Lowell in World War One: May 14 – May 19, 1917

This is the seventh installment of my Lowell in World War One series which commemorates the centennial of the entry of the United States into World War One. Here are the headlines from one hundred years ago this week:

May 14, 1917 – Monday – Threaten to hang food gamblers in Senate. Senators call food speculators pirates, robbers, and parasites. Two passenger liners sunk.  British destroy Zeppelin L-22. City Hall news: According to the office of state aid at city hall, the ranks of the Grand Army (Civil War Union Veterans organization) is diminishing. Since May 2, 1916 to this day, 22 veterans of the Civil War have passed away in Lowell, while 31 widows who were on the pension roll have also died during that length of time. The youngest veteran to die was 70 while the oldest was 85.

May 15, 1917 – Tuesday – $3.3 billion voted for war. All appropriation records were broken today when the Senate appropriations committee reported the war, army and navy deficiency bill, carrying a total of $3,390,948,000 including $400,000,000 for construction and purchase of an American merchant marine. Conscription here under new law. Approximately 10,000 male citizens of Lowell will be required to register under the new conscription law now being passed by the national congress. Strike spreads in Lawrence. Several hundred operatives at the Wood and Washington Mills went on strike yesterday because of dissatisfaction over the recent wage increase. Nathaniel Peabody will contested. The will of the late Nathaniel Peabody, who died January 25, 1917 at age 90 years, is being contested by relatives who were cut off in the second codicil.

May 16, 1917 – Wednesday – U.S. Destroyers in British Waters. US mission to keep hands off in Russia. Commission has no purpose whatever of interfering in the internal affairs of Russia. Representative Augustus P. Gardner of Massachusetts announced the he will resign from Congress to serve in army where he holds the rank of colonel in the Officers’ Reserve Corps. House Committee on woman suffrage. President Wilson has written a letter to Congress suggesting the creation of a special house committee on woman suffrage might be a wise act of public policy. Wilson did not deal with the merits of the woman suffrage question in his letter.

May 17, 1917 – Thursday – Redmond rejects Lloyd George’s Home Rule Plan. Irish leader turns down Home Rule scheme omitting six Ulster counties. Accepts proposal for immediate convention to decide on “a government for Ireland.” US ship torpedoed (off Genoa, Italy). 4 of crew lost. Reports U-Boat off Cape Hatteras. Army bill awaits Senate’s approval. Russian cabinet crisis has been settled. Three drowned in the Concord River. A triple drowning accident in the Concord river, near the Bennett Hall station in Billerica yesterday afternoon came as a shock to residents. The bodies of Laura Hubbard, aged nine, Hazel Culver, age 12, both of Billerica, and Philip Morton, of Cambridge were recovered near an overturned canoe. Morton, who was camping in the vicinity, had apparently invited the girls for a ride in the canoe when it overturned.

May 18, 1917 – Friday – President Wilson to sign War Army bill today. To issue proclamation fixing day for registration. The Army Bill in Brief: The army bill provides for: Increasing the regular army to war strength; increasing National Guard to war strength; raising by the selective draft system from all males between 21 and 30, 600,000 men as an initial force, and 500,000 more if necessary; raising if the President sees fit four divisions of volunteer infantry (the Roosevelt amendment); increasing the pay for all enlisted men; prohibiting the sale of liquor at or near army training camps and otherwise protecting the morals of the soldier.

May 19, 1917 – Saturday –  US Forces ordered to War Front. 25,000 regulars and 2600 Marines go at once. Gen. Pershing will head expedition. May go to Belgium. Roosevelt turned down. Wilson’s decision in line with Joffre’s advice. Army bill made law. June 5 designated as Draft Registration Day. More recruits for Lowell battery.

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