WWI Mother’s Day letter returned to soldier’s granddaughter in Beaverton

A Beaverton woman got a special Mother's Day message that's more than 100 years old.
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 10:48 AM PDT
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BEAVERTON, Ore. (KPTV) - A Beaverton woman got a special Mother’s Day message that’s more than 100 years old.

Employees at MyHeritage found a letter on eBay from 1919 written by a World War I soldier named Chester Carl Howe. He was in France and writing to his mother back in Seattle with a special message for Mother’s Day.

MyHeritage researched the letter and was able to track down Howe’s living descendants. His granddaughter Jan Bellis-Squires lives in Beaverton and was given the letter.

Here is part of that letter:

“How I would like to step in and surprise you tomorrow! Which would be happier, you or I? I’m sure I would. Not an hour of the day goes by but what I think of you, and thoughts of you and the much good advice you have always given me has always been a bright star for me to follow. And I shall always have those little visions and nothing in the world can dim the bright guiding light that it is to me.”

Howe returned to the U.S. but died in 1928 when his daughter, Constance, was only 6 years old. Constance is Bellis-Squires mother and she passed away in 2017.

After reading the letter in its entirety, Bellis-Squires explained what the discovery meant to her.

“This is just a treasure for me to be able to see the handwriting and read the words that my grandfather, who I never knew, wrote to his mother on Mother’s Day,” she said.

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MyHeritage went through military records and say it’s hard, if not impossible, to say what role Howe had in the war. He was in the 4th Infantry Division which fought in a few major battles. Howe sent the letter a few months after the end of the war.

MyHeritage says there was a lot of investigate work and they have now built out his family tree.