Bio: Klein, Robert C.--Memories of WWI
Contact: John Klein

Krueger Family--Avoiding the WWI Draft

Recollection of Robert C. Klein Town of Beaver, Clark Co., Wis. 2003

I don't recollect exactly when this took place, but it must have been about 1917 at the start of America's getting into the First World War, when I was about 8 years old. The Krieger family, living north of Beaver, owned a thrashing machine. They would come to thrash our grain, so we knew them. Evidently the Kriegers sided with Germany and the boys refused to register for the military draft. So the authorities got after them. It was the subject of conversations in our family and in the neighborhood. It also appeared in the newspapers over a period of weeks. Finally there was a shoot-out with the local and federal authorities. They tried to avoid hitting the house to protect the women, but the barn was well shot up. It finally caught on fire and burned to the ground. A big man-hunt followed, when the Krieger boys escaped. People were warned to be careful to watch out for the fugitives. People were very nervous especially since many still had relatives in Germany. I don't remember whether they were caught, but it was a topic of conversation for weeks. Two facts came out that caught people's interest: Firstly, the Kriegers bought a lot of ammunition before the confrontation, secondly, they found a tunnel between their house and barn.



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