100 Years Ago in Suffield

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From the pages of the Windsor Locks Journal, selected and lightly annotated by Lester Smith, Historian of the Town and the Suffield Historical Society

February 1

[A sentimental essay on heating with wood in the old days preceded the following:] The present outlook is that the same conditions may return, and soon. With the present conditions of freight congestion, extra demand for bunker coal, increased production of factories, gives but little encouragement for much coal next winter, and the farmers are now urged to cut wood for next winter whenever possible.

Joseph J. Barnett has resigned his position as foreman at the Bissell-Graves farm.

Samuel J. Orr spent several days this week in New York on a business trip.

February 8

Tuesday morning the thermometer registered 14 below zero with a high wind that drove the cold into the houses and froze pipes that had been untouched by frost

All the schools in town are closed to-day for “visiting day” and most of the teachers will visit schools in other towns.

A train on the Central New England road got off the track between here [West Suffield] and Tariffville Tuesday night and was not put back on the rails until Wednesday morning.

February 15

Sibbil Dwight Kent Chapter, D. A. R., has received the following letter from Anthony Kuras: —

“Somewhere in France”

Dec. 30, 1917

Just a few lines to let you know that I received your most welcome package. I think I can make great use of the sweater and helmet because it is very cold out here. I needed the helmet very much because we all wear iron helmets and it is cold with only the iron helmet on. . . . the sweater . . . sweetmeats … I cannot thank you enough for these most welcome gifts. The boys are looking forward to the time when they will go over the top [of the trench] and show the Germans what the boys from the U. S. A. can do.

I remain sincerely,

Private Anthony Kuras

Co. G, 104 U. S. A. Infantry

                          A. E. Force

The union service at the Second Baptist church Sunday morning will be a special service in the interest of Connecticut’s ratification of national prohibition. . . . This is a question of vital interest to every resident of the state and there should be a large attendance at the service. [In 1917 Congress submitted the 18th Amendment, which was quickly ratified by all the states except Connecticut and Rhode Island. National prohibition went into effect in 1920. It was repealed in 1933.]

February 22

There was a good attendance at the war rally held at the Town hall last Saturday evening. Several reels of war pictures were shown, and Sergeant Gibbons of the Canadian Army gave vivid word pictures of personal experiences on the fighting line at Ypres and other battles. He . . . was one of two survivors of his regiment.

Night school for our foreign residents will open in the Center school next Monday evening and will be held Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings. There will be three classes, for those who cannot speak English at all and more advanced classes. The course of instruction will be the Roberts system. [A Town Meeting on February 19 had voted $500 for the night school.]


Through a proofreading error, a December 28 excerpt from the 1917 news misquoted that the late bars from Springfield and Hartford had been made unpleasant by an unusual number of drunks. The 1917 report actually referred to the late cars from those towns. Trolleys were an important element of local life back then.

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