Category Archives: World War I

#76 Liberty Loans and Ruth Law, Female Aviator

In Bertha Schnatterly’s letter published in the Kinsley Graphic on May 2, 1918, she writes about a Liberty Bond parade in Washington, D.C.

“There was a big Liberty Loan parade yesterday afternoon.  All government offices and the private business houses were closed for the event and everyone who had bought a bond was urged to march in the parade.  All government employees especially were supposed to march, but many of them like myself thought it would be more entertaining to watch the rest so begged off.  After watching the parade for several hours, one wondered how it was that anyone was left to watch it, but the streets were crowded.  I stood with a friend on some steps and we had an excellent view of it and watched it pass from 2:30 until 4:30 and it was only about half finished, we decided we had enough and left.  All of the departments and divisions carried banners and I learned of many branches of the government work which I did not know existed. 

During the time the parade was passing, Ruth Law also gave an exhibition with her flying machine. She staged some very exciting stunts and it is hard to know which attracted the most attention.  She was also to autograph all the bonds that were sold at the Ellipse after the parade.”

Because I had never heard of Ruth Law, I decided to do some research. I discovered that she was a very famous aviator at the time.  She bought her first airplane in 1912 at age 21 from Orville Wright and began setting records.  The announcement below left appeared in the Kinsley Mercury on December 15, 1916 after she established an American nonstop record from Chicago to NY.




During World War I, Law visited President Wilson dressed in a men’s military uniform.  She requested a commission in the Signal Corps to join the forces in Europe.  Wilson refused and Law returned to using her flying skills to support Liberty Loan and Red Cross drives.

Ruth Law did make a trip to Kansas to perform at the International Wheat Show in Wichita in early October, 1918.  The Kinsley Mercury promoted the event in the September 27, 2018 edition (above right):

“In her flights Miss Law interprets the role of a foreign invader making a raid on a city in wartime.  By the use of artificial bombs she demonstrates how easily and how successfully an aviator could deal out death in bunches, and crumble to the ground the largest buildings in the city.  In her day and night fights in Wichita…Miss law will theoretically blow up the Forum, Post Office, City Hall, Court House, and several ten story buildings….”

Miss law has been giving flights in the east for the last few months.  She demonstrated to the residents of Washington, D.C. how easy it would be to blow that city to smithereens before preparations could be made to defend it.”

Perhaps this was part of what Bertha Schnatterly had witnessed back in April at the parade.  Bertha went on in her letter to describe some other ways that Liberty Bonds were promoted.

“All sorts of inducements have been held forth to those who bought bonds this week. Those who purchased at the Italian War Exhibit were to receive a certificate that the bond was purchased in the President’s private waiting room at the union station, and to those who made their purchase last Sunday were allowed to go inside the big British war tank, which spent a week here.  Unfortunately, I bought mine at the office the first time the solicitors came around so received no special credit. “

Bertha would not return to live in Kinsley after the war.  She married Ernest Hedstrom, a man she had met in Washington.  They would live and raise a family in Massachusetts.  She would die in 1970 at the age of 75.


#75 Bertha Schnatterly Goes to Washington

World War I not only caused young men to leave Kinsley, but also some of the women.  One was Bertha Schnatterly, the granddaughter of Harry and Elizabeth Schnatterly who came to Kinsley in the early 1870s.  They had two sons, Milt and Mant and two daughters Mort and Myrt.  (I can’t imagine keeping those names straight when you were trying to call one into dinner!)

Harry had a grocery store which his son Milt took over.  Bertha was Milt’s daughter. This picture of the store was taken in 1966 before the building was torn down. (It was located on the NW corner of Hwy 56 and Colony).

Bertha was born in 1895 and graduated from Kinsley High School in 1909.  She was a talented pianist, gave piano lessons, and was the organist for the Congregational Church.  She also sang and acted in local plays.  She played an active role in the social scene and is mentioned in the newspapers as hosting and attending showers and being a bridesmaid.  However, eight years after graduation, at age 26, she herself was not married.  Perhaps she looked at her spinster hat maker aunts, Mort and Myrt, and decided she needed to take her life in a different direction.  Perhaps she wanted to contribute to the war effort, or maybe it was the opportunity to earn a living and travel.  Whatever motivated her, in the winter of 1917 she attended the Salt City Business College in Hutchinson.  When she took the civil service examination, she received the highest grades of any one at the college.  According to the Kinsley Graphic of March 28, 1918, she “received an appointment to a clerkship in the adjutant general’s office in Washington, D.C. at $1100 a year, to be raised to $1200 after three months.”  On March 30, 1918, she left for Washington, D.C.

The May 2, 1918 issue of the Kinsley Graphic published the following from a letter from Bertha.

“As this is my first visit to Washington, I have had to take the word of those who have lived here for the fact that it is now a very different city than it was a short time ago, but that is very easy to believe.  At the present time there are approximately 70,000 new government employees in the city and it is estimated that within a few more months there will be 98,000.

If it were not that the people of Washington had opened their homes, and taken these new clerks into them it is hard to think what would have become of them.  But everyone has been very gracious and there are very few homes but what have been opened to the newcomer. 

I think that being right at the seat of so much activity makes one realize the war situation more deeply.  It is all one hears and there are always so many speeches and talks to be heard on the subject.  There are such immense throngs of people that go to hear these that it is necessary to issue tickets for them.  These can be had for the asking, but the mere fact that one has to go for them limits the crowd to a certain extent, although there are always many turned away.

…. As for my work, I am very much pleased with it.  I find it very enjoyable and certainly have no complaint to make, so that I think I am going to enjoy Washington very much.”

On August 30, Bertha wrote the following update to the editor of the Graphic:

“I think I have neglected writing to you for some time but most of my spare time has been spent in trying to keep cool and comfortable.  However, from the temperature reports, I think we have had a more pleasant summer than you people in Kansas.

There were about ten days of exceptionally hot weather, otherwise it has been very pleasant.  Washingtonians tell us that it has been an unusual summer as it is generally almost unbearable. The weather man must have known that the town was filled with government clerks who had to stay here.

Government clerks have a reputation for being great loafers, but that is now a thing of the past. That is especially true in the Adjutant General’s office, for we don’t waste any time and the work increases daily.  When I first took charge of the desk where I now work I was able to handle the work by myself but in a few weeks I had to ask for an assistant and at present I frequently have the section chief loan me one of his file clerks so we won’t become entirely swamped with work. 

My division chief brought me a few cases of tangled papers to straighten out one day and I just happened to have good luck in locating them and was able to send them to the right divisions.  Since then, when anything goes astray they send me out on the trail.  It is quite troublesome at times but I rather like it as it breaks the monotony of desk work.  Some days I am all over the building from attic to subbasement, trying to calm people, for they don’t like it at all if they don’t receive the papers they wish. 

Some dormitories are being built on Capitol Hill for the housing of clerks.   They are badly needed and will no doubt relieve the congested rooming houses to some extent.  They are not far enough along to know what they will look like but they will probably be like the Ordinance building, a temporary structure, to be dynamited after the war.”

I’ll be writing more regarding Bertha’s interesting letters in my next blog.


Blog #74 Letters to Home – John W. Pixley

John W. Pixley was born in 1894 and was a sophomore at Kinsley High School in 1917.  At the time he was drafted in February, 1918, he was living at the YMCA in Newton.  He would serve 15 months, becoming a sergeant of the 42nd Transportation Corps working with the railroad.   In June of 1918, Pixley found himself on a transport ship crossing the Atlantic.

“….To begin with, immediately after leaving port, I was initiated into life on the water by getting sea-sick, which stayed with me two days. I have been sick in a number of different forms, but oh joy, if ever one felt miserable….I had to feed the fish several times before I finally overcame it….It may seem to you that seeing so much water would be tiresome and while I admit it is some puddle, yet there are many things to interest ‘dry land turtles.’  You can readily understand that it would be impossible to carry enough fresh water for washing purposes for such a large gang of men, so it is necessary to use salt water to wash with.  The first thing we discovered was that ordinary toilet soap won’t work with salt water at all.  Fortunately however, the ship is equipped with a canteen where the men may buy tobacco candy, soap, pickles, canned beans, peanut butter, etc., and we were able to procure a salt water soap made by Colgate which works   fine with ocean water.”                                 Kinsley Graphic, August 15, 1918

I must admit that I did not know regular soap did not work in salt water until reading this letter.  I tried to do a little research, even chatting with Colgate, and could not definitively discover what Colgate product this was.  It may have been a lye soap Colgate produced called Octagon Soap.\

Soldiers’ letters home were all read and censored usually by an officer and sometime by the chaplain.  The soldier was not allowed to write anything which would give information to the enemy, such as location, movement of troops, and size of troops.  They also could say nothing that the enemy could use to bring down the morale of the troops or that would affect the morale back home.   Many of the letters that were published in the paper mentioned the censorship, and what Pixley wrote was typical.

“I am beginning to understand why the boys do not write much from here.  There is so much that is forbidden being included in correspondence that it is some job to write anything and keep within the rules, at least I have found it so.  There is so little to write about except one’s own activities, and the censorship rules are so strict in this respect that it leaves so little to write about. However, one should not complain about that for if such rules were not enforced, information of untold value could be communicated to the Hun, whom it is our job to lick to a standstill and in the shortest time possible.  So you will have to satisfy yourselves with what I write (and what the censor) will pass, until it is over and I am home again, then I will give it to you in detail.”  (Published August 8, 1918 in the Kinsley Graphic).

I found some other interesting facts about the mail during World War I in an article published by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  In April, 1917 postal service underwent several changes.  The rate for a letter was 2¢.  To help pay for the war, it was raised on November 2, 1917 to 3¢ and remained that until July 1, 1919 when it was returned to 2¢.

Both men and women were rural mail carriers in the early 1900s, but only men were postal carriers in the cities.  But with the scarcity of men, “…the Post Office Department experimented with appointing women as mail carriers to replace the men.  The ‘experiment’ began in December 1917 in eight cities with the largest post offices – by the war’s end, several other cities had also appointed women mail carriers.  Most of these women gave up their positions to returning veterans once the war was over.”

During World War I, the U.S. Army Post Office (APO), was begun mainly because the War Department did not want to share the location of troops with the Post Office, which made their job very difficult.  The APO operated independently from the USPO.  Congress also decided to grant free postage to those serving in the armed forces.  These were simple marked “Soldier’s Mail” as in the postcard below from Chester Bidleman.  The censors stamp can also be seen on it.

Blog #73 Letters to Home – Karl Keller

As a young man, Karl Keller was interested in electricity and communications.  The November 6, 1913 issue of the Kinsley Graphic, reported that Karl, at age 13, had visited James Wolfe to see the “inter-wireless telegraph communications” between Lewis and Kinsley.  If you are like me and do not know what that is, it is the transmission of telegraph signals (i.e. Morse code) by radio waves, not through a telegraph wire.

Karl went on to graduate from Kinsley High School in 1917.  That fall he planned to attend the University of Michigan to pursue a course in electrical engineering.  Instead, he enlisted in the United States Navy and attended the Navy Radio School at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  He was assigned to the Battleship Mississippi in March, 1918.  He would serve aboard that ship for most of his tour which lasted until July, 1919.  He wrote many letters to his mother, Mattie Timkin, and they appeared in the newspapers.

In a letter published in the Graphic on August 29, 1918, he describes life aboard ship as not always being pleasant.  On one particular night, “…it was so hot we could hardly sleep out on the decks.  About 11:30 we were awakened by lightning and wind and had to move in and nearly smothered after the ports were closed.” He goes on to say “Our main radio station is out of commission.  When we get it all fixed up again it will be much nicer than to stand watches below the decks where it is hot as ‘blitzer.’   However, we are standing only a two hour watch at a time now.  It is impossible to stay there much longer at a time.  My ears get so sticky and sweaty to have the telephones on.  Every fellow in the radio bunch has a cleaning station. “

In the same letter, he recounts a near tragedy.  “This morning I was told one of our picket boats with ten men were lost.  The boat was coming along the ship to get out of the gale, but someway or other they lost the rudder and drifted out to sea.  One of the signal boys who was in the boat has told me all about it.  He said the waves were mountain high and the boat rocked like an egg shell.  They sent up rockets until they had no more.  All the time the boat was drifting out to sea.  This boy said he sure said a few prayers for he thought they would never be saved.  Early this morning we got under way and searched for them.  We finally found them.  All were there but they looked sick.  I don’t have any picket boat duty.”

One other incident he describes happened on August 4, 1918, one hundred miles off the Virginia coast.   “I guess it will be all right to tell you that I heard my first S.O.S. call on this cruise.  A tanker, O. B. Jennings, was gunned by a submarine off the coast.  That night in the press we found out she was sunk, however, all were saved.  There is another incident where the radio has saved lives.”

Blog #72 Letters to Home – Gilbert Lewis

Today’s soldiers have FaceTime, Skype, email, and cell phones to keep in touch with their loved ones when they are away.  The World War I soldiers had none of these.  Soldiers and their families communicated through letters.

Gilbert Lewis was one soldier who wrote home.  He was the son of the editor of the Kinsley Graphic and had graduated from Kinsley High School in 1910.  He got his law degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and began practicing law in Pittsburg, KS.  The day after the U.S. declared war on Germany, he enlisted.  He was 24 year old when he reported for duty at Fort Riley in early May, 1917.

Gilbert sent a letter to the Pittsburg Daily Headlight, which they published.  On May 21, 1917, the Daily Headlight reported that “Uncle Sam has put the news lid on Fort Riley.  An order has been posted in the reserve officers training camp that no officer or enlisted man shall furnish correspondence to any newspaper.”

Because newspapers continued to print letters, I am guessing that it was OK for friends and relatives to take the letters they received to the newspaper for publication.  Soldiers could just not be war correspondents.  No more of Lewis’ letters appeared in the Daily Headlight, but they were published regularly in the Kinsley Graphic.

In early July, 1918, Lieutenant Lewis was in France.  He wrote “I’ve had a new job wished on me in addition to my regular duties.  I am town mayor altho I still wear Lieutenant’s bars and have that salary.  Have charge of the handling of the billets of troops and officers and the first thing I did was to billet myself in a nice room vacated by the departing town mayor.  It is a dandy clean room upstairs, simply spic and span as can be, and down stairs the people run a bake shop and are nice and friendly.  They gave me some warm water for a bath tonight.  On the bed is a thick feather tick and you almost sink out of sight in it, but my how you do sleep….The way the job came, they sent to Co. H. for an officer to relieve the departing mayor, and being the Junior Lieutenant the Captain picked on me….The mayor must act as a buffer between the civilian and military authorities, and up to date, I have settled fifteen hundred rows more or less.  Of course an interpreter goes with the office.  This morning I had a time assuring an old Frenchman that the gas engine of the surgical car would not shake his building down, and another that the boys would not play ball in his pasture any more.     Also asked an old lady if we could have religious services on her field and she said ‘sure” in French. (Kinsley Graphic, August 8, 1917)

The letter published the following week told of another duty the mayor had.  “Today, July 14, is a big day for France, the anniversary of the taking of the Bastille.  They celebrate as we do the Fourth of July, and today we are to help in their celebration by having a parade.  As town mayor I am to go with a party of officers and call on the Mayor and present America’s compliment and say a few nice things, and then when the excitement is over the rest of the day is ours.”

A letter published in the September 26, 1918 issue of the Graphic, reveals that Lewis has been in the front lines in France and has now been moved back to support.  (Troops were continually rotated in and out of the front line trenches.) He relates the following story:

“My nice trench coat has been repaired and does not look so bad.  It was hanging in the shack we were staying in when we were in support.  The place was shelled and riddled with bits of high explosive shells.  At the time I was in the front line trenches.  That night we all slept in dugouts though, just to be safe.  One day Wick and I were gathering plums in a deserted village between the support lines and the front line trenches and about two miles from the German lines.  Wick insisted on climbing into the trees that were exposed to the view of the Germans and I suggested to him he might be observed, but he insisted we were so far away the Germans could not see us.  Well, I don’t know whether they did or not, but pretty soon I heard the whine of a shell coming, and you can sure tell when they are headed in your direction. Wick jumped down out of the tree and I was already on the ground.  The shell whizzed by right over the tree and exploded about 150 yards beyond.  Strange to say we gathered no more plums but wended our way homeward to the support.  Wick allowed as how he didn’t mind being sniped at by the Germans with a rifle, but when they took to sniping with three inch cannon, it was time to call off plum gathering for the day.  But you don’t need anybody to tell you to duck when you hear the whine of those shells coming.  It sounds lots nicer to hear our own artillery shells sing as they toward the German lines.”


Blog # 71 – Best Chautauqua Ever

Chautauqua is Entertaining Crowds and Pleasing Everybody
(Reprinted from the Kinsley Graphic, August 29, 1918)

 “The best Chautauqua we have ever had is now going on under the big brown tent.  The opening program was given by the best girl company Horner has ever put out, and the audiences have been responsive and appreciative.

The lecture by Captain Lougher was pronounced by those who have heard hundreds of war lectures, the strongest plea for the necessity of speed and spirit for winning a victory they had ever heard.

Captain Lougher has been in the service for four years and was brought home by the government to speak on the Chautauqua circuits.  Captain Lougher held his audience spell-bound for an hour and a half.  He presented to them the vital points that illuminate the war, and America’s duty in helping to win it.

Major Marr and his Canadian soldiers went straight to the hearts of our people.  They are all returned soldiers, wounded many times, and unable to fight, so they are doing their bit in another way.

Cimera’s band was pronounced by everybody the best band Mr. Horner has ever given us.  The woodwind section of it is very fine, and the tone textures more like an orchestra than a band.  Mr. Cimera is an artistic conductor and his interpretation of the beautiful numbers “The Benediction” from “The Hugenots” and the overture from William Tell delighted the big audience.  The conductor at the request of the audience played on afternoon and evening programs a trombone solo, which was encored over and over.

Madame Cafarelli, who has a beautiful voice, a perfect method and a charming personality, was soloist of both concerts.  We believe she gave more pleasure in her singing than any other soloist we have had.  She had the advantage of the delightful accompaniments played by the band.  Mr. Cimera is from Bohemia and like all the people from his country who come to us, is an intensely loyal American.  He watches from afar the bitter struggle of his people for freedom.

The big feature on the platform this year was the talk by Captain David Fallon on “Fighting Thru Hell.”  The speaker was introduced by Congressman Jouett Shouse, who was given a rousing welcome when he appeared, and who made an interesting talk, which came to us straight from Washington.

Captain Fallon speaks from the heat of his own experiences fighting Germany, as a soldier in the infantry, in the flying service and in the tanks.  He has the gift of language and set before his hearers a somber picture of what this war with Germany has meant to the countries invaded, and to the civilized world, painting it in words tipped with flame of suffering.  He bears on his body the scars of his sacrifice, and his gallant spirit grieves more because he cannot get back into the fight than because of the wounds.  A student of world affairs, a teacher of military training in the English schools of both India and Australia before the war, he gave an address from our platform that will do more to make our people realize their duty, their danger, than any other speaker.

His book on the Gallipoli campaign is one of the big books of the war, and it is rightly named “The Big Fight.”  The largest audience for this year’s Chautauqua greeted Capt. Fallon under the tent last night.

Mr. Welch, who has been managing our Chautauqua because the regular platform men are in the army, is a prince of manager and Kinsley likes him. The Chautauqua service flag ahs 250 stars on it.”

Closing of Chautauqua  (Reprinted from the Kinsley Graphic, September 5, 1918)
Closing Programs are Best Ever and Plans are Made for Next Year

“On Thursday afternoon of the press last week, one of the very finest programs of the week was given by the American nurse, Harriet Bird Warren.  She has a beautiful speaking voice and told in a way which held her audience, the story of her work with the French army for the men who are wounded by the Huns. She is a surgical nurse, her specialty being plastic surgery.  She touched the hearts of her hearers, and paid the same fine tribute to the French women who are carrying on the work of France and keeping up the morale of their men that all who have spoken on the war have done.

She plead with American Women to do their full duty here and to volunteer for service overseas if possible.  In the evening Montraville Wood gave a scientific lecture which explained the use of the gyroscope in this war, the violet ray, which he illustrated in some fine experiments, and the submarine.

He had a full-sized torpedo with ears that seemed the most human piece of machinery ever invented, and gave many ideas about the new scientific things now in use in the war with the Hun, which will be in general use after the war.

Kansas composer, Mr. Thurlow Lieurance, and the Premier Quartet gave the afternoon program Friday and the prelude to the play ‘The Climax’ in the evening.

Mr. Lieurance is the foremost authority on American Indian music and the composer of many songs in which he uses the thematic material secured from the long study on Indian music.  He has a new rhapsody using the Indian songs, and collaborating with Preston Ware Orem.

The Premier artists were Mr. Haverstraw of Lincoln and Mr. Parvin Witte of Kansas City, Miss Edna Wooley (Mrs. Thurlow Lieurance) and Miss Grey of Kansas City, and it is the finest singing organization Mr. Horner has ever had on this circuit.  Mr. Haverstraw is a composer of note and ‘My Soldier,” one of his songs, was on the afternoon program, sung by the composer.  Miss Wooley sings the beautiful Indian songs of Mr. Lieurance better than anyone else, having a voice of great beauty with a flute like quality, which brings out their loveliness.

At the close of the program enough people had signed the contract for next year to assure Kinsley of a Chautauqua in 1919.

Practically the same public spirited citizens went on the guarantee as before.  The Horner management did not push the matter at all, as they have lost money every year on the town.  But Mr. Horner takes the ground that if a town wants a Chautauqua he will come and take his chances on coming out even in some other place.  The sale of tickets for the lecture of Captain Fallon illustrates the matter.  Kinsley sold sixty-six dollars’ worth of single admissions and Stafford, a town of the same size, sold one hundred and seventy dollars’ worth for the same lecture. That seems to hold good on all Chautauqua talent. But the old guard, or most of them, saved the day as usual….”

Blog # 70 One Hundred Years ago today, the Chautauqua Tent lit up

I have left three performers for this post on the anniversary of the day the Chautauqua commenced 100 years ago.  First was Rev. Dr. Ira Landrith, a famous orator, politician and Prohibitionist. Prohibition was alive and well in Kansas at this time, so I imagine many were  interested in hearing Landrith.  Just two years before in the 1916 election, he had run for Vice President on the Prohibition Party ticket. Frank Hardy was the Presidential candidate, and they received 221,302 votes.

I found a description of a talk given by Dr. Landrith’s in Dodge City at a Rotary Club meeting the next week.  “He brought a cheerful message about the loyalty of the people of the United States.  He has traveled through every state of the union and he has concluded that there is no longer a single disloyal community in the entire country.   Here and there he has found places where pro-Germans have appeared earlier, but although he has traveled on the fastest trains, he has been unable to catch up with any of them” (Dodge City Daily Globe, August 26, 1918)

Also on the program was John B. Ratto, “The man who makes faces and fits the voice to the face.”  In the same spirit of patriotism in the shadow of World War I, Mr. Ratto’s performance mirrored the times.

When the Chautauqua was in Winfield, Kansas in July, the Winfield Daily Free Press wrote: “Mr. John Ratto, gave a most interesting impersonation of the outstanding characters of this world war.  He impersonated Peter of Servia, as he gave his protestations to the German Emperor, and represented each one of the heads of the allied nations as they also sent in their protests, finishing with the patriots of the United States in his impersonations of Washington, Lincoln, Uncle Sam and the Goddess of Liberty.  Besides this one very unusual effort, Mr. Ratto gave several good comic numbers and was very pleasing and entertaining.”

The last person on the bill whom I want to tell you about I found to be the most interesting.  Montraville Wood was often described as the Magician Scientist.  According to the Chanute Daily Tribune of August 10, 1918, Wood “… was acquainted with Thomas A. Edison.  In the early days they worked together on a number of propositions. In fact, there are two standard machines for the creation of the ultra-violet ray, one at the Edison plant in East Orange, N.J., and the other in Montraville Wood’s possession.  In his entertainment, Mr. Wood often stages a gyroscope wrestling match and he further uses the ‘gyro’ to demonstrate his monorail in the aisles on a wire.  The ultra-violet ray is demonstrated in several ways.  Light is stored in artificial flowers and discs, with an effect that is unusually weird.  He explains that eventually it will be possible to store enough light in our walls in the daytime to last on thru the night.  He further predicts that it will not be many years before we are traveling thru the air in monorail cars.  One of the interesting ways in which Wood demonstrates the practical use of the gyroscope is in a bi-plane with one wing missing.  The car, assisted by the gyroscope, maintains its equilibrium.”
I did a little more research and discovered that Wood was an electrical engineer and aerial postmaster for the U.S. Post Office before he joined the Chautauqua circuit.  He was the first to put a gyroscope into an airplane.  Using his knowledge about the gyroscope in conjunction with his other experi- ments in sound waves, Wood developed the “hearing torpedo” that was subsequently purchased and used by the United States navy, first in World War I and then again in World War II.  If all of that does not impress your, Wood was also the mechanist for the famous magician, Houdini.  Wood actually created eight different ways that a person can escape from a milk can.

Blog # 69 Just One More Day and the Chautauqua Will Begin

In 1918 there was no TV or radio to listen, so when the Chautauqua came to town in was a big social event.  I could find no mention of how many people attended the 2018 Chautauqua, which was billed as a “Brilliant and Patriotic Program.”

Music was one of the main attractions at the Chautauqua.  Besides the Major Marr Entertainers mentioned in Post #68, other musical presentations were enjoyed.  The Ladies Regimental Orchestra consisted of eight women who usually kicked off the Chautauqua with lively songs and readings.  The eight members played the piano, violin, drums, cornet, flute, clarinet, and sang.

One can imagine the tent filling with the sound of the 25-piece Cimera Band playing patriotic marches, classical and popular music. The band leader, Jerroslav (Jerry) Cimera, was a well-known trombonist who also composed music, especially for the trombone.  The band provided the music for Madame Helene Cafarelli, an Italian prima donna soprano, and Thurlow W. Lieurance.

Mr. Lieurance was an American composer who grew up in SE Kansas and was particularly well-known for his songs inspired by Native American culture.  His wife, Edna Woolley, traveled with him and performed his songs.  Pehaps his most popular,  “By the Waters of Minnetonka” has been recorded by many artists and may still be familiar to you.  Here is a link to a 1920 version, which probably sounds much like it did in Kinsley 100 years ago.  The modern ear might recognize and enjoy more Nelson Eddy’s rendition.  You may even remember the song on a Lucile Ball and Desi Arnaz comedy routine.

Blog # 68 Get Ready –The Chautauqua is Coming to Town

School has started and all the summer reading activities with children are over.  I now have time to get back to writing my World War I blog.  I’ll be starting up by browsing the August, 1918 newspapers, but hope to be able to go back to those summer months I missed at a later date.

At the library this month we are exhibiting a “World War I and America” national traveling exhibit.  To go along with it, I created six posters highlighting letters which were written in August, 1918, by six local soldiers to family and friends. I also created a foyer exhibit about the Chautauqua show which performed in a large tent August 24-26, 1918.

Chautauqua was a popular adult education movement in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Traveling with a tent like a circus, Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers, and specialists of the day.  The one that visited Kinsley and many other Kansas towns one hundred years ago was organized by Redpath-Horner and homebased in Iowa.  With the war in progress, this Chautauqua had a very patriotic theme carried out by 13 acts and a play entitled “Liberty Torch” which was acted by local children.

Eye witness accounts of the war were main attractions at this Chautauqua.  American soldiers were pouring into Europe, and the people back home were very anxious for news about the war.  One main speaker was Lieutenant E. H. Lougher who was billed as coming “direct from France, where he went as a member of the American Red Cross commission…. He comes fresh from actual contact with soul-stirring conditions in Europe, and whose talk will be well worth while.”

  Lieutenant E. H. Lougher

The other main speaker was Captain David Fallon, who “went through the entire, terrible Gallipoli campaign.  He commanded a tank in an amazing war adventure.  He has served as an aerial observer, spotted enemy positions and fought enemy aeroplanes.  He has been wounded fifteen times. He was awarded the Military Cross for daring service by his King.”

Of special interest to the women, was Harriet Warren, a WWI Ambulance Nurse, who served in the front line hospitals specializing in plastic surgery.  She “has a story of the war from an entirely different viewpoint….It is so thrilling, so tragic, so instructive and so full of facts not generally known….”

The Major Marr Entertainers were also on the bill.  Consisting of three WWI disabled Canadian soldiers, they were described as “skilled and experienced in entertaining as well as processing a war record.  They come with a new program of songs, stories and sketches, fairly breathing the very atmosphere of the trenches.”

If this does not make you wish you could have attended the 1918 Chautauqua, I’ll tell you about an impersonator, a magician-inventor, and many more entertainers on the bill in my next blog.



#67 Rev. Emmanuel Jones Goes Overseas

Even though we will be moving ahead in parallel 1918  – 2018 time, I am going to stay with Rev. Emmanuel Jones a little longer.  He was in Kinsley only a few months before he had volunteered for service with the Y.M.C.A.  The June 13th newspaper reports that the Jones’ household goods were being shipped to Kansas City where his wife would make her home while he was overseas.  He also advertised to sell his car.  Perhaps Mrs. Jones did not drive like many women of the time.

The editor of the Kinsley Graphic received a card announcing Rev. Jones safe arrival overseas (Aug. 15, 1918).   Then the following letter was published in the September 26, 1918 edition of the Graphic.

“Tells of Hardships Overseas

Emmanuel Jones, writing from 47 Russell Square, London, England, to Antone Lippoldt, of north of Kinsley, says:

I am just back from Llandudno, Wales, after visiting mother and the dear ones there.  I find these dear people deprived of many of the pleasures of life on account of the awful war, which is paramount every place in the home land.  Yet, with all the privations and hardships of life, they are cheerful, and willing to make any sacrifice that the liberty of all nations may be with them.

When I left the States we thought hardship was with us when denied sugar, and the little things that we could do without, but over here it is not pounds that they are offered but only ounces.  I would to God that this war was over.  When I call for the friends and school companions of past days I am told that they will never return to Blighty, but have gone West.  These are the heroes that are daily dying for liberty, and I ask myself when I look into the faces of these sad mothers, wives and sweethearts, “What have I done?”

I am sitting at this time at the door of our hut, where we have been serving since early morning to the boys the things that they need, and here let me ask that the loved ones at home remember the boys in reading matter.  Just the clippings that you send them from your daily papers are read and re-read until they are worn threadbare.  I want to tell you of the sacrifice of the women here.  They are never-tiring in their efforts to do for the boys, patching and darning their clothes day and night.  I have prayed that God would keep from our American mothers the heart-sting of France and England are now going through.

I am just called from this letter to wait upon an attachment of our boys, tired and worn, but with a radiant smile and the same Yankee determination to win.” 

This is a picture of Y.M.C.A. Eagle Hut in London which opened on September 3, 1917.  Perhaps Rev. Jones was one of the 800 volunteers on the staff.  In the same Graphic issue, a letter replying to one of his Boy Scouts, Ernest Hampton, was published.

“My Dear Ernest:  I was glad to get your letter this morning and I read it with a great deal of interest.   I often think of you and the other boys and I love to show the lovely watch that my boys gave me. I have had very little time since I came over for I have been very busy and on the move all the time, but I am having the time of my life and if I could come back I would have lots to tell.

I have met about 10 boys from the good old state of Kansas, some of them from near Kinsley, and I am planning to have an evening tea with them before very long.

While I have only been in England but a short time I have spent a few days with my folks in Wales and you can just imagine the time I had.

Now I have charge of a hut and while my hours are from 7:30 in the morning until 10:45 p.m. you can guess I will not have much time to be lonesome.

I am sorry that they haven’t found a person to take charge of the scouts but perhaps this fall when school begins and all the boys are in town they may get together.

Well, I must come to a close for today. with love to all the boys and remember me kindly to your folks.  Send me all the papers you can get, the Front Rank and the town papers.  With love and God bless you, my boy. – Emmanuel Jones”