100 Years Ago

The following news items are reprinted from the Manistee Daily News for the week ending February 9, 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

“The second quota of notices for registrants to appear for physical examination next week has been sent out by the local exemption board. It contains 120 names and all in the list are directed to appear Thursday afternoon from 1 to 5 o’clock. Though many have been examined under the old plan they must come again as the method adopted under the questionnaire system exempts only those now in active service. Even men who have enlisted, but of whose enlistment the board has not had official notification, receive these notices.

“Record temperatures were broken today in nearly all parts of Manistee county, and the oldest inhabitant, once the final authority on the ‘coldest ever’ has lost his standing, as new marks for comparison have been established today.

“Readings ranging from 28 to 55 below are reported, the city as usual having the mildest edge of the cold wave. The official thermometer at the post office registered 28 below, though other parts of the city registered 30 and 32 minus. Last year the mercury fell to 30 below, but remained there only a short time. Today the liquid metal seemed determined to remain curled up in the bulb, the temperature rising only a few degrees up to 8 o’clock.

“Stacy Thompson’s thermometer at Arthur Street registered 42 below. Other measurements there showed 43 below. This is the lowest notch reached in the 48 years that Mr. Thompson has lived ‘over there.’

“Fortunately there was no wind. But the presence of a heavy fog early in the morning added to the penetrating quality of the air. Frozen taps and pipes were again the order of the day.

“No extreme cases of hardship from lack of fuel are reported.

“February has failed as an offset to January. It’s entirely up to the groundhog tomorrow.

“So, please have a heart, Mr. Groundhog, and if the sun does shine on Saturday, don’t bring your shadow out with you.

Manistee dealers will be forced to discontinue the sale of wheat flour, if compelled to obey the latest regulation of the federal food administration. This order forbids the sale of wheat flour unless the customer also buys an equal weight off some of the following substitutes: Cereals, corn meal, corn starch, hominy, barley flour, rice, rice flour, oat meal, rolled oats, buckwheat flour, potato flour, sweet potato flour, soya bean flour and feterita flours.

“Of all these together there are only a few hundred pounds in the city, and if they could be had for the asking from the wholesalers it would take three weeks to ship them here. It is more than probably that even then orders could not be filled immediately on demand, on account of the sudden and widespread demand for these little used supplies. Some of the flours are so little known that the average housewife would not be able to make the slightest use of them. Some merchants have already sold their entire supply of substitute flours, and therefore are unable to fill orders for wheat flour.

“It is hoped and expected that permission will be given to defer putting the regulation into effect in Manistee until the local grocers receive a shipment of substitutes.

“LOAD OF COAL  delivered to us today looks like the black dirt we used to put on the garden. ‘Emergency’ fuel, they call it, at $9.75 a ton. Great stuff.

“ELMER OLSON, who was arrested during the holidays for coming home from camp without proper leave, is still detained in the county jail awaiting the arrival of some U. S. officer to take him back.

“LANSING, Feb. 2.—‘As their part in reducing the consumption of wheat flour, the wholesaler, retailer and consumers of Michigan are for the present called upon to purchase with such flour a supply of other substitute cereals equal to one-quarter of every flour purchase.’

“’The national order is pound for pound, but Food Administrator Prescott was given the right to modify the regulations, which he did in order to give the jobbers and retailers a chance to stock up in the substitute cereals.

“The third batch of notice cards directing registrants to report for physical examination at the court house next week has been mailed by the exemption board.

“WASHINGTON, Feb. 2.—The president’s appeal for a ‘talkless congress’ met sharp opposition today.

“It appeared possible that instead of quieting the drumfire in some quarters for the ‘war cabinet’ bill the president may have stirred up the artillery.

“Lincoln’s birthday, Thursday, Feb. 12, will be observed in Manistee by a big Red Cross luncheon at which over 300 guests will assemble, it is expected, at the Chippewa hotel.

“The primary purpose of the affair is to get the patriotic citizens of this city together to discuss ways and means for continuing the work of the local chapter for another year.

“The affair will not be limited to men only, as some previous patriotic luncheons have been. It will be open to both men and women, and it is hoped that the two sexes will have about equal representation.

“The Manistee Boy Scouts will celebrate the birth of their organization which occurred Feb. 8, 1911, by an extensive program which, beginning next Friday, will extend through three days, and include a banquet for the boys, their fathers and the officers of the organization, an exhibition of scout work, a dance and a basketball game on Friday evening, a ’good turn’ for the city and nation on Saturday, and church services at the Methodist church Sunday morning.

“Signs warning alien enemies against too close approach to the Pere Marquette docks were posted along River street by Chief of Police Grady this morning. The signs read:

“ALIEN ENEMY, STOP! You must go no farther in the direction of the arrow.

“At the bottom of the sign is an arrow pointing toward the river. Thus far he has been instructed only to post warnings affecting the Pere Marquette docks.

“Conserve Wheat. You will soon have to use a greater amount of flour other than wheat. We carry: Rice Flour, Corn Flour, Rye Flour, Buckwheat, Whole Rye Flour—Graham, Barley Flour, White Corn Meal, Yellow Corn Meal, Rye Meal. C. N. RUSSELL.

“NOW SOME BAKER will be caught using old-fashioned flour and get himself arrested on the charge of making counterfeit dough.

“CURSES! The cursed groundhog saw his cursed shadow the minute he poked his nose above the ground today. And we all know what that is said to signify. Stoke up the fire and dig in the best you can.

“ABOUT ALL MANISTEE restaurants have taken the sugar bowl off the table. The chaps accustomed to putting four spoonfuls in their coffee have to get a new kind of fireside sport.

“Though the official thermometer recorded only 12 below zero today, the penetrating wind made it seem ‘ten times doubly so,’ and there was more inconvenience caused than on Friday, when the mercury curled up in the bulb.

“Frozen pipes and taps were so common that they are hardly worth mentioning, and about the only fellows who managed to keep up circulation were the plumbers who were hurrying from place to place to thaw out the congealed pipes.

“More anxiety is felt today, too, about fuel. There has been very little coal received here for the past week except a few cars for slack for factory use. Unless some more emergency fuel comes rolling in pretty soon, Manistee will feel the pinch as it never has felt it this winter.

“The registration of enemy aliens is going on very satisfactorily today in the police headquarters, though few from outside the city have appeared in the postoffice to register under Postmaster King. In spite of the bad weather, fully a score of men had come in by noon. An interpreter was present in the office to assist those who could not speak or write English.

“The American Woodenware company has been closed since Saturday owing to lack of coal, throwing about 100 people out of work. The company has several cars of coal on the way, but there is no means of knowing as to when they may be expected.

“In the meantime the company has to figure pretty close to keep enough fires going to prevent serious damage to the plant and equipment.

“FROZEN WATER PIPES were the rule, rather than the exception, this morning. The cold snap, although not the coldest of the winter, was one of the snappiest. The News-Advocate was one of the places that was up against it, with everything congealed solid. Your paper today was produced under difficulties.

“SAVE FAT, cries the government. And so many girls are trying hard to get rid of it.

“THIS WAS A MAILLESS MONDAY, as well as heatless and cheerless and drinkless. M. & N. E. train was cancelled, cutting off mid-day mail. It is expected in this evening, a special being sent to Kaleva at 4:05 to pick up the pouches and passengers brought up on the P. M. morning train from Grand Rapids.


“WASHINGTON, Feb. 5.—Hotels, restaurants and dining cars have been ordered by the food administration to run on reduced bread rations.

“The limit is two ounces of bread or rolls per portion, except corn or oatmeal bread, of which four ounces is permitted.

“WASHINGTON, Feb. 5.—It was officially announced after the McAdoo-Garfield conference this afternoon that workless Mondays will be continued indefinitely.

“Manistee is once more supplied with sugar, but the stock on hand is so small that hoarding and extravagance will quickly exhaust it. The wholesalers are shipping only enough to suffice with the most economical use and the local grocers are doing their best to make the supply last until more can be secured.

“House-to-house canvassing by inspectors who will confiscate hoarded sugar is daily expected. Some local dealers, anxious both to keep their business running and to render the best service, are taking the names of all purchasers of sugar to prevent the accumulation of large supplies by those who are in the habit of visiting a number of stores and procuring two pounds of sugar in each, or of calling daily at the same store and obtaining more than is needed for immediate consumption.

“When the groundhog poked his inquisitive nose above ground sunny Saturday morning, glances affrightedly at the long shadow of himself he saw reflected in the sparkling snow, and hurriedly turned tail and beat it back to his comfy burrow, we knew we were in for it.

“But we didn’t think the groundhog had so much vindictiveness in his system as he has since manifested. Certainly we expected six more weeks of winter, but we didn’t expect six weeks of it shoved into three days’ time. If the groundhog was bent on showing us that he could ‘make good’ he has done so a-plenty.

“After 48 hours of intense cold, Manistee woke up this morning to face another near-blizzard, with temperatures way below the zero mark. Fuel is scarce, and train schedules are again all shot to pieces.

“The cold continues unabated, and the outlook is bleak and cheerless.

“The plight of the gulls and ducks, deprived of their customary means of sustenance by the closing of navigation, is piteous. The cheery and friendly waterfowl are literally starving. The public, which for a time generously supplied their wants with crumbs, has grown forgetful of them. Crumbs brought to Smith or River streets bridges will be fed the birds by the bridge tenders, and will perhaps be the means of saving their lives. Remember the birds.

“Announcement is made today by the management of Ramsdell theatre and hall that, owing to the unusually severe weather and the fuel shortage, the building will be closed during the remainder of the winter season.

“This cancels the remaining booking on the high school entertainment course, the last two programs of which were not presented, the lecture of Dr. Edward Amherst Ott being canceled because of snow blockages which prevented the lecturer reaching here, and the performance by the famous Ben Greet Players last week, when the company was halted en route here by a train wreck on the P. M. near Holland.

“Vast quantities of coal were required to heat the immense building for even a single performance, and in view of the very serious shortage the management feels that it can best serve the interests of the community by closing until spring and placing its supply of coal at the disposal of those most greatly in need of it.

“Supt. S. W. Baker of the High school, wrote the Redpath bureau in Chicago requesting a change of dates for the unfilled numbers on the program to next spring after the theatre reopens.

“Despite the fact that necessary supplies had not arrived and that reports of change of plans had appeared in down-state papers, the Manistee exemption board went ahead with its examination of the 120 men in class 1 subject to call for the next quota of the new national army.

“That the Red Cross seeks to relieve and prevent suffering and distress at home as well as on the battle front is shown by a report of the Civilian Relief committee of the Manistee county chapter. While the government is supposed to look after the dependents of men in army and navy, the allowances have been very slow in coming and to bridge the gap between promise and fulfillment the committee has done efficient work in several cases.

“The registration of women during the week of March 18 to 25, for which Manistee women are making preparations, is purely a war measure advocated by the government. It has nothing whatever to do with suffrage, elections or anything of a political nature.

“Put briefly, the registration is to ascertain what kind of service the women can give the government while the great world war is on. Every woman, every girl above 14 years of age or of compulsory school age, is asked to register. In Michigan this registration is voluntary, though some states make it compulsory. There is no restriction as to citizenship. All who honestly wish to help America win the war, whether American born or naturalized citizens, are to register.

“A 40-degree rise in temperature, coupled with the arrival of two cars of Ohio lump coal today, together with the recent arrival of three cars of cord wood, causes Manistee to face the world with considerably more equanimity than for some days. Temperature of 20 or more above zero seems like spring and already some of the more impulsive are beginning to wonder what to plant in the garden.

“The coal that rolled in is of the best grade of Ohio lump and not only that, it is comparatively low priced. More coal is supposed to be on the way.

“Registration of alien enemies goes on well at police headquarters and postoffice with a total of nearly 50 men registered and many more filling out blanks at home.

“Last Monday Postmaster King received a telegram which makes it impossible to publish the names of registered aliens.

“The Boy Scouts anniversary meeting was not cancelled on account of the expense as announced yesterday. On the contrary, all expenses connected with the occasion had been provided for. The principal reasons for abandonment of the project was that those managing it were unable to secure the Ramsdell hall, the only place where the exercises carried out successfully, on account of its closing for the winter, and that they did not wish to cause the unnecessary heating of so large a building while the present fuel shortage conditions continue.

“An added attraction for the big Red Cross luncheon to be held at the Hotel Chippewa Lincoln’s birthday Tuesday Feb. 12 will be the Manistee Symphony orchestra. The executive committee announced this morning that Ward Baker, leader of the orchestra had agreed to bring his group of talented musicians to the hotel at this time and to furnish music while luncheon is being served.

“A large number of additional responses to the invitation signed by Mr. E. Golden Filer, Mr. George M. Burr and Mr. R. W. Smith were received today and the count is steadily growing. There are still a few delinquents and these are asked to make their returns at once in order that reservations may be made for them.

“GIRLS WOULD BE MORE attractive if so many, in adorning themselves, didn’t leave their minds entirely bare.

“’WOMAN’S DAY’ will be celebrated by the Parents’ and Teachers’ club of Central school tomorrow afternoon at 3:15. Mrs. Winnogene Scott will present a paper on ‘Women Patriots of France,’ and Miss Lusetta Peche a paper on ‘Women Patriots of England and America.’

“THOSE GROCERS who may be inclined to sell sugar to consumers after the manner of persons conferring rare and unmerited favors will do well to remember that they may wish to continue in business when the war is over and the public comes again to its own. Only public officials with life jobs can afford to be rude.

“That the much maligned slack coal received from Port Huron was in reality some of the best coal of the kind procurable and, if properly handled, much more economical than lump coal, is the claim made by several who used it.

“’I have used slack coal in my home for years,’ says a citizen who moved here recently. It requires a little more care and attention, but it means money in one’s pocket. This is how I handle mine:

“’In the morning I pour a pail of water on the pile, after removing the lumps. This I allow to soak in and drain off for 10 or 15 minutes, during which interval the open drafts in the furnace make a good bed of coal to work on. Then, with a shovel, I paddle the wet coal into a thick paste, keeping the shovel and inch or two from the floor if the latter is of solid construction that prevents the water from running off. This mixture I throw into the center of the fire pot, on the hot bed of coals, leaving a margin of four or six inches around the edges so that the gas and steam can escape. Drafts are left open for a while. Soon you will see blue flames spurting up, showing that the gas is being consumed. Then the coal cakes and in effect becomes lump coal. This I break up and then proceed just as with lump coal.

“At night I follow the same plan except that I pile the coal high in the center and bank it, but do not break the cake, again taking care to leave a clear space around the edges. In the morning the coal is burned away underneath, leaving a rounded shell on top. This I break up in the morning to secure the hot bed of coals on which to replenish the fire.

“’Wetting the coal and leaving a space for the escape of the gas are the important parts. Throwing in the dry powdery coal checks or even puts out the fire.’

“HOW WARM 10 ABOVE ZERO SEEMS after it has been 10 below for so long.”

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