Gaunt, Edwin

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Edwin Gaunt, Dearborn, Michigan.

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.

The Supply Company's Bible Class. Edwin Gaunt is in the second row, second from the right.

The Supply Company’s Bible Class. Edwin Gaunt is in the second row, second from the right.

Edwin Gaunt at Camp Custer, 1917.

Edwin Gaunt at Camp Custer, 1917.

Edwin Gaunt, far left.

Edwin Gaunt, far left.

In the soldier's barracks in France.

In the soldier’s barracks in France.

Edwin Gaunt, July, 1918.

Edwin Gaunt, July, 1918.

Edwin in France with a friend.

Edwin with a friend, in France.

Edwin with friends in France.

Edwin with friends in France.

Edwin (right) in France

Edwin Gaunt (right)

Supply Company, 328th Field Artillery at Camp Custer, April 1918.

Supply Company, 328th Field Artillery at Camp Custer, April 1918.

Edwin Gaunt (3rd row, 8th from the left) and other soldiers of Supply Company, 328th Field Artillery returning home. Camp Mills, New York.

Edwin Gaunt (3rd row, 8th from the left) and other soldiers of Supply Company, 328th Field Artillery returning home. Camp Mills, New York.

Edwin with family and friends in Michigan.

Edwin with family and friends in Michigan.

Edwin with family and friends in Michigan.

Edwin with family and friends in Michigan.

Edwin and his brother and sister.

Edwin and his brother and sister.

Edwin with his parents and siblings.

Edwin with his parents and siblings.

Edwin with his brother and sister.

Edwin with his brother and sister.

Edwin Gaunt, enlistment record.

Edwin Gaunt, enlistment record.

Edwin Gaunt, honorable discharge.

Edwin Gaunt, honorable discharge.

Edwin Gaunt, call for enlistment.

Edwin Gaunt, call for enlistment.

A postcard sent from Edwin to Louise Ives, February 3, 1918.

A postcard sent from Edwin to Louise Ives, February 3, 1918.

A postcard to Louise regarding Edwin's safe return from France.

A postcard to Louise regarding Edwin’s safe return from France.

A Valentine's Day card to Louise, February, 1918.

A Valentine’s Day card to Louise, February, 1918.

A souvenir postcard to Louise from Port a Mousson, France. January, 1919.

A souvenir postcard to Louise from Port a Mousson, France. January, 1919.

A letter Edwin wrote to his mother, describing life in camp and training with gas masks. February, 1918.

A letter Edwin wrote to his mother, describing life in camp and training with gas masks. February, 1918.

A letter Edwin wrote to his father describing his service in France. November, 1918.

A letter Edwin wrote to his father describing his service in France. November, 1918.

Continued pages from Edwin's letter to his father.

Continued pages from Edwin’s letter to his father.

A postcard to Edwin's father. September 3, 1918.

A postcard to Edwin’s father. September 3, 1918.

A postcard to Edwin's mother. September 10, 1918.

A postcard to Edwin’s mother. September 10, 1918.

A postcard to William Gaunt. September 2, 1918.

A postcard to William Gaunt. September 2, 1918.

A postcard to Louise. April 5, 1918.

A postcard to Louise. April 5, 1918.

A postcard to Louise. August 25, 1918.

A postcard to Louise. August 25, 1918.

A letter to Louise-August 29, 1918.

A letter to Louise-August 29, 1918.

A letter to Louise sent from Camp Custer- January 7 1918

A letter to Louise sent from Camp Custer- January 7 1918

Continued pages from Edwin's letter from Camp Custer-January 7 1918.

Continued pages from Edwin’s letter from Camp Custer-January 7 1918.

A letter Edwin wrote to Louise about the end of the war-November 11, 1918.

A letter Edwin wrote to Louise about the end of the war-November 11, 1918.

A letter to Louise-November 17, 1918.

A letter to Louise-November 17, 1918.

Continued pages from Edwin's letter to Louise-November 17, 1918.

Continued pages from Edwin’s letter to Louise-November 17, 1918.

A letter to Louise, September 15, 1918.

A letter to Louise, September 15, 1918.

A poem included in Edwin's letter to Louise, September 15, 1918.

A poem included in Edwin’s letter to Louise, September 15, 1918.

Listen to a selection of Edwin’s letters as they are read by Edwin’s grandson, Dan Gaunt. Each letter can be found in the above section.

Letter to Louise, January 7, 1918.


Letter to mother, February 27, 1918

Letter to Louise, August 29, 1918.

Letter to Louise, September 15, 1918.

Letter to Louise, November 11, 1918.

Letter to Louise, November 17, 1918.

Letter to father, November 23, 1918.

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This Project is a Partnership with:

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This project is funded in part by Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.