Edwin Gaunt, Dearborn, Michigan.
Photos provided by Dan Gaunt and Toni Keim, grandson and granddaughter-in-law of Edwin Gaunt.
Edwin Gaunt lived in Detroit and had many different occupations and passions. He was a teacher, postman, draftsman, and farmer. One of his favorite hobbies was gardening and growing flowers, which he would turn into his profession after the war.
Edwin enlisted in the army in November, 1917. He served as a private in the Supply Company for the 328th Field Artillery, working with communications and moving supplies. He served in the Toul Sector of northeastern France. His unit served ten days on the front lines before the armistice was signed and the war ended.
During the war Edwin would write letters to his future wife, Louise Ives, who lived in Chelsea. He would write almost every day, just to keep in touch. Depending on where he was writing from, the letters would be addressed differently. If he was writing from a camp in the US, Edwin would address Louise by name. However, because of censorship, any letters he wrote from overseas were often only addressed to “friend.”
After the war Edwin and Louise were married and lived in Detroit until 1929. Edwin worked as a postman in Detroit. He began growing gladiolas in his garden as a hobby, but when local florists saw the flowers they began buying them from Edwin. His flowers became so popular that Edwin left his job as a postman and made his hobby into his profession. Soon Edwin’s flowers were so successful he needed more land to farm and he and Louise moved to a large farm in Chelsea. Edwin’s flower business continued to be successful in Chelsea and he would often hire local children to help work in the fields during the summer. In the 1940’s when Edwin was looking to purchase more land for the farm, he surprised his wife by buying her family’s farm and her childhood home. The farm had to be sold when Louise was young and it had been out of her family for more than twenty years when Edwin bought it. His flower growing business continued to flourish for many years. After Edwin died in June of 1970 the farm land was divided into parcels and rented out to local farmers.