Mississippi Senator John Sharp Williams (1854-1932) was born in Tennessee but raised in Mississippi after being orphaned in the Civil War. After attending several fine universities in the US and Europe, he took his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1876. As a patriotic response to England launching its HMS Dreadnought in 1906, Senator Williams introduced a bill to change the name of an American battleship to the USS “Skeered O’ Nuthin’.
The Hardship of Wheatless Days
“In March 1918, the New York World, in an editorial article on the World War of the early twentieth century, took occasion to state:
“It will do the country no harm to note the reminder of Senator John Sharp Williams of Mississippi that its war sufferings in the matter of food have reached no very heroic stage as yet.”
Senator Williams was then quoted as saying:
“Men go out and exploit themselves about ‘wheatless days’ and the lack of food. The Southern Confederacy had no wheat for three years during the Civil War. I went from 1862 to Lee’s surrender without seeing anything made out of wheat except an occasional Christmas or birthday cake, and that was sweetened with molasses. What is the use of talking about hardships? We are having no hardships in this country. If you cannot stand hardships, then you are not worthy of your ancestors. Let us send men, munitions and food to France and quit our patrioteering camouflage.”
(The Women of the South in Wartime. Matthew Page Andrews, The Norman, Remington Company, 1920, pg. 30)