Friday, April 22, 2016

Harshbarger line: Regarding Grover Harshbarger and the draft

This article is from the Fort Wayne Sentinel of Monday, February 25, 1918, as found on

"Enter Signal Corps

(Special to the News.)

Columbia City, Ind. Feb. 25-

Shelley Stemen and Alex Cordill of this city, and Harmon Walker and Grover C. Harshbarger of near here, who are draft registrants but whose numbers would throw them in the second or third quota, left Monday for Fort Leavenworth, Ks., where they will enter the land service signal corps.  They desired to enlist before being drafted and accepted the chance to enlist voluntarily through the local draft board.  They will be credited to Whitley County on the second quota.  The Whitley county draft board received notice Saturday from the war department that any draft eligible no matter whether he belong to the current quota, or to a future quote, may enlist and be sent at once to whatever camp he desired, he having, in other words, the right to choose from the lines of military work yet open."

I was unable to find any information clarifying the "second or third quota" phrase, but apparently these men had missed the earliest draft but were classified as the equivalent of 1A and knew their numbers were coming up soon.

I'm not sure what the men expected or hoped to be doing by going into the land service signal corps.  The corps was devoted to communications, whether by radio, radar, telegraph, or even aviation for the early part of the war.  So they could have been radio or telegraph operators, or they could have been stringing wires for telephones, or any number of other ssignments.

Grover, however, didn't get to complete his training.  He was one of the many who were infected with "Spanish influenza" in the time before antibiotics, and was so ill that he was discharged from Camp Lejeune later in 1918.

The line of descent is

Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants