100 Years Ago

The following news items are reprinted from the Manistee Daily News for the week ending January 5, 1918 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

“WASHINGTON, Dec. 28.—SECRETARY WM. G. MCADOO AT THROTTLE TODAY. Great American Railway Became Reality at Noon. War Freight Has Right of Way On All Lines; McAdoo Plans Highly Centralized Organization to Manage Transportation.

“Director McAdoo plans to slash millions of uselessly spent dollars from the payrolls of United States railroads.

“Fabulous salaries of railroad presidents will tumble or disappear. Millions paid to elaborate staffs of freight solicitors will be lopped off. Expensive passenger ticketing departments will be eliminated. Duplication of expensive administrative forces at great terminals will be stopped.

“PETROGRAD, Dec. 28.—All private banks in the city, including some foreign branches, were closed by order of the Bolsheviki government today.

“Soldiers and sailors occupy the buildings. Many directors were arrested.

“Crawling, half frozen, over the glaring, hurricane-swept ice of Manistee lake toward Manistee in answer to feminine cries of help wafted across to Eastlake late last night, three local youths were successful in saving Mrs. Henrietta Peterson, 139 Hancock St., and her two daughters, Virginia and Agnes, from perishing in the storm.

“Caught in the hurricane and blizzard as they attempted to make their way back to Manistee after attending a Christmas program By the Swedish Lutheran church in Eastlake, Mrs. Peterson and her daughters were almost ready to give up when the rescuers succored them from the storm’s terrible lashings. One member of the party, Miss Virginia Peterson, had already fallen to the ice and was being dragged along by her sister Agnes, when the young men reached them.

“Slowly making their way back to Eastlake, rescuers and rescued sought shelter in the [unheated] Pere Marquette depot shed until the arrival of the late incoming Manistee train. Mother and daughters were taken immediately to their home upon arrival here.

“Harry Newberg, 18, 1009 High St., William Peterson, 24, 611 Cypress St. and John Anderson, 1018 Vine St., who had also gone to Eastlake early in the evening to take part in the church entertainment, were just about to step upon the ice for the return journey about 10 o’clock when frantic cries for help reached their ears.

“Bending almost double, the young men started out on the ice. At each step they were hurled back by the wind. Finally, when but a few feet from the shore, they went to their hands and knees and slowly battled the storm toward the middle of the lake. Nearly frozen still despite their exertions, they finally found Mrs. Peterson and her daughters almost half way across. All were nearly exhausted. Mrs. Peterson had given up fighting and was being blown along the smooth unruffled sheen of ice toward Stronach.

“The party, suffering from the intense cold and biting wind, made its way to the little P. M. stop station, where they remained in the cold shed until the arrival of the night train.

“All were reported today as being comfortable and except for a few frost bites, none the worse for their experience.

“Though the receipt of six cars of emergency coal, last week, did much to ease the local fuel situation, the relief is only temporary and users of coal must practice the utmost economy to make every pound of it do its full duty.

“In some respects conditions are tighter now than had been expected. This is due to the fact that dealers are unable to get their contract filled either because the firms from which they are buying are sending coal elsewhere for better prices, or because of priority orders diverting the coal to other points, or because of railroad confiscation en route.

“It is now getting to be a question of getting fuel at any price.

“Born of a southerly wind that foretold warm and balmy weather, lashed into a nor’wester by mid-afternoon and to a hurricane by night, Manistee was again swept by one of the most severe blizzards in recent years.

“Thermometers registered zero and below shortly after midnight. The temperature last night was the lowest reported here at this early season in some years. Last winter was colder but the severe weather came after the new year.

“So far as could be ascertained today there was no acute suffering caused by the sudden storm. There is a sufficient supply of coal in the city to comfortable care for reasonable demands during the present cold snap.

“Frozen pipes and inability to heat homes even with constant stoking, constituted the main difficulties experienced last night and today.

“Bewhiskered and long-haired gents accustomed to trek down to their particular barber shop at the unholy hour of 7:30 o’clock week-day evenings and 19:30 o’clock Saturday evenings will hereafter be greeted by closed doors at those hours.

“Beginning Jan. 2 local tonsorial artists and wielders of the brush and comb will close at 7 o’clock during the week and promptly at 10 o’clock Saturday nights. All barbers have agreed to the new closing hours.

“For the first time in history all local barber shops will be closed tight throughout New Year’s day. The establishments will be open until 10 o’clock Dec/ 31 to accommodate those wishing 1918 decorations.

“Owing to the unsatisfactory train service, the inclement weather and numerous other causes that make bringing vaudeville to Manistee during the winter a difficult task, Manager Otto J. Lauer announced today that there would be no further vaudeville performances at the Lyric theatre after the program booked for next Tuesday.

“While the patronage had fallen off somewhat since the newly imposed war tax and setting in of winter, this is not the reason for discontinuing the acts. Poor train service makes it almost impossible to get performers here.

“The regular photo plays and comedy and drama reels with the usual Pathe Weekly News programs will be given in accordance with former schedules.

“WHEN A MAN celebrates his birthday he takes a day off; a woman, a year.

“THEATREGOERS BRAVED the elements last evening as did the crowd who left the fireside to attend the Ramsdell hall dance.

“DRESS SUITS and stiff collars are disappearing in London, and they’re going t economize in rubber by discarding suspenders. There are some satisfying features in the war situation, after all.

“EVERYTHING EXCEPT a new kind of measles has been reported from Russia.

“Homesickness is a terrible thing. It is the most depressing, distressing malady in the National Army camps—and one of the most prevalent.

“But the fact remains that homesickness is mighty dangerous—both to the physical and mental state of the victim. Also it is highly probable that the folks at home are often to blame for most of this ailment among the boys in camp. When a soldier receives a gloomy letter from his family or friends, no wonder he gets the blues.

“If you want the soldier you love best to be a good soldier, an officer says, leave the tears out of your letters. Cut out the sob stuff. Don’t tell your soldier what a sacrifice he is making for his country and how homesick he must be and how much you miss him. He knows the sacrifice he is making and, if he is a good son or brother he misses you as much as you miss him. So don’t let either one think of missing each other. At least, don’t think it in writing.

“Write often, even if you have time only to scribble a postcard. Mail time is a happy time in the army. Make your soldier happy every time the orderly calls with the mail.

“In your letters tell the boy the little things that are happening at home. Tell him what you had for Sunday dinner. If your soldier was interested in the girl down the street a little ways, tell him about her.

“You get the idea—you mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters and friends of soldiers—don’t you? Write often, make your letters bright and cheerful, and cut out the gloom.

“The depleted residue of the once considerable estate of the late James S. Madison, printer and for years publisher of the Manistee Advocate previous to its merger with the Manistee Daily News, will revert to the state of Michigan, according to a ruling of the supreme court Thursday.

“His [Mr. Madison’s] foster mother, who had cared for him for many years, filed the first petition asking for the appointment of an administrator, although Mrs. Simpson’s claims to any share in the estate were speedily disallowed because of her inability to show any legal adoption papers of the waif she had taken into her home at the close of the civil war.

“Mrs. Hattie Bell Spencer of Chicago, a former well known resident of Manistee, set up a claim to the property on the grounds that she was the common-law wife of the printer. A widow’s allowance was granted her pending final settlement. This is the decision which is now overruled.

“If the Manistee public appreciates the daily efforts of the newsboys to bring them the News-Advocate promptly, often under very adverse weather conditions, they will have an opportunity to show their appreciation next Monday evening in a substantial manner.

“That evening, New Year’s eve, the newsies put on sale their annual Christmas greetings, a custom that has prevailed here for several years. Their ‘greetings’ consist of an unusually neat and attractive calendar, with picture done in color and attractively mounted.

“The people of Manistee will distribute a vast amount of holiday cheer by purchasing these calendars, the entire proceeds from which go to the boys. There is no fixed price set—everything from ten cents upward will make the little fellows happy.

“Fire department received a telephone call from the home of Capt. William Wenzel, 408 Fourth St., at 10:20 o’clock this morning.

“A small blaze in the kitchen,, caused by a defective range, had burned through the floor when Hansen’s men arrived. The conflagration was extinguished with approximately $25 loss.

“Court house attaches stated that the exact cause of the fire was an overheated discussion of the war.

“The smaller communities in the northern part of the state will have to depend upon wood largely this winter, Fuel Administrator W. K. Prudden declares. ‘It will be necessary to require all communities where wood can be obtained to use wood in place of coal. In almost every town some wood can be had within a short distance. People in rural communities should refrain from asking for coal if it is possible to get wood.’

“In order that they may promote fuel conservation three leading city churches will unite in their Sunday evening services.

“The Congregational, Methodist Episcopal and the Maple street Baptist churches will hold Sunday evening services together, starting tomorrow night at 7:30 o’clock, when the three congregations will unite at the Congregational church for their first service. Rev. C. F. Bronson of the Baptist church will deliver the sermon and Ward Baker will give a few violin selections.

“Every Sunday these congregations will unite at one of the three churches for their evening services.

“Arraigned before Justice Erb yesterday charged with breaking and entering in the night time,, a young man told the court that his longing for cigarettes prompted the act. He was bound over for trial. Bonds were set at $500.

“The boy, who is only 16 years old, was paroled at the last term of court after he had pleaded guilty to breaking into a Vine Street store and stealing cigarettes and money.

“Last week he entered the Buckley & Douglas store and stole a quantity of cigarettes and candy and several knives. His arrest followed the next day.

“The young man told the court yesterday that his longing for a cigarette had induced him to break into the store. He had no money, he said, with which to buy the smokes.

“THE SITUATION seems to be that we are very long on fuel administrators but decidedly short on fuel.

“BEGIN THE NEW YEAR RIGHT—right up to your neck in work, war sacrifices and patriotism.

“HOOVER ANNOUNCES a special objection to doughnuts, because they soak up so much fat in cooking. Maybe he’ll kindly tell us what life’s going to be without doughnuts.

“WHO THINKS THE WAR is accomplishing no good and that the training so many young men are undergoing will be productive of nothing valuable? ‘When this is over,’ writes one of the boys at Custer, ‘I will be qualified to be a fine husband for some likely candidate. For I can scrub floors, make beds and shovel coal.

“William R. Magoon, 85 years old, a resident of Manistee since 1853, died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Thomas B. Jones, 315 Maple St., at 9 o’clock last night following a steadily failing physical condition extending over a period of weeks.

“Probably no other resident of Manistee had experienced the trials and vicissitudes undergone by the settlement when the city was first conceived on the shore of Lake Michigan. With the exception of John Stronach, Sr., Mr. Magoon is believed to have been the longest resident of Manistee.

“Three years after Mr. Magoon’s arrival here he was married too Miss Elizabeth J. Secor. Last November 22 the couple celebrated their sixty-first wedding anniversary. Seven children, only three of whom survive, came to enhance the happy union.

“Mr. Magoon was notably known to the entire community for his cheerfulness and ready words of happiness for all-comers. Long hours were spent on his little porch on Maple street in telling over the early history of Manistee to all who would listen. His constantly failing health had not disturbed the optimistic attitude toward life which the old gentleman constantly assumed as his birthright.

“Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

“Accused of making the statement that all Red Cross nurses were immoral women and that physicians and surgeons doing war work abroad were no better class and that both were offering their services to perpetrate acts of immorality one with the other, Frank Misch, 45, a lumber inspector at the Sands Salt & Lumber company’s plant, was arrested Saturday afternoon on complaint of a member of the local Red Cross unit and lodged in jail.

“Misch was arraigned this morning before Justice Erb and entered a plea of not guilty. He professed to be a staunch admirer of the Red Cross work and stated that if he had not such a large family he would offer some of his own efforts toward the work being done in the interest of humanity.

“There are a number of employees at the Sands Salt block who are said to have overheard the remarks addressed against the Red Cross workers, and Misch was released for trial. Witness will be produced before the court to substantiate the charges against Misch.

“Misch claims that the charges are the result of spite work, that he is as loyally American and anti-German as may citizen can be and that he will be able to prove this when given the opportunity.

“From Jan. 2 to 26 a federal income tax officer will be at the courthouse every day to assist persons subject to income tax in making out their returns. No charge will be made for this service.

“’Oh, Skinnay! Com’on over!’

“’Gee, fellows, the sleddin’s fine. We’re goin’ out to the big, com’on over.’

“Those and similar remarks hurled across the morning air by the youngsters brought old timers back to the years of the ‘big snows’ over a decade ago.

“Manistee was smothered yesterday in between nine and eleven inches of soft, downy snow. It has been years since the community has witnessed such a steady fall of the big wet flakes.

“Fortunately extremely cold weather did not follow the storm. No acute suffering was reported today.

“But the sledding is fine. Sleigh Ride parties for New Year’s day were being discussed from all angles today. The hills north and west of the city are coming in for their full portion of sliding and skiing today.

“’Tis a happy New Year for the kids and grown-ups together.

“Plans are rapidly materializing for Manistee’s big Community Chautauqua to be held during the winter months. The first two of the 72 that will be held in the various schoolhouses of the city will occur Friday evening, January 11, at the Guardian Angel school and the First ward school on Washington street. Dr. A. F. Hess, pastor of the First Congregational church, will carry the message of ‘The American Ideal,’ at the Guardian Angel school and Miss Ida M. Brownrigg will speak on the same topic at the First ward school.

“’What will the new year bring?’

“That question, universal, is upon the lips of almost all humanity as 1918 gets a start toward its 365-day run through the space of time.

“The year, beginning with the world torn by conflict and strife, with nearly every country on the globe beset with reverses, starvation, suffering and death, caused by the vagaries of war overseas; with fuel and food famines at home and the government assuming the upper hand and control of the country’s every available resource, the question cannot but come to the minds of thinking people how the year will end, what will the space of time bring to humanity?

“Manistee ushered in the new year in comparatively quiet fashion. Several amusement places and a number of public dances provided pleasure for the community at large. Fraternal organizations and lodges held special programs during the last hours of 1917 and the first hours of 1918.

“War and the fuel and food situations were temporarily forgotten and pleasure seekers were given free rein to celebrate the occasion fittingly. Only two arrests were reported.

“Yesterday Manistee presented a Sunday appearance. Church services were held during the morning and theatres were opened in the afternoon. All amusement places were well patronized.

“Good crowds went to the Lyric last night to see the last vaudeville program that will be booked here during the winter. The Ramsdell hall basketball game and dance and the Larsen pavilion attracted goodly crowds.

“But the community awakened this morning after a few hours of pleasure and forgetfulness and asked itself the question, ‘what will the year bring?’ WHAT WILL IT?

“Frank Misch, 45, a former lumber inspector at the Sands Salt & Lumber company,, will make a public apology to the Manistee chapter of the American Red Cross at 2 o’clock Friday afternoon for alleged derogatory remarks he is alleged to have made to workmen at the plant last November.

“’If it could be proved positively that this man called all American Red Cross nurses immoral and that they were going abroad to practice their immorality and if it were within the jurisdiction of this court to pronounce such a sentence, I would order that he be shot,’ stated Justice Erb in continuing the case until Friday at which time Misch will submit his written apology.

“Three witnesses for the prosecution called before the court for examination this afternoon weakened somewhat their testimony, stating that Misch had referred to the nurses as merely indecent rather than immoral women.

“The first witness called stated that Misch told him that American girls who offered themselves for Red Cross service abroad did so only to have a good time and that they were ‘women of the world’ and went overseas that they might practice their wiles. Nothing was mentioned concerning the surgeon’s conduct toward the girls as former evidence stated. The other two witnesses (both Polish) practically substantiated this testimony. They stated that Misch had never called the women immoral, but had referred to them as being indecent. None had defended the nurses against the remarks made by Misch, it was stated.

“Closely questioned by the prosecutor and court Misch stated that he could not remember ever having made any remarks against the Red Cross nurses. He intimated that the affair was induced by spite for minor troubles he had had at the Sands plant.

“Testimony showed that Misch had been approached early in November by a solicitor for the Red Cross fund. The remarks are alleged to have been made shortly after that time.

“He purported to be a staunch friend of the organization today. Asked if he had subscribed he stated that he had not but that one of his sons had done so.

“Upon the recommendation of Prosecuting Attorney Howard Campbell, who after personal investigation ascertained that Misch has a good record as a citizen here, Justice Erb ordered Misch to appear Friday with a written and public apology to the directors and members of the local Red Cross. Misch agreed to apologize and in future to make some attempt to assist the organization. He was further required to promise never in future to make a public statement against any virtuous and good woman.

“Announcement was made last week that vaudeville would be indefinitely suspended at the Lyric theatre this week until better train connections could be secured. Manager Lauer wished it stated that arrangements have now been completed so that his regular big time features can be given on Wednesday hereafter commencing with next week and will be continued on these days until further notice. The booking office at Chicago has changed the entire routing of the vaudeville acts for the Michigan circuit so that vaudeville can be brought to Manistee on Wednesday nights.

“FAST TRAINS are to be abandoned under government control. This will not in any way affect the service so far as Manistee is concerned.

“HOW MANY OF YOU dated your first letter of the year Jan. 1, 1917.

“State department messages say the Bolsheviki has seized the banks in Moscow and is threatening to seize factories.

“There is much disorder. Martial law has been declared.

“Four cars of soft coal, part of a consignment on boats confiscated at Port Huron by State Fuel Administrator Prudden, have been started Manisteeward. At first there was no great scramble locally for this batch of fuel, but today, with no further supplies in sight, there is brisk bidding for part of it.

“The Board of Commerce coal conservation committee has assigned one car to the Eastlake schools and another to Mercy Sanitarium. These institutions were without fuel and could use the kind of coal that comprises the shipment.

“That the fuel situation in Michigan, already tight, will become more so is the statement made by Prudden… yesterday. The southern part of the state and Ohio are facing greater shortages today than ever before and extravagant prices aare offered for coal.

“Governor Cox of Ohio confiscated 18 of the 25 cars of emergence coal that had been awarded to Manistee by Prudden about a month ago. Only seven of the cars got through.

“Frost nipped ears and noses protruding from underneath bedclothes, resounding cracks and thunderous creakings outside in the still, clear night formed the only warning shivering residents had that the mercury was sliding downward with no apparent intention of stopping until it had reached the bottom of the glass.

“Manistee awakened this morning to find water piped frozen, homes cold and a North Pole atmosphere pervading the community. Shaking heads of families unsteadily wended their several ways to their chilly basements to revive inadequate furnace fires. Those not fortunate enough to possess furnaces or cellars shivered and shook while the base burners were set roaring. Icicles dangles merrily from kitchen sink faucets. The city was frozen hard and fast. The mercury had reached its lowest mark since one cold night last winter when the government thermometer registered 32 degrees below zero.

“The official lowest temperature recorded here during the night was 12 degrees below zero. The lowest unofficial reading was made at Judge Stacy C. Thompson’s home just before sunrise. Twenty-two below, read the instrument.

“Shivering and shaking, stamping feet and holding tight to frostbitten ears and noses, Manisteeans hastened abroad this morning to find one of nature’s most beautiful dressings covering the landscape.

“Trees were shimmering in silver encrusted decorations that glimmered brightly in the cold rays of the morning sun. Houses and buildings, signs, wires and poles were treated to a similar coating of hoarfrost that gave the impression of complete transformation. Workers, hastening too their places of occupation, stopped momentarily to admire the works of nature, proceeding, after a casual glance, all the more rapidly to regain warmth lost by cessation off physical exertions.

“Careful inquiry failed to ascertain any cases of acute suffering because of the sudden drop of temperature. While homes were almost universally cold and many water pipes were frozen hard and fast, the city has a sufficient supply of fuel in most homes to maintain comfortable warmth.

“Local taxpayers are thronging the city offices and besieging City Treasurer Thorwald Andresen with checks and currency. They seem to be in a hurry to get the matter settled.

“Despite the cold night quite a few people were in evidence at the Ramsdell theatre when the first reel of ‘Polly of the Circus,’ featuring Mae Marsh, was started.

“The attraction pleased those who saw the screed production of that beautiful play. The picture is one that might easily appeal to the children who missed the opportunity of seeing a circus last summer. An entire circus is given on screen.

“As usual, the Sands Salt & Lumber company and the Buckley & Douglas Salt & Lumber company are the largest single taxpayers.

“ONE-HALF THE WORLD doesn’t know how the other half lives. The man who wrote that never lived in a small town.

“ON THE COLDEST DAY of a cold winter the electric fan was running full tilt in the Bailey Gift shop this morning. Asked what was the idea, John said: ‘Unfreezing my windows. Nothing else will do the business so quickly as an electric fan.’“LOUD COMPLAINTS were voiced today by patrons of ‘Polly of the Circus’ at the Ramsdell last night. It was just impossible to heat the house to a degree necessary for comfort, and patrons sat huddled in their overcoats and furs and stamped their feet and at that became thoroughly be numbed by the chill atmosphere. Not even the beauty of the film production required them for the discomfort.

“FROZEN WATER PIPES and cold houses were the rule as the heads of families poked their frost-bitten noses from under the coverlets this morning.

“FOR THE NEXT CENSUS: Baby girl born to Mr. and Mrs. Edward Hawley, 1002 Manistee St. The father is one of the selected men sent to Camp Custer and is home on furlough.

“An item of almost general interest is the expiration in the United States of the Aspirin patent, controlled by a German firm. Despite the fact that the two countries are at war, agents of the Fatherland company are attempting to retain sole monopoly of the name and compel druggists handling this universal medicine under the name of Aspirin Bayer to refrain from use of the name when selling Acetyl-Salicylic which is the only proper name for Aspirin.

“The United States has been victimized for years since the German country has had control of Aspirin sales here. Retailers have been forced to pay from 200 to 300 per cent more for Aspirin than it sold for in other countries. The expiration of the enemy patent will permit druggists to sell Acetyl-Salicylic, which is the proper name for Aspirin, at a much reduced quotation. Patriotic consumers are asked by the druggists to call for Acetyl-Salicylic instead of Aspirin Bayer, imported from Germany at a higher tariff than the same medicine under its pharmacist’s name can be sold for retail here.

“Users of Aspirin will secure the same drug from any druggist in the United States by calling for Acetyl-Salicylic and will perform a patriotic duty to their country’s government by so doing.”


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