Lowell in World War One: Dec 10 to Dec 15, 1917

This is the 35th 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 10, 1917 – Monday – Jerusalem Surrenders. Holy City captured by British forces. Civil War has broken out in Russia. Business and professional men dig graves for 1,200 bodies at Halifax. Today official figures are 1,201 known dead, 2,000 unaccounted for, 6,000 wounded, and 25,000 homeless. City election here tomorrow. Polls will open at 6 am and close at 4 pm. Although there is considerable interest in the mayoral candidates, the main issue of the election seems to be the license question. The No-License league and the Liquor Dealers’ association have been very active. Turnout is expected to be high with up to 14,000 of the 16,000 registered (male) voters expected to vote. If the No-License vote passes, Lowell will become a “dry” town. Proponents of the No-License position argue that banning the sale of alcohol will reduce social problems and will divert all of the grain used to make alcohol to the nation’s food supply. They also say that anyone who loses a job due to the prohibition of liquor could easily find a new position in this time of full wartime employment. Mayor appoints police woman for Lowell. Miss Mary Roche of 559 Central street was appointed police woman for the city of Lowell by Mayor James O’Donnell. She will be paid $15 a week and her duties will consist of visiting the dance halls and other places where women congregate, as well as patrol the streets and see that women are conducting themselves in the proper manner.

December 11, 1917 – Tuesday – Heavy German reinforcements have arrived in France. Kaiser plans new blow on Western Front. Lull on Italian front. Official entry into Jerusalem. Senate orders inquiry into causes of shortage of sugar and coal. Thirteen Negro soldiers of the 24th Infantry who were found guilty of complicity in the riot and mutiny at Houston on August 23 were hanged yesterday at Fort Sam Houston. Forty-one other Negro soldiers were sentenced to life imprisonment. Lowell men at Ayer are quarantined. More than 800 soldiers at Camp Devens will be cut off from home leave for Christmas because of quarantine regulations put into effect today after the discovery of two cases of measles. License big issue in today’s election. A crisp, winterish day greet voters of Lowell this morning for the annual city election. The preponderance of automobiles available to carry citizens to the polls is expected to increase turnout.

December 12, 1917 – Wednesday – City Election Results. Perry Thompson defeats Dr. Rodrigue Mignault for Mayor. James Donnelly and Charles Mores for Commissioners. Richard Brabrook Walsh and Dr. William Thompson for school board. Lowell stayed “wet” as the pro-liquor license question prevailed with 7,617 voting yes and 5,969 voting to ban the sale of liquor. First Lowell sailor to lose life in war. George Francis Henry Rogers, son of Michael Rogers of 93 Humphrey street and a fireman aboard the US destroyer Jacob Jones which was sunk by a German submarine, is the first Lowell boy to give up his life in the naval service in the great war.  Lowell woman among wounded at Halifax. Miss Martha Manter of 17 Burlington street, Lowell, was visiting friends in the Richmond neighborhood of Nova Scotia. She has just sat down to read the morning paper when the explosion occured. Miss Manter was discovered unconscious the next day in the cellar under the ruins of the house and was taken to the hospital. She has no memory of what occurred.

December 13, 1917 – Thursday –  Germans checked on land and sea. Combined naval and military offensive in hope of forcing England to quit fails. Blames Secretary of War for delay. Responsibility for delay in furnishing machine guns to the army was laid to secretary Baker today by Maj Gen Crozier, chief of ordinance, before the Senate military affairs committee. The army will use machine guns of British and French design, but this complicates the logistics because of the need for two types of ammunition, one for machine guns and the other for rifles. Many Lowell men join the Regular Army. Lowell sent away 68 of her sons as members of the Regular Army this morning. All are bound for training at Fort Slocum, New York.

December 14, 1917 – Friday – Russian delegates to begin peace negotiations as soon as armistice is signed. Struggle for power in interior Russia growing more bitter. Berlin papers predict German offensive on the Western Front. Head of sugar refining company blames Hoover. President Spreckles of the Federal Sugar Refining Co says there is plenty of sugar, but raw sugar bound for the east coast is continuing on to Canada where refineries will pay a higher price while Atlantic coast sugar refineries are restricted in the price they can pay by the Food Administration under Herbert Hoover’s leadership. Snow storm interferes with travel. The biggest snow storm of the season began falling after midnight and deposited eight inches of snow on Lowell. Trains and street cars were delayed until the snow was cleared from tracks, and the “no-school” signal was rung this morning although afternoon school sessions were held.

December 15, 1917 – Saturday – Report Germany to make another peace offer at the Christmas season. Kaiser to declare “responsibility for bloodshed in coming year will lie with Entente if it rejects the proffer.” Meanwhile, Teutonic drive goes on. Complete collapse of counter revolution in Russia. Coal famine due to shortage of rail cars, not due to a shortage of coal.