State Historic Site
AN 1890 GRADUATE of Columbia University, Marcus Arthur Newell was working in Sheridan as a physician and surgeon as early as 1892. Though much older than those required to serve in the military during the war (he was forty-nine), Newell volunteered his services to the Marine Corps in August 1918.
Newell's career as a Marine captain was short-lived; he was honorably discharged in December 1918, and all his service was stateside.
After the war, Newell returned to Sheridan where he continued his medical work until 1923, when he moved to New York City. In 1928, he was admitted to the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Leavenworth, Kansas, where he died in 1931 from complications of heart disease.
The only letter from Newell published in The Sheridan Daily Enterprise was written from Fort Riley, Kansas, in September 1918. In it, he describes basic training at the Marine Officers Training Camp.
This is a strenuous life, but it was agreeing with me fine until Saturday, when I got my shot of vaccine, and it put us all on the blink for two or three days. Down here they shoot all three doses at one time, and say, boy, there is some reaction. I understand there were two deaths from it a short time ago. It has put me on the bum for awhile, as it stiffened my knee, and today I am officer of the day, with no special duties except lie around the barracks and take it easy.
We are up at 5:30 every morning but Sunday, then we have an extra hour. We dress in ten minutes and MUST be in the line for roll call and ten minutes of exercise, then breakfast at six. We straighten up our beds after breakfast and then at seven lined up and marched up a hill about one and a half miles, then drill for about a half to three-quarters of an hour; then return to barracks and get ready to go to lectures in the different theatres, and then we get lectures on military affairs and the different matters connected with the army in the field, as sanitation, etc.
On Friday morning we are marched to the athletic field and put through a most rigid set of exercises by a professional athletic director. They are very strenuous, and it is a wonder they don't knock some of us out, as professional men rarely take regular exercise. Some do succumb, and one of our company nearly died the other day, and he is now on the sick list. It is their hurry-up system for getting the army into shape, and believe me, if they live through this, they can stand anything.
If you see any of the doctors who are planning on going into the service, tell them that it is no snap, and it is work every moment. For the first four or six weeks, you almost forget you are a doctor, as they give you everything but that. I lost six pounds since I came. I expect to lose twenty more before I am through training. We polish our own puttees and shoes, make our own beds and do chamber work - about the only thing we don't do is to cook and wash dishes. It may all be necessary in getting us fit for service, and I do not complain.
After I get through training here, I am apt to be sent on duty, but I want to be sent [overseas]. I was certainly treated nicely in getting a captaincy, as most of the men in my company are lieutenants.
(From "In the World War")