Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Kansas WWI Family Values, Part I

This may not be what you’re thinking.

William E. Connelley’s History of Kansas State and People devotes 74 pages to Kansas and the World War.  Because it came out in 1928, it’s not the worst place to start for information about that period.  But because it’s Connelley, perhaps two questions should be asked:

1–Did he get it basically right?

2–What did he leave out?

One of the things you will discover as you peruse the pages is that he mentions nineteen families from around the state that sent four or more sons–and an occasional daughter–to war.  We’re going to list the first ten families below, pretty much quoting Connelley. If you have more information about the families, we encourage you to comment or otherwise send the information along.  If you’re from the town or county the family was from, perhaps it might inspire some tribute at the local museum.

Again, the words below are essentially Connelley’s.  If they’re in parentheses, their mine.

–A Kansas family which did more than its share was that of the Arnolds in Western.  Five brothers, Melford, Irwin, Armstrong, Hobart and Gay; all enlisted in Company K, Fourth Missouri Infantry.  (Right off the bat, questions.  Where is Western?  The only place I can find is Western Township in Logan County.  And why did these brothers wind up in a Missouri regiment?)

–Another Kansas family which had four of its members in the army and navy was that of Mr. and Mrs. H.L. Bulkley of Auburn, whose three sons, Lawrence C., Heny (sic?), and Glenn were in the army, and a fourth son, Roy, in the navy.

–Another Kansas family which more than did its share was the Carlson family of Topeka; the sons of Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Carlson were David L.,John A., Victor E., and Oscar W.  All were in the army, and Harry C. was in the navy.  The youngest, however, was in only a few days before the armistice.

–The Arkansas City family of Mr. and Mrs. Dorner contributed five sons, Albert, Arthur, David, Frank, and Nicholson to the army.

–Another Kansas family which was very much in the service was that of the Falkner’s (sic) at Dodge City.  Sgt. Otto L. was with the One Hundred and Seventeenth Ammunition Train, Clyde A., with the Thirty-fourth Division, Leslie R. with the One Hundred and Thirty-third Infantry, and Kenneth E. with a supply company at Fort Riley.  They were all children of Mr. and Mrs. Gus Falkner.

–Another Kansas family which certainly was well represented in the army was the family of Anton Gross of Hays; five of their sons were in the army, and perhaps a sixth one.

–Another Kansas family which did more than its fair share in the war was that of Mr. and Mrs. Jens Peter Hoy; four of their sons, Walter, Henry, Dewey, and Chris entered the service.

–Another Kansas mother whose family was well represented overseas was that of Mrs. Mary Kanode of Topeka, whose four sons, Ralph, Lynn H., Lester, and Milton I. were in the service and whose daughter, Mary, was a public health nurse,

–Dr. George B. Lambeth, of Moran, had four sons, all of whom were in the army.  His son, Dr. George, Jr., served with a British Hospital, and was decorated by both the French and the British, and his other three sons, Hugh, Gray, and Lawrence , were all overseas.

–Another family that sent five sons to the army was that of Mr. and Mrs. John McCullough, of Bellaire; Ray, Roy, Lewis, Archie, and Joe, all were in the service.

The remaining nine families will be recognized shortly.


Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.


  1. Michelle Enke

    I located the Arnolds. They are from Weston, Platte County, Missouri. The boys were all born in Kentucky and moved to Weston after 1910. In 1920, Milford was the Deputy Sheriff in Weston.
    Milford (1890-1978)
    Irwin (1891-1975)
    Armstrong (1894-1986)
    Hobart (1896-1973)
    Gay (1899-1988)

    Michelle Enke
    Manager Genealogy & Special Collections
    Wichita Public Library

  2. Blair Tarr

    Thank you, Michelle! This is very helpful, and it also points out why I asked the question about Connelley getting it right. In this instance, it appears that he got it wrong; it doesn’t appear that the Arnolds were a Kansas family at the time of the war.
    I’m very glad you checked this out!

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