Post # 21  John P. Wire’s Experience with the Selective Service

In Post #19, I mentioned finding Raymond Smith’s graduation picture in a scrapbook made by Louise Wire.  Louise Wire was married to John E. Wire.  Their son, John P. Wire, was born on May 16, 1892 and was in the same 1912 Kinsley High School graduating class as Raymond.

Another item I found in Louise’s scrapbook was John P.’s draft classification card.
It appears that on January 2, 1917, John, age 25, received a 1 classification.  According to the Graphic, John was one of 54 men who filled out a required questionnaire with the local exemption board.  These men would be the first on the selective service list.  They would be sent to training camps when the next call was made provided they passed the physical examinations and were not aliens.  John was notified to appear with 31 others for a physical examination on January 28, 1917.

In the next week’s paper (January 31, 1918 Graphic), it was reported that 10 of these men passed their physical examinations and were fit for military service.  However, five men were rejected by the board, and John P. was one of those five.  That is where I find it a little confusing, as the card above dated February 26, still has John classified as 1 and “qualified for military service.”

The newspaper clipping accompanying the draft notification in the scrapbook is from the May 16 Graphic where it appears John was called to report to Camp Funston for training.  However, he would not be there long.  The June 13 Graphic stated, “John Wire and Walter Haney, who were among the last bunch of boys to go to Camp Funston, were rejected for general military service and came back here Saturday.”  It seems that John P. had not passed his physical at Camp Funston.  John Wire, Jr. suggested to me that his father was rejected due to flat feet.

I imagine that this six month time span might have been a very unsettling time for the Wire family.  I did find another item reported in the Graphic during this time when John P’s military fate was being decided (February 14, 1917).   John P.’s mother, Louis, was a member of the Country Women’s Club.  The Graphic reported that at this club’s February 28 meeting, “Mrs. John E. Wire would deliver a paper entitled “What lasting benefits will be derived from this war.”  It is too bad that we do not know what she wrote in her paper.