New Hampshire in WWI: Committee of One Hundred

Photograph of Mary I. Wood, Chairman of Women’s War Work in New Hampshire. Photo from: The Granite Monthly, a magazine of literature, “New Hampshire’s War Workers,” 1919, page 99.

If you mention the term ‘Committee of Safety‘ to a New Hampshire history researcher, they will probably think of the American Revolution, when trusted prominent men from each town were appointed to regulate and take control of local government, especially as royal officials left or were expelled.

What is little know today is that a Committee of Safety, also known as the Committee of One Hundred, was appointed by the Governor of New Hampshire, just prior to World War I. This committee’s regulating power was far less extensive than that of its predecessor, but its membership was similarly drawn from the public sector, and was entirely male (though ancillary sub-committees and auxiliary committees included some women).

The responsibility of these committees collectively was to oversee and report to the governor on: food production, recruitment, hygiene and medicine, emergencies, industry, transportation, finance, aid societies, dependent soldiers and sailors, military equipment and supplies, aviation, mobilization and concentration camps, naval, state protection, speaker’s bureau, Americanization, War Historian, Non-War Construction, and Woman’s Committee. They helped also to coordinate towns and cities within the reach of their committees. Continue reading

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New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Somersworth

Old photograph (postcard) of Market Square in Somersworth NH. Property of J.W. Brown.

Somersworth New Hampshire, located in Strafford County, is the smallest of New Hampshire’s 13 cities, and one with the 3rd lowest population. In 1893 it was incorporated as a city, and was also known as “Great Falls.” At the time of the 1st World War its population was about 6,688 people.

The City of Somersworth Annual Reports give some insight into how returning soldiers were recognized. The 1919 report states: “We shall be pleased to appropriate money for a fitting celebration for our returned soldiers at some time during the year..” (p 8). The 1920 Annual Report shows how monies were spent from the World War Veteran’s Account, including a banquet, decorations, fireworks, orchestra, parade. The total was $1,181.09, a great deal of money at that time, so the event must have been spectacular. Continue reading

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100 Years Ago: Fourth of July 1917

Berwin (my father), Anna and Margaret Webster posing at their parent’s home on Depot Street in Manchester NH, circa 1918.

On July 4th 1917 the World was at War. Just a week earlier, on June 26 the first 14,000 United States infantry troops had landed in France, and were beginning to train for combat.

The  local weather was temperate. The Nashua New Hampshire newspaper reported: “Temperature reading at the Indian Head National Bank today were: 8 a.m. 62; 12 noon 66; 3 p.m. 70.”

The local New Hampshire newspapers around the 4th were a strange mix of current news and promotions of family-oriented entertainment to celebrate the Fourth of July. The front page of the Nashua (NH) Telegraph included stories on the Russian offensive, American troops in Paris on parade, and a notice that a famed trench fighter named Oscar M. Flather would be visiting to give his insights into ‘modern warfare.’  Continue reading

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A Gold Star Mother’s Trip to France: Mrs. Nora G. (Hamblett) Weld of Canaan NH

Photograph of Mrs. Nora G. Weld taken prior to her trip, from a Canaan NH Newspaper. Photograph courtesy of the Canaan NH Historical Society. Used here with permission.

When the United States Government issued an invitation to each mother and widow of a deceased soldier, whose remains rested in the American Cemeteries in France, to visit that place, I accepted the invitation. It had been my wish that at some future time I would be able to visit the grave of my son who was killed on September 24th, 1918 at St. Mihiel.

On September 26th [6th], 1930, I was one of the two hundred and thirty-seven ladies of Party S to arrive in New York City at the Hotel Western, where we were received by U.S. Officials who issued our credentials and passports.

On the morning of September 27th [7th], we were placed in busses and taken through the tube under the Hudson River to Pier No. 4, Hoboken, New Jersey; from which we were to sail on the S.S. America. As a farewell gift, the City of New York presented each lady with a small silk American Flag. The boat left the Pier at 12 A.M. , and, as we glided out of the harbor, the crowds were cheering, whistles were blowing, and the U.S. Band played the “Stars and Stripes Forever” and “Till We Meet again.” All the ladies of Party S were leaning over the rail, waving their American Flags. We were a very happy party; all going for the same purpose.

Continue reading

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New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Center Harbor

Veterans Memorial of Center Harbor New Hampshire, located outside the James E. Nichols Memorial Library. Photograph by J.A. Kinnaman. Used here with his permission.

Center Harbor is a town that sits snugly between Squam Lake and Lake Winnepesauke. Even today the population hovers just above 1,000 people, rising many fold during the summer tourist season. In 1920 it had just 422 year-round residents. That fact did not prevent the town from sending its best and bravest into War. By 1920 the Town of Center Harbor had created a monument that included heroes of the town who participated in wars up to and including World War I.

This memorial sits on the lawn of the James E. Nichols Memorial Library at 35 Plymouth Street. My thanks to Librarian, A.J. Kinnaman, for helping me with this project, and for providing the photographs of the monument that you see here. Continue reading

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