Knitters Keep WWI Soldiers Warm

Written by Dick Perue

With World War I fought overseas, local folks were called upon to support the troops in various ways, including knitting warm clothing for soldiers thru various American Red Cross Chapter programs across Wyoming.

“The Lusk Herald and The Van Tassell Pioneer” reports on the front page of its Nov. 29, 1917 edition:

Lusk Red Cross Notes

Four names were added to the membership roll this week, the Misses Mabel Whiteside, Lida Bonsell and Bessie Reed and Mrs. James Bonsell.

The Four Leaf Clover Club has turned into the Red Cross treasury, through Mrs. Grace Mashek, $30, the proceeds of a box social.

A letter recently received from division headquarters emphatically urges the chapters to knit till at least Jan. 1, and stress is laid on the need for sweaters. Even inexperienced knitters are asked to make sweaters and wristlets. Each man leaving for foreign service will be provided with a helmet, and the American Red Cross proposes to purchase most of these, so “only those women who actually express a desire to do so should knit on helmets.”

Sixteen appeared at the sewing meeting Tuesday afternoon, though some stayed only long enough to turn in finished articles and get work to take home.

In order that the various women’s organizations have representation on the executive board of the Niobrara County Chapter, A.R.C., the following were elected as members of the executive committee: Mrs. Fowler, representing Rebekahs; Mrs. Daley, Eastern Stars; Mrs. Dale, Civic Improvement club; Mrs. Wiltse, Ladies’ Aid; and Mrs. Arnold, Guild.

Knitted articles turned in were: muffler, Mrs. Dill; wristlets, Mrs. Culler; wristlets, Mrs. Ed Barber; two pairs socks, Mrs. Thon; wristlets, Mrs. Jackson; two pairs wristlets, Mrs. Geyer; muffler, Mrs. Goddard; and wristlets, Mrs. Fowler.

More yarn has arrived from the Red Cross supply service and is in charge of Mrs. Kate Fowler, knitting instructor. Apply there for yarn and needles.

The following is a telegram from H. D. Gibson, general manager, A.R.C.:

“It is imperative that all of the sweaters, wristlets and socks that can possibly be made by the women of the country should be turned in to the supply department at the earliest possible dates. With the cold weather coming on, the demand for sweaters especially has been beyond the capacity of all our resources to supply.

“We have forwarded promptly all knitted articles received from the chapters and have in addition been compelled to buy in the market 550,000 sweaters, of which about 250,000 have been delivered. These sweaters are machine knit and the yarn used is a mixture of cotton and wool so that it does not withdraw any considerable amount of yarn from the women knitters of the Red Cross. We are buying all the yarn we are able to secure that is suitable for knitters and sending it out to the chapters as fast as we can get delivery of it. We have received from the chapters about 200,000 sweaters and approximately the same number of machine made sweaters, all of which have been delivered to the men in the camps and training stations with the exception of a few thousand which we have had to send to France.

“The requests of our organization in France for sweaters and knitted goods have had to remain unsatisfied on account of our inability to secure enough for men in our own army and navy. We call upon the women to give us their very best efforts from now until at least Jan. 1, that we may be able to furnish our own men with those comforts and have some to spare for the dire needs in France.”