Lowell in World War One: July 30 – August 11, 1917

This is the seventeenth 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. Here are the headlines from one hundred years ago this week (and from last week too):

July 30, 1917 – Monday – Austro-German Peace Talk Treated as Sign of Weakness by London Papers (skeptical because no mention of restoring rights of Belgium and Serbia; considered to be ploy to delay America’s entrance into the war). Salvation Army will raise one million. Local Boy Home on Furlough. Sherman Blair, son of Mrs. Sterling Blair of 1210 Lawrence street, was home on a 72 hour furlough. He is a machinist’s mate on USS Pawnee at Quincy Navy Yard. Lowell Night at Ayer. The Matthew Temperance Institute of Lowell will conduct a Lowell night at the camp in Ayer next Thursday for members of the Sixth Regiment who are assigned there. Many Lowell People at Camp Devens (informal visit). Public Market Hearing Tomorrow Night (meeting of farmers and garden truck producers with the Mayor). Big Railroad Strike Settled. Negro Trooper Killed in Clash. Posse searching Waco, Texas for 14 armed Negro soldiers who fled after clash. Negro soldiers and citizens in battle. Three white men injured.

July 31, 1917 – Tuesday – Allied Victory in New Drive: British and French in Big Drive Against German Lines on Belgian Front. Wilson Favors Rogers’ Alien Draft Plan. Increase war tax bill to $2,008,000,000. Today another sizzler, but not as hot as yesterday. Many local plants shut down. People sleeping on North and South Commons use alarm clocks. Many Lowell people at the beach.

August 1, 1917 – Wednesday – Allies Consolidate Gains After Crushing Foe on 20-Mile Front in Flanders. IWW Leader Who Called U.S. Troops “Scabs” Hanged to Railroad Trestle. Heat Takes Heavy Toll’ No relief in site. Senate debates prohibition. Another US ship sunk by U-boat.  Division One Exemption Board Posts List (of those to be examined for induction into the army). Rules to be followed by Exemption Board. Report on date and time indicated on list for physical examination. If you are found physically disqualified you will receive an exemption certificate; if you are physically qualified and claim an exemption, you will have ten days to present evidence supporting the exemption; if you are physically qualified and claim no exemption, your name will be posted as one who is physically qualified and claims no exemption.

August 2, 1917 – Thursday – U.S. to take over all merchant ships. U.S. ship sunk; 24 lives lost. Germans fighting desperately to hold lines in Flanders. Lowell Day at OMI Cadets’ Camp in Milligan’s Grove. Many visitors. Lowell Day was observed at Camp Conroy in Wilmington this afternoon where the OMI Cadets are on a week’s tour of duty. Several cars of supporters and friends and also a few automobiles. Athletic exhibitions, patriotic speeches, and a parade.

August 3, 1917 – Friday – Men called in Wards Four, Seven and Eight. Special Train Sunday for Boxford Camp. Canning Class Quarters (set up at 119 Merrimack street in connection with the Lowell municipal market. Hear Mass in Pine Grove: OMI Cadets Receive Communion at Military Mass on Camp Grounds; Boys will return home tomorrow; Visitors’ Day big success. Lowell Night at Camp Devens: Matthew Temperence Institute Glee Club entertains soldier boys at Ayer. Visitors received with open arms. Excellent Musical program appreciated. Button to Mark the Exempted Men (from the draft). Bronze face with shield, says Exempt US. Reasons for exemption: disability, family reasons, or need for service in industry. Those eligible for draft but not yet called would not get to wear the button.

August 4, 1917 – Saturday – Tomorrow will be Lowell Day at Camp Curtis Guild. In Boxford Battery F. Two regiments of artillery camped there. The regiment with the Lowell battery is commanded by LTC Thorndike D. Howe. Draft resisters burn big railroad bridge in Oklahoma. Federal troops to quell anti-draft riots. All merchant vessels now building are seized. Allies advance in Flanders.

August 6, 1917 – Monday – “Lowell Day” at Camp Curtis Guild in Boxford big success. Lowell singers entertain. Favorable report on revised war tax bill. Death penalty for resisters. Mayor appoints city bacteriologist.

August 7, 1917 – Tuesday – Russians driving back Austro-Germans in some sectors and yielding in others. Exemption claims will force new calls. Based on experience with district 1 board this morning. Many claim exemption due to dependents, some because they work in ammunition industry. Others are aliens and cannot be drafted. City to borrow $170,000 for school addition (to the Bartlett School).

August 8, 1917 – Wednesday – Russian Mission filled with optimism over conditions in new republic. “Situation very hopeful” says Root. Root to see President Wilson today. Exemption boards make slow progress. New York to send 15,000 recruits to Ayer. War Department says first draft call should be in camps by September 1. Second draft call will come after that.

August 9, 1917 – Thursday – French make gain in Flanders. Russians check Austro-German advance. Food bill passes: to be law tomorrow. Fourteen names added to Honor Roll (honor roll is list of those who qualify for draft and haven’t claimed an exemption).

August 10, 1917 – Friday – Lowell Men Receive Commissions at Reserve Officers’ Training Camp at Plattsburg. Two captains, three first and thirteen second lieutenants. Many claiming exemption. Eleven out of 13 passed in division. Four claimed exemption. Two aliens anxious to serve. One is a veteran of the Boer War.

August 11, 1917 – Saturday – Allied successes in Belgium, on the Aisne Front and Champaign region. Lowell men for second Plattsburg camp. Twelve men from Lowell, including Paul Kearney of 142 Third Street, and Lorne L. Cupples, of 116 Grove Street. No coal shortage in this city. Two fine paintings for the Sun office (by W.P. Phelps). Many apply to Lt Charles J. Glidden. Lt Glidden, in charge of recruiting for the aviation section of the department of the northeast, said he had more than 300 applications for commissions to become aviators.

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