Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Great War: December 29, 1917

I started this series months ago with the aim of scouring newspapers from a hundred years ago to find and share articles that provided insight into what life was like on the home front--specifically in Hudson--during World War I. On April 5, the day before the United States declared war, I shared the account of how C. H. Frese, a German-born naturalized citizen who owned a delicatessen at 421 Warren Street, was being harassed for allegedly having "radically pro-German" views. Somewhat related is this news item discovered in the Hudson Evening Register for December 29, 1917.


I found George Stubits in the census records for 1920 and learned that he had been born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as were his mother and father; German was his native language; he had immigrated to the United States in 1910, when he was 15; he was an alien; and he worked as a packer at the cement works, presumably Atlas Cement Company. During World War I, aliens--non-citizens--were required to register for the draft although they were not subject to induction into military service.

The newspaper says Stubits lived at 15 Power Avenue, but the census records indicate that in 1920 he was a lodger in the home of Stephen and Katie Lakics at 16 Power Avenue. The picture below, from the Library of Congress Historic American Buildings Survey, shows 16 Power Avenue before it and the rest of the houses in the part of Hudson known as Simpsonville were demolished in the 1970s.

It may seem remarkable to us today, but in 1920, nine people lived in this house: Stephen and Katie Lakics, their three children, ages 8, 4, and 1, and four men who were lodgers. Except for the children, who were born in the United States, all were immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The census lists Stephen Lakics' occupation as "fireman" at the cement works. Three of the four lodgers were also employed at the cement works. The fourth lodger was a laborer in a textile mill.  

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