Lowell in World War One: May 21 – May 26, 1917

This is the eighth 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 21, 1917 – Monday – Two American Red Cross nurses killed. Accident during practice firing of gun aboard armed Merchantman bound for Europe. First American casualties of war.  The 6th and 9th Regiments of the National Guard were ordered to increase numbers to wartime strength, so recruiting contingents from each unit returned from the field to the armory to process new recruits. The6th was somewhere in New Hampshire, while Company M of the 9th is in Newburyport. Premier George calls Irish convention.

May 22, 1917 – Tuesday – Investigate reports of U-Boat in N.E. Waters. 3 lobstermen off the Maine coast reported to have seen a submarine. Memphis mob lynches girl’s slayer. Ed Persons, a negro, confessed murderer of Antoinette Rappal, several weeks ago, was burned to death near the scene at 3 o’clock today. A mob estimated from 2000 to 3000 saw the death.  In preparation for burning the body was soaked in oil and suspended in mid-air from the limb of a tree. A torch was then applied. Persons is said to have repeated his confession when he killed the child and then implicated two other negroes. Members of the mob immediately set out in pursuit of them.

May 23, 1917 – Wednesday – Marshal Joffre back in France after trip to US. Another great French drive. Fierce battle with U-boat. Right of Way for Food Bill. Senator Gore, chair of Agriculture Committee, asked that no amendments promoting prohibition be attached to the “food control” bill working its way through Congress. New legislation for the fencing of canals. Representative Dennis Murphy of Lowell made a dramatic plea for the bill, which would require the fencing of all canals and waterways, by reading the long list of persons who have lost their lives in the canals of Lowell. He complimented the Locks & Canals company upon the work recently done to protect the public, but intimated more could be done.  Must keep off the railroad tracks. Hugh Molloy, superintendent of schools, has undertaken a campaign to keep school children from engaging in the dangerous practice of walking on railroad tracks.

May 24, 1917 – Thursday – British Transport sunk in Mediterranean; 412 lost. Meanest of all crooks operates in Lowell. Man identifying self as representative of Canadian government came to house of brother of Fred Smith who was serving in France in the Canadian army, and told brother that Fred had died, been cremated. He could have the ashes sent to him for payment of $11 which brother paid. Later it was discovered that Fred was still alive and that the Smith family was victim of a criminal. Plans for Memorial Day parade. The annual observance of Memorial Day will be held in this city next Wednesday. The chief marshal of the parade, Commander George Hunt of Post Thomas A Garfield No 120 of the Grand Army of the Republic, will issue orders tomorrow so that all will be in readiness. The parade will form on South Common at 3:30 o’clock and will move on Thorndike to Middlesex to Central to Merrimack and to Moody, as far as monument square.

May 25, 1917 – Friday – British war mission in Canada. Lloyd George says U-boats are doomed. Italian forces continue progress. Another loan to England. US Destroyers active in submarine hunt. More Americans off for battle front. Repatriation bill of Mr. Rogers in Congress. Representative John Jacob Rogers of Lowell proposed a repatriation bill that would affect the 40,000 American citizens who enlisted in the European war during the time the United States held itself out as a neutral. Under existing law, when those citizens expatriated themselves from their American citizenship when they took an oath of allegiance to England or France when enlisting in the armies of those countries. This bill would speed the process of such men regaining their US citizenship.

May 26, 1917 – Saturday – Draft Registration on June 5th. All males age 21 to 30 inclusive must register on that day. Penalty for not registering is prison, not a fine. 76 killed, 174 injured in big German air raid on the southeast of England. Supreme Court says Lowell city officials were illegally removed by city council. City Treasurer Andrew Stiles, Supt Robert Thomas of the water department, and Purchasing Agent Edward Foye, were illegally removed by the municipal council according to the decision of the full bench of the supreme court handed down today. All three will be reinstated.