Archive for Wednesday, December 27, 2017

World War I in Lawrence: Soldiers enjoy holiday celebrations

December 27, 2017

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


According to T. J. Sweeney, chair of the gifts committee, the Lawrence soldiers at Camp Doniphan were reported to have enjoyed a good holiday celebration with the help of the arrival of the special railroad car packed with treats from home. Major Henry T. Salisbury, formerly in command of the Hospital Corps, wrote to Sweeney: “The boys are all well and had a rousing good Christmas, thanks to yourself and the good people of Lawrence…. The men are all well and happy, with the exception of a light epidemic of measles and are receiving excellent care and treatment. We are having rather cool weather here at present, but have plenty of fuel and bed clothes and abundance to eat. These young men are certainly receiving a grand schooling to develop them both physically and mentally.” The Journal-World reported that “every package sent from here arrived at the Camp. A few of the packages were delayed for a short time but arrived in due order. Under the direction of Captain Murray and the aid of Mrs. Colonel Hugh Means and her automobile, the packages were distributed to the Lawrence soldiers.”

Meanwhile, the Douglas County Food Price Fixing committee held their first meeting in Lawrence and elected its officials. Harry Sparks, secretary of the organization, informed the public that the committee intended to eliminate any “war profits,” if any, in the county. According to the Journal-World, the committee planned to publish a list of fair prices on every food staple, asking “the citizens of the county to inform the committee when a merchant sells for more than the maximum price or less than the minimum price. It is just as unlawful to sell for less than the minimum price … because low prices are considered unfair competition under the new plan.”


Bryan Bowen 4 months, 3 weeks ago


Since it's the end of the year and since I read your stories but have only commented once I just wanted to say thanks for these articles. They do a good job of showing how things were then and how people pulled together to support the troops as well as what things were like for the troops in France. Looking forward to the rest as the war came to an end.

Thank you.

Sarah St. John 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Bryan, Linda, thank you both so much for your kind comments! I'm glad you're both enjoying this series!

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