100 Years Ago

The following news items are reprinted from the Manistee Daily News for the week ending December 28, 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:

“The Board of Commerce membership drive began last night immediately after Hon. Daniel A. Reed had administered the Athenian oath….and brought to a close an evening of intellectual and physical enjoyment that will be remembered for years to come.

“Mr. Reed, in an address which carried his auditors over the torn fields of Belgium and France, into the shell craters reeking with the odor of human flesh and into the Red Cross hospitals where heroes laughed at agony, emphasized the fact that it was up to the citizens, the stay-at-homes, to make Manistee a place fit for the returned boy who has been fighting. He declared that the soldiers who will come back here are entitled to a city which measures up to the standard they set by their willingness to march forth to fight democracy’s battle. As they sacrificed to underwrite the safety and liberty of Manistee, Manistee must labor to underwrite their future comfort and happiness.

“NEW YORK, Dec. 20.—the transport MANCHURIA, bearing 150 officers, 4,003 enlisted men and 950 sick, arrived here today.

“Among the men on board was Alexander Hornhohl of Manistee. He wore a French decoration.

“City Commissioner and Mrs. Alex C. Hornkohl had not been appraised of the return of their son to his native shores until informed by the News-Advocate on receipt of the United Press dispatch. That they were overjoyed is but a feeble expression of their emotions.

“About an hour after The News-Advocate received the message Mr. And Mrs. Hornkohl received a message from ‘Sunny’ dated Hoboken, N. J.

“There is no explanation off the French decoration mentioned in the press dispatch.

“The last previous tidings here from Alex, Jr. (Sunny) Hornkohl, were that he was convalescing in a French army hospital from wounds received from a high explosive shell.

“Tomorrow will be the seventh day of the annual Red Cross Roll Call, and there are still many Manistee people who have not taken out memberships. While the work will continue through Monday, Saturday is expected to be another big day, for booths will again be established in the downtown business places to catch all citizens who are without the badge of honor, a 1919 button.

“The total amount of money turned in by the Boy Scouts in the War Savings Stamp campaign is $813. This shows an increase of $303 over Tuesday’s sales, which were $510.

“Those who do not wish to purchase their stamps before Christmas can sign cards and pay for them before the first of January. Nothing is better or more profitable for a Christmas present for the children than a War Saving Stamp.

“The weather which has been causing wonderment among Manisteeans has been causing nature some bewilderment also, it seems. Yesterday Ida May Thompson, S. C. Thompson’s young daughter, found many flowers budded and ready to bloom out near the watch factory. Other people report budding lilac bushes.

“Services will be resumed in the Congregational church Sunday. The board of health announced yesterday that the building had been fumigated with a powerful chemical, aired and thoroughly scrubbed, which has effectually removed all danger from possible infection. The church was used for a period of more than a week during the influenza epidemic as an emergency hospital.

“WASHINGTON, Dec. 21.—Immigrant laborers from Europe will pour into American ports the minute the flood gates are opened.

“This is the forecast today of officials and diplomats who have studied the problem. Even with the war-sealed lid on over 110,000 slipped in last year. Official figures show.

“The bureau of immigration expects a rush exceeding anything previously known, largely from southern Europe.

“Ship passage will be hard to get for some time, but within six months, unless legislative restrictions are imposed or foreign government take measures to hold their people inbound steerages will be packed with immigrants.

“This, added to demobilization of the American army, will overcrowd the labor market and cause reduced wages, labor men say.

“WASHINGTON, Dec. 21.—Calling President Wilson’s league of nations idea ‘captivating and attractive,’ Senator Lodge, Republican floor leader, today seriously questioned its practicality as a working plan to keep the peace of the world.

“This isn’t Borneo, but Sheriff Waal and his deputy Robt. Ramsdell were called upon yesterday to hunt for a wild man, reported to be roaming in the vicinity of Portage Lake. The report was sent in to the local officials by Hans Wendell of Onekama, to whom the untamed one’s presence was reported by a couple of wide-eyed, heavily breathing youngsters.

“These boys had been searching for Christmas trees in the woods around Onekama and they were addressed by the wild man in accents none too gentle. They about-faced in fast time, and legged it to the village.

“Sheriff Waal’s investigation brought out the fact that the wild man was an old farmer living near Pierport who was out looking for some last cattle, and he haled the lads on this topic, but they did not stop to understand him.

“If your loved ones are still in France and Germany…The next best thing to going ‘over there’ in person to see your boy or your friend is to go before him in animated picture. And the way has been provided for all Manistee folks…who have kept the home fires burning for the boys during their absence to march in review before the boys over there.

“The Grand Rapids News and the Old National Bank of Grand Rapids have joined in an enterprise that will take us to Europe right before the eyes of our men…

“Through the co-operation of the News-Advocate the itinerary of the motion picture takers will include Manistee, where pictures of the home folks will be taken at Maple and River streets beginning at exactly 12 o’clock noon [on Jan. 2].

“It is hoped that every Manistee County parent, sister, brother or sweetheart [and friends] of a soldier now in active service will make it a point to pass before the camera.

“All persons passing before the camera will be permitted, if they so desire, to carry some sign or taken of affection which will be seen and understood by their own boys who will see the picture. The pictures will be taken at the closest possible range, and particular effort will be made to get clear and animated pictures of the children.

“One of the striking features of the review will be the first life-like appearance of several babies who have never seen their fathers. They may be held right up to the lens so that daddy can get a look at the little tike. It will be their first greeting, in fact, their first demonstration of life, before their fathers.

“Our reward will be the knowledge that no greater happiness could come to our Michigan men in Europe than a glimpse of their loved ones at home during the holiday season.

“And that’s what it will be. The title of the picture that is going over is just “Christmas and New Years at home.’

“The influenza is still prevalent in Manistee, according to health officer Dr. H. A. Ramsdell, although there are very few serious cases. Since he began his official work last Tuesday there have been reported 45 cases of influenza and two of pneumonia. He points out that the majority of patients are children under 16 years of age, and urges that children be kept away from centers of congregation. It appears to him that their resistive powers are not as strong as adults.

“The most seriously affected spot in the county is at Copemish. There are a number of people very ill. The virulence of the epidemic there is much more pronounced than it has been in Manistee at any time.

“French newspapers say Mrs. Wilson remains in the background until led forward by the president. Isn’t it wonderful what a change of air will sometimes do?

“Almost as much interest as was caused by the scores of returning soldiers Saturday was created by the announcement that on January 2 motion pictures of Manistee parents, relatives and friends of men still in the service in France would be taken at River and Maple streets for the happifying of the boys over there on the march to Berlin.

“A lot of Manisteeans, of all ages and conditions, are going over to Europe via the film route.

“WASHINGTON, Dec. 23.—Wheatless and meatless days, with other food restrictions placed upon public eating places, were declared off today by the food administration.

“Today is the last of the annual Red Cross Roll Call. Clean-up work began this morning with 2,756 members already pledged, which is a fine increase over the number secured last Christmas. The showing is especially fine in view of the fact that at least three populous communities, Arcadia, Copemish and Bear Lake have been able to do practically nothing because of influenza.

“The Social Welfare League is furnishing a list of names of poverty stricken people who are to be supplied Christmas dinners by charitable individuals and organizations.

“The Pilot Club has sent a number of dinners and are preparing many more. Private individuals are taking it into their hands to provide a merry Christmas for many of the city’s poor. The Social Welfare League, according to Mrs. Frank White, has still a number of names of worthy people to be provided for.

“Merry Christmas to you!

“Christmas Thoughts By The Editor:

“Unprecedented in its deeper meaning is this Christmas in a war-weary world. And so is our greeting today doubly fraught with feeling as we wish you a Merry Christmas.

“May the season be for you one of happiness above the sorrow that we all have felt; and the New Year bring you prosperity in full measure and good-will among men.

“With the closing of their doors on the last belated Christmas shopper tonight Manistee department stores will have completed the greatest holiday season, from the viewpoint of volume of business transacted, in the mercantile history of the city.

“Despite adverse conditions, which included a railway tie-up, the influenza epidemic and other disturbing factors, merchants are agreed that their transactions this year far surpassed those of any previous season. And this is the more satisfactory because of the fact that it was scarcely looked for.

“The trade trend this holiday season has been largely in the direction of family and household necessities, the merchants concede, but has for all that had its true holiday aspects. Staple commodities, rather than trinkets, have been in demand for gifts, a condition which dealers foresaw, and which foresight has tended to gratifying depletion of their stocks.

“Hardware stores, furniture stores, jewelry stores, confectionaries, druggists and stationers expresses themselves as highly satisfied, in some instances surprised, over this year’s business.

“Influenza is holding its own in Manistee county. The situation in Manistee city is not any more serious than it has been during the past week, but out in the other communities especially in Copemish the situation is very serious.

“Health Officer H. A. Ramsdell announced this morning that under the ruling of the board of health no holiday dances would be allowed. Several of these parties had been scheduled, but when the ban was lifted on theaters, churches and other places of congregation it remained on the dance halls. Dr. Ramsdell says that the danger to the girl dancers was especially acute, because they would become heated, and then cool off too suddenly. It was decided that no unnecessary chances could be taken.

“Beautiful Christmas services are announced for the Holy Trinity church. The church has been decorated with Christmas greens. The first services will be held at midnight Christmas Eve when special music will be sung by the vested choir.

“To this service worshipers are urged to bring their offerings, groceries, meat, etc., for the baskets which will be distributed among the poor.

“The Michigan Trust Company of Grand Rapids has been appointed receiver for the Manistee & North-Eastern railroad company. This announcement was received in the city today.

“The receiver will operate the property under the orders and direction of the court, and gives the assurance that every effort will be made to give the public the best service possible consistent with existing conditions.

“The receiver, the announcement continues, has nothing to do with any controversy which may have existed between the railroad company and any of its employes. It asks the hearty support, not only of the employes, but of the public as well, in order that it may give to the territory served by the line a service which will work for its development.

“P. R. L. Carl, who has been general manager of the railroad company in the past, will continue in that position for the receiver.

“Word was received here this morning of the arrival of three Manistee boys in New York from overseas. These heroic young men have been through and have witnessed many of horrors and adventures of battle. All are reported convalescent.

“The following have been reported: Private Casimir Podelweski, 218 Eighth street…Corporal John W. Adamczak, 167 Eighth street…Private John Conway of the 125th Infantry.

“Coming Next Monday and Tuesday. At The Lyric Theatre. Matinee Both Days. THE WRECKER. THRILLS! ACTION! PUNCH! ‘THE WRECKER.’ With Manistee’s Cast of Prominent People. MATINEES BOTH DAYS.

“The local post office has cleared the racks, shelves and cases of thee greater portion of the Christmas mails. At no time during the holiday season was there danger of the clerks being swamped.

“The mail was not as heavy as in previous years, and started coming earlier than usual.

“One way to beat the high-cost-of-everything is to eat produce from your own garden all winter.

“Dr. A. F. Hess, pastor of the Congregational church, and his family took quite a step in that direction Christmas day, when they had for supper fresh ripe tomatoes—not the hothouse product but home war-garden-grown. These were plucked from the Hess garden shortly ere the first frost, and carefully but not specially laid away.

“Yesterday, save for a slight puckering, these were found as fresh-appearing as ever, and immersion in cold water restored completely their good looks. Dr. Hess thinks this is a record and so far as we are able to determine it is.

“The best Christmas present mother received was the word her boy is on his way home.

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