The banner headline on the front-page of The Llano News on October 4, 1917, was unambiguous: Your Highest Duty as an American Citizen Demands that you Buy a Liberty Bond,” it said. Most of the front-page was filled with war news from Europe, but one article also described a battle in “Mesapotania” where the British captured “Ramadie, north west of Bagdad” and inflicted heavy casualties on the defending Ottoman Turks.
Thirty-one more young men were called to active duty from Llano County. Seventeen of them were from the town of Llano and five were from Lone Grove; two each came from Castell and Kingsland, with single representatives from Tow, Bluffton, Oxford, Valley Spring and Field Creek.
Another front-page story reported that a meteor had exploded in mid-air above Texas, “casting the most brilliant light possibly the human eye has ever seen” with a “terrific blast that exceeded by far any explosion ever resulted from human agency.” The sound was said to be “audible for hundreds of miles.”
The Ransom and McInnis drug store announced that it had signed a deal with Hillyers Florists in Austin to be their agent in Llano. Another story reported that Llano’s Frank Wallace had been in the middle of a group of American “soldier boys with the Hospital Corps” who were photographed by a “staff correspondent from one of the news service organizations” as they were “talking with a bevy of French girls from a munitions factory.”
Llano’s high school football team was preparing for a game with Marble Falls; in three previous matches, they had one win, one loss and one tie!
The next week’s paper happily reported that Llano had come back from a 12-6 halftime deficit to beat Marble Falls 24-18. Dan Hackworth made three touchdowns.
The Llano Milling Company gave up on its recently-installed filter plant, calling it “inadequate and a failure.” The company ordered a new filter plant similar to one which was serving successfully in Brownwood. The front-page story reported that “The new plant will be composed of settling basins, where the water will be thoroughly filtered and purified before it is pumped into the mains. It will be located just south of the power plant, on the west side of the street.”
Roy Inks, who had been the manager of the Nelson Davis and Son wholesale grocery warehouse in Llano AND the junior partner in Watkins Auto Sales Co., volunteered with the Army’s Aviation Corps. He had been registered for the draft, but his number was not called.
Othello Shults, who had volunteered for the U.S. Navy, and had been selected for service “on the president’s boat, the Mayflower,” was home for leave, and a dance in his honor was scheduled for Friday night at the Don Carlos Hotel (where “special music has been secured for the occasion”).
The ladies of the Red Cross, whose headquarters was in the Haynie Building, called for donations of “clean new or old white rags, cut very fine for the making of comfort pillows.”
One story reported on a revival at the Christian Church, while another told how a carnival was scheduled for October 20.
The big news in the little agricultural town on October 18 was a fire at the stockyards of Kansas City, which killed an estimated 13,000 animals (10,000 cattle and 3,000 hogs). A somewhat puzzling report opined that the “conflagration” was “of incendiary origin.”
Other stories that week reported that the Treasury Department had sold $1 billion worth of Liberty Bonds and that one million tons of new shipping capacity would be launched by March. The Russians suffered a major defeat to the Germans in the Gulf of Riga.
Charley Shults encountered (and killed) a mother black bear while inspecting cattle in the Davis Mountains. He rescued her cub, and brought it back to Llano, where crowds of visitors came to see it at the Don Carlos Hotel.
Four Llano County boys (John Borden, Carl Rabb, Benton Ligon and Theo Schorlemmer) attended Boys State in Dallas.
H. & T.C. railroad agent “Mr. Fishbeck” reported that 1,012 carloads of livestock had been shipped out of Llano in the previous year, while eight cars (containing 2,412 head) were shipped into Llano.
And a carload of Fords arrived in Llano, with eight lucky buyers accepting their new vehicles. Six touring cars, one roadster and one truck were delivered.
A large group of area farmers were working to form a Llano County Buyers Association.
Willie Atchison purchased “one of the best small ranches in Llano County” from Seth Bailey. It was “an 85-acre place located some two and a half miles from town in the Wright’s Creek community.”
The banner headline on October 25 said “Are you as patriotic as Germany? Go Today and Buy a Liberty Bond.” A story below it told how $27,100 worth of bonds had been sold in Llano, just over one third of the $75,000 quota assigned to the town. Llano’s ratio was a little better than the nation’s as a whole, where just over 20% of the quota had been sold. A list of Llano County buyers included 75 Llano residents; the only two Kingsland buyers on the list were Fred Wood and Julian Lauterstein.
A mass meeting at the courthouse was announced to make plans for a county-wide Food Conservation Week to begin the following Sunday. That was October of 1917, one hundred years ago in Llano.