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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago today in Spokane: First Spokane draftees headed for war training

Archive clipping from Sept. 5, 1917 (SR)
Archive clipping from Sept. 5, 1917 (SR)

The U.S. had been in the Great War for months, but only now were the first group of 34 Spokane-area draftees headed to the army training camp at American Lake (later called Fort Lewis).

This group was part of the “first 5 percent” of men who had been called up in the nationwide draft. The Spokesman-Review ran a list of their names and occupations. They were bookkeepers, bakers, Gonzaga University students, traveling salesmen and teachers. One man, Phillip Morrison, was a Danish citizen who “said he was born in the sight of the German border and said he desired to go to the camp at once.”

This first 5 percent were not selected by their exact draft order, but by the local board, which had been asked by the provost marshal general to choose men with previous military experience, men with clerical experience, and cooks.

Also from the war beat: A “Colbert matron” named Mrs. Lake said that women were doing their wartime part by adhering to the “Hoover rules”: making meatless meals and cutting back on the use of wheat.

She suggested that it was time for men to sacrifice, too, with another set of rules: One tobacco-less day a week, less smoking or chewing every day, and, finally, “quit playing pool.”

“If men do this,” Mrs. Lake contended, “things won’t seem so one-sided for the women.”

The Spokesman-Review did not seem to approve of this idea. It pointed out that men were the recipients of those meatless meals, right along with women. Making men cut back on tobacco would only mean that women would then have to deal with a “peevish spouse.”

“War is terrible enough without making it worse,” said the paper.

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