Friday, July 27, 1917
A bureaucratic mix-up is to blame for the fact that Saratoga County’s two draft districts must provide the same number of men to the military, even though one district, including Saratoga Springs, has much fewer men than the other.
Saratoga Springs city attorney Harold H. Corbin was tasked with investigating a situation many Spa City residents consider unfair. He’s learned that the two districts were drawn up with no geographical logic, but in order to divide the county into equal halves.
“For instance, Wilton, next door to Saratoga Springs, was placed in the opposite district,” The Saratogian explains, “The object was to divide the county into two districts of 30,000 each, whether adjacent towns were in the same district or not.”
The mistake occurred when Stillwater was assigned to the first district, while next-door Mechanicville was put in the second. Draft organizers thought this would help balance the two districts, but didn’t realize that Mechanicville, as part of its recent incorporation as a city, had annexed part of Stillwater, with a population of 3,000 people.
Draft officials in Albany “could not understand the large difference in the number of men in the two districts,” and insist that the disparity isn’t as bad as Corbin claims, once you subtract the unnaturalized aliens who are exempt from the draft.
As things stand, both districts must provide 158 men for the war against Germany, on top of men who’ve already volunteered for service.
Louise Clark is an Englishwoman who served as a Red…
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