Letter from Joseph J. Laughinghouse to Thomas W. Bickett, 28 February 1918
LOCAL BOARD FOR THE COUNTY OF PITT
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
Feb. 28th, 1918
My dear Governor:
Mr. Cox and myself feel very much worried over the action of the District Board in regard to agricultural and industrial claims. We have just sent up the papers to be acted on.
The first case we will name is Millard R. Quinerly. We recommened his claim by saying this registrant’s mother is a widow with a fifteen-horse farm, that he is her sole dependence and supervisor. Our recommendation further states that Mr. Quinerly is a graduate of A. & E. College, having made a specialty of agriculture and dairying. He has had charge of his mother’s farm for two and a half years. He has made a big success with the farm and is considered one of the best farmers in the county. He has more improved machinery on his farm than any other farmer in the county. “We feel in recommending him for Class IV, Div. C that he can be of treble the service to the Government supervising this farm than he can on the firing line.”
Another case is that of a man named Gardner. He has an eleven horse farm. We strongly recommend him.
Another case is that of a Mr. Arthur L. Cox, who has a six horse farm.
The papers of these men have just been returned to us and the registrants are in Class I, Div. E, that is “unskilled laborers”.
Now as to the industrial claims: The manager of the Cotton Oil & Fertilizer Factory at Farmville, came to see us and said that if Mr. Laxton, the manager, was taken they could not replace him but would have to shut down and a hundred farmers would be disappointed in getting their cotton converted into oil and hulls and fertilizer. We stated this to the District Board and they put the manager in Class 1-E.
You cannot fight an army unless it is fed. All this talk about conservation is the veriest rot if men of this class are to be put in Class I, thereby taken from the farms. With negro labor it means to cut the yield by at least one-half. If all district boards were to disregard the recommendations of Local Boards, who are on the spot and know personally conditions, and sent this class of men to the army, they would be responsible to a great degree for the shortage of food-stuffs in the near future.
I do not know any members of the Board personally except Mr. Pace, but I cannot help but feel that they are making a terrible mistake in disregarding such claims.
With best wishes, I am,
Yours very truly,
(signed) J. J. Laughinghouse