101 Years Ago Today: “Wilson Signs War Decree”

On April 6, 1917 the United States declared war on Germany.

Within weeks after war was declared, Fort Worth would have two very tangible parts of the war to support, of course: By midsummer Camp Bowie would be training troops of the Army’s 36th Division, turning Sammies into soldiers. And cadets of the Royal Flying Corps of Great Britain would be training at Camp Taliaferro.

Fort Worth would support the war effort in other ways, too.

april-6-1917-WAR-panel vertBut on the day war was declared, these headlines show Fort Worth’s immediate response to President Wilson’s declaration. Suddenly Old Glory was on display, firemen were drilling, the local Red Cross was stepping up activity, soldiers were being recruited, and pretty girls were bidding farewell to troops.

That “at war” issue of the Star-Telegram also included this tiny article. Among the German colonists in central Texas in the late nineteenth century had been the family of Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg (1856-1921). By the time America declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, Hollweg was chancellor of Germany, the right-hand man of Kaiser Wilhelm! Hollweg and his family owned property in McLennan, Falls, and Limestone counties. After war was declared, the chancellor sold some of his Texas property; some of his property was confiscated. In 1918 some of his property was sold by his U.S. agent, who used the proceeds to buy U.S. Liberty bonds, which, of course, funded the war against Germany.

America goes to war:

wwi front page 1200

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4 Responses to 101 Years Ago Today: “Wilson Signs War Decree”

  1. Bennie DeLaney says:

    When I first moved here in 67,there was a hospital at the intersection of Pennsylvania & Ballinger. I believe it was called FTW General.Have you any information or photos of it? Also,any funeral homes or ambulance services here around that time.

    • hometown says:

      Bennie, that hospital opened in 1921 as Pennsylvania Avenue Hospital. Fess Parker was born there in 1924. It changed names a few times. The C-shaped building was still there in a 1952 aerial photo, but there is no listing of a Fort Worth General or a hospital at that address in the 1968 city directory. Here is a two-part post on local funeral homes, ambulance services, cemeteries, etc.: When Those Who Bury the Dead Are Dead (Part 1).

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