100 Years Ago

The following news items are reprinted from the Manistee Daily News for the week ending April 21, 1917 and are compiled by Teena Kracht from the newspaper archives of the Manistee County Historical Muesum picMuseum. Read more of her 100 Years Ago column at www.manisteenews.com:

“Stricken with apoplexy while standing in the lobby of the post office about 4 o’clock yesterday, Col. E. W. Muenscher, 487 Fourth street, is now critically ill at his home.

“About an hour previous to the attack, Col. Meunscher visited Dr. P. C. Jensen at his offices. He complained of feeling weak and tired, and said that he experienced difficulty in hearing. Dr. Jensen prescribed for him and left to make his afternoon call.

“Col. Muenscher evidently went directly to the post office after his call on the doctor. Employees state that he was seen standing at the lobby writing table for quite a while. He was seen to fall to the floor by employees in the money order department, who immediately notified Dr. King. Col. Muenscher was carried to the postmaster’s office. With the assistance of [Postmaster] Dr. King efforts to revive the aged man were commenced. A pint of blood was drawn from his arm to relieve the congestion.

“Later Col. Muenscher was taken to his home by the doctors. It was announced today that his condition is critical. He is entirely paralyzed in one side and very weak. He can be aroused at times, but sinks back into a coma almost immediately.

“Col. Muenscher has spent the greater part of his time in Manistee and has held many public offices. He is commander of the McGinley post, G. A. R., and is the present surveyor of Manistee county.

“Col. Meunscher served through the Civil war and is well known locally for the patriotic stand he takes and his broad-minded attitude in the present crisis. A war veteran, he stands behind the president and his country in these times of strife as he stood behind his president and his country through the Civil war, and for these principles he is known, loved and respected by his local friends and admirers.

“The community united in fervent wishes that the recovery of one of her best known citizens may be speedy.

“Benjamin Russky, proprietor of the Monarch Clothing House, today makes the announcement that he will occupy permanently the premises into which he recently removed, following the fire which damaged the building he formerly occupied on the opposite side of River Street.

“Mr. Russky is very favorably impressed with his new location in the Englemann Block, the store formerly occupied by the Kraft 5-and-10-cent store. The interior will soon be entirely remodeled according to specifications he is having prepared, and a new front which it is promised will be about the handsomest in Northern Michigan will replace the present arrangement.

“By an unanimous vote of the city commissioners, the Seagrave fire truck was formally accepted late yesterday afternoon and the city of Manistee becomes the owner of one of the latest fire-fighting equipments being turned out.

“Manistee has long felt the need of such an apparatus. The use of the engine will do away with the old engine and smaller fire apparatus.

“One hundred and twenty high school boys and girls are enrolled in a first aid class that has been in progress for the past few weeks.

“Instructions are given the students in 16 different ways of bandaging wounds, in carrying the wounded and in resuscitation of the drowned. The classes are said to be progressing rapidly. The students will be in shape for the first call in case of need. The girls are being taught the same methods as are the boys.

“CURSES ON the cruel north wind! Will it ever shift to a more genial direction? “POPULAR COLORS for women this season will be red, white and blue; for men, khaki.

“IF APRIL SHOWERS bring May flowers what’ll April snows bring? Bigger coal bills, at least.

“THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN a mighty poor day to sit on the bottom of a trench and listen to the Teuton shells screech past. America’s young blood could weather the inconvenience, we think.

“SOME FRIDAY, THE THIRTEENTH! As chill and cheerless as the hoodoo combination of day and date could be expected to make it.

“Onekama stands staunchly ‘by the president,’ if the generous display of bunting throughout the town is an indication. School, hotels, shops and private residences seem to vie in displaying the ‘Stars and Stripes,’ while even the churches follow in close wake with their flag-draped interiors and sermons teeming with the inspirations of ardent patriotism. America first and forever is our slogan.

“There could be no doubt as to the patriotism of Brethren residents judging from the crowd and display of flags at the depot Wednesday evening when the Naval Reserves from Traverse City went through on No. 8.

“In the face of the threat of a world-wide food shortage, two Manisteeans, Dr. Lewis S. Ramsdell and Robert R. Ramsdell, have risen to the occasion in a manner which it is hoped will be widely emulated.

“Dr. Lewis Ramsdell today announces that they will donate the use of 12 acres of fertile land, about ten minutes’ drive from the heart of the city, to the Boy Scout organization, with the double view of encouraging thrift and industry on the part of the boys, and of alleviating, in a considerable measure, the local food problem.

“The 12-acre tract will be divided into 50 quarter-acre garden plots, to be allotted to an equal number of boys to cultivate. The Ramsdells will do the necessary team work, plowing, disking and harrowing, and the land will be turned over to the lads for production June 1.

“The patriotism of Manistee’s young manhood is probably best exemplified by six volunteer members of the Boy Scouts, who have taken it upon themselves to daily raise and lower the American flag at the county court house.

“With proud ceremony, five lads stand at attention every morning while one of their number hoists Old Glory to the peak of the tall pole. At 6:30 o’clock each evening the boys march to the courthouse and lower the flag for the night.

“Sheriff Morris Waal, who is the custodian of the colors, is proud of the escort that performs this daily ceremony. Probably no other flag in Manistee is raised and lowered with such honor and solemnity.

“Members of the Manistee County Agricultural society have started a census of the food production in this county. This is the first county in the state in which such a census has been undertaken.

“The census is prompted by patriotic motives. It is an important step in the great campaign which proposes to protect the United States against such economic conditions as have been seen in certain European nations because of food shortages.

“That the results obtained from the open air school opened here last winter have proved satisfactory and that additional classes will be organized in the future, is practically assured.

“Again Manistee has cause to shudder at the announcement of the $3 potato.

“The skyrocketing of the tubers was reported this morning just after the News-Advocate warning that such an advance might be expected within a short while.

“Russell Fisk is adding the finishing touches to a patriotic march which will be dedicated to members of the G. A. R., to Spanish War Veterans and to those of Manistee who have or will enlist in the support of their country in this present crisis. L. C. Batdorff has provided words for the number.

“’The Manistee War Song’ is the name of the air. It is a stirring creation with a martial beat in which the drum and bugle carry pronounced parts.

“Copies of the song will be sent to every Manistee man in military service whose address can be obtained.

“It has been established as a part of the regular program of the west session room to salute the flag every day. The salute is as follows: Every student rises, and upon the command issued by Miss Brownrigg, raises his right hand to his forehead; then all repeat in unison, ’Long may it wave,’ and the salute is over. The salute is very effective, and it gives everyone a little chance to find an outlet for his patriotism.


“Taps sounded Sunday morning for Col. Emory W. Muenscher, loved veteran of the Civil was, useful citizen and sterling patriot of many years proven loyalty.

“Stricken with apoplexy while in the post office Thursday afternoon, Col. Muenscher failed to rally from the attack, and death ensued at his home, 487 Fourth street, yesterday morning.

“A patriot by heredity, instinct, inclination and daily practice, it was characteristic that Col. Muenscher’s last act should be one of ardent patriotism as the cap-sheaf to a long and illustrious career of service to his country. He was engaged in mailing personal invitations to friends to attend the patriotic demonstration to be given in Ramsdell theater tomorrow night at the time he was stricken, and he had mailed 22 of a list of 25 before he sank to the floor.

“Col. Muenscher was 83 years of age, and had been a resident of Manistee for the past 32 years. He was born of distinguished ancestry in Fall River, Mass., Feb. 6, 1834,, his father being Rev. Joseph Muenscher and his mother Ruth Washburn Muenscher. The tradition is that his great grandfather, John Muenscher, came to America with the Hessian mercenaries during the war of the Revolution as a bandmaster. His maternal ancestors were of Puritan stock, their line tracing back direct to the Mayflower colonists, and a number of them served with distinction in the colonial armies of the revolution, bearing arms against his Hessian progenitor.

“Realizing the cost of living hits their workmen pretty hard and wishing to show their appreciation for the good services given, the Manistee Iron Works today granted an increase of 10 per cent in wages to all employees throughout the plant. The new schedule takes effect immediately.

“The Manistee Iron Works is perhaps one of the most liberal in policy of any manufacturing concern in Manistee. Their employees receive a living wage and are requested to perform only reasonable services in return. Just at the present time the company is rushed with orders. The company needs men.

“This war will be fought in the trenches and it will be fought on the sea.

“It will also be fought somewhere else.

“This country, facing Germany, the enemy of mankind, on the battlefield, faces another enemy at home.

“The grave fact stares us in the face that this year we are likely to be short of all kinds of things we grow to eat.

“Every town and city in this country has vacant lots and back yards that grow nothing but weeds and might grow enough to feed the community for a year.

“No person that owns a vacant lot or a back yard will refuse to allow it to be put too this good and necessary and patriotic use. When other men are offering their lives for this cause, he will be glad to offer a piece of ground he doesn’t use.

“This is your work. Go to it now and you will be proud of it hereafter. We need this year the biggest crops ever known. We need the bumper record in wheat, in oats, in corn, potatoes, beans, etc.

“So just now, settle down on this needful job of the backyard and the vacant lot and help your country to win.

“Every bushel of potatoes you raise is as good as a five-inch shell.

“Mayor H. W. Nordhouse today not only poured cold water on the matter of purchasing a motor fire truck, but opened all valves of an automatic sprinkler system. He declined to sign an order in payment of thee check and said he would not do so as long as he remains in office.

“The mayor stated today that his experiences had shown the apparatus to be unfit for local needs, adding that on each occasion when he had gone out for a test drive the truck had become stalled on some side street, demanding the use of shovels, planks, etc. In every case, he said, he had been compelled to walk home.

“’What will be done?’ the mayor was asked.

“’Oh, the commissioners will wait until I am out of office and then have the next mayor sign the order, I suppose,’ was his reply.

“To stimulate the greater food production movement, and to afford the Boy Scout organization a further chance of proving its usefulness, Dr. H. C. Bright comes forward with an offer today which is worthy of consideration.

“Dr. Bright is the possessor of a fine farm on the county road a short distance north of Parkdale. The doctor will furnish the land, plowed, fertilized, disked and harrowed, together with the seed, as his share of the enterprise against the labor of the boys.

“WOODPECKERS’ SHARD BEAKS have wrought havoc with a number of maple shade trees in the city. In some instances the sap suckers have nearly girdles trees with regularly intervaled incisions as neatly bored as though made with an auger. Tree trunks are bathed with the escaping sap. One fine maple on the corner of the Patrick Noud place at Maple and Second street is completely encircled with woodpecker trademarks.

“Celia Kaminski, 14 years old, daughter of Mrs. Eva Kaminski, 910 Engelmann street, was drowned in Manistee lake last evening.

“A double drowning was prevented only by the heroic efforts of Emil Reck, 15 years old, who, after a daring struggle, rescued Jennie Stachowiak, 12 years old, of 912 Engelmann Street.

“Unhesitatingly young Reck plunged into the lake to the rescue of the floundering children. His leg was broken by a rolling of logs that threw both himself and the one girl he supported back into the lake as he had almost reached the shore. Forgetting personal safety and the handicap of a leg that could no longer serve him, he again clasped an arm about the child and retained his hold until, struggling to shore, he and the girl were pulled from the water by spectators. Both were exhausted. Those on the bank made no effort to save the other girl.

“The two girls had gone to the loading dock between the Buckley & Douglas mills Nos. 1 and 2 to gather bark from the logs which they intended to take to their homes for fuel.

“Manistee tonight will observe ‘Wake Up America Day’ at the Ramsdell Theatre. Though one day in advance of the actual anniversary, the celebration will commemorate Paul Revere’s memorable ride.

“It is expected that every seat in the theater will be occupied.

“Two homes are today plunged into grief as a result of the shooting escapade over the Square Meal restaurant Sunday night.

“Edward Seaman, proprietor of the roller rink at the Seymour dock, lies in Mercy hospital in a serious condition. His wife and young son are prostrated over the affair.

“Norman Fonte Broome, proprietor of the Manistee Shoe Shining parlor, enraged husband who did the shooting, languishes in a cell at the county jail. He believes that he did right to protect his home. His wife, married not quite a year, has little to say concerning the affair.

“Seaman opened the roller rink at the old Seymour dock last fall. Several times during its various skating sessions during the past winter Seaman has publicly announced from the floor of the rink that he would admit only desirable persons to the building. Trouble has been narrowly averted on more than one occasion by the maudlin crowd that frequently went to the place. It is said that some of those who first patronized the rink finally discontinued going there.

“The city resounded with patriotic airs during the noon hour today when Rev. J. M. Steffes, in the tower of Guardian Angels’ church played one patriotic air after another on the chimes until he had gone through the whole list.

“The chimes on the Guardian Angels’ church are said to be one of the best sets in the state. They proved their worth today in ringing out their message of patriotism to the entire community.

“Swept on the crest of a high wave of patriotic sentiment, 65 of Manistee’s most red-blooded citizens last night in Ramsdell theater publicly signified their willingness to shed their blood, if need, be, in war to bring peace among nations, in defense of home and native land and the flag they love, and to put forth their best efforts toward a world democracy.

“As the climax to a rousing patriotic demonstration which packed the theater to the farthermost reaches of gallery seats and spilled an overflow audience of nearly as many more into Ramsdell hall adjoining, concluding in a fiery philippic against autocracy as exemplified by the German Imperial government, and an eloquent exhortation to patriotic service to country by Supt. S. W. Baker of the public schools, 28 young men hurried forward to offer their services to a volunteer company now forming here, while 37 additional members were recruited to a home guard organization .

“Steps to secure for Emil Reck, the 15-year-old boy who rescued Jennie Stachowiak from drowning Monday night, a Carnegie medal and such other reward as may be gained, were started today. A public-spirited woman who insisted that she not be identified with the movement, volunteered to present the facts before the Carnegie commission.

“As the possibility of securing a medal for the lad was being considered, John Kadzban 18, a deckhand of the barge N. J. NESSEN, circulated the statement that he, rather than Reck, was the rescuer of the young girl.

“At his home, 214 Ninth St., Kadzban stated that members of the crew heard the screams while eating their supper aboard the barge which was tied up in the near vicinity. Several men left the table and went to their assistance, he said.

“The little girl was brought and stated that she had called to Kadzban to save her while she was struggling in the water. One woman said that she saw the affair and that it was Kadzban who deserved all the credit for the rescue.

“While Reck is unquestionably the hero of the hour, Kadzban undoubtedly is deserving of credit for the part he took in the rescue. The Reck boy stated this morning that he thought it was Kadzban to whom he handed the girl when he finally got her to shore after his leg had been broken.

“Kadzban is suffering a badly bruised leg today as a result of being hit by falling logs at the time Reck’s leg was broken.

“WASHINGTON, April 19.—The war department rules today that ‘all men married since the outbreak of war will be treated on the same basis as unmarried men, insofar as military obligations are concerned.’

“A farm of 170 acres, located directly opposite Orchard Beach, has been offered to the Boy Scouts for their summer camp and for bean cultivation. The offer was made by George M. Burr R. W. Smith, the owners, and through the Board of Commerce at the meeting of the directors, Wednesday afternoon.

“Washington. The administration is determined that politics shall not defeat the conscription bill, which army men say is vitally necessary to the safety of the nation.

“The president will stand for no compromise.

“Acting in accordance with instructions from Washington rather than in response to any personal fears, Mayor H. W. Nordhouse has ordered a constant guard at the water works. One armed guard is on duty throughout the day and another maintains a vigilance during the night time.

“The white robin is back.

“This aristocratic member of the feathered tribe was a visitor to Manistee last year. It probably found conditions to its liking and made an early return.

“Several people who have seen it in the vicinity of the courthouse say that it has apparently fared well during the Florida winter.

“All of which goes to prove how popular Manistee is with everybody, even to a lowly bird that has probably traveled thousands of miles just to return to this particular place.

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