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100 Years Ago, Nov 1917: Local News

submitted by Sally Haase, 11/14/17

100 Years Ago November 1917

The Haddams: Jail Barn Burns. Capt. Kitchell to Washington.

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


Middletown, Nov. 1: The ladies of West Haddam Methodist Episcopal church gave a Hallowe’en party last night for the benefit of the church. About a hundred were present, thirty seven from this city going down in Roger’s big auto bus, and 10 parties in their own autos. Mrs. Prudence Mann who purchased the house of the late Alvin Spencer, had it refinished for her summer home, threw it open for the occasion. Mrs. William H. Burr had charge.

After the old time Hallowe’en games by all the young people and those who had ever been young, patriotic  songs were sung and Mrs. Robbins gave a humorous recital and an original poem which greatly delighted her hearers.  Alderman Losey did not sing, his throat being so full of chicken that he was hardly able to cluck.

East Haddam, Nov. 2: The Champion House closed for the season of 1917 yesterday.

R.R. Tyler, the one from Tyllerville, who hates fishing – with Expressman G.D. Beebe, visited Saybrook the first of week and brought home a nice lot of clams.

George E. Scoville started for Camp Devens Sunday with his brother, Ogden, who had been spending a few days at his home previous to the removal of the troops to the south for the winter.

Higganum, Nov. 2:  Albert Johnson left this morning for Camp Devens. He was presented with a wrist watch from the money donated by people of the town, and also an outfit from the Red Cross society.

Hartford, Nov. 2: Colonel Theodore Roosevelt was greeted last night by a crowd of 15,000 people, here when he made a war address at the State Armory. There was a crowd of 5,000 to 8,000 people outside who could not get inside. As the colonel drove up in a limousine…he sent word into the packed auditorium, asking for patience [as] he would speak to these people who had done their utmost to crowd into the armory.

Teddy Roosevelt

“Self-defense is a primary law of nature,” said the Colonel. “If you don’t defend yourself, some other nation has got to do it. To rely on somebody else is a miserable policy. I ask the people of Connecticut, one of the original thirteen states that won this country’s independence,  that they rally as did their defenders, to the defense of justice, liberty and democracy.”



Haddam, Nov. 3: The farmers in this vicinity have been surely doing “their bit” this year. Henry Clark recently shipped 100 bushels of onions and 100 bushels of potatoes to new Haven.  John Clark has sold a car load and a half of cabbages, and E. Latshaw a car load.

Haddam, Nov. 5: The large barn at the county jail in Haddam was destroyed by fire last night, together with a large amount of hay, several hundred bushels of potatoes [and] three horses.  The origin of the fire is unknown, but it may have been incendiary. At 5:45 o’clock last evening the barn was locked up and prisoners were all locked in the cell room. At 6:30 o’clock Sheriff Thompson placed his car in the garage. The barn was all right then. Ten minutes later he aroused from the house by a shout of fire.  The blaze started in the horse stall in the hay mow. Three of the four horses were dead. The cows in another portion of the barn were released. The produce at the jail is used at the county home as well as the jail itself…so the loss of the foodstuffs would have been a serious blow to the county.

As soon as the fire was discovered the prisoners were released and helped man the hose. The pump at the jail, installed about two years ago, did not work well, and this hindered the efforts of the fire fighters. By serious efforts the ice house and smaller barn were saved.

Haddam, Nov. 5: It was rally day at the Congregational Sunday school, yesterday, and 110 were in attendance. Two scholars, Elizabeth Shailer and Dorothy Hall had not missed Sunday school for five years in succession, and two, Julia and David Russel had attended every Sunday for five years.

Hartford, Nov. 8:  Coal is in great demand all through New England, but in spite of the best endeavors of the fuel administration, the supply has fallen far behind. The situation is serious.  It has become the duty of the administrator to urge that personal and community prudence and national patriotism require that New England should begin at once to utilize as fully as may be the native cordwood supplies.

Ponsett, Nov. 9:  The people in the western part of the town are greatly pleased to know that money has been appropriated for the state road from Higganum to the Killingworth line.

East Haddam, Nov. 13:  A good sized order was received by the local game chicken plant, from White Lodge Racing Stables, Johannesburg, South Africa. Wonder if they have gone up on account of the war. The cost of transportation to the destination will be $20 per head alone, but then Africa is the home of the diamond.

Haddam, Nov. 17:  Captain Joseph Gray Kitchell of Company F, Sixth regiment. C.H.G. and first selectman of the town of Haddam was summoned to Washington by the war department and appointed to a responsible post in ordinance. Captain Kitchell was allowed only two days in which to adjust his local affairs, being required to report for duty as head of the personnel unit, general command gun unit. East Haddam, Nov. 30:   Not a pound of coal at the yards of W.C. Reynolds.  A barge is expected daily to break the shortage; sugar is also short.  Thursday, W.C. Reynolds received 100 pounds of sugar [which was sold at] 10c a pound and one pound to a customer.

The river was full of quite heavily packed ice yesterday, and unless the temperature rises, it will soon be hard navigating on the Connecticut river.


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








One Response to 100 Years Ago, Nov 1917: Local News

  1. Peter Arseneault

    November 16, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Thanks for posting these historical facts Sally, they’re always my favorite part of Haddam Now.