May 20, 2008

Registering for the Draft

The year is 1918 and World War I is raging in Europe.  Having entered the war the year before the United States finds itself in need of more soldiers.  A program of military conscription (Draft) is implemented and all across America young men  report to local Draft Boards to register.

On June 5th, 1918 one of those young men was 21 year old Ruey Ratliff from Millard, KY.  Here is an image of the draft registration card he signed that day...

Ninety years have passed and that draft card has gone from file drawer to microfilm roll and now to the Internet.   Those transitions have made it a little hard to read but it still tells us a lot about young Ruey Ratliff from Millard, KY.
  • His birth date was Feb. 11, 1897.
  • He was born at Millard, KY.
  • His fathers birthplace was Regina, KY.
  • He was employed by Winston Creek Coal Company at Regina.
  • His spouse was Grace Ratliff.
The back of the card tells us...
  • He was of medium height and slender build with brown eyes and black hair.
  • He had no disabilities.
Looking at the handwriting I suspect that the registrar, Mr. Bowles, filled out the card and gave it to Ruey to sign.  Ruey's signature looks different from all the other writing on the card, especially the capital R's.  The way the letters in his signature tilt to the left makes me wonder if he wasn't left-handed.


Michelle said...

That signature looks almost identical to Randys. That is quite a coinsidence.

Anonymous said...

I was almost blown away when I say that signature. I have seen it many times. Randy and Grandpa Ruey's signatures are almost identical. Randy says he used to do the double line on his Rs but stopped some years back. I was really amazed at the likeness of the two signatures.