Café owners find deploying WWII soldier’s note scribbled on wall, looking for answers

A handwritten not on the interior of a exterior wall that was once a WWII-era infantry barracks and is not part of The Switch Cafe in Cool, Texas.

In April 1944, Army Private George Hinson left a little note on the wall of his metal barracks building at Camp Wolters–outside Mineral Wells, Texas.

The note, which was handwritten in pencil, said the following: “Pvt. George Hinson worked on this barracks on April 3-12, 1944. Leave for Europe next week. Hope I make it home to Carthage, Missouri. I am 18.”

The onetime barracks’ wall is now part of a restaurant office, inside The Switch Café in Cool, Texas. The new owners were thrilled to find out about the note. It was brought to their attention by a waitress who used to work for the café’s previous owners.

The Switch Café in Cool, Texas (Google Maps)
The Switch Café in Cool, Texas (Google Maps)

It had apparently been covered up, for years, by flour and corn meal sacks and most likely the former owners never knew about the note, the Weatherford Democrat reported.

What has flummoxed interested parties the most about the note is the part about Carthage, Missouri. “Several Hinsons found in the Carthage, Mo., area could not claim George Hinson as a relative of theirs,” the Democrat wrote.

Steve Weldon of the Jasper County Records Center in Carthage –who conducted a thorough search –said he couldn’t find anything definitive about George Hinson. The closest thing he could find was a military burial listing in Johnson County, Texas.

Camp Wolters was the largest Armyh infantry training center in the U.S. during WWII. During the Vietnam War it was the Army's primary helicopter training area but was decommissioned after the war.
Camp Wolters was the largest Armyh infantry training center in the U.S. during WWII. During the Vietnam War it was the Army’s primary helicopter training area but was decommissioned after the war.

The listing showed a George Hinson born in 1926, with an enlistment date of May 6, 1943. Weldon said: “If this is your George, I have no idea why he would call Carthage his home, but maybe he had relations here and then planned to move here, (I) just don’t know.”

Either way the café owners, Marie and Gary Helmick, would like to find out more. They’re intrigued by the note. “My dad was in World War II…You wonder what (Hinson) was thinking,” Gary said. “I just think it is an interesting thing…It really touches my heart,” said Marie.

The couple plans to expand the restaurant and give it a facelift. They’d also like to learn more about Hinson and perhaps do something special with this little “piece of local history.” One option they’re considering is cutting out the note and displaying it in front of the café.

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