100 Years Ago

The following news items are reprinted from the Manistee Daily News for the week ending October 13, 1917 and are compiled by Teena Kracht from the newspaper archives of the Manistee County Historical Museum. Read more of her 100 Years Ago column at www.manisteenews.com:Muesum pic

“WASHINGTON, Oct. 5.—Of all the American soldiers who will be invalided back from European service, 20 per cent will require treatment in insane asylums. Shell-shock and similar maladies will affect at least this many, in the opinion of Dr. William A, White, superintendent of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Washington.

“Congress has voted him funds to expand the hospital on these estimates: That ten per cent of the 2,000,000 soldiers who will see service abroad the first year will be invalided home; that one-fifth of them will be temporarily or permanently insane.

“Because his institution may not be able to care for all the patients, Dr. White has been given authority to send the men to hospitals throughout the country, the government paying got the service.

“’I will not estimate the number of men I expect to treat,’ said Dr. White. ‘The very best we may hope for is several thousand. The science of restoring their minds will progress rapidly.’

“Mental examiners will visit cantonment camps to see that drafted men who seem likely to succumb easily to intense nervous excitement are exempted from foreign service.

“CHICAGO, Oct. 5.—Born to Mr. and Mrs. Liberal, a son, National party. Parents and child ‘are doing as well as could be expected.’

“Little National’s godfathers—Socialism, Prohibition, Progressivism, Single Tax and Independence—pledged the youngster to more than thirty species of reform.

“The infant’s birthright includes woman’s suffrage, national prohibition, single tax, government ownership of public utilities, labor reforms, abolition of secret diplomacy, freedom of the seas, extermination of ‘prohibitive or discriminatory tariffs or taxes’ and the creation of international union to enforce peace.

“Manistee is about to lose another old landmark.

“The ancient Fay livery barn, more recently known as the Hoffman stables, located on Maple Street just north of the Masonic temple, is being razed. The structure is perhaps the oldest building in Manistee, being one of the first buildings erected after the fire in 1871.

“The site was formerly owned by Michael Fay and was operated as a stage station on the Ludington route. Later, it was remodeled and turned over to August Pirsig, who also used it as a livery barn. In recent years the building has been rented to R. A. Hoffman.

“The Fay barn and property was purchased by T. J. Ramsdell and Gen. George A. Hart about 1880 and has been rented out since that time. Acting on repeated agitation to relieve the city of the decrepit old barn it was recently purchased by the Michigan Lumber Company, who yesterday began work of razing the building. The wood will be junked. The ground site is still retained by the last purchasers and will probably be converted into a beauty spot next spring.

“AFTERNOON SUN predicted great weather for the first world’s series game in Chicago tomorrow afternoon. As usual, the News-Advocate will furnish its readers with full telegraphic reports on each game. Get in on the doings. You will get the news 18 hours ahead of any other paper circulated in Manistee.

“IT IS THE BELIEF of James McAnley, owner of the National Hotel building which was partially destroyed by fire yesterday morning, that tramps set the blaze. A number of beds in the rooms show signs of having been occupied, he stated.

“The first step in the big Liberty Loan drive that will be made here during October to raise nearly a million dollars to help Uncle Sam ‘see it through,’ was taken this morning when the Boy Scouts, working under instruction of the Liberty Loan committee, put up over 600 posters in various business places about the city.

“The first big publicity feature will be a Boy Scout Liberty Loan bonfire Tuesday night on the market site on River street. The Boy Scouts will work the Liberty Loan campaign in conjunction with their annual fall clean-up campaign. The intention is to have all Boy Scouts devote their spare time between now and Tuesday night to accumulate all the rubbish they can find about the city, and pile it in big heaps on the market site.

“WASHINGTON, Oct. 6.—Senator LaFollette today, in a spectacular speech before the senate, defied those in the country who charge him with sedition and treason.

“La Follette savagely assailed the ‘war party’ for ‘trying to intimidate congress and the people,’ and fiercely defended free speech. He demanded a statement of war aims.

“’Not by a breadth of a hair,’ he shouted,’ will turn from the course I mark out for myself, guided by such knowledge as I can obtain and controlled and directed by the solemn conviction of right and duty.’

“’Since the declaration of war the triumphant party has pursued those senators and representatives who voted against the war with falsehood and libelous attacks going to the extreme limit of charging them with treason,’ declared La Follette. ‘I find other senators accused of the highest crimes of which any man can be guilty—treason and disloyalty, accused not only with no evidence but without suggestion that such evidence anywhere exists. It appears the purpose of conducting this campaign is to throw the country into a state of terror to coerce public opinion, to stifle criticism and suppress discussion of the great issues involved in the war.

“La Follette launched into a long criticism of congress for failing to ‘exercise powers to declare the purpose and objects of the war.’ He asserted congress has allowed the president to abrogate powers not vested in him. He criticized the president on the embargo on food to neutrals, saying such action would launch the United States into war against Holland and the Scandinavian countries.

“A wave of handkerchiefs swept the galleries when La Follette concluded his speech.

“Governor Sleeper has designated Tuesday, Oct. 9, as State Fire Prevention day, that date being selected because it is the anniversary of the great Chicago fire of 1871.

“To Manistee people the date has a even more direct significance, for on that same day there was raging the ‘big fire,’ which swept away nearly all of Manistee excepting more favorably situated buildings in the Fourth ward along Lake Manistee, although the fire had started there.

“The conflagration began on Sunday morning at 9 o’clock on the Gifford & Ruddock property in the Fourth ward. The fire department eventually succeeded in extinguishing this. However, at 2 p. m. fire broke out across the lake in the Magill & Canfield steam saw mills on Blackbird Island. Toward evening another blaze started in the southwestern part of the city along Lake Michigan and at 9:30 p. m. another alarm came from near the mouth of the river. In the latter area the flames lapped up the government lighthouse, several vessels and about everything that looked like a building. In fact, the very streets were burned up, they being composed of sawdust.

“Next came an outbreak two miles south of the city, and here many farmers lost everything they had. Shortly after midnight a veritable tornado was raging and flames were leaping to the tops of 80-foot pines as the flames marched northward. Thousands of people were made homeless, many had very narrow escapes and even the steam fire engine was burned in the street. By 3 o’clock in the afternoon of October 9 the flames had subsided.

“Manistee at that time was 80 miles from a railroad, with no telegraphic connection and mails only three times weekly. It was therefore several days before it was learned here that Chicago had been almost wiped out by fire and had given Mrs. O’Leary’s cow immortal fame in song and story.

“Conditions today are of course vastly better than in 1871. There are greater fire precautions taken and better fire fighting facilities. But perfection has by no means been attained, and a general cleaning out of rubbish, waste and other fire-producing material is asked as a preventive measure against tempting fate to bring on a disastrous fire during the winter months, when the risk is greater and the task of fighting the flames is more difficult.

“Remember the date. Manistee has had its first winter snow storm.

“This morning’s weather was wild and varied. First it rained. Then it rained more closely followed by a severe hail and wind storm. The elements then calmed down for a while.

“About 6:30 the wind sprang up again with greater force than during the earlier hours and last night. With the increased storm came the first snow of the fall. It did not last long but it came.

“Remember that the first downfall of the downy occurred Oct. 8.

“With the departure Saturday of Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Somerville for their future home in Detroit, Manistee losses two more of its pioneer and well beloved residents.

“Mr. Somerville came here in November, 1869, during a season when the ground was covered with a heavy snow. He made the trip from Grand Haven here by the steamer MICHIGAN, the only manner at that time by which the trip could be made. There were no railroads then.

“Mrs. Somerville came the following year with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Tuxworth, mill folks. The family has seen Manistee grow from a lumber-town with saw-dust streets to the beautiful city it is today.

“Mr. Somerville has been engaged in the bookstore business here for a great many years.

“It is with regret that Manistee sees another staid and valuable old citizen depart for other fields. Mr. Somerville and his family promise to return to Manistee during the summer months. ‘There is no other such beautiful city,’ writes a member of the family from Detroit.

“WHO SAYS WINTER is at hand? Yesterday the ladies of the Carrie Filer Home had for their Sunday dinner dessert ripe and well flavored strawberries which were picked from the garden on the grounds. The plants bear blossoms and fruit in all the varying stages of development.

“THE 42-FOOT FLAGPOLE planted in Frank Zielinski’s yard at his suburban home was toppled over by the high winds last night. No damage was done with the exception of downing Old Glory for a while. Mr. Zielinski said he would have the flag back atop the staff in short order.

“There will be a light in each of the 78 school houses in Manistee county Monday evening, Oct. 15, when patriotic meetings are to be held to explain the Liberty Loan bonds.

“The four-minute men who have been speaking at the movies, explaining the war and the government’s action, will be called into service for the Liberty Loan campaign.

“The second semi-annual Dollar Day of this year will be staged in Manistee on Thursday, Oct. 18, under the direction of the Retail Trade committee of the Board of Commerce.

“On that day your round silver dollar will go farther than on any day since the Dollar Day bargain sales of last spring. It will go farther, too, than it will for some time to come. Prices are going up all along the line, but the little old silver dollar of our daddies grows less elastic and can by no manner of means cover as much merchandise as in the days gone by.

“Everybody will profit by liberally patronizing this sale. The merchant will be able to move goods rapidly. Hundreds of people who seldom come to the city will be in town that day and leave their money here, and they will do so because they can get honest goods for less than at the mail order houses. Manistee county money will remain to help build up Manistee county enterprises.

“Dame nature is a mighty strong feature in the Fall opening display now on at Larsen Bros., Inc., big store. It seems that the woods for miles around Manistee were depleted to secure sufficient foliage for decorating the stores. As soon as an entrance is made visitors become possessed with an autumn feeling; autumn seems to permeate the air. Great branches of leaves in the beautiful fall colors are seen here, there, everywhere and nothing but admiration of visitors is noticed on all sides as passage is made down the aisles.

“It is a coincidence that last night just preceding the meatless Tuesday, was the one picked by thieves as an appropriate time for stealing two quarters of beef from the butcher shop of Gus Schmidt on Washington street.

“Police are today on the trail of the nervy burglars who cut through a rear screen door, their only obstacle, and bodily carried off the freshly hung beef.

“Gus is mad. This is a meatless Tuesday in most places, but the morrow following is generally conceded a day on which to fill the yawning cavities proclaimed as apparent from lack of proper meats the day before. And Gus has very little beef today with which to appease the hungry maws of his customers.

“A LITTLE SNOW along about 1 o’clock this morning turned the day into another session of twisted and varied weather.

“WE CAN REMEMBER the time when the winter coal problem was merely a question of where we were going to get the money to buy it.

“’WHY DO MEN prefer second-rate women?’ asks a woman writer. There are three answers. First, the woman whom lady writers consider second-rate are not necessarily so. Second, because there are second-rate men. Third, they don’t.

“AMONG MANKIND’S WORST enemies are the open-faced sneezers and the person who doesn’t bury his cough in a handkerchief.

“Does forehandedness or preparedness pay?

“It does not say some of the Manistee saloon keepers who have been laying in big stocks of distilled spirits in order to get it under cover before the new revenue law took effect.

“They just received several varieties of rude jolts, however, when they discovered that the new law contains a provision that the additional tax applies to everything above 50 gallons held in stock by the retailer.

“One retailer is said to have stored away 50 barrels, or 157.5 gallons. The new war tax on this is $2.10, so that the consignment will stand the dealer $3,307.50 for war taxes. It is possible that the amount said to have been stored away has been slightly exaggerated, but it is a fact that there was some tall scurrying done by some dealers in an effort to unload some of their supplies to druggists. Whatever the quantity may be that the dealers have bought up in anticipation of the tax, the net result of their preparedness is that they must pay at once exactly the amount of tax that they expected to escape.

“Those optimists who are in the habit of swaggering up to a cigar counter and calling out for that unknown quantity, ‘a good nickel cigar,’ are due for a rude jolt tomorrow morning. So, too, are all the lads who used to put on a lot of size while demanding a ‘good straight ten.’

“As a matter of fact, dating from tomorrow morning, there ain’t goin’ to be any such article as either a 5-cent or 10-cent cigar. That aristocratic combination of the preceding generation, the ‘three-for-a-quarter’ brand, which marked the quintessence of smoking excellence, is relegated to the limbo of forgotten things.

“Effective tomorrow morning, wartime prices on all cigars, cigarettes and tobaccos will prevail. All local dealers in Manistee, as in most other cities, announce the new schedule of charges.

“All local dealers are put to vast trouble and some expense also, by being required to inventory every package and cigar in stock, on which they must pay the war tax. Anyone who figured on escaping payment of tax by laying in a large stock in advance finds himself fooled.

“Pennies will get a better play in cigar stands tomorrow than ever before, as it will take a jitney and a copper to procure your ‘good nickel cigar’ and a thick or thin dime and two coppers to get your near-Havana perfecto, while addicts of the ‘paper pipe’ will be required to exchange 13 cents for their ‘pack of Humps’ or Lucky Strikes or any other popular brand of smokes.

“But consumers can console themselves with the thought that the dealers do not grab off the extra change. The government gets the money, and it needs it. It’ll do no good to grouch over it, anyway.

“Those four per cent Liberty bonds, appear to be just about the best thing in the line of investments that the country offers. Even a cursory glance at the new revenue act reveals so many taxes on bonds, stocks, promissory notes, etc., that what was formerly regarded as a good six per cent proposition has been weighted down by war and other taxes until it has lost many of its desirable features as an investment proposition.

“Even parcel post packages are hit…

“Your Liberty bond, however, is free of all these payments and the uncertainties and annoyances attendant upon complying with the multitudinous legal and revenue requirements. The bonds are not only as good as gold, but will soon be worth more than par. They can be converted into cash at any banks at any time, should the holder find himself in need of the money. Over and above all this is the fact that each $50 bond will equip one soldier and the buying of a bond is one of the greatest acts of patriotic service that those remaining at home can perform.

‘That thoughts of a serious nature and a realization that Time is today more valuable than ever, is very evident in the minds of Manistee people, for society has nearly been forgotten in the endeavor to ‘do our bit’ for ‘Our Boys.’ There are no gaieties and few festivities, and those few are devoted to Red Cross work in some manner.

“Mrs. William Vincent entertained the members of the English Travel club and Mrs. Gus Kitzinger yesterday noon, at an ‘old fashioned dinner.’ The affair was cleverly carried out to the slightest detail, dating back 50 years ago to Civil war times, when ‘dinner’ was served at noon and ‘supper’ at night, and ‘luncheon’ had never been heard of.

“Each guest found her place at the table by her own photograph, most of them having been taken several years ago.

“The center piece consisted of an old fashion bouquet made up of several different species of flowers among them being sunflowers and roses.

“The afternoon was spent in knitting for the Red Cross, and making plans for the club’s program for the ensuing year.

“The Boy Scouts and hundreds of other good scouts who never will be boys again had a ripping good time last night when the Liberty bond rally around the huge bonfire was staged on the city market site.

“The Scouts paraded upon and down River street and thereby noticeably augmented the throng that was heading for the fire site. Eager, boyish cheers greeted the first jutting flames when the match was applied to the immense pile of boxes and inflammable rubbish that the Scouts had collected in their annual fall clean-up of the city. While the natural tendency of youngsters would have been to have noisy war dances about the fire, the Scouts conducted everything in strict military fashion. Their example was contagious and the swarm of kids that were looking on never budged a foot from the imaginary line drawn about the blazing pile.

“Before proceeding to the patriotic speeches, the Scouts went through the picturesque ceremony of hoisting the American flag, whish included the erection of a temporary flagstaff which was sustained in its upright position by guy lines held by the Scouts.

“WHILE IT MAY NOT be lucky to have a rabbit’s foot, as some contend, any intelligent rabbit knows it is unlucky to lose one.

“Sparkling in lyrics and lilting in music, graceful in action and ineffably charmful to the ocular sense, ‘When Dreams Come True,’ rightfully billed as ‘a musical comedy of youth,’ was thoroughly enjoyed by a good audience last night at the Ramsdell. Anyone who attended this performance will understand why this piece enjoyed a year’s run in New York and other metropolitan centers.

“Right up in the front row of threatened serious consequences due to the general shortage of coal is the dire possibility of shutting down for a time of local industries for lack of power to operate their plants.

“The Commonwealth Power company, which operates this utility for Manistee, in a letter to District Manager C. S. Kressler yesterday, urged the utmost conservation of combating the grave situation. Although Manistee is known as ‘the water power city,’ it happens that fully 60 per cent of the electric power used locally is generated by steam coal.

“The Commonwealth company confesses that its stock of this commodity is only about 50 per cent of what it should carry at this season.

“’We do not anticipate any interference with residence or commercial lighting as we always protect this class of service. Their individual demands are small, and we must follow the policy of ‘The greatest good to the greatest number.’

“With one of the best musical comedies ever seen by a local audience at the Ramsdell theatre ever, Manager Stronach announces the coming Monday and Tuesday evenings of the official French was pictures.

“The films should appeal to every American patriot who is interested in the activities along the battle fronts. The big guns are seen hurling enormous shells toward the enemy. Soldiers in field and trench, in action and at rest, are vividly shown under the same conditions that American Sammies will shortly undergo.

“Elaborate preparations have been made for the patriotic dance to be given tomorrow night in Ramsdell Hall for the benefit of the Manistee Home Guards, and it is confidently expected that the affair will be graced by a large attendance.

“The decorative plans are shaped to a patriotic motif, and a pleasing effect is foreseen. Allen Christianson has donated the service of his jazz orchestra, which will be an innovation in local dance music.

“The young men of the First Congregational Church formed an organization last night to study, discuss and debate important national and public questions, take up athletic activities and in general to carry on work for educative purposes among the young men.

“MOST ANY MAN at the age of 50 wishes he was half as smart as he thought he was at 21.

“NOW AND THEN we come to the conclusion that considering the human race, the marvel isn’t that the world is as bad as it is but that it is really as good as it is.”

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