Lowell in World War I: Sept 9 to 20, 1918

Two more weeks of headlines from our Lowell in World War I series:

September 9, 1918 – Monday – New British attack near Cambrai; French close in on St Quentin. Changes mind: Allan Steingardt, a former lieutenant in the US army at Fort Devens, pleads guilty to polygamy in Lowell superior court. The case was continued for sentencing. Funeral of Paul Butler this afternoon. Butler, treasurer of United States Cartridge Co and director of many textile concerns in the city, was laid to rest in the family plot in the Hildreth cemetery after a service at St. Anne’s church. School start: Thousands of Lowell children greet new teachers for 1918’s fall term. Supt Molloy reports fewer pupils absent than expected.  World Series: Scene of big baseball classic shifts to Boston. Fourth game this afternoon. Sox confident of landing title after winning two games on hostile ground. It is expected that Boston fans will get to see their great favorite, “Babe” Ruth, try to pitch the team to another win.

September 10, 1918 – Tuesday – Fast progress by French in closing on St Quentin. British capture 75,000 Huns in last four weeks. No extension: State Commission orders Bay State Street Railway not to lengthen Varnum Ave line. Road’s poor finances given as reason for withdrawing order made two years ago. Ball players strike: Red Sox and Cubs refuse to continue World’s Series unless given more money.

September 11, 1918 – Wednesday – French capture Travecy. New gains for British. 2800 American soldiers saved from torpedoed transport. Private Walter Marr of 24 Smith street died in action July 22 wife learned today. Former well known ball player here leaves wife and three little children. Rev Father John J McHugh, formerly of St Patrick’s church and a native of Lowell, died yesterday in his rectory in Maynard after an attack of pneumonia. Sixth game of World’s Series. With Boston leading Chicago three games to two, the Red Sox and Cubs are expected to play game six today now that the dispute over the players’ share of receipts has been resolved.

September 12, 1918 – Thursday – Americans launch attack “over there” as 13,000,000 “over here” enroll for war. Man power of America in most inspiring demonstration of patriotism in history. Americans and French open big offensive on 20 mile front. Launch big attack on both sides of St Mihiel salient.

September 13, 1918 – Friday – Yanks advance 11 miles and capture 9500 Huns. Work or fight. Munitions strikers in Bridgeport, Connecticut, warned by President Wilson to return to work or be prepared to join the army. Private Edward Rowe of the 244th Canadian Overseas Battalion was killed in action in France. Rowe was the son of Edward Rowe of 65 Jewett street. Kids can save fuel. Superintendent Molloy says no school fires until October 1 and suggests pupils wear warmer clothing until then.

September 16, 1918 – Monday – Allies answer peace offer with new drive on Macedonian front. Serbians and French capture three strongly fortified Bulgarian positions. Dd not flinch: Irving Loucraft writes vivid story of two brave, lone Lowell fighters’ work. No High School football. A combination of circumstances, most of them due to the war, has led Headmaster Herbert Bixby to cancel the football season this year.

September 17, 1918 – Tuesday – Allies gain five miles on 12 mile front in Macedonia. Huns burning villages in region of Metz. British and French push on from Ypres to Rheims. Universal approval of Wilson’s rejection of the Austrian peace offer. Mrs. Mary Chaisson, an employee of the United States Cartridge Company, learned yesterday that her husband, Private Joseph Chaisson of the Canadian Black Watch regiment of Montreal had been killed in action in France. Mrs. Chaisson pledged that every cent of life insurance she received on account of her husband’s death would be used to buy Liberty bonds. Private Chaisson had worked at the Saco-Lowell Shops before enlisting last summer. The family is originally from Prince Edward Island. Lowell must send 183 members of the current draft class to Camp Meade at Admiral, Maryland, prior to October 5. City’s prosperity reflected by more tax bills. City Treasurer Fred Rourke announced that he had sent out 28,000 poll tax bills, an increase of 2,000 over last year’s amount.

September 18, 1918 – Wednesday – Haig in new drive on St. Quentin. Yanks break up new Hun attacks. Serbs gain 5 miles on 15-mile front. Provost Marshall General Crowder today issued orders to local draft boards to permit current draft registrants to voluntarily enlist in the navy and marine corps. Such enlistments will be credited towards the community’s draft allotment. Police end vicious careers of two young girls. The local vice squad arrested Alice Rivers and Laura Tessier on charges of being lewd and wanton in their habits. The two pleaded guilty in police court and were sentenced to the house of correction for women at Sherburne.

September 19, 1918 – Thursday –  British plunge further into Hindenburg line in furious fighting near St. Quentin. American Ace Lt David Putnam of Newton, Mass, was killed while on patrol along American lines. He was attacked by four German planes and was shot through the heart. War toll heavy here. One Lowell man dead and four seriously injured in today’s casualty list. Private Narcisse Desrosiers of the Canadian forces has been killed in action and Privates E W Smith, Joseph M Connors, and Valmore Cordeau, all of the Canadian forces, and Private Mortimer Shea of Co. G, 102nd infantry, are all reported as wounded. Stay at School: Pupils not lured away by war wages. At total of 11,512 pupils were enrolled in the Lowell public schools last week which is a decrease of 173 from last year. As expected, some students left school to work in war industry, but the overall growth in population added new students to offset their departures. Local food administrators must file reports on the amount of vegetables and fruits that have been canned this season in connection with the issuance of the 25-pound sugar cards, so local housekeepers are asked to report how they have used the sugar in canning and to also report all other foods they have canned.

September 20, 1918 – Friday – Big gains for Allied troops. Further progress for French and British in envelopment of St. Quentin. 15 die at Ayer. Soldiers victims of pneumonia developing from cases of influenza. Largest toll of single day, but doctors are confident epidemic is waning. No grippe ban in Lowell. Mayor, Health Board and Public Safety Commission await influenza developments. Mayor Thompson says quarantine must be ordered by state or camp officials. Soldiers stationed at Camp Devens who are not suspected of having symptoms of Spanish influenza will come to Lowell tomorrow and Sunday as usual. No action has been taken by cantonment authorities to prevent soldiers from coming here in their customary large numbers for the weekend. Also, the state board of health has ordered the local board of health to promptly report any new cases of influenza but also urged local boards to “counsel calmness and moderation in the treatment of this outbreak.” The state board also stated that quarantine of households or wage earners should not be adopted unless deemed absolutely necessary. October 12 is Liberty Day. President Wilson urges all to celebrate the 426th anniversary of the discovery of America as Liberty Day to stimulate a generous response to the fourth liberty loan day.


Please also remember that today is the anniversary of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Last year, I was the guest speaker at the Greater Lowell Veterans Council remembrance ceremony. Here are my remarks on that occasion.