Lowell in World War One: February 11, 1918 to February 16, 1918

This is the 44th 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:

February 11, 1918 – Monday – Russia declares herself out of war and orders her troops on all fronts demobilized. President Wilson appeared unexpectedly before Congress today to answer the recent peace speeches by German chancellor Count von Hertling. Wilson said that America’s participation on the war for the emancipation of humanity had only just begun and there would be no slowing down. Tax time is extended to April 1. Internal Revenue Commissioner Roper announced yesterday that the deadline for filing income tax returns has been changed from March 1 to April 1 due to the delay in printing and distributing the necessary forms.

February 12, 1918 – Tuesday – Germans mass great forces. The weather on the western front has improved and Germany is massing its forces in France in the hope of crushing the Entente before the full weight of the American army arrives. Fight with all vigor, says King George. In his speech at the opening of parliament today King George said the struggle had reached a critical stage the demanded more than ever the full energies of the country and its people. New income tax form ready. The post office has received the new form 1099 of the Internal Revenue service and are to report all incomes of $800 or more paid during 1917. Fuel committee after coal hoarders. Lowell people attempting to corral more than their rightful share of coal are in grave danger of having their names published in the local newspapers, said Lowell fuel committee chair John O’Donoghue.

February 13, 1918 – Wednesday – 171 Tuscania victims buried in Scotland. Engineers wanted for war service. The war department has asked the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers to furnish 50 men for tank service and 1000 engineers for transportation service in France.  Going to France as Red Cross nurse. Miss Margaret McCarthy of 16 Phillips street will leave Lowell tomorrow morning on the first stage of her journey to the battle zone in France. City fathers wrestling with annual budget. The municipal council met this morning to discuss appropriations for the year 1918 but little progress was made since Councilor Brown objected to every item in which an increased appropriation was requested on the grounds of strict economy and in an effort to reduce the tax rate.

February 14, 1918 – Thursday – Central Powers suspicious of Russia. Demobilization order halted. Germany may resume military operations against Bolsheviki. Order to demobilized called “sham maneuver.” Americans held French in big Champagne raid. Lowell’s welfare fund steadily growing. Lowell’s welfare fund went over the $8500 mark this noon. A total of $30,000 is hoped to be raised. It will be distributed among six local welfare organizations. Big shake up coming in police department. Mayor Perry Thompson is contemplating a general shift in the police department, saying that he has reviewed the record of each officer and will make new assignments and promotions based solely on merit.

February 15, 1918 – Friday – Germany to resume war on northern Russia. Plan to take Petrograd. Railroads neglected to repair crippled cars. Thousands of crippled cars which the railways have neglected repair occupy miles of track in eastern rail centers and are largely responsible for a shortage of cars and for traffic congestion. Lowell men volunteer as shipbuilders. 28 Lowell men signed up at the war work headquarters this morning as volunteers for shipbuilding work. Heated discussions at council meeting. The matter of paying the school repair bills of local plumbers who repaired broken pipes during the recent cold snap created a warm discussion between Commissioners Brown and Warnock who disagreed about whether the city or the school department was responsible for the bills.

February 16, 1918 – Saturday – Wilson to act to end strikes at shipyards. Report Naval battle off Swedish Coast. No exemptions from Monday closing order. The coal outlook is brightening up. About a day and a half worth of coal was delivered to Lowell today but officials urged people not to become unduly elated and to continue conservation measures.