A Look Back in Time: Lewis County Prepares for World War II Sugar Rationing in 1942


Initial preparations for the public registration for wartime sugar rationing in Lewis County were set for May 4-7, 1942, as disclosed by Centralian Reid R. Conrad, Lewis County rationing administrator, on April 23, 1942.

As World War II raged on, the United States implemented the rationing of several household goods to support the war effort, the likes of which have not been seen in the country since.

Citizens were given rationing stamps that they could then turn in for their allotment of what was being rationed.

Washington, D.C.’s Office of Price Administration announced that “the first stamp will be good for purchase of one pound of sugar during the period from May 5 to May 16,” reported The Chronicle.

Conrad divided Lewis County into three districts to facilitate the work.

The first district was that of Morton, which saw a jurisdiction for the rationing of sugar from Mossyrock into East Lewis County.

The second rationing district was Centralia’s, which oversaw a portion of the county including Toledo and Onalaska.

The third district, that of Chehalis, started at the city’s northern limits, and covered all of the western parts of the county, with Pacific Highway being the dividing line.

“Because the Centralia rationing board is working at capacity already, Conrad said, it has appointed George Williams, retired Centralia businessman, as sugar rationer for the local district,” reported The Chronicle. “The county administrator said he did not know if the other two boards planned to add an additional member to their body in order to take care of sugar rationing.”


April 23, 1932:

• D.M. Major, a Tenino resident, was elected president of the Lewis-Thurston District of the Federation of Women’s Clubs at the organization’s 16th semi-annual convention in Chehalis on April 22, 1932. Edna Ott, of Rochester, was elected vice president and Mabel Muson, of Toledo, the secretary.

• The then Centralia Junior College was on the lookout for financial partners called “guarantors” to help fund the school during the 1932-33 school year. The school was expected to have about $6,000 at the end of the 1931-32 school year, after taking in $14,432.59 with an existing cash balance of $3,812.49 and spending $8,415.59. The school had never needed to rely on its guarantors in the past due to strong a strong financial position, but The Chronicle noted that since it and the three other junior colleges in the state had no public-funding mechanism attached to them, the generous individuals were a necessity to safeguard higher education in the region.

• Centralia’s first American Legion Auxiliary citywide bridge tournament saw its second round of play. The high score at the April 22 installment of the tourney went to team 36, which consisted of L.R. Mullen and O.A. Hedlund with a score of 2574.

• The Chronicle was set to hold a cooking school at the Fox Theatre, opening the following Tuesday. Local food products were heralded as the focus of the event, which was positioned to champion local growers and food processors while helping to bolster the culinary repertoire of Twin Cities residents.

• Hubert Klein, then 56, died April 22, 1932, at his home in Ford’s Prairie. He was survived by his widow, Helen Klein, and their two children, Thelma and William.

• In order to receive government-sponsored food assistance, some 200 men were required to work off some of the costs associated with the expense required to feed their families by engaging in community clean-up actions at places like Fort Borst and Riverside parks.

• Three acres of land were listed in the classifieds section for the price of $500, and a house at 113 S. Rock St. was listed at a rental price of $6 per month.


April 23, 1942:

• The Centralia Kiwanis Club presented the Twin City State Guard unit, Company L, Fourth Washington Volunteers, with a “beautiful American flag” as part of a “colorful and impressive ceremony” the previous Tuesday, reported The Chronicle. Kiwanis President Larry Hausam presided over the ceremony.

  Walter W. Finke, president of the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce was the scheduled speaker at the annual Washington state Junior Chamber of Commerce association event held in Chehalis. Finke, 34, was also the director of social welfare for the state of Minnesota.

• U.S. Vice-Admiral Robert L. Ghormley was said to have relatives in Lewis County. H.K. Ghormley, of Centralia, was Admiral Ghormley’s first cousin, and “Mrs. John Murray,” of Chehalis, was the official’s sister.

• “A giant Boy Scouts circus” was scheduled for the following Saturday night “under the floodlights of the Centralia High School’s Noble field,” reported The Chronicle. It was set to be the largest event of its kind by the Tumwater Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which oversaw Lewis, Thurston and Mason counties. One scheduled event for the night included a “clown frolic” sponsored by the Centralia Kiwanis Club.

• Victor R. Gleason was appointed as assistant Lewis County agent after Helmer W. Basso vacated the position. Gleason was set to take charge of the county’s poultry extension work and was expected to help out with the county’s 4H program.

• Laura Ellen White, then 66, of Onalaska, died April 23, 1932, after a year-long illness. White had lived in the region for eight years. She was born on May 18, 1875, in Odessa, Missouri.

• The Centralia Bengal Baseballers beat the Napavine Tigers 15 runs to 5 in a seven-inning performance.


April 23, 1952

• A retired Winlock lumberman testified in Lewis County Superior Court the previous Wednesday that he paid former Land Board Secretary Sam Emmanuel $6,000 in three separate payments for allegedly securing influence to obtain extensions of time for logging state timber the lumberman had purchased. A $5,000 check was among the articles entered into evidence during the trial.

• The Chehalis and Centralia city commissions voted to remain in standard time for the summer, rather than dip back into daylight savings time.

• Lewis County Commissioners raised the salaries of its road workers to $15 a month for road supervisors and $22 per month for road employees and field men in the engineer’s office.

• After much back-and-forth since failing to extend A.J. Nietert’s garbage collection contract the week prior, the Centralia City Commission opted to extend the contract by one year.

• The hearing aid of an elderly witness in Superior Court Judge John E. Murray’s courtroom halted a hearing twice due to a loud ringing sound it emitted as the old man attempted to hear what was being said from where he sat in the crowd before his testimony. Murray asked the man to sit in the front row of the court proceedings so that he would have to rely less on the hearing aid, which solved the problem.

• A fire the previous Monday starting in the furnace room of a Bucoda home was not extinguished until it destroyed the hoouse, which was covered under partial insurance.

• Morton Gronseth, a Centralia High School teacher, was heralded as a “staunch blood bank booster” by The Chronicle. His reason for his serial donations? He wanted to pay back the 25 pints of blood that’d been transfused into him following his injuries in the Battle of Okinawa during World War II.


“A Look Back in Time” appears in every Saturday edition of The Chronicle. News clips were reviewed at the Lewis County Historical Museum.