Highland in 1917 was feeling the stress that the United States was seeing — what the Germany and the Central Powers were doing to our own Allies in Europe. And we wanted to help. We made trucks, field artillery, ships and submarines for our Allies, but they were also wanting our troops.
As 1917 moved on, our young men were required to register for the expected draft, after war was declared on Germany. Each man, after registration, was given a draft number, and those numbers were published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on July 27, 1917 for the entire St. Louis area. The War Department assigned the men a draft serial number in the Washington, D.C. lottery
This lottery list gave the men the draft serial numbers from each district, and this translated to the approximate date that they expected the men to be called to report for service. The eight full pages of numbers were of men that had registered, their order of draft, and the number of men expected to be drafted from each district.
Madison County was divided into three districts. Highland was in the third district, and eastern Madison County had the most registrants, with 4,662 men registered, and they expected to draft 450 men in the different drafts. These eight pages of numbers didn’t work out as expected, but it had Highland area men in a “twitter,” as John J. Isert had stated to me many years later.
A February 1918 Intelligence newspaper and the Wildey Theater, both of Edwardsville, were making a great demonstration for the first draft call of 154 men that would be going to Camp Zachary Taylor in Kentucky.
The Feb. 23, 1918 Highland newspaper list included John J. Isert of Highland, (See his photo with today’s column), plus the following Highland men: Milton Matter, Robert Vaupel, Lawrence Holzinger, Henry Kantner, Charles Ellis, John Wagner, Arnold Baumann, Frank Haldi, Edgar Hoffman, Emory Wafflard, Clarence Huber, Arnold Schwend, Alvin Frey, Elmer Fellhauer, Alvis Jotte, William Ryan, Edward Leder, John Bellm, Fred Huber, Fred Immer Jr., Herbert Bryan, Solomon Suppiger, Robert Blume, Edwin M. or Edmund Matter, Jr. Nelson Walter plus 3 volunteers, John Sybert, Edward Neubauer and Newton Wildi. Two substitutes were also listed: Otto Augustine & Oscar Becker. They were sent away with the acclaim of the populace, ringing in their ears and a realization that their sacrifice is not unnoticed.”
Now, a look at other things going on in Highland in 1917.
Fred Stocker, in 1903, started Stocker Gravel and Artificial Stone Co. and purchased 40 acres just east of the big spring on James Reynolds farm. (Today, it’s Highland Manor subdivision and Silver Lake.)
They purchased this land from Helvetia Milk Condensing Co. and Highland Brewing Co., as they were using the Reynolds Lake (today known as Bargetzi Lake), as they had water pumped from this lake to their two businesses. (This was before the city had its water system.) Stocker wanted this land for its gravel content and opened the “gravel pit.” For over 40 years, they extracted various grades of gravel from this pit. Later, it was called the Munie’s Gravel Pit.
In 1916, Fred Stocker reorganized, capital stock increased to $50,000 and the name changed to Stocker Gravel and Construction Co. Their first concrete road job was the one-lane concrete road to St. Rose. (Part of this original road to St. Rose is now called Klaus Lake Road, and you can still see this one-lane road under some of the oiled road.)
Stocker Gravel and Construction Co. of Highland was also awarded the contract for 1 ½ miles of one-lane concrete road from the DeForest Hill at Sugar Creek and east past the old Joseph Duncan place, then on to Sebastopol Road, on their bid of $9,272.
“Stocker Construction, in 1935, was awarded the contract by the state of Illinois to pave two full lanes down Broadway in Highland, as it was then Route 40.” (Sesquicentennial Book)
The Highland market prices for farm produce were as follows: Helvetia Milk Condensing Co. was the best price at $2.26 per hundred weight for milk; wheat, $1.90 per bushel; corn on the cob was 90 cents a bushel; while oats were only 50 cents a bushel; a spring chicken was 18 cents per pound; hens, 15 cents; ducks, 15 cents; and geese, 14 cents; eggs, 38 cents per dozen; and butter, 30 cents per pound.
The “Harmonie,” a German and Swiss men’s and ladies’ singing society, received a bequest of $500 from the will of Fred “Fritz” Kaeser, father of Dr. Albert F. Kaeser. The “old folks home,” now Highland Home at 1600 Walnut, also received a bequest of $300 from the Henry Rinderer estate.
The Holden Oil Co., which held a large acreage of oil leases in the Sebastopol area, and Louis Spengel, who held oil leases in Saline Township, merged and were later incorporated with a capital stock of $50,000.
A certificate authorizing an increase in the capital stock of the Wicks Pipe Organ Co. from $60,000 to $90,000 was filed with the recorder at Edwardsville.
The Highland Embroidery Works Co. was fitting up the Widicus Building at St. Jacob, installing several embroidering machines, due to the amount of female labor available obtainable in St. Jacob.
Now, back to present day. The new Highland Home Museum was progressing slowly, but has proceeded faster, receiving volunteer help from eight additional people, some of them multiple times.
Will you be available for a morning, afternoon or both? We need help sorting and shelving, framing and arranging the Highland items, arrange art items in the Art Hall, where we will have some additional space for your art or the North Farm Room, photos or memorabilia of your ancestors farms or your farm pictures or artifacts, are still needed.
Call me at 618-654-5005 or on my cell phone 618-303-0082 and say if you are available and what dates you have available, items you have available, and if you have farm photos that you are framing. Thanks.