When the United States entered the First World War, known only as the "World War" at the time, no postage was required on the soldier's mail. Instead, the soldier wrote "Soldier's Mail" in the upper right corner of the envelope where a stamp was normally placed. This custom was followed by Pvt. Chauncey Dean Hauck, son of Daniel William Hauck and Mary Jane Hauck.
Chauncey Hauck was twenty-two years old in 1918 when he volunteered his service in the United States Army. Although the war was near its end, Chauncey was sent to boot camp and then to France where he performed guard duty at a prison camp. As a prison guard, he was able to preserve some of his letters received from home, and the family preserved many of the letters sent home from France. When his wife passed away in 1996, the letters were given to his niece, Lorraine Shaw, who made them available for publication.
Uncle Chauncey's mail provides the opportunity to read actual words written by Daniel William Hauck and his family. Daniel's son, Louis Hauck, never talked much about his boyhood days and therefore passed very little information on to the next generation. The letters to and from Uncle Chauncey and his parents give insight beyond just the warm family ties. The Influenza epidemic was a reality to the people who lived through it. The letters tell of Clara Francis Hauck caring for neighbors who were ill. Daniel William Hauck died from the flu while Chauncey was in France. No mention was made in the letters that Daniel had died, but the letters typically addressed to "D. W. Hauck" were now addressed to "Mrs. D. W. Hauck".
Meanwhile, at about the same time that Chauncey's letters became available, Kevin Carr, grandson of Louis and Florence Hauck, discovered the letters that came home from Dean Stephen Hauck during the time he served our nation in World War II. Kevin had purchased the Louis Hauck homestead and found the letters in a dresser drawer. These letters were written when I was twelve to thirteen years old, and some of them were written to me. All the letters were read by the whole family before mother put them away. While in the Army, Dean wrote home to family, relatives and friends. Most of the letters sent home were saved by his parents, Florence and Louis Hauck. The last two letters were lost when Florence's purse was stolen while she was working at the farm market.
The letters from two soldiers and from two wars, "Soldiers Mail", are presented as they were written, in the same words used by the soldiers while they faced the dangers of warfare, yet dreamed of the future and what they wanted to do with it. May the world know and remember what sacrifices are made on our behalf.