World War I in Lawrence: Family has 6 sons in armed forces

Editor’s note: Local writer Sarah St. John compiles reports of what it was like to be in Lawrence during World War I.

The youngest son of the Weber family, 500 Illinois St., enlisted last week, bringing the family’s total to six sons in the military. Joe had enlisted for the Navy hospital corps and was planning to go to the Great Lakes training camps as soon as he was called. The other sons of the family were serving as follows, according to the Journal-World of Aug. 17: “Fred, the first to enlist, is now with the signal corps stationed at Seattle, Washington. George is with the 128th Field Artillery in France. August is a member of Company C 110th engineers in France. Alfred is in the Navy and is on the U. S. S. Buffalo, last heard from near Bermuda. Will is in training at Camp Funston.”

The Lawrence postmaster took the opportunity this week to remind residents of the proper procedure for sending mail to soldiers overseas. Many letters had gone astray for lack of proper addresses; for example, some writers had abbreviated “American Expeditionary Forces” to “A.E.F.,” causing some mail to be routed to the Australian Expeditionary Forces. Most importantly, Postmaster Seewir reminded the public, “In no case should the location of the units overseas be placed on the letter, even if known to the sender. This is considered a mode of giving information to the enemy.”

Another postal-related news item this week came from Sheriff J. R. Woodward, who had just received a letter from his son, George (Rook) Woodward, who had participated in a raid and captured an unspecified number of German soldiers. Rook had sent to his father the trophy of “an unused red ten-pfennig postage stamp” which he had taken from one of the Germans. Rook also reported that the raiders had been all Kansas men, who had gone “over the top” with “a yell that reminded him very much of a football game.”


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.