Today, some clips from the morgue concerning “bond slackers” who refused to buy United States war bonds during World War Ⅰ, and the vigilantes who persecuted them.
First, from the Ithaca Daily News on :
Ottumwa, Iowa, — Leon Battig, an instructor in the high school at Albia, who has been suspected of disloyalty, was dragged to the court house steps by a mob and covered with a coat of yellow paint. Battig said war was against his religion and he had refused to push the sale of Thrift Stamps. He was asked to resign from the school.
The New York Herald, :
Lincoln, Neb., — Persons found guilty of disloyal acts or utterances, with intent to hinder prosecution of the war, are liable to a maximum punishment of twenty years in the penitentiary, under the terms of Nebraska’s sedition law, recently enacted by the Legislature and made effective to-day by the signature of Governor Neville.
Yellow paint was applied last night to the residence here of the Rev. George Allenbach, one of five German Lutheran clergymen of Lincoln and vicinity who recently declined an invitation to participate in a patriotic Liberty Loan rally.
The Ithaca Daily News, :
In Oklahoma a man is either a 100 per cent. American or nothing. An extremely breezy account appears in the Oklahoma Leader of the way they manage loan slackers down there. One man, reputed to be worth $75,000, refused to buy a bond. The crowd got right after him with a real rope, and he was very glad to kiss the flag and buy a $500 bond. Another man, whose only offense was to have in his drug store window a sign “German Herbs”, bought a $100 bond to pay for his indiscretion. Every man who demurred at the idea of lending Uncle Sam a few dollars at good interest was led straight up to the subscription booth. They didn’t argue with him what to do, they told him what to do. And he did it, for there wasn’t room in Oklahoma for him if he didn’t. No wonder Guthrie went right over the top in the first week.
The Naples Record, :
Liberty Bond Detractor Is Given Drastic Treatment.
Connellsville, Pa., . — Stripped of his clothes and turned loose without them after a coat of green paint had been applied to his body was the fate of Tony Senkis, an employe of the Dickerson Run shops of the Pittsburg & Lake Erie railroad, when he is alleged to have refused to purchase a Liberty bond last evening.
Senkis is said to have been approached shortly before the men quit work by Liberty bond solicitors and to have said, “To hell with the Liberty bonds.” Fellow workmen heard him and a crowd of about 40 quickly gathered and pounced upon the man. He was taken to the outskirts of the town, and, after the paint had been applied, was released. The man has not been seen since. Irishmen in the town are protesting against the use of green paint and a petition was circulated asking that, if the same methods are used again, some other color than green be used.
The Watertown Daily Times, :
Drastic Treatment Handed Out By Men
Threatened to Quit Work
Sixty Employees in Bagley & Sewall Plant Said They Would Quit Unless Slacker Did.
A shower of yellow paint greeted a Liberty Bond slacker at the Bagley & Sewall plant afternoon and as the result of 60 employees in the vise department of that shop refusing to work with him , the slacker quit his job.
During the past week the Liberty Bond drive has been at the Bagley & Sewall plant in real earnest and all subscribed liberally but two men. One of those men took the hint and subscribed when things were getting a little too hot for him, but another said that he had “enough money to buy a bond but wouldn’t.” When John Pawlis[?], a member of one of the Liberty Bond teams there handed in this man’s card, he wrote the work “impossible” on it. It was then that others started the real drive which resulted in the slacker being driven out.
A hole was bored in the floor above his machine and a squirt gun filled with yellow paint was showered on him from above. He was so completely covered with the yellow liquid that all of his clothes were spoiled.
When he came to work this morning, wearing a new outfit, he found cartoons and signs all about his table bearing the words “pro-German,” “slacker,” and others. An American flag was also placed on the wall near his machine and when he attempted to take this down he was warned that if he did he would receive a good beating. The employees of the room then gathered about him for the attack, and he gave up his designs on the flag. Later 60 employees of the room told their foreman that they would all quit if the slacker didn’t.
The man in question is said to be a member of the International Bible Students’ Association.
The Liberty Bond drive is progressing speedily at the Bagley & Sewall plant today. One man reported that he had sold eight bonds in one hour.
The North Tonawanda Evening News, :
The final roundup of Liberty loan slackers will be made by members of Company A and Company C of the home guard. There are known to be six persons in the Tonawandas who can afford it and have not taken out bonds. These people will receive a personal call from the home guards who will make the round-up in uniform and with full equipment.
Company C, in command of Capt. August von Kliest, following its regular drill last evening called on a liberty loan slacker whom every other person had been unable to bet [sic] to buy a bond and succeeded in getting his signature to an application and his first payment. Capt. von Kliest’s company is a 100 per cent organization in the loan, every member having taken a bond.
The New York Herald, :
Schwainler Press Mailers Say Only Loan Slacker Is Slated for a Patriotic Act
Any one seeking a little patriotic excitement might drop around in front of the big Schweinler Press building, No. 421 Hudson street, at and see a German kiss the American flag.
He’ll kiss it, all right, because the Mailers’ Union says he will, and any one who knows the rank and file of the Mailers’ Union knows that when they say they will make a German kiss the American flag he’ll do it.
The Schweiler press is union from top to bottom, more than five hundred men and women, and all but one man own Liberty bonds of the first, second, and third issues. That one man, a mailer, has refused to buy a bond. All the other mailers signed a statement on that they would not work with that man if he did not buy a $100 bond.
Before the ultimatum reached the company the Mailers’ Union took up the matter and to a representative the German said he had taken an oath which prohibited him from aiding the United States in the war. He was notified that at the next meeting of the union he would be expelled.
That did not satisfy the union employes of the establishment who served notice on the German that if he had not purchased a $100 bond by he would be taken into the street in front of the building and there be compelled to kiss the American flag, after which he would be lucky if he got away with a whole hide.
“The union employees of the plant are in an ugly mood about the matter,” said an official of the union last night.
Pastor Explains His Refusal to Aid Loan
The hostile attitude that had been growing in the Bronx against the Rev. Frederick Noeldeke, pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, No. 672 East 218th street, because of his alleged unwillingness to support the Liberty Loan from his pulpit, came to an end when the Executive Committee of the Bronx Liberty Loan Committee accepted the explanations which Mr. Noeldeke offered in a letter to Douglas Mathewson, chairman of the committee.
Mr. Noeldeke explained in the letter that he considered his sole duty was to preach the gospel, and that he was in accord with the Scriptures, if not with his congregation and Mr. Mathewson, in holding his church to be a place “not of this world.” Upon learning that he was an American citizen and had invested in Liberty bonds the committee members decided to consider the incident closed.
Opposition to Mr. Noeldeke grew out of his refusal to co-operate with the local committee and to take part in the recent parade.
Another article on the same page features Louis Krohnberg, a clothing manufacturer, who dismissed all of his employees and gave them until six o’clock the following day to buy a bond and to also recruit one other bond subscriber. Only employees who fulfilled this demand would keep their jobs.
The Topeka Capital, :
Called Him Out and Took Him Away in Auto
Pastor Is German, and Used Language Exclusively in His Sermons, Regardless of Protest.
Lawrence, . — (Special) — The Rev. Gustav Gastrock, pastor of the Worden German Lutheran church, was taken from his home one mile north of Worden, at by three men, who stripped him and smeared his body with tar. He was then released by his captors, who would give no reason for their actions.
Residents of Worden say that in all probability the tar party was held as a result of the alleged refusal of the Rev. Mr. Gastrock to deliver sermons in English on the Red Cross and Liberty loan campaigns, saying that he conducted his services in German exclusively.
Three Men in Auto
The tarring was done by three unknown men who appeared at the Gastrock home in an auto. One went to the door and asked for a lantern. This was obtained by the pastor’s wife, who handed it to her husband and then followed the men as they went to the auto. Reaching the car the three men seized the preacher and threw him into the rear of the machine.
Mrs. Gastrock followed the car a little way and then ran to the home of Henry Hornberger, who, with others of the congregation of the church, went to the rescue of their leader, only to find him returning smeared with tar.
Gave No Explanation
He declared that about a mile from his home the car had been stopped and the three men proceeded to strip his shirt from him and smear his breast with tar, using a flat paddle. He was released and the men left the place in their car making no reply to the demands of the pastor that an explanation be given as to why he was being treated so.
Undersheriff George Schultz made a trip to the scene of the tar party , but could find no evidence as to the identity of the members of the tar party outside a blue serge cap.
The Evening Telegram, :
Mailer Who Refused to Subscribe Discharged, Finds Another Job and Hurriedly Quits.
The mailing room employe who refused to buy a Liberty bond, and thereby spoiled the otherwise 100 per cent record of the mailing and binding department of the Charles Schweinler Press, No. 421 Hudson street, is probably alive , but he is out of the job he obtained after being discharged by the Schweinler management. If he hadn’t made his escape he might not be alive, as open threats of lynching him were made by other mailers when they found out who he was.
The man’s discharge forestalled members of the Mailers’ Union, who had arranged to force him to buy a Liberty bond or to kiss the American flag in front of the Schweinler Building in Hudson street. After leaving the Schweinler establishment he sought work in a newspaper office.
He was taken in readily enough, but it was not long before the loyal mailers in the place found out his identity. The “bond slacker” immediately scented danger in the air and disappeared.
The man will be expelled from the Mailers’ Union at the next meeting, according to John McArdle, business representative of the organization.
The Sun, :
“To Hell With Liberty Bonds” Sends German to Hospital.
Because, it is alleged, he said “To hell with Liberty bonds, I won’t buy any,” Henry Lattell, 56, of 128 Adams street, Hoboken, registered German alien, is in St. Mary’s Hospital suffering from a much battered head and may die.
Joseph McDonald, 43, of 132 Adams street, declares he overheard Lattell make this statement. McDonald says that he demanded that Lattell retract and when he refused McDonald hit him and didn’t let up until Lattell was badly beaten. McDonald is held on a charge of assault and battery.
The Kansas City Star, (excerpts):
Pottawatomie County, Kansas, Contains Many Slackers
Yellow Paint, Tar and Feathers Are Employed to Persuade the Unsympathetic to Aid in War Work.
But Pottawatomie County is on the yellow paint trail to loyalty. By , the 100 per cent American assert, the county will be a decent place for a patriot to live in. The loyalists are going right down the line. It is either hush up, take a dose of yellow paint, or get out. There is a pot of tar and an old feather bed stored carefully away in a handy nook in Wamego for second offenders. Beside the tar pot is a partly empty can of yellow paint and another full one.
“We have quit quarreling with folks because we are Americans,” said Floyd Funnell, mayor of Wamego to a representative of The Star. “Until recently we have tried to argue with the slackers and Huns. Every time we mentioned we were Americans it brought on a brawl. Never again. Everybody in this neighborhood is going to be an American or ostensibly an American sympathizer. We can’t hope to change the heart of the Hun but we can and will change his actions and his words.”
The ultimatum went forth some time ago. A lot of slackers laughed then. But by the time the second Red Cross war fund drive was over there was beginning to be a change of tune around Wamego. The tune is changing now throughout the county and is spreading with considerable rapidity into Wabaunsee County, just across the river from Wamego. Wamego residents may have some yellow paint and some tar and feathers to spare for slackers and disloyalists in Wabaunsee County if people there do not apply the proper medicine.
Thus far only yellow paint has been applied to slackers in Pottawatomie County. But it has been smeared around over seven residences, one motor car, and two business buildings. Its first use was at Westmoreland, where the Schlessmann butcher shop was daubed when it was said Schlessmann failed to the Red Cross. This was a wholesome lesson. It was asserted not less than 200 voluntary subscriptions to the Red Cross appeared suddenly in Westmoreland after that.
Painted a Banker’s Car
In Wamego the first yellow paint was applied because of failure to subscribe to the Liberty Loan. The process was carried through the Red Cross drive and culminated in the painting of the motor car of Louis B. Leach, president of the Wamego State Bank, since deposed and no longer an actual resident of Wamego. Paint was applied on property of the following in Wamego:
- Louis B. Leach, sidewalk in front of home.
- Louis B. Leach, motor car.
- John Kramer.
- William Kolterman.
- Ed Payne.
- Henry Horst.
- Nick Hirsch.
- E.J. Fischer.
- Emile Brunner, law offices.
Payne, Kramer, Kolterman, Horst, and Hirsch are alleged to have failed to subscribe to the Liberty Loan. They were said to be fully able to do so. After the application of the paint each subscribed. In the case of Payne there is evidence some bad advice was given him by someone in Wamego. It is asserted by friends he is loyal, but given wrong advice in making investments.
Louis B. Leach subscribed heavily to the Liberty Loan, but he refused to give to the Red Cross, it is charged, except $1 a month for six months. Leach is said to have told the committee which called upon him he believed the Red Cross was a great graft. For that the sidewalk in front of his home was painted with a big cross in yellow paint. A few days later, when Leach is declared to have told another committee “You can tar and feather me, or even kill me, I won’t give a cent,” his motor car was painted yellow. A cross was painted on each side and the word “Slacker” cut in the paint.
A peculiarity in the statements of some of the banks of Pottawatomie County was noted in the official statements of the condition of the banks on , as published in county papers. Most of the banks of the county showed ownership of United States bonds and many showed war savings stamps on hand. These are all state banks. But one bank at Onaga, patronized chiefly by Germans, and another at Fostoria, with a large German clientele, did not disclose the ownership of $1 worth of government bonds or war savings stamps.
Herman Uhlrig, president of the Farmers State Bank at Wamego and a large land owner, was forced to bring his wheat to market this spring by an officer of the Food Administration. He had several thousand bushels of wheat in his bins, it is asserted, and had refused to sell all winter.
He did not delay when the order came to sell. Uhlrig is charged with giving advice to many of his customers not to invest in the Liberty Loan and it is asserted it was because of accepting his advice several of those in Wamego found yellow streaks painted on their homes.
The Tonawanda Evening News, (excerpt):
Threat of Coat of Yellow Paint Brings Them to Time.
Plants Now 100 Per Cent
Buffalo Bolt Company and Buffalo Steam Pump Company on Honor Roll — Well-to-do Merchant Purchases Only $50 Bond.
Cleaning up the Liberty Loan bond slacker is a duty which patriotic citizens of the Tonawandas have taken upon themselves. Several days have passed since the time for volunteering expired and there is an increasing disposition to use force instead of employing less drastic measures. Coaxing is no longer considered necessary to get persons who are financially able to purchase bonds to do their bit.
Among the instances where force has been used in bringing about subscriptions from stubborn persons in the Tonawandas is one that occurred at the plant of the Buffalo Bolt Company . Three or four of the 1,000 or more workmen at the plant had refused to yield to all previous efforts to get them to take out bonds. Several of the patriotic workmen resolved to bring them to time. They decided that a coating of yellow paint administered in a vacant lot adjoining the plant would perhaps have the desired effect.
A wheelbarrow was secured and the first victim was led forth by the coat collar, while others followed with a pail of paint. When the man in custody realized that he was in for some rough treatment he changed his attitude. The other men who previously showed no inclination to take out bonds fairly fell over each other in reaching the office of the company where they subscribed for bonds. Today the company reported 100 per cent in subscription.
A report was circulated that a coating of paint was applied to one of the employes of the Buffalo Steam Pump Company before he subscribed to the Liberty Loan. An officer of the company however, stated that such treatment had not been resorted to, although some of the workmen had been rather backward about taking out bonds. The company is now among those who are in the 100 per cent class.
From the Gloversville Morning Herald, :
The Corning Evening Leader, :
(By International News Service) El Paso, Texas, . — The Liberty Loan committee of this city and county have organized a vigilance committee of twelve men for the purpose of investigating all cases where it is suspected person[s] are deliberately trying to evade the purchase of Government war securities.
The committee is prepared to go the limit to force such people to do their part, according to George Thiesen, chairman of the vigilantes. Yellow paint is one measure which is depended upon to bring out the latent patriotism of luke-warm Americans, and it is predicted that some well-known citizens will come to the store some morning during the drive and find their places of business painted a screaming saffron.
The Elmira Telegram, :
Citizens Put a Lot of Yellow Paint on Them.
Fond du Lac’s first anti-slacker demonstration occurred the other day when a group of citizens visited the farm of Joseph Buechtel, near Marshfield, Wis., and smeared his house, barn, outbuildings, automobile, and machinery with yellow paint and German war crosses. On the sides of the buildings large signs were painted accusing Buechtel with refusing to buy liberty bonds or contribute to war charities. Buechtel is thirty-nine years old and unmarried. He recently was arrested charged with failing to register for military service.
The Richfield Mercury, :
People walking along West Main Street noticed some yellow paint on the shop of Henry Freudenberg and upon inspection found the words “slacker” and “skunk” painted on the building. The assumption is that the painting was done by some patriotic citizen or citizens whose indignation was aroused by the fact that Henry had not bought a Liberty Bond. Investigation shows that Mr. Freudenburg had not bought a bond of any of the three preceding issues and refused each and all the Liberty Loan solicitors who endeavored to sell him a bond of the fourth issue.
The Oswego Daily Palladium, :
two members of the Vigilantes from Grand Rapids, accompanied by local Liberty Loan committee men, went to the home of C.C. Thompson, of Solon, and made an effort to secure a subscription from him for Liberty Bonds. Thompson’s well-to-do circumstances are known to the whole community, and his refusal to back up the boys who are giving their lives in the trenches to protect the welfare of men like him, has aroused the most intense indignation in the community. The Vigilantes found him impervious to any appeal to patriotism, and characterized him in vigorous terms. a large number of citizens found that patience had ceased to be a virtue, and went to his home and brought Thompson to town. He was mounted on the dray in the presence of a large crowd of citizens and faced with an American flag and a service flag, where another appeal was made to his patriotism. Again he refused to subscribe. After that he was given a liberal coating of bright yellow paint, escorted up the middle of Main street and warned never to enter Cedar Springs again. He has been requested by the State Bank to remove his account with that institution. If Mr. Thompson possesses the most elementary intelligence, he has probably grasped the estimate in which he is held by the community in which he has prospered under the Stars and Stripes; if he has any good judgment, he should take the hint contained in the request to keep out of town, for the citizens are thoroughly aroused and propose to make it interesting for his kind.
The scene was one of the most distressing ever witnessed in the community, and it seems incredible that there could be an American who has lived in this land of freedom for a long period of years who could be so callous to the loyal service and sacrifice of the boys across the ocean. It brought a scene of blistering shame to every red-blooded person present that such discipline was necessary to teach a man of Thompson’s age where his duty lay. Most men would gladly surrender all they possessed rather than be seared publicly with the scorn and contempt of a whole community.
The Liberal sincerely hopes it will never find another occasion in which it seems necessary to mention Thompson’s name in its columns — Cedar Springs Liberal.
The Brookfield Courier :
A citizens’ “regulation” committee called at the home of a well-to-do Oxford resident the other night and painted parts of the exterior of his residence in streaks of yellow paint. The victim of the demonstration had refused to buy Liberty bonds.
The Fairport Herald :
Because of his refusal to buy Liberty bonds of any of the four bond issues or to subscribe to the Y.M.C.A. fund, citizens of Oxford showed their disapproval of the disloyalty of Dr. D.A. Cleason of that village by liberally decorating the front of his house with yellow paint and by painting the word “slacker” on the windows. The doctor is very unpopular in Oxford on account of “nearness.” He and his wife have left town for the West on a visit.
The Minneapolis Tribune, :
Court Vindicates Men Accused Of Punishing John Meintz As Disloyalist
Welcome home by a large delegation of Luverne (Minn.) citizens, headed by a band, was the sequel yesterday to the acquittal of 32 residents in federal court at Mankato on the charge of kidnapping, tarring and feathering John Meintz, according to dispatches from Luverne last night.
Meintz asked personal damages of $100,000 as balm for the treatment he received on the night of . The jury denied him any damages, after deliberating one hour and a half.
Judge Wilbur F. Booth, in charging the jury, said that the evidence was overwhelming in support of the contention that Meintz was disloyal and that there was a strong feeling against him in the community.
The action of the Luverne citizens in staging a celebration was taken as an indication of strong approval of the acquittal verdict, according to dispatches.