“The United States entered the Great World War on April 6, 1917, in defence of her honor and immediately called for the first draft of young men to fight against the Germans. Many of their families had come from Europe, including many Germans. Many had already volunteered for the services, but not as many men as where needed. The young men of 18 and older were required to register and were each given a four-digit number that would be used for the draft.
“So, on July 20, 1917, the draft lottery was initiated in Washington, D.C. The ‘Official Record of the Draft Lottery’ was published on two full pages in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on July 27, 1917, listing all of the numbers and the order they were drawn.”
(I was in the World War II draft, and I know exactly how those World War I boys felt. I had to register when I was 18, on July 2, 1943, and was in service on Oct. 16. Hello, Uncle Sam.)
Warren Rutz of the Highland Cash Store was not listed in the book Pass in Review by Allan Huber, which listed 283 Highland area veterans. I know that there were more Highland area World War I veterans than that number. So if you know a veteran who was in World War I and was not included in this book, and my column last week, please write me a letter, giving the name and information, as I plan to follow up this column, with names and information about other World War I veterans for my Nov. 9 column. Write to Roland Harris at 1600 Walnut, Apt. 42, Highland, IL 62249. Thanks.
Never miss a local story.
Myrtle Thiems Rutz, the widow of Warren, gave me a photo of Warren in his uniform in front of a barracks and also the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s two newspaper pages listing the draft numbers. Myrtle did this before she went to the Faith Country Side Apartments. This information was in my World War I folder, but I had failed to put her name on the picture, so I had to rack my brain to remember who Warren’s wife was. Then I remembered Myrtle Thiems and gave Steve Thiem’s a call. Steve had my information. Then I made Warren Rutz’s file, with this information, intact. But I still don’t know who his parents were? So, I placed another call to Betty Rutz (Mrs. Beal) Kamm,who is also a resident here at the Highland Home.
(As an aside, Highland Home wonderful place to call home. Be sure to put Sunday, May 1, from 2 to 4 p.m., on your calendar for the open house of the newly remodeled and enlarged Highland Home. The Highland Home Museum will not be completed, but most of the art, will be up by that time. See you here, May 1.)
Betty Kamm knew about Warren Rutz and said she didn’t know if he was a relative. My next call was to Roy Worstell, my genealogist. Roy had Warren Rutz (1899-1957) as a son of Robert Rutz (1866-1909) and Maria Iberg Rutz. Warren also had a sister, Olivia (1901-1908), and a brother William (no information). Robert Rutz’s parents were Heinrich Rutz Sr. (1833-1907) and Charlotte Kircher Rutz (1839-1907). So Warren’s grandfather, Heinrich “Henry” Rutz, was in the Civil War, with the 15th Missouri Regiment and was a prisoner, twice, but still returned home after the war.
“The draft was begun shortly after July 20, 1917, with one-third of the men in the first call, then another one-third in the second call and the final, or last, call was on Feb. 22, 1918, with 154 men of Madison County going to Camp Zachary Taylor, near Louisville, Ky. This camp was established by an act of Congress for the purpose of training men for the World War. It originally comprised 2,700 acres, and they built 1,200 barracks buildings.
“Over 40,000 arriving at Camp Z. Taylor by Sept. 1, 1917 for basic training. An air field and all-service building were added. (A book about Camp Zachary Taylor was made in 1928 by Pictorial Publishing Co. by L. C. Heim, a publisher in Edwardsville, and I have a copy of this 208 pages of historical pictures and information, which I will donate to the Highland Home Museum. Thanks to the late Carl Siegrist and his son, Herbert.)
“The contingent of young men from Highland that filled the last of the first draft were given a rousing send-off at the Turner Hall on Friday night, Feb. 21, 1918. This was under the auspices the Highland Council of Defense. The Highland Concert Band volunteered their services and rendered their music, first on the street, then in the hall. The boys were given a banquet, a patriotic address by Fred J. Kern of Belleville News-Democrat, followed by music in the hall. The boys left for Edwardsville on Saturday morning from the Turner Hall, where a large crowd had gathered and marched with them to the train, wishing them success and health.”
(Many of these men were sent overseas, just after basic training, and I’m sure saw much dangerous service in France, then Germany. I would love to print a copy of a Highland service man’s story of World War I. Do you have this information? Please send a copy. It would be a part of my Nov. 9 column. Thanks.)