The Great War was set in motion with the assination of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914 – and the dominoes of alliances fell into place sending shock waves around the world. The Smoky Hill Museum has created a great online resource to learn about America’s response to the distant war that was felt right here at home in Salina.
Josh Morris, Curator of Exhibits at the Smoky Hill Museum tells KSAL News that the virtual experience is built for a quick look for the curious, or a deep dive by history nuts. Visit the exhibit at www.kansansinthetrench.com
Morris adds the first men in Saline County to be drafted for the war effort were known as “Saline’s Sixteen.”
On May 18, 1917, the Selective Service Act was passed which authorized the draft. All men between the ages of 21 and 31 were required to fill out a registration card. In Saline County, a total of 2,111 men registered. From that, only 46 went before the review board for examination.
Sixteen men were officially drafted in Saline County. They were known locally as “Saline’s Sixteen.” An additional three men served as alternates. On September 20, 1917, they departed for training at Fort Funston. There was no special sendoff ceremony. The sixteen men included: Ralph Pruitt, Ernest Fred Frost, Albert E. Melius, Lucien Baker Matthews, Elmer Carl Lindholm, Hjalmer Emil Nyberg, Albert E. Hutchinson, Harry Asa Muir, Delmar Leland Young, Perry Carr King, Clarence B. Nelson, Robert L. Cunningham, Oliver C. Henry, Jr. Charles Cecil Faulconer, LeRoy Allen and Walter Herman.
All photos courtesy Smoky Hill Museum