Old Hometown

Local writer Sarah St. John pulls from the Journal-World archives to compile reports of what it was like to be in Lawrence decades ago.

World War I in Lawrence: Soldiers report to Robinson Gymnasium for drills

Several National Guard units were camping in Lawrence this month to undergo federal examination and mustering in. The process started in Robinson Gymnasium on the KU campus, where soldiers filled out all the necessary forms and received the first of their typhoid and smallpox vaccinations. ...

World War I in Lawrence: Crops, gardens on residents’ minds

With food conservation as a main concern, Douglas County residents were paying even more attention than usual to the condition of crops and garden produce. As always, the weather was on everyone’s mind. “There is but one topic of conversation in the rural districts of Douglas County,” ...

Family explores ties to Wakarusa Valley during museum visit

The nearly 40 people making a Saturday morning visit to the Wakarusa Valley Heritage Museum nodded or raised a hand as Martha Parker read through a list of names.The names Parker read were those of black families who settled in the Wakarusa Valley west of Lawrence during or soon after the Civil ...

World War I in Lawrence: Willing to knit, but in need of yarn

Popularity of first aid instruction from the Red Cross increased this summer to the extent that an additional class was formed to meet the demand in Lawrence. While this organization continued its meetings and activities here and in surrounding communities, other, more informal groups also ...

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

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 ...

World War I in Lawrence: Draft begins, but Douglas County not immediately affected

The first national draft began at 9:49 a.m., July 20, in Washington, D.C.’s Senate building. Under the watchful eye of the press, blindfolded war department officials and several Senators and Representatives drew numbers from a large glass bowl. The numbers, which were then written on a large ...

World War I in Lawrence: 64-year-old veteran volunteers to serve again

At an age when many local men were content to retire from work, a Lawrence veteran wished to respond to a call for artillery men. “Although sixty-four years old, William R. Smith of this city wants to see active military service,” the Journal-World reported. “He is one of the latest ...

World War I in Lawrence: A visit from a special war baby

A Lawrence couple enjoyed a visit this month from a special war baby. “John Kilpatrick Justus, who is visiting his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. U. L. Taylor, in Lawrence, will be having a ‘birthday’ Sunday. On that day he will be just two months old. Despite his tender age, John Kilpatrick ...

World War I in Lawrence: Drain of engineers takes toll on local projects

Earlier in July, the Journal-World reported that 46 University of Kansas men, enlisted in Company A Engineers, were to be sent to Fort Riley “for intensive training following a two-weeks encampment on the Washburn College grounds in Topeka.” The Engineers had “lost their designation as a ...

World War I in Lawrence: Draft list sent to Washington, D.C.

A list of Douglas County men who had registered for the draft was being put in its final form for the military’s consideration. The list, including the name, draft number, and address of each registered man, was to be sent to Washington, D.C. According to a Journal-World article, “When the ...

World War I in Lawrence: University of Kansas leaders accused of anti-war sentiment

In the wake of the area’s lackluster showing in the recent national fundraising campaign, Hale Cook, the former president of the Kansas City, Mo., board of education, ruffled Jayhawk feathers by accusations of anti-war sentiment. In a letter published in the Kansas City Star, Hale charged ...

World War I in Lawrence: Lawrence misses goal in fundraising drive

As the Red Cross fundraising campaign drew close to the end, it became clear that citizens of Douglas County, specifically in Lawrence, had failed to reach their assigned goal of $35,000. The local committee initially intended to extend the drive, as the county was “not within several ...

World War I in Lawrence: Residents urged to donate in Red Cross drive

As the national Red Cross drive passed the midway point, organizers began to worry that Douglas County donations would not reach the $35,000 goal. Editorials encouraged loyal citizens to step up to the challenge: “Is Douglas county turning a deaf ear to the call for help of the Red Cross?... ...

World War I in Lawrence: Clinton residents rally for fundraising drive

The national Red Cross fundraising campaign began with dozens of community meetings throughout Douglas County where speakers rallied audience members to the highest pitch of patriotism and generosity. When arranging these meetings in nearly every school and church in the county, organizers had ...

World War I in Lawrence: Douglas County Citizens cut out ‘luxuries’

On the eve of the nationwide Red Cross campaign, a group of Douglas County citizens were reported to have informally agreed to cut out “luxuries” during the week-long fund drive. Under the headline “CUT OUT SHORTCAKE FOR COUNTRY’S SAKE,” the Lawrence Journal-World wrote, “War is no ...

World War I in Lawrence: Red Cross prepares for war fund drive

The Red Cross in June 1917 was preparing for its first national war fund drive (held June 18-25, 1917). The U.S. goal for the week-long drive was $100 million, with Douglas County pledging to raise $35,000 of the total. Kansas organizer Prof. J. N. Van der Vries told a Journal-World reporter at ...