Sunday, November 20, 2011


Today I take a parenthetical pause in my stream of posts on family church history to participate in Bill West's Third Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge, formerly known as The Great Genealogy Poetry & Song Challenge.

This year my offering comes from a letter written by my grandfather, Francis Allyn Newton, Co. H., 107th U.S. Infantry, Camp Wadsworth, Spartanburg, S.C., to his mother on November 3, 1917. He closes the seven page letter with,
I had better close now as I am getting sleepy. With love to all, I remain Your Loving and Obedient Son, F.A. Newton
P.S. You will find a little poem in here that will possibly interest you. It was written by Pvt. Van Zandt in my tent. He is somewhat of a comedian. It was written about a certain Cathartic pill which is given to soldiers for nearly all ailments and is the cause of much comment in the Army. It is known as the O.D. pill.
The O.D. Pill, by Van Zandt, Co. H., 107th U.S. Inf.

You've heard of Doctor Reynolds
That wonder working man
With his cure for Barbers itch
And all the troubles of the Land
Who with a root and berrie
And a bit of bark, you see
Not to mention sand, imported
Upon a camels misplace knee
From the Himilayan Mountains
In far off Heathen Chinee
Concocted him a potion
Which has been my notion
Of a medicine perfect
For suffering humanitee
No doubt Doctor Reynolds
Would be the wonder still
But for the discovery 
Of the O.D. Pill.

Long and grand was his reign
And his renown was wide
But when the O.D. came
Old Doc began his slide
No pain nor sprain, nor ache nor break
Can long hold out if a pill you take
If the Army surgeon had his way
The Soldier would live 'til Judgement Day
For a headache or a toothache
For a backache or an earache
Take a pill
A fallen arch arises
With a speed that surprises
Take a pill.
If while jumping over hurdles
Brooks and tree stumps, even turtles
You sprain your ank. and yelp with pain
You had best quit your clatter
For there's really naught the matter
Take a pill.
If you're feeling rather blue 
Cuz she hasn't written you
Take a pill.
If work drills fatigue you
Don't lay down, the cooks will need you
Take a pill.

When on the trip across 
Your stomach you have lost
O're the starboard railing
Midships in the sea
While the others are whaling
You'll be no longer ailing
Take a pill.

When the Hun has run you thru
With a long short point or two
And made things worse
With gas and bombs andsuch
Tho' he's belted you and flayed you
By the living God that made you
You'll be a better man than he'll be
Take a pill.

My grandfather continues...
Written on the pill given by the Army surgeons for nearly all's name is taken from the color of the uniform, Olive Drab, although the pill is white.



  1. Too Funny! Thanks, Debra, for sharing this.


  2. This poem made me grin. It's hard to find humor in wartime but somehow soldiers and sailors find it in the rules and regulations they have to deal with. Thanks for sharing this!