Archive for Wednesday, August 2, 2017

World War I in Lawrence: National Guard officers ordered to mobilize

August 2, 2017

Editor’s note: As the U.S. marks the 100th anniversary of its entry into World War I this year, local writer Sarah St. John will compile reports of what it was like to be in Lawrence at that time.

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Formal orders were received on August 1 for mobilization of National Guard officers of Lawrence units. Any officers not already training at Fort Riley or elsewhere were required to report to the armory Sunday morning at 9 o’clock. An article in the Journal-World noted, “Company commanders last night made it plain to men that trouble will be avoided if the order is carried out to the letter.”

A recent ruling in Topeka was to affect more than 100 city and county officials in the state, who were now stated to be “not exempted from the draft. Under a construction placed on orders from the war department, these officials must respond to the draft the same as private citizens. It was stated yesterday by a statehouse official that probably 100 or more of the county and city officials in Kansas are within the age limit.” The order was expected to have the greatest effect on young men serving as clerks in city and county offices.

Meanwhile, plans continued for the formation of an official group to guard public buildings and structures in the area during the war. “At a meeting of the Douglas County Home Guard held last night the name of the organization was changed to the ‘Lawrence Home Guard,’” stated a Journal-World article. “Mayor Francisco will immediately make application to Governor Capper for the organization of the unit…. In this application it will be pointed out that the organization will be useful in guarding the bridge, mills, university buildings, waterworks and other of the numerous public institutions. Governor Capper will undoubtedly honor the application…. The formal application for organization by Mayor Francisco will be accompanied by a requisition for one hundred Krag rifles and ammunition together with other necessary equipment.”

World War I in Lawrence
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