100 Years Ago

The following news items are reprinted from the Manistee Daily News for the week ending December 8, 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:100 Years Ago

“A letter from France, carrying a wealth of encouragement and good cheer, has just been received by Mrs. Frank J. Zielinski from her brother, Thomas Powers.

“From ‘somewhere in France’ is the only address given on the missive. Mr. Powers stated that soldiers were not allowed to name the town or district for fear the enemy might learn their movements in case the mail went astray.

“A short description was given of the trip overseas on the transport CARPATHIA, the first boat to reach the LUSITANIA after she was torpedoed. Mr. Powers wrote that the soldiers took to the new life actively, that they were well fed and clothed and on the whole, a happy bunch.

“A sick horse, a closed coal office, a cold home and an empty fuel bin was the combination that caused the arrest early Wednesday evening of a local young woman on the charge of stealing 100 pounds of coal from a car standing on the P. M. tracks near the Arthur street crossing.

“According to the testimony given in court, she went to the Michigan Lumber company office Wednesday evening with the intention of getting a few pounds of coal to warm the home over night. The office was closed.

“The family horse, used in making trips to the country to secure wood fuel, was sick and could not be taken from its stable, according to evidence.

“The young woman, dragging a hand sleigh, walked back from the coal office, and seeing a car containing fuel, filled two sacks with coal and started home. It was her only alternative from spending the night in a cold house.

“An officer saw her carting the stolen fuel away and picked her up. Explanations availed her nothing. She was hauled before the court.

“The justice after hearing her excuse, imposed a fine of $5 and costs with a 20-day jail sentence in lieu of the fine. The money was paid and defendant released.

“Football game, dancing, banquets and social parties saw the beginning and ending of Thanksgiving day in Manistee. Those in search of amusement did not go wanting yesterday.

“With all theaters and dance halls crowded, the charity banquet at the Hotel Chippewa, a football game in the afternoon and the Knights of Columbus dance in Ramsdell hall in the evening, Manisteeans, between spasms of gorging themselves with turkey and pumpkin pie, spent the day of their lives in recreation.

“Throughout the afternoon those not attending the football game were at the theatres or dance pavilions. Both drew unusually large crowds. The young men, however, were conspicuous by their absence. Never better could the war toll be observed than on a holiday. The most brilliant function of the season occurred at the Hotel Chippewa at 6 o’clock last evening when a charity banquet at $5 the couple was given. It was well patronized and the Red Cross will realize a considerable amount from the affair.

“The Knights of Columbus dance in Ramsdell hall last evening was the stellar affair of the holiday. The hall was crowded. The function was a success beyond expectations.

“THANKSGIVING PASSED calm and quiet. Crowds thronged the downtown streets last night. The entire day was practically spent celebrating in the various homes, those enjoying a holiday not coming out until they had been stuffed.

“MANY RIVER STREET STORES are getting set for the Christmas business. Store and window decorations are being put in shape. The holiday stock is being gotten out and put on the shelves. Do it early this year. Twenty-four days from tomorrow is the big holiday of the year. Get ready.

“’TIS A LONG WAY from Oak Hill to the Carrie Filer home, but at least one goat from that vicinity took it upon itself to come to town and go a-visiting yesterday afternoon. ‘Twas Thanksgiving, and maybe the eats were scarce on the hilltop. Anyhow, ‘his nibs’ betook himself to the old ladies’ domicile and agreeably entertained them through a portion of the day. The bewhiskered gent seemed eminently satisfied with his reimbursement as he turned his whiskers homeward.

“HERE IT IS the eleventh hour of the eleventh month. End of this troubled year is in sight.

“B-R-R-R-BANG! R-R-R-R-BRRANG! Tut-t-t-t-brr-ang! The city was aroused near noon today by the rapid fire staccato rattle of what sounded like light artillery bombarding the town. Investigators found Philip Beauvais under the Maple Street bridge with a balky gas engine aboard a tug. Phil sure made the welkin ring for a while.

“Manistee’s train service on the Pere Marquette will return to normal beginning next Monday. This cheerful news was released today by officials of the road in communications to the local station and the Board of Commerce.

“Resumption of the service may be ascribed to the vigorous fight against the isolation caused by the one-train-each-way service that has been waged by the Board of Commerce, business and industrial concerns and The News-Advocate. While the trains had been popped off on the plea of lack of fuel, the policy followed by the road on other branches made it impossible to believe anything except that this section was the victim of discrimination.

“The organized effort made here was for the purpose of fighting for Manistee’s rights if the road was arbitrary and for aiding the road if the latter was confronted by obstacles.

“Manistee citizens and business men enter the Christmas season in a much more cheerful frame of mind because of the restoration of these trains, for the mail and passenger traffic conditions have been almost beyond endurance. It’s a day or two late, perhaps, but it gives us one more thing to be thankful for here in Manistee.

“James B. Miller, for the past 37 years caretaker of the Oak Grove Cemetery, will leave Monday for San Francisco, Calif., where he will make his home with his only daughter, Mrs. Florence Meacham.

“During his stay here he has interred over 6,000 people.

“Mr. Miller has taken a great deal of pride in keeping the cemetery grounds in good condition, never leaving a thing undone which would better the appearance of the grounds. Manistee people are not unappreciative of his faithful service during the past 37 years.

“Otto Linke of Filer City has been engaged as his successor, and he is now living in the house formerly occupied by Mr. Miller.

“At least two River street stores opened the holiday season in a blaze today.

“The Racket store, gaily decorated and filled with the new Christmas stock, was filled with throngs of shoppers throughout the afternoon and evening.

“The Rehm & Gray 5 too 50-cent store made quite a splurge with their formal Christmas opening. Gordon Johnson’s orchestra provided music for the visitors during the afternoon and evening. An attractive booth or so provided a holiday spirit within the store. All shelves were well filled with a variety of articles intended to appeal to Christmas shoppers.

“Other concerns are getting set for the annual closing-of-the-year rush. It is conceded by almost every merchant in the city that the holiday shopping this year will surpass that of past seasons. Thousands of soldiers and sailors must have the Christmas of their lives this year and the patriotic public is expected to stand by the flag and see that the home boys in service have a Merry Christmas and happy New Year.


“DECEMBER STARTED in almost decent. The raw wind was about the only uncomfortable thing stirring today.

“THINK TWICE BEFORE you speak, and then you may be able to say something more aggravating than if you spoke right out at once.

“EVERY DOG HAS HIS DAY. But the night belongs to the cats.


“This war is casting sorrow over the country, but it is doing something more, it is drawing the people of this country, this city of Manistee, your small circle of family and friends closer together by a common bond and purpose, that of getting together and helping one another.

“This is not going to be the merriest Christmas we have known, but it is going to be a Christmas of good deed and thoughtfulness, a Christmas of useful Christmas remembrances.

“A great many people are going to be sad this year. A great many people are going to need help. Some families have sons on the battlefield. Some families have sons in the training camp.

“Now—more than ever before—should you remember others by some thoughtful and useful gift. Look around you—What can you do to brighten your own little circle on earth—What can you do to help someone who needs help.

“Do Your Shopping Early. Larsen Bros. (incorporated). The Store for Everybody. MANISTEE, MICH. A Store Full of Useful Gifts.

“Because Pere Marquette Agent Nelson thought that the P. M. printed time table means what it says, the erroneous information was given out Saturday afternoon to the effect that the road would restore the two trains that had been annulled without warning about a month ago.

“The trains have not been put back on the schedule, neither is there any way of knowing when they will be, as the road still claims it is unable to secure coal to operate them.

“[From a front-page editorial on the P. M.] But wasn’t it a bully joke? We can fancy the loud guffaws and the Ha! Has! going up in the general offices in Detroit when the get the word of how Manistee fell for it, and especially how their agent was deceived and The News-Advocate, which ought to know better, swallowed the bait hook, line and sinker, in its anxiety to convey some good tidings about the road to its readers.

“Some joke, we’ll concede. Next time we hear the P. M. is going to do anything for the good of Manistee we’ll believe it when we see it. And we think we’ll be ready to hail the coming of the millennium at the same time.

“But the P. M., a joke railroad, has sprung another capital joke on Manistee.

“Ha! Ha! Huh! Huh!

“Three groans and a growl for the P. M.!

“The Manistee public schools will co-operate with the national fuel administration, it was announced today.

“Deviating from the customary rule of closing the schools for only one week during the Christmas holidays, officials have decided to close for two weeks this year, beginning Dec. 21. This will naturally advance the closing date ahead one week in June, but in so doing the schools will conserve considerable fuel in remaining closed an extra week in winter.

“Manistee schools are fortunate in having a sufficient supply of fuel on hand to assure maintenance of the classes throughout the winter. Other schools in some sections have already been forced to curtail classes, and in some cases, abandon school work for want of coal to heat the buildings.

“PHIL BEAUVAIS’ little hunting expedition yesterday came back without nary a bunny to show for the long trek through swamp and wood, field and vale. Phil’s an unfortunate cuss, anyway.

“TRADE NOTE: Hardware dealers report few calls for left-handed nails this season.

“One lone and darkened combination mail and baggage car stood on the P. M. tracks at the passenger station yesterday afternoon at 4:25 o’clock. A switch engine puffily wheezed in the round house a short distance away.

“A darkened, cold and gloomy station waiting room greeted the one solitary passenger who attempted to purchase a ticket for the mythical 4:25 train.

“A dank, raw wind whistled around the cold and forlorn station. Manistee’s metropolitan and palatial passenger station was a bleak affair. Sadly the one lone passenger, who didn’t want to go anywhere in particular anyway, wended his way cityward. It was some joke. An agonizing and gloom-inducing feeling—just to glance over the P. M. equipment scattered promiscuously around the one main terminal to a city of 13,000 inhabitants—the station that should have been alive with activity and preparing to send out a first-class passenger train filled with down-state travelers.

“Manistee wasn’t on the map anyway, so what was the use of running a perfectly good train and burning up gobs of excellent coal to run one measly combination smoking and day coach over to meet the main line?

“WASHINGTON, Dec. 4.–President Wilson today called upon congress to declare a state of war against Austro-Hungary.

“Appearing before the joint session, the president delivered the message which will set in motion the legislative wheels of the sixty-fifth congress, whose task is to aid our military forces with those of the Allies toward victory.

“Any peace America makes must include delivery of the peoples of Austro-Hungary, Turkey and the Balkans, as well as northern France and Belgium, from Prussian domination.

“The president suggested remedial legislation to meet the railroad and food situation. The latter, he said, is based on ‘selfishness’ at present rather than on supply and demand.

“He urged legislation for more drastic laws to punish alien enemies, and an amendment to include women under the alien enemy act. He suggested putting alien enemies in penitentiaries, where they can be made to work ‘as other criminals do.’

“EVERYBODY’S DOING IT. A local man broke his leg recently and the hospital reports it is knitting.

“Comparison of tax figures of this year and last shows that in every department except county roads the state, county or city, the rate has appreciably increased.

“The increase in the city budget, the city authorities point out, is due to several unavoidable conditions, but principally to war causes, which brought large increases in cost of supplies and material of all kinds and advances in salaries and for labor in nearly every department. In addition there is the total loss of revenue from saloon licenses next year, as the prohibition amendment becomes effective at midnight on April 30, 1918.

“This is the first time under the commission form of government that the city tax rate has not shown a reduction from that of the preceding year.

“The Oak Hill public school, with 140 pupils enrolled, was closed yesterday afternoon because of an epidemic of chickenpox.

“Over 32 cases of the disease were found in the suburb before the attention of physicians and the school principal, Miss Anna Greve took action toward closing the classrooms.

“School will be resumed Monday morning if the disease is effectually under control by that time. During the interval, the 140 children will have an extra holiday. The coasting is good out there, anyway, and the kids are enjoying the sudden snow and relief from class work.

“The Manistee Symphony, now well organized and under way for a season of musical endeavor, will give a dancing party in Ramsdell hall Friday, Dec. 14. The occasion will be open to the public at a small door fee. Proceeds taken in will be used for purchasing several new instruments.

“At a private party by young women at the Clement & DeCair alleys yesterday, Mrs. Lewis S. Ramsdell hung up a record that nothing short of airplane guns will enable others of her sex to reach, when she spilled the pins for 235.

“She hit the king pin with remarkable regularity, getting eight strikes, six of them in succession.

“This is not only the highest score rolled in Manistee by a member of the non-voting sex, but is ahead of any reported in papers in the larger Michigan cities.

“Lieutenants Reuben Noud and Gabriel Powers, who on Monday gave the first instructions in military training in the Manistee Public schools, gave similar instructions this morning. This course has just been instituted in the schools by the board of education and the presence of these two young officers in the city afforded a fine opportunity to get the work started efficiently.

“The lieutenants, who received their commissions at Fort Sheridan last week, will leave for their posts soon, and after their departure the military training in the schools will be looked after by Ellsworth Krantz, instructor in physical culture, until he himself is called to the new national army.

“The sale of the Red Cross Christmas seals to aid in raising $3,000,000 for the national war tuberculosis fund is well under way in Manistee and, as in past years, the public is showing a disposition to respond liberally in support of the worthy movement.

“Those who have seen the new seal agree that it is one of the most beautiful and artistic stamps that has ever been used in the fight against the white plague.

“Christmas Candy.

“In order to conserve sugar the manufacturers of candy have decreased their output by one-half. We have received our supply of Christmas Candy, but shall not offer any for sale until the week beginning Dec. 17th, except to those who expect to use candy in packing Christmas boxes to go out of the city. C. N. RUSSELL.

“TRAIL OF THE SNOWPLOW today gives us a hint of what it will be like when winter decides to establish permanent headquarters here soon.

“THERE ARE TWO SIDES to every question—the wrong side and our side.

“THE AVERAGE AMERICAN HOME, an authority says, is overheated. It is, perhaps, when it has coal, which nowadays is only sometimes.

“CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR is centering more to the soldiers and sailors in the fields and on the sea than to the kidlets and comely young misses at home. Everybody is doing it. Are you in on the making of some warrior’s Christmas a happy one?

“Lieut. Gabriel Powers and Lieut. Ruby Noud visited the school Tuesday and spent the entire morning forming the boys into companies and drilling them in preparation for organizing a class for military drill. The boys are all eager to join and are enthusiastic over the opportunity to obtain a real drill. The officers returned for another lesson this morning. When organized, the corps will be turned over to Mr. Ktantz, who is competent to carry on the work.

“The Girl Scouts are $12 richer by their party last Friday evening besides having had a very pleasant time. The money will be used to provide Christmas packages of socks, candy and other gifts for five boys now in the camps who were recently students in the school. They are Alex Hornkohl, Herman Fredericksen, Arnold Peterson, Harold Davis and Weston Christiensen. The Girl Scouts are selling war recipe cook-books on commission. Everyone needs a lot of advice to enable him to live on what he has, and no agent will make better use of the money than the scouts.

“Miss Lloyd was absent from school on account of a sore throat Monday and Tuesday. There has been a great deal of slight sickness in the school lately and the attendance is below the average.

“The Thanksgiving vacation is over and all the students have returned to work, the last stragglers being Harriet Kitzinger and Alice Duncan, who were visiting relatives in Detroit. Alice has evidently picked up some new hairdressing styles there, for Sponge Hornkohl has abandoned his pompadour and adopted a sort of cowlick slightly resembling Mr. Slagh’s. Miss Robinson was the only member of the faculty who left Manistee during the vacation. She went to Muskegon.

“CALM AND REFLECTIVE survey of the Thanksgiving situation discloses the fact that the U. S. A. still has about as much to be grateful for as any country on the map.”


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