Honorable Discharge 1940

On November 1, 1937, Pop was in the Post hospital recuperating from a double hernia operation, the result of a horse fall.  A letter was hand delivered to Bessie.  Pop had been “busted” down to Sergeant!  His First Sergeant Warrant had been cancelled.  No specific reason was given for this action.  However, the brother-in-law of the newly assigned Post Commander was promoted to the vacant First Sergeant position.  Bessie courageously took charge.  She met with Colonel Arthur W. Holderness, Sr., and contemptuously informed him she would move into lesser status quarters.  She said his manner was contrite and she felt pity for him, as most Post women were of the opinion he had a “bitch” of a wife!  Bessie chose Packer’s Camp, a community about four miles from the center of the Post.  Pop’s pay was reduced to only $65 per month.  With five children, William and Bessie knew they were in for tough times.  However, they tackled the problem together as they always did throughout their life.  They purchased a cow and chickens.  Bessie canned vegetables grown in her garden.  They butchered a hog.  Pop augmented meals with rabbit, squirrel and other game taken on the reservation.  In later years Pop said he had no animosity toward anyone.  Bessie was not quite so benevolent.  She said the selfish actions of the Colonel unfairly changed her family’s life.  Upon release from the hospital Pop was promoted to Staff Sergeant and named Assistant Fire Chief for his recuperation assignment.