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100 Years Ago: April 1917 [Local]

100 Years Ago April 1917

The Haddams Prepare for War

Selected from the pages of the Penny Press and lightly annotated by Sally Haase






Remember boy that wherever you go

in defense of the American Flag,

the American Red Cross goes with you.



Haddam, April 2:  Every patriotic citizen, young or old, should attend the rally at the town hall on Wednesday evening when T.M. Russell, of Middletown, will be present and give a talk on the desirability of the formation of a company of Home Guards in this place and assist in organizing one if desired.

East Haddam, April 2:  Mrs. E.C. Acheson, of Middletown, chairman of the war relief committee of the Rd Cross society, will be at the Baptist church, Moodus on April 7th to form a branch of the Middlesex Red Cross chapter.

Higganum, April 3: The grove formerly owned by C.J. Usher and always known as “Usher’s Grove,” is being cut down by the Burr Lumber Company who have recently purchased it.

Moodus, April 3:  Miss Nellie Chaffee is getting in readiness to have the painter’s brush applied to the homestead on High street.  J.C. North & Son are the artists.

Ponsett, April 3:  Miss Mary Tinker, teacher at Ponsett gave an entertainment at the school house on Saturday evening. The money for admissions will be used for something for the school in the way of a musical instrument.

Haddam, April 5:   An enthusiastic assemblage, roughly estimated at 300 people, gathered last night at the town hall in regard to the formation of a company of Home Guards. Rep. Edward W. Hazen [was] chosen chairman and Whitey Porter, secretary. The national hymn “America” was sung by the entire assemblage, standing, after which Mr. Hazen…outlined the proposed action to be taken. T.M. Russell of Middletown spoke explaining the need and purposes of Home Guards in each town, concluding by calling for volunteers for the Haddam company. There was a spontaneous rally to the call and a dozen young men gathered at once around the roll, waiting their turn to sign and be sworn. Inside of half an hour 53 men had enlisted. Haddam feels especially well pleased with the meeting last night as it gave the town the distinction of being the first in the state to secure a full company in one evening.

Moodus, April 5:  The gentleman that has rented the Lucien Carver place for poultry raising arrived with his household effects by boat the first of the week.

Haddam Neck, April 5:   Owing to the mud, roads in this vicinity are almost impassable.

Robert S. Bailey narrowly escaped a very serious accident on Monday morning. In turning aside to escape a stone which had already stopped several autos, he ran into another stone at the side of the road breaking his steering gear. The car then pitched down a steep embankment, but was stopped by colliding with a tree. Mr. Bailey fortunately escaped injury.

Haddam, April 7:   W.H. Gillette has just purchased a new five passenger Hupmobile car of the agent, Mr. Clark of East Haddam.

Haddam, April 12:   Unclaimed mail of the first-class held at the local postoffice is addressed to Alex Cross, C.E. Finnegan, Otto M. Velth, Professor Charles B. Hedrick, A. McKlee, and Mrs. F.W. Coe.

Tony Negrilla complains of a pair of strange dogs having visited his premises severl times lately and killed his poultry.

Higganum, April 12:  A fire broke out yesterday afternoon on Cedar hill and it took several hours’ work on the part of a gang of men to overcome the blaze.

At a mass meeting held on Tuesday evening, in the reading room, 19 more men enlisted in the Home Guard, bringing the number up to 70.

Haddam, April 14:   Officials of the state commission came here on Thursday and removed a cow and young calf belonging to F.C. Arnold, which examination showed was infected with bovine tuberculosis. The animal had been under observation for several months and was isolated from all other animals on the premises.

Higganum, April 14:  At present time there are about 85 members of the Red Cross society in the town of Haddam.

Haddam Neck, April 14:   Three of our local young men have answered the president’s call for service. William Brainer and James Flood have joined the coast patrol forces on the steam yacht of which Gustaf T. Sandin, also of this place, is captain. Clifford Raymond has left for new York where he will take an examination for service in the navy.

The Ladies’ Aid society will hold their next meeting April 18 at Grange hall [to] plan to organize a local branch of the Red Cross society.

Higganum, April 19:  Hezekiah Porter, of this place, has joined the famous “mosquito fleet” at Yale university. This fleet is formed for the purpose of chasing and destroying submarines.

Moodus, April 21:  Even the standing room at “The Continental” was taxed Thursday evening at the Home Guard meeting. The meeting was called to order by Veteran Eugene W. Chaffee, a member of Connecticut’s fighting Tenth regiment in the Civil war. Charles H. Emily was chosen chairman.  Patriotic addresses were made by Charles A. Russell, Rev. Lyman Radcliffe and Rev. Thomas H. Thurman.  Music was furnished by the Moodus cornet band and the drum corps. A recruiting office will be opened in the rooms over Thomas’ store.

Haddam, April 21:   Following is a complete roster of officers of the Haddam company, Home Guards: Captain, Joseph G. Kitchell: first lieutenant, Oliver J. Ryan: second lieutenant, Phillip Arnold: first sergeant, Charles B. Carlson: quartermaster sergeant, Phillip C,. Dickinson: corporals, William J. Ryan, Charles H. Church, Thomas J. Riley, Frederick Brooks, George S. Cross, George W. Best, Robert Bailey, Edward P. Grout, Everett Kahrmann, Louis Mosher, Harvey R. Pierce, and Hartford G. Benner. The company now numbers 96 members.

Moodus, April 21:  Major T.M. Russell will be at the East Haddam opera house Thursday evening to muster in the East Haddam Home Guard. There are 90 enlisted in the guard now.

… 100 years ago, much has changed and, then again, nothing has changed.