first hand account describing the wild celebration in Troy upon
receiving word that the war was over is interesting from an historical
perspective . The following letter written on November 21, 1918
by Mamie (Mary E.) Reilly to her brother Arthur is a quite moving.
Arthur K. Reilly
on her brother Arthur can be found on the Troy Irish Genealogy
website – www.troyirish.com
under PROJECTS and then under MILITARY RECORDS and then under
WORLD WAR I – NEW YORK STATE HONOR ROLL.
As can be seen from the record below, Arthur dies of pneumonia
two days after the letter was sent and the letter was returned
to sender marked “deceased”.
Reilly, Arthur K.
612 Grand St. Troy
Sgt., 16th Co., 4th Mec. Rgt. Air Ser. 7th Av.
Died of pneumonia, October 23, 1918
Letter writer on Left –
Mamie (Mary E.) Reilly - Her brother Arthur K. Reilly on right.
of Letter Written On November 21, 1918
The war is over the sweetest words I have ever heard in some time.
The bells and whistles sounds the glad news at half past three
I did not hear them at first until our doorbell rang. I jumped
up to my feet to go to the door and as I opened the door I heard
Mr. Peirce yelling, “Get up can’t you hear the bells
ringing? Peace has been declared and the war is over.”
I could never tell you the feeling that came over me. At first
I couldn’t believe him until I heard the city hall Bell
ring 1776 and 1918 and every bell in the city rang and every whistle
blew in tidings of great joy.
Anna came down stairs in her bath robe and down stairs the two
of us went to get a cup of tea and dressed and out of the house
at a quarter of four. They had a big bonfire at Franklin Square
and kept it burning until after 12 o’clock last night. Everybody
seemed to collapse and everybody seemed to be going crazy with
joy and before four o’clock there was a parade started.
Kate Hubbard, Anna and I joined in the parade. In the start our
music consisted of a couple of dish pans and everything that could
make a noise. Ash cans played a big part. In every parade of which
there were four yesterday. Well back to this parade again, little
by little the parade grew and finally Doring’s band arrived
on the scene and then a big American flag came in view and next
our little Napoleon appeared on the scene and off we started singing
and yelling and making all the noise we could.
People ran to their windows in their nightclothes, waved flags,
and cheered. Oh, Art I shall never forget it was the best morning
that I have seen dawned in my life. We paraded for four o’clock
until 7 o’clock. Came home and got some coffee and had a
crowd here at the house. Lyda Law was here. She played the piano
and we danced and sang all over the house. Bill was drunk at eight
o’clock in the morning. We sure did celebrate and it was
all the house.
This morning when we went to bed I stayed at Mary’s house
all night and was not able to work today…….. (Couldn’t
are anxiously waiting to hear from you people over there. I was
going to send the paper to you so you could read of our great
demonstrations we had here in the city and everybody said there
was delirium in Troy. I was also looking for a letter today but
none came. In hopes there will be one tomorrow.
Well dear Brother, no one knows just how long they are going to
keep you boys over there but here is hoping it won’t be
long. With heaps of love and kisses your overjoyed Sister, Mammie
The envelope was returned, stamped deceased.
PUBLISHED IN THE TROY NY DAILY TIMES– SATURDAY EVENING–
NOVEMBER 16, 1918
Member of Aero Squadron, Who Died Of Pneumonia in France
DIED IN SERVICE
Trojan in Aero Squadron Succumbs to Pneumonia
Arthur K. Reilly, who enlisted in the Aviation Branch of Regular
Army about a year ago, died of pneumonia in a hospital in France
on October 23. Official notification of the death came to his
brother, Frank Rielly (sic) of 612 Grand Street was sent to Kellyfield,
Texas, when he enlisted and went overseas last spring. . He was
attached to the Fourth Motor Mechanics, Sixteenth Company, Aero
Squadron. Sergeant Reilly was a carpenter by occupation and belonged
to the local Carpenters' Union. He was an excellent baseball player
on a number of local teams. He attended St. Peter's Church and
was a member of the Holy Name Society. Two brothers, Frank and
William Reilly and a sister. Miss Mary Reilly, survive.
SGT Arthur K. Reilly – Buried in France
Death: October 23, 1918
Note: Entered service from New York
Burial: Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial
Belleu, Department of l’Aisne, Picardie, France