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"A Call to Arms"

by Sue T. Wilkinson

Van Zandt County Men Subject to the Draft World War I

Van Zandt County Genealogical Society

The following pages are from "A Call to Arms," a book compiled by Sue Wilkinson and posted with her permission on this website. It contains the stories and listings of the Van Zandt County draftees of the period during World War I, "The War to End All Wars." This volume was compiled and transcribed from original sources from the Canton Herald, the Grand Saline Sun and the Wills Point Chronicle. This book is still available for purchase. For information contact Sue Wilkinson. We thank her very much for her generousity in allowing the society to post this book in its entirety on this site.

FRIDAY May 25, 1917
Canton Herald

From Washington, May 19----Shorn of legal language the provisions of the president's army draft proclamation, issued Friday night are as follows:

Registration day, June 5, between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. All men between 21 and 30, inclusive must register at the voting precinct at which they usually cast their election ballots. In case of absence from home, city, or illness, registration may be by mail. Registration, however must be in the hand of county or city clerk on June 5, within the hours specified.

In case of doubt, eligible should apply to county or city clerks. Such application should be made in any event.

Failure to register, either by resident or absentee, or any evasion, reservation of false statement shall constitute a misdemeanor under federal laws, and is punishable by a year's imprisonment in federal prison, and compulsory service thereafter.

Canton Herald………… May 25 1917

Complete plans for registration in Van Zandt County for the selective draft are being worked out this week. Sheriff J. A. Carpenter will have charge of the registration for the county, with the assistance of other officers. A registrar has been appointed for each precinct in the county and all persons within the ages are required to register on June 5 in the precinct in which they vote. Registration officers were in Canton Tuesday to take the oath and secure the blanks to be used in registration.

Every man over 21, who would not have reached his thirty-first, birthday by June 5, must register. If he is not going to be at his place of residence on June 5 it is his duty at any time, beginning now to go to the county clerk and there fill out a white registration card, which will be furnished to him and which will be addressed to registrar of his home voting precinct. Men who are ill must have someone apply for them. Such person will be sworn in to take their registration.

Men who fail to register are liable to arrest and upon conviction, to imprisonment. Every man who registers will be given a blue card by the registrar. This card, he is supposed to carry with him, as he is liable any time to be stopped by officers and show that he has registered. These blue cards are under careful guard. Every one of them will have to be accounted for by the registrar.

The registration form has twelve places to be filled out. A statement of these and just what the questions mean follows.

All questions will be written on the registration card in ink by the registrar, who should be careful to spell all names correctly and to write legibly.

1. Name in full. Age in years. This means all your names spelled out in full.
2. Home address. This means the place where you have your permanent home, not the place where you work.
3. Date of birth. Write your birthday, month, day and year on a piece of paper before going to the registrar, and give the paper to him first thing. Example: August 5, 1894
4. (1) Are you a natural born citizen: (2) A naturalized citizen: (3) An alien: (4) Or have you declared your intention to become a citizen. (Specify which)?
5. Where were you born? First name the town then the state then the country.
6. If not a citizen, of what country are you a citizen or subject? This need be answered only by aliens or declarants.
7. What is your present trade, occupation, or office? This does not ask what you once did, or what you have done most of the time, nor what you are best fitted to. It asks what your job is right now.
8. By whom employed? Where employed?
9. Have you a father, mother, wife, child under 12, or a sister or brother under 12 solely dependent upon you for support? (Specify which)? Consider your answer thoughtfully. If it is true that there is another mouth than your own which you alone have a duty to feed, do not let your military ardor interfere with the wish of the Nation to reduce the war's misery to a minimum. On the other hand, unless the person you have in mind is solely dependent on you do not hide behind petticoats or children.
10. Married or single? (Which)? Race (specify which)? This does not ask whether you were once married, but whether you are now married., In answer to the question as to your race, state briefly whether "Caucasian." "Mongolian" "Negro" "Malayan" or "Indian"
11. What military service have you had? Rank? Branch? Years? Nation, or States? No matter what country you served, you must give complete information.
12. Do you claim exemption from draft? Specify grounds. Because you claim exemption from draft, it by no means follows that you are exempt. For the information of the War Department you should make a claim now if you intend to prosecute it.

Report of the Registrar
On the back of the registration card the registrar also fills in the blanks. These give a description of the person registering, describing his height, weight, color of eyes and hair and giving a notation of physical disabilities.

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