100 Years Ago

The following news items are reprinted from the Manistee Daily News for the week ending December 21, 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:

“M & N. E. CEASES OPERATION AS 63 MEN GO ON STRIKE. B. & D. MILL WILL SHUT DOWN SATURDAY EVE. Inability to Get Logs Results in Forcing 300 Men Into Idleness—Sands Has 4 Day Supply of Logs.

“By THE EDITOR. Friday, the Thirteenth—the second and last such sinister combination of day and date of this trouble burdened year—dawns gloomily for Manistee. The somber shadow of a trainmen’s strike which, if permitted to continue for any considerable length of time threatens complete industrial paralysis of the city, spreads a murky pall over our immediate horizon. The only rift in the portentous cloud is the relaxation of the influenza ban.

“Of vastly more far-reaching import than merely the stoppage of traffic over the M. & N. E. lines, with its handicap to the entire public dependent upon this service for their mail and transportation facilities, is this trainmen’s strike. The welfare of this entire community is directly involved, as cessation of mills and factories dependent upon the road to bring their raw materials in and move their finished product out, would throw hundreds of Manistee workmen out of employment in the bitter winter season. And it may be noted that, while the railroad brotherhood men would receive strike benefits during its duration, the men engaged in other pursuits would not be similarly favored.

“The present situation is somewhat unique in the history of labor complications, in that it involves no present grievances against the employers and is not a question of wages being paid at present [It is a question of retroactive-wage complications resulting from the war-time government takeover of railroads which the M. & N. E. believes do not apply in their situation—Ed.]

“Whatever the merits of the controversy—and there are doubtless plausible arguments for both sides of it—Manistee is the goat for it. It is our fat that is in the fire. And a speedy adjustment of the difficulty is the problem to which we must all bend whatever talents we may possess in seeking the solution.

“Health Officer Dr. S. Szudrawski has received an order from Dr. R. M. Olin, secretary of the state board of health, placing all influenza cases in an absolute quarantine. Houses must be placarded, where disease exists, the order reads, and no one except regular attendants shall be allowed to enter the house.

“The influenza ban which has been in force in Manistee for the past two weeks or more was partially lifted at an informal meeting of the board of health last night in the city manager’s office of the city building.

“The situation was completely canvassed in the meeting, which lasted more than two hours, before the decision was finally reached. It is understood that there was a division of opinion as to the advisability of lifting the ban, and the compromise was agreed upon. As the situation now stands theaters and churches are reopened, public gatherings will be permitted, poolrooms may re-open, public and parochial schools will remain closed, skating rinks and dance halls will remain closed.

“Aside from the liability of infection for children attending school, it was believed inadvisable for the schools to re-open for the period of the week remaining between now and the Christmas holidays. The ban on dance halls and skating rinks remains because dancers and skaters are in closer proximity with each other than is considered hygienic under the present conditions.

“Tomorrow is [Red Cross] Volunteer Day.

“When you come to town in the morning or afternoon don’t forget to bring your heart and a dollar. They will admit you, for another year, to membership in this great society, which is now facing just as busy a time as it did when the war first began.

“One year ago Manistee was buried under a blanket of deep snow, the ground was frozen solid and teams were being driven across the ice of Eastlake. Yesterday Robert Ramsdell had a man and team employed plowing on the Ramsdell farm.

“The public library was reopened this afternoon at 1 o’clock. All books outstanding should be brought back by Monday night, as no charge will be made for books brought in to that time.

“WASHINGTON, Dec. 14.—the program for the sale of war savings stamps in 1919, was announced by the treasury. In January, the stamps worth $5 face value will be sold for $4.12, and will increase one cent a month until December. They will not mature until January 1, 1924. The new stamps will go on sale January 1.

“Thrift stamps costing 25 cents each will be sold throughout the year.

“the first effects of the M. & N. E. strike, as if effects Manistee were noted today with the laying off of a large force of men at the Buckley & Douglas mills for the lack of logs, and the suspension of work at the M. & N. E. shops, employes of which were not directly involved in the walkout. These employes number 70. With the operation of trains at a standstill there is no work in the shops for the men to do.

“While the influenza epidemic seems to be returning with renewed virulence to other sections of the state, it is showing abatement in Manistee. Yesterday there were only ten new cases reported while today about four were turned in to Dr. S. Szudrawski. Whether or not there will be any recurrence of the disease in pronounced form as a result of the lifting of the ban has not yet been evidenced.

“Reports from Copmish say that the epidemic has struck that place with a vengeance. Twenty-two cases were reported there today, while Cleon township as a whole is in pretty bad shape. Sheriff Morris Waal. Returning from there today, says that the people are in a state of decided alarm.

“Red Cross booths, opened in various parts of the city today, did a rushing business in enrolling members in the society. Volunteer memberships were numerous, the citizens evincing an eagerness to renew their pledges of support to the great organization.

“An extensive campaign for the selling of War Savings Stamps will be started next Tuesday and continue until the first of next year, by the local Boy Scouts.

“The Boy Scouts have sold in the last four Liberty loan drives $48,000 worth of bonds and have to their credit about $4,500 worth of Thrift Stamps, and they anticipate making it $10,000 by the first of January.

“The scouts are also deserving of commendation for the work they have accomplished during the influenza epidemic. The boys have run errands for the Red Cross and assisted in moving cots and making themselves useful in many ways. Their duty in such a time as this is municipal help.

“Miss Elizabeth Dovel of Fifth Street, thirteen-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Dovel, shows a youthful ambition worthy of emulation. She conceived the idea of adopting a poor Belgian baby all herself.

“It is easy to have visions of usefulness and dream heroic dreams, but Elizabeth is no idle dreamer. She began to formulate plans to bring the desired result. She proposed having a sale of her own handwork in things fashioned for use and beauty. In this idea she found feady sympathy from her wise and industrious mother and material and inspiring aid in her gifted grandmother, Mrs. A. J. Dovel, who promised to double any amount made if necessary to this much desired adoption.

“Elizabeth, after two solid months of skilful, diligent work, turned out 150 beautifully made articles ranging in value from 10 cents too $4 each. The sale was yesterday at the Elks’ temple and although known only to a comparatively few of Elizabeth’s friends it was a big success. Everything went and even orders were left for more. Since Elizabeth cleared $50 it is surmised the ‘baby’ will be twins—two instead of one, as $36.50 is the amount required for the adoption of one baby for a year.

“The Dovel candy was very popular at the sale, and was managed entirely by Elizabeth’s sister, Mary Jane.

“Success with a capital ‘s’ is predicted for Elizabeth, whatever vocation in life she chooses.

“We can hardly wait for Dec. 31, 1919. We want to see if anybody anywhere will pay $5 for a seat at a soda fountain to watch the old year out and the new one in.

“WASHINGTON, Dec. 16.—A resolution declaring it to be the sense of congress that the United States should not enter into a league of nations which would require America to aid in the settlement of European disputes was introduced in the house Saturday by Representative Husted, New York.

“There are only two influenza patients left at Mercy Hospital, Health Officer Dr. S. Szudrawski announced this afternoon.

“At the emergency hospital six cases are under treatment. These are convalescent, and the hospital is expected to be abandoned within a couple of days. While a decrease in the number of patients at the hospital is indicative of an improved situation, Dr. Szudrawski says that a few new cases are still developing.

“Five were reported to him on Sunday and as many more today.

“Little Bridget, coal-black mouser, whose field of operations was the feed warehouse at the foot of Oak Street, is dead.

“Little Bridget was 18 years old and her last sickness was incident to her great age according to her guardian, Miss May Manceau, 475 First St. To Miss Manceau the passing is a real, real loss.

“She was a cat of large understanding, and was a general favorite with hundreds of Manisteeans, young and old, who will miss her purr and the glint of her emerald-green eyes. Of tricks she knew many, but her favorite was guarding money. Let any coin be laid on the counter in the absence of her guardian, Little Bridget would pounce upon any sum laid on the counter and hold it tightly between her paws until it was taken by some one in authority.

“Miss Manseau’s hands fashioned a purple satin lined casket, and funeral services were held Saturday afternoon. A grave, dug on the bank of the river, which had been the scene of her life’s activities, received the body. And as it was lowered into the ground, there were many wet eyes among those who were present.

“’Requies-cat in pace.’

“Onions are recommended as a cure for indigestion, but as yet no cure has been discovered for onions.

“Between 25 and 35 women of Manistee have qualified as electors by registering, it was announced at the city hall this morning. This is only a small percentage of the number who are entitled to vote under the recently approved amendment.

“Downtown Manistee was lively Saturday night in spite of the influenza and the strike. River Street and the stores were thronged. Capt. Wenzel’s Liberty Cadets enlivened the occasion by repeated marches and counter marches along the thoroughfare, fife and drum and bugle contributing stirring notes.

“Dr. Homer Ramsdell who has been confined to Mercy hospital for the past several days on account of a breakdown from overwork has resumed his practice. He has benefited considerably from his rest.

“Delivery of mail to the northern Manistee county towns by automobile has been authorized by the postal department according to an announcement at the local post office. This plan will continue in effect until the M. & N. E. strike has been settled. The system will work out well, unless the roads become impassable through unexpected weather conditions.

“The emergency hospital, which has been located in the Congregational church for the past several days, was abandoned today, in accordance with the recommendation of the health department. Only a few patients were under treatment there. The convalescents were taken to their home, and one patient was removed to Mercy hospital.

“Yesterday there were only four cases reported to Dr. S. Szudrawski, while today 14 had developed. In making his report to the health board, Dr. Szudrawski indicated his desire to be relieved of the duties of acting health officer. His request was complied with and the board named Dr. Homer Ramsdell in his place.

“The community kitchen suspended operation for the present on last Friday night as the need of its services seemed over.

“It proved to be a true example of community co-operation as many agencies contributed to its workings and to its successes.

“The dining room of the Hotel Chippewa will be crowded to capacity tomorrow night when Dan A. Reed, managing director of the Flint Board of Commerce, and congressman-elect from the state of New York, will visit Manistee to give the business men of the city a vision of the big changes that will affect community growth and prosperity during the next decade. Mr. Reed’s topic will be: ‘The Forces That Make a City.’

“The efficiency of the Red Cross organization which has dealt so effectively with the influenza epidemic is highly commended by Dr. S. Szudrawski, former acting health officer. Dr. Szudrawski, in a statement made in connection with his withdrawal from official activity in the epidemic, declares that the low death rate in Manistee from the disease, is due in a large measure to the prompt measures adopted by the Red Cross.

“Dr. Szudrawski in retiring from the post of health officer says that his only reason for so deciding was that he felt in need of a rest. During the epidemic he worked very hard and efficiently. He has been engaged in the work since Health Officer Dr. E. S. Ellis was taken ill during the first epidemic early last month.

“A vacation for the employes of the Goshen Shirt company is announced by Manager L, H, Peterson. It will begin next Saturday night and continue until the second of January.

“During the closed down period, necessary alterations will be made, and the work incidental to the transition from a war to a peace-time basis will be taken care of.

“Some women point with pride to the stars in their service flags—others point to their Washington jail records.

“In response to the call for good fiction made by the Library recently for the soldiers in the hospitals, a shipment of 275 books was sent yesterday to the commanding officer, the point of embarkation at Hoboken. This shipment consisted of a miscellaneous collection of reading matter. Those having any books they wish to dispose of are asked to send them to the library at once so that they may be expressed to the boys in time for Christmas.

“Flying machines should be equipped with air-brakes.

“Mr. and Mrs. Frank Sandhammer are among those in quarantine for influenza. Both have suffered from the ailment but are progressing nicely now. Miss Alice Kuenzit, home demonstration agent, who lives with the Sandhammers, was also caught in the quarantine, although she has not been ill.

“Here’s a message for the parents off Manistee’s volunteers with the 32nd division.

“Many mothers have not heard from their sons for a long, long time, and lots of rumors have been spread about the entire contingent having been wiped out, how the boys have been wounded or taken prisoner.

“All this doubt is removed in a letter just received from Private Ellis Merkley, who tells all about the home boys.

“The Manistee fellows still O. K. in our company. [He lists the men in the company, indicating those wounded, sick or gassed and in hospital] If I have missed any of the fellows by accident, don’t let any mothers worry, because the only one of our bunch killed was Frank O’Connor.

“’The above wounded and sick are not serious cases. They will all be back. Of the drafted ones Art Carboneau from Eastlake was killed—all the rest in our company are all right.’

“One of the nicest things about the entire war was the end of it.”

 

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