Armistice Day 100 Years Ago in Humboldt
Porter shared this with us from a stack of letters written by the Benbows over the years. She explained, “I read this letter in the Benbow stash of hundreds of letters and put it aside…Probably 6 months ago.”
She added, “I also have, written on the same day, a letter from Burtis Benbow to his mama from New York harbor as he was shipping out to France. He described every boat in the harbor blasting horns, cannons, huzzahs at the same time his little sister [was] in Blocksburg…[W]e had numerous Humboldt boys on the Front and numerous support teams on the back end.”
In the letter, Porter shared with us, Clara Benbow, who at the times was a teacher in a one-room school in Blocksburg located in remote southeastern Humboldt County, described what happened on Armistice Day 100 years ago today in our community. She wrote,
I rec’d the message from home last night from school. I am so happy. [I]t took away the feeling that I wasn’t home to rejoice. I can’t express how very happy it did make me feel. If the day had one more joy to offer it was I was thinking of everyone at home and Joe and you and Burt. And we celebrated!
On my way to school we heard the word: the war is over. The war is over.
I felt like I would fall over. Eva said I turned around 3 times before I half cried and half laughed and I said “The War is Over.”
I sat down for a moment and then I called Mrs. Prior.
…”The ranchers came rushing in to get the details. [T]hey knew what the pealing of the bells meant. They sent us a large bag of candy at noon. A huge one and then they brought refreshments. Cake and cookies.
And the ladies of the town rang and rang and rang while we ate. And those of us who were resting gathered oak and maple leaves to decorate the school house.
Porter shared this with us because as she told us, “I was so moved by Clara’s emotion and [that of] the Blocksburg residents. Who knew that the war came this close…?”