The following letters were sent by Armie Hill to his mother from Camp 59.

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Armie was a son of Finnish immigrants Jack and Hilda Hill. Jack and Hilda met in Saint Louis County, Minnesota and lived in various farming and logging communities in Upper Michigan and northern Wisconsin. Armie was born in a Michigan logging camp.

Armie was the third of 10 children born to Jack and Hilda, and the eldest son. When his father died unexpected in 1937, Armie, then only 19 years old, took on a major role in caring for and supporting his family. In August 1938, Armie, who had been working since he graduated from eighth grade, purchased 40 acres of cleared land for a small family farm. With help from his brother Vernon and uncle Ivar, he built a log home for his mother.

Armie received an induction call in December 1940 and reported to duty the following month. He left home expecting to return in a year, but when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Armie suddenly found himself in the Army for the duration of the war. Vernon went into the service, too. The absence of her two eldest boys was a great hardship for Hilda Hill.

Armie’s letters from Camp 59 betray a longing for the Wisconsin farm and a lonesomeness for family and neighbors. He imagines what is going on on the farm, “cutting the hay and hoeing the potatoes.” He inquires about his siblings. Armie’s four oldest sisters (Lillian, Mae, Tina, and Hilma) had left home and were working in Chicago and New York City. Ivar and Edith and Frank and Fannie were Armie’s uncles and their wives.

Armie mentions receiving Red Cross parcels once a week and offers reassurance that he is being well cared for.

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The log home under construction, Phelps, Wisconsin, 1939

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Front to back: Armie’s nephew Bob Pelto, and brothers Reino, George, and Walter, August 1940

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Armie’s older sisters Mae and Lillian in New York City, 1944

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Armie’s brother Vernon

Following are transcriptions of the letters:

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Letter from Camp 59, Servigliano, Italy

10 June 1943

Dearest Mother,

I believe you have received several of my letters already so I may be getting an answer soon. I write you one of these letters or a card each week.

I sincerely hope that you are all in the best of health and happiness their at home. I suppose that Tyyne or Hilma are at home now during the summer. If so they will write the letters for you.

I am feeling fine myself and getting along as fine as ever so do not worry about me. We get red cross parcels here one each week which has sweets and cigarettes & canned foods.

The older prisoners are getting mail from the states already it takes close to two months for a letter to reach here. I don’t know how long it takes the mail to reach you.

Give everyone my best regards that’s Ivar, Edith, Jack, Lila. Frank, Fannie and anyone else you see. How are George, Walter and Reino Big and strong yet? How’s Sylvia?

Your loving son,

Armie

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Letter from Camp 59, Servigliano, Italy

15 June 1943

Dear Mother,

Here is another of my weekly letters to you to let you know I am fine and thinking of all of you their at home.

hope you are all fine at home and that you are receiving my letters alright. I should be getting some letters pretty soon although it takes quite a long time for the first letters, after that they will be coming steady if you write often.

I am fine here and getting a good tan, as it’s quite hot and I wear shorts so I’ll get a good tan. I eat pretty good here as I get a parcel from the red cross each week besides the camp feed. The parcel contains candy, coffee, cocoa, canned meat and fish and so forth. The parcel is the size of a shoe box. So I am making out quite well.

I just hope you are making out all right on the farm until I get back which I hope isn’t far off and I can see all of you again. Best of health and luck.

Love,

Armie

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Letter from Camp 59, Servigliano, Italy

29 June 1943

Dear Mother,

Here is another or my weekly letters to let you know I am fine, and to let all of you their at home are also fine, healthy and happy.

I write to you each week and as I can only write a card and a letter each week, I take turns at sending a card to Mayme one week and Lillian the next. I’ll write to Lillian today although I believe she has a new address by now but it will be forwarded to her.

I imagine that you are at this time busy cutting the hay and hoeing the potatoes. I hope the weather is nice and you have a good crop.

By the time you receive this letter it will be your birthday so I’ll wish you a happy birthday now.

I haven’t received any may yet since I’ve been prisoner but hope to hear from you soon. Well I’ll close again with best wishes to all of you. Just keep up the good work. As Ever Your Son Armie

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Letter from Camp 59, Servigliano, Italy

6 July 1943

Dear Mother,

Here is another short letter to let you know I am fine and have not forgotten you.

ow is everything their on the farm? I sure hope you are all just fine and getting along all right with the farm work.

How are the boys Walter, George and Reino? Getting to be big boys by now I bet. No doubt Sylvia is getting to be a big girl also. Well I hope they are all good and take good care of themselves.

I’m wondering if any of the sisters thats Mae, Tina or Hilma are home now. I haven’t heard from anyone for so long that I don’t know hardly what to write. I hope to get some mail soon though. I believe you have no doubt received quite afew of my letters, anyway I hope so. Well anyway I am fine and getting along as well as ever so do not worry about me. I write to you each week. Best of heath and Happiness

Your Son, Armie.

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Letter from Camp 59, Servigliano, Italy

13th July 1943

Dear Mother,

Here is another letter to let you know I am feeling fine. I also hope everyone there is fine.

You have probably received several of my letters already and you have written to me but so far I have not received any mail at all. But I hope to get some soon. I write to you and Lillian and Mayme as often as I can which has been around once a week.

How is everything at home fine I hope. How are George, Walter, Reino and Sylvia. I bet they are growing so I won’t be able to recognize them when I see them. Well just so they are good and are of much help to you till Vernon and I get back. Do you hear from Vernon much. When you write to him do not forget to tell him I am fine also tell everyone else when you write. I’ll have to close again but will write again soon Love Your Son Armie

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Letter from Camp 59, Servigliano, Italy

4th August 1943.

Dearest Mother,

hope this letter finds everyone just fine and happy. I am myself feeling fine as usual.

I hope you have received and are receiving my letters already. I do write to you every week, a letter like this one or a card. I write to Mayme and Lillian also, But usually just a card to let them know I am okay.

Well I hope you and the boys managed to get the hay made and the farm work done this summer. It won’t be long before school starts again and also the winter isn’t far off. Well I hope everything is going along fine, and I imagine it is there. Hope all the letters I’ve written reach you okay. I bet George, Walter and Reino are growing up big and strong. Sylvia is also a big girl, eh?

How are all the neighbors? Say hello to everyone and say I am okay. I haven’t forgot anything or anyone. Well I’ve got to close again.

Your son,

Armie

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Letter from Camp 59, Servigliano, Italy

17th August 1943

Dear Mother,

Just another short letter to let you know I am fine and to hope everyone their back at home are fine.

Hope you are receiving my letters okay as I write to you each week. I haven’t received any mail yet but hope to get some soon.

It won’t be long when the school will open again for the boys and Sylvia. How are they feeling now? I hope you managed to get all the work and haying done alright.

I can’t think of much more to write say hello to Ivar and Edith Frank Fannie Jack and Lila and Leo and Lily and anyone else you see. also when you write to Lillian and Mae and Vernon tell them I said Hello and I am fine. Well got to close again Your Loving Son Armie.