World War I in Lawrence: Church leaders want to prohibit liquor among deployed soldiers

Several representatives from Lawrence churches met this week to discuss “elimination of the liquor traffic, not only in this country, but among the American soldiers abroad.” Rev. W. J. Herwig, Superintendent of the Kansas Department of the Anti-Saloon League of America, and Rev. E. E. Stauffer, who had represented the city at a prohibition convention in Washington, addressed the meeting at the Congregational Church. The group resolved to send a direct plea to U. S. President Wilson, which read as follows: “Kansas, having outlawed the liquor traffic thirty-seven years ago, is now sending a generation of clean, sober boys to the front to help win the war who do not know the taste of intoxicating liquors. We earnestly petition our President to use his good office to not only keep liquor from our boys in this country, but to have extended absolute prohibition throughout the armies in France as well, in order that the forces at the front may maintain the highest order of efficiency. Kansas, being an agricultural state, is called upon to furnish the largest possible amount of foodstuffs. To this task, we cheerfully commit ourselves. We deplore, however, that many thousands of pounds of foodstuffs are being permitted to be used by the breweries of the country to make intoxicating liquors with which to debauch our boys. We therefore earnestly petition you to use the power vested in you by Congress to immediately close every brewery in the country in order that all foodstuffs now wasted may be preserved, and that coal now being used by the breweries may become available for more important uses.” The message concluded, “We assure you our hearty sympathy and support and good will and pray God to give you strength to carry the heavy burdens thrust upon you.”