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100 Years Ago: January 2018 — The Haddams Hunker Down in the Cold

100 Years Ago January 1918

The Haddams Hunker Down In The Cold.

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

East Haddam, Jan. 1:  The plumber was the best man in town Sunday. With the temperature from 14 to 22 below zero, it wrought havoc with the water system of many residences. Monday morning it was not quite so severe, 14 to 18 below reported.

Hartford, Jan. 1:  The report issued today shows that the receipts from general revenue of the state for the year ending September 30, 1917, were $15,386,999.99. The expenditures were $13,707,138.75. A summary shows that the state’s expenses have mounted steadily during the last ten years from $4.7m to $9.8m. The balance in the treasury of civil list funds October 1 was $3.9m; the net debt of the state was $2.6m.

Hartford, Jan. 2:  Within a few days many of Bridgeport’s big industrial plants, some now working on government orders, including munitions, will have to shut down from lack of fuel.

Haddam, Jan. 2:  The county ice-houses are being filled this week.

No one about town is suffering for fuel, as in many places, but frozen pipes and spoiled vegetables are reported from various homes during the past few days.

Ice Harvest courtesy of the Haddam Historical Society

Moodus, Jan. 3:  W.W. Gates, our local ice dealers, is filling his two large houses with 16 inch ice from the Hadley-Smith pond.

Nearly 35 people in East Hampton have taken advantage of the special unprecedented $5 house wiring offer of the Electric Light company, by the terms of which the consumer receives an $18 job for $5 cash.

Middletown, Jan. 4:  A case is reported from Haddam Neck of a woman having 50 bushels of potatoes in her cellar. Someone asked her if she was not afraid of losing them during the cold spell and she stated she had prepared for that by buying a $12 stove here in Middletown and having the same put in her cellar, and what was more she was not going to sell her potatoes for less than $2 a bushel. She did not state whether she was burning coal or wood to save the spuds. Many people in this city are suffering with the cold from lack of fuel, but the luxurious potato requires heat or its constitution will suffer to the tune of $2 a bushel.

Higganum, Jan. 5: The Central Connecticut Power and Light Co. are giving to each of their Higganum customers very handsome thermometer calendars.

Higganum, Jan. 7:  An appropriation by the state, also one from the town has been, to commence work in the spring on the Killingworth road. This road a number of years ago was surveyed for a state road, and it will be a great convenience for the public.

Haddam, Jan. 8:  The school at the Temporary Home is not in session this week, owing to the coal shortage.

The registrar of vital statistics of Haddam reports that during the year 1917 there have been 12 marriages, 25 births, and 39 deaths.

Higganum, Jan. 9:  On account of the slippery conditions of the roads Monday morning, the truck carrying the help to the Russell company did not make the regular trip.

The school about town held only one session Monday, owing to the ice storm.

Haddam, Jan. 10:  Letters from Miss E.W. Brainerd, who is doing Y.M.C.A. work in France, informs us that she was transferred from Paris to one of the huts nearer the firing line.

East Haddam, Jan. 12:  A swing gate has been established at each end of the draw on the bridge, to be used in case the power gate is not working. The toll house is receiving a new inside floor, ceiling and storm windows, to exclude the cold.

East Haddam, Jan. 15:  The trucks from Riverside garage are kept busy delivering coal for W.C. Reynolds and the coal piles are growing rapidly smaller.

Theodore Stout, the local newsboy labors under a disadvantage through discontinuance of the 3 p.m. train. The papers now arrive on the 6:17 train which is usually late and it is well into the evening before they are distributed. [The government had asked that trains reduce the number of train runs because of the coal shortages.]

Ice Skating at the Meadows courtesy of the Haddam Historical Society

Haddam, Jan. 17:  The skating on the meadows is fine and the young people were making the most of it last evening.

Higganum, Jan. 18:  Quite a good quantity of gravel has been put on the main street which will make traveling much easier.

East Haddam, Jan. 15: Everything in the manufacturing line is shut down in this town in obedience to the orders from Washington.

H.Z. Clarke and Emil Mashik were hauling switch ties from Hadlyme to the railroad station, Saturday, with motor trucks, for W.C. Reynolds. They drove up on the river, returning home and reported that trucks from Reynolds’s store, Hamburg, were hauling freight to that place by the river and cove route.

About a dozen young people skated up from down river and called on friends Sunday afternoon.

Haddam, Jan. 22:  In many of the houses about town the water pipes are frozen and there is prospect of “toting” water the rest of the winter. At E.W. Hazen’s barns, the pipes were thawed out by electricity and left running Friday night, were found to be frozen again Saturday morning.

Haddam, Jan. 24:  Shailer & Arnold, having succeeded in getting a barrel of cube sugar, dealt out two pounds to each of their customers.

East Haddam, Jan. 24:  Two truckloads of lumber were taken to Brockway’s ferry, by the trucks of Riverside garage, by the river route, on the ice.

Middletown, Jan. 29:  A telegram was received from the war department by Antonio Milardo informing him of the death of his son Corporal Sebastiano Milardo of spinal meningitis in France. He was 20 years of age.

Word has been received in this city that Joseph Kowaleski was a prisoner in a German camp at Brandenourg, Germany. The American Red Cross gave no details of the capture.  He was 18 years old and was the first local boy to enlist last July.

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


One Response to 100 Years Ago: January 2018 — The Haddams Hunker Down in the Cold

  1. Edward Munster

    January 17, 2018 at 7:33 am

    It sounds like January 1918 was every bit as bitter as 2018 only 100 years ago it was much more difficult.

    Thank you Sally for this report!