100 Years Ago

The following news items are reprinted from the Manistee Daily News for the week ending April 14, 1917 and are compiled by Teena Kracht from the newspaper archives of the Manistee County Historical Muesum picMuseum. 

“WAR IS DECLARED.

“NEW YORK, April 6.—Ninety-one German ships lying in United States ports have been seized by the American government.

“Their crews have been arrested and the ships are heavily guarded. Twenty-seven ships in New York waters alone were seized. Their crews were taken to Ellis Island.

“SCENE IN CONGRESS MOST DRAMATIC IN HISTORY. U. S. TO FIGHT FOR WORLD DEMOCRACY.

“WASHINGTON, April 6.—America is at war.

“Amidst the most dramatic scenes ever witnessed in congress, the house at 3 o’clock this morning passed the resolution formally declaring Germany an enemy, and launching the United States onto the fight for the democracy of the world.

“Congresswoman Rankin, with sobs and a protest of love for her country, voted ‘no.’ Bacon of Michigan voted ‘no.’

“As the president affixed his signature, Lieutenant Commander McCandless signaled across the street [from the White House] to the navy department that war was formally on, and orders were flashed from the government wireless station to ships at sea and to forts of the United States.

“While the ink was still wet messages were sent to all countries notifying them of this government’s action.

“The president issued a proclamation appealing to all American citizens to uphold the laws of the land and ‘give undivided willing support to those measures which may be adopted in prosecuting the war to a successful issue and obtaining secure and just peace.’

“A shipyard in active operation in Manistee in the near future now is practically certain.

“The only contingency to prevent would be the inability to secure sufficient help. And as shipbuilding pays high wages, it is the belief of those conversant with conditions that this requirement will be easily met.

“HUNDREDS ASSEMBLE ON STREET TO CHEER WILSON AND CONGRESS; CAPT. STRONACH PLANS TO ORGANIZE VOLUNTEER COMPANY.

“Immense Crowd Assembles at Maple and River Streets to Join in Display of Patriotism; Bells Rung; Whistles Blown; Inspiring Talk Is Given.

“With cheers, with songs and with martial strain, tolling of bells and blasts og whistles, Manistee today pledged, in sincerest terms of patriotism, its support to President Woodrow Wilson and to the United States of America.

“In the hearts of men beat the sentiments which made America the land of the free and later cemented the states of that America. In the faces of men were reflected expression of righteous defiance.

“Even the months and weeks of strained international relations had not wholly prepared the public for the news, ‘WAR IS DECLARED,’ which was flashed over the wires from Washington this morning. People had hoped against hope that some influence would intervene to spare us from conflict. But no such influence was expected and at 3 o’clock this morning the house of representatives voted to support the national honor.

“Reports of war spread rapidly throughout the city. Boy Scouts, the noblest representation of young America, hurried to their quarters and assembled in formation. The first scout arrived within eight minutes after the call was sounded and the mobilization was completed in less than 40 minutes. The boys are not intended for actual war service but will serve the government in any possible manner, at home. Shortly after 11 o’clock they marched to Maple and River Street, headed by buglers, fifers, and drummers. A few veterans of the Spanish-American war and a number of private citizens fell into the line.

“Students from the high school and ward schools marched to the corner. Veterans of the Civil war gathered there and displayed their banner. Citizens gathered hurriedly. Dozens of flags were displayed. Hundreds of voices joined in cheers and songs.

“In an address of highest patriotic sentiment, Supt. S. W. Baker praised congress and the president for upholding the national honor, and said that the spirit of Americans is just as strong against injustice as ever in the history of the nation.

“’It is my prayer that this will be the beginning of the end of the war.’ He said. ‘May all nations be made purer and more wholesome by it. I hope to see the day when no head shall wear a crown—when autocracy shall fall before democracy.

“Steps to organize a volunteer military company in Manistee were taken this morning, less than two hours after announcement that war had been declared was received. The movement is headed by John Stronach, Jr., ex-captain of Co. B, Thirty-fourth Michigan volunteer infantry. Maj. James A. King, Capt. William Wenzel and Lieut. S. Christoffersen are associated in the movement.

“The plan is to organize a company that will volunteer its service to the government, either for actual service or for state duty.

“Manistee residents need entertain no fear of a shortage of Easter eggs, regardless of the fact that war has been declared and prices and supplies may be out of sight.

“They are here in large quantities. They will sell at a price within reach of all who wish to partake of the popular custom on Easter morning.

“Inquiries conducted by the News-Advocate this morning revealed the fact that fresh eggs will sell tomorrow at from 30 to 33 cents a dozen. Most of the large and small stores have a sufficient supply on hand to meet the trade.

“Perhaps the kids will have to eat their eggs plain white. Dyes are scarce and high this year. But there will be eggs anyway.

“A WALK DOWN THE STREETS today convinces us that Flag Day has become a continuous celebration.

“REGULAR CHILDREN’S STORY hour will be held in the public library tomorrow afternoon at 2 o’clock.

“OLD GLORY was unfurled over the city hall as formal notification that war was declared this morning. Long may it wave!

“WHY IS IT that we can’t think of a festival without connecting some kind of food with it? Thanksgiving turkeys, Easter eggs—and even Good Friday has its hot cross buns.

“DID YOU HOT-CROSS BUN today? The buying of hot cross buns on Good Friday is a survival of the ancient and interesting custom of offering the gods sacred bread. Usually the bread was highly spiced and marked with a symbol.

“FIRST MANISTEE WAR argument happened at the Buckley & Douglas mill while the whistles were blowing. A German gent requested to know why the cause of the noise. When told he stated that Uncle Sam wouldn’t last six months with Germany. Bing! One German subject on the ground. He arose. Bing! The same German ditto to previous reclining position. ‘You won’t last but about ten seconds around here,’ his antagonist hurled at him.

“GOOD FRIDAY! And they ‘Bring Up Father in Politics’ at the Ramsdell theatre tonight. This may be the last road troupe that will appear in Manistee for many a moon. War is against theatres, and show managers are taking their companies off the road.

“Five Manistee youths have been called to the colors. They are MAQUORN S. NUTTALL—Son of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Nuttall, 314 Oak street. LESLIE G. FIELD—Son of August Field, manager of the Chippewa hotel. VIGGO E. HANSEN—Son of Fire Chief and Mrs. William W. Hansen. ARTHUR SIMONS—Local representative of the National Biscuit company. DUDLEY LANE—Night clerk at the Hotel Northern and brother of Mrs. John F. Hermann, 129 Washington St.

“The young men are members of divisions of the Michigan Naval Militia, enrolled as reserves. Orders for immediate mobilization were issued this morning. It is expected that the five will be ordered to training at once.

“At least six months will be required to place the men in condition for actual service, it is believed.

“Nuttall, Field and Hansen are students at the University of Michigan. Nuttall is enrolled in the chemical engineering department, Field is a law student and Hansen is taking electrical engineering.

“WASHINGTON, April 7.—Secretary Baker has asked the house military committee to make provision for conscripting technical men for the army.

“Imbued with the spirit of patriotism and a desire to be among the first to volunteer his services to Uncle Sam, Clarence Ross, 21 years old, son of Mr. and Mrs. Mathew Ross, enlisted yesterday in the United States army at the local recruiting station.

“Ross is the first man to enlist from Manistee since the declaration of hostilities. Young Ross left at 4:25 this afternoon for Grand Rapids and Columbus, O., where he will take the final oath of allegiance and go into training.

“The cartoon musical comedy, ‘Bringing Up Father,’ last night at the Ramsdell, served as excellent vehicle for driving dull care away from the minds of a fair-sized audience, and of distracting attention temporarily from the gloom spread by the imminence of war.

“The theater was profusely decorated with stars and stripes, while a large national flag hung suspended from the dome of the auditorium, adding a fitting patriotic touch to what probably will be the last professional show staged at the Ramsdell for a long time.

“There is going to be patriotism at the Buckely & Douglas mills if Tony Kolassa has his way.“Kolassa heard a pro-German sympathizer use an oath expressing his opinion of President Wilson. Without hesitancy he Knocked him down and battered him somewhat vigorously.

“Leaving the admirer of the Kaiser upon the floor, Kolassa went to another part of the building, where he secured an American flag. Holding the flag before the one whose insult he had resented, he said, ‘You’re going to respect and salute that flag before I get through with you.’ There was something in his voice that removed all doubt that he meant what he said.

“Doffing his hat, the German saluted Old Glory amid the cheers of workmen who had been attracted by the encounter.

“IT’S GOING TO BE mighty tough this spring if we have to go to war in the time we had planned to go fishing.

“EASTER FLOWERS may be purchased Sunday. Greenhouses will be kept open for the benefit of those who could not make their purchases before.

“’NAVAL MILITIA called out this morning. We go to Philadelphia very soon. Don’t worry,’ said a telegram received by August Field from his son, Leslie Field of the U. of M., this afternoon.

“MANISTEE LOOKS LIKE the Fourth of July, rather than Easter, but the weather doesn’t feel much like mid-summer. The Stars and Stripes blossomed out in profusion all over the city yesterday and today.

“BOY OF 20 are to be called to the colors first. It is going to be hard to see the baby of the flock march away.

“MRS. WILLIAM HANSEN left this morning for Ann Arbor to bid her son Viggo goodbye. He has been called to service in the naval reserves.

“AUSTRIA BREAKS RELATIONS WITH AMERICA. United States Seizes All Austrian Vessels Now in American Ports.

“EXPENSES OF WAR TO BE RAISED BY EXTRA TAXATION. WASHINGTON, April 9.—Congress begins its first week of real war faced with the problem of raising six and three-quarter billion dollars for a ‘pay-as-you-go’ struggle.

“House and senate leaders have virtually decided that approximately half of the first year’s expenditures—$1,750,000,000—must be drawn from taxes.

“Brook trout fry to the number of at least 300,000 have been planted this spring in the restocking of Manistee county trout streams, admittedly the finest fishing preserves in the state.

“Religiously and secularly, Manistee made fitting observance of the day of resurrection—Easter Sunday.

“Services in various churches were enjoyed by more people than on any day of the year. In practically all houses of worship, special musical programs were offered. Secularly, streets were made promenades for hundreds attired in new Easter day raiment. Theaters were well patronized.

“Though the day lacked much in balminess, the city optimistically rejoiced in the unfulfilled prophecies of the weather prognosticator, who foretold ‘rain and snow.’ Garments of springtime and summer weaves may have lacked much in comfort, but they at least suffered no damage from the elements, and that really determines whether they are worn is the thing that counts. One shivering person took heart by seeing a dozen others about him similarly clad. Those who had new things wore them, and those who did not solaced themselves by the untruthful thought that they would not have worn them anyway, on ‘such a day.’

“Musical programs of the day were extremely beautiful. Worshipers found a greater comfort in prayer because of the overhanging shadows which are certain to bring sorrow and suffering to thousands of homes.

“GERMAN HALL FLIES a brand new American flag today. There seems to be nothing lacking about the patriotism of the Fourth warders.

“WAR TALK HAS ABATED somewhat today. It was observed that a fellow could get an argument at any time, however. Several near squabbles were narrowly averted by the prompt interference of peacemakers.

“The task of raising the dredge sunk at the foot of Pine street was continued this morning. Two professional divers are at work, William Potts of Ludington and Thomas Mahan of Detroit, government diver.

“A coffer dam has been placed entirely around the wreck, the divers being engaged in plugging up the leaks as fast as water is pumped from the dredge.

“IT WILL SOON BE the open season for the big earthworms. A flashlight on the lawn will not necessarily mean a burglar.

“FOR BEAUTY’S SAKE, it is hoped that nobody will plow up the front lawn and plant potatoes until the crocuses are done blooming.

“Philip Beauvais was passing the cigars around this morning. Mr. and Mrs. Beauvais are the happy parents of an eight pound baby boy born to them yesterday afternoon.

“PREPAREDNESS CAN BEGIN right away in the back yard vegetable gardens.

“THERE AREN’T FLAGS ENOUGH to go around, but those who can’t get them may show unflagging patriotism.

“With 40 to 50 men at work under the superintendence of Charles A. Anderson, work of remodeling the old Dunhan house into the new Hotel Chippewa is progressing at a rate which justifies the promise that it will be open for the accommodation of guests June 1.

“Gus Kitzinger, chairman of the building committee of the hotel company, and August Field, hotel manager, are giving practically undivided attention to the work.

“The rooms of the old Dunham house were very fine ones, all with outside light, and little alteration aside from the installing of bath rooms accessible from each one, and papering. When the remodeling is completed 75 fine guest rooms will be provided, with half that number of baths.

“Mail from Manistee to Germany is ‘verboten.’

“No more mail for Germany or any of that country’s colonies, will be accepted by the postoffice here. Nor will money orders to Germany be issued.

“Postmaster King has received instructions from Washington to refuse all German mail. If letters addressed to points in Germany are deposited in the letter drops they will either be returned or forwarded to the dead letter office.

“The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports the death of Henry F. Struke, well known in Manistee, at the hands of a mob in Windsor, Canada.

“Although the reports are not verified, it is stated that Struke was inclined to be pro-German. It was the expression of his ideas along those lines that caused the mob to attack him and which resulted in his death, it is stated.

“After the attack had been made on him, the crowd left him lying prostrate supposing that he was dead. He was later discovered and taken to a hospital where he died yesterday, it is said.

“Mr. Stucke was formerly connected with the Grinnell Music company of Traverse City and had occasion to make frequent trips to this city where he was well k known by a number of residents.

“The news of his tragic death will undoubtedly be a distinct shock to his friends in Manistee.

“A short program was enjoyed by the students of the west session room this morning. After the flag salute which is given every morning now, Joseph Piekarski delivered a declamation entitled ‘The Appeal to Arms.’ This is the selection with which Patrick Henry so stirred the people of the colonies just before the revolution. The speaker this morning stirred and aroused the patriotism of the students in the session room speaking in a fine, forceful manner. After the delivery of this selection the entire session room arose and sang ‘The Star Spangled Banner,

“From every other part of the United States men are rallying to the colors but here the response has been almost nil. Men, get the serious side of this in your minds—war such as the world has never known before is our lot. Let us prepare to do our part.

“WASHINGTON, April 12.—Threat of a serious fight over the general staff army bill grows in congress.

“Majority leader Kitchin states that he finds anti-conscription sentiment strong. Friends of the draft system are dwindling.

“The senate meets today with practically a clean slate. The house will meet tomorrow.

“Dr. Homer Ramsdell has been asked to accept the chairmanship of the Manistee county sub-committee of the state organization for medical defense. The commission means that he will be called upon to direct the county unit in actual service in the event that progress of the war demands the assistance of additional men.

“The sale of the stock and equipment of the Henderson livery establishment to A. Kann & Son marks the passing of another business landmark of the Manistee-that-was and the transition to the Manistee-that-is-to-be.

“For more than 40 years the Henderson livery has been one of the city’s fixed business institutions. The ascendancy of the automobile and the failing health of the founder and proprietor of the business, the late James Henderson, whose death occurred a few months ago, precipitated the decline of the business, and the once-flourishing enterprise has been practically scrapheaped.

“The property, with the ramshackle old barn which covers it, has been sold to the Chippewa Hotel company. It is said the building will be razed, and that inits place will either be a small park or garden, or a slightly modern storage garage as an adjunct of the hotel that is now being prepared for the accommodation of the traveling public and summer tourists who visit Manistee.

“A telegram heartily endorsing Wilson’s plan of raising an army by conscription, was forwarded to the president last night bearing the signature of the Boosters’ committee.

“Dr. James A. King, in remarks preceding adoption of the resolution, said that conscription was the only just plan of recruiting an army. The volunteer plan, he said, was a failure, as was demonstrated by England.

“Copies of the resolution may be sent also to congressmen and senators from Michigan.

“TALK ABOUT PATRIOTISM! One River street store has exactly seven flags hung directly over its main entrance.”

Leave a Reply