100 Years Ago

The following news items are reprinted from the Manistee Daily News for the week ending Dec. 29, 1917, and are compiled by Teena Kracht from the newspaper archives of the Manistee County Historical Museum. 

“With Manistee’s coal supply alarmingly low, and the mercury beginning to drop for a second cold spell, the city was cheered today by the arrival of the first two cars out of 25 cars of emergency coal awarded Manistee by W. K. Prudden, federal fuel administrator.

Deputy U. S. Marshal Walter Jarka, who has been registering alien enemies Wednesday, Thursday and today, was unable to accommodate all who applied for the necessary permits to live in Manistee or pass within barred zones.

“He had been given a supply of 50 application blanks, which are now used up, with many applicants still to come. Another opportunity for registering and making application will be afforded either next week or the first week in January and due notification through the press will be given.

“Mr. Jarka wishes to emphasize one bit of advice to those who are yet to apply. That is that they come with three photographs of themselves, about 3 by 3 inches, unmounted. This will save them one or two days’ delay, as it takes that long to have the photos taken and prints made.

“‘Just What I Need.’ Come In and Look Around. PYREX Transparent Oven-Ware has the name on every piece. The Practical Gift For Any Housewife. Wm. Miller Hardware Company. Manistee, Michigan.

“Billy Sunday said ‘that if hell were turned upside down the “made in Germany” trade mark would be found on the bottom.’

“Today a local cigar manufacturer was threatened with boycott on one of the most popular cigars made in Manistee because of the fact that, cleverly hidden on the inside of the label, the word ‘Germany’ was printed.

“Smokers were up in arms that they had been deceived into consuming ‘traitorous’ cigars. The News-Advocate, to get to the bottom of the situation, immediately sought out the manufacturer and demanded explanation of who the smokes were being sent out with the enemy name stamped on the brand.

“The American public is gullible and oft deceived. The ‘made in Germany’ and other foreign trademarks are conspicuously smattered on about every kind of product placed on the American market…while in reality the stuff is probably made in Hackensack, N. J., by American labor.

“It was so with the cigar labels banded around the popular LaBuna cigar, made in Manistee. Manufacturer August Redmann assured the News-Advocate that he had purchased his boxes and labels from a Chicago box manufacturing company some time ago and that the labels were also made and shipped to him by that company.

“The cigar is a good one. The band label, so long as it bears the German mark, is bad. The manufacturer who has been sending out the cigars with Hun labels has 3,500 of them still on hand. He made public the assurance that immediately after the holidays he would refuse to accept any more bands bearing the German lettering, from the Chicago concern.

“In the meantime Manistee smokers of the cigars may smoke up, resting assured the manufacturer is not a traitor but has only overlooked a little bit in these strenuous war times.


“THAT SO? Seemed like the longest to some of us.

“ALSO, THE FIRST DAY OF WINTER, officially. Well, winter has drawn heavily against its credit entry, and we have considerable of a refund coming when accounts are squared.

“NOW BEGINS THE LONG trek to the longest day in the year. Tomorrow will be a fraction longer than today, according to the light schedule.

“DETROIT, Dec. 22.—State Fuel administrator Prudden, after a conference with National Administrator Garfield, wired from Washington last night requesting all factories in the state to close down tonight until Dec. 29.

“Munitions plants only are excepted.

“Factories in many Michigan cities already have closed. The Consumers’ Power Co. also has reduced plants in other cities to half time by reduction of current.

“The 3,000 cars of coal in sight for Michigan is sufficient to relieve domestic suffering for only three days and the prospect is that thousands of Michigan laboring men will not only have an enforced vacation over the holidays but will have a poor chance of keeping warm at home.

“The problem or working men’s wages where factories are closed must be handled by local authorities, says Mr. Prudden.

“Closing of churches, saloons and theatres is under serious consideration by the state administrator. Many cities have already taken these steps. Lightless nights, abolition of unnecessary electric signs and other campaigns have failed sufficiently to relieve the situation, and Mr. Prudden feels that conditions will steadily grow worse.

“No official notice of the action of State Fuel Administrator Prudden requesting the closing of factories next week has been received by County Fuel Administrator J. C. Beukema.

“It is expected that local plants will continue to run along normal lines. Every man is entering into the spirit of the [conservation] move and no motors are allowed to run even a minute while the men at the machine are busy elsewhere.

“While the suffering from the lack of fuel is growing more intense in other section of Michigan, the situation in Manistee was measurably relieved today by the arrival of three more cars of emergency coal billed to J. C. Beukema, county fuel administrator.

“Manistee has been given an unusually large amount of publicity in the past two months through the publication, serially in the Metropolitan magazine, of ‘The Indian Drum,’ a mystery story by two Chicago authors. The lengthy narrative centers about the northern Michigan woods, where a legend had it that whenever a vessel sank in Lake Michigan the drum boomed the number of victims.

“Manistee is mentioned as a place of much marine activities, and especially as a port for vessels to go into winter quarters. The story evolves from a trip made by a tug out of Manistee for Manitowoc. Theodore Roosevelt spoke of the take as one of the best plotted mysteries he has read, and a real contribution to American literature.

“NEW YORK, Dec. 22.—Railroads want you to stay home during the holidays unless traveling is absolutely compulsory.

“The Pennsylvania lines today print an advertisement requesting: ‘As an act of patriotism, pleasure traveling during the holiday period should be suspended, and railroad travel should be voluntarily restricted to necessary trips on business.’

“It is pointed out that many thousands of troops on Christmas leave have been traveling in addition to other troop movements, and that industrial workers engaged in war work must be transported.

“Pupils of the Parkdale school gave their Christmas exercises at the school yesterday afternoon. A Christmas tree, brightly decorated, was much enjoyed, as it always is, and the primary staged a clever little play, ‘Santa and the Brownies.’ There were several recitations and songs [and drills].

“The annual Christmas influx of homecomers is on. The late train last night and the incoming Manistee & Northeastern train yesterday afternoon brought in goodly loads of Manisteeans getting back to the home fires for the holidays. Full trains are expected from now on until Tuesday morning.

“Through the generous co-operation of Manager P. R. L. Carl of the Manistee & North Eastern railroad company, Manistee was today afforded an incoming passenger and mail service in spite of the fact that the main line Pere Marquette northbound train was three hours late.

“Seeing the need of getting the homecomers home, Manager Carl ordered the M. & N. E. southbound train to proceed on in when it was ascertained the P, M. was late. In accordance with the M. & N. E.’s desire to furnish Manistee with some sort of efficient train service, Manager Carl further ordered a special train northward later in the afternoon.

“The entire community owes a debt of gratitude to Manager Carl and the M. & N. E. railroad company. The incoming passengers and mail were brought in and the city provided with a service for which otherwise it would have waited until tonight of Monday.

“The Red Cross campaign committee enter upon the final day of the Christmas drive for memberships with a total of 2,060 enrolled for next year.

“Though the formal push for members ends this evening, a follow-up campaign that is to include a visit to every home in the city will begin Wednesday morning. This task has been taken over by the Manistee women and a thorough and effective plan has been worked out.

“The first batch of Christmas mail and packages arrived on the Pere Marquette train at 4 o’clock yesterday morning. Postoffice clerks were almost swamped for a while, but today the deliveries practically cleared the office. Another incoming rush of packages and parcels in expected tonight.

“The holiday rush of incoming mail has been exceedingly slow this year. It is expected that the rush will continue for several days after the holiday.

“To the Editor of The News-Advocate:–A few days ago an article appeared in your paper regarding the manufacturing of bands used on a well known local cigar. A statement was made to the effect that most of the goods marked as being made in Japan or China came from the factory of some concern in the United States.

“This is very misleading and unjust to many firms who handle goods made in these far away countries. As far as our firm is concerned we wish it emphatically understood that any goods sold over our counters and marked ‘Made in Japan,’ or ‘Made in China’ are made in those countries, and we believe it to be true with all other merchants of Manistee. We guarantee them to come from and being made in these countries. Trusting you will give this communication space in your paper. REHM & GRAY.

“A tired, sleepy but nevertheless happy bunch of homecomers arrived on the ever late Pere Marquette train at 4 o’clock yesterday morning. They speedily sought their homes and relatives and spent a major portion of the day getting the sleep they missed on the long trip home.

“Included among those who have already arrived are a number of soldiers. An attempt was made by the News-Advocate to secure the name of those in service, but the effort was unavailing. The boys were too much scattered, and those interviewed too tired to remember just who their brothers were on the up-trip.

“The night train will probably bring in at least 100 more Manisteeans who are one their way here to spend the Christmastide.

“Another car of coal rolled into Manistee today, a very acceptable Christmas present from State Fuel Administrator W. K. Prudden.

“County Fuel Administrator J. C. Beukema has received no notice from the state fuel head to close local factories during this week. The fuel situation in Manistee is now much improved, thanks to the six cars of coal received within the past few days, and there is no crisis that would warrant any action t shut down factories and throw hundreds of men out of work.

“WASHINGTON, Dec. 26.—Government operation of the country’s railroads, probably under direction of William G. McAdoo, now secretary of the treasury, will begin early in January.

“ Few legal and financial problems are yet to be disposed of, holding up President Wilson’s announcement of this new war step—the most revolutionary yet taken by the government.

“WASHINGTON, Dec. 26.—Threatening plans of a general uprising of ultra-radicals in America are in the hands of the government.

“Officials declare any Bolshevikism will be stamped out if attempts are made to thwart government war work. The I. W. W. and other revolutionists are under strictest surveillance.

“Since the advent of the Lenin-Trotsky regime in Russia, frequent utterances of these leaders has indicated their confidence in their ability to stir up a worldwide movement against existing governments.

“Ice on Manistee Lake just now is the best it has been in years, for skating. The arrival of the cold snap Monday morning attached a few more inches to the already substantial crust, and has made the surface in safe condition. A glaze of ice as smooth as glass and clear as crystal covers the lake from Parkdale to Stronach, without the semblance of roughness or cracks.

“City workmen have flooded the municipal rink at Sands park, but it is not yet in condition for skating. The thaw of last week has militated against all efforts to get a uniform surface,, such as is now present on the lake.

“Canadian hockey is fast assuming a warm place as a popular sport among Americans, and it has been suggested that, providing the present fitness of the ice is maintained, active steps toward a series of hockey games may be arranged here.

“THOUGHT IMPELLED by a post-Christmas look in the basement: Where has the coal bin?

“A FIRM in Washington, Del., advertises in the local paper for a bookkeeper, ‘man not subject to draft of woman.’ Must want a guy about 120 years old.

“THE SUGAR ADMINISTRATOR testifies that prohibition has driven many men to ice cream sodas and thus has helped produce a sugar shortage. This nation seems to be headed right at raw water.

“GRAMD CJPRUS heard Christmas eve after the stores were all closed and everybody was ready to go to bed: ‘Goodness, we forgot to get something for father.’ Same as last year, the year before that, and the year before that, and the year be—this is running into too much space.

“NOBODY SEEMED to suffer much Christmas. So far as can be learned, everybody was provided with something that made for happiness during the day.

“MANY OF THE HOMECOMERS returned from whence they came yesterday afternoon and today. A few are still arriving to spend the mid-holiday season.

“WASHINGTON, Dec. 27.—The greatest network of railways in the world will be linked tomorrow in America’s war machine, under government control, with William G. McAdoo as director.

“The president’s proclamation naming McAdoo was issued last night and is the greatest revolutionary step yet taken. It puts the government in absolute dominance of every ounce of America’s energy.

“The greatest immediate problem is labor. The president confers today with the Brotherhood chiefs, and McAdoo with the railroad executives.

“Actual operation of the railroads by the government is to begin Jan. 1.

“Manistee is to have a ‘Community Chautauqua’ during the winter months.

“A series of 64 to 72 neighborhood entertainments, going from school to school, parochial as well as public, is now being arranged. The talent will wholly be local, and it is expected that the best musicians, vocalists and speakers in the city will take part.

“The object of the ‘Community Chautauqua’ is to create a higher standard of citizenship and a better acquaintanceship among all the people of Manistee. The Chautauqua will be conducted under the auspices of the ‘Better Citizenship’ committee of the Manistee Board of Commerce, of which F. Mitchell is the chairman. The Mothers’ clubs of the various schools, the school authorities and teachers in both public and parochial schools, the pastors, and the Women’s committee of the Council of National defense will co-operate.

“Charged with desertion from the United States army, which grave charge he practically admits, a young man, 19 years old, is today lodged in the county jail awaiting disposal of his case by a military court martial.

“The penalty for his alleged offense is severe—years of imprisonment in a federal penitentiary if convicted, in addition to a heavy fine which means longer servitude if not paid.

“The story of the desertion is that of a much-indulged youth who, in a fit of pique over a fancied mistreatment left home on an impulse to join the army, and who then, succumbing to the bitter pangs of acute nostalgia, the scientific term for extreme homesickness, absented himself from camp when a Christmas furlough was denied him.

“Longing to return home and spend the holidays with his parents is said to have been the impelling motive which led to the young man’s downfall and dishonor.

“‘The Deserted Village.’

“Thus looked Manistee today. Sunday mornings on River street had nothing of the aspect of the downtown section of the city during a large portion of the day.

“With the leaving of hundreds of newcomers on the trains yesterday, Manistee was left practically deserted, or rather, appeared to be after the experience of crowded streets for the past several days during the time of the visitors’ stay.

“While there were not as many people able to come home for Christmas this year, there were a goodly number who spent the Yuletide near the home fires.

“The Manistee post office has cleared the racks, shelves and cases of the greater portion of the Christmas mails. At no time during the holiday season was there danger of the clerks being swamped.

“Not as heavy as in previous years, getting an earlier start through the mails and the fact that a great number of packages were sent to soldiers abroad at an early date, helped get the situation corralled long before the annual last-day rush was due.

“Christmas messages, both incoming and outgoing, at the local Western Union office this year were far in excess of any other Christmas. Although the dispatches surpassed those of last year, the number of parcels handled by local messengers fell short of the number a year ago.

“No greetings were received from any of the soldiers in France, but a large number came from the Camps in Texas. The incoming messages exceeded the outgoing.

“THE BLIZZARD DESCENDED in its fury this afternoon. Weather forecast promises another spell of severe winter atmosphere. The city is fairly well supplied with coal to meet the situation this time.

“GOVERNMENT INQUIRY into the financial methods of Chicago packers reveals that the stockyards business is in no better odor than it ever was.”



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