100 Years Ago: May 21, 1918

May 21, 1918

On May 21, 2018 the Great War dominated the news. The Perth Amboy Evening News front page contained stories that local contributions for the Red Cross reached the half way mark of their $40,000 goal, America’s first field army (200,000 troops) formed in France, and the French made important military gains in a “brilliant” attack near the Belgian border. But the largest headline was reserved for the imminent closure of saloons within a five mile radius of Camp Raritan in Bonhamtown, New Jersey.

United States Attorney general Charles Lynch issued the following order to United States Marshall Albert Bollschweiler.

The Attorney General directs the closing of all places which sell intoxicating liquors within five miles of the Raritan river ordanance [sic] depot and training camp at Metuchen, known as Camp Raritan.

I suggest that you first visit the commanding officer of that camp and obtain from him a map establishing the five mile area and that you thereupon close all hotels and saloons which are located in such prohibited area, except, of course, in incorporated cities and towns which are more than one-half mile from the camp.

Charles Lynch
U.S. Attorney

This action was advocated at the conference of the Middlesex County Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. Marshall Bollschweiler also carried out similar actions at Camp Vail, Little Silver and Princeton with the express purpose of keeping intoxicating liquors out of the hands of camp soldiers.

Away from the front page this issue is peppered with other tidbits about the war.

It is common knowledge in the township of Sayreville that during a serious rush on registration Day, June 5, 1917, the authorities opened a branch registration station in Gorman’s Pool Room and that at some period in the day the registration cards of the men who registered at that station were either lost or stolen. There being therefore no record of this registration in the local board offices leaving these men while aparently [sic] registered not subject to selective service regulations until a registration has been accomplished. This matter has been presented in the papers twice already without any satisfactory results but the Local Board No. 3 now feels that the time has arrived for putting some of these men on the “slacker” list. (p.3)

Count Czernin, fromer [sic] Austrian-Hungarian foreign minister, and Count Von Hertling and Doctor Von Kuehlmann, German Chancellor and Foreign Minister, respectively, opposed the recent Austro-German alliance effected by Kaiser Wilhelm and Emperor Karl, according to reports received here today from Berlin and Vienna. (p.2)

Fifty-four reported for drill and nineteen new enrollments were secured for Company K, 19th Regiment Cadet Corps, of New York, at the school last night. (p.3)

Women who would serve their country by taking wartime jobs as Philadelphia street car conductors must bid goodbye to high heel shoes, short skirts, visible-invisible hose, all other dress refinements which might tend to congest traffic. (p.7)

The National Digital Newspaper Program is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and is a collaboration among Rutgers University Libraries, the New Jersey State Archives, and the New Jersey State Library.

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