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home : columnists : columnists August 23, 2017

4/14/2017 9:12:00 AM
Licking Germany 'To a Frazzle'

By Paula Dunn
From Time to Thyme

You're probably already aware that this month marks 100 years since the United States entered World War I.

"The war to end war" had actually been going on in Europe since July of 1914, but the United States was officially neutral until Germany sank several U.S. merchant ships and attempted to get Mexico to join in the conflict against us.

President Woodrow Wilson finally asked Congress for a formal declaration of war against Germany on April 6, 1917.

In the days that followed, the people of Hamilton County displayed their patriotism in various ways.

The Cicero G.A.R. post adopted a resolution endorsing President Wilson's actions and offered their services to the President, however he might use them, "knowing full well that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance."

A group of Deming citizens who - according to the Noblesville Daily Ledger - wanted to see Germany "licked to a frazzle," gathered together on the evening war was declared to hold a pole and flag raising under the moonlight.

This activity was accompanied by a gunfire salute and a great deal of cheering, and the local children marched around, each one waving "an emblem of the republic."

In Sheridan, an "enthusiastic" patriotic meeting, complete with patriotic songs, was held at the First Christian Church. The Ladies' Patriotic Club discussed the role women could play in the war effort, C. B. Jenkins of the Noblesville Milling Company spoke on state food conditions, and J. W. Schwab of the Purdue Extension department addressed crop conditions and provided instructions for raising corn and potatoes.

However, the biggest demonstration in support of the country's war effort took place in Noblesville.

The day after war was declared, Noblesville's mayor, E. C. Loehr, issued a proclamation calling on the citizens of Noblesville, and everyone in Hamilton County able to join them, to meet at the courthouse square on April 13 at 4:00 p.m.

For one hour all places of business, shops and factories were to be closed and all people "regardless of political party, age, sex, color, or employment" were asked to march.

"Let there be no floats, no cars, no banners, no delegations, only people carrying flags, marching shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart, in this simple and impressive way, to show their devotion to their country."

The mayor wasn't disappointed. On the day of the parade, the area around the courthouse square was a sea of American flags, and red, white and blue bunting.

The Noblesville Daily Ledger estimated that between 2,500 and 2,800 people turned out to march in the parade behind Mayor Loehr and the grand marshal, Clem C. Stanford. Stanford was mounted on a white charger and the mayor was escorted by members of the G.A.R. and the Women's Relief Corps.

They were followed by the Noblesville Military Band, Boy Scouts, children from all the public schools, and several hundred ladies, businessmen, factory employees, professional men and laborers.

The local postmaster, everyone at the post office and several rural mail carriers also took part in the procession. Music was provided by two drum corps.

Perhaps the most colorful entry in the parade was "Curley" Herron, an employee of the Lake Erie and Western depot, who dressed up as "Uncle Sam."

A traveler who happened to be passing though town on the interurban, paused to witness this display of patriotic zeal and was quoted as saying, "In the last two or three weeks, I have been in a good many towns in Indiana and [have] seen patriotic demonstrations, but none of them compared with this event, the population of the city considered."

Paula Dunn's From Time to Thyme column appears each Friday in The Times. Contact her at younggardenerfriend@gmail.com

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