Lowell in World War One: July 9 – July 21, 1917

This is the fifteenth weekly installment of my Lowell in World War One series which commemorates the centennial of the entry of the United States into World War One. Since I skipped posting last Monday, this week’s edition features two weeks of headlines from one hundred years ago this week:

July 9, 1917 – Monday – Great Victories for Russians in Galicia – Capture over 25,000 Austro-Germans. Call to all people in US to pray for Russia (ecumenical gathering of US religious leaders called for prayer for new Russian government). Sunday was Lowell Day at Rockingham – Hundreds of men and women from Lowell led by Mayor O’Donnell and the United States Cartridge Company’s band descended on Rockingham park yesterday by “electrics” and by automobiles. The Fourth Regiment of the Reserved Engineers Corps stationed there. Sudden death of Cyrus W. Irish – sudden death of Lowell High principal while on his way to his summer home in Washington, NH. His family preceded him there while he stayed to finish high school business. He set out by himself and made good time with his horse, stopping at a local inn at Greenfield, NH. He was found dead in bed the next morning, either of heart disease or apoplexy Although he had been troubled by indigestion of late, he appeared to be fine on leaving Lowell. He was born on August 27, 1862 in Buckfield, Maine. Came to Lowell at age 15, graduated from Lowell High, then Harvard.

July 10, 1917 – Tuesday –  More Trouble for Food Bill. Dry Clause is Illegal. Funeral for C. W. Irish this afternoon.

July 11, 1917 – Wednesday – Great Unrest in Germany – Sensational Internal Changes in Personnel of Government and Reforms Coming – Austria’s influence becoming more and more insistent toward a liberal peace. Germans open menacing offensive in west as Russians advance in east. Seize Fair Ground Land for Public Park – the municipal council appropriated $20,000 to take by eminent domain the old Fair grounds on Gorham street for use as a public park.

July 12, 1917 – Thursday – Steel men agree to supply all steel needed for war purposes at Government price. Need more men for Company C. Recent order caused the discharge of a number of men with dependents which creates a need for new recruits to fill the ranks. Anti-Gas Mask for American Troops – Army orders today disclose that the government and civilian experts are hard at work on the production of an effective anti-gas mask for American troops.

July 13, 1917 – Friday – Rogers wants change in draft measure. Introduced two bills related to unfairness of present draft system. Draft age men who are not citizens must register but are not subject to being called. Yet the city’s quota is based on the number who register, not the number eligible to serve. Nearly 40% of those who registered cannot serve under current law. That doubles the odds of the rest to be called. The second bill sought permission to draft citizens of other countries who reside in the US. This would require some diplomatic negotiations, but it would provide hundreds of thousands of additional troops. Select 687,000 men for first National Army. Quota for Mass is 20,586. Credits for regular army and national guard enlistments up to June 30.  Elks “Textile Day” brings many visitor to Lowell. “Best People on Earth” well entertained by Lowell “Bills” – Big automobile parade feature of occasion – Elks keep open house at headquarters in Middle St. Big reception to visitors at Depot. National convention in Boston, so 650 came to Lowell today to enjoy city’s hospitality.

July 14, 1917 – Saturday – Report Kaiser Quits Throne. Unconfirmed rumor that German Emperor has abdicated in favor of his son, Prince Joachim. Peace clamor growing in both Germany and Austria. Russian Armies Still Sweeping Forward. Big British Transport sunk by Submarine.

July 16, 1917 – Monday – National Guard called for war service. US Warships sank four of largest and most modern German Submarines (while convoying American troops to France). Hollander joins Regular Army. Henry Van Roy of 67 Kirk street enlisted. He is a native of Holland who has been in US for just six years. He is a printer for Courier Citizen. Canning Clubs for Lowell. The first effort to organize canning clubs in Lowell (of food) were held at the State Normal school on Broadway this morning. Ames for National Guard Head. Strong pressure is being brought on the war department to appoint General Butler Ames of Lowell to command the New England unit of the National Guard. Exemption Board seeks Headquarters. Hon. George Marchand, chair of exemption board for wards 2 and 3 seeks a room in city hall in which to conduct examinations of men seeking exemption from the draft. Other exemption boards are finding space in public schools.

July 17, 1917 – Tuesday – Russian Armies continue to advance; Governmental affairs again ruffled. Present peace terms to Reichstag Thursday. Naval recruits leave for Newport. Battery B will henceforth be known as Battery F.

July 18, 1917 – Wednesday – German Chancellor to Declare for Peace. Russians holding their own against reinforced enemy. Final Plans for National Lottery. Old Company M of the Spanish War met at the armory last night. Mustered in on May 11, 1898, they landed in Cuba on July 1, 1898. Of the 74 in the company, 25 have died and many more are scattered around the world. Purpose is to form veterans organization. Lodge raps plan of sending troops south and method of compiling draft estimates.

July 19, 1917 – Thursday – War Army Drawing Tomorrow. Ten million are registered but just 687K are needed in the first call. Who should go first? Every draft card in each of 4800 districts has been assigned a serial number. The serial numbers will be selected in a nationwide lottery. Boards should call double their quota to account for discharges and exemptions. Governor McCall’s selection of Butler Ames for commanding officer of the New England troops in the National Guard is being criticized in Washington.

July 20, 1917 – Friday – War Army Draft. Drawing began at 9:49 o’clock. 1000 numbers drawn before noon. 1,000,000 men represented in first 1000 numbers – 258 the first number pulled out by Sec of War Baker.

July 21, 1917 – Saturday – Draft in Lowell. Names of Lowell men drawn in Nation’s draft Army. “Red Ink” lists for local divisions two and three arrived today. Estimated the Lowell’s liability will be almost one in two. War draft is all absorbing topic of the day. Lowell will supply about 800 men for National Army. Kerensky now dictator of Russian forces.

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