At left: Captain Joe Massey, U.S. Army, World War II.
Photo courtesy of Kim Fowles.
The Time/Life book entitled: China - Burma - India (World War II) by Don Moser, 1978, is a good history of the part of the war Joe Massey fought in. Lee (Massey) Ive's comments about English & American soldiers training and leading Chinese soldiers is a good description of the effort General "Vinegar Joe" Stillwell led in Burma. Talk about a brave, wise and crusty old soldier! The forced retreat Stillwell personally led on foot for hundreds of miles just ahead of the invading Japanese in Burma, mere weeks after he took command in the area, is a fascinating story in itself. He got every single soldier and civilian he led on the march safely to India, all the while planning to fight his way back into Burma. Eighteen months later, he was doing exactly that." --Jerry Ferrin, email to Kim Fowles, 6 April 2006.
Email from David Massey to Kim Fowles regarding Joe Massey:
Lee (Massey) Ives, Joe's sister, would have the best recall of Joe's various postings but as I recall Joe was mobilized early in 1942. I believe he had an ROTC commission as well as being a Veterinarian. Fort Riley was a calvary post then and it seems like he reported there for a short time and was posted to the China-Burma-India theater. At that time the only way to supply China, at first, was by mule train and by air from India. The Burma road was eventually improved so that it was accessible by truck part of the year but mules were still the primary source of freighting during the monsoon season. I don't remember how many of these critters Joe was responsible for keeping healthy, but certainly a bunch. I can't remember of Joe ever getting a leave after he left Fort Riley and am thinking he went directly overseas in late 1942 or early 1943 and returned in the fall or winter of 1945-46. He spent several weeks in the hospital at Hot Springs, Ark. prior to his discharge recovering from tropical illnesses, parasites, poor nutrition and everything that goes with fighting a war in that part of the world. Joe settled in California after his discharge and I never got to see him much. That was my loss as Joe was the ultimate story teller. (written 28 Aug 2005)
"Thank you for the tribute to Joe Massey and his military service. David tells Joe's story very well. The China-Burma Theater was very different. My understanding was they had British and American Officers training and leading the Chinese Infantry. Joe and his pack animals were their source of supply. Joe was very upset when he was issued cows instead of horses or mules. He was stuck with the cows for the duration of his service. When Clay finds his letters, they tell of the unusual recruiting in China and some of their battles with the Japanese." -- Lee (Massey) Ives, email to Kim Fowles, 6 April 2006.
Envelope for letter from Capt. Joe Massey, U.S. Army, to Mrs. Bill Howard, Sun City, Kansas, November 11, 1943
Scan courtesy of Lee (Massey) Ives.
(First page of letter missing)
I guess your feed cutting is over by now. Said you were starting the 14th of Oct. So Dad was selling the calves for 12 1/2 and 13. Seems like cattle prices are going down. Hope they don't go down much more. How many heifers did Dad and Bill pick out to save?
I and Lt. Humphries of Morland, WY. are teaching horseshoeing to a class of Chinese. We had a hell of a time yesterday. One borrowed a punch from another and he thought it was being stolen. (They don't trust each other around the corner.) Well he grabs it and bats this guy over the head with the punch. Then two or three others took up sides and man the iron flew. We got it stopped. But there was hell all day. Arguments over other mimento. And we were branding mules too. We didn't have a chute and did these mules raise hell. They got a big kick out of that. But we got them all straightened out and today everything was lovely.
27 Nov 1943
Thanksgiving is over. We had a good time & hope you did too. Started out drinking Tom & Jerry's all morning. Made it out of Jing Bow Juice. Wasn't bad either. For dinner we got canned turkey & cheese. Was O.K. Everybody went into town in the evening.
I have had a hell of a cold but it is a lot better now.
We get our new students next week. Some of the fellows have gone down the line so the rest of us will have more to do. I don't know if it will be horseshoeing for me or not.
Have you had any snow yet? It has spit a little here but that is all.
Say have any of my letters been censored much?
How is the beer situation there? I helped a couple of guys drink a can of beer the other night. It sure was good.
Where did you folks eat Thanks dinner? What did you have? Don't tell me I can guess.
Joe E. Brown was here and gave us about an hour show. It was pretty good. We gave him a ride on one of our mules. It was about as big as those Max & Mark had. Its tail was braided to look like Judy Canova's hair. We named Joe "Trail Blazer Brown" because he is the first actor over the hump. That hump trip is no snap either.
How is school coming along kids? Do they let you go Anne? Say, Kent, did you get my letter?
How is the oil situation now?
Guess I will close this
1 Jan '44
adv. Sect 3 SOS
APO 627 NY NY
New Year is over. I had a can of BR right off the Ice. Believe it or Not. Also ate a hamburger and woke up with a good case of the GI's. They will be better by tomorrow, I hope.
Are they drafting any fathers around Barber County? Say could you folks send me the Pratt paper. Then I could get some of the news around that part of the country. Judy, I wish you would put your school paper in a letter to me and I will write you kids a letter about it.
We heard that a 100 mile sector of the German line in Russia had given away. Good news if true.
Got a letter from Mr. Perry the other day. He was saying the same as you folks about the cake situation. But thought it was going to loosen up a little.
How is the new little dog doing, Anne? Is it a lot of fun? I suppose every one wants to give it a name, I bet you get to name it tho'.
There is a fellow getting pipe tobacco thru letters. They have packed about an oz in a small envelope and then it is placed in another envelope.I am sending you folks a copy of our paper the CBI roundup. It will show you what we have to read in the form of news. It is a good paper we think.
Well I must close and get this off.
Jan 6, 1944
It is raining a little today. I suppose it is snowing there at home. We haven't had any snow since a month ago & that was only light.
Got a letter from Mim & one from Grammie. Grammie seemed to be feeling OK & had a nice visit she said.
How are the cattle doing now? A few calves dropping aren't there?
I am being moved now at last. We'll probably leave in 3 or 4 days. Then I will have a new address.
Have been feeling pretty low lately, but maybe things will pick up now.
Ran into some Life Mags the other day with pictures of some Quarter Horses. The July 26th and an Aug No. The Aug No. had a picture of Lucky Strike of Egypt Tex in the "Talking of Pictures" section. He sure looks like a good horse. I wrote for a picture of the horse "Harmon Baker" at Wynoka, Okla. Wold like to get it.
Let me know how things are going.
Jan 18, 1944
Well here I am? This is the life, I think. We are in a nice valley about like the Rio Grande Valley. The Rio Grande isn't in it though. There is a nice little river with mountains on both sides. There maybe fish, but they are probably carp.
I changed my address last time, but I think it is not so hot. So keep sending to APO 627 TIG #2
I got a letter from Hope and Grandma written the 14th Dec and had a package waiting here from Grandma. The only one I have gotten. It had a fruit cake and cookies in it. Sure is swell. Still have some of it yet.
We eat Chinese food altogether and with chopsticks, out of a bowl. You can learn real fast if it is the only way to eat.
Did you ever have a peanut oil lamp? Just a string laying in a dish of peanut oil with the end hanging out the edge.
The number one boy is named Sue Haung Leuam. Sue is his last name, but that is what we call him.
So Bill is on his feet and going. That is fine. No, he can wear the coon skin cap. That is one of the few things I don't need over here.
We get our best music programs from the Jap station. Have to take a little propaganda to get it. Such is war, I guess.
What well is H & P on? You said they were coreing. I will close this for now.
(The Rio Grande that Joe refers to is near Creed, Colorado.)
Jan 25, 1944
This is a pretty lucky place. So far I've recieved 2 Xmas pkgs. Two from Grandma & one from Aunt Ruby. Those gift packs they were in are durable & came thru in good shape. Had candy, cookies, cake, magazines, cigs & tobacco. They are just the stuff.
Got a letter from Max in England. He must be getting ready for the big push the news week talks about. He didn't say whether he was still sick or not.
Two of my friends have been down the road on a convoy & got back today. The road is hell. Came near losing a truck over the cliff a time or two.
Say how is MameBell & Johnny's baby coming along? We were in a little town the other night & saw a little baby about 2 years old. No seat in its pants of course. We were buying some cakes in this chinese bakery. The baby would stick up its thumb & say ding-how. That is what all people say to American Soldiers, means "very good". Ma-gua (beautiful country) ping (soldier). The baby was cute, others, adults aren't.
Had an accident here the other night. One of the tents caught fire from some unknown reason & burned down. The 4 boys that lived in it were away & hardly anything was saved. It was next to my tent & we had to cut it down. It was a calamity because everything is hard to replace.
I expect Richard, Mim & Margaret have come home & Richard has gone back to camp. I would like to have been there with you Xmas. but it would be hard to make on a ten day leave.
Do they think Nate is bound for distant shores? I was hoping none of the rest would have to come. It is far from a picnic.
I got a letter from Bud (Gilmore). He thinks he will wash out because of sinus trouble. Can't stand the altitude. I hope they can fix him up.
How is Uncle Ralph doing now? That is funny about him telling Dad to calm down over the BB game. They have told him (Uncle Ralph) so many times he would get a kick out of it.
Jan 28, 1944
I sometimes wonder what it is like to have a real cold snap. So far it has been like spring here. But this summer it will start raining & be hot I have heard. We won't do anything this rainy season, because it rains all the time. don't know how we could do less.
Did Herman (Howard) get down to see you? I hope he gets thru OCS, OK. We hear it is getting increasingly hard. Herman is in the Air Corp isn't he? I got a letter from Bud (Gilmore) & he says he isn't going to make the flying end of it. That is tough. Aunt Jo sent me a picture of Bud in front of a trainer plane. J.R.(Massey) thinks he is going to miss his chance in OCS because they aren't taking many.
A P-40 just buzzed us. He came right in between the trees & over the tents & was gone like a shot.
I would like to see Kent's boots. Bet they are nice. So Kent & Dale got the skates before Xmas & went out on the pond. Seems like an early cold spell there in the middle of Dec.
So Anne & Boy (the dog) got along fine, but no one else can get near Boy. That is something. Must be quite a dog. Mostly a chicken dog (this was what Anne said).
I suppose the kids had a good play Xmas didn't they? Dale as Santa Claus & Kent as Uncle Sam. Judy the angel that says a Xmas poem. Pretty good.
So you finally did get 80 sacks of cake. It isn't very much tho'. You probably will get a little wheat pasture later on. So Mr. Howard is going to drill in the other well. Is he working for H&P?
Are the calves starting to drop yet? Would sure like to see some of them. There are only a few scrawny buffalo calves here.
Feb 20, 1944
Just recieved two of your letters that were written before the last one. Guess they were held up somewhere along the line. Also one from Lee which was written on Thanksgiving. The letters from Judy have never come, but they will get here sometime. A Christmas Card which Aunt Bird wrote went down someplace & was burned pretty bad. They had sent the card back to N.Y.C. & put it in another envelope. So it was about a month or better overdue.
Sounds like the kids are getting some good publicity. They are a good little outfit if they beat Medicine Lodge (in basketball). Why don't you send me the clipping from the Hearld.
From now on I will be out in the sticks & won't get any mail except maybe once every 2 weeks or a month. That will also apply to mailing letters. So I am going to mail some letters with the courier & some of them I am going to send to another fellow that has access to the daily mail & let hime mail some of them every few days so that all my letters wont get caught if a plane has some trouble. If you don't get any mail for a few weeks don't get worried or quit writing.
About Dad paying 300 for the whole outfit. If I remember right the saddle he got is a good one. If Bill didn't hurt it any it should be worth at least 100 with the other stuff. If the horse is as good as the letters sound, it must not be such a bad bargain. Do you remember Dad we paid 75 for old Blue. That wasn't so much money, but it was a lot for him I may buy a horse over here after a while & if I find one that suits me at all. He will cost as much as your good horse & won't be over a $60. pony. But such is China between the Mecon & Salween.
We see by the Times & Newsweek that soldiers may get to vote. If we do they are going to have to get on the Ball so that us fellows so far away will get a chance, won't they.
So T.J.(Murphy) doesn't kick on the price of beer. Just wants some is that it? How about the homebrew. Its a wonder the boys don't make it now. Sugar is loosening up, is it not? Well I have swore off the Jing Bow Juice & I think I outlived some of the reasons.
So you made some cookies for the baby Margaret, did you Anne? She is a sweet baby I bet. Have they weighed her lately?
If you folks could send me some stationary, just plain. Put it in a manila envelope & maybe it will come first class.
Let me know if there is any difficulty in sending me stuff. If you need more letters or need it stated different, I have plenty of tobacco for a while, especially if the Half & Half comes thru. But I will write for more later. Don't forget to send the salt & pepper in envelopes. Also send canned milk, coffee & sugar (cube), coco & powdered milk. Send canned fruit & meat.
You folks seem to be having a tough time getting around. They are getting pretty tight, aren't they? Guess if has to be done. Labor is sort of a spoiled child isn't it. The administration has let them get away with things so long they can't do anything now or they will lose the election. That is how I see it. Maybe they would quit work & maybe they wouldn't if they were cracked down on. At least they would go republican I bet.
I didn't know you raised much corn last summer. When I was there in Aug. it looked sort of dried up. Does look like Bill was lucky not to get the pigs. If Dad gets a chance to go to Woodward, John Fry might know of a mare or if he is up to Manhattan Mr. Casement has some. Doubt if he would sell, but he might. There are some mares bred to that horse around Wynoka.
Feb 26, 1944
I will be leaving here Monday going to my outfit & as mail will be rather slow I thought I would write another letter before I left.
Got a letter from Uncle Ben (Martin). He says the snow is sure deep on the mountains. Fishing will be good but none of you will get to go will you. Well the fish will grow anyway & maybe we will get some of them later on.
Well it won't be very long until March & then you will have only one more or at the most two storms to go thru until spring. I bet the grass will really go if all the snow didn't blow off the hills. Did you get much good out of Aunt Bird's pasture? It should be good this year.
I wrote Aunt Bird a letter. She had written me on Xmas, a card, & it was in an accident some place. It was practically burned up. I could still make out the note she had written on it.
Hope said they had put an embargo on hogs. What is the price of hogs now? They have a guarantee of $9 a hundred,didn't they? Or was it higher? Do you think there will be as much a surplus of cattle? If they would put an embargo on cattle, the price would sure go down wouldn't it.
Did they ever make a well over on Elk Creek on the Surber place? It is pretty close to the Harmon place is it not?
I sure hope you have a good spring to get the crops in. The work will sure be heavy if you get a lot of heavy rains.
It hasn't started to rain here yet, but I hear it does a lot of it when it starts. Well I better close so... Love,
Mar 7, 1944
Reieved your letter telling of Uncle Ralph passing away. It came about a week ago, but we were just setting out on a pack trip and this is the first chance I've had to answer.
I don't know just how to express my feelings. I feel sad about it. It is tho he had died twice. I thought he was gone last August. Uncle Ralph had a pretty happy life. He had a lot of friends and enjoyed them. If he was suffering so much it is probably for the better. The long illness was pretty hard on Aunt Blanche. It doesn't hardly seem real to me, but when I get home it will.
I got a letter from Coddington (college friend). He is well now & doing OK. Says he isn't going to drink much any more.
We had a pretty ggod trip in here. It took about a week by pack mules. The weather was dry all the time for which we were thankful. I rode a sorrel mare mule for the first 3 days, then a sorrel stud horse for a day. Next day a black stud mule and the last was a black stud horse. The sorrel mule tried to roll me off the trail & rolled off herself, but I held on to the reins & she hit a bush which saved her. That was the last time she tried it. The stud mule was really the best one of the bunch. He was gentle & didn't want to fight like the others. Climbing hills, if he got tired, he would stop & rest then start up again. There were some long tough hills. We would ride up & walk down. Saw some pheasants one day, but thought they were chickens & didn't shoot any. Next time I'll shoot first & ask questions later. We went thru some jungle country, but it is higher and more barren around here.
Found out today that my Div. Vet took off AWOL. Some outfit Huh? It's a great life.
Say could you ship me 5 lbs. of laundry soap, P&G, also could use some canned meat, fish & cheese, sugar, salt & pepper, tomato juice & grapefruit juice.
How do you like your horse by now, Dad? Well I must close.
If any of those things take too many points, cancel them.
April 11, 1944
This must be great at home. The grass is just getting started here it was so dry all winter that it is just sprouting.
I am putting this in Kent's letter to save envelopes. I will be out today. So send some in the letters. Later on we may be able to get some.
I am going to make out some separate requests for mags so you can get them. This is absolutely the most isolated place in the world, even with hundreds of people around. This letter may not get to you very soon for reasons I will tell you about later.
Hope said you folks were having a little trouble with the heifers. I hope it wasn't too bad & ais over by now. You have a pretty good income Dad. About another well and you will be sitting pretty.
Say, how tall is your horse? Hope said Unc Mc said he was too tall. This H.B. horse is 15 hands, weighs 1230 at 4 yrs old. and he is a good one. Put a drum of gas in the trunk & go see him. It would be worth the time & money. Mr. Bixler said if any of my folks were interested he had several mares & colts to offer.
How is the dipping vat? Have you had occasion to use it yet? I bet it will pay for itself. I think those lice have cost us some money.
Say could you send me some dried fruit, such as raisins, prunes, peaches & apricots, & apples. Also some coffee, coco, choclate, sugar, nutmeg, yeast, baking powder, soda, and canned ketchup, shrimp, sardines, corned beef, Choc. candy. Sew the package up in burlap before wrapping it will come thru better. Also a deck of cards.
I saw by the VFW that Hank was a Staff Sgt. He did OK. Hank probably made a good soldier. (Hank Williams?)
I am sitting here at the table writing with a drink (DeDong Depth Bomb). 4 of the boys are playing bridge, the rest are earnestly drinking. A joke. One guy said he was going to have his wife meet him at the boat with a qt. The other said he would have his wife meet him with a pack. Question, "A Pack?". Answer: "Yes, a mattress on her back." Well...
(The magazines he ordered were "Cattleman", "Field & Stream" and "Farm Journal" Address: Capt J.R. Massey, TIG #2 Y Force, APO NY, NY)
April 11, 1944
Dear Dad, Hope, Bill, Anne, Judy, Kent and Dale,
Thats all of you isn't it? This is the middle of April and it is raining again. You folks must be about ready to turn the cows onto grass. Must look pretty good.
There are about 4 of us sitting here in the room. One of the guys has a fly swatter made out of card board with a bamboo handle. He is swatting flies. I and the Doc are writing letters. Lt. Hansen is reading the Readers Digest. The one with the story of the Vratil family up by Larned. Hope you remember Frank Vratil.
The kid we call the "Little Fat Bastard" is howling as usual & "The Face" (his father) is giving him hell. It goes on like this for days & then gets worse. Yes things are bad all over. We do some work tho once in a while. I am going to get started vac. our horses pretty soon and then when the hot weather breaks we will have a lot of disease.
Hope said you were pulling calves Bill. I hope you don't have too many. I would like to be there & help you with a few. Say Dad that 300 acres of wheat sounds good at the price. If it turns into a good year. What did they get for yearlings this (spring) year? You are keeping the 40 head of fall calves over aren't you?
Lt. Hansen, here, lives at Peabody, Ks. His Dad used to work for Bill Dickerson years ago, up at Peabody.
The rain is slowing down now, maybe it will quit. Also it is a little louder than usual. We got a box of Whitman's Chocolates in the last ration. They were plenty OK. You couldn't find a few boxes & send them over this way. I guess most of the canned meat & stuff like that costs quite a bit in ration points.
We are sweating out another convoy of mules today. They may have some mail along. Maybe a little grub too. I have been appointed supply officer of our group & so we have been taking inventory this morning. It didn't take long , but we restacked what we had. By the way it is a fine day in TiTang. Hasn't rained a bit.
The way you talked in your letter, Dad, the bay horse isn't very well broken. I hope you don't let him go too long. That is what happened to the bay mare. I think she was just let go too long.
J.R. (Massey) wrote that Nate was sent over and was not to take his long handles. He will probably end up on Attu. Is Henry Lee going to his overseas station?
I got a letter from Dave Evans (college friend). He is in New Zealand. He gets to live in a Hotel in civilization and says he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. I believe him.
We have a comic book with superbaby in it. I believe those comic book drawers are crazy sometimes. But then we all read it so they must not be.
Grandma wrote me a letter in small writing and challenged me to write more on the other side. Don't believe I wrote as much as she did.
I bet you folks had a good time at Wichita visiting Aunt Ruth & shopping. Can you get much toods of any kind in the stores now? Say, who are your storekeepers now? Just Roy (Bissantz) and Monty (Ward)? Did you say in a letter awhile back that Glen Redfield was going into the Army? I didn't think he could pass the physical exam.
Max wrote that he had a letter from Glen Hogard, who said that Charley Walker & Ches. Everman were in England. Glen was there too, but Max hadn't seen any of them.
Did I tell you about our Jungle Hammacks? They will be pretty nice to stretch between some trees to sleep in, in the summer time. They have a rubber roof with mosquito netting on the siding & rubber flaps to let down when it rains.
Say, Hope, do you have any little cook books you could send & maybe you could put in an envelope & send first class. We made some baked beans & they were pretty good although we didn't have all the ingredients. We had some canned bacon , a small can of tomato juice and some unrefined cane sugar.
Well I will close. The orderly is about to set on the che fan (?).
April 25, 1944
Dear Hope & Folks,
Here it is a few days later & as I have just sealed Dad's letter & forgot to put Kent's in so am writing some more. We are sweating out another guy with some mail and supplies. The last one I got a letter from Uncle Ben & one from Mr. Bixler with the picture of his horse. It is sure a swell picture & I am sure he would send you one of his printed advertisements of the horse if you would ask him. I have been appointed supply officer of our little outfit. Be OK if we had more supplies.
A British Soldier came thru here the other day with a qt. of Canadian Club for the Col. A present from a Brtish Officer. They seem to have plenty of it. We are sweating it out to see if the Col. gives us a drink of it. Time will tell. Ask T.J. (Murphy) how come the British have whisky? Aren't we all together in this? And we have heard that there is no traveling allowed in or out of England or Italy. If so there must be something in the wind. Looks like Max is due again.
We heard last night that the Missouri and Arkansas rivers are rising & that there was a big rain at Wichita. You folks must have plenty of moisture now.
Our Doc just did an operation on one of the boys. He had an abcess at the side of a tooth. He used one of my knives as he had none himself.
I wish you would send me another carton of Bull Durham, a lb. of PA & Half & Half. Also a box of choc. candy, some canned meat, cheese, fruit, powdered milk. Say, send some more salt & pepper in letters. It is great.
Will write again.
May 24, 1944
We are having a nice day here for a change. We hear that the monsoons have hit home already. Well, they are early all over this year.
I am sure glad to hear that you didn't have much trouble with the heifers. Had good luck with the prolapse uterus case. You and Dad will have to take out a license one of these days. That diping must have been a job. Did it kill the lice? Did you dip them twice or just once? To kill them all you have to dip twice. I would have liked to have been there to help. There are a few lice on the horses here, but not many. Mostly ticks and a few leeches.
I helped a mare foal the other day. It was a dorso-lateral presentation so had to cut it in two pieces. Got it out. The mare is still doing O.K. So tell Ann I got my face back and a little extra. I am going to try an operation on a mule today. Proably lose my face again.
June 4, 1944
You know we have a little air strip. It is only large enough for jeep planes. But it brings the Brass down like Dan Boone. This place is getting too well settled up. No elbow room. Sure is nice when there is no Brass around and the days just go by one after another. Must be alot like that in Leavenworth.
I am sure glad you had good luck with your horse. Herb must be pretty good with them. Well ride the tails off of them. Has Kent got his mare and colt yet? Say who did Dad buy them from?
Glad to hear you got a good price for the trailer house. $600.00 bucks is big potatoes.
The TL - suits me O.K. The more the merrier.
I am glad they decided to give smaller locations. That was some well Chester (Freeman) got. Too bad about him gettin messed up with the bull.
We have a housefull again tonight. Got them bedded down everywhere. Eating in two shifts etc. Grinding out a long message. Everyone is sweating out a trip on the generator. I took a couple and then went to finish this letter.
Well there isn't much to talk about. The guys think I'm writing to a girl. They said to tell her "Golden Gate in 48", "Bread Line in 49". They said there would be days like these. But they didn't say there would be so many.
The Boys castrated the Gen'ls horse after I left, so I don't know yet how it got along. Alright tho I think.
We are sweating out a move one of these days. I doubt if T.J. (Tom Murphy) would recognized my Div. If I told him which I can't do. Although we might get into the news some time.
Well I will sign off for the present and get this ready to mail.
P.S. Tell Herman (Howard) I wish him lots of luck as a Navy Flyer.
Excerpt from a letter written by
Capt. Joe Massey (in China)
Lt. J.R. Massey, U.S. Army (in Europe)
"China - Aug 23, 1944:
This is pretty rough country here to fight over. We took one of the toughest trips to get here that any one has ever taken I believe. It weeded out the men from the boys, Jay, and no one but me knows how close I came to being one of the boys. When you see men lying along the trail exhausted and you would like to lie down and keep them company - well, you are down to bedrock that is all there is to it. I have seen some of the boys in my outfit go 4 to 5 days with only the sleep they get walking on the level spots. They were tough babies though and not many could do it. We were all in fairly poor shape when we started but you would be surprised at how it isn't being in shape so much that counts altho it would count quite a bit, as it is discipline, especially self discipline, in things like water and ordinary horse sense on the trail. I have cussed guys up one side and down the other to just get them on their feet so they would not be left behind. Our worst trouble was water. They didn't know how to use it. Usually drank too much. They usually end up throwing up and collapsing, drinking out of rice paddies and so on like that. Well, we are here now and all I hope is if we have to run back it will be over a different route."
-- From the collection of Brenda McLain, courtesy of Kim Fowles.
Captain Joe Massey, U.S. Army, in Eygpt (front row, 2nd from left)
Photo courtesy of Lee (Massey) Ives.
"This group was being sent to Burma China area and had a stop over in Cairo. As you can see there was an interesting selection of personal. Joe is in the front row 2nd from left. Their trip over was eventful as they were being transported in a "Gooney Bird" of questionable age. They flew by way of South America. After leaving S.A. they lost an engine. Fortunately they were able to return and get another plane. They all crossed their fingers hoping to make it across -- they did."
-- Lee (Massey) Ives, email to Kim Fowles 07 April 2006.
Artha Lee (Van Horn) Massey Surber with her grandsons (and grandson in law) who were serving in WWII:
Back row: Nathan Massey, Mark McLain, Max McLain.
Front row: Richard Moss (Mim Massey's husband), Grandmother Artha Lee (Van Horn) Massey Surber, Joe Massey.
John Massey (also serving in WWII) is missing at time of picture.
Photo courtesy of Lee Massey Ives.
Christmas card from Captain Joe Massey, US Army, who was serving in China in 1943,
to his father, Ray Massey, in Barber County, Kansas.
Scan courtesy of Lee (Massey) Ives
Christmas card from Captain Joe Massey, US Army, who was serving in China in 1943,
to his father, Ray Massey, in Barber County, Kansas.
Scan courtesy of Lee (Massey) Ives
Back of a meal check stamp
from the collection of Capt. Joe Massey, US Army, in China, WWII.
Scan courtesy of Lee (Massey) Ives.
In 1923 Marion McLain organized the 1st McLain’s Annual Roundup. This show became an attraction for the people of Kansas, Oklahoma and East. Colo. During the 3 day show a carnevil (sic) was present. A dance floor with a live band in the evening. In the 20s and 30s people placed tents on the hillsides. The water was in the Medicine River which was within 300 yds.
McLain's Roundupby Joe Massey, 1994.
The Rodeo had a large arena 25 ac (acres), a ˝ mile race track inside the fence, 3 races a day, one relay race usually 3 or 4 entries, one chuck wagon race. The cows and calves were picked from a 600 cow herd on the Dickerson Rc. The cows (Hereford) were for milk cow milking. The calves 250 lbs were (uniform) all branded with number on loin 1 to 30. The calf ropers drew for a number. $700 added. Each dollar the size of a wagon wheel in today’s money. No ins. 40 ft. score $20 entry fee. The calves knew where the cows were by the catch ___. The cows were used for wild cow milking. The judge always checked the coke bottles for chalk water. Cow milking "was an event." You needed a real mugger. Up until 1934 steer riding was most money $3. In 1934 we brought in Brahma bulls. Jess Howard, a black man, stock contractor from Oklahoma. These bulls were big. They were ______ with entry fees. Fence was only 6 ft. One bull jumped over. We later raised the fence. In 1932 we bought 100 herd of Colo horses trailed them to Sun City. They were bucked out by Buster Brown. _______ We kept 14 of these horses for bronc stock. One rodeo day in 1933 not one man rode. They all buck off. These were sold in 36 or 7 and on the train were suffocated someone closed the vents. There are so many events. The McLain 18th Annual Roundup was held in Sun City Kans in 1938. Aug. For this area the rodeo took the place of Disney Land today.
Chiwawa, a "cattalo" (buffalo/cattle cross breed),
at McLain's Roundup, Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.
Notes by Joe Massey, Dec. 1994.
Photo by Homer Venters, from the collection of Brenda McLain.
Also see: Photos of the McLain Roundup with captions by Joe Massey
From left: Joe Massey, Mim Massey, Hope Massey & Lee Massey - Taken 1928. Kent Massey was not yet born.
Children of of Ray & Gail Massey
Photo from the collection of Lee (Massey) Ives.
Photos of the McLain Roundup annotated by Joe Massey
McLain's Round-Up, Sun City, Kansas, July 8-9-10:
Big Barber Co. Attraction Announces Entry of World Famous Performers.
Barber County Index, June 25, 1938.
Obituary: Marion Francis McLain, Founder of McLain's Roundup.
The Barber County Index, August 24, 1972.
"Homer Venters: Vintage Rodeo Photographer", The Western Horseman, July 1972.
McLain's Roundup. A gallery of photos by Homer Venters
Courtesy of his great-nephew, Mike Venters.
McLain Roundup photos by Homer Venters
From the collection of Brenda McLain, courtesy of Kim Fowles.
Hylon Hope (Massey) Howard, sister of Joe Massey.
Ray & Gail Massey, parents of Joe Massey.
J.P. Massey & Artha Massey, paternal grandparents of Joe Massey.
Kent Meadors Massey, brother of Joe Massey.
Nate Massey, first cousin of Joe Massey.
David Massey, first cousin of Joe Massey.
John Robert "J.R." Massey, first cousin of Joe Massey.
Ralph Nathan Massey, uncle of Joe Massey.
Mark McLain, first cousin of Joe Massey.
Max McLain, first cousin of Joe Massey.
Tom and Ruby (Massey) Murphy, aunt and uncle of Joe Massey.
Practical Jokes & Backfired Actions: A few stories from Barber County, Kansas - includes a story by David Massey about how Max McLain attempted to show Joe Massey how his dad peppered a neighbor's fence-busting mule with birdshot to send it home.
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Thanks to Kim Fowles for finding, transcribing and contributing, or arranging the contribution, of the above information and images to this web site!
This RootsWeb website is being created by Jerry Ferrin with the able assistance of many Contributors. Your comments, suggestions and contributions of historical information and photographs to this site are welcome. Please sign the Guest Book. This page was created 21 October 2005 and last updated 6 December 2006.