(From In the World War)
BORN IN CALIFORNIA, Missouri, in 1892, Osborne David Teague was working as a cowboy on the L. L. Zingg ranch near Clearmont when he joined the Wyoming National Guard in August 1917. Whether he had acquired the needed skills before or after he joined, he was soon assigned the job of company cook.
While overseas with what eventually became the 148th Field Artillery, Teague cooked - and fought - at the biggest American battles of the war: Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, Saint-Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne.
After he was honorably discharged at Wyoming's Fort D. A. Russell in June 1919, Teague returned to Sheridan County. He worked as a drayman in Clearmont for awhile before moving to Big Horn. After he died in April 1972, Teague was buried at the Custer Battlefield National Cemetery.
Teague's letters home, published in The Sheridan Daily Enterprise, were sent from "Somewhere in France" in 1918 and from Germany in 1919.
State Historic Site
Sent from "Somewhere in France" in July 1918
My dearest Mother - They say we are allowed to tell you that we are on the "front," so will say we are. But there is not much more excitement here than there was in the south. Everybody is farming and going on just the same as if there were no war. They have some mighty nice crops around here. It's a regular farming county.
Most of us are disappointed because there isn't any more excitement than there is. But expect we will find more before it's over with. But so far we are in about as much danger as we would be at home in a church with the doors locked. But this is a queer old war. Can't figure it out. Guess it will all come out in the wash, though.
Am cooking for eighty men now. We haven't much of a variety, but we have plenty of what we have. Had roast beef and brown gravy, new spuds and pudding for dinner. It's baked beans, peaches, bread, butter and coffee for supper. But when you think it isn't a job, you're sure mistaken. It might be easy for anyone that didn't care whether he got it done or not, or how he did it. But I can't see it that way. And if it isn't done right, I'm the responsible man. Have been working every day from 4:30 in the morning until 9 or 9:30 at night. I love the work that way, long as everything goes right, but it keeps me from thinking of home so much. But when you start in to fry beefsteak for a bunch like this and have just time enough to get them out and have it start in pouring down rain with your stove out in the middle of the road, it sure gets on your nerves. But I've never fallen down so far and have quite a "rep" as a cook in this army. One of the boys said last night, "the stew that made the First battalion famous." And if you could smell those beans, you would sure come over and take supper with us!
Tell everybody that the old 148th F. A. is handing the Dutch all that our old big guns can put over, and every shell has our address on it. Please don't worry about me, for I'm feeling fine and dandy, and wouldn't be anywhere else now if I could, for I have waited nearly a year now for the chance we have got and what I mean is, we are sure going to see Berlin before we get home.
Sent from Hoehr, Germany, in April 1919
Talk about a wicked bunch of gravy. I sure handed the officers one tonight. You see, I made doughnuts this afternoon and had about a half dipper of milk left. When I went to make gravy for supper, thinks I, here's where I use the rest of my milk. Very good judgment, was it not? No - I had put vanilla extract in the milk and forgot about it until I tackled it myself! One lieutenant said he was putting it in three times a day. The whole bunch joshed me about it. Guess I'll hear about it all the way round by tomorrow night.
I outrank all the "non-coms." The old army cooks just about have their own way when it comes to a showdown, for if anyone makes him sore, he has sure got a comeback on him. For, if anything makes a soldier mad, just scorch the chow or weaken the coffee. Or feed him on salmon and hard tack for a few weeks. Of course, we get lots of cussings, but all to our backs. But when they meet you face to face, they are all smiles, especially if they want a little piece of butter or some bread to take home with them for a lunch before bed time.
The officers come in late some mornings and go in the dining room and ask the waiters if Teague's in a good humor or not. And if they could bum me for a cup of coffee. But I've been around the officers most of the time since I got to Cheyenne and have never had a bit of trouble with any of them. Old Major Nickerson told the boys once that as much trouble as I used to have with the "Wild Cat Kitchen," he never saw me mad a single time, but he bet if ever I did cut loose, it would be like the opening of a big drive.
Well, some way, the harder the work was, the better I liked it. Sometimes I'd think I couldn't hit it up for another hour to save my life, then I'd get busy at something and first thing I knew the hour had slipped by and I was still going.
That's about all the news except I dropped a can of butter on my toe this morning.