100 Years Ago

The following news items are reprinted from the Manistee Daily News for the week ending December 7, 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

“NORFOLK, Va., Nov. 29.—Three transports…with returning American troops have put into Hampton Roads within the last 36 hours. The ROTTERDAM landed several hundred wounded men who were sent to the Soldiers’ Home hospital at Hampton. The other troops will be distributed to various camps to await mustering out orders.

“WASHINGTON, Nov. 29.—Seven steamers which, according to a London dispatch, will leave Liverpool within the next 10 days, will return home practically all of the American troops now in England. Three steamers now en route to the United States [see above] will bring home a total of 382 officers and 6,614 men. The ships soon to sail, it is expected, will carry the remainder of the 20,000 troops In training in England at the time hostilities ceased.

“That the fumes from the Fibre company plant are a preventative of influenza, is the belief of vice president Max Oberdorfer of that concern, who cites in proof of his claim the fact that none of the workmen there have been affected by the malady, and that Filer City and Stronach, the most imminent and immediate beneficiaries of the gaseous fumes, have been practically immune from its visitations.

“’If you would order a steady southeast wind for a few weeks I am sure that our good city of Manistee would be in the “Flu-free” condition of Filer City and Stronach,” he declares.

“Which puts the fibre plant smell up to us in a new light, that of a blessing in disguise. We can well understand why no germ could thrive under it. If it will cure as well as prevent the influenza, more power to it for a few days, anyway.

“Editor, The News-Advocate: Now that another ban has been placed in Manistee by the Board of Health due to the epidemic of Spanish influenza, isn’t a timely suggestion in order?

“Considerable comment has been heard in many quarters as to why houses containing residents afflicted with this disease have not had signs placed on the fronts of the buildings warning people that influenza is within. Many business houses in delivering goods to the residential sections have drivers of their delivery cars come in personal contact with inmates. Other vocations in business life that call each day at residences, thereby coming in personal contact with the disease-infected homes, making calls at places they would not if the sign was on the door.

“In cases of such grave danger as menaces us at this time, it seems that every precaution possible should be adopted for protection to those who have not as yet been afflicted.

“So why not have signs on houses containing influenza as is done in the cases of other contagious and malignant diseases?

“[Signed] CHARLES P. WOODWARD.

“Chairman Marion Larsen of the Red Cross Christmas Roll Call for Manistee County, is marshalling her forces for the work which will start Monday, Dec. 16 and end on Dec. 23.

“The purpose of the drive is to secure a universal membership in the Red Cross.

“Thanksgiving was celebrated in Manistee very quietly, but nonetheless sincerely and devoutly. The usual festivities which mark the lighter side of the day’s observance were under ban because of the prevalent influenza, but home gatherings, reunions and neighborhood parties were numerous, and the day was well spent.

“In addition to the restrictions of the health board’s order, the weather was wet and cold, which also made for indoors celebration. The spirit of the day was not dampened however, and Thanksgiving 1918 will be remembered by Manistee as one of the best in its history.

“The unfortunate of the city were not forgotten, individuals and organizations seeing to it that the good things were passed around.

“Eight new cases of influenza were reported to Dr. Szudrawski Thursday, and nearly as many more this morning. The epidemic does not seem to be in a virulent form, very few serious cases having been found.

“It is still too early after closing to say whether or not the order is having the desired effect, Dr. Szudrawski declares. The trend of the epidemic will be definitely known early next week, it is believed.

“The health officer announces that there seems to be some misunderstanding as regards the closing order. It affects ice cream parlors, just the same as previously, and proprietors are cautioned to obey the ruling.

“Toilet Water Should be a Modest Reflection of Milady’s Personality.

“Odors, like colors, must be selected with care. What is especially becoming to one, is not to another.

“If you are not quite sure what odor harmonizes with your personality, come in and test the various exquisite perfumes in our stock. There is one among them that will make an especial appeal to you.

“Our line includes all the choicest products of the world’s leading perfumers.

“Our Xmas Assortment Has Just Arrived.

“HALL DRUG CO. Mertens.

“What the world wants now is a lunatic-proof peace.

“Britain day, December 7, will be observed in Manistee by the flying of the English colors, but it is doubtful if the celebration will be carries further because of the influenza ban.

“The mail boat brought in 4,500,000 from the boys at the front Tuesday, and in as many homes there was a tugging at the heart strings and a silent prayer.

“Resolutions urging the common council to accede to the request of the Michigan Light company for an increase in rates, as recommended in the report of Prof. H. E. Riggs, have been adopted by the directors of the Board of Commerce. The resolutions further urge that in granting the higher rate the council secure assurances from the company that it will adopt a more economical process of gas manufacture just as soon as times become normal.

County Food Administrator George O. Nye announces the receipt of instructions from Washington which makes it unnecessary to purchase sugar by certificates any longer. This information has been expected by some people, but the change will not be welcomed by the grocers who have just become well established in the other system.

“The new world food situation must be met. An intensive campaign to bring home to the American people the need for food conservation so that 300,000,000 hungry people in Europe and the near east may be fed, will be conducted next week by the food administration.

“Convinced that the public school teachers in an organized campaign can be a great force toward checking the spread of the influenza epidemic and preventing attendant mortality, Acting Health Officer Dr. S. Szudrawski is endeavoring to enlist their services in a health crusade during their enforced vacation.

“Today, in co-operation with the Red Cross, the health officer addressed an appeal to the teachers to volunteer their services in an educational campaign…[that] they might well devote the time for which the public is paying them to this useful purpose. Teachers are urged to report and hand in their names at Red Cross headquarters every day at 9 o’clock. They would not be subjecting themselves to extraordinary risks, the health officer states, not nearly as much as the attending physicians and nurses, and would be rendering a very useful service to the community.

“The Red Cross also appeals to the women of Manistee to volunteer their services as nurses in this health crisis. Many are needed for this necessary work at present.

“The boys across have their own definition of home. It is where the old job is.

“Agitation for a fitting memorial to Manistee county’s heroes of the great war took concrete form at a meeting of the County War Board Saturday afternoon, when resolutions were adopted urging the inauguration of a concerted movement with this purpose in view, and asking the Board of Commerce to formulate a plan of action.

“Thankfulness over the closing of the great war is expressed in a letter to Mrs. F. C. Mayne from her husband, Lieut. Mayne, who is serving with the medical corps. Lieut. Mayne’s letter follows:

“’The last letter I wrote you was written in about two minutes and under most adverse conditions, as we were expecting to move into action any minute and I wanted to get a note off to you before I went. We are now located in an old woods, among the rats and trenches and I will be very glad when we move out.’

“’Last night at this time, 10 p.m., the big guns on our front and I think on the entire front, began to open up. At first the cannonading was irregular and intermittent, but as the hours passed it increased in intensity and guns of all caliber and description began to take part. By 4 a.m. it was just the continuous roar, the sky was lighted by the continuous flashes of the guns and the earth shook for miles around like an earthquake. This steady roar continued until about 8 a.m., when it subsided for an hour or so; then it again burst forth in all its fury, worse than during the early hours of the morning. This intense firing continued up until 11 a.m. and the very second that it became eleven, all the firing stopped as if by magic. Not a single crack could be heard. I never saw or heard anything like it. Since then it has been absolutely quiet.’

“’The world war is ended; it is a thing of the past. It stopped on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, and henceforth lives only in the memories of the past, and in history to trouble the minds of school children.’

“’This war has been a horrible thing and I am glad it is over and thankful to be alive. Have seen all the war I care to see and hope this will be the last one for all time. All I ask now is to be sent back to dear of U.S. at the earliest possible moment. I am glad I came, and while big sacrifices were made, I wouldn’t have missed the opportunity for a great deal.’

“We will have much to talk about on our return. Will close for now. Remember me to all the folks.’

“Thin ice claimed its first victim Sunday afternoon, when Harry Olszewski, 14 year old son of Frank Olszewski, 817 Ramsdell street, was drowned in Clear Lake, in the vicinity of Reitz park.

“The victim was with a number of playmates and came by the lake on their way home… The ice which attracted the lad had formed out in the body of water and had not frozen from the shore. He proposed to leap out upon it and do some sliding. His companions warned him of the danger, but he laughed at their fears and leaped out.

“The ice cracked under him and one foot broke through. As he struggled to extricate that the other went through, precipitating him into the water. He was able to swim and continued to try to scramble back up on the ice, but whenever he attempted, it would break off again. Finally, exhausted, he sank.

“His companions were not standing idly by, but were unable to effect a rescue.

“The housewife is beginning to wonder if she will ever again see that line in a a recipe, ‘Fry in butter.’

“With the Yank soldiers up in Russia, where Bert Gullander and a number of other Manistee boys are, the zero hour is any old time they happen to look at the thermometer.

“The rasp of the snow shovel through half-frozen slush was heard here for the first time this season this morning. Yesterday’s light but sincere snowfall turned into rain some time during the night and then congealed.

“Phyllis, the young daughter of city manager P. C. Beauvais is in Manistee to visit her father until Christmas when she will return to Detroit. Mr. Beauvais will remove his family to Manistee next spring. He plans to spend the summer months at Portage Lake.

“The Pabst Café, one of the best known and most centrally located of Manistee’s thirst quenchers of former days, and which since has been devoted to the dispensation of soft drinks and meals, closed its doors today. The last near beer was drawn through its taps Saturday night and the ‘For Rent’ sign will soon be hung out. Since the dawn of the prohibition era the cash register has not played the lively tune it did in the olden days, and the straggling nickels which dropped into the till looked sad and lonesome. The Pabst, famous for its good steaks and good cheer, is now just another vacant store building.

“Time to get up the storm windows, if you haven’t already done so.

“Coordinated effort in the fight against influenza in Manistee was determined upon this morning at a meeting of the representatives of the Red Cross chapter and the local health authorities. The meeting was called at the suggestion of DR. S. Szudrawski, acting health officer, who views the present situation with considerable alarm.

“At this meeting it was decided: To establish a community kitchen, to call outside nurses in to aid the Red Cross, to placard the houses of afflicted persons.

“There are numerous instances where there are several members of one family ill, and cases have been found among the poorer families where sufferers have been without food. Sometimes this was due to the lack of funds, and in other instances it was the result of inability of any one of the family to get out and but provisions.

“This condition will be relieved by the establishment at the Woodrow Wilson school of a community kitchen, where food will be prepared by the teachers and other volunteers. It will be distributed by city employes. Where families can afford to pay for the meals thus provided, they will be expected to do so. Provision will be made for those financially unable to pay.

“Two [nurses] from Hackley Hospital, Muskegon, will be in Manistee tomorrow to take up the work of looking after sick persons. Miss Annette Hanson, the local Red Cross nurse, has been putting in 15 to 18 hours daily on this work and is on the verge of exhaustion. The call for volunteer nurses has failed to bring any response, it was officially stated, and this has aggravated the local situation.

“All the houses wherein are influenza patients, will be placarded, to warn visitors away, and a closer check will be kept on those only mildly ill, who persist in mingling with their fellows. The health authorities will not clamp down an absolute quarantine except as a last resort, and it is hoped that the people will take heed of the warnings which are now being given.

“Dr. Szudrawski reports nearly 30 new cases of influenza today. All told there are more than 200 cases now being treated in Manistee.

“GENEVA, Dec. 3.—The steamer TOMASO DI SAVOIA is in port today from South America, after losing 150 of her crew off 176 while at sea. They died from influenza.

“At the height of the epidemic sailors dropped dead at their posts and passengers took their places.

“The board of directors of the Social Welfare League met Monday evening at Red Cross headquarters.

“The treasury of the society is none too well filled for this time of year, as there are and will be many calls during the winter, which number may be increased by the influenza epidemic and industrial upset.

“All former members are urged to renew their subscriptions and many citizens who have never joined the league are asked to do so. This is a community affair—if we do not care for the poor, the aged and the sick of Manistee, who will?

“At the present time the league needs a warm winter coat, size 44 for a needy young mother, also a three-quarter mattress for an old man, and a second hand cook stove for an old man and woman. If anyone has any clothes which he has not sent to the Belgians or isn’t in need of himself, they would be gladly received by the league and distributed where needed.

“Christmas is coming and the secretary will be glad to give names of needy families who would appreciate baskets of Christmas cheer, or would willingly distribute and contributions for such a purpose. The secretary of the league is at the Board of Commerce between two and three daily or can be called at her home.

“PRESIDENT IS ENROUTE TO FRANCE. GOES TO SEE THAT PEACE IDEALS OF AMERICA PREVAIL. THOUSANDS PRESENT WHEN VESSEL CLEARS. Airplanes Loop the Loop, as Transport Steams Out—Flotilla of 15 Destroyers Accompanies Ship on First Leg.

“The Manistee county Red Cross chapter today began a systematic campaign against influenza, which has been spreading with considerable speed through the city within the last few days.

“Miss Ida Beukema, a trained nurse from Hackley Hospital, Muskegon, and a sister of J. C. Beukema, secretary of the Board of Commerce here, arrived in Manistee last night, and this morning began a survey of conditions here. She will first ascertain just how many cases of influenza there are and how serious they are. She expects to have comprehensive figures ready for reporting tonight.

“The community kitchen at Union School sent out its first meals this noon. In all 48 meals were served this noon.

“The proposition of establishing an emergency hospital is being considered. At the present time there is no need for this hospital, it is announced, but with the disease going into other families, it is probable that a number of patients will need special treatment under trained observation.

“Placards have been printed and will be distributed tomorrow. The general public is requested to observe the warnings these convey, and keep away from marked houses. Heed of these placards will greatly lessen the chance for the epidemic to increase.

“Acting health officer Dr. S. Szudrawski reports 12 new cases up to noon today. He was informed that none of these are serious.

“It took the common council only a few moments to grant the Michigan Light Co. the right to increase the gas rate to $1.75 per cubic. This, aside from approving the payroll and a few bills, was all the business that came up, no reference being made to the influenza epidemic, which it had previously indicated would come in for discussion.

“The granting of the increase was made conditional upon the erection, within the next three years, of a coal gas plant, supplanting the present water gas equipment, which would result in the lowering of the cost to the consumer through a more economical process of manufacture.

“The snow of the past few days has made every hill in Manistee a coasting paradise and all the children who have sleds or skis are making the most of the chance, regardless of the danger attached. The accident of Monday night in which one boy had his leg broken, and another was badly bruised, has called for action by City Manager P. H. Beauvais. In a warning issued today that making coasting hills of the streets had to be stopped.

“Oak, Maple, Greenbush, Lake and other streets, which lead into thoroughfares where there is considerable traffic seems to be the most popular with the children. That they are too the most dangerous does not enter into the calculations of the youngsters. The city manager appeals to the parents to cooperate in keeping their children off the streets. There are hills enough around Manistee where coasting and skiing can be enjoyed without any danger attached and it is hoped that these will be sought out.

“Something always takes the perfection out of joy. No sooner is the world rid of autocracy than Bolshevism is born.

“Fifty-five thousand barberry bushes were destroyed in Michigan last summer. So next year there won’t be any smut on the wheat at all hardly, perhaps.

“Louis Bacon, a farmer living south of the city, has notified County Clerk Papenguth that he has places for two returned soldiers, as soon as they hit the county. His is the first notification of this kind to be filed.

During these days of tax collecting when City Treasurer Garfield Swansby is taking in money so fast that he can scarcely count it, Patrolman Clarence Haskins, is on duty in the city offices in case of attempted hold up. It is a precaution taken by the city manager which is commendable.

“Will Thomas is experimenting with a new invention of his own, which promises to serve well the purpose for which it is designed. It is a sheet iron umbrella which, placed over the hot air register in his barber shop, keeps the warmth circulating about the floor, where people are, instead of permitting it all to go as aforetime to the ceiling where the flies roost. In summer it might be handy in a hailstorm.

“The establishment of an emergency hospital in Manistee to take care of influenza patients, has been temporarily postponed. Mercy Hospital has offered to take the sick persons up to the number of 22, and all of these beds will be occupied before an emergency hospital will be set up.

“[The] Acting health officer is kept so busy investigating the various cases that he has asked for help, and the health board named Dr. Homer Ramsdell as assistant health officer until the situation has eased up.

“The first patients to be taken to Mercy hospital for treatment were the five members of the Teofil Witliff family of Washington street, all of whom have been ill for several days. The influenza placards were distributed today. Upwards of 50 houses were visited and the warnings tacked up, and other homes will be tagged upon instructions from the health board.

“Another nurse has been ordered to Manistee by the state board of health. It is probable she will reach the city tonight, as she left Ann Arbor yesterday afternoon.

“The community kitchen was doing great work again today. Two meals each for 40 persons were distributed today.

“The lid’s off on sugar, according to official information received by County Food Administrator George O. Nye this afternoon. A communication from the state administrator advised that the people could go as far as they wanted to, and that it was no longer necessary for the restaurants to dole out the sweetness in little lumps or one-spoon lots.

“Manistee women, recently enfranchised, may register at the city hall any day now, according to an announcement made by city clerk Arnold Graves, this morning.

“Registration is the first step, and it must take place at least two weeks previous to the date of the next election. This will take place in April, so that the new voters will have ample time to comply with the law.

“Paul C. Stetson, superintendent off the Muskegon schools, hopes to introduce a plan whereby man and woman teachers will receive the same wages. The plan will be favored by all women except those who have become wives of men teachers.

“Much concern was manifested by a young person we know over the word that King Nicholas had abdicated. She had him mixed up with Saint Nicholas, and it took some deep explanations on our part to point out to her the difference.

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