Registering for the draft… June, 1917

Posted on August 25, 2010 by


From the Page News and Courier (Luray, Va.), June 1, 1917:

No Lunacy in Page County

The people of Page County are a law abiding people, and are remarkable for their thrift and common sense.

For these reasons we believe the young man of Page county prefer registering to being registered. They will register because they are good citizens and patriotic.

The prize fool at this time is the young man engaged in farming or otherwise likely to be exempted who has a notion to monkey with the registration law not register. The very fact that he does not register will convince the authorities that he is a counterfeit farmer or a rank fraud and is not entitled to exemption.

Only one man out of every twenty who registered will be drafted. State your grounds of exemption, if you claim exemption.

One thing certain if you are going to wait to register in jail your claims of exemption will be worth very little.

It is not wise to listen to the gentlemen who advise you not to register. These gentlemen are not as big and wise as the United States, and will also have the opportunity to revise their views in jail.

Every patriotic citizen is asked to report slackers and shirkers. It is the duty of federal employees to report all such and it will be done.

The slacker will not escape. Parents do not want to send noble sons in the army to fight for slackers, shirkers and cowards. Page county has sixty-two men to send to the new army and we are going to have a square deal if the power of the United States and of the State of Virginia can accomplish it.

Now, this was an editorial from the newspaper editor who actually became chair of the war bonds committee for the county, but… hmmm, this got me thinking…  I wonder if this is the same approach to shaming those who hesitated to volunteer for the Confederate army back during the Civil War. The exemptions thing really gets me going, as I know how it was said that the Confederate conscription department should have been called the Confederate exemption department…. plus, I have some great info about how, at the beginning of the CW, government job opportunities opened-up wide (especially with the slaves employed at major industries in the area were being recalled by their masters in the eastern part of the state). These government jobs (iron ore furnaces, forges, tanneries, etc.) were especially appealing, as they gave men an exemption from military service. Yet, the number of those seeking these jobs far outweighed the number of jobs available.