BREWER HISTORICAL SOCIETY NEWSLETTER
(Anniversary Year !!) In 2017 The Brewer Historical Society is celebrating 40 years of preserving and promoting the historical heritage of Brewer
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The Brewer Historical Society would like to thank the following corporate sponsors and supporters
Camden National Bank
City of Brewer
Brewer Federal Credit Union
Brewer High School Air Force Junior ROTC
Brewer Parks and Recreation
Creative Print Services
Dead River Company
Eastern Maine Development Corporation
Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems
Joseph Ferris, Esq.
Getchell Brothers Inc.
Gold Star Cleaners
Green Thumb Lawn Service
Marsh Property Management
Rand / Rand Dentistry
Scotts Lawn Service
TradeWinds Convenience Store
| FRIENDS OF CHAMBERLAIN FREEDOM PARK
Allen / Freeman / McDonnell Insurance
Machias Savings Bank
(Thank you for your support of Chamberlain Freedom Park and the Brewer Historical Society)
(The Brewer Historical Society newsletter is copied using the facilities at Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems. Thank you to EMHS and their staff.)
Special Contribution to this edition by————————-David Bergquist, Richard Shaw, Eric Arnold, Doris Lyford (written c.1980), Jean Lyford (letter from her husband c.1943)
“Lest we forget”
WORLD WAR I
1914 – 1918
100TH ANNIVERSARY of U.S. ENTRY APRIL 6, 1917
In 1914, Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austrian Empire, was assassinated in Sarajevo by a Yugoslavian nationalist. This set in motion a cascade of alliances and treaties which effectively brought all of Europe and much of the world into what was to become a global war. It was one of the bloodiest wars in history with over 1 ½ million casualties. It spawned the development of trench warfare and the creation of horrific weapons of destruction including poison gas, flame throwers, machine guns, air warfare, and the tank. The United States maintained neutrality until April 6th 1917 when it declared war on Germany because of the German sinking of the passenger ship “Lusitania”, multiple acts of aggression, and the growing need to support Unites States allies. The war ended in 1918 on the 11th month, the 11th day, and the 11th hour. World War I touched all Americans including those from Bangor and Brewer. This newsletter is dedicated to what has almost become a forgotten war, a “war to end all wars”.
David H. Bergquist
If you’ve ever taught school or worked with learners of any age, you know that students often ask each other, “What did you get for number 10?” or, “What did the teacher say about Hamlet?” Everyone wants to be on the same page. Likewise, if you examine the neighboring Brewer and Bangor 1918 high school student essays in which graduates write about their country’s involvement in The Great War, later known as World War I, you will find striking similarities.
Elmer Williams’s essay “Our Duty in the World War” that appeared in the 1918 Brewer High School yearbook, The Trident, called the war “…the gravest struggle humanity has ever witnessed, a struggle for democracy…Democracy and justice shall prevail at any cost.” Across the river, students wrote in editorials which appeared in Bangor High School’s The Oracle that the country had “…been drawn into the greatest struggle that history has ever known….And now she is fighting and fighting for righteousness sake….” Our army “…has given autocracy her first taste of American power.” Brewer’s Williams praised his city’s response to the war: “…already over 225 men are now wearing the uniform of the army or navy…We are fighting now for our lives and future generations to come.” Editors of The Oracle lauded “…Our brave boys (who) are ready to give their lives for their country…They fight to win, regardless of dangers to themselves.” Students on both sides of the river reflected on the need of the populace to support the war effort. “…it is our duty, as civilized people, to support our good government to the utmost.” And, Americans “…must never forget those who have gone across the deep to fight for the principles of right against might.” Not only was money needed through Liberty Loans, but students contended that waste must be reduced, food production increased, and support for the efforts of the Red Cross, Y.M.C.A and
Y.W.C.A. expanded. Williams urged his fellow students to purchase the government’s “Thrift Stamps” at only 25 cents each. After you accumulated 16 of these stamps, Williams explained, you received a “War Saving Stamp” which you placed on a War Savings Certificate. His rallying cry: ” Every time you lick a stamp, you help to lick the Kaiser.”
Citizens of the contiguous Penobscot river cities greeted the country’s entry into the European war with a “Pageantry of Patriotism.” Massive parades, extended oratories, and musical performances, not seen since the Civil War, became a way of life those first few months of the American war experience. Rallies extolled the virtues of American democracy and way of life. Its greatest prophet was President Woodrow Wilson who foresaw a “World Safe for Democracy.” History, though, had the final word as this war, with a brief hiatus, grew into World War II, and then the Cold War ending with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In 1917, though, the still young United States of America was eager to flex its muscles and stroll onto the world stage long occupied by entrenched and recalcitrant European powers. “But had we not resoundingly defeated the old and decaying Spanish Empire twenty years earlier in 1898? one could ask. The country soon learned that fighting in Europe was not as easy or as exciting as it first appeared. Indeed, the Great War that began in1914 initiated a panoply of worldwide social and political change that played out for most the twentieth century
(David Bergquist is a noted author and historian. He lives in Bangor)
Armistice Day 1918
By Doris Lyford
Armistice Day 1918 – the end of the war which was to end all wars. How naïve can one get? Now 62 years and three wars later [this was written in 1980] we are a disillusioned nation and already there is talk of a nuclear war which would certainly end all wars and all people
Living on the corner of Hammond and Ohio Streets well I remember being awakened by martial music as in the light of pre-dawn the troops were marching to board their trains at the old Bangor-Brewer station. Each contingent was accompanied by a band playing Sousa marches to provide extra patriotic enthusiasm.
How vastly different from World War II- no martial and no great enthusiasm- only a duty to be faced-on account of a mad man in Germany planning to rule the world
In the First World War, I had no immediate relative taking part. However, I learned to knit khaki scarves to send “over there” to keep the boys warm and I rolled Red Cross bandages for the wounded. Some of the scarves the boys could use for overcoats as we would get carried away with our work and keep right on knitting.
We boned up on our high school French, as our troops marched through France, in order to give Ypres and Chateau Thiery the right pronunciation.
We lustily sang the songs that came out of the war- “There’s a Long Long Trail a Winding”, “The Rose of No Man’s Land”, and “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag”. Just to mention a few.
Then on November 9th news of an armistice being signed brought great rejoicing-only to find that due to some technicality, it was a false alarm. However, on November 11th it was declared final.
What a furor-what rejoicing. All the church bells in Bangor and Brewer started ringing- mill whistles blew -and parades sprung up everywhere. Everybody had a flag waving as we marched along singing the aforesaid songs.
What a triumph – Kaiser William plans had been defeated and he was to spend the rest of his life splitting wood in Holland.
For some it was not a time of rejoicing. Many boys that had marched to Union Station returned in flag-draped boxes and long after the war had ended, they arrived endlessly.
At the end of World War II it seemed that for a while that Veteran’s Day would banish Armistice Day, but due to its staunch supporters-the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars- it is alive today and observed far and near.
However I do concur with General Sherman that “War is Hell”.
Doris Lyford (c.1980)
(Doris Lyford’s article made available courtesy of Richard Shaw)
Perceptions of World War I from a World War II Veteran
(The following letter was written by Lawrence “Bud” Lyford to his wife Jean during World War II. “Bud” was a combat veteran who was wounded and survived to be a major community businessman and leader until his death a few years ago. His wife, Jean, is still a major contributor to many local organizations, including the Brewer Historical Society. The letter was written about 1943 from Europe and expresses some incisive thoughts about the close of World War I)
…..On November 11, 1918 the bells rang all over the world because once again all of the peoples of the earth were all at peace. Young men emerged from the trenches of Flanders with smiles on their faces, for they were going home, to peace and happiness. If they could have only seen twenty years into the future.
The peace, ironically as it seems to us now, was drawn up at Versailles. This peace only angered and humiliated the German people.
Almost immediately they started planning their future, a future of revenge. They first reorganized their education system and then they simplified army administration and paper work. In the book “Thoughts of a Soldier” General Von Seect says “the last war war was only ended because the German people were exhausted”.
All this seems to add up to just one thing. We the allies made a grave mistake in the last war. We never marched into Berlin- We didn’t even carry our offensive onto German soil. This was our grave mistake. Von Seeckt says that the German people consider this as only the second phase of World War I. They had taken a breathing spell of twenty years. They were permitted to go home in 1918 and rearm. They were permitted to organize the strongest military machine on the face of the earth.
If we had gone into the heart of Germany, things would have been much different. I don’t mean to go into Germany like “Sherman’s march through Georgia”, but if we had more or less taken over Germany and reconstructed her whole internal organization [things would be different].
Our first job would have been to reorganize her school system. Then her religion could have been put back on a strong foundation. Under no circumstances would they be permitted to rearm-nor would they be able to maintain a standing army.
But let us not talk in the past tense for once again we are at war with Germany. We are in the second phase of World War I. Do you like to think that if we again are victorious and another peace like the last one is drawn up, that a period of another twenty years we will be again at war? This can and (can) be avoided only if we go onto German soil. If we show the people of Germany, at home, the ruthlessness and horrors of war.
Now my plan is not just my own opinion, but has been talked about by learned men for the last five years. General John Pershing didn’t want to stop his army in the battle fields of France, but his theory was to march on to Berlin. Although we cannot be sure, we do, however, believe that his motive was purely destructive. This plan does not follow with my idea. I advocate complete reorganization of the 3rd Reich. In order to do this we must maintain an army of occupation. Those army would police Germany from border to border. We would start, as I have pointed out before, a completely new educational system. We would knock down trade barriers so that German products could be equally distributed throughout the worlds. A great athletic program would be started and athletic competition would be greatly encouraged. The militaristic leaders would be exiled in some foreign land, and they would never return to Germany.
All military training would be set aside. Then gradually our armies of occupation would be taken away. Finally, Germany would not be permitted to keep some of her occupied territory, but those that do should remain under her domain.
In conclusion I would like to day that we must definitely begin to think about the peace that is going to follow the war. I believe my plan is by no means utopian. A peace can be intelligently worked out [so] that Germany can never be permitted to start another war.
Lawrence “Bud” Lyford (c.1940s)
American Legion in Brewer Maine
The Daniel E. Geagan post #98 was formed in Brewer in March of 1919. The post was named in honor of Daniel E. Geagan who was killed in action in France July 22, 1918 at the age of twenty. The American Legion organization was formed around the United States to honor the soldiers that had fought and died in World War I. On the first Memorial Day after the War, the Brewer Legion Post turned out in uniform and paid tribute to the war dead. On each succeeding Memorial Day members of the Legion would attend the services at both the North Brewer and Oak Hill Cemeteries. The American Legion continues to place flags on the graves of American soldiers. They held meetings for many years at the Brewer Auditorium, but are now joined with the Bangor Legion Post.
The American Legion Auxiliary was started in November of 1919 and became one of one of the largest and most influential organizations of women in world history. They were an advocate of many important social programs along with supporting and helping the Legion program. At this time the poppy was adopted as the memorial flower.
1917 War Cake
1 cup corn syrup
1 c. cold water
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. Crisco
1 tsp. soda
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Place first 6 ingredients in saucepan. Cook 3 minutes after reaching boiling point. Add Crisco. When cool, add soda dissolved in a little hot water, add flour and baking powder. Stir, pour into greased tube pan. Bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees
|The Brewer Historical Society will resume regular membership meetings on the second Tuesday of the month at 7PM. They were suspended during January and February because of weather concerns. April is the annual membership meetings with a recap of the year’s activities and a look towards the future.
There will be some important events this year as the Brewer Historical Society celebrates its 40th anniversary and the Chamberlain-Freedom Park celebrates its 20th anniversary. The 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I will also generate special events. Stay tuned. !!!!!
It is time for our annual membership renewal.
We have enclosed Brewer Historical Society accomplishments for last year and this year should be as exciting with the 40th anniversary of the Historical Society and the 20th anniversary of Chamberlain-Freedom Park. If you are a courtesy or honorary member, please consider becoming an active member. If you are a new member and have joined since August 2016, your dues have been paid until April 2018.
Thank you for your continued support of the Brewer Historical Society
Membership is due by April 1st. Early payment is always appreciated
___Life Member $200.00
Please make checks payable to “Brewer Historical Society” and mail to:
Brewer Historical Society
C/o Earl Seymour, treasurer
17 Aspen Way
Brewer, Maine 04412
The Brewer Historical Society is a non-profit 501 C (3) organization and depends solely upon its membership and the community for support. Your donations are tax deductible
Brewer Historical Society 2016 Accomplishments
Thank you for your continued support of the Brewer Historical Society……
As we begin our annual membership renewal program, it is a good time to review the accomplishments of the Brewer Historical Society during the last year. The historical society has continued to partner with both the community and the school system in helping to promote and preserve Brewer’s historical heritage.
>>>>> The Chamberlain-Freedom Park has continued to be refurbished over the last few years. There has been upgraded “sponsorship” and “historic” signs, a new bulwarks fence (depicting Gettysburg in 1863), and a University of Maine Extension “Master Gardener” volunteer redoing the garden areas. The Brewer High School Air Force Junior ROTC supplements a professional landscaper in helping to maintain the park. The Park is on the Brewer Register of Historic Places, complementing the new Brewer Waterfront trail and being a valuable part of Brewer’s vision.
>>>>>The Clewley Museum received trim around the windows completing the outside refurbishing of the building. In addition, the City provided additional gravel and a privacy fence was installed along the back of the property. Some of the foundation was re-pointed. A new project is to refurbish some of the interior and focus on Brewer’s history. The building is part of the Brewer Register of Historic Places and was involved in many community events as well as being open for visitors during the summer months.
>>>>>Associated with the historical society and the museum is the Resource Center which archives materials and shares that material with the community. The Resource Center was supported by local businesses in the acquisition of equipment in order to digitize the historical society’s collection of photographs. That information has been shared with the community. During the year, the Center provided historical photographs for local businesses and organizations, aided in the research of authors and researchers, and responded to requests from throughout the United States.
>>>>>The historical society continued to maintain the historical display case at the Brewer Community School (Pre-K through 8th grade). This year the history of toys and the importance of Brewer archeology was added. In addition, the organization became more involved with the High School. We participated in a photography project with the Arts Department, and continued to provide an annual scholarship to a Brewer High School senior, emphasizing community involvement and an appreciation of Brewer history
With the support of our members and the community, this will be an outstanding year. It is important to know that the Brewer is a volunteer non-profit (501-c-3) organization that is dependent on community support. Membership needs to be renewed by April 1st, but early payment is very much appreciated.