By SADIE JOHNSON REID
The city of Radford is located on the waters of the New River, in the southwestern portion of Virginia at the intersection of three branches of the Norfolk & Western Railroad. It is two thousand feet above the level of the sea and is often spoken of as the Gateway of Southwestern Virginia.
Radford is the "Terrace City" of this section. The first terrace which is fully eighty feet above the water line is about one-fourth mile wide and extends the entire length of the town. This section comprises First and Norwood streets on which are the business houses and manufacturing plants. The second terrace rises above the first about sixty feet and extends south. Still another terrace some hundred feet higher, forms beautiful sites for many dwellings. The city is divided into almost equal parts by Conoly's Run.
The scenery is magnificent. To the east rise the crags and spires of the Alleghanys, to the north Salt Pond ridge and John Mountain purple the horizon. Northwest, standing as a sentinel, is the beautiful Angel's Rest and directly southwest the cone shaped mountain of Peak Creek, the landmark of the Pulaski Valley, rises, and to the south are the rising and falling spurs of the Alleghanies terminating within a mile of Ingles Mountain. No picture has ever been painted that can depict the beauty of Radford's sunsets.
The old emigrant trail, also known as the old State Rock Road, and the Lee Highway pass through the city. Pepper and Ingles Ferries are within a short distance. Radford is said to be the youngest city of Virginia and, according to the city directory of July, 1925, it has a population of 6,612.
There could be no better beginning for this topic than the account of the forming of the Radford Militia. Through the activity of Mr. Wise Worrell of the Radford Record, Company M Second Infantry, Virginia Volunteers, was organized in February, 1913. On Saturday night, February 21, a meeting was held to elect the commissioned officers. Major W. M. Davant, of Roanoke, presided. Dr. J. G. Bowman was elected captain, Wise Worrell, first lieutenant, and J. V'. Wright, second lieutenant. Of the sixty-one members, who had passed all examinations and been sworn in, fifty-eight were present.
Dr. Bowman, the captain, had been with a South Carolina regiment in the Spanish-American War and later served in the United States Artillery. Wise Worrell served as a trooper with the Eleventh Cavalry and Mr. J. W. Wright had two years training at V. P. I. to his credit. Several members of the company had seen service in the army. This company saw service on the Border, being stationed at Brownsville, Texas, from June, 1916. to February, 1917. The wartime service of the company will be mentioned under "Draft Law and Military Organizations," one of the subdivisions of this sketch.
While Radford was busy organizing a military company, there was little thought given in 1914 to the possibility of our entrance into the European conflict. The papers of that period record a wide interest in matters that had nothing to do with war and its possibilities. The city was busy organizing a board of trade and the women were agitating the question of putting on a school nurse; the fight was on for prohibition, for tax reduction and city managership. About this time Harry Fark received from the War Department a service medal for service in the Philippine War. The Julia Bullard monument was unveiled in West View Cemetery. Arrangements for the sale of Red Cross seals at Christmas time were completed. Dan Howe arrived in town from Trinidad, his trip having been made interesting by an encounter with a German cruiser.1
In November, 1914, the Belgian Relief work was started. Ex-Governor J. Hoge Tyler requested that all donations be left at a central point by Thanksgiving Day.
Two interesting letters were published in the Radford News of May, 1915. It will be remembered that the fall of 1915, witnessed the election of Woodrow Wilson to his second term as President of the United States, and while interest in the coining election was rife in Virginia these letters, written in 1898, by Governor J. Hoge Tyler, of Radford, then Governor of Virginia. and Dr. Woodrow Wilson, at that time president of Princeton University, found their way into the local paper. The letters of peculiar interest to Radford citizens and to all Virginians, are reproduced here:
"Commonwealth of Virginia,
"Dr. Woodrow Wilson,
Princeton, N. J.
"Dear sir,-I am in the confidence of the University of Virginia board in their efforts to bring you to the University. I want to write just a line to express to you my interest in this matter, and my wish that you may accept the important and honorable trust offered you. The past of the University is truly grand, but the future should hold even better things in store for her. I think you can materially contribute to this future.
"Very truly yours,
"J. HOGE TYLER,
"Governor of Virginia."
"Princeton, New Jersey,
2nd April 1898.
"Hon. J. Hoge Tyler,
Governor of Virginia,
"My dear Sir,-I cannot too warmly express my appreciation of the honor and kindness you have done me in urging upon me the acceptance of the call of the board of visitors to the chairmanship of the faculty of the University. I have been obliged to decline the call, with a reluctance and pain which I should find it difficult to express. But I shall not soon forget the kindness of your letter.
"I have declined for reasons very fully set forth in a letter of recent date to Mr. George Miles. Summed up, they come to this: that my obligations here are such that I did not feel morally at liberty to leave. I am conscious that it is more than probable that no honor equal to this one will ever be offered to me again. I love Virginia, too, and the University in a way that makes me feel almost like an unworthy son in declining to serve them. But I did not and could not see or find any other truly honorable course.
"With much regard and appreciation,
"Respectfully and sincerely yours,
In the Radford News of February 16, 1916, we find the following item regarding a hospital unit organized by Dr. Bowman:
"Major Koepher of the U. S. army and Capt. Warrick of the medical corps of the Virginia militia Monday night inspected Dr. Bowman's company of the hospital branch of the service. This is a new company composed of thirty-six Radford men, the only one of its kind in the State and one of not many in all the States. The equipment has arrived and is stored temporarily over Johnson's pharmacy until the company gets into its own quarters in the new hardware building owned by Mr. Epperly and drawing to completion. The company bas some $16,000 appropriated to its use."
The population of Radford has grown steadily since 1910, when the census showed it to be less than 5,000. That taken for a directory in 1925 showed 6,854. During the early part of the war many of the negroes and some whites went North for higher wages. The cost of living was so much higher, however, that most of them drifted back. Radford, at the time war was declared, had practically no aliens.
As early as 1915 flags were displayed on business houses and on private homes. There was an undercurrent of restlessness and a desire to be prepared for whatever might come. This spirit prevailed until the call to arms.
Radford was loyal to all the policies of the Wilson administration and approved most heartily of war preparations early in 1917. The people as a whole were eager and anxious to enter the conflict. Their sympathies were with the Allies and strongly against the Kaiser and his German war machine. The Radford News loyally and faithfully expressed public opinion prior to our entrance into the conflict, as well as during the struggle, and co-operated to the limit with the publicity department of the government.
The churches early realized the gravity of war and became more earnest and untiring in their efforts to administer to the spiritual needs of the boys who were so soon to enter the service, as well as to the needs' of those who were destined to remain at home to produce and conserve. There was no definite war work done by the churches but the members and pastors engaged in many forms of work through other organizations. The ministers were watchful as regarded the moral conditions of tile community, and prayer was regularly offered for the triumph of right.
A union service for the members of Company M was held in the State Normal School auditorium on July 22, 1917. The hall was full. Rev. Frank Y. Jackson, of Marion, preached the sermon and on the platform were Rev. J. H. Whitmore, Rev. Brown, Rev. Stevenson, Mr. Keadle and others; also a anion choir. The singing of Mr. E. S. Jones, Radford's sweet singer, was greatly enjoyed upon this occasion. At the conclusion of the service Mr. Whitmore presented to each soldier a Testament. As many of the members of the field hospital unit could not be present they were presented with Testaments later.
The Missionary Society of the First Baptist Church held a week of prayer beginning March 17, 1918. An American flag and a Service flag were raised, the latter having seven stars, representing the following men in service from the congregation: Major J. C. Bowman, Lieut. E. H. Howe, Carmel Gibson, Fred Ring, Robert Vaughan, Harry Bond and R. N. Gentry.
Calvary Baptist Church in addition to having five members in service, was honored in having its pastor, Rev. W. J. Hubbard appointed a Y.M.C.A. chaplain. He reported at Camp Lee in June, 1918. The Camp Lee Bayonet stated that Mr. Hubbard had four sons in service. The eldest, Walter J. was a member of the headquarters detachment, Tenth Regiment, U. S. Marines, S. Bramner, the second son, was then in training at Camp Lee. David Paul, the third son, was among Rockingham's first volunteers and was then with the American Expeditionary Forces in France, and William B., the last male member of the family was a member of the Students Army Training Corps at the University of Virginia. The five members in service from Calvary Baptist Church were Jesse Woodyard, Roy Epling, Sidny and William Johnson, and George Lyle.
Special services for the presentation of a service flag were held on April 7, at Grace Episcopal Church. The flag contained fifteen stars. The members in service were: Miss Celia Turner, nurse in France; Thurston Turner, Stanley Galway, William and Edward Kearsley, Ambrose, Edward and Hugo Wilson, James T Tinsley, Ambrose Fink, Jack and Arthur French, Dan Howe, and Ballard Preston. The rector was Rev. C. E. A. Marshall.
The Radford Presbyterian Church presented its service flag on September 21, 1918. The flag was given by the ladies' aid society and contained six stars representing Walter Budwell, Charles Zimmerman, Thomas M. Jones, Alex Sharp, Wallace W. Goldsmith and Thornton Scott. Dr. J. H. Whitmore, the pastor, before making the presentation, talked on the "Call to Service." Mr. E. S. Tones sang Wilbur Chapman's paraphrase of "America"-"God Keep and Guard Our Wen."
Central Presbyterian Church had the following names on her honor roll-Earl Wall, Eugene Gerald, Harry Buck, Hugh French, Tebe Hite, and Guy Moore.
Grove Avenue Methodist Church held a beautiful service when its service flag, containing forty-one stars, was presented. The sermon was preached by the pastor, Rev. H. B. Brown. The flag was presented by J. H. Barnett and received on behalf of the congregation by- Capt. E. F. Gill. Those in service from this congregation were: L. B. Allen, J. E. Baker, Lieut. G. W-. Bond, Sergt. R. J. Bond, Sergt. H. E. Bond, Lieut. W. K. Barnett, P. R. Garden, A. E Carper, Lieut Frank Y. Caldwell, W. L. Dudley, Corp. H. A. Goodykontz, Lieut. R. E. Hall, C. T. Hall, S. T. Kuhn, Corp. W. E. Kemp, Corp. T. L. Kirby, C. D. Lucas, K. H. Kirby, C. F. Kirby, la. L. Lawrence, Sergt. P. H. Martin, Sergt. H. P. McElrath, E. D. Munday, Sergt. H. L. Morehead, J. M. Morgan, C. H. Moore, J. Mills, W. C. McCarty, C. M. Peters, H. S. Rader, Sergt. G. E. Sullivan, Sergt. R. E. Stegall, Sergt. R. B. Scott, Sergt. C. A. Stump, Sergt. H. W. Ward.
Bourne Memorial Methodist Church had only three names on its honor roll They were Frank Painter, Harry Ross and Bruce Ross. Rev. M. A. Stevenson was pastor.
During the World War much interest was aroused in the study of history, especially English history and our relation to England and France. There was a more intensive study of history during this period than formerly and a better understanding of the Revolutionary period and the War of 1812.
Special emphasis was laid on patriotism in school work and on the singing of national anthems, on flag drills and patriotic addresses. A great many patriotic programs were rendered, both by the high school and the grades, including singing, addresses, drills, salutes to the flag, etc.
Flags were purchased and flag poles erected for each school. A service flag was purchased for the high school. A large number of the alumni of this school volunteered for service, as did a few who had not completed their courses but were old enough to be accepted.
Instruction in food production and conservation was given both in the high school and in the grades. A large number of school gardens were planted.
Thrift organizations were formed in all the grades and programs were put on to stimulate the sale of Liberty bonds. Pupils in the schools made story books for the soldiers and collected books to send to the training camps. A number of the girls worked in the surgical dressing department of the Red Cross and also did knitting for the soldiers. The high school and grades had junior Red Cross chapters in which every pupil was enrolled.
"Tag Your Shovel" day was observed successfully in the schools and prizes were given for the best gardens. The pupils spent their money freely for War Savings Stamps. Prof. J. P. Whitt was superintendent of city schools during the war and Mrs. J. P. Whitt was principal of the high school. Both assisted enthusiastically in staging celebrations, in putting on "drives," and gave many other manifestations of patriotism.
Since the war the Red Cross organizations have been continued in the schools and the same interest continues in the study of history. Patriotic programs are given from time to time, keeping alive the custom inaugurated in war time.
Under the direction of Miss Mary Montague, a member of the faculty of the State Teachers College, the student body was organized into a junior Red Cross chapter with a one hundred per cent membership. The first important piece of work was the creation of a war chest fund in which every student and all members of the faculty had a part. Each student then enrolled in the school contributed $10.00 and the members of the faculty gave a percentage of salary. The whole amounted to $2,000. This amount was divided among the various organizations doing war work, such as the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Refugee workers, etc. The students, who graduated or left the college during the war period, were definitely instructed as to the methods of organizing junior Red Cross chapters and many organizations sprang from the parent chapter. Hundreds of pairs of sacks, dozens of sweaters, several rag rugs, hundreds of scrap books for hospitals, and dozens of layette; for refugees were made by tile students. Two of the members of the home economics department made a beautiful silk flag for the Red Cross which is still in possession of the college. Other work done in co-operation with the town chapter included the making of hospital garments and surgical supplies. Miss Montague conducted a course of instruction in first aid which was taken by a large group of both town and college people. Dr. J. A. Noblin examined the members of this class and each member received a certificate.
During the influenza epidemic of 1918 and 1919 students and faculty gave voluntarily of their strength, time and service. Under the supervision of nurses and doctors they tools care of children, old people and the chronically diseased, as well as those suffering from influenza and assisted in the operation of emergency hospitals and diet kitchens.
Health classes were conducted in the college and the lessons learned from these classes became a vital part of the daily lives of those taking the instruction. The desire to put the knowledge gained to practical use in the community was evident. Health clubs were organized and these participated in all community projects -which had for their object the betterment of health conditions.
The students in the college studied the courses sent out by the United States Food Administration. During the summer demonstrations were given in the use of home products, canning and preserving of foods and the use of milk and cheese products. Assembly periods of the college were given over to speakers of the Red Cross and other relief organizations of the country and a great amount of information was thus disseminated.
Cooking classes by government experts were held for the benefit of the students from time to time. These classes were thrown open to town people and proved to be particularly helpful to those who did not have the privilege of attending the college classes in home economics conducted by Miss McLege Moffitt, head of the department. The college put on the course in food conservation authorized by Mr. Hoover, thus fitting students for local leaders in this department of work.
Dean Moffitt, Miss Coppedge and Miss Florence Baird have always ben eager to help in the activities of the town. Miss Ellen Coppedge has had charge of the junior Red Cross since the war and has kept it up to its one hundred per cent membership and efficiency standard.
Radford's attitude toward the draft had nothing to distinguish it from that of other Virginia communities. A few exemptions were asked because of dependents, and others failed to pass the physical examination. The attitude toward the draft was generally favorable. Montgomery County and the city of Radford together registered 1,689 men. It is said that, in comparison with other towns of its size, the city stood second in the State in the number of volunteers.
Miss Agnes Miller and Miss Mary Ross signed up for the Navy. Miss Cecilia Turner, an army nurse, served in France.
Mention was made in the pre-war section of this narrative of Company M, and also of the organization of a hospital unit. As reported by the Radford News of August 8, 1917, the officers of these two companies at that time were: Company M--James W. Wright, captain: Elliott H. Howe, first lieutenant; William P. Nye second lieutenant; Alfred R. Harvey, first sergeant ; George McC. Spangler, acting first sergeant, and sergeants. Joseph B. Ruffin, James R. Anderson, Rufus J. Bond, Charles A. Stump and Eugene Carper.
Field Hospital Company-Dr. J. C. Bowman, major, commanding ; Dr. Guy B. Denit, lieutenant; Lieutenant Harper and Sergeants William E. Kemp, John J. Geisen, Selah A. Sharp, Templeton Morris, Saul Simon, and George E. Sullivan.
Company M with full equipment went on guard duty on the Norfolk and Western April 12, 1917 from Pepper funnel to Seven Mile Ford. All bridges and tunnels were guarded and each squad had its own camp. Radford was headquarters. It was also battalion headquarters under Captain Bullitt. The company was later trained at Camp McClellan and served in France with the 116th Infantry.
Radford had a company of Virginia State Volunteers known as "The Radford Home Guards." The history and roster of this company may be found in the Virginia War History Commission's Source Volume No. IV--'Virginia War Agencies, Selective Draft and Volunteers."
The writer of this sketch has secured and sent to the office of the Virginia War History Commission sketches of the service of some of Radford's heroes who offered up their lives in the World War. Space will not permit the publication here of these personal histories but the names of these men who made the great sacrifice may be given.
The first of Radford's men to be killed in France was Lieutenant Alfred Rorer Harvey of the 130th Infantry. He was killed by a sniper's bullet on August 22, 1918, while doing patrol duty in No Man's Land.
Sergeant Jake Carper, 38th Infantry, was killed in action on October 11, 1918. His record shows that he participated in six separate engagements, several of them major offensives.
Lieutenant Elliott H. Howe, 116th Infantry, 29th Division, was instantly killed while leading his company through Consenvoye Woods, north of Verdun, on October 11, 1918. Major Hierome L. Opie, his commanding officer, wrote a letter of commendation of Lieutenant Howe which may be found in the Virginia War History Commission's Source Volume I.
William Thomas Johnson, 104th Sanitarv Train, 29th Division, after an honorable war career in France where he bore a part in actual fighting at the front, died of a long and lingering illness at Walter Reid Hospital.
Captain George R. Venable, U. S. N ., died aboard the U . S. S. New Mexico. He was decorated by the King of Belgium with the Order of Leopold.
According to Mr. Fred Harvey of the First National Bank of Radford, the city was able to meet its quota in the First Liberty Loan, although at that time people were uneducated to the need of private loans for financing the war. In the Second Liberty Loan the women took a hand. Mrs. John Hagan of Danville was appointed State chairman of the Woman's Liberty Loan Committee. Mrs. Mark Reid of Radford was appointed chairman for Southwest Virginia and an effort was made to organize a working committee in every town. Mrs. Reid was chairman for Radford and Montgomery County in the last three loan drives. The Radford News of October 31, 1917, carried the headline-"Radford Does Her Bond Share." The First National Bank sold $60,900 worth of bonds the Farmers and Merchants Bank over $12,000 worth, the Radford State Bank, $6,000 worth. These total nearly $80,000. In addition to this amount, however, Mr. Heald, whose head office is in Lynchburg, took $5,000 worth of bonds and the Radford railroad men subscribed through the Norfolk and Western offices. giving Roanoke the credit. It is said that the employees of the pipe and furnace works (V. I. C. C.) with head offices respectively at Lynchburg and Roanoke, also subscribed through headquarters. It is likely, therefore, that Radford really reached her quota of $104,000.2
In the Third Loan, Radford oversubscribed her quota of $61,000.3
The Fourth Liberty Loan campaign was a decided success also. The quota for the city was $131,000 and the amount subscribed $155,000.4
The Victory Loan was oversubscribed, emphasizing the loyalty of those who had been called upon daily- for contributions to many forms of war-time endeavor.
Mrs. Mark Reid, chairman of the Woman's Committee, had a splendid corps of workers. In the West Ward they were Miss Virginia Bailey, Mrs. A. V. Miles, Mrs. W. H. Painter, Mrs. William Ingles, Jr., Mrs. Lewis Ingles, Mrs. Roy Hurt. Mr. Henry Roberts and Mr. Hoge Brown. In the East Ward -Miss Eloise Harrison, chairman; Mrs. J. P. Whitt, Mrs. Walter Roberts, Jr., Miss Annie Kuhn Roberts, Miss Sallie Einstein, Miss Mary Louise Galway, Miss Aline Cassell, Miss Helen Jones, Mrs. J. P. McConnell, Miss E. F. Lawrence, Mrs. Harvey Barnett.
The Montgomery County committee was enthusiastic and thoroughly interested through all the campaigns. They held all day picnics and secured splendid speakers at every gathering. Among the speakers in the interest of bond sales were: Captain Jerome Touzen of the French High Commission, Captain A. M. Dobie of General Cronkhite's staff, Rabbi E. N. Calisch, Edward F. Trafz, Senator E. Lee Trinkle, Hon. Thomas A. Muncy, Judge G. E. Cassell, Dr. J. P. McConnell, Prof. Joseph Avent, Prof. William E. Gilbert, R. J. Neel, and many others.
A Liberty Train was brought to the city on October 11, 1918. It bore the following slogans: "If you can't fight, your money can," "Don't hold out on the boys, every dollar helps," "Our men have gone across to protect us, let's come across to protect them," "Fight the Hun over there by buying bonds over here." The train contained many field pieces and other war trophies, and the speaker was a soldier who told of the experiences overseas. A second train carrying an imitation Liberty Bell stopped on October 14, 1918, and judge Cassell who accompanied the train, spoke and introduced Dr. McConnell.5
Mr. Ben Hagan, cashier of the Bank of Christiansburg, who was chairman for all the Liberty Loans for Montgomery County and the city of Radford, brought many attractions to stimulate the interest of the people, all of which proved a great impetus to the work and to the buying of bonds. The Liberty Loan figures for the county and city combined were:6
|Loan||Maximum Apportionment||Amount Subscribed||Subscribers|
|First Loan||No record kept.|
|Second Loan||$337,250||$ 269,500||384|
The War Savings Stamps sales were directed by Hon. R. L. Jordon. He was untiring in his efforts to bring the city tip to its apportionment. The Boy Scouts were active in these campaigns, as were also many other organizations.
The latter part of the war the Radford State Bank had to close for lack of a cashier. The war was a great impetus to all business and helped the banks very materially. Mr. Ferd Harvey, cashier of the First National Bank, was chairman of the Men's Committee in the Liberty Loan campaigns. Mr. W. H. Galway, cashier of the Farmers and Merchants National Bank, was the first person in Radford to set his clock ahead when daylight saving was put into effect.
Secretary Hoover appointed Mrs. Mary Moffitt, chairman of Food Conservation for the city of Radford. Her committee was composed of the representative women of the town and as a result of their activities fully eighty per cent of the housewives of Radford pledged themselves to obey government regulations in the matter of food conservation. This committee distributed a great deal of literature and information on the subject of food substitutes. Mrs. Moffitt tried out in her own kitchen practically all the substitutes offered for wheat and the results were passed on to the women of the community.
The people of the city were consistent in their observance of meatless and wheatless days. Although no estimate can be made of the amount of flour and meat saved in the town, we feel that it is safe to say that it was equal, in proportion to the population, of that conserved in any part of the nation.
Ex-Governor J. Hoge Tyler was appointed Food Administrator for Montgomery County and the city of Radford. He served faithfully and well, although handicapped by bad health. There was no known violation of the sugar and wheat ruling, and beef was almost entirely eliminated from most tables for months. The following table shows the variation in cost of staple necessities:
|Category||Before the War||During the War||After the War|
|Onions||3 cents lb.||10c lb||5c lb.|
|Apples||$1.00 bu.||$1.50 bu.||$1.25 bu.|
|Cabbage||$1.00 per 100||$3.00||$3.00|
|Potatoes||$1.00 per bu.||$2.00 per bu||$2.25|
|Butter||30c. per lb.||50c||.40c|
|Tomatoes||8c. per can||20c per can||15c|
|Beans||6c. to 8c. per lb||12c to 15 c||8 c. to 13c|
|Bananas||6c. per lb.||15c per lb.||10c.|
|Oranges||30c. per doz||60c||50c|
|Boiling meat.||l0c. per lb.||40c||25c|
|Breakfast bacon||30c. per lb.||45c||45c|
|Pure lard||l0c. per lb.||40c||23c|
|Flour (24 lbs.)||$1.00||$2.00||$1.40|
|Meal (24 lbs.)||75c.||$1.00||85c|
|Beef (on foot)||about 8c. per lb||20c||10c|
|Pork (on foot)||about 7c.||20c||14c|
|Lamb (on foot)||about 8c.||20c||7c|
On April 3, 1918, Gov. Tyler issued the following orders "Householders are to use not exceeding one and one-half pounds of wheat per person per week. Public eating places and clubs are to observe two wheatless days per week-Monday and Wednesday as at present, and in addition thereto they are not to serve to any one guest at any one meal an aggregate of breadstuff, macaroni, crackers, pastry, pies, cakes, wheat, breakfast cereals, containing more than two ounces of wheat flour. No wheat products are to be used unless specially ordered. Public eating establishments are not to buy more than six pounds of wheat products for each ninety meals served, etc.
"I have appointed the following speakers for Radford: Rev. H. B. Worley, director of speakers; Rev. M. A. Stevenson, Rev. W. J. Hubbard, Hon. R. L. Jordon, Dr. J. P. McConnell, Prof. W. E Gilbert. The three last-named gentlemen have promised to help all they can in the county. I have also appointed as local home directors and assistant speakers, Mrs. M. S. Moffitt and Mrs. Mark Reid.
"Meatless days are discontinued for thirty days."
Prof. W. E. Gilbert was appointed chairman of Montgomery County Agricultural Council of Safety on May 21, 1917. Gov. Stuart also appointed Mrs. Mark Reid to serve on this council. It was through Prof. Gilbert's influence that a carload of tin containers was secured for immediate use in the county.
Mrs. Reid was appointed home economics director for the city of Radford. Mr. Hoover made this appointment on November 1, 1918. Mrs. Reid was also chairman of the Woman's division of the local branch of the National Council of Defense and held other offices pertaining to government work.
Labor conditions in Radford, while acute at times, were not serious as compared with other cities. The demand for labor could not be met because of the shortage brought about by the draft and the rush for higher wages offered at government plants. Those who were left made exorbitant charges for their services. The strike on the Norfolk and Western caused strife, turmoil and much hard feeling, though the railroad company handled the situation with the greatest efficiency.
During the war there were houses and apartments to spare, but toward the end of the conflict and since, houses and rooms have been much in demand.
The president of the Radford plant, Lynchburg Foundry Company, Mr. L. H. McWane, gives the following information regarding the war work of his organization. He explains that when the European War began in 1914 it precipitated one of the greatest depressions ever known in the iron and steel business of the country. "Conditions in the cast iron pipe trade were especially bad. The plants of the Lynchburg Foundry Company were compelled to operate on part time because prices had reached a point where profit was out of the question and the main concern of the officers of the company was to operate as many days per week as possible to keep our workmen from suffering. Realizing that municipalities would not be able to finance their improvement projects during the war, it was decided to change the character of our output. There was great demand for flanged material and the immediately took steps to increase this line of our business. We were offered large contracts for shrapnel, but as our facilities were not good for handling this work we decided to manufacture material for which we were better prepared and the flanged field offered great possibilities.
"Along about this time work was started on a powder plant at Hopewell and we were able to get the contract for pipe material. The volume at first was small as it was not intended to build a large plant but as the European War progressed and the needs for power increased work was rushed with all haste. We were soon overwhelmed with orders and "speed" was the watchword. On one occasion some special castings were required to complete an installation and delivery was desired in ten days. After much figuring we advised our customer that it was impossible to deliver the material under two weeks. He immediately replied that we must get the word "impossible" out of our vocabulary, that nothing was impossible if one had the will to do the thing, and the needs of the situation required superhuman effort. Our men caught the idea. They worked nights and Sundays and the castings were shipped by express while still hot-but within the required time.
"When the Hopewell plant was enlarged in 1916 to meet the increased demand for powder to be shipped to England, orders were given us for pipe and fittings in such volume that we had to take immediate steps for the installation of molding machines and other equipment for quantity production. Where two men had been making twenty fittings daily they were soon able to produce seventy. A night gang was put on in our machine shop and practically our entire organization worked overtime. Solid carloads of material were shipped by express. The Hopewell plant was completed ahead of schedule and deliveries of powder were made to the Allies at a time when the situation was desperate. General Hedlam of the British army is said to have remarked that the DuPont Company was entitled to the credit for saving the British Empire in 1915. If the DuPont Company saved the British Empire by furnishing powder at the crucial moment does it not follow that the Lynchburg Foundry Company had a part in making possible this accomplishment and that the employees of the Radford plant who labored incessantly day and night to make good were truly heroes in the strictest sense of the word?
"In the construction of the Hopewell plant we furnished 10,308 tons of material or about 500 carloads, and we furnished it on time.
"When the DuPont Company was engaged to construct the giant powder plant at Nashville, Tenn., the Lynchburg Foundry Company was called in on the job and given a contract for pipe and fittings totaling about a million dollars. It seemed impossible for our plant to handle this enormous order within the time allowed, but we knew our men and when it was put up to them they took hold with the same fighting spirit that manifested itself in the boys "over there" and the first unit of the new plant was started three months ahead of time. A large volume of work was required for the DuPonts at Carney's Point, N. J.; Barksdale, Wisconsin; Harrison, N. J.; Indian Head, Maryland, and Wilmington, Delaware, and at the time the Armistice was signed work had been started on a large T. N. T. plan at Ives Wisconsin, but this order was canceled.
"Our activities were not confined to the powder mills. In the construction of the various cantonments we were called upon for large quantities of bell and spigot pipe and fittings for quick shipment and we supplied material for Camp Lee, Virginia; Camp Greene, Charlotte N. C.: Camp Meade, Md.; Camp Morrison, Virginia; Camp Abraham Eustis, Virginia; ; Langley Field, Virginia; Camp Sevier, S. C., and Camp Wadsworth, S. C. Other government orders consisted of work for Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland, the Navy Department and the Emergency Fleet Corporation.
"The total volume of work that has been furnished by us exclusively for war purposes since 1915 aggregates $2,727,436.84, constituting a tonnage of 46,000 or about 3,000 minimum car loads.
"During the various Liberty Loan campaigns the company made it a rule to invest every cent possible in bonds. An arrangement was made to handle them for our employees on the partial payment plan and no interest was charged. They bought very liberally of each loan and to date (Jan. 20, 1919) the company and its employees have subscribed for over $500,000 worth of these bonds. A War Savings Stamp Society had been formed and through this society our employees purchased $20,000 worth of these stamps. The company has given stamps as Christmas presents.
"In the various war service campaigns the company and employees have subscribed approximately $15,000, divided among the Red Cross, the Y.M.C.A., United War Work and other mediums. There have been thirty-seven of the Radford employees in service. They are Fred Austin, Sol Akers, Dave Austin, Tom Austin, Robert, Albert and Charles Bell, Harold Bienkamper, Blaney Burks, Gilbert Bess, Charles Bowman, Lewis Clark, Jesse Clark, Hugh Dehart, Charles Farmer, Bernard Farmer, Thomas Hoffmaster, Fred Hornbarger, Robert Harvey, Roy Hurd, Arthur James, Ray Kirkner, Milton Kirkner, Harry Laughon, Ernest Long. James F. Miller, H. E. McWane, Forest Otey, Sam Palmer, Henry Rader, Clarence Ring. James Talbert, Mike Wilson, Jake Whitt, Fred Whitt, Russell Wayne, Houston Wilson, and Shep Wimms.
"On October 1, 1918 the pipe works had an inspiring flag raising. The men piled themselves up on stacked pipes while the townspeople gathered about a small stand for the speakers, erected under a tree. Others drew up closely in their cars. On the platform were Fred McWane, Rev. H. B. Brown, Henry Roberts, Judge Cassell, Rev. M. A. Stevenson, Judge Gardner and Rev. J. H. Whitmore. The flag was raised by Mayor Delp. A special feature was the singing of the colored quartet."
The principal product of this plant, which is owned and operated by John H. Heald & Co., Inc., of Lynchburg, is tanning extract used in the tanning of animal hides.
Practically the entire European country was dependent upon the French for their supply of tanning materials, and when France entered the war the European source of supply was cut off and the Allied governments had to call upon the manufacturers of the United States. The output of our plant during the years 1917 and 1918 was approximately 30,000.000 pounds of extract per annum, this being furnished to tanners under direct contract with the United States and Allied governments to furnish leather for making shoes and other leather goods for their soldiers.
The selective draft materially affected the organization, but despite the shortage of labor the plant was successful in n maintaining operation at full capacity during the entire war period. The extracts were manufactured from Chestnut Wood, Oak and Hemlock barks furnished by the farmers and others within a radius of sixty miles of Radford.
Mr. E. E. Heald and Mr. Joe Wyatt of this company were prominent in all the activities of Radford.
This organization continued their activities during the war period. After the government took charge of the railroads they moved their offices to Roanoke and worked directly for the government, severing all connection with the various lumber companies that there should be no entanglements while serving their country. The company worked in what was called the Pocahontas regions, comprising the Norfolk & Western Railway, the Virginian and the Cumberland & Ohio. Mr. Turner and Mr. Myers of the office force were in the service.
Dr. John Geisen, one of the founders of the Radford Ice Corporation, was a member of the Radford Medical Corps. He has the following to say in regard to the work of the Radford Ice Corporation during the war: "This company contributed no great part to the winning of the war other than to maintain the business and operate it satisfactorily to tine owners and the public which it served with depleted forces. Its retail coal department was an authorized distributor for the Federal Fuel Administrator in Radford. Its soda water department co-operated in the saving of sugar by reducing the output of soft drinks to seventy-five per cent of the pre-war average. It aided the transportation of perishable foods by railway refrigerator car service by maintaining an icing station in Radford for initially icing and re-icing these cars. Several of its regular employees went into the service of the government anti the company managed to continue to operate without employing other men to take their places.
On July 7, 1917, the Red Cross chapter was organized. I.. E. Heald was elected president; J. D. Bird, treasurer, and Miss Marie Louise Galway, secretary.7 On December 17th a "County Fair" was a decided success, $115 being cleared. Miss Minnie Howe was in charge of the bazaar and deserves much credit for the way she managed it. Those in charge of the different booths were: Mesdames William Ingles, Jr., R. T. Edmondson, A. V. Miles, F. M. Combiths; Misses Virginia Bally and Anne Cassell, all of whom had their associates.8 In March much wool was needed, and the chapter decided to put on a drive to raise money for this purpose. It was a splendid success.9
Miss Pearl Truxell, school nurse, for the benefit of the Red Cross and from a health stand point, gave the little play "The Bluebird." There were two performances, one at the Colonial and one at Dreamland. The Four-Minute speakers took this opportunity to speak of other phases of war work.10
October 3, 1917, Dr. J. P. McConnell had been appointed superintendent of the Red Cross work in Virginia west of Roanoke County. Prof. W. E. Gilbert was appointed as assistant superintendent of the western division of Virginia. Both Prof. Gilbert and Prof. Avent carried the Red Cross message to many counties.
May, 1918, one of the greatest demonstrations of patriotism ever held in Radford was a gigantic parade participated in by practically every person in town. Prof. Joseph Avent received something of an ovation as chairmen of this great Red Cross and War Chest Fund drive.
Among the speakers at the winding up of the drive were Hon. H. C. Tyler, Dr. McConnell, Rev. Mr. Brown, F. M. Jones, Mrs. William Ingles, Jr., Mrs., Walter Roberts, Jr., Mrs. Mark Reid, and A. Roberts. The goal had been set at $5,000, at the final count $15,000 had been raised.
At the Red Cross annual meeting December, 1918, Rev. J. H. Whitmore was elected president; Mrs. George Lyle, vice-president; G. M. Roberts, treasurer, and Miss Emma Dodds, Secretary. Executive committee-Mrs. W. B. Fuqua, captain; J. G. Osborne, captain; Tom Roberts, Mrs. Fanning Miles, H. C. Tyler, Mrs. Joseph Avent, Dr. McConnell, Mrs. Bricker, and Mr. Luther Copenhaver.11
The Red Cross drive for membership brought the roll up to one thousand. Thomas Jones was elected treasurer of the War Chest Fund, Prof. William E. Gilbert , treasurer of the Red Cross Chapter and Taylor Martin, Red Cross secretary.12
Others who served as officers or heads of departments were Mrs. R. L. Jordon, Mrs. C. R. Epling, Mrs. F. M. Jones, Rev. M. A. Stevenson, Miss Mary W. Montague, Miss Elizabeth Ward. Prof. William Gilbert was treasurer for three year. He was succeeded by Clarence Hall who still holds that office.
There were two workrooms, one in each ward. The normal school kindly gave a room for tile use of the workers, Min. Mary W. Montague was in charge of it. Mr. Lewis Harvey gave a room in the west ward of which Mrs. George W. Lyle was in charge. Chairmen of the knitting units were: Mrs. C. R. Epling, Mrs. W. B. Fuqua, Mrs. W. H. Painter, Mrs. L. Kearling, Mrs. G. T . Patterson, Mrs. I. J. Bradley, Mrs. Bryan (normal school), Mrs. L. O. Bullard, Mrs. R. Cox, Mrs. Hoge Brown, Mrs. Pamplin, Mrs. G. O. Bank, Mrs. Charles Roby, Miss Lottie Roberts and Mrs. James King.
Knitting-Mrs. C. R. Epling, chairman-sweaters, 140; helmets, 19 ; socks, 800 pairs; shawls, 9; wristlets, 50 pairs; mufflers, 38; hot water bottle covers, 14, and wash cloths, 12.
Sewing-Mrs. G. W. Lyle, chairman-refugee garments, 288; garments mended for soldiers at Camp Lee, 2,100; layettes composed of 800 articles, utility bags, 50; Christmas packages, 1.62; bed sheets, 309; pajamas, 56, and a number of night shirts.
Home Service Committee, Mrs. L. P. Kearsley, chairman; Prof. William E. Gilbert, Miss Virginia Bailey, R. N., and Henry T. Roberts. These served several years. The committee spent about $2,800.00. Telegrams about $4.00. Twenty-five hundred dollars was spent in making public schools sanitary ; approved by headquarters.
Surgical dressings-Miss Virginia Bailey, R. N., chairman-The Virginia Iron, Coal and Coke Co. and the Lynchburg Foundry13 gave the long tables for the workers and a large enclosed closet for finished work. The following work was done: 80 gauze strips 6 by 3 yards; 80 gauze compresses 9 by 9 inches; 700 gauze compresses 4 by 4 inches; 6,000 gauze wipes 4 by 4 inches.
William E. Gilbert, professor social science in Radford State Teachers College, made numerous addresses and organized chapters and branches in several nearby towns and counties. He assisted the chairman in junior Red Cross work also.
There were three first-aid classes. Dr. W. B. Fuqua conducted one in the west ward in the fall of 1918. This was a large class, those receiving certificates were: Miss Anne Kenderdine, Ruth Nye, Ethel Haney, Mrs. Evelyn Lyle Carneal, Katherine Giesen, Mrs. Elizabeth Sembler and Virginia Bailey. The second class was discontinued on account of influenza. Dr. J. A. Noblin held a class in the east ward, beginning April 1, 1918. Those he instructed were: William Maginnis, Misses Mildred Pamplin, Louie Roberts, Annie K. Roberts, Wary Gladstone, Hazel Wynn, Mary Burgess, Lillian Simmons, Olive Smith, Mary NV. Montague, Mrs. Gordon `V. Roberts and Miss Pearl Truxell, school nurse.
Dr. J. P. McConnell was appointed State chairman of the junior Red Cross and made frequent visits to Washington and conferred over the activities of this organization.
During the fall of 1918 when influenza visited every home, Mrs. Mark Reid opened up the Old West End Hotel for an emergency hospital. Soldiers never fought more bravely on the battlefield than the women of Radioed. They were indefatigable in their efforts to aid the sick, the sorrowful and the poor. Those who had had the first-aid lessons were indispensible in nursing.
There were many boxes sent to the Canteen in Roanoke. Coffee was served at the station in East Radford and to the soldiers on passing trains several times.
The War Chest Fund was divided as follows: National Red Cross, 40 per cent: Local Red Cross, 40 per cent; Y.M.C.A.. 10 per cent, and Armenian and Syrian Relief, 10 per cent.
At the time Company M and the Hospital Corps were in camp in the city, every home was open to the men, and all organizations did what they could for their comfort and happiness.
The Boy Scouts under the able leadership of the Rev. H. A. Stevenson were always ready to answer any call. They helped in parades and campaigns of all kinds, and deserve much credit for their cheerfulness and their loyalty under all conditions.
The Radford Chapter, U. D. C., and the New River Grays Chapter, U. D. C., contributed money, members and time to all relief work. The Armenian and Syrian Relief work has been carried on through all organizations, industries, and churches.
During the influenza epidemic the people supplied the. emergency hospital with food and other necessities for weeks at a time. A Liberty Loan drive was on and an urgent call to rally to the War Savings Stamps campaign came at about the same time. Every individual rallied to the call.
In December, 1914, the following acknowledgment of Belgian contributions appeared in the News:
"N. & W. Railway Co.,
"Roanoke, Va., Dec. 10, 1914.
"MRS. WILLIAM INGLES,
MY DEAR MRS. INGLES:
"I thank you very much for your letter of the 9th enclosing check for $44.60 for the Belgian Fund. It is very much appreciated and I think we are doing the work for a very worthy charity.
"Very truly yours,
WILLIAM S. BATTLE, JR.,
Chairman Sixth District.
The total amount donated was $511.10.
In May, 1919, the Radford War Camp Community Service was organized with the following executive committee: G. L . Sullivan, chairman: N. C. Hankla, treasurer; H. C. Tyler. W. M. Delp, H. M. Brown, Dr. J. P. McConnell, J. B. Wyatt, F. E. Grayson, Mrs. W. R. Roberts, Mrs. Mark Reid. There was little that this committee could do in this community. It helped the soldiers secure back pay due them by the government, and it helped the boys in securing their liberty bonds and adjusting payments. Some of the men were helped financially. A large number of War Camp Community pins were furnished and also a directory of the Camp Circles in all leading cities.14.
At this period there was no branch of the Salvation Army in the city, but during 1918 the people conducted a campaign for funds for this organization. Judge G. E. Cassell was made chairman of the drive. The campaign proved very popular, thirteen hundred dollars being subscribed.
Singing in the City of Radford had a place among other war activities and was instrumental in arousing much enthusiasm. Frequent "Sings" were held at public halls, school clubs, movie houses and wherever public gatherings of any kind were held. At these assemblies national songs were sung, songs of home, and songs stressing patriotism, saving and giving. Singing was even engaged in on the occasion of patriotic parades, and when there was to be "rear-platform" speaking at the railroad station singing was included on the program. Many of the special songs for these patriotic rallies were written, both words and music, by Florence C. Baird. Some of these songs used in Radford and the surrounding section were "Stand Behind the Boys," "Kaiser Bill, We're After You." "Buy a Bond," "Help Your Uncle Sammie" and others. "Stand Behind the Boys" was written especially for girls' and women's clubs and was sung during the period when it became necessary to stimulate the drooping spirits of the home folks.
Miss Baird visited remote rural sections to teach patriotic songs and even vent into places where the realization of war conditions had not penetrated. The R.O.T.C. at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute came in for a share of the "Sings" which Miss Baird instituted before there was a regular song leader at that place. Wherever there was a rally of any consequence in or around Radford, a "Sing" was held in connection with the exercises.
Miss Baird frequently used a group of students from the State Teachers College to aid her in the singing when visiting near-by towns and in the rural communities. Each "Music Week" during the war period was observed by conducting a number of local "sings." A permanent interest in music seems to have resulted from these war-time songs and it is much easier to arouse interest in musical performances than formerly. "Music Week" is an established part of the annual plans and artist concerts are now possible in the little city.
This fraternity had in service in the World War: S. C. Burton, George W. Bond, H. R. French, William E. Kemp, C. D. Luca, H. L. Morehead, Saul Simon, L. W. Turner, R. E. Vaughan, J. C. Turner, E. R. Wall. Those that saw service overseas were: H. R. French, W. E. Kemp, C. D. Lucas, H. L. Morehead, Saul Simon, L. W. Turner, and R. E. Vaughan. All returned and were honorably discharged.
The lodge bought $2,500.00 worth of Liberty Bonds and $500-00 worth of War Savings Stamps. Each member in service was issued a Grand Lodge certificate and was exempt from the payment of dues. Masonry in Radford is notably on the increase since the War. This is also true of other fraternities in the city.
Mrs. W. H. Painter, the war-time secretary of the club, has furnished the following information regarding the war work of this organization.
The first chairman of the Red Cross in Radford was a member of the Woman's Club as were the three members of the Red Cross knitting committee. Radford's first school nurse was secured by the club. She was Miss Pearl Truxell, head of the surgical dressings department of the Red Cross. Miss Truxell lost her life during the influenza epidemic, giving it as truly and as heroically as did the men on the battlefield. The club encouraged in its programs all patriotic work and gave at least one Red Cross program in its entirety.
The junior superintendent interested the school children in growing vegetables and had an enthusiastic agricultural club. The club members were all food conservationists and had a committee to follow up the work of the pledge cards signed throughout the city. They each had backyard gardens, observed the government rules regarding sugar and flour substitutes, observed "meatless" and "wheatless" days, etc. When the Thrift program endorsed by national and State federated clubs was inaugurated by our government, Mrs. Mark Reid, then president of the Woman's Club, was made chairman of Thrift in Radford. She at once had a chairman and committee at work in her local club. During the succeeding year a part of the time of each meeting was given to the subject and sometimes the entire meeting resolved itself into a Thrift meeting. One tally on Thrift given by Mrs. Mary Moffitt, a member of the club, is worthy of special mention. Mrs. V. H. Painter, the club Thrift chairman, urged each member to make out a monthly budget and take out her tithe money first and let her savings come next. The following slogan was adopted:
"Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it,
Tackle more than you can do, then do it,
Hitch your wagon to a star, keep your seat and there you are."
As a result of the saving policy adopted by the club may be quoted the following article sent out to all Virginia papers by the publicity department of the War Loan Organization:
"What is probably the thrift record for this section of the United States has been made by the Woman's Club of Radford. Replies to questionnaires sent out recently to club members in Virginia, Maryland. West Virginia and the Carolinas show that tile Radford Woman's Club walks off with the honors, having invested in twenty-one Treasury Savings certificates with a maturity value of $100.00 each, 444 War Savings Stamps, and 67 Thrift Stamps. The membership of the club is 40."
The club held an automobile parade in the interest of the Second Liberty Loan and the amount of bonds purchased by Radford women in this loan had a value of $3,550. In the Third Loan the Woman's Club committee secured $33,950 worth of bonds-a little more than half the amount purchased by the city. The club also bought a bond.
On December 19, 1921, the Woman's Club unveiled with appropriate ceremony the marble tablets and drinking fountains to the memory of Pearl Truxell, school nurse, who gave her life during the influenza epidemic in October, 1918. This was the second memorial to a nurse ever unveiled in the United States.
Charles Miller, Missouri Edwards, Mary Julia Jones and others gave valuable assistance during the war. The Rev. Charles Miller has given the writer his written views upon "the value of the war to the colored soldiers" which it is impossible to reproduce here. A few quotations from this paper, however, may be of interest. First he states that approximately one hundred colored men of Radford and immediate vicinity "went forth to serve the government, to face the enemy, to be baptized in the flames and smoke amid the din and roar of the sharp click of death-dealing rifle, mutilating balls and choking, stifling gas bombs, and to prove their value as American soldiers and good citizens." He claims for these men that "their loyalty and willingness was on a parity with any soldiers anywhere."
Some of the benefits of the war to the colored race are summed up by Rev. Miller as follows:
In closing his paper this colored minister says that he knows of no place where there is less friction between the races than in the little city of Radford, attributing this to the "fair-minded, liberal-hearted white citizens." He asserts that "the war did not in any way disturb the peaceful relations existing between its here," and gives it as his opinion that whatever change in the relationship of the races may have taken place in other localities because of the war, "one lesson is apparent and has been made plain to us all. That is that the whites of this country are true to teaching, habit, custom, environment and tradition, none of which can be changed, overturned, uprooted, nor set aside in a day."
Plans, all of which proved a failure, were made to welcome the boys home. They returned in small groups at different times and seemed averse to any demonstration whatsoever. Their wishes were respected and after three or four efforts to do them honor and to let them know- how proud Radford was of them they were accepted as quietly as though they were private citizens. Economically, Radford suffered. Prices continued high in proportion to salaries and wages and, while wages have continued to decrease, food and other merchandise seem to continue on the increase.
Harvey-Howe Post of the American Legion was organized in Radford and the Woman's Auxiliary to the Legion was organized on May 12, 1923, under the leadership of Mrs. R. B. Adam, of Roanoke, district chairman. The following officers were elected: President, Miss Minnie Howe; first vice-president. Mrs. Frank Martin; second vice-president, Mrs. H. T. Bond secretary, Mrs. Ambrose Wilson; treasurer, Mrs. Robert S. Hopkins; chaplain, Mrs. A. S. Johnson; historian, Miss Elizabeth Brown; gold star mother, Mrs. Cora Buck.
The auxiliary's activities have consisted in the sale of poppies, the presentation of a musical comedy for the benefit of the ex-service men, a social and picnic held jointly with the Legion Post and assistance given in Armistice Day celebration. They have contributed to the following causes: Christmas fund for disabled soldiers at Catawba, grave fund, first aid kit given to the community nurse. A number of articles made by the boys of the Davis clinic at Marion were placed on sale for the benefit of the boys. The chapter was represented at the annual State convention at Fredericksburg.