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100 Years Ago, July 1918: Local News


100 Years Ago July 1918

The Haddams – 4TH of July and A Victory In France


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


New Child Labor Laws, Late in June:  The Supreme Court of the United States has declared that the so-called Federal [Child Labor] Law is unconstitutional. The Connecticut law now governs the employment of children.  The only change so far as Connecticut is concerned will be the hours of labor.

Under the Federal law children could be employed only eight hours in any one day. Under the state law, children for whom employers have legal working certificates may be employed 10 hours in any one day, not later than 6 o’clock p.m. in any manufacturing or mechanized establishment. In the mercantile establishments they may be employed no later than 10 o’clock of one evening in the week. The total hours for the week must not exceed 55 in the manufacturing establishments nor 58 in mercantile establishments.

Haddam, July 2, 1918:  The annual meeting of the Haddam Sunday school was held on Sunday evening. The superintendent’s report showed the number on the school to be 110 with an average attendance throughout the year of 90. The following four had not missed a Sunday for six years: Elizabeth Shailer, Dorothy Hall, and Julia and David Russell.

Middletown, July 3, 1918:  The old time “Night before the Fourth” celebrations used to be events of great hilarity and thoroughly enjoyed by the participants and sympathizers in spirit, but troublesome to the police. The police were dead set against the riotous and unruly acts as the setting off of firecrackers. The mayor and the common council without fail enroll a large number of extra policemen to arrest every boy who discharges or is caught carrying a pistol or any other vile noise-making instrument.   On some Fourth of July mornings the jail would be filled to repletion, and fathers offering bail to get his young hopeful out of jail.

Middletown, July 3, 1918:  There will be no parade or celebration in this city tomorrow, the Fourth of July. However, in response, exercises will be held at Union Park tomorrow evening at 8 o’clock.  Attorney M. Eugene Culver will then read a special four minute speech for the Fourth of July celebration by President Wilson. It is expected that there will be less fireworks this year.

 Moodus, July 6, 1918:  “John” the faithful horse for several years on the delivery wagon from Purple & Silliman’s store has been sold. Goods will now be delivered by auto truck.

The Fourth in Moodus was not celebrated this year in an elaborate manner, but the observance was appropriate to the occasion and the times.

Haddam, July 6, 198:  Fourth of July passed very quietly in this part of town, but things became too hilarious in Ponsett district and five persons were arrested for drunkenness and disturbance of the peace. These people were tried at the town hall before Joseph Lockwood, justice of the peace. They were fined $1 each and costs of $17each. Arrest was also made of two Ponsett residents for selling beer. They were fined $10 and costs of $33 dollars.

While Mrs. John D. Kelsey was sitting on the porch at R.S. Stebbins, Wednesday evening, she noticed a woman enter the yard and soon after return to the street, breaking into a run. Later on, going to the line for her clothes, she found a number of articles missing.  On Thursday the sheriff was notified of the theft of Joseph Kitchell’s horse and following the trail rounded up the thief in the back part of town, a girl of fourteen from New Britain.  Mrs. Stebbins’ clothes were in her possession. She probably will be sent to the school for girls or some similar institution.

Tylerville, July 10, 1918:  War conditions have made a difference in the summer activities at Camp Bethel. A great many cottages have not been opened as yet and probably will not be this summer.

Higganum, July 11, 1918:  The button factory that was destroyed by fire some time ago is to be rebuilt and business will be resumed.

Moodus, July 11, 1918:  The state canning campaign for conservation of fruit and vegetables for home consumption started July 7th with a quota of for East Haddam and Moodus of 11,256 quarts.

Higganum, July 15, 1918:  Sunday being Bastille Day, Rev. Mr. Caldwell, pastor of the congregational church, gave one of his best sermons. The church was trimmed with flags of the United States and our allies. Mr. Caldwell also urges upon the ladies the very great need of attending Red Cross meetings and to do all in their power to help this great work.

Haddam, July 16, 1918:  One of the pleasant features of the Y.P.S.C.E., Sunday evening, was a nice letter from Charles Church, who is no longer at Camp Devens, having sailed for France a few days ago.

Middletown, July 23, 1918:  Early in the evening the receipt of news that a great victory had been won started all kinds of stories from the advance of 20 miles to the capture of 90,000 prisoners.  People came from their quiet abodes to the center of the city like a swarm of bees on the first tingling of the church bells and the tooting of whistles.  All were jubilant and it was a free easy time with an occasional bonfire.  The clanging of the church bells, the tooting of auto horns, as people marched, enlivened the city.

Higganum, July 23, 1918:  Mrs. Anna Neff has been spending a week at Beach Park as chaperone for a party of young ladies, Isabelle Anderson, Alphid Andeen, Angie Scory, Lily and Hilda Lundgren, Barbara Neff and Irma Harris.

The organ recital given last evening at the Congregational church by Dr. Minor C. Baldwin, an organist of unusual ability was enjoyed by all. Dr. Baldwin has given recitals in every part of the country.

Newton Merwin and John Spencer are at work at the Feldspar tidewater at Rock Landing. This company is building and putting in a crusher to manufacture the feldspar.

Captain J.G. Kitchell, former Captain of Haddam State Guards is active in government speaking campaign. To show labor that it is just as important in this war as are the men in uniform, the war department has launched a nation-wide campaign showing the link between the laborer and the soldier. “The war department wants the men and women … who are doing war work to appreciate the intense importance of their jobs,” said Captain Kitchell.


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


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