"Financing the War"
The Liberty Loans
By A. F. Dawson, County Chairman.
From the time the government made its first
call upon our citizens to buy their share of Liberty Bonds for the conduct of
the war, down to the last call for Victory Loan, the people of Davenport and
Scott county responded in full measure to each request, and in every one of the
five loans over subscribed their quota. Scott county's subscriptions to the five
issues reached the splendid total of $22,000,000.
When the first call came in May, 1917- thirty days after the
declaration of the war against Germany- it found Davenport, like every other
city in the United States, without an organization for carrying forward speedily
and efficiently the task of selling millions of government securities to the
people. Scott county was asked to subscribe $1,500,000 to the first Liberty Loan
and subscriptions closed June 15th. There was only about thirty days in which to
conduct the necessary campaign of education, bring together an organization and
do the soliciting.
The first step was taken by the Davenport Clearing House
Association, which was designated a Liberty Loan Committee with A. F. Dawson,
chairman and empowered it to take whatever action was required. Active publicity
work began at once, and every bank in Davenport invited subscriptions to the
loan. Thirty thousand folders were printed and distributed setting forth the
merits of the loan and explaining how to purchase the bonds. To encourage their
sale the banks agreed to loan to purchasers at one per cent below the going
rate, and to encourage the sale of bonds could be purchased on small weekly
A call was issued for volunteer solicitors, and at a meeting
held at the Davenport Commercial Club June 4th, eighty men enrolled for the work
of making a canvass of the city for the sale of bonds. The city was divided into
districts, and the solicitors worked in pairs. The first day's work brought in
$50,200 in sales. On the second day, when Davenport was registering her young
men for military service under the selective service act, the solicitors brought
in $102,800 in subscriptions. When the campaign closed June 15th Scott county's
response totaled $1,542,600. Of this amount all but $30,000 had been subscribed
in the city of Davenport.
SECOND LIBERTY LOAN
The experience gained in the first loan
campaign made clear the necessity of perfecting an organization which would make
a house-to-house canvass for subscriptions in both the city and county. The lack
of committees to reach the rural population was particularly felt, and many
weeks before the second Liberty Loan was announced much attention was devoted to
the details of constructing an organization that would be able to distribute the
succeeding issues of bonds equitably and fairly among all the people.
The second Liberty Loan was offered for popular subscription
between October 1 and October 27, 1917, but about the middle of September active
efforts began that resulted in the Scott County Liberty Loan organization which
made such an unusual record in this and succeeding loans.
The work of organizing the townships of the county required
most energetic work. After selecting a chairman for each township, the county
chairman called a meeting and but three of the fifteen townships responded. An
organization committee was selected, with E.P. Adler at its head, and every
township in the county was visited by Chairman Dawson, Mr. Adler, and J. Reed
Lane. At least one, and in many instances two organizations meetings were
held in each township and committees were brought together who pledged
themselves to raise the quota which would be assigned to their district.
In Davenport twenty-five team captains were selected to make
a thorough canvass of the city. They were C. M. Littleton, C. M. Chocrane, L. J.
Dougherty, Joseph Deutsch, Charles Grilk, Leon H. Hass, William Heuer, H.J.
McFarland, Harry Faeber, I. Petersberger, H. K. Spencer, F. D. Throop, George
White, F. B. Yetter, E. L. Goff, L. M. B. Morrissey, S. E. Greenbaum, John H. Ruhl,
A. J. Faeber, Fred Henigbaum, Woodworth Clum, Chris. Heuck, Geo. W. Cannon, Erwin
Holbrook, And W. T. Cotter. Each captain selected ten men as active team workers,
making a city organization of 275 men.
When the announcement was received from the Federal Reserve
Bank of Chicago that Scott county had been assigned a minimum quota of
$5,094,250 there was a general feeling that this goal could not be reached. It
is true that the normal quota for Scott county was only slightly more than
$3,000,000, but the organization decided to ignore this lesser figure and set
forever at rest any lurking doubt as to the loyalty and patriotism of the people
of the county.
The quota allotted to the entire county was divided among the
townships and the city of Davenport in proportion to their resources. On this
basis Davenport was to raise $4,195,250 and the county outside $899,000.
The tremendous task of raising this large sum of money was
begun with an enthusiasm and determination which made success inevitable. The
entire city organization met at luncheon at the Blackhawk Hotel October 16th for
final instructions, and before leaving they pledged themselves to sell the
city's full quota.
For the next nine days this organization made the most
intensive drive the city had ever known. Daily meetings of the organization were
held at which reports were submitted, and enthusiasm mounted higher and higher
at each successive meeting, as the total of subscriptions climbed steadily
upward. The climax was reached at the final luncheon meeting October 27th, when
both the city and county were carried "over the top," with a total
subscription of $5,652,700. This was more than half a million in excess of the
maximum quota, and was 185 per cent of the normal quota. The total number of
bond buyers was 12,614 or the equivalent of a bond to every family.
This splendid total was raised as follows:
Reported by city
Subscribed by patriotic
Reported by township
Reported by Boy
The syndicate above referred to comprised
twenty of the leading citizens of Davenport, headed by Joe R. Lane, and entered
by subscription for a block of one million dollars of bonds. Another of the
outstanding features of this remarkable campaign was the sale of almost a
million dollars to the farmers- one of the very few instances in the whole
country in which the farmers of a single county subscribed so liberally. This
was accomplished through a complete canvass of each township by local committees
under the direction of the following township chairmen: F. C. Keppy, Dr. W. I.
Vanderveer, C. F. Emler, Rudolph Schroeder, F. C. Ringey, Charles Otto, Grover
Meyer, F. C. Michael, P. J. Thede, Adolph P. Arp, Z. G. Suiter, M. H. Calderwood,
H. O. Brownlie, Carl S. Finne, G. A. Moffat, and William Hanne.8