Kansas WW1

Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Author: Perry Walters (page 1 of 2)

13 Black Soldiers From Tonganoxie That Served in WWI

The 92nd Division elected to use the insignia on the right on their uniforms to honor the Buffalo  Soldiers.

Prejudice and racism existed in the American military during WWI.  President Wilson and his administration encouraged the military to turn their backs on the black soldiers. ...read more

Bonus Expeditionary Force (The Bonus Army)

The Kansas State Historical Society has copies of Kansas WW1 Veteran’s official military record, evidence of a person’s military career. In it includes when the veterans enlisted and when they were discharged. Most of them also have evidence of what units the veterans served during his/her enlistment.  In my day this document had a government number DD214. It is a vital piece of paper that is required for any benefit due a soldier. ...read more

Kansans of the Great War Era: Stephen Kramer

Stephen Kramer was born on February 27, 1894, near Stranger Creek about 3 miles east of Tonganoxie, KS. He was born into a family of tenant farmers, an occupation that Stephen continued throughout his life.

Stephen was 23-years-old when he enlisted in the army in May of 1917 as one of Harry Truman’s Buglers. Stephen’s artillery unit saw considerable action in the war. He served in Battery D of the 129th field artillery unit of the 60th Brigade of the 35th Division, and saw action September 25, 1918 in the Meuse Argonne. On October 10, 1918 he was in the battle of Verdun. ...read more

Company K of Yesteryear by Archibald Hart


Company K of Yesterday was published in 1969 by Archibald Hart, a member of Company K and the 142 Infantry. This company was part of the 36th Division formed from the Texas and Oklahoma National Guards.

In the front of the book is a hand written note to Mrs. Nina Birkhead, the wife of Cecil Birkhead of Company K of the 142 Infantry; ...read more

Kansans of the Great War Era: Dr. Walter B. Coe

Walter B. Coe, M. D., one of the leading members of the medical profession of Tonganoxie, was born at Tipton, Iowa, July 24, 1868. He was reared on his father’s farm in Cedar County, Iowa. He attended the high school at Jefferson, Iowa, but graduated from high school at Des Moines, Iowa. ...read more

Kansans of the Great War Era: Carl Barnhart

Carl, along with Mr. Charles Papenhausen, decided to enlist together April 21, 1917 in Kansas City, MO. Carl at that time was teaching at Hazel Ridge School which is about 2 miles south of where he lived.  Carl asked the school to be relieved of his contract. ...read more

Aspirin, the Flu Pandemic, and WW1

In 2009 Karen Starko, MD, published a paper where she suggests that aspirin may have played a significant role in the death of people suffering from the 1918 flu.

It wasn’t until the 1960’s that pharmacologists began to seriously study how aspirin worked.  It is a very complicated drug.  In 1968 a graduate of Nebraska School of Pharmacy told me that if Aspirin were to come on the market today it probably would not be over-the-counter. ...read more

WWI & the Flu Pandemic: Immunology

Until recent publications the 1918 flu presented two unusual problems that were never fully understood. The age of those effected and the extreme number people who died from the flu.

The 1918 flu pandemic seemed to affect people in the prime of life. The age bracket that suffered the most was said to be between 20 and 40 years old. Recent publications suggest a an age group from age 25 to 30 years old. Prior to 1918 and after 1918 the population age most effected by the flu was the very young and the very old. ...read more

The 1918 Flu Pandemic and World War I. Part 1: Where did it Begin?

The outbreak of flu in 1918 was the most destructive disease to strike the world.  500 million people got the flu and 50 to 100,000,000 died.  In the United States 675,000 people died.  The flu easily killed more soldiers than the war.

Neither the Axis nor the Allied forces reported information on the flu.  It was and still is very difficult to accurately determine just how the soldiers on both sides were affected. This information was secret, and neither side wanted the other side to know how weakened their military capabilities had become because of the flu. At the end of the war the U. S. Navy reported that 40% were inflicted with the flu virus, and the U.S. Army reported that 36% had the flu. But it seems likely that these figures are not accurate. Many flu victims never went to the hospital where they would have become a statistic. Some of these flu victims of the initial outbreak were probably not very sick. ...read more

William J. Stephenson, 2nd Division WWI, Teacher & Banker

William J. Stephenson was born October 7, 1895 and grew up at Basehor, Kansas.  He graduated from Basehor High School in 1913.  In 1917 he graduated from Park College at Parkville, Missouri, and one month later, July 30, 1917, he enlisted in the army at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas to serve in WWI. ...read more

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