The Soldiers' Edition of the Oxford Mirror was transcribed by Janet Brandt.
||Red Cross Activities
OXFORD JUNCTION was never quite so proud of herself and her people as when she realized her Red Cross activities, their aim, work and, above all, their spirit of sacrifice and co-operation. Never has the town as a whole been so united, so determined and so capable of doing big things in a big way. Or in other words so nearly Christian in its ideals and attainments.
On May 17, 1917, that prince of gentlemen, Geo. Schoonover, accompanied by the eloquent penned editor, Louis Gardner, the Irish-story telling former County Attorney Gorman, and the man of army experience, Chas. Ireland, all of Anamosa, met a full house of Oxford citizens at the Fern Theatre to discuss the aim, work and need of the Red Cross. A goodly number signed for membership then and there and temporary officers were named. Later the permanent organization named the following officers: Chairman, O. A. Gable; Vice Chairman, Mrs. H. E. Ramsey; Secretary, Hattie Hovlik; Treasurer, Mrs. N. B. Lathrop. Directors: A. Stratilek, O. A. Gable, E. A. Grimwood, Vallie S. Pulley, Mike Souhrada and Mrs. E. Cave, all of whom were re-elected from time to time.
On May 24th, various committees were appointed to secure memberships, supervise and inspect the varied forms of work and keep the public informed of the needs and results of the Chapter, and on May 29th, 1917, actual work began and has never stopped except when quotas were completed.
The Commercial Club were so enthusiastic that they gave their own room to provide permanent quarters for both business and work gatherings.
The next month, June, 1917, saw the memorable campaign for funds. $15,000 was asked from the southern half of Jones County. $2095.00 from Oxford Township alone. Five teams proceeded (rather dubiously it must be remembered) to canvass, three north of the river, two south, and such a surprised lot of men you seldom see. Where they had anticipated arguments, pleading, etc., they found hearty co-operation, hands in full pockets, ready to give willingly and generously. Each team came almost tumbling out of their cars to report their good luck only to find that the others were as favored. The farmers alone gave $2500, more than our quota. Oxford Junction and Oxford Mills could do no less than match it so in two days we subscribed $5058.25, a little more than double the amount apportioned us.
But the money given was not the great thing. The great and wonderful thing was that Oxford Junction had found herself—had learned to know her citizens for their true worth, had learned to cast all creed, class and place aside and work together as one family for the good of all. Never again will our business men doubt their ability to do laudable things; never again will there be a feeling of division between small town and rural districts; never a lack of faith in the common man to know, feel and support the common need of humanity at home and abroad. One item alone exemplifies the spirit of our people. With no canvass made for membership in 1918, more came to the Secretary for cards than in previous years under persuasion.
The whole amount was turned over to the Jones County War Fund Committee, which forwarded the full amount required to the National Red Cross and Army Y. M. C. A., and recommended the purchase of a $1200.00 field ambulance to bear the inscription, “Jones County, Iowa, Red Cross Chapter,” leaving the balance of the County fund, some $7500.00 to be apportioned to the various units and held in their respective banks to meet further calls, so that when other cities and towns were repeating the canvass, Oxford Junction simply drew on her share of the county fund for all requirements, until the nation as a whole adopted the Jones County plan, united all its war activities and sent out a call for seven in one, which was met this fall in much the same spirit as before.
The above describes the enthusiastic work of the men but what shall we say of the band of workers who week after week wended their way to the work rooms, neglecting their own work, sacrificing their little outings and other pleasures to cut, baste and sew garments for soldiers boys and needy refugees, or to prepare surgical dressings for the hospital needs of the army; and others, who, in the quiet of their own homes, knit, knit, knit, that the soldier boys might meet winter conditions in protection and comfort. Their work was not heralded afar; it was not inspired by the enthusiasm of a great crowd, but it was beautiful and noble in the ways of women. The ladies need 2149 yards of outing flannel; 2592 yds. of gauze; 642 yards of muslin; 170 pounds of yarn; 720 yards of bath robe material; 95 yards of ticking; and 122 dozen buttons during the year.
In the spring of the present year the call came to organize the schools of the township for the Junior Red Cross work and again the rural districts proved their ability to act together and to act quickly. Before the summer vacation came everyone of them was not only organized 100 per cent in membership but with neat little sums to their individual credit in the local banks. Pillows, bootees, blankets, gun wipes, etc., were made and now each school is busy with quilts that their little brothers and sisters “over there” may sleep “comfy” in their homes desolated and desecrated by war. Really the most beautiful work of all—the beautiful work of the American Red Cross—the teaching to little children of the brotherhood of man without regard to nativity, creed or race, the actual employment of childish hands in the making of those things which shall help a helpless brother or sister in their hours of need. Christ’s greatest illustration of teaching—“And a little child shall led them.”