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A History of De Kalb During the World's War
History of the Town of De Kalb, St. Lawrence County, New York
during the World’s War. by William J. Heckles

(Unpublished manuscript in Historian’s Archives)

De Kalb being more of a farming community than one of Towns and Villages, in reality no large Villages, and also no newspapers being published within its borders, naturally all its War activities were printed in newspapers of nearby Towns, through correspondents from the different communities, and its record compares favorably with all the other Towns in the county of St. Lawrence.

In enlistment and War Work Societies it was early in the field, and the number of enlistments on June 9th 1917 were the largest number reported from any locality in a single day during the period of the war. All its quotas in whatever endeavor were promptly met and no one was lacking ardor to carry on.

The first organization was the ladies of Richville, Community War Relief Workers, soon to be followed by the Navy League Comforts Committee at Richville. Then the National League for Women’s service at De Kalb Junction.

Then followed the organizations of the Red Cross Auxiliaries being formed at Richville, which reported to Gouverneur, with its Auxiliary on Gimlet Street. The Auxiliary at De Kalb Junction reporting to Canton. The work and their organizations will be reported more fully later on these pages.

History of the Red Cross in Richville.

First: The Junior Red Cross.
Organized Jan 26th 1918.
First Meeting was held on this date at the Richville School House at 3 O’clock P.M.
63 members organized the society. $14.45 was received. Materials costing $3.21 were purchased. At the second meeting Feb. 9th 1918. Six new members were added. Sixty-nine in all.

Meetings were held regularly and the total amount taken in money was $42.50. (There followed a page long list of garments bandages clothes etc. made and donated.)

The Senior Richville Auxiliary of the Red Cross, a branch of the Gouverneur Branch was formed at a meeting held at Forester’s Hall in Richville, Monday evening September 10, 1917.

Mr. F. B. Beaman was temporarily in the chair.
The following officers were duly elected:
Mr. F. B. Beaman..........Permanent Chair
Mrs. Henry Ells.............Vice-President
Mrs. J. McCarthy...........Treasurer
Alice Spooner...............Secretary

Meetings were held every two weeks at the homes of members and a total of 206 members were enrolled during its’ existence.

At the annual election held in September 1918, all the old officers were continued in office until the end of their activities. A large amount of their work was donated to the men going from Richville and vicinity in the early enlistments.

(There followed a four-page list of items made and moneys donated through out the war.)

To the $100,000,000. National Red Cross Fund there were subscribed $73.50.

The Executive Committee for the Richville Branch districts was as follows:

A.J. Grey Ch., Gomer Davis, Rev. F.E. Loan, Mrs. J.D. McCarty, Mrs. E.H. Johnson, F.S. Walker Ch., A.F. Spooner, M. Etta Barber, Mrs. L.D. McClure, Ford Smith, Henry Gray Ch. Mr. And Mrs.Orlo Hurlbut, Mr. And Mrs. James Hall, Mr. And Mrs. Haden, Isaac McCauley Ch. Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Smith, Joe Newman, B.F. Keyes Ch., Mr. and Mrs. Leonard, Lewis Bishop, Mr. and Mrs. Love, Henry Fleming Ch., Mrs. Fleming, Mrs. Bert Breese, Myrtle Fleming, Clint McIntyre Ch., Mrs. McIntyre, Mr. and Mrs. Horace Hurlbut, Frank Rich Ch. , Mrs. Rich, Rev. Evans, Mrs. D.C. Palmer, A.A. Gates

In regard to the Liberty Loan canvasses Mr. F.B. Beaman and Mr. Frank Rich were in charge and the following teams were appointed to canvas for the Loans:

Team No. One: Mrs. Clara Leonard, Captain, Mrs. E.H. Johnson, Mrs. Lewis Bishop, and Mrs. J.E. Bosworth.
Team No. Two: Mrs. J.D. McCarty Captain, Mrs. A.A. Gates and Mrs. F.A. Rich
Team No. Three: Captain Mrs. H.E. Ells, Mrs. L.D. McClure, Mrs. I.W. Johnson, Mrs. B.F. Keyes, and Mrs. Evan Reese.
Team No. Four: Captain Mrs. F.B. Beaman, Mrs. Bert Price, Mrs. T.P. Griffiths, Mrs. J.W. Jones, and Mrs. B.Faufaw.

The Officers of the Richville Civilian War Relief Workers were as follows:

President: ..........Mrs. F.B. Beaman
Vice-President:...Miss Emilie Walter
Secretary:..........Miss Carrie Jones
Treasurer:..........Mrs. Bert Price

The Willing Workers on Gimlet Street was a branch of the Richville Branch of the Red Cross. They organized March 12, 1918 at the home of Mrs. Davenport and the following officers were elected:

Mrs. Henry Fleming..........President
Mrs. George Foster..........Vice-President
Mrs. Ralph Sheldon .........Secretary
Myrtle Fleming.................Treasurer

They met every week for the season and made a large number of articles, which were turned over to the Richville branch of the Red Cross. (A long list of items donated follows.)

The Red Cross Auxiliary at De Kalb Junction was organized November 19, 1917, and worked as an auxiliary to the Canton Branch. The following Officers were elected:

Chairman........................Mrs. A.G. Bowering
Vice-Chairman................Miss Cleora Farr
Secretary.........................Mrs. D.A. Moore
Inspector.........................Miss Jennie Rundell
Executive Com. Ch...........Mrs. E.M. Cole
Purchasing Com. Ch.........Mrs. A.G. Bowering
Working Com. Ch.............Miss Ruth Elsey
Financial Com. Ch.............Dr. E.M. Cole
Entertainment Com. Ch.....Mrs. C.B. McGruer
Enrollment Com. ...............Mrs. Esther Wainwright

(There followed a 3 page account of items made and donated by the De Kalb Jct. branch)

A dance at Old De Kalb for the Red Cross in January 1918 netted $198.00. A Red Cross drive at Old De Kalb in May 1918 realized $200.00.

The Women’s League For Service was organized at De Kalb Junction, N.Y. on Friday, May 4th, 1917, and the following officers were nominated:

Chairman...................Mrs. W.E. VanDelinder
Vice-Chairman...........Mrs. M.E. Johnson
Secretary....................Mrs. Clarence R. Hedden
Treasurer...................Mrs. Leslie Rasey

Unfortunately the Secretary’s book cannot be found so the results cannot be given here. (There followed 6 pages of items made and donated by this organization as gleaned from the pages of the St. Lawrence Plaindealer.)

The National league for Women’s Service was formed at De Kalb Junction through the efforts of Mrs. Lawrence Russell of Canton assisted by Mrs. B. M. Kip also of the same place.

De Kalb had the honor of having many enlistments, before the war had hardly been declared, more so than many towns much larger, and a few examples are here given: George E. VanDelinder and John Hurley enlisted May5, 1917, and went to Ft. Ontario and were transferred to the Officers Training Corps at Sackets Harbor where they remained till rejected for duty.

June ninth, 1917 was a red-letter day for Richville and Bigelow and the surrounding territory, when the following men enlisted and were given a farewell reception. A parade was formed and headed by a band marched to the station and gave the men a fine send off. The men going were as follows: Bernard Toomey, Donald Wood, Don Bosworth, Ernest Glasby, George Manning, Merton Baldwin, Brayton Johnson, Harry Kingston, Frank Besaw, Forest Denesha, Howard Baker, B.M. King, J.P. King, and Evan L. Griffis.

Some of these men belonged to other Towns and some were rejected in camp and returned, while those who stayed in the service rendered their best for the cause, two losing their lives.

De Kalb not having any banks in its boundaries was apportioned in part to the Towns having banking facilities for the drives for the Liberty Loans. The Western (Could he have meant the South eastern? Ed.) part of the Town went to Hermon, The De Kalb Junction part to Canton, and the Richville section to Gouverneur. All these towns were successful in raising their quotas except the first one (Hermon), One can see how much De Kalb did to bring about the result.

As no figures are available except in one instant, for example:

In the Fourth Liberty Loan:

De Kalb Junction
In the Third Liberty Loan
De Kalb Junction

The apportionment of De Kalb for the War Stamp Drive was $55,900.00.

On September 18th 1917, De Kalb Junction gave a farewell reception to the men leaving for the first time. A public reception was held at the M.E. Church. George E. Vandelinder presided, and speeches were made by; Geo. H. Bowers Esq. Of Canton, Frank A. Rich, Supervisor of the Town of De Kalb, and the Revs Bowering and Giles. The National league for Women’s Service gave each boy going a comfort bag, sweaters, and socks. $75.00 was raised and divided among the men. The following men entrained: Frank Barber, Leon Parow, Harold Sullivan, Maurice Gilbert, and Eugene Wall. W.W. Haile, County Clerk of St. Lawrence County gave two large cartons of cigarettes to them.

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