Alumni Day at the high school in early January of 1918 could not have been a greater success. Many were present, but there were several members of the graduated classes who could not be present because their business did not permit, or they were in other cities and could not come.
“Auld Lang Syne” had never been sung more impressively than when sung by the high school student body and alumni at the meeting.

ALUMNI DAY AT HIGH SCHOOL BIG SUCCESS

Alumni Day at the high school in early January of 1918 could not have been a greater success. Many were present, but there were several members of the graduated classes who could not be present because their business did not permit, or they were in other cities and could not come.

“Auld Lang Syne” had never been sung more impressively than when sung by the high school student body and alumni at the meeting.

Edith Clarke explained the purpose of Alumni Day to this effect, “Alumni Day has been set aside for several purposes, one to bring the graduates closer to the school and cause them to feel that they still have some interest in the school. Another is to add more interest on the part of the school for the Alumni.”

The roll of the classes was called, and it was found to be about the most interesting thing of the program. Superintendent H.G. Faust did this in a very pleasing way.

The first class called on was the class of 1899. Floy Ware, who was currently Mrs. Henry Ashton of Chicago, was the only one to graduate that year. She sent a message wishing Shawnee High School all the success possible and asked that it make its motto “Service.”

In 1902, there were three graduates, but there was no one present to represent the class. In 1903, there were also three.

MILITARY DRILL BECOMES COMPULSORY AT HIGH SCHOOL

The board of education held its regular monthly business meeting on the night of January 7, at the offices in Convention Hall. President G.C. Halley, Dr. W.M. Gallaher, J.C. Baker, E.F. Campbell, J.B. Crabb, F.M. Cunyus, and Superintendent H.G. Faust were present.

The matter of compulsory military training in the high school was under consideration for some time. The decision was made to add it at the beginning of the new semester, coming up shortly.

For boys who were working and did not desire the training, or were physically unable to stand the training, or whose parents for legitimate reasons, desired that they be exempted, were excused. Regular exemption papers would be required, that were filled out and filed with Principal Charles Gethmann before the opening of the new semester, January 21.

The claims for exemptions would be duly considered by the proper authorities. No opposition was expected from any quarter as in nearly all schools of any standing in the county, military training had for some time been a very important part of the school work.

Captain Hale V. Davis, a member of the Governor’s staff, the very capable military instructor at OBU, had charge of the training at the high school.

The board decided that the question of uniforms be left to the boys themselves. It became optional with the individual student whether he drilled in uniform or not.

Wooden guns were used as it was impossible to get guns should the board or the boys themselves desire to get them, for they were not to be had. The training was three days a week from 3 to 4 in the afternoon.

SLACKER SUSPECT CAUSED FLURRY

Jesse Easley, “slacker” suspect, pulled off his shoes to lighten his feet and flew down the Rock Island track in the snow and ice on the morning of January 29. He was escaping bullets fired at him by his brother-in-law, J.T. Roblyer. He had just beaten him up with a monkey wrench.

A hurry-up call was given to officers about the situation. They were told that the alleged slacker was doing the shooting and was escaping, and a posse went in pursuit, armed with high powered rifles.

Before the posse was out of town, Easley doubled back on his tracks and appeared at the Harryman Drug Store, much winded and in his stocking feet. Officers were called, and he was very glad to be taken into custody, as he was very frightened.

Easley claimed that he was at the home of his brother, D.E. Easley, the last house on Harrison Street. His brother had recently returned from the hospital, where he had been ill. Their brother-in-law, Roblyer, and his wife, were keeping house for him. According to Easley, at the breakfast table, Roblyer struck his brother and he struck Easley with a monkey wrench. Roblyer got a gun and chased Easley away, firing at him. As soon as Easley gained the railroad, he slipped off his shoes and ran up the track in his sock feet. It was then that he returned to town.

When accused of being a slacker, he explained that he properly registered and signed his questionnaire in the county. He was arrested in Lawton in October as a slacker, and with five others, broke jail and escaped. Since then, he had been in Shawnee and Tecumseh. “Slackers” were those accused of avoiding the war or positive work contributing to the war effort.

TWO POTT COUNTY BOYS ABOARD TUSCANIA

On a bitterly cold February evening in 1918, the Anchor liner Tuscania was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat in the Irish Sea some seven miles south-west of Islay. On board were 2,235 soldiers consisting of Companies ‘D’, ‘E’ and ‘F’ of the 6th Battalion, 20th VS Engineers, members of the 32nd Division, the 100th and 103rd Aero Squadrons and a British crew.

Two Pottawatomie County boys, James C. Blackburn of Shawnee and Sam Combs of Earlsboro, were among the American troops aboard the Tuscania. Relatives were notified that they were aboard the ship. Others in nearby cities were also suspected of being aboard the ill-fated ship.

CITY WATER DECLARED UNSAFE

A report from the state bacteriologist was received by the city health department. The water was declared to be unsafe for domestic use, being heavily loaded with disease-producing germs. Dr. George S. Baxter, city physician, urged a warning to the people generally not to use it. Dr. Baxter also stated that he was sending an appeal to the state board of health to investigate the river and determine what the trouble was.

This was the first time in the history of Shawnee that the condition of the river was such as to cause such a warning to be issued. At times, the people were warned against using the water without boiling it, but never to this extent. In fact, it was rare that the water was ever found even suspicious.

(These stories and hundreds more appear in the five volumes of the history of the city of Shawnee. The story is not about personal families, but the thousands of important and critical events in the molding of the character of this city. Thousands of names are listed in the account. Volumes 1 & 2 are now available and are on a Christmas Special offer. You may purchase a package of the two for $60 until January 2, 2019. Volume One covers the period of 1830-1929; followed by Volume Two, ranging from 1930 to 1950. More than 800 pages and hundreds of pictures and illustrations; fully indexed; and a glossary of most of the former public officer holders. To reserve or purchase your package deal, call Clyde Wooldridge at (918) 470-3728. Volume Two is at the printer now but should be ready before Christmas.)

Clyde Wooldridge is a local historian.