Ersil Twing, appeared out of character and was not recognized. He introduced Jim Sherman of Chicago as amateur magician from Lamb Knit Goods Company. In fact, the master of ceremonies, Dorney, announced that three amateur performers would appear from the Lamb Knit Goods Company. Sherman attempted to do a trick, and was hustled off stage, then the other performer appeared giving an impersonation of Edgar Bergen. It only took the audience a matter of seconds to recognize Edgar Bergen and he was given a tremendous ovation. He performed his act introducing Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd. The Bergen party joined crowd at the buffet lunch at Abbott’s and were up practically all night visiting with the magicians, doing stunts, gags, etc. Mr. and Mrs. Abbott took the Bergen party to the Schuler Hotel at Marshall on Sunday for dinner after which they started on the road to Chicago. Mr. Bergen leaves for New York today and is flying out to Hollywood for the September 16 for the grand opening of the new Abbott Magic Novelty Company branch. From all accounts this was the best magic get-together that has ever been held in Colon, with more than 700 magicians registered. Mr. and Mrs. Percy Abbott left yesterday for the west coast. The new Hollywood store is on Sunset Blvd. in the heart of Hollywood and will be the most elaborate of any of the Abbott branches. It is fitted with a modern stage on which to demonstrate magic and illusions and will carry the complete Abbott line of magical merchandise. For the opening, Edgar Bergen, Jimmy Stewart, Peter Godfrey, the producer and other film notables will be present. George L. Boston is the local manager. He is an experienced magician, having had stage experience with the Harry Blackstone, Howard Thurston and will Rock shows, and with his own mental act. Mr. Abbott has commitments with film, radio, and television productions while on this trip in addition to the new opening. Other Abbott branches are in Chicago, New York, Indianapolis, and Detroit”

Monk Watson, Mortimer Snerd, Edgar Bergen, and Charlie MaCarthy on Sturgeon Lake in Colon.

Great Raid Too Late for Colon Boys

The Great Raid is Too Late For Colon Boys


Joe Ganger

There is a movie recently released and I have, by the way, seen it. Just wanted you to know that it is based on a true story. “The Great Raid” tells the story of the 6th Ranger Battalion, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Mucci who undertakes a daring rescue mission against all odds. Traveling thirty miles behind enemy lines, the 6th Ranger Battalion aims to liberate over 500 American prisoners-of-war from the notorious Cabanatuan Japanese Prison camp in the Philippines in the most audacious rescue ever. In January 1945, an Army private named Eugene Nielsen arrived on the island of Morotai, an Allied staging base in the Dutch Spice Islands. Nielsen, a recent escapee from a Japanese Prisoner of War (POW) camp, relayed a horrific story to U.S. intelligence officers. With American troops advancing in the Philippines, the Japanese had begun slaughtering Allied POWs, many of them survivors of the Bataan Death March. A Filipino guerilla group, operating behind Japanese lines, confirmed Nielsen’s claim. The leader of that group, Major Robert Lapham, believed the Japanese would soon massacre another 500 Allied POWs, languishing at the infamous Cabanatuan POW camp on the island of Luzon. Information provided by Nielsen and Lapham set in motion a remarkable series of events, culminating in one of the most dramatic and daring missions of World War II. On 30 January 1945, barely three weeks after Eugene Nielsen’s initial debriefing, a battalion of 200 U.S. Army Rangers and Filipino Scouts stormed the Cabanatuan POW Camp, rescuing hundreds of American and British prisoners from almost certain death. Then, in a feat of equal daring, the Ranger force ushered the former POWs, many of them gravely ill, across miles of Japanese-held territory, back to American lines and freedom. One of the prisoners who died at that prison before help could arrive was Francis Gerald Snyder, a Colon boy. His parents were S. G. and Emily Snyder. Francis joined the service with another Colon boy, Jack Darwin Lewis on August 20, 1941 and they both arrived in the Philippines on November 20, 1941, just before the Japanese invasion. Both boys survived the “March of Death” or “Bataan Death March” and Snyder died at Cabanatuan on June 22, 1942. Lewis died on May 30, 1942 at another Japanese prisoner camp (Camp O’Donnell). Lewis graduated from Colon High School with the class of 1936. He was the son of Mr. & Mrs. Ross Lewis. The boys must have died a terrible death. Maybe this book/movie will serve as an appropriate memorial to two very brave Colon men.


1948 Panther Scare

Panther, Wolf, or Myth?


Joe Ganger


Colon Express, February 12, 1948: This panther story, which has going the rounds for several months, is proving to be more than a myth. One night last week, as the Yoder boys, aged 27 and 21 years were returning to their home a mile west of town, a large animal came out of the cornfield and started circling them. They say it was twice the size of a dog and had a long lashing tail. They ran back to the Arthur Snyder porch, and Mr. Snyder came to their rescue, and the object, whatever it was, ran back down the road. Conservation Officer Robert Straube was called, heard the boy’s story, which was verified by Mr. Snyder, and found the four-inch tracks. This experience proved to officer Straube that some wild animal was on the prowl in this territory and he took up the trail. He has trailed the animal over a lot of territory and hopes to get sight of it some of these days. Straube says it is too big to get through a fence; that it follows the fence line to a corner or hurdles the gate, and the four-inch tracks are very plain at these points. There’s a good story when they catch up with the roamer from the wilderness. It might be the mate to that wolf they killed over by Battle Creek.” February 19: “The wild animal scare which has kept a lot of people in the anxious seat for months is simmering down to the point where it is a wolf instead of a panther that is roaming this territory. While Arthur Moyer and Melvin Seitler were cutting wood at the Homer Fenner farm west of town Saturday afternoon, they saw the animal loping along down the road. Their first thought was that it was a big dog. As it came within a few rods of them the men could get a good look and are positive it is a wolf. They went to their car to get a gun and they trailed it until it went into the woods near Farrand Bridge. Others have seen the animal at a distance, in fact it came out onto the ice and fisherman saw it up in the “tamaracks” on Palmer Lake. Conservation Officer Straube hopes to have some trained “wolf-hounds” down from Lansing to track the thing down.” February 26: “State trapper William Hammel, who is in charge of this district, was here Tuesday working with the Conservation Officer Robert Straube, attempting to track or get sight of the wolf or strange animal which as been on the prowl along the river bottom. They failed to get sight of the animal. Officer Hummel has been working with drain commissioner Roy Bell, trapping beaver in several streams in the county and has been successful in taking a dozen or more. Officer Straube says there is a good sportsman’s program on WKZO every morning at 8:30.” March 4: “That strange animal wolf or whatever, it may be, still haunts this neighborhood. Monday night it made a tour around the east outskirts of town, prowling around the Bailey residence, where the track was picked up and trailed over quite a territory, without catching up with it. With all the hunters in this town it would seem that they could “gang up” on this mysterious prowler, the hunters would all get their guns out. The animal was seen my Mr. & Mrs. Chauncey Walker and son west of town Monday night as they were driving near the Ed West Home.”  I found no more articles on the critter….

1944 Letter from Monk Watson

In a November 1944 edition appears a letter from Monk Watson: “Dear Frank (Damon); Several ladies have asked me if I would inquire, while entertaining in the hospitals, as to what the boys need for Christmas. It seems that in the past some of our good people have spent a lot of time making pretty things such as robes, slippers, socks and numerous other things that were returned to the ladies with a note saying “These things are not needed.” It seems the government is very fussy about a lot of things, and in the hospitals the uniform is carried out even to the robes, slippers and socks. Last night while at the Station Hospital in Fort Custer, I asked the director of the Red Cross, Walter Stubbs, just what the fellows would like and could have. He told me that the two things they needed most are CHRISTMAS CARDS to send to their loved ones, and playing cards for their own entertainment. It seems they cannot get Christmas Cards on the post for resale to the boys. My suggestion is that each person in Colon, who can afford it, to buy at least one Christmas card and leave it at the Express office, and if you have any used decks of playing cards leave them also, and I will see that they reach the right party, or they can be sent directly to Fort Custer. Last night I was complimented by having 75 boys walk through the rain from their quarters to the hall to see my show and I’m happy to report they seemed to enjoy it.  Monk Watson”