Trumbull – Dear Sons of the North, East, South and West (1) – News From Dave and Trumbull – July 23, 1944

Grandpa (Alfred D Guion) and his sister, Elsie May Guion

Trumbull, Conn.  July 23, 1944

Dear Sons of the North, East, South and West:

Having gone to the well of inspiration for ideas to incorporate in this missive and finding it dry, I have had to resort to sort of a priming process and have turned back the pages to see what you were all doing in former years. About this time in 1942 I find Lad was just starting in teaching diesel engineering at Aberdeen; Dan was rumored to be shortly going to Hagerstown; Ced was short of tennis balls and Dick and David were both home. In late July 1943, Dick was about to sail from New Orleans, Jean had just gotten back home from Indianapolis, Ced was recuperating from his first fire burns, Dan was still in Indiantown Gap but all packed ready to go, I having recently visited him for a farewell visit. Lad was in California and had just been assigned to engine tuneup work. Marian’s name begins to appear frequently in his correspondence. Barbara was thinking of joining the WAAC.

Dave writes he has now been assigned to a new company, Co. D, 31st Sig., Trng. Bn., ASFTC. He says: “My new company is absolutely A-1 except for the chow. The food isn’t too good but I understand that it has been pretty poor recently all throughout the post. The fellows I’m with on the whole, are a much nicer bunch that any gang I’ve been with yet. Sunday I sprained my wrist and I don’t know how I did it. I’ve got it wrapped now and it is as good an excuse as any for the poor job I’m doing tonight on the typewriter. We took a long hike last night – – the first I’ve taken since that week I left for home. We walked some 12 or 14 miles with light field pack, gas mask and rifle. I don’t mind telling you that I was pretty tired when I got back. Did I go right to bed then? No. Now that it’s summer down here we have to be mighty careful of chiggers and ticks. When we’ve been out in the field now we come in and strip, take a shower and while in the shower room, we go over each other – – like monkeys in the zoo – – and take off any chiggers and ticks. All the boys in my barracks love to sing so we do quite a lot of it. We seem to have an equal number of rebels and Yankees so we go over this problem every so often.”

I’m going to interrupt this letter right here like I myself was interrupted by a broadcast over the radio predicting that the attempted assassination of Hitler this week would lead to the collapse of Germany before the end of the summer and with that of Japan six months after Germany.. Now we would like to believe that! Even if it is six months premature it is still good news.

Elsie writes she is taking a week’s vacation beginning August 14 and is heading for Trumbull. How about you boys coming home for that week to help make your visit enjoyable?

Jane was over here a while ago and said Charlie (Hall), when last heard from, was at Pearl Harbor, had been assigned to duty as assistant engineer in charge of four diesels on a big Navy tanker, the CASH. Art (Mantle, her brother)  is still up north in Washington state waiting for the new ship he has been assigned to to be finished and put in commission.

Tomorrow I’ll post the rest of this letter to Grandpa’s sons in all directions.

Judy Guion


My Ancestors (30g) – Rev Elijah and Clara Maria de los Dolores de Beck Guion – 1870 – 1879

The following pictures of Rev Elijah Guion anad Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck were probably taken in San Francisco at some time between their arrival at the Presidio in 1870 and the Rev. Elijah’s death in  January, 1879.


The Rev. Elijah Guion, Chaplain at the Presidio, San Francisco, California


Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck Guion



The Rev. Elijah Guion’s tombstone, The Presidio, California


Rev. Elijah Guion burial information


Tomorrow, I’ll begin posting a week of letters from Grandpa, written in 1944. Lad and Marian, in California, continue to wait to find out when and where Lad will be sent. Dan is in London, and possibly France, surveying and making maps for the Army.Ced continues to repair airplanes and deliver people and goods as a bush pilot in Alaska. Dick is in Brazil, working in the Citizen Personnel Office and liking it. Dave has joined a new company and is still in training in Missouri. Grandpa continues to take care of the Old Homestead and keep everyone in the loop about what is happening in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Dad – March Field – July 8, 1943


Today’s post is very short because Lad just doesn’t have much time to write and he’s quite tired. I think that condition was quite common with anyone in military service.

Lad's letter from Camp Santa Anita, July, 1943

                     Lad’s letter from Camp Santa Anita, July, 1943

C.S.A. (Camp Santa Anita)

Wed nite

Dear Dad;-

I have just finished spending a few days at March Field where, with six others, we were doing some checking on the general condition of ordnance equipment.(It was in fair condition.) March Field is a Bomber Base, and therefore I had a pretty good chance to see a number of different U. S. airships close up. Some of them are surprisingly large, and all of them seem to be well built and maintained.

I’m on C. Q. right now and do not have any of your letters with me, so I’ll just have to answer the things I can remember.

I got the bathing suit O. K., but you addressed it Co. “A” and not “D”, so it took about four days longer than it should.

I made some inquiry again about the check, and it seems as if it should be all straightened out now. However, if not, let me know, and I’ll not stop inquiring until I know something very definite about it.

Things down here have been going on much the same as usual, and everything here is, as usual, all messed up. The days have been pretty warm lately, but it is cool and even cold, at night, which makes it nice sleeping.

I’m a little too tired to write a very comprehensive letter, if I go on, so I’m going to call it quits right now, at 4:15 AM. Remember me to Grandma and Aunt Betty– etc.


Tomorrow, a very creative letter from Grandpa that must have taken him most of the day.  Remember, there was no computer help to create this letter. On Wednesday and Thursday, another letter from Grandpa and on Friday, a letter to Ced from his sister, Biss (Elizabeth).

Judy Guion 

My Ancestors (30g) – Rev. Elijah and Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck Guion – The Family in California

Last June I  read about a Challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and I was intrigued. I decided to take up the challenge. Some Ancestors may take more than one week, but I still intend to write about 52 Ancestors. I hope you enjoy reading about My Ancestors as much as I am looking forward to researching and writing about them.

(1) Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck Guion; (2) Alfred Beck Guion; (3) Alfred Duryee Guion; (4) Alfred Peabody Guion; (5) Judith Anne Guion


Rev. Elijah Guion


Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck Guion


The Family in California

Rev.  Elijah Guion’s loss of his important pulpit meant the end of the New Orleans era for his family.  At 56 he was still in his prime, and he had his admirers.  For a time he served as Chaplain of the First New Orleans Volunteers.  The war had ended, the nation again was one, and on July 28, 1866, my grandfather became Chaplain of the 41st infantry, United States Army.

He was an Army Chaplain for the remaining 13 years of his life.  Military life suited him, and it also suited my grandmother, who queened it in Army circles.  In 1870, on December 31, Chaplain Guion was transferred to the Tenth Regiment of Cavalry, and it was at this time that he and my grandmother came West.  Guion was Chaplain at the Presidio in San Francisco.

Excepting in the case of my own parents, it was, and has been seen, the Army that brought the Guions to California.  Three sons, with whom this story does not deal, remained in New Orleans and married there. (This has proven to be incorrect. One son, Alfred Beck Guion, my great-grandfather, moved to New York City, became a stock broker, married and had a son and daughter  – Grandpa, Alfred Duryee Guion and his sister, Elsie May Guion. I believe the other sons also came north.)  But my grandfather the Army Chaplain, his sons-in-law, the Army Colonel and the Army Major-Doctor, and their wives and growing families, were transferred West by stages during the 1870’s, all ultimately reached the Presidio.  My Aunt Clara came West to be with her mother and sisters.

The  Rev. Elijah Guion died on January 17, 1879.  He was buried in the Presidio Cemetery, and my grandmother, who outlived him by 17 years, later was buried beside him

So here is where we came in, in the firstt pages of this study — with the four transplanted Guion sisters and their growing families all living around San Francisco Bay and constituting Clan Guion of California, with at first their parents and after 1879 with my grandma Guion alone as center and head of the Clan.  I am the wrong person to write of this final stage of the story, for, as I stated to begin with, I was the youngest Guion grandchild and remember nothing prior to 1891. The Clan broke up in 1896 and even before that the fun was evidently waning — I never sat in on one of the Guion sisters’ evening “high-jinxes”, when everyone, including my grandmother, would perform a stunt, with Aunt Clara not participating but quietly smiling.  All during the 1880s the thing was at its height, and the California phase had begun, as stated, in 1870 or not long thereafter.

At the beginning of this narrative I tried, not too successfully, to convey some idea of this family as I remember it — Grandma Guion in her 70s, her widowed daughters, and the daughters’ daughters and sons, the eldest of whom had been born in the South, the middle and younger in the West.  I tried to give some idea of their incorrigible gaiety and gift of laughter, the love of music and anecdote, their underlying heads-up courage, their gayness in contrasting their girlhood memories of pre-Civil-War New Orleans with the lusty crudities of the still-half-pioneer Western life.  Even after Grandma Guion died and the various children set out on their own paths, the aging Southern girls never lost their fragile, humorous, sturdy quality, and the pictures of my mother fighting her cracked old wood stove in a primitive mining camp, of my Aunt Lizzie striving to make out money-orders and keep the stamp-account straight in the Army post office on Angel Island, are vivid to me after 50 years.  Nothing ever licked a Confederate.


          In diversity of occupation, this generation to which I belong may seem extreme; but in almost every case a heritage is evident, and the diversity is that of the Guion-Marshall-Beck family itself.


COLONIAL ORIGINS of the CALIFORNIA GUIONS, An Informal Genealogical Study by Ernest Jerome Hopkins, finished in 1952.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin posting letters written in 1943. Lad and Marian re getting closer in California, even though he doesn’t mention her, Dan is in London, Ced is still in Alaska, Dick is in Brazil and Dave is still in training.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear G.I. Joe – Local Bits and News From Dan – July 1, 1944

Trumbull House

Trumbull, Conn., July the oneth, 1944

Dear G.I. Joe:

A while ago I told you what a wonderful linguist Smoky was getting to be. He still is improving, lately he has shown interest in the doings of our Navy in the Pacific. I asked him recently if he could name one of the islands which had recently been bombed and without an instants hesitation, he replied “Yap, yap.” You see?

Darn it all, Dave has gone back to Missouri. It’s awfully good to see you boys when you come home but it’s darn hard to say goodbye again. One of those questions which no one will ever definitely solve is, “Which is harder, for the soldier to say goodbye after a furlough or for the home folks to have him go?” Jean made a good suggestion tonight. She said: Send each of them a telegram reading “come home at once stop supper is ready”.

I am going on a one-man strike tomorrow. Yes sir, I’ll defy all the bureaucrats in Washington and stay home from work. I worked Saturday afternoon at the office and then because I wasn’t feeling so chipper about Dave having left, and thinking of a movie he had recommended, I went to see, “Between Two Worlds”, back to the office, married two couples and did some more work. And by the way that movie is worth seeing. It’s a bit usual in concept and points some good morals without one ever knowing he is being uplifted. The gold digger actress, the selfish wife, the unselfish husband, the big businessman, the rough guy, the reporter, Mrs. Midget — all have their counterparts in people we have met. See it if you have the opportunity. (Thanks, Dave, for recommending it. Your judgment is good.)

And by the way, Dave, in cleaning up after you left, gathering up pieces of my auto tires, radio buttons, etc., we came across a pair of puttees and a necktie. I suppose you left them on purpose but if you change your mind let me know and I’ll send them on to Camp Crowder. To you, Lad, if you are back from the camel riding exploits in the desert, has gone by parcel post, insured, the camera, light gauge and a box of films. Let me know as soon as they arrive safely as otherwise your Uncle Sam will be owing me one hundred smackers.

Dear old Limey Dan has come through with another welcome letter. It was the only voice from the void this week, so it is doubly welcome. “This letter is primarily designed to allay any misgivings you might harbor about the new “robot plane” raids on southern England. Every indication shows that aside from their rather disconcerting erraticism, they are much less important than a plane-pilot-bomb raid. Of course the fact that they come during daylight hours makes it rather inconvenient, too. I have heard from Don Whitney who is in Calif. Also received a notice from the American Red Cross in N.Y. that Mrs. Dudley Sanford had given a blood donation in my honor! We are quite busy these days which is a much truer statement this time than it was if I ever said it before. There is plenty I should like to tell you but time and the censors frown held back my hand. It is permissible however to say I am well and highly impatient, now that the end of the war seems closer.”

And it might be as well to close on this hopeful note, particularly as no other items of interest present themselves for recording. So, be good boys, vote the straight Republican ticket.


Tomorrow, another excerpt from the Diary and Journal of John Jackson Lewis, written during his Voyage to California in 1851.

On Sunday, I’ll be posting more information about the Rev. Elijah Guion and his wife, Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck and their early married life.

Next week I will post a few Special Pictures and then start posting the personal Christmas Cards Grandpa created over the years. I posted then two years ago but I believe they are interesting and they tell the story of the family, primarily after the letters end. I hope you enjoy them and will perhaps share them with friends.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Sons (2) – Looking for News – June 18, 1944

page 2    6/18/44

The only episode which disturbed the serenity of our communal life was the wedding yesterday at the Serene’s estate of Jean’s sister. Outside of Jean working herself into a frazzle (and perhaps because of it) she reports everything went off smoothly, the weather was kind and reportedly a good time was had by all. The bride is nearing her 40s and the groom his 50s, so they was some good-natured kidding about young people rushing into matrimony, etc.

Last time I talked to Elizabeth she said time was approaching when she and her two kids would make a wholesale job of going to the hospital and having the family tonsils removed. No date has yet been set.

The big event we are looking forward to now is Dave’s return to the ancestral fold. Just what day that will be is still shrouded in mystery, but I shall be on the DPG - with Zeke holding Butchalert to see my youngest bursting into the office Wednesday or earlier, thus driving all thoughts of business (for a minute or so, at least) from my head. He will find the old car still in the same decrepit condition it was when it performed during the latter part of Lad’s stay, still without license plates for 1944. I imagine Dave will get a great kick out of greeting his friends in the graduating class at Basssick and will be one of comparatively few there in uniform to receive his diploma.

No word from any of my progeny this week in the shape of letters. I am waiting to hear from Dan to learn whether he is still in London dodging the Nazi new secret weapon, from Ced whether he is still a civilian or not, from Lad and Marian as to the details of the return trip, from Dick on what his new duties are and how he likes them, and Dave will “speak for himself”. I have acquired this Father’s Day the first picture of one of my boys in uniform – that of Dick taken at Miami. Others I understand are in the process of evolution.

Both my young office helpers gave me noticed this week that they are taking jobs at better hourly rates, so I’ll be alone for a while – a one man Corporation, as it were. A Robinson Crusoe of business without even a man Friday. As President I shall come to the office in the morning, tell the office boy to sweep out the office, instruct the graphotype operator to punch out some stencils, see that the mimeograph operator turns out the few jobs that come in, write a few trade paper adds as an advertising man, spend a few minutes as required as telephone operator, dictate a few letters to myself, as bookkeeper I shall make out a few bills and entries in the ledger, and simultaneously at the end of the day we’ll all quit together, each one of us slamming the office door in unison and making much noise clattering down the office stairs. We will all then pile in the old Buick, and loaded down with the entire office personnel, head for Trumbull. What a life. The Dionne triplets have nothing on me. Quintuplets, I mean.

Oh yes, Marian, Aunt Betty has asked me to write a note of acknowledgment on her behalf to thank you for the little cigars. She is somewhat puzzled as to the significance of the name. Why Between The Acts”? And what happens between them? Knowing your deeply religious nature she is wondering if it has something to do with the Acts of the Apostles, and then knowing you went to the theater just before you left New York, she wondered if it had anything to do with the play. Well, as Lady Godiva said toward the end of her ride, I am nearing my close.


Tomorrow a letter from Marian and  Lad to the family.

On Saturday, another segment about the Voyage to California written by John Jackson Lewis in 1851.

On Sunday, the story of Josephine, Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck Guion. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Brigands Large and Brigands Small (1) – News From Dan – June 11, 1944

Trumbull, Conn., June 11, 1944

Dear Brigands large and Brigands small:

It was a dark and stormy evening. Gathered around the campfire were Brigands large and brigands small. The Captain said to his trusty lieutenant: “Antonio, tell us one of your famous stories”. And Antonio began, as follows:

All right, all right, that’s enough. Don’t want to hear any more of that, hey? Don’t like to be reminded of your cheerless childhood days, Mary Morey, etc. Very well, if you’re so uppity about it we’ll come down to the present.

Surprise, got a v-mail letter from Dan last week, just when I had given up all hope of hearing further from him until the invasion stress was over. And guess what! He’s a T-4 now, which according to the only way I can figure it, must be a cross between a Corporal and a Sageant. The letter is dated May 21st, postmarked June 7th, received on the 9th. They evidently waited that long for the letter to cool off, but even at that there were a couple of blisters on the envelope, and here’s why:

Dan-uniform (2)“Today I am in a vicious mood because of circumstances beyond my control. The immediate cause: my being restricted over the weekend for something over which I had no control. We were invited to a dance on Friday night. The Special Service office sponsored the affair and allotted transportation to and from the dance. In good faith we accepted the invitation, but the trucks were late in returning to the Post and we were all restricted. I don’t understand how any of us, as individuals, could have gotten back earlier, no one, as far as I can determine, was put in charge. We had to return with the trucks and that they were late was not the fault of those of us who went as guests under the premise that ‘transportation would be furnished’. It seems doubly unjust during these trying days when we have so little time for relaxation and amusement” I admit it sounds monstrously unfair the way you tell it, Dan, but this seems to be part of Army training and I’d like to bet you that each one of your brothers in the service has had similar experiences, if that is any compensation. It has its brighter aspects for me, however, because were it not for this enforced idleness, do you think I would have gotten that letter? NO, chorus they all in loud voices. What a weight off my harried mind to know that you were well, if not particularly happy, on that date. I see you are still with the topo. bn., (Topographical battalion) which has been of immeasurable comfort since D-Day, in the hope, mistaken or not, that such duties as you have been trained for will not be of such nature as to expose you to Nazi shot and shell. I suppose that is selfish, but if so, I admit it unblushingly. If you were my only boy I couldn’t want you safe and sound home again any more than I do right now. I’m glad you’re so near to “history in the making” but I also have that niggling feeling, “River, stay away from my door”.

The newlyweds, in flitting from roost to roost, have been too busy traveling and getting acquainted with the other in-laws to find time to write this week but I expect we’ll be hearing from them before long.

Tomorrow, the rest of this letter with news from Ced  and Dave. On Wednesday and Thursday, another letter from Grandpa and on Friday, a letter from Marian to the family.

Judy Guion