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Tragic News From France

machinegunThe Summit Herald of November 29, 1918 reported that the Community Thanksgiving service in the Lyric Theater was the largest such service ever held in Summit.

The latest casualty list from overseas listed the deaths of three men from Summit. Corporal Thomas E. O'Shea, with the Machine Gun Company of the 107th Regiment, was killed in action on September 29. The paper reprinted a letter from his friend, Corporal Alan Eggers of Summit, who went "over the top" in the same battle. [Note: O'Shea and Eggers were later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.] Lieutenant Oscar Hellquist (Company D, 107th Infantry) was killed in action on October 18. Corporal Philip Drabble of the 106th Machine Gun Battalion died of pneumonia on November 5, somewhere in France. His loss came as particularly devastating news to his parents, who were notified just a few weeks earlier that their other son, Sergeant William Drabble, died of wounds on October 10. The two young men were the Drabbles' only children.

The paper published a letter sent to President Wilson by Mrs. Carroll P. Bassett of Summit, President of the N.J. Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage. She respectfully requested that he deny the proposal made by Mrs. Catt and other American suffragettes to have women included as delegates to the Peace Conference. The job was better left to men with training and experience in international affairs, she said. Furthermore, the suffragettes should be disqualified from participating because they had opposed America's entrance in the war.

Word came from France that Ruford D. Franklin, the son of Mayor Franklin, was promoted to Captain. He was in command of a detachment of aviators of the U.S. Air Service in France.

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The YWCA Comes to Summit

sayitwithflowersThe Summit Herald of November 22, 1918 reported that the United Community Thanksgiving service would take place in the Lyric Theater, led by the pastors of the Baptist Church and the Central Presbyterian Church, and with contributions from other local clergy. The service would be attended by 50 convalescent sailors and marines, who had been invited to eat Thanksgiving dinner with Summit families.

The Summit Women's Institute was reorganized into a YWCA, and elected a slate of officers. It was announced that they would have use of the YMCA gymnasium one day a week.

The Summit Playhouse had its official opening with four one-act plays. Proceeds of the ticket sales were donated to the Red Cross.

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Peace at Last!

perfection3The Summit Herald of November 15, 1918 reported that the people of Summit celebrated the real Armistice on the 11th, still having plenty of enthusiasm left over from the premature announcement the week before. Shortly after midnight, whistles began blowing. There was a lull, and sometime after 3:00 AM, there was a non-stop chorus of whistles and bells which lasted past daybreak. Some residents went to be with the crowds in Newark or New York, but most remained to join in the huge parade in the afternoon, led by the Mayor, and followed by members of the S.A.R., the Municipal Band, schoolchildren, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, all of the city's fire trucks, and more than a hundred wagons and automobiles.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Gow received word of the death of their son, Second Lieutenant Kenneth Gow, in action on October 18. Lt. Gow, serving in the 107th Machine Gun Company, was struck in the head by a piece of shrapnel and died instantly. Official notification came of the deaths in September of two other Summit men in the Machine Gun Company: Nicholas J. Kelly and John J. Mallay.

A reception was given for Col. H.H. Hirayama, head of the delegation of the Japanese YMCA to the Allied Forces. It was held in Nippon Hall, and catered by Summit resident Mr. Kishiro Kanzaki. The hall was decorated with Japanese and American flags. A member of the delegation sang several Japanese songs, and two of Mr. Kanazaki's children sang "America". On Sunday, the day before the reception, Col. Hirayama participated in a special baptismal service at Calvary Church, and served as godfather to the four Kanazaki children: Naoki, Sakiko, George, and Lincoln.

The Library has a searchable database of local historical newspapers. Search or browse at: