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WWI: From the Press
News of Carroll County Boys & Important Local Issues

 

Transcribed and contributed by Joe Conroy.

[Coordinator's Note: Some of these transcriptions contain
language as it was written at the time and by today's
standards is not considered to be politically correct.]

 

The Carroll Times
Carroll, Iowa

14 Nov 1918
Page 1

Two Celebrations Mark End of War

Carroll Has Two Glorious Times In Single Week

Thursday And Monday

First Celebration Has More Vim, Vigor and Vinegar, but Second Brings Bigger Crowd and More Enjoyable Time for Whole Public.

Twice within the past week Carroll has celebrated the advent of peace. The first celebration occurred last Thursday afternoon, when the false report issued by the United Press was put out on the wires, and as a strictly impromptu affair was all that could be desired in the way of a success. The second came Monday of this week, and while participated in by a larger number of people was more moderate in its nature.

The Times of last Thursday carried a headline to the effect that the war had ended. The report came over the Whitney wires about 11 o'clock, and it was widely circulated throughout the country by the United Press. The rival news agency, the Associated Press, denied the report all day, but that made little difference to New York, Chicago, and Omaha, and none whatsoever to Carroll.

When the first shock of surprise wore off, about 12 o'clock, people began gathering on the streets. The whistles and bells were started, and some enthusiast climbed the tower in the court house and caused the clock to strike continuously for more than an hour. Guns were brought into action, and by 1 o'clock the city was in a tumult of joy.

Notwithstanding a disagreeable drizzle of rain the people began assembling on the streets, and about 1:30 every available member of the three bands had been assembled at the hall. Just about that time it started raining in real earnest, but the people nevertheless formed in an informal parade several blocks long and marched about town for an hour or more.

The mayor issued a proclamation suspending all business for the remainder of the day. Everybody promptly sallied forth to take part in the demonstration, and it is thought that one or two persons had a sample of something to drink. Lack of time prevented the proper policing of the city, as the crowd had the upper hand and ran things to suit itself, but for the most part it was good-natured and little ill effects were noticable.

Along toward evening the repeated denials of the signing of the armistice cooled the ardor of the celebrators, and the crowd thinned out considerably by evening. The Home Guards took advantage of the occasion to open the K. C. hall for dancing and the day's celebration was fittingly concluded by most people at this place.

The formal denial of the report the next morning brought with it merely a temporary cessation of activities. Everyone felt that it was only a matter of hours until the report would come again and that when it did come it would be verified from Washington. After the slight let-down of Friday the tension gradually increased throughout Saturday and Sunday, but frequent calls to Des Moines could obtain no news which justified another celebration. Everyone went to bed Sunday evening with a feeling of certainty that Monday would bring the good news.

About two o'clock Monday morning the word was received here that the armistice had been signed and that the war was over. Des Moines was already rioting at that hour, but those in possession of the knowledge in Carroll thought best to save it for morning. With a view to preventing a repetition of Thursday's events and with the expectation of a considerably larger crowd, the Home Guards were mobilized at 5 o'clock.

When all was in readiness, about 7 o'clock, the fire siren was started and other whistles and bells took up the chorus. The city was quickly roused from its slumbers and by 8:30 there was almost as large a crowd on the streets as had been there Thursday. The bands were called out and an informal parade was held, after which the crowd dispersed until afternoon.

The more favorable weather of Monday allowed the country people to come to town, which was not the case Thursday on account of the muddy roads. The middle of the afternoon saw several thousand people walking the streets and peacefully celebrating, but there was none of the wild celebrations of Thursday. The celebration of a few days previous had taken the fine edge off the enthusiasm of the people, and the fact that the news had been expected for several days robbed it of the element of surprise which leads to riotous celebration.

Any further tendency which might have made for disorder was curbed by the presence of twenty-five uniformed Home Guards who patrolled the streets all day and evening. They were the first to arrive on the scene in the morning and the last to leave it at night. They worked with mechanical precision and were changed at regular intervals, conducting the entire day's proceedings under the general direction of Sheriff Janssen.

The Guards were called out, not to prevent the people from having a good time or from celebrating the day in the manner in which it should be celebrated, but to protect life, property and limb from some of the dangerous practices which marked the celebration of the preceding Thursday. The larger crowd of Monday would have been extremely difficult to handle without their aid, and in all probability someone would have been hurt if they had not protected the streets intersections and other dangerous points.
The principal celebration of Monday was in the evening. During the day a program was prepared and handbills announcing it were circulated. Everyone thereupon saved their big time for the evening and it was well worth the effort.

The evening's exercises were started with a monster parade which for length exceeded that of Monday. The three bands were stationed at various places, and every civic and fraternal organization in the city participated. There were also a number of beautiful floats and other excellent features which made a very enjoyable spectacle.

Following the parade a program was held on the court house lawn, Judge B. I. Salinger delivering the address and the united bands furnishing the music. Judge Salinger was at his best on this occasion, which is saying much. The enjoyment of the occasion was further enhanced by the presence of Rev. R. Burton Sheppard, who delivered the invocation as a chaplain in the United States army. The gathering was dismissed with a benediction by Rev. T. J. McCarty.

Following the exercises a huge bonfire was built in the eastern part of town, to which place many people went to finish the evening. Others organized a serenading party, while the dancers again repaired to the K. C. hall where the Guards entertained them until the small hours of the morning.

The celebration of Thursday was merely a dress rehearsal for the real occasion which came on Monday. There was universal rejoicing that the war is at last finished and that no more American blood will need be spilled in Europe. The kaiser and his gang have seen their day; the German army is defeated and humiliated in the armistice terms as no army has ever been defeated before, and the dream of world conquest is ended.

Democracy is triumphant, in Germany as well as elsewhere in the world, and everything for which our boys have fought and we at home have sacrificed has been achieved. No victory was ever more complete, for the armistice terms place Germany in a position where the allies will not negotiate peace with her, but will impose terms upon her. Germany must take what it can get and be contented. Therefore, under these circumstances, people are not to be blamed for indulging in occasional outbursts of joy, even though those outbursts slightly exceed the bounds of the best common sense.


The Carroll Times
Carroll, Iowa

14 Nov 1918
Page 1

Last Man Called

Albert Reinowski left Monday for Ames, where he was enlisted in the motor trades school of the army at that place. Reinowski is probably the last man to be inducted into service from Carroll county in this war.


The Carroll Times
Carroll, Iowa

14 Nov 1918
Page 1

War's End Cancels Large Draft Calls

Men to Entrain This Week Will be Left at Home — Some Uncertainty as to Future.

Another cause for rejoicing in connection with the cessation of hostilities in Europe is the cancellation of the draft calls for the month of November, which would have been the largest in the history of the selective service act. More than 150 Carroll county boys were scheduled to entrain for service this week, and the order cancelling the calls came within twenty four hours of the time for the entrainment of the first contingent.

Last week, after the local papers were out, there came calls for entrainment this week. The first was for 58 men to go to Camp Dodge on Tuesday morning. The next and largest was for 78 men to go to Camp McArthur, California, on Friday. This call was once before made and then postponed on account of the influenza. There were three other smaller calls which brought the total number up to about 150 men. The number to have been called throughout the country was about 300,000.

Just what will be done with reference to further mobilization or shipments of men is uncertain. There is some talk that the boys now in the camps will be sent to France and those in France brought back at once. There is also some talk that more men will be called from civil life. Other guesses are to the effect that the entire army, in this country and abroad, will be mustered out as soon as the treaty of peace is finally signed.

One thing is certain: the machinery of the draft, including all of the officials, will be kept intact until after peace is assured. There is only one chance in a million that Germany can start fighting again, but Uncle Sam isn't overlooking that one chance.

Meanwhile, the war department is not saying anything and the public may guess as much as it pleases.


The Carroll Times
Carroll, Iowa

14 Nov 1918
Page 1

Harris S. Krensky Wounded In France

Carroll Boy Now Recovering In French Field Hospital

Shot In The Left Leg

Rifle Ball from Sniper Puts Him Out of the Running After Five Hours in Hard Battle — Germans Wounded by Their Own Officers.

France, October 14, 1918

My Dear Mother:

I am now going to write another letter to the dearest girl in the world. The last time I sent you was on October 4. At that time we were behind the lines waiting for orders to move forward into battle. Now, I am also far behind the lines and the battle is over. I am in the hospital with a machine gun bullet through my left leg. It's nothing at all serious and there will be no reason for you to worry.
Well, I gave a good account of myself I believe while in the battle. At first when I went over the top I was feeling somewhat nervous, and had a feeling that I was going over for the first and last time. The farther we advanced, and the thicker the bullets came, the better I felt, and the less I thought about myself. The only thing I thought of was getting some Fritzies — and take it from me, we got them — every one of them. We advanced fast — too fast, in fact. The only time I fixed bayonets was when I charged a machine gun nest, but the Boches there were badly wounded from our fire and begged for mercy. I made sure they didn't have any revolvers and then went further. Another fellow and I advanced over the third hill and found ourselves to be the only ones that far. All the others waited on the second hill. I looked around and found myself alone, so returned to the valley where several of the fellows had stopped during the barrage. Here we were in a pinch. One fellow went back to headquarters to notify them of how the artillery was hitting but I don't think he got anywhere. At least there were no results obtained. I decided to beat it back myself, and so I did. I ran over the hill through a German machine gun barrage. The bullets played "Yankee Doodle" around my head. I "flopped" once and just as I did a bullet hit my water bottle and cup and all my water was gone. That's hard luck too on the field.

Well, I hugged the ground for a few minutes and then ran the remainder of the gauntlet to headquarters, where I made connections with the major. Soon a wave of Jerries came through a gap on our right and we gave them battle. Not one of them will ever go back to Germany. While in the fight with them I was hit from the left by some sniper. As soon as I was hit I started back to the first aid station. It was necessary to go through a wide barbed wire entanglement but I made it safely. I stayed back near the First Aid Station from the time I was hit, about eleven thirty in the morning, until about four in the afternoon. By that time our boys had gone over the hills and we could not hear any more rifle fire at all. I picked up a rifle and used it for cane and hobbled back to the dressing station, from which place I got a truck to the field hospital. We had quite a number of the Boches wounded among our men. One whom I talked with was shot by his own captain. Many of them were wounded by their own officers for not fighting their best. Every now and then we could see German wounded crawling toward our lines. They realize how much better it is for them in our care than in a German grave.

One thing that will probably seem strange to you is the fact that I had plenty to eat before the battle and during it. Before we went over I was down beside a bridge eating and after I was hurt I was eating again. Here in the hospital the eats are especially well prepared. Of course I was only in for about five hours before I was hit. By this time it all seems like a dream and here I am limping around the hospital and writing letters. At that, I might get home about as soon as the letters, because the war is nearly over.

Dear mother, if you will remember, it was on May 11th at about that hour when I bade you good-bye at Camp Dodge. Well the time I was wounded was exactly six months to the hour from that time. Army life is a great game. It's a knock-down and drag-out and we're knocking them continually.

I have about a dozen letters to write. Now please don't worry about me at all as my wound is only slight and I am getting along fine.

I hope this letter finds you all well and happy.
Lots of love,
Harris.


The Carroll Times
Carroll, Iowa

28 Nov 1918
Page 1

Died in France

Word was received from Washington, D. C., Saturday informing Mr. and Mrs. John Biller that their son, Henry, had died in France, November 6th, from bronchial pneumonia. The last letter received by the parents from their son was on November 5th. The letter had been written on the 4th of October and at that time he was well and happy.

Henry was a bright, ambitious young man, who before entering service worked with the bridge gang for the Chicago Northwestern, which place he had filled for the past eight years. Last spring he was anxious to enter his country's service and enlisted the latter part of February, going to Vancouver, March 4th. He sailed for France May 1st, and although he has seen heavy fighting it was not a bullet but pneumonia following the dreaded influenza which took his life.

Besides his parents he leaves four sisters and a brother to grieve for him, Theresa and Rose, of Omaha; Katherine and Tillie, at home, and his brother, Frank.

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