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Madison County During World War I


Alton and East Alton - During The War


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Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 24, 1914

A fully equipped "battleship" is the steamer Illinois, now with her full complement of four rapid-fire guns and a large equipment of small arms. Woe betide the foreign foe who dares to come up the river to Alton and attempts to storm our city hall and capture the prop that supports it and saves the life of Pat Maguire and the members of his club. The last of the four rapid-fire Hotchkiss guns was placed in position on the boat today. This makes four guns the boat carries, anyone of them capable of shooting a pound shell a long distance and able to sink an ordinary steamboat quickly. The guns will be used in practice work. The idea is to give Illinois boys a chance to familiarize themselves with the aiming and firing of big guns, and a rapid-fire gun is good practice. For the sake of safety, no shells with balls in them are fired from the Hotchkiss guns, as there is no telling where such a ball would stop. There will not be much practice for the boys therefore in target shooting, owing to the confined quarters in which the shooting would have to be done. In case of necessity of any salutes to be fired, the guns would come in handy and could keep up a continuous bombardment.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 1, 1916

Lieut. J. B. Maxfield of the Alton Division of Illinois Naval Militia, made a plea this noon at the noonday luncheon in the Illini Hotel for more sympathy and support for the Alton division. As a part of the reserve from which the United States navy, in case of war, would draw men who would be trained, the naval militia is an important part of the preparedness plan. It is not subject to call for strike duty, and its work for the state has so far been confined to flood relief duty. It was therefore interesting when the plea was made for more sympathy for the organization that might play a very important part in time of need, and it was also decidedly interesting when the speaker declared that there was not always a cordial sympathy and a helping hand help out to the organization. One important point he brought up is the future hopes of the division. He told of the plan that has been in incubation for a long time to take over the vacant building on the levee belonging to C. F. Sparks, vacated by the St. Louis Yacht and Boat Co.   Lieut. Maxfield said that he had been negotiating with the authorities at Springfield, and they, with the Navy Department, to have the Alton division taken in charge of by the Navy Department. The plan contemplates the sale of the steamer Illinois, with Legislative sanction, to the Navy Department, and the leasing of the Sparks building on the levee as an armory. The grounds around the building would be handsomely parked and the building kept in a tidy state. Maxfield said that the building would be either bought or leased if the city council could be prevailed upon to remove the bar, and recall its order for the removal of the building from the riverfront. The steamer Illinois, which would, under this plan, be reassigned to the Alton division, could be kept anchored at the armory. The Alton division, he stated, had been in the present armory for twenty years, and the armory was no longer suitable to the purposes of the division. In his paper Lieut. Maxfield dealt with the history of the Alton division from the time of its launching by Fred L. Morrell, as the Morrell Guards, to the present day. He told of the ups and downs of the organization, and of the present day policy of building up as strong as possible the personnel of the division. In this connection he said:  "For the past 20 years we have occupied the third story of the Root building on Belle street, four blocks from the river; for the past four years we have kept the Illinois below the approach to the bridge. We have done this not on account of the fact that it is a safe harbor, but because it has been considered that there was no room on the levee for our boat. When we learned that the St. Louis Boat and Yacht Company were to give up their lease on the building, which they now occupy, we immediately took the matter up with the department to see if this building could not be secured as an armory. At the same time the proposition was made to the government to remodel the Illinois, changing her from a Mississippi river steamboat to a modern gunboat which would resemble the gunboats used in the regular navy. We very soon learned that the department was perfectly willing to take over this boat for a nominal sum, assume all of the expense of maintenance, and assign the boat back to this division for the same work that she is doing now, thereby relieving the State of Illinois of from five to six thousand dollars annual expense. If this arrangement could be made, and the state be relieved of so much of the present expense of the division, it would be very easy for us to make arrangements to take a lease on or buy the building in question. This would make an excellent armory. The government would drive piling and dredge out a harbor for the Illinois, just off of this boat house, and all of our equipment would be in one place. I know you will all say, 'But the building is an eyesore on the levee' and 'the city council has passed a resolution ordering the building torn down by the owners.' We grant you all this. It is unfortunate that the building is located just where it is, but why not make the best out of a bad thing and reconsider this matter a little? If the state and government should take over this building, they would spend considerable money to make the building and the ground on which it is situated more attractive. If a certain reservation could be set aside for the Naval Reserve, we would agree to fence it and make a park out of it, keep it in good condition at all times. The largest auditorium in the city would be made out of the drill hall. This could be used for large public gatherings at a nominal cost. In fact, we cannot see that this building is any more of an 'eyesore,' even in its present condition than a great many other things that are allowed to exist on the levee.....We are getting a better class of men - men who are more enthusiastic and are adding to our numbers all the time. We at present have 54 men and three officers in this division. The authorized peace strength of the division is 60 men and three officers. There are men here in this room today who probably did not know what was meant by the Naval Reserve organization. There are others who have taken some little interest in the Naval Reserve, and still others whom I know are very friendly to us and have helped us a great deal in times of trouble. This is an organization, men, that should be encouraged and can be made an advertisement for your city. The officers and men of this division serve without pay whatever, except when called out for duty. It may be of interest to know who the charter members of this organization were, as a great many of them are now quite prominent in the business circles of this town:"


Edward V. Crossman Baker H. Ash H. H. Hewitt E. C. Paul Frank S. Boals George Parker
William E. Ingham Frank Riehl William P. Crane Al Pfeiffer G. H. Smith W. W. Lane
T. D. Burgess Joseph Hartman Harry R. Lemen Harry J. Kranz J. H. Edgar Rice Terrence Reed
H. H. Harlow Alec Cousley T. K. Crawford William S. Crawford Frank K. Sworts R. C. Dudley
W. D. Fluent E. E. Nash Leo Waldemeier J. S. Paddock J. A. Hodge Bruner
W. P. Chalk F. S. Clement W. J. Rice William Dorsett George P. Ulrich C. G. Smith
C. F. Hodge George Long Percy Rice C. F. Collins Harry L. Hale  




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 17, 1916
One of the most spectacular motion picture performances ever seen in Alton, and one which Manager William Sauvage of the Temple Theater promises will rival the "Birth of a Nation" will be presented here on May 29 at the opening night of the Airdome. The picture is to be the eight reel photo-play "The Battle Cry of Peace," and the effects for the play are to be furnished by the members of the Alton Division of the Naval Reserve. Five hundred rounds of ammunition for the four one-inch guns of the Alton Division of the Naval Reserve will be made at the Western Cartridge Co. to be used as a part of the performance and over 5,000 cartridges will be discharged during the three evening performances from the rifles of the Alton division. The fifty members of the Alton Naval Reserve, under the direction of Lieut. J. B. Maxfield, will take part in the production. The picture is one that has been passed upon by the government officials as a good argument for preparedness, and the naval reserves are to do their part in the production for the effect the picture will have in securing a better army and navy. The guns are to be mounted at different places on the side of the stage and the screen will be in the rear of the stage. One scene in the big picture where the enemy is supposed to be attacking New York from the harbor will be the feature. The front of the stage will be arranged to represent a gun boat, and the audience will get the effect of being on the boat that is firing on the city, and they will be able to see the results of the shots on the city as the pictures are shown on the screen in the rear of the stage. An extra large audience will be used for this feature, which will be run for three days, not including Sunday. Mr. Sauvage stated this afternoon that if the picture was run on Sunday the noise would be enough to make the churches complain and he would not attempt to do that. Besides the guns, a special orchestra especially for this picture will be a feature. The other effects will also be carefully carried out from the stage. At the same time he made this announcement, Mr. Sauvage stated that the Airdome would be run this year without vaudeville. He will use an orchestra twice as large as the one at the Hippodrome, and will run only feature pictures. The admission will remain the same except when extra large features such as the "Battle Cry of Peace" are presented. For this and other exceptional features, the price will be raised to twenty-five cents.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 12, 1917

Uncle Sam is taking a hand in protecting against damage any of the big plants in the vicinity of Alton which would be of importance to the government in event of war between the United States and any foreign power. This fact was definitely known today. The Western Cartridge Co. has been under guard for a long time, in fact, there has been no time since the war began that this plant was not under supervision by strong guards, but the guard is said to have been greatly increased. It has been reinforced by a squad of federal secret service agents, whose duty is to keep a close watch for any indications of an attempt to wreak damage on the plant, and thus disable it. The guards, naturally, do not make themselves known to anyone connected with the plant, and the Telegraph is informed it is only a part of a gigantic effort of the United States government to exercise the rules of safety first. There will be no locking of the door after the horse is stolen. The door is said to be very safely locked right now. A few days ago it was declared that there were no guards on Alton plants that might be used by the government, but now it is declared that there is, and that it would be much harder, if not impossible, for anyone to commit any depredations to one of the plants here. Report has it too that the bridges over the Mississippi river in the vicinity of St. Louis are being guarded, just as other bridges elsewhere are being watched to prevent any cranks doing a service for a foreign government.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 14, 1917

It begins to appear that the Alton division of Illinois Naval Reserves will before long be seeing active service on the ships of Uncle Sam. Orders that have come, supplementary to other orders, have instructed Lieut. Maxfield to make a further check of the property he has in hand, and to ascertain whether the division has enough equipment for every man to be fully supplied in case of a call to duty. The division has not had any rush of applicants for enlistment. One was sworn in last night. The books are open for recruits, and it is desired to recruit up to the full strength so that Alton may furnish her full compliment of men to the United States navy in case of need. Tuesday night 25 of the men were inoculated with the serum to render them immune to typhoid fever, a precaution taken with all men entering the service of the army or navy. Those who have not been vaccinated must undergo inoculation for rendering them immune to that disease also. The armory on the river front is probably to become a very busy place in case of a declaration of war. It is probably that, it being the largest assemblage place in the city, it could be used as a rendezvous for enlisted men and a drill hall for soldiers in case of war.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 27, 1917

The Alton bridge and the Western Cartridge Co. plant are being guarded against possible raids by plotters in the employ of the German government. Suspicious characters around both places in the last few days were reported, and the action taken by the War Department was swift. At the Alton Bridge it was reported by Louis Whetzel, the bridge tender, that a few days ago some men who had no connection with the bridge were making observations there and acting in a manner that aroused suspicion. They were known to have no business around the bridge, and it was decided to make report of it. Supt. Louden has always been optimistic about the chances of trouble, and viewed it that there was no reason for any alarm. However, he had instructions to exercise special precautions. Nothing was done in the way of providing a special guard. Yesterday the two bridges over the river at St. Louis were put under guard by the Missouri National Guard, and at 2 o'clock this morning a squad of men rolled into Alton on a special interurban car from St. Louis to go on duty at the Alton bridge. The United States government has had the Western Cartridge plant under close supervision for a long time to detect any plotters there. Secret service men have been staying there as well as at all other munitions factories, to frustrate any plotting by men who might go there to take jobs. The vigilance at the cartridge plant will be increased with the nearer approach of war with Germany, as it is believed the German government has many agents in this vicinity prepared to do their worst in case of a declaration of war. From this time on it will be risky for anyone to express any sentiments that are not very emphatically and distinctly in favor of the cause of the United States. Public opinion is being roused, and disloyal sentiments will not be tolerated. The company under Capt. Larimore, consisting of 65 men, will be quartered in the Alton bridge building. For years and years since the Alton bridge was built and opened, that big brick building has stood a monument of hopes deferred. Most of the building has never been used for any purposes at all. There are six large rooms which might be occupied if there had been any use for them, and in absence of any use they stood idle. The old building has always looked like a barracks, and now it is to be a barracks. Supt. Louden was asked today by Capt. Larimore to provide a living place for the soldiers who had been sent here. Capt. Larimore took parts of the second and third floors of the building, and will quarter all sixty-five of the men there. Stoves will be rigged up and accommodations made for the men to sleep and rest. Another company of soldiers has been detailed for service on the Bellefontaine bridge. They will not have it so comfortable as those who are stationed here.  The men guard each end of the bridge, and some patrol it. They are divided into eight hour shifts. The men who went on duty last night say they suffered keenly from the cold winds that nearly blew them off the bridge as they would patrol their beats. The men who are staying on the Missouri shore will be housed in some buildings belonging to the Polar Wave Ice Co. of St. Louis, on the island. Until they could get a place to stay, the soldiers were taking hard comfort by sleeping on the rocks that protect the Missouri shore pier of the bridge. They were getting what sleep they could in preparation for the time when they would be on guard. Men who saw them said they appeared to be hard, and comfortable enough, on their beds of stones. One of the first men who was stopped this morning on the bridge was Supt. W. T. Louden, who had to identify himself, and then he was allowed to pass. At the Bellefontaine bridge the men on the far end may be given lodging at the training school nearby, maintained by the city of St. Louis, or at the buildings of the Bellefontaine quarry. Those on this end of that bridge will have to live in tents. The soldiers arrived in Alton shortly before 3 o'clock this morning on a special car over the traction system. Their coming was so quiet, that even many of the people who were up at that hour of the night did not know they were in the city for several hours after they arrived. They went at once to the police station. Here a part of them were quartered for the night, and the remainder were taken at once to the Alton Bridge where they were put on duty. The majority of the men had seen work before, but there were a few "rookies" in the party. One, a mere lad, asked the police for a copy of a St. Louis newspaper because he wanted to see his name in print. He told some of the other men in the company that he had enlisted but the day before, and how sorry his sweetheart had been to see him join the company.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 29, 1917

"Have patience with the young soldiers who are in your city under my command at this time, and if they do anything that is not gentlemanly or if their conduct be not right, come to me and I will endeavor to handle the situation."  This was in the talk of Captain Larrimore of the U. S. troops stationed at Alton in an informal talk before the Board of Trade members this noon. Captain Larrimore stated that he had not ordered that the saloons do not sell liquor to the soldiers, and that there was no law that they cannot sell liquor to the soldiers, but that he would try and control the situation. He asks that if any misconduct occurs on the part of the soldiers, that the same be reported to him in his office in the bridge office building at Langdon and Broadway at once. This was candidates' day at the Board of Trade luncheon at the Illini Hotel, and there was a good representation of candidates present. The applause was neutral, as all candidates were given the same amount of applause, everybody applauding for everybody. Each candidate arose and bowed as his name was read by Chairman George Sauvage. Each candidate who was absent was made conspicuous by the craning of necks to see if he was arising, and so everybody got some free advertising. I. D. S. Shepter called for fifteen men to aid in caring for the "Kids" on Easter morning, when the two thousand Easter eggs will be hidden in Rock Springs Park, and the board voted to allow the president of the board to appoint a committee of five members to lend whatever aid they can to Mr. Shepler in the big egg hunt. Jos. Grosheim made a plea for the Red Cross membership campaign and asked the business men to lend their aid and enthusiasm and their dollars in making the Alton branch one of the good ones. Through the attendance of so many candidates, the meeting was a large one.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 7, 1917

Alton's patriotic meeting to back up President Wilson at the Temple Theater last night was one of the most remarkable meetings ever held in the city of Alton, and had the Temple Theater been twice as large as it is, it would not have held all of the people who attended to hear the patriotic program, and with their presence attest to the patriotism and their loyalty to their country. The White Hussar Band opened the program with a series of patriotic airs, and if you think the people of Alton are not patriotic, you should have heard the applause when the band played the Star Spangled Banner. Harry B. Herb, of the Board of Trade, told the purpose of the meeting and introduced George T. Davis as chairman, who called upon Reverend E. L. Gibson to invoke the divine blessing. W. D. Armstrong directed the band and led the chorus in singing America, and the great throng of people each with a song sheet distributed to them, entered into the singing with whole heart. Lieutenant J. B. Maxfield was introduced and there was several minutes applause before he could gain quiet to start speaking. He recited the events of the Spanish-American war when he went away as a naval cadet, and he told the big audience that he did not know where he was going with his men, that he did not know just what there was for them to do, but that he felt that the Alton boys would give a good account of themselves wherever they go to serve their country, and that he hoped after it was all over that he might face such an audience and tell them that he had brought all of the Alton boys he takes away back safely to Alton again. Lieutenant Maxfield was given an ovation that he should certainly be proud of. Reverend Mr. Gibson was the next speaker, and he brought out the point that there was no room for hyphenated loyalty in free America now, and that the time had come when every man and woman shall be ready to give their every effort to aid President Wilson in conserving the resources of the nation, and also to support the universal training law when it shall come that the United States shall be ready to cope with strong enemies if they beset us. Reverend Mr. Gibson told most feelingly of the long and patient effort to make the overt acts of Germany appear as within the bounds of international codes and human decency, but that the time had come when the United States must rise in her might and declare that German militarism, not Germany and Germany's people, shall be crushed in the name of and for the saving of those things most dear to humanity and the saving of peace itself. Gilson Brown, the lawyer, next addressed the audience, and he made a strong plea for the men of the United States, and the men of Alton to stand by their country and the Stars and Stripes as did the men of the Revolutionary War and as the men of [18]61 [Civil War]. He thanked the band for the patriotic services in donating the music, he tanked the soldier guard for their services, the Naval Militia men for their service and Manager William Sauvage for donating the Temple Theater for the meeting, and cites that these acts were acts of patriotism. Mr. Brown, in a voice loud and clear so that everyone in the hall could hear, called attention to the fact that the Stars and Stripes are the protection of the homes of these United States, and that the greatest act of patriotism and heroism is to stand for the fight for what the Stars and Stripes mean; to work at the forge and in the mill and in the factory turning out the articles that must need be used in the protection of the flag and the homes that it protects. Mr. Brown ended dramatically with the use of an old French slogan applied to America when he said, "Shall Columbia Die? Shall Columbia Die? A million men in America ask the reason why." After the speaking, the resolution being adopted by cities all over the country, which pledges allegiance to the President in his endeavors to guide the ship of state in time of war, was read by Chairman Davis and adopted amid applause and cheering. Captain Larrimore and his command, in charge of the bridge guard, were introduced to the audience and were given a good round and hearty welcome. The songs, Star Spangled Banner and Dixie, were then sun, and the meeting was dismissed. All agreed that Alton had shown her spirit of patriotism most magnificently. The following resolutions were read by George T. Davis, and adopted as the expression of sentiments of the gathering:


Whereas, By declaration of Congress, a state of war exists between the United States and the Empire of Germany, due to the inhuman methods of warfare and the utter disregard of international law by a great and powerful European Government; and


Whereas, our entry into the great war has been forced upon us after long months of patience and forbearance on our part; therefore,


Be it Resolved, That we, the people of the City of Alton, in mass meeting assembled, hereby unreservedly endorse the attitude of President Wilson, as expressed in his recent address to Congress, and we pledge to him our loyal support in every means employed to uphold the honor and dignity of our beloved country and the successful termination of the war waged in behalf of justice, liberty and humanity; and,


Further, Be it Resolved, That we endorse every means employed by the nation to strengthen the armed and naval forces of the government, as well as the fortifications along our coasts; and


Further, Be it Resolved, That we endorse the principal of Universal Military Training as a means to meet any emergency which may arise, and pledge our support to the Government in its efforts to carry out this principle.       Citizens Committee, George T. Davis, Harry B. Herb





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 21, 1917

Two men are in the Alton jail who are not contributing anything much to the high cost of living. They are two soldiers detailed to guard the Alton bridge. While they were on guard duty they went to sleep. It is a serious thing for a sentry to go to sleep at any time. In time of war it is much worse, and especially when there is suspicion that the bridge may be the object of attack by German plotters who may be looking for a chance to find the guards off watch. So when these two men were caught asleep at their post, so the police headquarters story goes, they were arrested and taken to the city jail. There they are being kept in solitary confinement. No one is allowed to speak to them through the bars of the cells in which they must stay. No food may be given the two men, but bread and water, and that may be delivered only by soldiers detailed by the commander, Capt. Larrimore, to deliver it. The story is that the men will be given dishonorable discharges for sleeping at their post in time of war, and of special danger. It is also said that they will be sent to the Federal Prison at Ft. Leavenworth. The reason for this severity is that it is required by army rules perfect discipline be maintained. There is to be no sleeping done by any soldier on duty, and if any violate the rule, there is sure to be trouble for the one who does the violating. The Alton jail is bad enough, solitary confinement in Alton jail is worse, but to have a bread and water diet added to the penalty for a period of days would seem to fitting the punishment to almost any crime, no matter how bad.

[Note: see story below of Capt. Larrimore going to prison himself, for embezzling money made in Alton.]





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 9, 1917

Rain does not dampen the patriotism of Alton people. This was shown Saturday night when thousands of Altonians blocked the streets, and amid cheers and honking of a hundred or more auto horns, with bands playing and flags flying, bade farewell to the Alton division of Naval Reserves, who were departing as Alton's first contingent off for the war. In the brief time allowed, between the coming of the notice to leave and departure, a great demonstration was worked up, showing that Alton has hundreds, perhaps thousands, who are ready to do all they can to help out their country in the war in Germany. The Alton division of Illinois Naval Reserves were given a rousing farewell Saturday night, on their departure for Chicago, regardless of the fact that it was as ugly a night as it was possible to imagine. A cold wind was blowing, it had been raining all evening, and there was every reason why people should be at home. But they did not stay at home. They flocked by the thousands around town at the depot, and they showed their enthusiasm over the departure of the Naval Reserves for Chicago. The White Hussars band had been engaged, and they paraded the streets with the company of Capt. Larrimore, here guarding the Alton bridge. The farewell threw into the shade the reception given the boys who left in 1898 to help in the war with Spain. Alton was full of enthusiasm, and it is expected that the farewell will give a big impetus to volunteering among Alton young men for service in the various arms of national defense. Numerous young men have been planning to make their departure. On account of the large crowd, the train remained in Alton for a half hour, coupling on a single coach. Every time the train was moved the flagmen had to be sent up and down both sides of the train to give the spectators warning that the train was about to be moved. A cheer that could be heard above the Star Spangled Banner, played by the band, and the noise of the two hundred electric horns of the autos about the depot, sounded from the crowd as the two carloads of naval reserves swept past them on their way to Chicago. As the train pulled out, one mother fainted, but she was taken to the armory and soon revived. Alton did her part well in sending off the boys. So much money was raised by the committee on Saturday afternoon, that it was possible to turn over a goodly amount to Lieut. J. B. Maxfield, to be spent on the Alton reserves later. Hundreds of baskets and boxes filled with good things to eat were loaded into the baggage coach. One man sent a crate of oranges, others gave large amount of tobacco. Six thousand people stood for an hour and a half in a downpour of cold rain to see the boys off. The umbrellas in the crowd were very few. Some people stood in mud. All were busy trying to do their part in sending Alton's first quota to the front. From eight o'clock in the evening the public was allowed to go into the armory where the boys were making preparations to go. Fathers, mothers, sisters, sweethearts, and friends of the boys crowded the place. There was a hurry and bustle about the departure. Some of the reserves from out of the city had just arrived to go, and they had to hurry through their lockers, get their outfits together, and get ready. A number of Alton boys rushed forth to join at the first opportunity and leave with the division. Among these was Joe White, who has seen considerable service in the navy and was given the position of quartermaster. Captain William McKinley was busy giving out supplies and clothing to the newcomers. Most of the clothing and the supplies were in excellent shape, as the Alton Division had been expecting the call for some time. Among the latecomers who was not to leave with the Alton boys was Harry Schaefer. Schaefer announced to his parents before leaving home that he would join the reserves and leave at once for the front. He appeared at the armory and quickly slipped into a suit, made arrangements to be off. All went well until the train was pulling into the station. Then an officer of the Alton police force appeared and put him under arrest, as requested by his parents, because Schaefer was not of age. He was kept at the police station until the reserves had departed. By the time the train arrived, the crowd had grown to such proportions that Chief of Police J. J. Mullen feared some would be injured by the incoming train. He secured a red lantern and flagged the train as it came towards the station. The train pulled into Alton at a snail's pace, and even then some were fortunate not to be hurt. Fifty-six of the Alton boys went Saturday evening. One of the members of the division, Jack Stevens, did not put in his appearance when the time for the departure came. Stevens had been employed some time ago to work on the Illinois, and joined the reserve. On Saturday he received his pay. He departed in a naval reserve uniform. Paul Richards would not let a badly injured foot keep him from going with the reserves. At 10 o'clock on Saturday morning he was hobbling about the streets of Alton on a couple of crutches, as the result of injuries he sustained to his right leg while at work several weeks ago. When he learned the division had been called out, he threw away his crutches and lined up with the Alton boys on Saturday evening.



The Illinois Naval Militia was founded in 1893. By 1896, the Illinois Naval Militia had five divisions: three in Chicago, one in Moline, and one in Alton, of approximately 250, 100, and 50 men respectively. World War I marked the high-point of the Illinois Naval Militia. The members of the Naval Militia were also members of the U. S. Naval Reserves, which was founded in 1915. The Naval Militia officially dissolved in 1988.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 25, 1917

The big power house on the river front, just below Riverview park, fence is being built around the building. The guards could not keep people away from the power house unless the limits were defined, and Capt. Larrimore gave notice that a fence must be built that would warn people to keep off. The fence will be eight feet high and will be surmounted by barbed wire, which will make it dangerous to climb over. The reason the power house is being guarded strongly is that it furnishes the electricity that serves many plants in its district, which either are engaged in the manufacture of goods to fill war orders, or might be utilized for that purpose. Power houses of that character are being guarded closely.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 27, 1917

The National Guards stationed at the Alton bridge were mustered into Federal service yesterday and today, and all those who have not seen service in the Mexican border were vaccinated and given the typhus treatment. The first typhus serum was injected into their systems yesterday. In ten days they will get the second treatment, and the third will follow ten days later. The boys are suffering no bad effects from the treatment. In mustering the guards into Federal service, a muster roll had to be made out with the name and the address of each man. His finger prints and any scars on his body were recorded with Captain L. W. Caffey of St. Louis, who is in charge of mustering the guards into national service. While they will still be known as the National Guards, they will be under the same orders as any other soldier and have enlisted for a period of three years. The equipment is arriving daily until it is about complete now. The barracks building at the bridge is well equipped to handle the men. A reporter for the Telegraph was taken over the building this afternoon by Lieutenant Hodson, formerly the Safety First man on the Alton, Granite City and St. Louis Traction System. Three of the large rooms in the building are equipped as bunk rooms, another is the office of Captain Larrimore and his Lieutenants, and another is the kitchen. Hodson remarked that they could use two cooks and a stenographer, but they wanted the cooks the most. The men who are doing the cooking now are handling the work, but they are kept too busy. The fare of the soldiers is good. They use no potatoes on account of the high cost, but outside of that, their food is of the best. For dinner today they had salmon cakes, butter beans, coffee and bread and butter. The cook promised th serve chili, apples, stewed peaches, bread and butter, and coffee for supper. The guards at Alton are 20 short of their quota, and are ready to take the enlistment of any Alton boys who desire to join.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 14, 1917

Guards have been placed at the Stanard Tilton Milling Co. and the Sparks Milling Co. by the government. The national guards have been assigned to regular duty in helping to guard these mills. They will work with the regular watchmen at the mills. Alton is the third flour producing city in the United States, and an effort is being made to give the two big mills here all of the protection possible.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 16, 1917

On the evening of June 27, the largest pageant ever attempted in Alton will be given on the grounds of the Rock Spring Country Club by the girls of the Y. W. C. A., under the direction of Miss Vera Haines. One hundred and seventy five will take part in the pageant, which is to be staged at the natural amphitheater, east of the Rock Spring Country Club house. People who have looked over the grounds state that the amphitheater is as good as any to be found in the country, not excepting the one on the World's Fair Grounds in St. Louis. The St. Louis grounds are much larger, however. The flat level stretch of ground at the foot of the hill through which the creek runs will form the stage, and the hill on which the clubhouse is located will give space for the audience. Two hundred feet will separate the audience and the stage. The pageant is to be presented in the evening, and the huge stage will be lighted with a flood of light. Plans for this are under way at present. The patriotic performance will be Alton's first chance to use the new amphitheater. Plans were suggested for holding the pageant on the evening of July Fourth, but Miss Vera Hains, who wrote the piece and who is in charge of directing it, will have to leave the city on July 5 for New York, where she is to study this summer, and it will be impossible to hold the pageant at that time. Miss Haines is being assisted in the direction of the pageant by Miss Lela Bauer, Mrs. Richard Sparks, and Mrs. Homer Davis. Dr. Nina Merritt will handle the business end of the production. The Pageant of Patriotism will be divided into two parts. The first part will open with "America" watching the "Dance of Corn." While watching the plenty on every hand, America falls asleep and dreams of France and England as they were before the war, and since the war. The first part, after introducing a number of dances, will close with America calling France and England to her and joining in the war. The second part will be America's appeal to women of America and all the allied nations to do their part in the war. Here, folk dancing of all nations will be introduced, and the pageant will bring out the part the women of the United States can play in the work. Young ladies of the Y. W. C. A. will appear in uniforms of street car men, clerks, and so on. They will be shown making bandages, sewing, helping in an economic way, purchasing Liberty bonds, contributing towards the Red Cross, and lastly as Red Cross nurses. Throughout the pageant Miss Grace Jackson will represent America. Miss Tilton Wead will take the part of France, and Miss Helen Yeothun will be England. Solo dances are to be introduced during the pageant by Misses Lillian Gaddis and May Ohnserg, who will dance the French Gavaotte.  Pearl Gaddis, who is to dance a Spanish dance, and Miss Katherine Pates, who will dance a Russian dance. The Seniors and Juniors of the Y. W. C. A. will form the choruses for the pageant. With the exception of a short spoken part in the first part, and a part of the President's message in the last part, both given by Miss Grace Jackson, there will be no spoken words in the production.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 7, 1917

The fill on the Alton levee east of the Sparks boat house will be used by Company B of the Missouri National Guards as a drill grounds, and a place for their mess tent and their kitchen. Captain Larrimore put a gang of men to work on the levee yesterday, and there was a general clean up. Everything had been well cleaned away by this morning and the work of erecting the mess tent and the kitchen was started. By putting these two tents up it will give the soldiers more rooms for their beds. The fill will also serve for a drill ground. Drill is to be held there every evening to whip the soldiers into shape.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 17, 1917

The soldiers of Company B had a bloody battle at the barracks last night. The blood stains on the Union Depot platform and in front of the barracks will convince anyone that the battle was a bloody one, and it took the efforts of the entire company to get it quieted. Before the battle was over, some had received bad cuts and several have swollen eyes today, as the result of the affair. Anyone who doubted the fighting ability of the company should have been present Monday evening, according to the eye witnesses. The sale of liquor to the soldiers was the cause of the trouble. When some of the soldiers returned to the headquarters last evening, they were well under the influence of liquor, and they proceeded to pull some of the other members of the company out of their beds and to cause other trouble. It was only a matter of a few minutes until the whole place was in an uproar. Some of the soldiers were thrown into the river, but they managed to get out. One of the soldiers said this afternoon that it was an easy matter for the soldiers to get booze in Alton. "We are able to get it in 10, 15, and 20 cent lots if we want it," he said. When asked who was furnishing them with the booze, he said that he could not tell and stay in the company, but he intimated that it was Alton liquor men. As the result of the fight last evening, there was a big crew on the work gang today. Several of them spent the night in jail.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 18, 1917

A company of soldiers, or guards, stationed at East Alton for some time, will be sent to Springfield in a day or so to guard the powder mills of the Equitable Powder Company, located there. Preparations are about completed now for the start, but the boys will not ride to Springfield; they will use "Shank's Mare" [old term for walking], but it is not intended to drive the animal to death or exceed the speed limit in any way, the intention being to take three days in which to make the trip. Still, 30 miles of a walk daily for three days cannot be classed as a picnic, but the experience will be worth something to the guards, and will in a way, prepare them for the many long marches that are ahead of them, if the Kaiser is not put off the job very soon. Commissary wagons and camp cooks will accompany the guards, and these last will see to it that the soldiers are well fed enroute. If any gives out, or becomes too sore-footed to keep up with the others, the wagons can be requisitioned and used as ambulances. Hiking thirty miles a day in a hot July sun will convince the marchers that Gen. Sherman knew what he was talking about when he called war the name he did. There would be no occasion for this marching in times of peace, as a measure of preparedness it is almost a necessity in time of war, such as the present.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 23, 1917

A soldier in Co. B., known to his comrades as "Ukelele," who has been a prisoner in the city jail ever since he broke into an Anheuser-Busch car on the levee and stole a lot of bottled beer, has proved himself the most trying prisoner they have had in the city jail. There is some doubt as to the mentality of the prisoner. He has a name, but he is better known to his comrades by that of a Hawaiian musical instrument. As a conversationalist, he has no peer, but he is even better in an emergency in getting something to drink. He is a perpetual lid tilter. It is related that he cut up into short lengths the copper wire that carried electric current for illuminating the jail, passed it out the bars of the jail to someone who sold it for him and got $1.10, and with this he bought some cheap whisky. When some other soldiers were in prison, "Ukelele" held a kangaroo court on them, fined them a total of $2, and he got someone to buy booze for him and pass it through the bars. Steve Morgan, a man accused of wife beating, was put in jail with the soldier, and soon thereafter the soldier had brow beaten and terrorized Morgan so that Morgan submitted to being hung up by the thumbs. When found, he was suffering terrible agony from the strain, while "Ukelele" looked on with diabolical amusement at the suffering of his fellow prisoner. Morgan was told today that he would be put back into the jail with the soldier, and he wept and pleaded not to be compelled to suffer such a fate. The police have nothing to do with the soldier, as he is a military prisoner, except that they might hold him on a charge of tearing down the copper wire and selling it. Chief Fitzgerald says that the soldier declares he wants to get into France and do some trench fighting. If he ever gets there, it would be wise to set him at liberty and let him go among the Germans, and he would worry the life out of them. Morgan was asked by the police why he didn't resist the soldier when he made the attack on him. Morgan, the alleged wife beater, said that he just simply could not resist the soldier, who had a compelling influence over him. It is said that the soldier is a graduate of Yale. He is a talented artist and has drawn his own picture on the walls of the jail with a skill that is admirable. He said he wanted to leave a permanent mark of his own in the jail. He is said to have come of a good family, but is a victim of booze, and when his appetite gets the upper hand, nothing can stand in the way of his getting liquor.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 14, 1917
At the mouth of Wood River in the Mississippi river is the Atlantic City of the soldiers of Wood River township, or the Long Beach or Coney Island bathing beach, as you please. Near the spot where Lewis & Clark, the original discoverers of Wood River township, camped all winter and where they cut holes in the ice in order to obtain a supply of water for drinking and culinary purposes, 150 soldiers, guards who had been on duty at the powder mills and cartridge factory at East Alton, went bathing Monday afternoon, according to farmers living in the vicinity. The guards hiked in the heat from their camp to the bathing place, but being on the wrong side of Wood River, it became necessary to bridge the stream. That was a part of the practices of war anyway, and the boys fell to. They cut down willows, which grow in abundance in that locality, and with these willows made a suspension bridge, which was thrown across the stream and which was wide enough to allow the 150 men to get over in safety. It took about three quarters of an hour, only to bridge Wood River at that point, which proves that the boys are becoming efficient in the work they are doing. The bathing suits, according to the farmers who told the Telegraph about the bathing bee, were the same kinds and were made of the same sort of materials that Adam wore when he took a plunge in the pools of the garden of Eden, and fashion made no great difference in the cut of the outfit either. The water was cold and many of the guards preferred to be allowed to remain out of the water. This was refused by the officers. The bath had been ordered, and there was no chance for any slackers in that crowd. Those who hesitated about getting in the swim would have been captured by other, real plungers among the soldiers, and taken in forcibly, and that would have been worse than braving the water voluntarily. They remain in the water a half hour or so, then dress and hike back to barracks across their suspension bridge. The spot selected for bathing on the wholesale plan is said to be an ideal one, as the current there is not swift and "step-offs" and deep holes do not exist.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 18, 1917

Tom Jennings, a well known melon raiser in the American Bottoms, reports having had considerable trouble with soldiers from the East Alton camp who steal out at night and get into his melon patches. A few nights ago, he says, a number of soldiers stood watch on him and kept him inside of his cabin which is near his melon patches, refusing to let him go out while his patches were raided by other soldiers. A large haul of melons was secured in this way. The next day Jennings reported to the captain of the company. He expressed himself as very sorry that such on occurrence had happened and he said he would do all he could to reprimand the soldiers. But he also advised Jennings to take things in his own hands and shoot the soldiers as long as he did not strike them in the head. Filled with a desire for revenge, Jennings waited in the patch in ambush the next night. When the soldiers returned, he "plunked" down on one of them at a distance of twenty feet. The soldier gave a scream "Oh my legs. I'm shot!" Jennings went on home chuckling to himself. He has learned since that the soldier was taken to the camp hospital for treatment, and since then he has had no more trouble with the soldiers.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 26, 1918

Two Alton churches will honor the young men they have sent forth to war - the First Presbyterian and the College Avenue Baptist, sunday morning. Each has 23 soldier boys. At the First Presbyterian Church Sunday morning, a service flag will be formally received in behalf of the church by the pastor, Rev. Edward L. Gibson, who will preach a patriotic sermon. The twenty-three young men whose names have been enrolled in the honor list of the church will be read as part of the service flag ceremony. The list of names is as follows:


Lieut. Frank C. Stowell, Quarter Master Corps, Camp Arthur N. Robertson - First Class Cook, Navy, U.S.S. Kansas
Joe E. Johnston, Florida Robert Uzzell - First Rate Wireless Operator, U-Boat Chaser
Harry Schlag - Yeoman, U.S.A. Navy, Neptune Corbett C. Calame - Signal Corps, Co. C, 333rd Inf., Camp Taylor
Fred Earle Linkogle - Signal Corps, Motor Mechanic, Camp Hancock Harold Hoefert - School of Aeronautics, Columbus, Ohio; Squad. A.
Edward Ohley - 345th Infantry, Camp Pike, Ark. Frederic P. Norton - Headquarters Co., Camp Taylor
Thomas C. Stanton - Medical Dept., 333rd Inf., Camp Taylor Earl F. McNely - 1st Lieut., Coast Artillery, Camp Preble, Maine
Elden S. Betts - 1st Lieut., 18th Inf., Amer. Exp. Force, Paris, France David A. Little - Reporter Judge Advocates Office, 189 Div., Funston
Jason C. Bramhall Jr. - 1st Serg., Hdq. Co., 124th Light Field Art. Virgil Parker - Navy, U.S.S. Mississippi
Paul Zerwekh - Aeronautic Squad., Urbana, Ill. Herbert Lavenue - Navy, U.S.S. Kansas
Joseph A. Clevenger - Aeroplane Mobile Dept., Belleville, Ill. Shelby A. Brown, Mess Sgt., Co. E., Camp Taylor
Lieut. Dr. A. P. Robertson - Medical Officers Train. Corps, Kansas Edward Stafford - Aviation
William F. Gillespie - 138th Inf., Co. B, Camp Doniphan, Fort Sill, Ok.  





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 13, 1918

Capt. Frank Larrimore, who commanded Co. B, when that company was in Alton, has been sentenced to a year in Ft. Leavenworth, and President Wilson has refused to interfere or commute the sentence, though strong influence was brought to bear to induce him to do so. Capt. Larrimore was convicted by a court martial at Camp Doniphant of embezzling $335, the property of the company he commanded. The money was made in Alton during the stay here, it is said, the most of it being proceeds from a concert which was given at Temple Theatre, and which was largely patronized by Alton people. The Citizens Training Corps helped out, and Capt. Larrimore induced them to sell tickets. The members felt under obligations to him as he was training the corps and at the time he stood very high here. After Capt. Larrimore left Alton, it became apparent that he had left a deep impression here. As folks got together and began comparing notes, they found that he was the dandiest "getter" that had ever been in Alton. He had lost no opportunity to get things, and sometimes created opportunity. Rumors had been coming to Alton from Camp Doniphan that Capt. Larrimore had been removed from his command and was under arrest. He was kept in his tent and was still allowed to attend the schools of instruction for officers in camp. The announcement of the sentence of Capt. Larrimore to a year in prison was intensely interesting to a large number of Alton people who knew him.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 13, 1918

Thomas Curtin of New York City, a well known newspaper correspondent on the European battlefields, lectured at noon today at the Western Cartridge plant to several thousand employees of the plant and citizens of East Alton, who gathered around to hear the lecture. Curtin represented the New York Sun and the Boston Globe as a war correspondent on the fighting front, and gave an interesting account of actual scenes witnessed on the battlefield, to many of which he was an eye witness. Curtin was introduced by John Olin, assistant manager of the Western Cartridge Co. plant.  Olin said in his remarks that the United States was planning to put out 300,000 machine guns, which would use 76,000,000,000 cartridges within sixteen hours. He said that the eight millimeter cartridges now manufactured at the cartridge plant were for French machine guns now being used by the American soldiers. He said the Western Cartridge plant was a month behind in its orders, and urged the employees to do their best to make up for lost time. He congratulated them on having done much to hurry up the work within the past week. Two weeks ago he said the daily output was 500,000 shells a day, last week it was 850,000, and this week he hoped that the mark could be pushed up to the maximum output, which is 1,000,000 shells a day. Thomas Curtin, correspondent of London and New York papers, spoke to the employees of the Western Cartridge Co. this noon and he gave an excellent idea of the hell over in the battlefields. Curtin was with the German army when war started, later was with the Belgians when that country was invaded, then went over to the Italian front, was with the Austro-Hungarian army and spent some time at Verdun on the western front. He told of the havoc wrought, of the cruelty of the German soldiers everywhere as a result of the German system. He told of one instance where an old Belgian woman dropped on her knees to a Hun soldier, and how the heartless Hun raised his saber and cut off her arms. Curtin asked him why he did it, and the soldier's reply was, "She is an enemy to my country." Curtin says that is the German system through and through and through, and that it is only a matter of geography that we are not being despoiled by the Germans instead of the French and the Belgians and the Italians and English. Curtin is a wit, he is full of pep. He believes it because he saw it himself, and he implored the workers to stick to their work and make shells as this is, he says, the chief cause of the Allies' defeats when they have lost. Curtain goes to the mat with the German question and the war, and wallops the Kaiser good. He was introduced by John Olin.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 15, 1918

Senator J. G. Bardill of Highland, county chairman of the Third Liberty Loan organization, was in Alton today making an effort to deliver to some person proper to receive it the honor flag awarded by the Liberty Loan organization to the city for exceeding its quota. Alton exceeded its quota both in number of subscriptions and amount of bonds bought. That flag was won easily, as Alton forgot all about both her quotas and regardless of the fact that she was going over the top, she kept on buying bonds until a remarkable record was established. The honor flag is of wool bunting, 54x34 inches, and is intended to float beneath the Stars and Stripes on the city hall flag pole. It is a service flag with red border, white center, and bears three perpendicular bars, indicating it is an honor flag of the Third Liberty Loan. The County of Madison is entitled to an honor flag, it is said, for making the best record in the State of Illinois, and in addition there may be still a third flag, which is uncertain, for the Supreme Honor of being the foremost community in the United States in exceeding a quota. This flag, it is hinted, may have been earned by Alton, but that fact cannot be known until a complete compilation is made of the showing made by every community in the country. It will be a long time before the positive announcement can be made us to what city won that flag.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 3, 1918

Among Alton's honor roll families having boys in the service, there are many who carry three or more stars in the service flags, representing boys at the front, or getting ready to go to the front. As a Fourth of July feature, the Telegraph publishes the list of names, so far as it has been possible to get them, of the families with three or more boys in the army, navy, or marine corps. In most of the cases the names have been turned in by proud mothers who rejoice that their sons were eager to do their duty. While none of them raised their boys to be soldiers, all of them are glad that when the call for defenders of the honor of the Stars and Stripes came, their sons were among those who answered. Some homes felt it a heavy loss when merely one boy would be called into the service, but in these homes the mothers gave up three to four times as many. In response to the call of the Telegraph to send in names of families having three or more sons in the army, many letters and verbal messages have been received at the office. Of the many responses coming in, two families gave the names of four sons each in the service of the country. The first letter came from the Alexander Caldwell home, and the second from the Pierson home on Washington avenue.


Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Caldwell have the following boys in service:  James Leonard, yeoman on the U.S.S. Michigan; Frank E. Cook at Camp Sherman, Chillicothe, Ohio; John Raymond, Navy yards, Puget Sound, Washington; and Robert Henry, Camp Taylor, Kentucky.  


Mr. and Mrs. Monroe Pierson of 854 Washington made the following report:  Lieutenant Robert L., Co. A, 155th Pioneer Infantry, Camp Wadsworth, South Carolina; Joseph M., Alcatraz, California, R. and C.; Claude C., U.S.S. Massachusetts, New York City, New York, care of Postmaster Clinton in France.  


Mr. and Mrs. John C. Girth of Royal street have three sons in the Infantry: Bernard A., Joseph G., and Henry G. Girth.   Mr. and Mrs. James Hagen of West 16th street have two sons in the service in this country, and another in France. Sergeant Joseph Hagan is stationed at Chillicothe, Ohio; and Lucien is in the Navy, stationed near Vancouver, Washington; Charles is in the Infantry, and has been in France for some time.   


Mrs. Catherine Kane of Belle street has three sons, Captain F. M. Kane at Camp Dix, New Jersey; Luke in Chillicothe, Ohio; and James in the Aviation Corps in England.  


The Ferguson family has three also: G. F. Ferguson at Waterman, Washington; Leo E. Ferguson at Camp Taylor, Kentucky; and Walter L. Ferguson, Port au Prince, Hayti.


Mr. and Mrs. Everett Reeder of Upper Alton have two sons, Lee and Willard at Camp Shelby; and Ralph Reeder at the Rahe Automobile School at Kansas City.


Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Scherer of Jefferson avenue report one son in the navy, one in France, and the third at Camp Shelby. Joseph Scherer is in the U.S.S. Navy; Karl in the 152nd Ambulance Corps at Camp Shelby; and Cecil A. in France, in Company 1, 132nd Infantry.


Two Captains and one Ensign is the record which the three star service flag bears at the L. O. Megowen home in Upper Alton.  Captain L. E. Megowen, Field Artillery, Camp Jackson, Columbia, South Carolina; Captain R. L. Megowen, Headquarters Branch, stationed on the General Staff at Washington, D. C.; and Ensign E. A. Megowen on the Steamer Hatteras.


Jesse C. Werts, James R. Werts, and Willard G. Werts, sons of Mrs. Cornelia Werts of Fosterburg, is on the super honor roll for the little village.


The Steinbruck family have three sons: Elmer, Paul, and Bernhard in the Infantry, the first being in France and the last two at Camp Taylor.


Police Officer James Lynch has two sons, Stanley and William, in France, and the third, James, at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Stanley Lynch was among the very first of our boys to enter the service of his country upon the declaration of war.


Mr. and Mrs. E. Lamm have two sons, Corporal James B. Lamm and Eldridge G., in the Infantry in France, and George B. in the United States Marine Corps. Sergeant Lamm is stationed at Quantico, Virginia.


Henry Schenk is at Camp Funston. Chris Schenk is in the Medical Corps, stationed at Camp Dix, New Jersey, and Raymond is at Baltimore.


Fred, John, and James Templeton, brothers, are in the service. John is in France; Fred is on the way; and James is at Camp Sevier, North Carolina. The last named insisted upon going, though he might have had a chance to claim exemption. However, a physical defect is holding him at camp in this country, but he is still hopeful of going overseas.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 14, 1918

News was received at Alton today that a company of United States troops will be sent to East Alton to guard the plant of the Western Cartridge Company, as well as the new munitions plant adjoining, which the War Department is building for Western to operate. It is not yet known where the troops will come from, but active preparations are being made for their housing. The excavation is already under way for the barracks. Major L. D. Blauvelt, Construction Officer, who will have active supervision of the immense plant, as representative of the Construction Division of the War Department, stated that the report regarding the coming of the troops was substantially correct, but that he had not been informed where the troops will come from, nor when they will arrive. Major Blauvelt in private life was chief engineer of one of the largest trunk line railroads in the east, but gave up work in civil life to serve his country and give it the benefit of his large engineering and executive experience. Major Blauvelt comes to Alton from the Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland. The Mulville Brothers of Alton have 50 teams at work today at the site of the new munitions plant doing excavating and other scraper work. The Wimmer Contracting Company of St. Louis, who are the general contractors, had workmen engaged without interruption over Sunday, and the organization necessary for the immense job is being rapidly perfected.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 11, 1918

War time circus life is not any better than being in the trenches in Europe. Ringling Brothers doubtless carry the best line-up of employees of any circus, maintaining an old time reputation, but the makeshifts that the circus must resort to is interesting. There is no reduction in the number of animals carried, except human animals. The actors who do the highly exciting stunts are obliged to help as common laborers, no matter how big their pay, and it is big enough. The men who were once bosses are now driving stakes for the tents. Every tent it is possible to dispense with is left on the cars. The horse tent was not needed today because it was a pretty day, so no horse tent went up. Every task that requires labor is left undone if it is possible to get by. Parades are practically abandoned. The circus, as an institution, may pass out of existence if the war lasts another year. The government discriminates against it in railroad travel, but recognizes the circus as a good institution to entertain the public. The show this afternoon was late in getting started.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 14, 1918

Alton awoke this morning to a house building campaign, the like of which she has never seen before. Uncle Sam stood ready to spend $1,600,000 on the construction of two hundred homes in the city of Alton. The houses are to be completed and ready for occupation by January 1, 1918. The first inkling that Alton had been selected as one of the cities for the housing came late on Friday, September 13. The mayor received a long distance telephone message that the four engineers would be in the city. They arrived at five o'clock last evening. By 8 o'clock this morning they were deep in the detail works of the housing plan. All of the preliminary works has been started, and it will be pushed through to completion. The houses were necessary so that the Western Cartridge Co. might double its output. By January 1st the Cartridge company will be turning out 3,000,000 cartridge a day, in place of 1,500,000 a day as at present. To do this the government decided to erect the houses for three thousand more workers needed at Western. The first visit of government men was made two weeks ago. The party then included Thomas H. Desmond, landscape artist; W. H. Dyer, real estate man; and Mortimer Foster. They were shown every site in the vicinity of Alton by Mayor William Sauvage. They were driven to Wood River, East Alton, and finally to the Alton home district. Special stress was laid upon the ability of Alton to furnish gas, electricity, water and educational facilities. In the party that arrived last evening was J. G. Melluish, Elmer Frolson, T. Lancaster, and S. Welhoit, all engineers. They will have charge of laying out the work for the present. The number of men will be increased steadily until the full force can be put to work. The three hundred homes will not be "shacks," constructed merely to house people for the time being. The government has taken care that they shall be all the name implies. They will be homes, suitable houses for the munition workers, built along different designs, each one constructed to best conform with its surroundings. They will vary in size from the five room home to the buildings with dormitories that will house twenty-five or thirty people. The homes are to be located east of the city, according to the tentative plans which are not official. They will be located between the C. & A. cut off and Main street. Several ideal spots for building purposes in that territory are being considered. Many of the homes will be along the Milton road, near Brown street, and in the territory just north of the east end of Brown street......





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 14, 1919

The city of Alton had its first view of a battle tank today. An American tank, completely equipped, ready for battle, arrived here this morning at 9:30, as part of the local campaign for the Fifth Liberty Loan. With the tank were B. A. Bowman, a civilian, and Corp. Gladstone Pitt, who made speeches at several places. Several members of the tank crew also are here. The tank will remain in Alton until 6 a.m. tomorrow. It was planned to have the tank visit East Alton and Wood River, and if possible, show for working people of the industrial plants during the noon hour. It was impossible to give to employees of all Alton factories an opportunity of seeing the tank because of lack of time. The tank was driven about the streets to give people of the city opportunity to see what a tank, a real battle tank, is like. The tank which is in Alton was made in America and was ready for shipment across about the time the armistice was signed. The tank is a "whippet" carrying a pound-and-a-half gun, in a revolving turret, which revolves automatically while the tank is in motion. The tank carries two men, a pilot and gunner. The average speed of this type of tank is from eight to ten miles per hour. It is known as the "American baby tank," and is the type used in the Argonne offensive by the Americans. The tank is in charge of Corp. Edward O. Estes, a veteran of several battles in France. He wears three gold chevrons, indicative of eighteen months service on the other side. He was gassed in one battle. He was in France many months before the tank corps was organized, and was in one of the first organized. He was in the Argonne drive as a member of the tank corps. In the Argonne, he said this morning, they enter battle with 147 tanks and ended up with 86. Out of three companies of 126 men each, they finished with 27 able to continue fighting. Of the 351 casualties, many were killed. Corp. Estes has with him a tank mechanic. The tank arrived in Alton about 10 o'clock this morning and was unloaded at Fourth and Piasa streets. It was driven to the city hall square and then up Piasa street and back to the city hall. It made a trip to Wood River after it was learned that the bridge over Wood River would stand the weight. The tank was on the city hall square this afternoon, and will be there tonight when there will also be a drum corps. A crowd quickly gathered this morning when the tank was unloaded, and followed it to the city hall where a larger crowd gathered. Boys piled on the tank and the soldiers in charge were avalanched with questions, which they answered good-humoredly.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 18, 1919

The final meeting of the people of the Alton Metropolitan District organization for the Victory Liberty Loan was held last night at the Illini Hotel.  J. B. Steck, selling chairman for the Alton district, presided.  F. A. Bierbaum, county chairman, told the quotas for the cities and towns of Madison County and the names of the chairmen, Mrs. J. F. McGinnis, county chairman of the women's organization, and Mrs. W. T. Louden, city chairman of the women's organization, also spoke.....Optimism reigned among the people of the organization. There is no question in their minds that Alton's quota of $1,400,000 will be raised....The speaker at the meeting last night was Lieut. A. F. Ewert, formerly a chaplain with the 77th Division in France, who spoke yesterday at the Board of Trade luncheon at the Mineral Springs Hotel. He is one of the speakers of the Victory Loan for the Eighth Federal Reserve District. During the course of his address he demonstrated the use of a gas mask and displayed his tin helmet. He also showed a German "dress-up" helmet, which he secured while in France. There had been a trainload of such helmets which were to be worn by the Germans in their triumphant march through Paris. The helmet is an elaborate black affair, richly ornamented in silver and gold with a great silver spear in the center, and lined with silk. On the helmet is the inscription, in German, "With God, For King, and Fatherland." In explaining why the American soldier is called the "doughboy," Lieut. Ewert said it is because he has a "Baker" for a secretary, and comes best when needed. The Americans, said the Lieutenant, came into the fight at the 59th minute of the eleventh hour. England was fighting "with her back to the wall," and France was weary after three years of fighting. The American fighters turned the tide, the former chaplain said. One of the reasons the Americans were great fighters was that they possessed a great sense of humor. Here Ewert described the activities of the cooties. The Americans laughed as they fought the cooties, Lieut. Ewert stated, and any soldier who can laugh while fighting the cooties can laugh while fighting anybody or anything. Lieut. Ewert said that General Pershing had abolished all rank for chaplains. While chaplains ranked as officers of some grade, they wore no insignia. This was to allow him to be close not only to the private, but to the officers. He told of having been close to many of the men, of knowing their religion, and of knowing the bigness of their hearts. He told of a Lieut. O'Donnell of Dorchester, Mass., who was in a hospital after being shot by a German sharpshooter, an explosive bullet entering his arm. O'Donnell was a handsome man who carried the picture of his mother, a beautiful woman. Lieut. Ewert told of the love of that man for his mother. He also told of O'Donnell's fighting. O'Donnell used a shot gun in the line, the chaplain said, until one day a German airman dropped a note saying that the man found to be carrying a shot gun in the American force would never be taken alive. The answer of the American officer was to arm every one of his men with a shot gun, a pump gun, and then charge against the Germans. Ewert said he heard at the front before the signing of the armistice that the allies had a gas which would have turned the neutralizer in the German gas mask to poison. He would not vouch for the truthfulness of the statement, because, he said, they "believed anything at the front." "Tanks, banks and Yanks won the war," said Lieut. Ewert in urging the success of the Victory Loan. While, said he, the work of the tanks may be exaggerated in the statement, the work of the banks is not exaggerated and the Yanks did win the war. The banks, he said, which means the money furnished by the people, must come to the aid of the nation during the after-the-war period. He repeated his statement of yesterday noon that America's work is not done until every debt has been paid and every boy brought home.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 24, 1919

F. A. Bierbaum today received notification from Publicity Director Gardiner of the Liberty Loan organization that the name "City of Alton" had been assigned to hull No. 1,486, which is being prepared for launching. The award of this name was given to Alton as the choice of Madison county, which made the best showing in percentage of inhabitants who subscribed to the Fourth Liberty Loan, of all the counties in the state of Illinois. Because Alton had made such a good showing in the Fourth Liberty Loan and helped boost the county so high, Alton was generously awarded the honor of being allowed to give her name to the troop ship when it is launched. Miss Virginia Sauvage, daughter of Mayor Sauvage, is to be the choice of the city to christen the ship when the launching takes place. She was selected by Mrs. J. F. McGinnis, head of the county organization, to represent the city of Alton because she is the daughter of the Mayor of Alton, and her father had been a leader in all war work during the war in Alton. The date of the launching of the ship, the letter said, might be secured by corresponding with H. C. Higgins, 136 South 16th Street, Philadelphia.



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