Lowell in World War One: Dec 24 to Dec 29, 1917

This is the 37th 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:

December 24, 1917 – Monday – American armies constitute reserves of victory, says Secretary Baker. Declares Germany’s newest peace propaganda “should not induce us to slacken war preparations.” Austro-Germans checked in their attempt to drive through Italian plans west of Brenta. Movement for harmony by Bolsheviki. Christmas mail at the post office. Postmaster John F Meehan stated that the post office is handling the Christmas rush of mail very gratifyingly. Four automobiles and 13 wagons are in use for parcel post delivery although some Christmas mail will not be delivered until Thursday or Friday.  Christmas observance quiet in Lowell. Despite thousands of vacant dinner places at homes in Lowell tomorrow for the sons and brothers and husbands serving in France or at military camps, tomorrow’s Christmas observation is expected to be customary although a bit subdued.

December 26, 1917 – Wednesday – Power of Bolsheviki in Russia waning. Dispatches from Petrograd describe mass defections from the soldiers’ and workmen’s organizations.  The American steamship Tuscarora together with her entire crew of 35, has been lost at sea somewhere north of Cape Breton Island. Senate requests Secretary Baker to suspend all routine matters and to rush winter clothing to troops at national army camps. Over the top for Lowell in Red Cross drive. When the final count is made at tonight’s meeting, it is expected that volunteers in Lowell will have registered 30,000 people to support the local Red Cross effort.

December 27, 1917 – Thursday – Government control of nation’s railroads with McAdoo as director effective tomorrow. President Wilson’s sweeping proclamation includes every part of railroad property. Direct management remains in present hands supervised by US Board. Salaries of railway executives to be reduced; workers to get increase. Central Powers virtually accept Russian peace terms. Will conclude general peace immediately on conditions equally just to all belligerents. Recruiting here for Polish Army. Polish residents of Lowell will have a chance to do their bit for their native country next Sunday when a mass meeting and recruiting rally will be held at 10 Colburn Street. The purpose will be to stimulate recruiting for the Polish army in France. Telephone girls vote to strike. Bay State carmen to vote on strike. Coldest morning of present winter. The Locks and Canals people registered a temperature of 3 below zero at 3 o’clock this morning at the Pawtucket Dam.

December 28, 1917 – Friday – Entente Powers will not accept German peace terms. Washington believes German promises insincere. France will not accept peace based on the status quo. Bolsheviki troops seize private banks in Petrograd. Three Americans killed by German bombs. A German shell landed near a trench where American engineer troops were working on the French front, killing three. Union employees of the Bay State Street Railway Co in Lowell favor a strike. With the curtailment of the streetcar schedule due to a lack of coal, the Street Railway company plans to cut the workers’ wages proportionally which is the reason for the workers’ protest. Lowell to have all the light she wants. With the coal shortage forcing a cutback in street railway service, more and more people are concerned that the shortage will affect gas and electric service, but managers of both the Lowell Electric Light corp and Lowell Gas Light company have assured customers that there will be no shortage of gas or electric service.

December 29, 1917 – Saturday –  Rumanian King abdicates in favor of Crown Prince Charles. Russia to conclude peace within ten days unless allies join in negotiations. Coldest weather since 1914 hits New England. The temperature in Boston this morning dropped to 4 degrees below zero and caused widespread suffering because of the general lack of fuel. Salary increase voted by city council. At this morning’s meeting, the municipal council voted to raise the salaries of the superintendent of the Chelmsford street hospital, the sealer of weights and measures, and the measurer of bark and wood. Coasting accident proves fatal. 13 year old Victor Mercier, a student at St Louis school, died yesterday while coasting with friends at the old Reed estate on Lakeview ave. Mercier lost control of his sled and was thrown into a tree. He died several hours later from internal injuries.

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