|Above: Last call for volunteers printed in Gastonia newspaper.
North Carolinians answered the nation's call for volunteers in newspaper adds such as this
one (left) that was circulated in Gastonia, North Carolina. Soldiers applied to Robert Gregg
Cherry (North Carolina governor, 1945-1949).
"Buy War Bonds and Savings Stamps"
The citizens of North Carolina also supported the war effort by buying war bonds and savings
stamps. To promote savings stamp sales, Sunday, October 6, 1918 was proclaimed to be "Heroes Day."
On October 12, all stores and factories closed until 4 P.M. to encourage people to buy
stamps from children selling them on the streets.(2) Children sang songs to promote the stamps such
as the one below that was sung to the tune of, "I've got Six-pence":
I love a thrift stamp
A Jolly little thrift stamp
I love a thrift stamp
As I love my life
I earned a quarter for it
I spent a quarter for it
I put the thrift stamp where it was safe.
A poster advertising thrift stamps stated:
NO QUARTER FOR THE HUN
EVERY QUARTER FOR UNCLE SAM
BUY THRIFT STAMPS
Gov. Thomas W. Bickett promoted the buying of war bonds by proclaiming on April 9, 1918: "They
will yield more solid comfort for the inner man than 'possum and potatoes, and more juicy sweetness
than the apples for which our first ancestor threw paradise away." North Carolinians responded by
raising $110,208,950 in bonds and $37 million in war savings stamps.(3)
The task of transporting, feeding, clothing, and equipping America's soldiers for war created
food, fuel, and clothing shortages throughout the states. Governor Bickett and clergymen urged North
Carolinians to start their own gardens and grow their own food in the "Feed Yourself" campaign in
1918. The Old North State again responded by increasing production by four times what had been produced in 1917.(4) One poster used in the campaign instructed:
Plant it now
If you have not already done so
Right now is the time to plant your
Sell the crop and buy war savings stamps
ACT AT ONCE
The state government also asked citizens to conserve gas, and food that could be shipped overseas. All bakeries, hotels, restaurants, boarding houses, and clubs that used three or more barrels of
flour per month had to be licensed, under penalty of a fine of $5,000 and one year in prison.(5)
Ration cards were issued for gasoline and sugar purchases. One sign posted in a restaurant that
probably addressed North Carolinian's love of sweet iced tea advised: "Use less sugar and
stir like h---."(6)
|Above: R. G. Cherry's (governor, 1945-1949) gasoline ration card. Click on the image for a larger view.
The government also requested that housewives and restaurants substitute potatoes, corn meal, and
rice for wheat used in baking, and to observe meatless days. These two poems by North Carolina
citizens cleverly reflect the opinions of many North Carolinians towards "Kaiser Bill" and the
effects of World War I on North Carolina.
We'll get the best of Kaiser Bill
If all of us will eat our fill
Of mealy, plump potatoes;
So let us hasten to the store,
And buy a peck or two, or more,
Of Victory Potatoes
-By Ellen H. M. Brooks of Oxford, North Carolina.(7)
Our Mondays are meat-less
Our Tuesdays are Sweet-less
We're getting more eat-less each day
Our bread it is wheat-less
Our beds, they are sheet-less
They've gone to the Y.M.C.A.
Our homes they are heat-less
Our drinks they are treat-less
Each day we grow sadder and wiser
Our socks they are feet-less
Our trousers are seat-less
O Lord, how I hate the dam[n] Kaiser!
Use the index to look up slang words.
(1) Sarah McCulloh Lemmon, North Carolina's Role in the First World War (Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1975), 50.
(2) Lemmon, North Carolina's Role in the First World War, 49.
(3) Lemmon, North Carolina's Role in the First World War, 49.
(4) Lemmon, North Carolina's Role in the First World War, 42.
(5) Lemmon, North Carolina's Role in the First World War, 43.
(6) Lemmon, North Carolina's Role in the First World War, 42.
(7) Lemmon, North Carolina's Role in the First World War, 43.
(8) Lemmon, North Carolina's Role in the First World War, 45.