World War I in the Edmonds Area
by Phylis Jorgenson
Note: In researching this article the author extensively consulted the Edmonds Tribune from the World War I period.
The words and expressions used here are those of the articles or advertising from this newspaper.
When President Woodrow WILSON declared that the United States would enter World War I on April 6, 1917, the Edmonds area felt the impact. Patriotic meetings were held and the Home Guard Association was formed to produce a few guidelines for the average citizen to help the war effort.
Home gardening was encouraged. Every acre of arable land was made to produce food for the nation. Vegetables were planted in every vacant lot. Bigger gardens were cultivated. A good gardener was a good patriot. The citizens of Washington State were told to support the boys at the front by turning out the needed equipment and supplies; this was best done by increasing production of food. More potatoes, carrots, beets and other vegetables were raised. Potatoes on the dinner table saved wheat for the soldiers.
There were even rules for a garden contest. Edmonds Hardware Company invited people to come in to find just the right tools needed to prepare a garden. “Good garden tools make good gardeners,” said their newspaper advertisement. Gardening went hand in hand with the development that had already begun in the area. The Puget Mill Company was clearing land for Alderwood Manor. Houses were being built, chickens raised and filbert trees planted.
Meanwhile, what the people could not produce, they were urged to conserve. One of the national slogans was “Thrift will win the war.” President Wilson encouraged people to “Speak, Act and Work Together.” In other words, everyone was to make sacrifices. Washington Coast Utilities encouraged people to use electricity in order to save tons of coal. Merchandise would be scarce but the merchant would supply the community with the necessities of life. The Edmonds Trading Company advertised it could get higher prices but due to the war effort people were urged to consider the scarcity of raw material and the great congestion in transportation which added to the difficulty of manufacturing in quantities sufficient to meet the demand.
The YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) was established 6 months after the start of the war. A YWCA was a place for young girls to learn social skills and prepare for work. Located near cantonments, barracks, and Navy facilities, it was a recreation center and a place to take homemaking classes as well as a place for working girls to stay. The ‘Y’ also helped immigrant soldiers get established through language classes. Colored girls had the same problems as white girls so special clubs were set up to help them.
The Red Cross continued their work through the war. Special “write a soldier a letter days” were held to boost morale. Boys wanted news from home. Edmonds Knitting Club held regular meetings to encourage knitting of socks and mittens. “Every time you knit yourself a sweater you are taking socks away from a soldier.”
A service flag with 67 stars was presented to Edmonds in November 1918 to represent 67 boys from here: 3 gold stars for those who died, 4 silver stars for the wounded.
Following is a list of 82 names found in the Edmonds Review from 27 April 1917 through November 22, 1918.
Not everyone responded to the draft. Following is a list of those who failed to report in Snohomish as reported in the Edmonds Review 26 Apr 1918.
Jonas DANIELSON, Seattle
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