I often find the best things when I am going through and organizing things. Yesterday I was going through some old Miller papers that we found while cleaning out my dad’s garage last summer. Some of the papers are old, barely readable land deeds that I probably would have archived instead of storing in a damp garage. I’m just saying…
Among the papers were two old postcards from the War Department, addressed to my grandfather, Carl F. Miller. The postcards were his Notice of Classification from his World War I draft registration in Mercer County, Ohio. What great historical family items to have!
There were three draft registrations during World War I. The first was on 5 June 1917 that registered men between 21-31 years of age. Carl turned 21 in February of 1917 so he would have registered in June 1917.
The first of the two postcards is dated 28 January 1918 and postmarked 1918 from Celina. Although someone wrote 1916 on the card in pen, the 1916 date looks suspiciously like my dad’s handwriting, written on the card years later. Carl’s Order No. was 1672, Serial No. 12 and the card was signed by Thos. R. Roop, member of the Local Board. Carl was classified as I-A.
There were five draft classifications during WWI and all registrants were initially placed in Class I. Their classification was changed if and when they were granted a deferment. Men were placed in deferred classes according to dependency, vocation, necessary agricultural and industrial work, family support needs, number of children, when married or moral disqualification.
Necessary agricultural and industrial workers were classified according to the degree of their skill and the relative necessity and importance of their enterprise. A registrant was placed in Class II if found by his district board to be a necessary skilled farm laborer in a necessary agricultural enterprise…among other things.
That would explain the second postcard sent to my grandfather. That postcard was dated March 1918 [again my dad later wrote 1916 on it] and Carl was given a classification of II-C. This card was signed by Dr. J.C. Hattery. So Carl was probably given an agricultural deferment because he farmed the Miller farm.
My grandfather Carl did not serve in World War I. Jacob Miller, Carl’s father, was not in good health the last few years before his death on 15 June 1918. Carl would have been the last male on the Miller farm and the only one left to work the farm. That was why he received the draft deferment.Information from Carl Miller’s WWI Draft Registration Card A:
No. 1672; 12
- Name in full: Carl F. Miller Age: 21
- Home address: Willshire, O.
- Date of birth: Feb 20, 1896
- Are you (1) natural-born citizen, (2) naturalized, (3) alien, (4) have you declared your intention? ————–
- Where were you born? Chattanooga, O. USA
- If not a citizen, of what nation are you a citizen or subject? ——–
- What is your present trade, occupation or office? Farmer
- By whom employed: By Father Where employed: on farm
- Have you a father, mother, wife, child under 12, or a sister or brother under 12, solely dependent on you for support (specify which)? No
- Married or single? Single Race? Caucasian
- What military service have you had? ——— Rank ———– Branch ——–
- Do you claim exemption from draft? —————–
I affirm that I have verified above answers and that they are true.
Carl F. Miller (Signature or Mark)
- Tall, medium or short? Tall Slender, medium, or stout? Medium
- Color eyes: Blue Color of hair: Light Brown Bald ——-
- Has person lost arm, leg, hand, foot, eye, or both eyes or is he otherwise disabled? ——
John E. Pifer (Signature of Registrar)
City or County: Mercer
Date: June 5, 1917
Much of the above draft information is from the article, World War I Draft Registration, written by U.S. National Archivist Jean Nudd, and published on-line a few years ago by Dick Eastman. You can read the whole article at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2004/12/us_world_war_i_.html .
 “U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917–1918,” digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 31 January 2013), card for Carl F. Miller, no. 1672, Mercer County, Ohio; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917–1918, National Archives microfilm publication M1509, imaged from Family History Library film roll 1832519.