100 Years Ago

The following news items are reprinted from the Manistee Daily News for the week ending December 1, 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

“Supplies for the new selective service regulations have been made public by the provost marshal. The new regulations not only repeal all preceding regulations, but cancel all exemptions and discharges which have been granted under the present system. This will restore every man to his original status, and the local boards will send a questionnaire to every man who is not in the service.

“Two alien enemies were picked up by the police last night. Both were taken as suspicious characters and later released. They are under constant surveillance.

“Franz Wersch and his son, Bernhard, both German aliens and employed at the Manistee Manufacturing company, were arrested after several complaints had reached the police concerning statements of pro-German nature. Employees at the plant advised officers of the cases.

“Father and son occupied a room on the second floor of the old Larsen building on Filer Street across from the destroyed Briny Inn. Neither speaks English intelligently.

“Shortly after their arrest officers went to the room. Two guns and several documents written in German were seized. Other small personal articles were taken to headquarters. The men were released last evening pending investigation of the papers taken from their room.

“Under a recent government edict, no alien enemy is allowed to have arms in his possession. Finding of the two guns, one apparently a rifle and the other a shotgun, is suspicious in itself. What the papers written in German contain will not be known until an interpreter is secured who will furnish a sworn translation of what is written in the enemy language. An American who speaks German well is being sought to interpret the documents.

“Although Franz Wertz and his son Bernhard are both at liberty today, officers are keeping a close watch that they make no move toward escape. What action will finally be taken cannot be determined until the papers found in their room are translated.

“Ten men who have seen previous service in the United States regular army are wanted for recruiting duty in the Grand Rapids district. They will be used in recruiting duty to relieve experienced army men for active work. More than a dozen men have been withdrawn from the Grand Rapids recruiting district during the last few days and ordered to prepare for war duty.

“Officials and stockholders of the Manistee Leather company, totally destroyed by fire early yesterday morning, had little to say concerning the future movements of the company.

“It was doubtful, it was stated, whether any action would be taken to rebuild the plant. Until the meeting of all directors and stockholders, nothing definite will be known concerning the company’s policy.

“The little nude God with his bow and darts got in all wrong yesterday when Sheriff Morris Waal interrupted his unlicensed progress by entering the home occupied by William Tostch, 32, and Miss Ethel Carr, 18, Erie, Pa., in Parkdale.

“The couple was brought before a magistrate charged with lewd and lascivious co-habitation. Tostch and Miss Carr secured a marriage license on November 12, saying at that time that they intended to get married.

“The couple proceeded to the Tostch home in Parkdale and have been living in the dwelling since as man and wife without having a ceremany performed.

“Sheriff Waal had his eagle eye on the marriage license drawer in the county clerk’s office. Rumors had drifted into the city that Tostch was introducing Miss Carr as his wife to Parkdale neighbors. The arrest followed yesterday afternoon after investigation showed there had been no minister connected with the arrangement.

“Totsch told the court yesterday that he ‘had been too busy to get married.’ He was ‘waiting for a rainy day when his work would be delayed, to come to Manistee for the ceremony,’ he stated.

“Justice Erb assessed the couple costs of the case with the provision that they be married immediately. They consented. The delayed know was tied in the little justice office and the newly-weds allowed to depart.

“A MISS IS AS GOOD as a mile. No, a miss is not as good as a mile, for a miss has only two feet, while a mile has 5,280. Shoot the maxim maker!

“THE FAMOUS 99 will start the ball rolling tomorrow by giving 5 per cent of their day’s cash sales towards thee mess fund for the benefit of our soldier boys. By patronizing this sale you will be helping the boys to get a few of the good to eat, and prove to them you are thinking of them and appreciate what they are doing for you.

“THERE ARE A GOOD MANY pious people who are as careful of their religion as they are of their best china—only using it on holy occasions, for fear it should get chipped or flawed in working-day wear.

“WASHINGTON, Nov. 24.—A revolution in American railroad methods is being worked out today to relieve war transportation congestion, pooling of railway interests and equipment ‘to the most radical and revolutionary extent ever dreamed of,’ it was officially stated, to be announced shortly.

“Plans do not contemplate the total elimination of passenger service on any line, but further curtailment of the number and luxury of such trains is certain.

“Through the indefatigable efforts of Manistee coal dealers, with the co-operation of the fuel supply and conservation committee recently appointed by the Board of Commerce, the city is being furnished with enough bituminous coal to avert actual suffering. Anthracite coal is being strongly asked for.

“While Manistee, along with other cities, has suffered to some extent, the situation has been considerably cleared since the dealers and fuel committee first began agitation to secure a fuel supply for the city. Their efforts have been rewarded somewhat, but Manistee is by no means certain of enough bituminous and anthracite fuel to last through the winter.

“People in actual want for soft coal are being supplied with enough to keep them temporarily warm. Wood is plentiful and in some cases residents have laid in a large supply and will be able to get by even in case no further coal shipments should be received.

“The Lakeside club will meet next Monday afternoon at the library. Mrs. R. J. B. Newcombe will be chairman for the afternoon, while Mrs. John H. Shults will have a paper on ‘The Pathos of the Common Life.’

“John Hill, 28, Maple Grove township farmer, was arrested yesterday by Deputy State Game and Fish Warden James R. Maynard charged with hunting birds without a license.

“Hill pleaded guilty in Justice Erb’s court and was assessed a fine of $10 and costs. He paid.

“Under the federal law effective since the declaration of war, no alien is allowed to possess firearms of any description. Aliens and alien enemies who now have guns or any kind of weapons in their possession are violating a government war order.

“Hill was released after his arraignment and fine in court. His gun was not taken up.

“PUBLIC DRINKING FOUNTAINS were dismantled today. No more free drinks until next spring.

“BOY SCOUTS are engaged in threshing their bean. The work will probably be finished up sometime Monday.

“EVEN THE FELLOW who fights and runs away can return from the war with honorable scars. He will have been vaccinated against typhoid, smallpox and gangrene, anyhow.

“On Nov. 1, the Pere Marquette Railroad, on which Manistee is largely dependent for traveling and shipping facilities to all other points, cut its service to and from this city squarely in two—and without previous notice. The unquestioned shortage of coal…was the pretest advanced.

“…The News-Advocate is moved in behalf of exasperated and imposed-upon patrons of the road to inquire how long this condition must endure, and what steps are being taken to remedy it. And its inquiry shall be addressed thus:

“Upon your elevation to the presidency of the P. M., Mr. Alfred, you said you were going to make it a paying road, did you not? Is this your way of doing it?

“We charge you, Mr. Alfred, with discriminating against the good cities of Manistee and Ludington, and other cities where you have no competition in travel, of diverting the coal that might operate a sufficiency of trains, or at least more than one a day, from these branches of your system to branches over which you have competition.

“Our query …especially to Mr. Alfred, is—WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

“But our past experiences with P. M. railroad officials impels us to the belief that the answer will be:

“Well, what are YOU going to do about it?

“The same generous-hearted woman who, when Manistee’s first quota of selected men were sent to camp paid half the subscription price on 121 News-Advocates sent daily to soldiers and sailors in Uncle Sam’s service, in a letter from Washington now authorizes us to place the names of the 58 men sent from here last week on our mailing lists.


“BATTLE CREEK, Nov. 23.–The transition of Manistee’s latest contingent off selected men from citizens to soldiers was under most dispiriting conditions. It was raining dismally at the time of their arrival in the cantonment and in the confusion incident to the arrival of thousands of embryo warriors from all directions the handful attracted little attention. The two Zielinski brothers and Eli Faber, however, were on hand to greet them.

“Contrary to expectations of officers in camp and to those of the men themselves, the Manistee quota was pretty much split up.

“Despite the dispiriting conditions under which they began their military careers, they are ‘playing the game,’ like men—and we’ll gamble all we have that they’ll continue to do so until kaiserism is exterminated.

“ONE THING IN CONNECTION with the coal supply is becoming plainer every day: The appropriateness of calling it ‘black diamonds.’

“A BULL CALF WAS SOLD at the recent National Dairy show for $53,200. At that we’d rather be worth less and not be a bull calf.

“HEAVY SNOWFALL CAUSED the Sunday ‘hike’ scheduled by thee home guards to be indefinitely postponed. The company will make the trip whenever weather permits.

“Charging him with nonsupport and cruelty, Viola Ellis Krake has instituted suit for divorce from Foster Krake in the courts of Grand Rapids.

“Ramsdell Theatre. Bulletin No. 4.

“On Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 3 and 4, and Tuesday Matinee, Selig’s greatest film success, ‘THE GARDEN OF ALLAH,’ featuring Helen Ware and an all star cast in Robert Hichen’s master story.

“Arabs, strange Oriental characters, with the great Sahara desert and its many famed oasis, form a background most unusual. Over 5,000 people are used in this tremendous spectacle. A beautiful musical setting has been made for this wonder drama—the New [Manistee] Symphony orchestra of twenty-five pieces, under the direction of Ward Baker will play the music. This is one of the really worth while affairs that you should not miss.

“Seat sale opens Friday. Phone 278-W. [Signed] STRONACH.

“GRAND RAPIDS, Nov. 27.—Judge William B. Brown in the Kent circuit court Monday afternoon rendered his decision in the case of the Michigan East & West railroad denying its petition to be allowed to discontinue operation, tear up its tracks and abandon its stations, on the grounds that the road did not pay a return to those who had invested in it. It appears certain, however, that the case will be appealed to higher tribunals.

“In the meantime, all Manistee will be glad that permission to tear up the tracks is denied, as in their maintenance may be found the possible solution to Manistee’s intolerable situation.

“An unintentional stigma has been placed on Manistee’s little colony of honest, hard working fishermen, by the story carried in the News-Advocate columns yesterday announcing the stealing of a box of fish nets from the stern of a fish tug.

“The story stated that a search had been made of all fish shanties on the Manistee river, or words giving that impression. This statement was erroneous. Three search warrants were issued by Justice Erb covering the homes and shanties belonging to three southside fishermen. Some of the missing nets stolen from Peter Peterson’s shanty were recovered on the premises belonging to John Shotney.

“In justification to the hardy fishermen who daily weather storms, fair winds and foul, to gather a supply of fish for Manistee and outside consumers, The News-Advocate publicly announces its error and makes the correction to relieve these men from possible suspicion.

“THE GOVERNMENT has a right to expect everyone to make sacrifices during the war, but it ought not to expect anyone to go through the winter without coal.

“PLEASANT REMINDER of the days gone by. Only last winter there was no scarcity of coal to agitate on. In those days father complained of his arms aching. Now he worries for fear he might not have enough exercise in the furnace basement to keep himself warm.

“NOT A THING IN THE WORLD the matter with this brand of weather excepting the short supply of coal. Reminds one of the old and traditional New England Thanksgiving and the days when we used to stand at the blackboard and draw pictures with colored chalk for the teacher. Those were the happy days, kids, with thoughts of the stuffed turkey and cranberry sauce and the pumpkin pie on Thursday afternoon.

“Very elaborate preparations are being made for the dinner and dance which is to be given at the Chippewa tomorrow [Thanksgiving] evening. This event will in all probabilities be the social function of the season. A goodly number of tickets have been sold, and a good time is anticipated by those who are planning to attend.

“Pleasure-loving people of Manistee will have no trouble in finding something to do tomorrow evening. Dance lovers can dance to their heart’s content at the Knights of Columbus dance and Larsen’s pavilion, while those who wish to dine and dance can go to the Chippewa, and the ‘movie fans’ will see fine pictures at all three theaters. Lots of diversions—so take advantage of them.

“SCHOOL CHILDREN will be thankful for a double holiday. There will be no school Thursday or Friday.

“BANKS WILL BE CLOSED all day Thursday, Thanksgiving. So will saloons. Do your banking and your tanking today.

“NOTHING DOING at the city or county office tomorrow. It’s a holiday.

“THE BEST REASON yet advanced for having Monday washing day, the next day after Sunday, is because ‘cleanliness is next to godliness.’

“CLEARNESS—the distinguishing quality of a style that cannot be misunderstood. For instance here’s an ad in a country newspaper: ‘For sale: A bulldog two years old. Will eat anything. Very fond of children.’”

Leave a Reply