Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Great War: April 5, 1917

On this day a hundred years ago, the front page of the Hudson Evening Register reported that a declaration of war had been approved by the Senate and a vote in the House of Representatives was expected soon--perhaps that very evening. There was also another article about the measures being taken to protect the water supply. And then there was this headline:

Because of the condition of the newspaper, the text of the article is transcribed below instead of reproduced. Some background information that is not provided until much later in the article: Mr. Frese, who in 1917 would have been 48, immigrated to the United States from Germany when he was 16 and became an American citizen when he was 21.
Apparently somewhat despondent over things said about him--having a tendency to bring out that he is radically pro-German in his views pertaining to the present situation between the United States and Germany--which are no doubt pure fabrications, C. H. Frese, proprietor of the delicatessen establishment at 421 Warren street, this city, was interviewed today by a Register reporter.
"Many things have been said about you, Mr. Frese, regarding your attitude toward America in the present crisis," the newspaperman told the Hudsonian.
"I understand there are, but God knows they are not justifiable. For thirty-two years I have lived in this country: I have made my living here; I married an American-born woman; my children are here, and I have never been other than a peace [illegible] citizen. I love America. If I did not, I wouldn't have remained here."
Mr. Frese showed a marked degree of modesty when he declared that he didn't care to "advertise himself in the newspapers." He said he had thought of contradicting some of the accusations several times, but on the other hand, he said he could not determine in his mind whether it would be best to come forward and refute the statements. "Would it not stir up more agitation?" he inquired of the reporter.
421 Warren Street--the location,
in 1917, of Frese's delicatessen
The article goes on to mention some of the rumors that were being circulated about Frese and his family. One was that his wife, who was American-born, had taken a flag, presumably an American flag, away from a boy. Another was that his son, who was a tenor in the high school glee club, had refused to sing during a patriotic service at school. The most serious seemed to be the report, denied by their commanding officer, Captain Vogel, that "the Seventy-first boys were refused goods at Frese's store." As we've learned, the 71st Regiment was in Hudson at the time to guard the railroad, between Tivoli and Stockport, from being "interfered with by persons hostile to the government," and the management of the Playhouse, just downstreet from Frese's delicatessen, was giving the soldiers free admission to shows whenever they were off duty.

No comments:

Post a Comment