100 Years Ago

The following news items are reprinted from the Manistee Daily News for the week ending February 23, 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

“Lest the soft spell of weather and the gentle rains of the past few days might give Manisteeans that sense of ‘security which lulls to sleep’ and cause them to forget for the moment the full import of Mr. Groundhog’s predictions, the storm king staged a mile-a-minute blow last night that gave every building the rattles and every person the shudders.

“Starting with intermittent puffs early in the evening the wind increased in intensity and during the night it reached a velocity of 55 to 60 miles an hour, driving just enough snow before it to cause fears for another worst-on-record blizzard. Fortunately old Roarer Borealis contented himself with putting on an atmospheric Wagnerian festival abounding in noise, though very deficient in harmony. There was little of the diminuendo in the program and where there was a slight lull it was followed by discordant fortissimo bursts and wailing crescendos that put the awakened sleeper’s nerved on edge.

“No serious damage is reported on the lake or inland.

“Charles J. Bumke, 35 Ashland street, although a citizen of the United States registered as an alien enemy because he had forgotten that he had taken out full papers in 1898. After he had filled out his registration as an alien enemy and decorated a blank with his photograph and fingerprints, Mr. Bumke examined what he believed to be papers declaring his intention to become naturalized and found that he was a full-fledged citizen. His registration paper was therefore destroyed and the affair was settled.

“OH YES, THERE ARE PLACES where the flowers bloom and one piece bathing suits dazzle the eyes.

“Women are hard to please. One will kick because her husband is jealous of her and another because he is not.

“CAMP CUSTER, Feb. 16.—A thousand Michigan and Wisconsin fighting men of the 85th Division have been ordered to France it was learned today.

“It is not permitted to announce whether the men have actually left the cantonment, but it is known that they will sail from an eastern port soon.

“These are the first men of the line ordered to France from this division since the department drew on this camp to fill the guard units at Waco.

“About 275 fathers and sons attended the banquet given last evening in the Congregational Church parlors and enjoyed an excellent supper and a program of unusual merit and humor. Throughout the evening the fathers and their sons or adopted sons remained in each other’s company and listened with the closest interest and attention to the speakers who, discussing topics concerning the relationship of fathers and sons, attempted and invariably succeeded in offering to their audience something valuable and illuminating on the subject but not without occasionally awakening that burst of laughter and clapping which is so sweet to the ears of the after-dinner speaker.

“Mrs. Lewis S. Ramsdell very charmingly entertained the Pilot Club at a valentine luncheon Thursday noon at Hotel Chippewa. Covers were laid for 11, each guest finding her place by a dainty and appropriate Cupid place card. Fragrant narcissus made a graceful centerpiece for the table and tiny red baskets brimful of salted nuts were at each place. An elaborate luncheon of seven courses was served. Mrs. Ramsdell’s guests were: Mrs. Ellsworth O’Neil, Mrs. Rolf Nielsen, Mrs. George Dunham, Mrs. Thomas Trimble, Mrs. Robert Ramsdell, Mrs. Homer Ramsdell, Mrs. Charles Dovel, Mrs. Louis Firzlaff, Mrs. George L. Burr, and Mrs. Madge McLarty.

“A preliminary meeting was held in the library yesterday by representatives of the public and parochial schools of the city, to begin the organization of a Junior Red Cross organization.

“President Wilson has issued a proclamation to the school children of America asking them to become members of the Junior Red Cross co-operating with the American Red Cross in every community. The plan has just been perfected and the period between Lincoln’s birthday and Washington’s birthday has been set for the enrollment of all public, private and parochial schools as auxiliaries of the Red Cross. As there are 22,000,000 school children in the country the plan promises to add a great deal to the efficiency of the Red Cross and to greatly increase the amount of work turned out by the local chapter.

“With the teachers as leaders, each school, after raising a sum of money equal to 25 cents for each child, may be enrolled as an auxiliary of the Red Cross and carry on the kind of service, educational or practical, which seems best suited to that particular school. It is earnestly hoped that all parents will encourage their children to take an active interest in the branch of the service as it is of the highest educational value as well as an opportunity for service to the nation.

“The work for refugee children is not the only line of endeavor suggested, but special stress is laid upon it as being appropriate for children, and the fact that it would set free the services of the adults for surgical dressings and other more difficult work.

“Of course men are not vain, but just tell a man of over 50 that he doesn’t look a day over 30 and watch the effect.

“It brings the owner  of a railroad or two, a bank and a few such trifling institutions to a realizing sense of his own unimportance to be unable to buy a pound of sugar from a haughty but firmly patriotic grocery clerk.

“Sheriff Morris Waal returned last night from Ionia where he had taken Tony Witliff, the young lad who had been sentenced to a year in the reformatory for stealing candy, cigarettes and several knives from the Buckley & Douglas store.

“Reports of unfavofrable camp conditions fail to make as much impression as they would if the average soldier did not look so much happier and healthier than the average civilian.

“Nothing is so bad that it couldn’t be worse. F’instance, suppose there were 31 days in February.

“Finger Nail Treatment. The weekly neatly trimming of the nails with a good pair of scissors. The smoothing of the rough edges with an emery board. The cleansing and polishing with nail enamel and the little buffer with which to finish the treatment. A nice little manicure set is a good thing to have. Polished fingernails indicate good character. CITY DRUG STORE. First National Bank Blk. ‘Phone 389.

“Manistee county’s program in connection with the follow-up food conservation campaign scheduled for this week throughout the United States will get away on schedule time despite the fact that supplies did not arrive until this morning. They had been expected two weeks ago, but delays ‘as usual’ have prevented their delivery and made it impossible for the local workers to prepare preliminaries.

“The supplies include the new home cards that are to replace the original home cards of last fall, together with two leaflets respectively entitles ‘Do You Know Corn?’ and ‘Do You Know Oatmeal?’ They contain the revised program for 1918 and urge the American people to a greater saving of wheat products, sugar, pork, beef and fats as vital war measures.

“’Our problem is to feed the allies and our own soldiers abroad,’ says the card, ‘by sending them as much food as we can of the most concentrated nutritive value in the least shipping space. These foods are wheat, beef, pork, butter and sugar.’

“’Our solution of this problem is to eat less of these foods, substituting them with other foods which cannot be so readily shipped. All saving counts for final victory.’

“’The men of the allies nations are fighting; they are not on the farm, hence the production of those countries has fallen off until the situation has become critical. They are in danger of starvation. They must be fed to continue fighting and America must feed them. We must send them food from our savings, because we have already sent our normal surplus. The whole great problem of winning the war rests on the loyalty and sacrifice of the American people in the matter of food. It is not a government responsibility, it is the responsibility of the individual.

“If we are selfish or careless, we are disloyal; we are the enemy at home.’

“WASHINGTON—An appeal to the supreme court has been granted by Justice Brandeis, in the case of Margaret H. Sanger, convicted in New York of violating a state law by conducting a birth-control propaganda. She was sentenced to serve 30 days in the workhouse.

“When the break-up of winter occurs there will come the contest among city streets and alleys to see which can look the worst. The most unlovely thing about winter generally is its dissolution.

“On the word of S. C. Strickler of Red Apple farm, a robin, or a pair of them, have established themselves apparently for the season at his place south of town. Mr. Strickler avers that one robin put in appearance the day after the groundhog saw his shadow and that it has since frequently shown itself at his back door in quest of crumbs since then. Pinning his faith to the robin’s foresight, Strickler insists that we’re to have an early spring.

“Fifty six years ago today Fort Donelson surrendered to U. S. Grant, who ever afterward was known as ‘Unconditional Surrender’ Grant. The Second Iowa Infantry was the first command to plant the national flag on the fort, and Charles W. Babcock, 412 Third street, was a member of that regiment and participated in the exploit. Feb. 18 has ever since been to him an epochal day in his annals, ands he is today quietly observing the anniversary.

“The formal dedication of the people of Manistee to the cause of a better citizenship and a higher patriotism for the year 1918 at the Ramsdell theatre promises to be a civic event transcending any of 1917.

“The wide interest being displayed has led the committee in charge to anticipate one of the largest crowds of the season on this occasion. Richard W. Smith, president of the Manistee Board of Commerce, has accepted the invitation of the ‘Better Citizenship’ committee to deliver the address of the evening. His theme will be ‘Citizenship.’ Mr. Smith will present to his audience a picture of what an American and a patriot should be, both I time of peace and in time of war, but in particular in these days when a crisis confronts the country and the best and strongest in every man and woman is called forth.

“The Junior Red Cross membership fee is being raised rapidly in the high school and at the present rate of payments, it is expected that the required sum will be obtained within two or three days. Mr. Krantz’s division all paid up yesterday and two more divisions report 100 percent paid today.

“By William Phillip Simms (Staff Correspondent, United Press)

“Americans! Watch the west front!

“Civilization is on the threshold of the most colossal battle of all times.

“The German offensive is expected momentarily. With every gill of fighting blood Germany has left, with every bolt and nut of war machinery, Hindenburg and Ludendorff will hurl all they have into a finish fight.

“The Germans will use tanks for the first time. Some will be equipped with mortars, others with machine guns. The enemy is counting largely on gas.

“WASHINGTON, Feb. 20.–The storm over giving President Wilson further general blanket war powers broke in the senate this afternoon.

“Senator Underwood of Alabama declared that while sending men to Europe to fight for democracy we must keep America democratic.

“’Government by one man is not democracy,’ he asserted. ‘We must avert letting America be governed by men, not by laws.’

“Underwood declared congress should not confer general powers on the president for the conduct of the railroads, but should define and specify the limit of his powers.

“’We must now consider carefully and not thrust any ill-advised law on the people,’ he emphasized.

“A slithering Northern hit Manistee late yesterday afternoon, and in an incredibly short period completely wrecked the mild weather scheme and effected a complete reversal of climatological conditions. From an altitude of about 40 degrees the mercury dropped like a plummet during the night to a minus mark, registering as low as 8 below zero. The fine, drizzly rain changed to flinty snow, and the wind, veering suddenly from south to north and blowing great guns, piled it in drifts in the glazed pathways between the crusted windrows of snow which had been piled up on either side of the narrow footpaths and driveways.

“Today dawned bright and fair, and bitterly cold.

“The weather forecast is ‘Fair and continued cold.’ We’ll say it is both right now.

“Chief of Polic Grady warns alien enemies that registration cards must be returned to his office before the 28th of this month, filled out and certified by the registration officer. These cards are useless if not correctly filled, and all alien enemies found without cards in proper condition after Feb. 28 are liable to arrest and detention for the duration of the war.

“WASHINGTON, Feb. 21.—Through passenger trains between New York and Chicago will be limited to one fast train each way day and night, it was officially stated today by the railway administration.

“This marks the inauguration of the nation-wide clipping of fast passenger trains between all big cities of the country.

“Louis Gering and Arthur Gudart, the two former Manistee Iron Works draftsmen recently held to the federal grand jury on serious charges involving their loyalty, and who on being released on bail were given temporary employment there to complete work unfinished at the time of their arrest Jan. 19, yesterday were told by the management that their services were no longer desired.

“As soon as General Manager E. N. Turner became aware that public sentiment was strongly against even their temporary re-employment, he immediately dispensed with their services.

“In explanation, Mr. Turner said he had engaged the young men only temporarily, and that while in the company’s offices they had at all times been under strict surveillance. Both are considered expert draftsmen, and the Iron Works is greatly in need of the services of such workmen.

“Gering and Gudart, while not yet proven guilty of the charge on which they are held—that of stealing plans from the Iron Works with intent to use them to the injury of the United States government—and who may not be convicted, are generally regarded as intensely pro-German in sentiment.

“Since their release on bail Gering and Gudart are alleged to have posed to some extent in martyr-hero roles and to have been lionized somewhat in certain circles. It is said that they have swaggered rather willingly in the glare of their unenviable publicity. A lively party is said to have been given in their honor in one of the city’s public halls.

“The federal grand jury will not convene until the second or third week in March in Grand Rapids, when their case will be called.

“Tomorrow being a legal holiday all banks will be closed in observance of Washington’s birthday.

“Much enthusiasm is being shown by the school children in regard to the junior Red Cross. In several of the school buildings the 100 per cent membership has almost been reached.”

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