Charles Oscar PORTER was my great-grandfather on my maternal grandma’s side. He was born April 2, 1884 in Oxford, Kansas.
When I began studying this record, I was surprised when I saw that he did not register for the draft until September 12, 1918.
I was thinking, “Wasn’t it about over by then?” I just remembered that World War I was “from 1914- 1918”. When faced with those pesky blanks that genealogist cannot resist being able to fill in completely…….. what did I do? I went digging into the past a bit further. It’s a sickness… REALLY! 😉
World War I Draft Registration
In my deeper research I was reminded that although World War I began in 1914, the United States did not declare war against Germany until April 6, 1917. It was at that time that the United States became an active participant in the War.
On May 18, 1917, the “Selective Service Act” was passed. This required every male between the ages of 18 and 45 living within the United States to register for the draft. What I did not know was that there were three separate registrations.
The first registration was on June 5, 1917, and was for men from 21 to 31 years old and consisted of twelve questions on the front.
The second registration was on June 5, 1918, and was for men who had turned 21 since the previous registration and any males who had not previously registered for whatever reason and were not already in the military. These registration cards had ten questions on the front. There was also a supplemental registration on August 24, 1918 for those who had turned 21 since June 5, 1918.
Not everyone who registered actually served in the War. There were also some who enlisted and served, but did not register for the draft.
The third registration was on September 12, 1918 and was for men from 18-21 AND 31-45 years old. These cards had a total of twenty questions on the front of the card. ~ Charles Oscar PORTER was in this group since he was 34 years old at this time.
On November 11, 1918, at “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” the ceasefire went into effect. Charles did not serve in World War I.
Details from Charles Oscar PORTER’s Draft Registration Card
Serial Number: 3273
Charles Oscar Porter
Permanent Home Address: Oxford, Sumner, Kansas
Age in Years: 34
Date of Birth: April 2, 1884
Present Occupation: Laborer (Originally said Farmer, but it had a line through it.)
Employer’s Name: (something like “A. J. & S. F. Rey” ? ~ I’m still working on this.)
Place of Employment or Business: Oxford, Sumner, Kansas
Nearest Relative Name: Julia Porter
Nearest Relative Address: Oxford, Sumner, Kansas
Color of Eyes: Grey
Color of Hair: Light
Has person lost arm, leg, hand, eye, or is he obviously physically disqualified? No
Date of Registration: September 12, 1918
Some points of interest:
- It lists his eyes as grey. My eyes are technically Hazel, but they are often grey. I especially like my eyes when they are this grey or even more so when they seem more of a grayish purple. Did I get these from him?
- Did the person filling out the form just assume that he was a farmer at first? Or did he see himself as a farmer along with being a laborer for someone else? Many in our family did both. For example: my grandpa (one of his son-in-laws) was a proud farmer while he was also an Agronomist (my Grandma’s term) at Rockwood Golf Course in the Kansas City area. Several generations of this family were farmers and likely saw themselves as such even when working elsewhere, too.
- Charles was married to Julia Arnellia BEEMAN at this time. She was born February 4, 1891 and died November 10, 1920 and was the mother of Loara Lucille PORTER TARTER. Aunt Loara lived with my grandma in the early 1990’s when Grandma lived on Sterling in Independence. The cousins in my daughter’s generation will likely remember her as the lady with “the dog!” 😉 Charles later married my great-grandma Mary Irene Saphronia Jasmine SMITH (TARTER ROBNETT TARTER) and had several more children with my grandma Ruby Irene being the baby of the family.
- There were many PORTERs who can be found in the same collection of draft cards for Sumner County, Kansas. I can connect several of them as Charles’ close relatives. One of Charles’ brothers who registered listed his occupation as a farmer for his mother’s farm. I wonder if Charles also worked his mother’s farm at that time and/or his own farm in addition to working elsewhere.