Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Great War: April 30, 1918

On April 23, 1918, the Columbia Republican reported on the plans for a great parade that was to take place later that week, on Friday, April 26. On April 30 (the Columbia Republican was published weekly), the paper covered the parade in great detail. Because the article reveals so much about life in Hudson a hundred years ago, it is quoted extensively below.

Liberty Day in Hudson will go down in the annals of the city of one of the greatest holidays the oldest resident can recall. Never before have the people of the city put themselves so squarely behind a movement and in such a short time. In no clearer and better way could the city have shown the boys at the front that they are with them and that they intend to send Hudson "over the top" in its Liberty Loan drive just as sure as the sun rises.
Promptly at noon the city gave itself over to a half holiday in accordance with the wished of the President of the United States, the Governor of this state and the Mayor of the city. And into holiday spirit it surely did go. The buildings and streets were in gala attire and bands, drum corps and soldiers began arriving on every train and boat. Then the floats--one of the big features of a parade that was to be the greatest and best the city has ever witnessed--began to appear for the first time on the streets of the city.
Shortly before noon the Liberty Coach drawn by four grey horses and the Liberty Ball rolled by Boy Scouts reached the city. The coaching party was taken to the home of Dr. and Mrs. Clark G. Rossman where a luncheon was given in their honor.
Illustrations that accompanied the article in the Columbia Republican
The home of Dr. and Mrs. Clark G. Rossman today
The parade began to form at 1 o'clock and it was then that the wonderful size of the demonstration first became apparent. In every direction from North Fifth street the divisions were being made up and every one in itself measured well over quarter of a mile. There were five divisions, five bands and five drum corps, four companies of New York Guard, three troops of Boy scouts, one home defense corps in this procession that reached from one end of the city to the other and half way back again.
The parade seemed to grow by the minute and Parade Marshal Rote and his aides did wonderful work in getting each unit in its proper place. There were some unavoidable delays and one or two accidents which held up the starting but at 2:32 the procession was under full headway. Word was sent to police headquarters and the fire alarm was sounded.
To go into detail of the procession would be impossible. There was not a unit that had been scheduled to parade that failed to appear. There were added starters however. One of these was the C. H. Evans & Sons turn out. Practically every employee of the brewery and bottling plant as well as the office employees marched behind the company officials. They brought their own band, the Windham organization, and each man carried a banner showing that the plant was 100 per cent, every employee having subscribed to a third Liberty Loan bond.
The turn-out of the Atlas Guards was a big feature. This organization composed of employees of the big Greenport plant of the New York & New England Cement & Lime Co., have turned out on many occasions but this time they made a showing that would be impossible to surpass.
Headed by Superintendent B. E. Miller and M. J. Degman, captain of the Guards, and the plant foremen and officials, the men marched about 300 strong. The "men"--however does not properly express it, for not only did the men turn out but the young ladies employed in the plant office. They marched ahead in a column. Every one carried a flag and a pennant reading, "We Have Bought a Bond." There were numerous banners carried, among these one that showed that the plant was a 100 per cent one in the purchase of the Third Liberty Bonds.
And then there was the Gifford-Wood turn-out. This was really one of the shining features of the parade. At the head of this unit marched six young ladies carrying a frame from which hung the company service flag, showing a great many of the young men of this company are in the service. Then young ladies of the office staff rode in decorated automobiles directly behind them. Then came the officials of the plant and the men, about 200 strong. Every man carrying a pennant showing that he purchased a bond. Then came five floats all entered by the Gifford-Wood Co., and most appropriate. Loaded on big auto trucks were great tanks manufactured at the plant for munition-making companies, steel plate used for armoring purposes, a forge-shop with the riveters at work. These pieces of machinery were painted yellowish-brown and were all in operation, workmen who are at the plant showed just exactly what this company is doing for Uncle Sam by making the machinery needed to turn out munitions and steel plate as well as gas and other war necessities. The painters of the shop marched in uniform ahead of their float and there was another of the company in which the Devil--an employee in costumer, was seen astride the "wooden casket" in which the Kaiser was supposed to be. The float was cleverly posted and attracted much attention.
The banner on the float reads: "Here Lies the Kaiser Flowers Omitted"
Another company that did itself proud was the Mechanical-Handlor Co. Headed by the officials of the company practically every employee marched, carrying flags and banners showing that they were on the honor list in bond buying. They escorted a float that attracted great attention also. Mounted upon a motor truck was a life-boat swinging from two great davits. The rigging was exactly the same as that used aboard ships in the war zone and the float showed what this company is doing for the country--manufacturing these davits which are of the latest design and insure the safe lowering of a life boat. This float reached high in the air and just before the parade started met with an accident that seemed at first to mean that the float would have to be withdrawn. The towering davits struck a tree on upper State street as the parade was forming and one was swept down, crashing upon the truck and bring[ing] the boat and rigging to the ground. The employees looked the wreck over for a moment and then went to work. In twenty minutes they had the float in as good a shape as before. They all wanted to make it the best yet and they succeeded.
The Hudson police under Chief Cruise made a fine showing as did the mounted aides to Marshal Rote. . . .
The Red Cross made another wonderful showing. The women wore white with the Red Cross veils--over a hundred strong. They escorted their float in which women were pictured at work for the soldiers. . . . 
Along with the Red Cross were the Red Cross war dogs, a new and novel plan. Forty-four dogs, each canine having a Red Cross blanket and the same equipment as the war dogs on the other side, followed and made a great hit.
The service flag division was another innovation that was a parade feature. Everywhere along the line this division was given applause. Members of families who have boys in the service carried service flags. There were as many ladies as men.
The turn-out of the soldiers was wonderful. Co's A and B of Albany, Co. E of Catskill and Co. F of Hudson, formed the battalion of the New York Guard, commanded by Col. Walsh. With the soldiers--who incidentally drew round after round of applause all along the line--were a number of the Hudson active company who are in service on the aqueduct and who came up on short furloughs. . . .
There were hundreds of other parts of the parade which deserve more worthy mention but space does not permit. Among these were the splendid appearance of the Hudson fire department. Every company made a fine showing and the firemen came in for much favorable comment. . . . 
Another manufacturing plant that should not be overlooked was the Swansdown Knitting Co., of Hudson. Headed by the officials of the plant, the male employees to the number of over 100 marched with flags and pennants showing that they were honor men in the Liberty Loan drive. They escorted a red, white and blue pyramid float. This attractive piece of work was set off by a scaffold on the rear to which hung a bag and in this the effigy of the Kaiser reposed. Over the top the sign read, "Bag the Kaiser."
Then there was the Union Mills Co., turn-out. Nearly 200 strong and headed by the officials and the clerical force of the two plants, the men carrying flags and banners showing that they had bought freely of Liberty Bonds.
But to the school children of Hudson belong the honor of the parade and of their teachers and Superintendent much credit is due for the fine showing. The public schools and St. Mary's Academy showed a spirit that was really wonderful. Probably every school child of Hudson from the age of 5 years up paraded. Of course some of the little tots could not walk the parade distance but they were not left at home. Instead thoughtful persons had arranged for fifteen autotrucks to carry those little people along with their older friends and how they did wave their flags and make enthusiasm ring.
The Sixth Street School drum corps headed the public schools while St. John's Academy fife and drum corps of Troy led St. Mary's Academy. The latter organization composed of school boys is one of the cleverest organizations of its kind in the State and they were a treat to hear. St. Mary's Academy brought the boys here particularly for the parade.
The High School cadets marched in squad formation and showed their military training. The girls of the school were attired in uniform dresses of white middy blouses, blue skirts and red caps. They looked stunning. The other public school grades marched with red, white and blue caps and other novel uniforms.
The showing of the pupils of St. Mary's Academy was exceptionally fine. The standard of the school was carried by a school boy in the uniform of a cadet while a boy in the uniform of a sailor marched on each side. 
The High School boys in military formation marched in white trousers, dark coats and red, white and blue caps. They carried a large flag. Then came thirty-five of the academy girls supporting an immense American flag. This flag was carried in a novel manner, the heads of the thirty-five girls appearing above it as it swept along.
Then came the pupils, marching like soldiers and following them a lovely white float on which was Miss Liberty with tiny Red Cross nurses and Boy Scouts grouped about her.
The G.A.R. veterans rode in automobiles. The veterans all along the line were forced to tip their hats to the applause that rolled in. The veterans stated afterward that it was the greatest parade they have ever participated in.
In the industrial division there was another company that deserves much credit for their part in the parade. It is the William Petry Co. Inc. The officials of the company and the employees, and there were in line every man that could be spared from urgent work, marched with flags and banners showing that they had subscribed to a man to the third loan. The employees escorted a beautiful float set upon an auto truck. It was a red, white and blue pyramid and at the top was a mounted eagle. Behind this float was the new motor ambulance of the Hudson City Hospital. . . . 
Miss Columbia and Uncle Sam drawn in pony carts were a feature also as they have been of parades in the past. . . . 
All along the line of march the buildings were ablaze with red, white and blue.
The description of the parade makes one wish more than just four Rowles photographs of the parade were available to us today.

1 comment:

  1. Was there anyone left to watch this astounding parade ?