Sanders family | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
The Sanders family lived in Crossville, Illinois at the time of the First World War. Brothers Earl and Eli Sanders enlisted in the infantry in 1918 and were sent to separate camps in Georgia for training. They frequently corresponded with their father, J.W. Sanders.
Concerned also by the flu epidemic of 1918, Earl and Eli often wrote to their sisters, Pearl Cagle and Effie Durlin, inquiring after their health. The flu prevented Eli from sailing to France when 27 men in his camp died in a single night. Earlâ€™s company was given masks to hinder the spread of the disease; they sailed to France in November 1918, shortly before the war ended. Both brothers returned home safely.
In another part of the country, J.W. Sandersâ€™ brother David was producing wartime goods at a converted factory in Baltimore. During his employment, David broke his ankle and had to take leave; he later expressed his desire to return to farm life and visit his relatives in Illinois.