As 1917 began, America drew closer to war. Texas was already significantly engaged in war preparations and supplying the allies. The British Royal Flying Corps operated three flying schools to train Canadian pilots at Camp Taliaferro in Fort Worth, San Antonio was a primary staging base for the Punitive Expedition and the pursuit of Pancho Villa, and Texas businesses supplied cattle, horses, cotton, and lumber to the allies. Key events in 1917 National and Texas included (source noted in parentheses)…

January 16. Ferguson inaugurated governor second term (Wooster).

January 22. Wilson’s “Peace Without Victory” speech to Congress (Wooster).

January 27. Beginning of withdrawal of Pershing expedition from Mexico (Wooster).

January 31. Germany announces resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare policy (Wooster).

February 3. United States breaks relations with Germany (Wooster).

February 26. Wilson asks Congress for power to arm ships (Wooster).

March 1. Zimmermann note published in newspapers; U.S. House passes armed-ship bill (Wooster).

March 3. Congress passes Revenue Act of 1917 to be used for military preparedness (Wooster).

March 4. Wilson takes oath of office second time (Sunday; inauguration next day) (Wooster).

March 5. Wilson inaugurated president; Senate blocks armed ship bill (Wooster).

March 15. Czar Nicholas II of Russia forced to abdicate (Wooster).

March 16-18. German submarines sink three U.S. merchant vessels (Wooster).

March 21. Faculty of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (Texas A&M) unanimously pass resolution offering college to government

March 23. Board of Directors of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (Texas A&M) approve the faculty’s resolution

April 2. Wilson asks Congress for declaration of war (Wooster).

April 6. Congress declares war on Germany (Wooster).

May 5. 3rd Aero Squadron transfers to newly established Kelly Field (Kelly #1 – Manguso).

May 18. Passage of Selective Service Act (Wooster).

May 18. Pershing appointed commander of American Expeditionary Forces (Wooster).

May 24. The only Army school of meteorology in U.S. is established at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (Texas A&M)

June 5. First registration for Selective Service (Wooster).

June 14. Work begins on 15th National Army Cantonment (Camp Travis, San Antonio, TX) (Manguso).

June 15. The Espionage Act of 1917 is passes as a United States federal law (Wooster).

June 26. First American Troops arrive in France (Wooster).

July 20. Secretary of War Newton Baker draws first number in draft lottery (Wooster).

July 24. Construction begins on Camp Logan in Houston.

August 1. Senate passes prohibition resolution (Wooster).

August 5. Texas-Oklahoma National Guard Federalized as 36th Division (Wooster).

August 11. Kelly field opens for training (Wooster).

August 23. Riot and mutiny involving African-American troops at Camp Logan (https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/jch04).

August 24. Camp Bowie officially open (Wooster).

August 25. 90th Division activated (Wooster).

September 4. First trainees arrive at Camp Travis (Wooster).

September 25. Texas Senate convicts Ferguson on 10 counts; W. P. Hobby becomes governor (Wooster).

October 3. Passage of War Revenue Act of 1917 (Wooster).

October 15. The War Department Commission on Training Camp Activities publishes its findings on activities and hygiene, and the results of work with states and municipalities to close red light districts, including those in San Antonio, El Paso, Ft. Worth, Waco, Houston.

November 1. Houston Riot courts martial begin at Fort Sam Houston (https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/jch04).

November 27. First aircraft takes off from Ellington Field, Pasadena, Texas(https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qbe02).

December 7.  Congress Declares war on Austria.

December 8. Construction begins on Kelly Field #5 (renamed Brooks Field on Feb 4, 1918) southeast of San Antonio (Manguso).

December 8. Detachment Depot Company K, Land Division of the Signal Corps reports for training at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (Texas A&M).

Have something to add? Let us know at WWICC.TX@gmail.com.


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