Lowell in World War One: Oct 15 – Oct 20, 1917

This is the 27th 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:

October 15, 1917 – Monday – Du Pont plant blown up. Terrific explosion kills two at Du Pont powder works at Gibbstown, NY. Nitor-starch dry house wrecked, two men blown to pieces. Force felt for miles around. President Wilson appeals for Liberty Loan. Charged with selling booze to soldiers. The lid was down pretty tight on illegal sale of liquor to soldiers in uniform in this city Saturday night owing to the activity of the police liquor squad. Many a soldier who came down from Camp Devens Saturday night was disappointed at not receiving some beverage of an intoxicating nature.

October 16, 1917 – Tuesday – Plan to keep booze away from soldiers. At the city council meeting, after the mayor explained that the Federal law prohibiting sale of alcohol to soldiers in uniform did not apply to sales in Lowell, councilors asked the city solicitor to draft an ordinance that would forbid delivering alcohol to a soldier in uniform in this city. School Department sends books to soldiers. 10,000 coal miners in central Illinois went on strike today. 2 Boston liners reported sunk. The Depot Brigade at Camp Devens awaits orders to move to some place “over there.” The Depot Brigade’s duties include looking after the supplies of a camp and guarding transportation facilities. A number of Lowell boys are assigned to the unit.

October 17, 1917 – Wednesday –  Stop slandering our city, say merchants. One might judge from what has been said by officials and others that Lowell is a stamping ground for immoral women and drunken soldiers. That is far from the truth and the people of Lowell are very indignant about it. Businessmen, storekeepers and others who are thoroughly acquainted with our every day life are sick and disgusted with verbal and printed statements making it appear that Lowell is seething with vice. Another Lowell boy for US Navy.  French repulse attacks. Important infantry fighting in Western War Theatre. German air raid on Nancy 10 persons killed and 40 injured by German bombs.

October 18, 1917 – Thursday – Will appoint Provost Guard for Lowell. Major General Hodges, commander of the 76th Division at Camp Devens, agreed with Mayor O’Donnell’s request to send a provost guard to Lowell from Camp Devens on Saturday to assist in the enforcement of the law and the protection of the soldiers. Exemption Board calls 100 more men for examination for the draft. Corporal John Wallace, of Company M, 101st Infantry, recently sent his mother a letter, telling her that the unit arrived safely in France and had received a great welcome.

October 19, 1917 – Friday – Russia’s capital soon to be moved to its ancient site at Moscow. German threat against Petrograd thought to be reason for shift. Plot to blow up US transport frustrated. Strike of 7000 called off. Sugar shortage caused by demand for candy. The shortage is caused by increased sales of candy in communities that have abolished saloons and heavy demand from the National army cantonments. Girls Battalion wants place to drill. Miss Emma Leclair met with Mayor O’Donnell, seeking a place to drill the battalion of young women she has formed. The armory is no longer available. The mayor said he would bring the matter before the council at its next meeting.

October 20, 1917 – Saturday – Germans sink three warships and 10 other vessels in last 24 hours. Humphrey O’Sullivan of Lowell, Democratic candidate for state treasurer, will give the Liberty bond sale a big boost in connection with his political campaign. Lowell boys in France write to mayor. Members of Headquarters Company and Company M told the mayor everyone is fine, but they hope the people of Lowell will do all they can this winter to help the troops at the front. Cartridge Company may extend its plant. It was unofficially stated today that the U.S. Cartridge Co will soon occupy most of the Bigelow-Hartford Co’s mill on Market Street for the manufacture of ammunition for the United States government. This work will not involve explosives and will give work to several thousand new employees.