Lincoln County Section
HISTORY OF THE KANSAS STATE COUNCIL OF DEFENSE
Frank W. Blackmar
printed by the Kansas State Printing Plant
E.E. Kelley, Acting State Printer
The History of the Kansas State Council of Defense is an interesting look at what Kansans did on the home front during the First World War. Food drives, rationing, Red Cross drives, patriotic exercizes, and the sometimes overzealous need for checking on the loyalty of neighbors were some of the activities of organizations attached to local groups such as the Loyal League of Lincoln County, all under the umbrella of the State Council
At the end of the book are reports from each of the county chairmen on activities within their counties during the war. Most counties gave short reports but the chairman of Lincoln County, John J. McCurdy, presented a lengthy look at what went on in Lincoln County during the hostilities in Europe. His report, found on pages 106-108 of the book, is presented here:
County Chairman ---- John J. McCurdy, Lincoln.
County Legal Advisory Committee --- R. A. McFarland, chairman; John J. McCurdy, H. W. Rahmeier, Fred Rosworn, J. D. Miller.
The Loyal League of Lincoln County was organized to assist the government in the prosecution of the war. At a meeting called November 1, at the office of John J. McCurdy, a preliminary organization was formed, with the following present: G. A. Wilson, Judge A. Artman, J. S. Stover, J. M. Healy, E. A. McFarland, D. L. Carter, Wm. De Vinney, John J. McCurdy and E. J. Ryan. This organization was perfected at a meeting held November 7, but the charter was not granted until December 19, 1917, after which the following permanent officers were elected: G. A. .Wilson, president; John J. McCurdy, vice president; G. W. Robinson, secretary; J. S. Stover, treasurer.
Subsequently the following-named persons were chosen as members of the committee, in which were the following divisions: The public-service department, the finance department, the military and membership de-partment. G. A. Wilson was elected public-service manager; E. A. McFarland, manager of the finance department; E. J. Ryan, manager of military and membership department. The following-named persons were chosen as members of the committee in charge of the following departments: Public service, G. A. Wilson, M. J. Healy and John J. McCurdy; finance department, E. A. McFarland, J. S. Stover, and D. L. Carter; military and membership department, E. J. Ryan, Judge A. Artman, and Will DeVinney.
Members of the Loyal League were appointed in each township. A large number of members were enrolled in this organization, and the Lincoln Loyal League became the principal organization in the county through which all war activities were handled. The Loyal League attempted to handle the slacker problem, which was rather a difficult proposition. They cooperated with the Council of Defense and sat as a court to hear complaints against people who were not doing their share in the support of the war or who were expressing any disloyalty or unwillingness to support the government.
When a complaint was made against any persons pertaining to their disloyalty or unwillingness to support the government, that report was turned over to the secretary of the Loyal League and a statement was taken from the person making the complaint, together with the witness to prove the charge. This complaint was entered on the investigation docket of the League, and the evidence was presented direct to the accused person. If the evidence was deemed sufficient, the case was then transferred to the trial docket and given a number; a summons was then issued by the secretary of the League, G. W. Robinson, notifying the person to appear before the Council of Defense at the courthouse, for the purpose of hearing the evidence against them and present their own defense.
The Loyal League made a complete census of the county, in order to furnish to the national government names of men who were fitted for certain classes of skilled or unskilled work.
The seed survey was made by the league at the request of Professor Jardine, of Manhattan, Kan. E. A. McFarland was appointed county food administrator soon after the state committee was organized, and continued to serve until the organization was discontinued.
In the Red Cross drive of June, 1917, the county was thoroughly organized by townships under the county campaign manager, Dr. Sarah A. Cole. Speakers were sent to different parts of the county, and at a meeting attended by John J. McCurdy and C. A. Wilson, sheriff of Lincoln county, a letter was written and prepared in printed form and mailed to each township officer in the county asking them to serve in the campaign. The county was organized into definite territories, and the county campaign manager for Lincoln county was assigned to the territory on the Lincoln branch from Lincoln county to the Colorado line. This territory extended through the greater part of six counties to the Colorado line. Meetings were held at all of the principal towns along the line.
All officers cooperated in the drive with the volunteers who were conducting it, and not a single slacker was found. Lincoln county raised $16,082.59, or over $3,000 more than its quota.
The second Red Cross drive was handled through the cooperation of the Lincoln Loyal League. Dr. Sarah Cole was county chairman and John J. McCurdy county campaign manager during these drives. The advertising feature and actual management was handled by Harry D. Hall and wife, whose knowledge and ability was of great assistance.
An important meeting was held at the Methodist church of Lincoln on Sunday May 19, 1918, where addresses were given by Adjutant General Charles Huffman, Rev. A. S. Hale, H. A. Buzick, John J. McCurdy, and Governor Capper. The meeting was attended by the tenth battalion of the Kansas State Guard in uniform.
During the following week of the drive headquarters were maintained at the city hall, in charge of Dr. Sarah A. Cole and Harry D. Hall. During the campaign addresses were made by the following persons: John
J. McCurdy, Mike Healy, Rev. R. L. Hendrickson, A. W. Swayze, A. Marshall, Will De Vinney, Miss Clarissa Green, and Dr. Sarah A. Cole.
The executive committee of the Red Cross during the war consisted of the following-named persons: A. Marshall, H. S. Buzick, Dr. Sarah A. Cole, W. E. Voile, L. E. Hendrickson, J. A. Schellbenger, A. W. Swayze, and J. J. McCurdy.
The first Y. M. C. A. drive in Lincoln county occurred during the year 1918. The amount raised was $3,450. John S. Stover was manager of the drive, and the work of raising the funds was done under the direction of the Lincoln Loyal League. There was no Y. M. C. A organization in the county, but the people responded loyally to its support.
The Seven-in-One drive took place January, 1919, including the Y. M. C. A.. Y. W. C. A., the Salvation Army, the Knights of Columbus, the War Camp Community Service, [blank space in text] and [blank space in text]. This was conducted under the direction of Mr. Ban Painter, of Beverly, assisted by the Loyal League of Lincoln county.
The people of Lincoln county at all times patriotically and cheerfully complied with and obeyed all the food regulations that were made, and the success of the movement was largely due to the hearty cooperation of the people. There was an increased acreage of wheat planted in the fall of 1917, but the yield was disappointing as the crop was very nearly a failure. Again in the fall of 1918, a still larger acreage of wheat was put out which yielded an immense crop of fine wheat, but wet weather and high prices of labor made even the result of this crop unsatisfactory.
Fair-price regulations were early put into effect and flour and sugar were rationed, but everyone had plenty and nobody suffered. When the call came for the return of surplus flour for redistribution there were in round numbers 40,000 pounds returned in the county, which was redistributed. This allowed the mills of the county to fill some war contracts.
Lincon county was one of the best organized counties in the state and furnished a complete record of proceedings. We regret that it is impossible for us to print this in full, but the foregoing gives a brief outline of the active war-time service in the county.
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Bill and Diana Sowers, Lincoln County Coordinators
Tracee Hamilton, Lincoln County Coordinator
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