JASPER, Ind. (WFIE/CNN) – Pieces of history were found during a home renovation in Jasper, indiana.
The homeowners found letters a World War I soldier sent to the woman he loved.
Phil Mathies says he and his wife hired a contractor to begin work upstairs, to build a new bathroom. The first step was to rewire their storage room.
“I thought we had ghosts, like I said, at first, because these letters just kept appearing. You know, we go up there one day, and the next day you come up and here comes another batch of letters. Until we find out the contractor was the one that had found them. You know?” Mathies said.
Thinking nothing of it, the contractor was pulling these yellowed, torn, and altogether mysterious letters out of the attic wall, and placing them on the floor. Mathies, his wife, and his sister Barbara Schrader began reading them.
“Clements Berger. He had a sweetheart, Mary Borho. And he was writing her letters. He was in the service in training at West Point, Kentucky,” Mathies said.
The letters are dated July 1918, and include a postcard. Clem Berger was writing these letters, as he was preparing for deployment in world war one as well as the possibility of never seeing the town of Jasper or Mary again.
“It’s just how he felt about her. And he wanted to be with her. But he knew he had his service to do. And it’s just very interesting love letters,” Schrader said.
Mathies and Schrader were determined to find Mary and Clements’ relatives. And once the letters were published in the local newspaper, they got the response they were looking for.
“We read the article and the letters. And I was flabbergasted,” Clement and Mary’s niece Mary McCune said.
Sisters Mary McCune and Nancy Teder are Mary and Clem’s nieces, and still live in Jasper.
“Those letters really convey what he lived in his life, and how he felt about our Aunt Mary,” Teder said.
The war officially ended in June of 1919. And Mary and Clem got married a year later. No one is sure how the letters ended up here, but Mary and Clem’s relatives are glad they were saved.
“We have to thank Barb and Phil for taking care of them the way they did. It was just an amazing find,” Teder said.