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To Major General Frank R. McCoy
October 18, 1937 Vancouver Barracks, Washington
My dear General:
As a leading participant in the surprise birthday procession for Katherine two years ago I think that you and Francis will be interested in her most recent birthday celebration—October 8th last. She and I were due to leave that morning at nine on a week’s trip down the coast, a departure which could not be postponed.
At seven in the morning I took her breakfast up stairs and gave her a present from Molly and me. This served to wipe out any suspicion she might have had about a possible surprise, as I have always tried to have one. Then Molly and I got busy down stairs.
Katherine came down at a quarter past eight, and as she reached the second landing on the steps the band on the lawn broke out with “Happy Birthday to You”, and thirty breakfast guests joined in the chorus. It was not until she had shaken hands with every one that she saw the small breakfast tables and realized that the gathering was in the nature of a party. It went off with a great bang, and a complete surprise to her. Finally, they all gathered outside and gave us a send off as we left on our trip. It was rather like a wedding finish, lacking only the rice.
We have been going off from Monday to Friday about every other week. I inspect camps and she joins in the fishing and the enjoyment of the glorious scenery. This last trip was down to Gold Beach at the mouth of the famous Rogue River, near the California line. I did a few camps on the way down; then she and I trolled for chinook salmon at the river mouth, and finally I met Governor Martin and his fish and game commissions and we went up the Rouge to the lodge of a California oil millionaire to investigate the question of the pollution of the river by placer mining.
The trip up and down the river is a thriller, with wild rapids, rocks, etc. It is made in open boats with high powered motors. At the lodge in primitive surroundings, deer and wild turkey were wandering around in regular barnyard fashion.
Katherine waited two days for me at Gold Beach and then we went south to the California border and around to the Oregon Caverns, and on home. Had perfect weather and I never have seen more maginificient scenery. We are off again in about ten days to eastern Oregon, with pheasant and deer as a side line.
Katherine is deep in a Forty-Niner party the week end to raise funds for all our relief and Xmas purposes. Last year they got about $800 and this year she expects to clear between $1500 and $1800. The best part is, the soldiers have a great time and are anxious for the affair. We run the officers part separately, on another night. K. is having a lot of Portland high-lights in for the affair, for dinner at the house preliminary to the party. I find that most of these Portland people have either never been on the garrison or have had no social connection with it for many years. And I find also that they get a great kick out of their army contacts when we renew them.
I wish you and Francis could join us for one of our trips. I know you would enjoy the country and the little inns or camps where we stay. Twelve of us are going up in the mountains on the McKenzie River to Belknap Springs for four days over Thanksgiving. The little hotel closes earlier in the season, but they have agreed to let us have it, we bringing our own cook and supplies. As they have a wonderful hot spring, there is no complication about heating the building or using the outdoor swimming pool along side of the river. We may get some good steel head fishing, and possibly some shooting; but I am certain we can have a lot of fun at a rediculously small expense.
Molly and I are riding before breakfast every morning. I got a fine horse from Riley last spring. Then Sweeney released the Riley thorobred mare he had at Douglas,1 and I got that sent on. There was one three-quarter bred polo mount here in the headquarters stable and my aide, who is absent sick, has a fine thorobred. So Molly and I have a good stable to pick from. The North Woods above the post proper provide beautiful trails, and we usually scare up a few pheasants.
I hope that all goes well with you and Francis, and I am still regretful over the failure of the arrangement to get me to Fort Hamilton with the 1st Division.
My affectionate regards to you both.
G. C. Marshall
Document Copy Text Source: Frank R. McCoy Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Document Format: Author-typed letter signed.
1. Brigadier General Walter C. Sweeney was the commander at Fort Douglas, Utah.
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 571-572.