History of Buffalo and Erie County, New York

Buffalo will one day realize the tremendous growth and development which its geographical location makes inevitable. As the years go by and we roll along toward that period of community greatness, Buffalonians will search through the written pages to visualize in pride or humility their community ancestry, just as the individual beams or scowls over his family tree. While men do not live in the past there is always a companion- ship and an abiding interest in those who cut the path ahead of us, and history is ever a congenial friend on the library shelf.

In these late days of 1918 and early days of 1919 we are too close to the World War to compile a history of the war, but we can aim to produce a narrative in which we shall outline and depict the activities of the men and women of Buffalo and the surrounding towns during the years from 1914 to 1919 — an historical period. In that narrative we shall endeavor to portray — perhaps 'twill be in a homely and inartistic way — but as accurately as man can, the events at home and abroad in which Buffalonians and their neighbors participated.

In the chapters as they unfold the reader may expect to find : first, the record of the average American's early indifference to war reflected in Buffalo; then the indefatigable efforts of a few patriots to arouse the community to the need for preparedness, the organization of the National Army, the camps and the training of men, the overseas expeditions and the glorious epic of Buffalo and Erie County boys on the battlefields of France and Belgium, suffering wounds inflicted by gas and shrapnel and machine gun bullets; fighting and dying, but ever with their faces forward. And the reader may expect, also, to find chronicled the tremendous task which fell to the men, the women and the children at home in the struggle that was waged to make all the world safe for democracy.

This book was written when the facts were fresh in the minds of those who have so generously contributed to it. Indeed, this preface was in the course of preparation by the editor in the office of the City Clerk in the City and County Hall on that November day, 1918, when the erroneous report of the signing of the armistice threw the community into pandemonium.

Outside! All around! Even about the City Hall, removed from the main arteries of travel, the crowds were surging back and forth in the streets. Crowd leaders were endeavor- ing to marshal their followers in the semblance of parade formation. Here and there portions of what once might have been a band gave out voluminously, if not harmoniously, the strains of martial music. Confetti was everywhere, and from the highest windows of the office buildings on the corner girls were throwing out sparkling clouds of paper clipped to snowflake size. Happiness in confusion appeared to have achieved its greatest triumph. Enthusiasm was at its topmost pitch. The marchers, as their respective banners indicated, were drawn from the great munition plants, from the high schools, from the law offices, from the department stores and made up a cosmopolitan crowd from the avenues and institutions where men and women earn their livelihood, or prepare themselves therefor.

It was among such surroundings I plodded on in the task previously undertaken of preparing in an official way for historical reference the story of Buffalo's part in the war. Contemporaneous writers whose individual capacity for the task far overshadows mine abound. But unfortunately perhaps for this work, it happened that I had been closely associated with Buffalo's war program from the first day until, at least, the present hour.

Compilations of this sort are usually the result of painstaking effort. I surely will bow in grateful appreciation if this one shall be deemed worthy of that last word of commendation. The book can claim a foundation of information obtained at first hand, and to that extent it will be a substantial edifice. Though its ornamentations may not be suggestive of the broadest culture nor the highest scholarship, it will deal with men as they were and events as they transpired among the masses of our citizenship. An inspiring skyline, a knowledge that it is a story of the splendid sacrifices and brilliant achievements of a patriotic people will tend, I am sure, to hold even the balance so that just recognition may be accorded to each, whether his task was performed under the rays of heroic splendor on the battlefield or in the equally arduous but less dangerous and more dimly illuminated walks of civic war work.

This record is not set down for the men and women of to-day. They have heard the shouts I have heard, and viewed all the scenes I have seen. Most of them have been participants in the local activities to the same extent. They therefore need no written narration. To them this would be simply a ponderous volume, for the most part unattractive and without fascination. But for the children, the men and women of Buffalo of to-morrow, it is hoped it will serve a useful purpose.

The reader may be compelled to pass wearily over many of its pages. The editor furnishes a narrative. Style for its own sake often captivates while the story runs barren of interest. Most of us seek the pages that throb and glow. I cherish, perhaps vainly, but nevertheless earnestly, the hope that the grim, chill statistics of this municipal history will be softened by the radiance of valorous deeds that shed a glory about it, and that those who come after us will feel a certain contentment in the fact that the activities of Buffalo and Erie County, during the crucial days of the Great World War, have been preserved in impartial data for the information of posterity.


Table of Contents

Preface 11
Introductory — Buffalo 13
I - With Minds Unshod of War 20
II - Monroe Doctrine Rocks on Its Base 24
III - Scenting the Battle Afar 27
IV - Preparedness Seed is Sown 29
V - U. of B. Company in National Guard 32
VI - Governor Whitman at First Preparedness Meeting 34
VII - Patriotism Unleashed by June Day Parade 37
VIII - Unequipped Regiments Called to Mexico 41
IX - Troop I Off to Border — Colonels Wolf and Babcock Relieved 44
X - Germany's First Peace Proposal 46
XI - Mayor's Americanization Committee at Work 48
XII - City Welcomes Returning Soldiers 51
XIII - Allies Decline Peace Terms 53
XIV - Chamber of Commerce Urges Armed Guards for Local Plants 55
XV - Elmwood Music Hall Mass Meeting Declares for War 58
XVI - Naval Militia Off to War— Soldiers Guard Water Front 62
XVII - Rush for Marriage Licenses Congests City Clerk's Office 64
XVIII - Flag Raising Ceremonies and Pulpit Appeals 67
XIX - Uncle Sam's Plan to Raise a National Army 70
XX 0 Louis P. Fuhrmann— Buffalo's War Mayor 1914 to 1917 72
XXI - Volunteer Army to Administer Selective Service Law 74
XXII - Tony Monanco by Name : Water Boy by Occupation 76
XXIII - I Am An American 78
XXIV - Registration Day, June 5, 1917 80
XXV - Twenty Exemption Districts for Erie County 83
XXVI - Exemption District Machinery in Operation 90
XXVII - Rann's Appeal Agent Volunteers 92
XXVIII - Unlimited Service by Members of Buffalo Bar 95
XXIX - District Board Number Three 97
XXX - "The Rose of No Man's Land" 100
XXXI - Coal Shortage Through Winter of 1917-1918 103
XXXII - Peace Proposal of Pope Benedict XV 105
XXXIII - Guardsmen Spend Summer of 1917 in Buffalo Camp 107
XXXIV - Festival of Light and Song — A Formal Good-By 111
XXXV - National Army of the United States 117
XXXVI - Amid Cheers and Tears Guardsmen Leave Home 121
XXXVII - George S. Buck, War Mayor 1918-1919 125
XXXVIII - Fort Porter Plays Its Part in World War 128
XXXIX - Base Hospital No. 23 130
XL - Wheatless Days in Buffalo Hotels 135
XLI - With Don Martin in London 138
XLII - Lieut. Harold B. Wertz, First Division U. S. A 140
XLIII - Smoke Ammunition from the Buffalo News 141
XLIV - And the Navy Took Them Over 145
XLV - Aboard an American Transport 150
XLVI - 77th Division Within Thunder of Guns 152
XLVII - Seeing Paris with Don Martin 154
XLVIII - Germany's March Drive Crushes British Defense 157
XLIX - Lightless, Heatless, Gasless Days 159
L - Buffalo Women Face the Hun 163
LI - American AlHed Exposition and Bazaar 169
LII - Second Red Cross Drive 171
LIII - "Can They Get to Calais?" 175
LIV - Buffalo Draft Men of 78th Division in France 179
LV - In Mrs. Vanderbilt's Paris Hospital with Doris Kellogg 181
LVI - Buffalo Marines in Battle of Belleau Wood 183
LVII - House Warming Party for 77th Division at Baccarat 192
LVIII - Smashing the Marne Salient 194
LIX - Maj. Donovan at the Battle of the Ourcq 199
LX - First American Army Formed 204
LXI - Girls at Canteens Carry on Through the Hot Summer 205
LXII - Germany's Dead Mark Trail of American Advance 209
LXIII - 108th Infantry Enters Front Line at Mt. Kemmel 211
LXIV - 77th Division in the Hell Hole Valley of the Vesle 217
LXV - Battle of St. Mihiel— Death of Capt. Piatt 223
LXVI - Planning the Decisive Battle of the War 229
LXVII - General Nolan of Akron — Hero of Apremont 231
LXVIII - 77th Division Enters Argonne — Col. Jewett Decorated 238
LXIX - Maj. Whittlesey's Battalion, 77th Division 242
LXX - Lieut. Wilhelm, Buffalo, in "Lost Battalion" 244
LXXI - Lost Battalion's Dead Still Hold the Position 248
LXXII - Buffalo Artillerymen Wreck Forges on the Meuse 253
LXXIII - Breaking the Great Hindenburg Line 255
LXXIV - Death of Don Martin— A Soldier of the Pen 265
LXXV - Sinkingof the "Mary Alice" 268
LXXVI - 77th Division Before Grand Pre 270
LXXVII - Grand Pre Proves a Buffalo Sepulcher 272
LXXVIII - Twenty Days on the Meuse With the Old 65th 281
LXXIX - St. Souplet and Across Le Selle 285
LXXX - On a Field of Carnage Donovan Fell 289
LXXXI - Putting the Last One Over With the Old 65th 292
LXXXII - General Pershing's Story of the Final Days 294
LXXXIII - Buffalo Tank Corps Fighters — Treat 'em Rough 299
LXXXIV - Handling Gas on the Western Front 301
LXXXV - Honors for Greatest Gains to 77th Division 303
LXXXVI - U. of B. and Canisius Student Army Corps 305
LXXXVII - Battling Above the Clouds 307
LXXXVIII On the Western Front 11 A. M., November 11, 1918 313
LXXXIX - Paris With the Lid Off 318
XC - Celebrating the Kaiser's Funeral 320
XCI - Lieut. Colonel Pooley Leads Regiment into Germany 322
XCII - Buffalo Boys Stand by as German Fleet Surrenders 325
XCIII - When Johnny Came Marching Home 327
XCIV - Putting Handcuffs on Disloyalty 340
XCV - Four Minute Men of Buffalo 343 XCVI - The Schools— The Children — The Teachers 345
XCVII - Pasting the City with War Stamps 357
XCVIII - Buffalo Chapter, American Red Cross 368
XCIX - Boy Scouts Lend a Helping Hand 380
C - The Military Training Camps Association 383
CI - The United States Grain Corporation 387
CII - What We Paid for Heat, Food and Clothing 390
CIII - Work of the Food Administrator 397
CIV - National League for Woman's Service 404
CV - The World War in Verse 405
CVI - New 74th Regiment Infantry, N. G. S. N. Y 412
CVII - New 65th Regiment Infantry, N. G. S. N. Y 414
CVIII - Buffalo at Home and Her Visitors 417
CIX - Home Defense Committee of Erie County 422
CX - Child Welfare Program in War Time 424
CXI - Belgian Relief Fund Committee 426
CXII - Buffalo Police Reserves 427
CXIII - For France and Her Allies 428
CXIV - The Buffalo Thrift Kitchen 430
CXV - Local Hygiene Lecture Campaign 433
CXVI - Five Liberty Loan Campaigns 434
CXVII - Independence Day, July 4, 1919 487
CXVIII - In Conclusion 490


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Buffalo, like every other American city, began in 1914 to write an epochal chapter in its his- tory, unconscious, of course, of the tremendous events impending. George D. Emerson and Frank H. Severance, who spun the web which carries us back to the earliest days of our community existence and who set out the historical monuments hereabout, tell us that prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, a facetious individual remarked that Buffalo had had three notable events in its history; namely, the destruction of the village by the British and Indians, December 30, 1813; the hanging of the three Thayers in 1825, made famous by the late George Ferris, one-time editor of the Courier, and the big flood of 1844. Neither Mr. Emerson nor Mr. Severance concurs in the opinion that those events should be classified as notable, though conceding that they have "impressed themselves indelibly" upon the annals of the municipality. One of them, at least, the first named, is epochal. The Civil War established the second epoch, and in this year of 1919 we have just emerged from the third.

Of course, for the purposes of this book and for the men and women of this day, it is not essential that the memorable events of other eras be set down, but the men and women of to-morrow may have a desire and surely have a right to know what manner of municipality we had at the time the great World War involved and enveloped us.