Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
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World War One Postcard sent in earlier today by Don Stanton. It's verbal message, if not its humorous implication, seem an appropriate illustration for this page. 
Joyce's Search Tip - January 2008
Do You Know that you can search just the 700 pages of Military Records on the site by using the Military button in the Partitioned search engine at the bottom of the Current What's New Page
The Elmira Advertiser
Wednesday Morning
April 4, 1917
Page 12

Governor Calls upon County Judges, County Supervisors and Mayors of Cities to Cooperate in This Move.

     ALBANY, April 3. ­ The formation of home defense corps was urged upon county judges, presidents of county boards of supervisors and mayors of all cities of the state today by Governor Whitman, who asked that in each county of the state a committee of seven by appointed to act as a home defense committee.  The corps, which would be directly at the command of the governor, would be composed of men 45 to 64 years old and those who for various reasons were unable to enlist in the army or navy.

     The executive in his letter pointed out that they home defense corps could be used to stimulate recruiting of men for army and navy and for police duty. He also said that the members of the corps should aid in caring for dependents of soldiers.

     While the executive would have direct authority and control of the home defense corps, it is planned that he take no action, unless it is approved by the home defense committee.  The first work the governor would like to see the corps perform, he said, is that of taking the census and inventory of the military resources of each county in the state.

     The home defense corps when recruited will be formally mustered into the state service by Adjutant General Louis W. Stotesbury and if an emergency arises, the executive said, may be used to put down disorders if called upon by local authorities.  In this case however, the approval of the governor and the home defense committee will first have to be obtained.

     The uniform of the home defense corps will be similar to that of the national guard with some distinctive symbol and the members will be paid at the same rate as the National Guard when called to aid civil authorities.  Except when on such duty members of the corps will not be paid.

The Elmira Advertiser
Friday Morning
April 6, 1917
Page 3

Elmira Authorities Act on Instructions of Governor Whitman and Name Committee, Which Will Have Broad Powers in Case of War.

     Elmira yesterday fell in line with the suggestion of Governor Whitman that a Home Defense Committee be named and the following citizens were selected:
O. D. EISENHART, of Horseheads,
EDWARD M. LOMAN, of Lowman.

     Supreme Court Justice George McCann, County Judge Charles Swartwood, Mayor Harry Hoffman and Chairman of the Board of Supervisors John McCann met yesterday at the home of John McCann on Oakwood avenue, Elmira Heights, for the purpose of carrying out the Governor¹s instructions.  These men gave long and careful consideration to the selection of the Home Committee, and it was not until last evening that they were ready to announce the names of the men who had accepted the assignment.

    Among other duties this committee will have charge of the work of taking the military census and the inventory of the resources of the state in this section.  They will organize the Home Defense Corps and direct all work of the military preparation.

     It will also be their duty to stimulate recruiting and encourage enlistment in the Army and Navy, and to provide relief for the families of those who enlist.  They will have charge of the general regulation of the food supply, etc.  Already many cities, including Albany, Troy, Cohoes, Rochester, Syracuse and others in the state have taken the action asked by the Governor.

     The uniform of the home defense corps will be similar to that worn by the regular army and the National Guard, with a distinctive symbol.  Regulations for organization, drill and discipline are now being prepared.  The Adjutant General will muster into State service all units as soon as they are approved by the home defense committee.

     The membership will be divided into two classes.  Class A will be for citizens between the ages of 16 and 45, while Class B will be for the men whose ages range between the ages of 45 and 64.  The home defense corps may be ordered for duty in aid of the civil authorities by the Governor upon the request of the sheriff of a county or the Mayor of a city when it shall be made to appear to the Governor that there is a breach of peace, tumult, riot, or resistance of process of the State or imminent danger thereof.  The Governor may order the home defense units to report to the Mayor, Sheriff or any local officer to perform any military duty.

     The members of the corps will be expected to serve without pay except when actually called out for duty on service away from home for more than one day, in which case they will be transported, subsisted and paid at the rate allowed for similar organizations of the National Guard when called in aid of the civil authorities.

     In his letter, the Governor says:
         "In communities where there are organizations of the National Guard and Naval Militia the committee will be expected to stimulate recruiting and in every way to back up these State organizations, at the same time to encourage enlistment in the regular army and navy so as to give co-operation to any plans of the Federal authorities in connection with the common defense."

          "Other useful work, such as providing relief for the families of those in the military or naval service, investigating applications for assistance, and in general to coordinate the charitable, patriotic and preparedness efforts of the county naturally will have the consideration of the home defense committee of the county."

The Elmira Advertiser
Saturday Morning
April 7, 1917
Page 3

Wilfred I. Booth Elected Chairman ­ Consider They Will Have Serious Duties and Have Much Faith in What Elmira Will Do.

     At a meeting held yesterday afternoon of the members named as a Home Defense Committee for Chemung county, all were present.  The meeting was called by County Judge Swartwood, with Mayor Hoffman and Chairman John McCann present, these three being the men named by the Governor to name the committee already announced.

     The principal items of business before the committee were not taken up until late in the afternoon, when it was voted to make Wilfrid I. Booth, chairman; Ray Tompkins, treasurer, and Walter K. Whitley, secretary.  These officers met briefly at the conclusion of the meeting called by Judge Swartwood and the other members of the Governor¹s committee.  They decided that Seymour Lowman be named to take charge of the publicity end of the work of the committee.

     The meeting developed the need of an early gathering of citizens of Elmira, and it was announced that the lyceum Theater, under its new management, had offered to furnish the house at any available date, free of charge for such a meeting.

     The members of the Home Defense Committee are"
     Messrs I. D. Booth, Ray Tompkins, James D. S. Reid, Seymour Lowman, W. K. Whitley, Charles B. Garrison, Thomas B. Fitzgerald, O. D. Eisenhart, president of the village of Horseheads, and E. M. Lowman of the village of Lowman.

     W. I. Booth stated to the Advertiser last night that the committee takes up its duties most seriously and with a feelnig [feeling] that the duty they have to perform is one of a solemn nature.  There are likely to arise ­ though they hope this may not be the case ­ matters of the utmost gravity in connection with the establishment of the Home Defense corps propsed.

     To this end, one of the first matters calling for action is the selection of a permanent headquarters.  The offices recently vacated by Supreme Court Justice Walter Lloyd Smith were considered.  It was stated, however, that these offices are now to be occupied by Justice George McCann, and that the offices that he will vacate may later be available.

     In the meantime, the headquarters of the committee will be in the offices of the Lowman Construction Company, a central location, and one from which all announcements of the activities of the committee and of the Home Defense Corps will emanate.

     Mr. Lowman drew attention to several instances recently reported aout [about?] the streets of seditious utterances made in public, and it was voted that while such stories should be traced to their source, should any more be reported, that there is much groundless rumor of what some supposedly foreign sympathizer may or may not have said.  The effort to prevent the spread of even wild statements by poorly balanced individuals is one of the cares of the committee.

     "Elmira is fortunate in this crisis in being one of the most patriotic cities of the state, or the union, for that matter," said a member of the committee last evening, "and we have only to remember the work of our men of the former wars, the Spanish-American War, the service in the Philippines and the continuance of the military organizations after the soldiers had left active service.

     "We believe that Elmira will do itself proud in the event that a general enlistment is asked for.  I know, as well as you do, that we are a city of largely foreign-born population, but from what I know of the German-American citizens in Elmira, I do not fear disloyalty on their part to the country and the community which has given them the prosperity they so fully enjoy.  They are among our best citizens, and I do not believe that foreign influence will be able to reach them at this stage.

The Elmira Advertiser
Monday Morning
April 9, 1917
Page 2

Speak on Stages at Local Theaters and Are Well Received ­ Big Mass Meeting Will Be Held at Lyceum Theater.

     Theater-goers in the city were treated on Saturday night to an event which had not been advertised on any of the bills, and at several of the leading playhouses and picture theaters there were several solemn minutes ­ more solemn and silent than the theaters have witness in some time.

     At the Mozart Majestic, Amusu Regent and Colonial prominent and earnest Elmirans spoke on behalf of the enlistment asked by the government in the Army and Navy service at this crisis in the country¹s history.  The men spoke under the auspices of the Home Defense committee, organized last week.

     At the Regent, Attorney H. C. Mandeville, whose son, Ernest Wyckoff? Mandeville, last week was accepted for service as a marine in the navy spoke.  At the Mozart, Attorney John F. Murtaugh spoke outlining the plans of the Defense Committee.  It is the desire of Lieutenant Riffe and the members of the committee, Senator Murtaugh said, to secure fifty recruits for Company L not later than Tuesday.  The plan of the committee is to have the company recruited to full strength in the shortest possible time, in order to place the company in a position for an immediate call for service if it is needed, the Senator declared.

     At the Colonial Supervisor Louis Henry spoke, as did also W. I. Booth, chairman of the Home Defense Committee, both appealing for fifty additional men at once for Company L.  At the Amusu Otis Leonard spoke along similar lines.

     Judge Thomas F. Fennell, of the State Court of Claims, and Seymour Lowman, of the Defense Committee, made strong appeals at the Majestic theater.

     All of the speakers were received with applause after having been listened to in profound silence.  The appeal is directed especially to young men between the ages of 18 and 35 years.

     The evening addresses followed a day of activity on the part of the members of the newly created Home Defense Committee.  Arrangements for a big mass meeting to be held at the Lyceum, which has been donated free of charge for the purpose, have been made and the meeting will take place this week at a date to be announced later.

     There will likely also be open-air meetings, at which the work of urging swift recruiting will be prosecuted.  It is probable that before this week is out the various women¹s organizations of the city will be busy as the Red Cross Society already is in preparation to aid the men who enlist.

Elmira Star Gazette - 17 AUG 1917


     The Home Defense Company will hold their weekly drill tonight.  They will assemble at 7:25 o¹clock and leave their headquarters at the Masonic Temple at 7:30.

     On account of Second Lieutenant Roy D. Moran being drawn for the second officers¹ training camp at Fort Niagara, his success ro will be chosen by an election tonight.

     Captain Scharf of the Depot Unit has generously tendered the use of the Armory for tonight¹s election and drill.

If you have other articles or artifacts about the Home Defense Corps, please send them in so we can include them on this page.
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
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Published On Tri-Counties Site On 11/09/2003
By Joyce M. Tice

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