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Posted on: November 9, 2021

Frisco Heritage Museum Exhibit Highlights World War I Veteran’s Letters Home

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FRISCO, Texas, November 10, 2021 – An exhibit showcasing the wartime letters of A.F. “Frank” Smith to his family in Frisco, Texas, opens at the Frisco Heritage Museum on November 11, 2021.

Letters Home: The A.F. “Frank” Smith Story runs through May 28, 2022.

Alfred Frank Smith’s military service during World War I lasted from September 19, 1917, to July 28, 1919.  During this time, like millions of other soldiers, he and his family exchanged letters through the postal service.

In 2011, a box was found containing 54 of Frank’s letters home, photographs, and other documents from his time in the Army.  They were given to Frank’s niece Betty Lou Smith Muse who offered them to Frank’s step-grandson Michael B. “Mike” Cates, a retired Army veteran himself.  Mike and his wife Linda worked to preserve and organize the letters, photos, and other related materials from the collection.  

“Grandpa Frank was one of the strongest people I’ve ever known,” Cates said. “When I read these letters, I understood why.”

Frank’s letters show his love and affection for his family. His writing displays a positive attitude—even in the direst of situations. There are fifty-four letters from Frank in the box, addressed to his mother and “home folks,” and a few specifically to his sister, Vick.  Frank wrote and sent letters home at different points of his military journey from Camp Travis in Texas to the frontlines of the war in France. He tells of everyday Army life in his letters up to the day he was wounded in battle, November 10, 1918 — one day before World War I ended. Frank continued to write letters during his eight months of hospitalization and rehabilitation in France, New York City, New Jersey, and Iowa.

The photos and artifacts in this exhibit are courtesy of the Cates Family, and Betty Smith Muse. The Frisco Heritage Center is honored to have the Smith-Muse house in our village.


Special thanks go to the following individuals and organizations for making this exhibit possible:

Betty Smith-Muse

Brigadier General and Mrs. Michael B. Cates

Curtis Ramsey

Heritage Association of Frisco

 

Frisco Heritage Museum is located at 6455 Page Street and is free to the public. Museum hours are Tuesday – Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., closed Sunday and Monday.

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