100 Years Ago

The following news items are reprinted from the Manistee Daily News for the week ending April 13, 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

“[Beneath a large photo of a heavy, wooden club with rings of metal spikes sticking out over the top one-third of the weapon]: The Destruction of Civilization.

“This is in grim reality what we are fighting this war to prevent. The club pictured above—from an actual official photograph—might be the weapon of a savage cave man of five thousand years ago. It is in fact the weapon with which German soldiers finish off the enemy wounded who have fallen on the battlefield—on the battlefield on which American boys are fighting.

“There is only one answer to make to such methods: the defeat of the German Armies. America has taken up the sword to give that answer. Our Army is in France to help win this war on the battlefield—that civilization may be safe, that America may be safe.

“You Can Have Your Share in America’s Answer to German Savagery.

“The Third Liberty Loan is your opportunity. It is the most direct blow that can be struck at German military supremacy. It is the most powerful aid that can be given our soldiers in France. It means rifles and helmets and gas masks—the best protection for our men from German brutality. It means big guns and shells and airplanes—and VICTORY.

“Invest TODAY in bonds of the Third Liberty Loan, and save the lives of American soldiers.

“Save Civilization, Save America, Your Own Family and Your Own Home.

“COURTESY OF The Manistee Iron Works Company

“FLINT, April 5.—Fredrich Wilhelm Gustave Ehlen, representative of a Minneapolis merchandise brokerage concern, who was jailed pending an investigation of his alleged German sentiments, while being taken from the jail by a detective was seized by a mob Wednesday night , spirited to a barn outside the city and treated to a coat of tar and feathers.

“He was returned to the jail where, Thursday, he signed a statement declaring that documents found in his possession showed his sentiments were German; that the treatment accorded was mild, and that he felt thankful that he escaped with his life.

“Aku Rissanen, socialist and I. W. W. agitator, while under examination in Justice Erb’s court this morning on charge of being a disorderly vagrant, revealed a history of his life and secrets of his organization, which caused his being remanded to jail for further investigation of his case and probing of the society to which he belongs.

“Rissanen is a native of Finland, 36 years old, possessed of a fair education, claiming to have been a teacher of sociology and political economy in a small college in the United States until he abandoned his position to take a more lucrative one under the Finnish Socialist Organization, a society of Superior, Wis., which is controlled by the I. W. W. and pays Rissanen $5 per day and expenses for lecturing about the country wherever Finlanders may be found in large numbers for the purpose of obtaining recruits for hiss society. It is stated on good evidence that in his lectures he urges farmers to raise crops sufficient only for their own consumption so that the government will receive no aid in carrying on the war.

“His purpose in delivering his lectures appears to be the elevation of the American working man, with whom he claims sympathy on the ground of being a working man himself, to the superior advantages enjoyed by the Russian laborer.

“In spite of his high wages, Rissanen could produce only 75 cents and thus laid himself open to the charge of vagrancy on which he was remanded to jail during the investigation of his case and of the Superior society. Concerning his socialistic activities, he laughingly asserted that the local officers would never get him. He declared that he possesses money and friends who could keep him out of jail but he did not produce the $500 bail demanded and was locked up until the examination, which will take place next Friday morning.

“New York—Reorganization of the State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage in order to launch a campaign for the repeal of the suffrage amendment adopted by this state last November, was planned.

“Impelled by a desire for further enlightenment as to how they may do even more than in the past toward winning the war a very good audience greeted James O. Fagen of Waverley, Mass., and Dr. A. F. Hess at the win-the-war rally at the Ramsdell theatre last night. Throughout both addresses the assembly left no room for doubt that they had come to be instructed and informed, not entertained. They followed the speakers with undivided attention and vigorously applauded every sentiment appealing to American loyalty and every plea for sacrifice.

“The most immediate opportunity for showing our readiness is the purchase of Liberty Loan bonds.

“The famous “Jackies Band’ of Great Lakes Naval Training Station will visit Manistee on Friday, the 19th, and make music on the streets as a feature of the Liberty Loan campaign. This is the report of J. C. Buekema, who has booked the sailor musicians to stop at Manistee on their trip about the state to take part in bond selling campaigns. Street concerts will be an important part of the activities on that day, when the campaign will approach white heat and big doings will occur in the way of public celebrations.

“COLLINSVILLE, ILL., April 6.—A hunt is on today for five leaders in the mob that hanged Robert Praeger, alleged pro-German, yesterday.

“The lynching of Robert P. Praeger, an alleged disloyalist of German parentage, in Collinsville, Ill., has been taken up at the cabinet meeting. Steps were discussed to prevent similar outbreaks. Dispatches from the Illinois town cast doubt on whether Praeger was disloyal.

“It was agreed on all sides that the hanging has precipitated a dangerous situation and that unless something is done to curb pro-Germanism so there will not be the excuse for hanging bees, there will be many repetitions of the Collinsville event.

“It was pointed out that Attorney General Gregory now has before congress a bill which, if enacted, will place in the hands of the government sufficient power to put a stop to disloyalty and pro-Germanism.

“It is now up to congress alone, it was declared, to give the authorities the weapons with which to punish disloyalty and leave no excuse for lynching.

“Governor Lowden [of Illinois] declared he would use the force of his office to see that the persons guilty of lynching Praeger were punished.

“With the rally of Thursday night and the distribution of posters through the city today, the preliminary work for Manistee county’s third Liberty Loan drive will remain quiet until a week from next Monday.

“No, there will not be a great deal of stir and noise here next week, but when the drive is opened a week from Monday, just you watch Manistee smoke. Better begin to plan what to do with that Third Liberty Loan honor flag that is to be awarded to every city exceeding its quota.

“Beginning with Monday, April 8, traveling to and from Ludington will no longer be as long-timed a task as going from Detroit to Chicago, for the Lehmann-Dahringer company on that date will establish a two-hour auto service. A seven-passenger Willys-Knight is to be put on the route and two round trips are scheduled daily.

“Cars leave from the Hotel Chippewa in Manistee and from the Stearns hotel in Ludington. Stops will be made at all intermediate points.

“CAMP CUSTER, April 6.—A court-martial here today handed a sentence of 10 years’ hard labor at Leavenworth, Kansas penitentiary to Axel Londel, deserter.

“Londel was a member of the 310th Engineers. He claimed exemption from the draft on the grounds that he was a conscientious objector, and when his claim was refused, wrote a brother that he would not serve.

“He was arrested in Detroit and brought here for trial.

“The ‘Arcadia Days’ farmers’ convention held at Arcadia Thursday and Friday was a great success and was well attended, especially Friday’s sessions.

“The convention included a school exhibit, a county fair, patriotic meetings, music and entertainments and an economic school at which a representative of the Michigan Agricultural College taught conservation and war economy.

“Last Tuesday evening the Norwegian Lutheran church held its dedication service at the church. A service flag containing seven bright stars was raised in honor of those who have answered the call of their country and have gone to ‘do their bit.’

“A fine display of the northern lights was visible last night from about 8:30 until 9 o’clock.

“Curtains of dull flame hung just above the horizon across a wide sector of the northern sky. They constantly wavered and changed form and places with a slow irregular motion as of flames waving in the wind. At times the points of flame became remarkably bright and lit up the sky like a distant fire.

“The display ended with a broad luminous band lengthening until it stretched straight across the zenith touching the horizon at both ends.

MNA Mon. April 8 pg. 3

“The steamer MANITOU, flagship of the Northern Michigan Transportation Co., was commandeered this morning by the government for naval service. This information was given out by John Seymour, president of the company, who received news to that effect from the general manager of the company today. The boat passes out of the ownership of the company immediately and it is expected that the navy department will take charge of their new property very shortly. The boat will be paid for at its full value in due course of time.

“The commandeering of the boat is the result of the report made by the naval officers who visited the city a shot time ago and examined all the steamers in the local harbor for the purpose of finding which were suitable for government use. It is believed that the MANITOU will be used as a training ship or as a ‘mother ship’ for submarine chasers, as the officers stated that the steamer was fit for such use.

“More vessels may be taken in the near future as other steamers in Manistee are in as good condition as the MANITOU and were examined by the inspection officers.

“In an issue of the Ilo, Idaho, paper, dated March 28th, a lengthly article appears written by Johnn J. Trimbleee, who is a son of Mrs. George C. Westerman of this city and a grandson of G. R. Giesman.

“The article is a masterpiece, with fervent patriotism as its basis and an appeal to American people to conserve, preserve and reserve. In conclusion he gives an appropriate pledge that every man, woman and child should solemnly take. It is in part:

“’America shall win this war! Therefore, I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight—cheerfully and to my utmost—as if the whole issue of the struggle depended on me alone.’

“At Guardian Angels’ church yesterday the congregation was thrilled by the Liberty sermon preached by Father J. M. Steffes.

“’Our country, on the eve of an impending crisis, is saying to you, “Is thy heart right?” Our most precious possession—liberty—is attacked and every true and loyal

American will answer, “I will sacrifice my last cent—yea, my last drop of blood in defense of my liberty.’

“’Our country was not founded on the anemic Chinese philosophy of non-resistance and helplessness, for the price of liberty has always been paid in blood.’

“’Will I do my part? There are but two classes here today—true, loyal Americans and traitors. Our country demands the co-operation of every single individual in this mighty land. Let our answer be, “We won’t do our bit, we will do our all.” Never before was there such an opportunity for sacrifices, that men may stand before God and say, “I am free.”’

“APRIL ALWAYS MANAGES to present whatever March happened to overlook in climactic variety.

“IF THIS IS the weather man’s idea of a joke it doesn’t coincide with ours. We had all this sort of weather we wanted last winter.

“The report of the treasurer [of the Welfare League] showed that more than $1,400 had been spent by the league during the last year. The two largest items were the salary paid the nurse and the bill for coal. A car of coal was purchased last June at a very reasonable price through the kindness of the Sands Lumber company, was stored in their yards.

“The foresight of the directors was repaid by the excellent use made of the coal during the winter fuel shortage. Many times coal was furnished to needy families when they could not have obtained it from dealers and much real suffering was thus prevented.

“Because of the Pilot Club’s withdrawal from local work, the league’s expenditures for shoes and clothing were larger than in past years.

“FOR A LITTLE MORE GENIAL weather, much obliged.

“SPRING APPEARS TO HAVE a touch of the prevailing ailment.

“INFLUENZA HAS THE CITY in its grasp. Or grip, which is the better word.

“WASHINGTON, April 10.—The heaviest single casualty list to date, issued by the war department today, contained 283 names, divided as follows:

“Five killed in action, three dead of wounds.

“Eleven dead of disease, seven from accidents, two wounded severely, 245 wounded slightly, and two missing in action.

“WASHINGTON, April 10.—The senate this afternoon passed the sedition bill, which imposes a penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment and $15,000 fine on disloyalists and anti-American propagandists.

“The penalty applies to anyone who speaks or writes anything favoring the German cause.

“An amendment by Senator France of Maryland provided that the penalty should not apply to criticism of the government for justifiable cause.

“Camp Custer, Apr. 10.—Further evidence that Camp Custer will be an immense training plant is found in the fact that 2,000 Alabama Negroes are to arrive here April 26.

“These men will be kept here for training purposes and later be merged with the 93rd division, an organization composed entirely of colored troops.

“The local exemption board received notification today that Manistee county is to furnish 33 men for the new selective draft call for April 26.

“Only white men physically qualified for general military service will be inducted under this call. The only exemption is that men who are actively, completely and assiduously occupied in agricultural occupations will be exempt from this call.

“Under call 126 for 200 men of mechanical ability from this state, Manistee is to furnish two men. Voluntary enlistments among registrants will be taken for this service up to April 12; after that date the board will make the selection. These men are to be given a two months’ course in various mechanical trades at government expense. Frank Meier and Carl Theis volunteered to take the course of training.

“The Northern Michigan Transportation company is compelled to reduce its service greatly this year on account of the loss of three boats since the end of the last season. The ships were commandeered by the government for naval service.

“Only three of the fleet are now left and some of them may be taken before the summer excursion season opens.

“As no boats can be purchased to take the places of the commandeered ships, the schedule is much lighter than that of last year.

“It is planned to take care of the east shore including the ports of Ludington, Manistee and Frankfort with two round trips a week to Chicago. On the west shore they will run alternately with the Goodrich Line steamers.

“All connections to Petoskey, Charlevoix, Mackinac Island and other northern towns are cancelled on the new schedule.

“Manistee now has a complete motor fire department consisting of two large trucks and the chief’s runabout. The second truck has just been put into commission, but is not yet fully equipped with ladders and fire fighting apparatus according to specifications. It will carry a large chemical tank with a force pump for supplying the stream of extinguishing compound.

“The two trucks will carry all the men of the department and all the necessary tools and equipment. The horses will be relegated to the street cleaning department as soon as the new truck is completely outfitted. The old apparatus may be sold to some city where horse drawn fire departments are still in vogue.

“ANYBODY WITH AN EAR for music ought to enjoy listening to the daybreak. It’s getting to be a medley of robins and larks and sparrows.”

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