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WWII rationing hits Bulloch County early in war
Bulloch History

Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at places and events of interest in Bulloch County history.

  Despite bring thousands of miles away, the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese had almost immediate economic repercussions in Bulloch County.

On Dec. 27, 1941, Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed an executive order prohibiting the sale or delivery of rubber goods.

The new Bulloch County Tire and Rubber Rationing Committee was quickly activated. Its members were J.L. Renfroe (chairman), Cliff Bradley and Herbert Kingery. Distribution of all rubber tires and rubber tubes was to be controlled in each county by these committees.

This was necessary, for 98 percent of America's rubber came from the Far East, and all imports came to a complete halt as the Japanese overran the rubber producing countries. Sale of used tires was unrestricted, but mileage on cars was checked regularly by authorities to make sure there were no joy-riders using tires up for no good purpose.

New tires, however, were another thing altogether. The January 1942 allotment of new tires for the state of Georgia was 22,257 tires: that amounted to one new tire for one of every seven vehicles registered in the state of Georgia.

Shortly thereafter, it wasn't just tires that were being rationed. In the Jan. 14, 1943 issue of the Bulloch Herald, new restrictions were announced on War Time Coupon Ration Books. The Gas Coupons in Ration Book A were now good for 3 gallons of gas until Jan. 22, 1943, at which time coupons in Books B & C would be good for 3 gallons of gas.

In order to use these coupons, the person’s driver’s license number and the name of the station redeemed at had to be written on the back of each coupon. The first tire inspection of each car for 1943 had to be completed by January 31, and any new or recapped tires requested had to be authorized with proof of mileage rationing observance by the local rationing board.

Thereafter, Book B & C holders had to have their tires inspected every two months, while Book A holders had to have their tires inspected every four months. Truckers, holders of Book T, had to get their tires inspected every 60 days or 5,000 miles.

Other items were closely rationed, as well. Up to 9 gallons of fuel oil was available only to those holding a Period Two Coupon, while household products like coffee, sugar and meat required ration coupons to be purchased as well.

Those in possession of Stamp 28 in Book 1 were entitled to one pound of sugar if redeemed before February 7, while those who had Stamp 10 in Book 1 could redeem that for 8 pounds of sugar until January 23.

Those needing sugar to put up their own fresh garden fruits and vegetables could use Special Stamps 15 & 16, each of which could be redeemed for 5 pounds of canning sugar. Finally, those in possession of War Time Ration Book 2 were now able to get limited amounts of whatever meats were available only until January 15.

The Herald went on to describe how farm machinery could be purchased. According to Dorris R. Carlson, the Chairman of the Bulloch County Rationing Board, applicants seeking new machinery had to go to the Rationing Office, located in the Bulloch County AAA (or Agricultural Adjustment Administration) office.

Here, they would fill out the MR-20 form, and show how they were unable to repair their current equipment or buy adequate used machinery. If approved, the soon-to-be owner of the new equipment was required to turn in his old machinery, which would be harvested for scrap if found not to be repairable.

Once approved, the certificate for new machinery had to be used within 60 days. Anyone lucky enough to get this new equipment also had to agree to let fellow farmers use or rent it from them, in order to ensure the nation farm business were able to feed the troops fighting the war on foreign shores.

Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at

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