Lowell in World War One: June 24, 1918 to June 28, 1918

This is the 60th 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 for the past week:

June 24, 1918 – Monday – Great Victory: Offensive on the Piave Front turned into Italian Triumph and Austrian disaster of great magnitude. 45,000 Austrians captured. Italians drive enemy back. Austrians flee in disorder. More Lowell men sent to Camp Devens this morning. Local exemption boards forward 41 men who entrained at 6:15 this morning. Sites decided upon for government houses. Government representatives continue to meet local contractors about the construction of new housing for government workers. Those involved are keeping the possible locations secret until a final decision has been made. The committee also emphasized the need for housing for women workers. One plan would acquire the Merrimack House for that purpose, because that building has a large restaurant on the ground floor. That would allow the women workers to lodge and eat in the same building. Boy drowned today in Merrimack Canal. Charles Wauman, aged 13, fell into the Merrimack Canal along Ann Street at the site contemplated for the new high school. Before help could reach him, he disappeared under water and drowned. United States Senate may vote on suffrage. Senator Hollis leads the movement. Suffragists heckle Senators. Lodge and Weeks strongly opposed.

June 25, 1918 – Tuesday – Austrian losses total 200,000. Rout of enemy complete. Many Austrian divisions annihilated. Italian cavalry advances. Yanks advance. Further American gains with capture of machine guns and material. German counter attack at Torcy repulsed with very heavy loss. Declaring that the nation cannot afford to conduct experiments at this time, Chairman Hurley of the shipping board today opposed absolute prohibition, saying “we’ve have to put aside nonessential experiments if we are to wring victory from the Huns.” Lt Chase dismissed from Army. First Lieut George Chase of the ordnance department, convicted by court martial of accepting excessive gifts of cigars and liquor while an inspector of ordnance stationed in Lowell, has been dismissed from the army. Chase was also found guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer based on employing as skilled laborers and clerical help women of objectionable character.

June 26, 1918 – Wednesday – American troops launch brilliant attack. Yanks capture 150 Huns northwest of Chateau-Thiery. Lowell soldier killed. Sergeant Dan Sullivan, formerly of 230 Fayette Street, was killed in action while serving with the United States Marine Corps according to a telegram received by his sister. Sullivan, age 36, had served four years in the Marines before the war, but then worked for the US Cartridge Co in Lowell. About a year ago, he re-enlisted and was sent overseas last October. Sergt Sullivan’s real name is Michael P Fenton, although he has been known as Sullivan. Draft evader. Andrew Contis was arrested this morning in a local mill on charge of draft evasion.

June 27, 1918 – Thursday – Draft numbers drawn for class of 1918. Germans prepare new blow in the west. Yanks take 311 German prisoners. Draft lottery: Numbers representing 744,500 youths drawn from big bowl by blind-folded men. Lowell men included in today’s draft lottery had registered on June 5. Graduation Exercises of the Lowell High School class of 1918 held at Keith’s Theatre. This was a “war class” in every since, from the opening of the curtain which showed the young men waving small American flags and the young women waving Red Cross banners, to the singing of the class ode in which the graduates promised to be “warriors in the strife.” Dr. Joseph P Kearney of Lowell was notified last night that he has been commissioned a first lieutenant in the medical corps. He is the fifth member of the Kearney family to enter national service. Five brothers, all sons of Inspector John Kearney of 142 Third street, have answered the call. They are Redmond Kearney, a first lieutenant with the ordnance department in Maryland; Paul T Kearney, a second lieutenant with a machine gun company in France; Frank D Kearney, a private first class with the signal corps at Camp Devens; and Stephen Kearney, formerly the city engineer, who is now a captain with the engineer corps at Camp Lee, Virginia.

June 28, 1918 – Friday –  Revolutionary movement in Austria-Hungary. Report Bolshevik government overthrown. Postponement of vote on Woman Suffrage. Senate suffrage leaders today agreed to the postponement of the vote on the woman suffrage resolution until sometime after the coming Congressional recess. Dr. Marshall Alling resigns his position as city bacteriologist, having applied for a commission on the U.S. Medical Corps. Local street railway men held an impressive testimonial last night for their union president, Fred J Crowley, presenting him with a purse of gold coins and a fountain pen as tokens of their appreciation. Special commission on water resources investigating water powers of state. Commission urged to inspect system of canals supplying Lowell Mills. Arthur T Safford, chief engineer for the Locks and Canals company, addressed the special commission on water resources yesterday. Safford explained the by making better use of available water power, the state could reduce its reliance on coal in the manufacturing process. The challenge, he said, was to find a way to economically store the immense amounts of water needed to maintain the flow during the dry summer months. This is especially difficult because the head waters of the Merrimack are located in New Hampshire. Safford explained that 100 years ago, Locks and Canals had acquired ownership of vast amounts of land in New Hampshire that would control the flow of water on the river, but that New Hampshire had imposed taxes on that ownership at such a high rate as to make it economically unfeasible to continue, at which time the water rights were conveyed to the Winnipesaukee Paper company at Laconia.

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