Ipswich in WWI

Published: 14 February 2024

By Thomas Franklin Waters for the Ipswich Historical Society
via the Historic Ipswich On the Massachusetts North Shore website


Welcome Home Day May 17, 1919

Chronicles of Ipswich in the War 1917-1918

A largely attended ”Military Mass Meeting” was held in the Ipswich Town Hall on Friday evening, March 30th, 1917. Sergeant Myers of the Regular Army, Major Thomas Walsh, Sergeant Hammond of Co. H, 8th Mass. Regiment, Lieut. McDade and others made patriotic addresses, advocating preparedness for the war that seemed inevitable, and urged the young men to enlist in the Home Guard.

On April 4, 1917, the Senate of the United States voted, 82 to 6, that a state of war existed between Germany and the United States, and the House of Representatives passed a similar vote on April 6, 373 to 50. The President signed the Declaration of War immediately. By the middle of April, the young men were enlisting rapidly. The Ipswich Protective Volunteers, a company organized for local protection, numbered by May, and weekly drills in the Town Hall were conducted.

A public meeting was held to organize a local branch of the Red Cross. The First Liberty Loan was opened for popular subscription in May 1917, the Government called for $2,000,000,000 to be raised, with interest at 3 1/2 percent, exempt from all taxation except estate or inheritance taxes, and exchangeable for any subsequent issue at a higher rate. The Ipswich apportionment was $120,000.

Registration Day, June 5, 1917

By the Federal Conscription Act, all males between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-one inclusive, resident in the United States, were obliged to register with the Registrars of Voters on Tuesday, the fifth day of June 1917. Whistles and bells were sounded a full minute in the morning to give notice of the great event. Promptly at seven o’clock, the registration began. 671 men registered of which 347 were aliens and 324 were native-born or naturalized, or had declared their intention to become citizens.

Off to War

As July drew to its close, the young men of Ipswich were slipping away to the various camps in different branches of the service. On the morning of Wednesday, July 25, 1917, when the Company II men took an early train for Lynnfield, many friends waved their adieus at the station.

With much ceremony and due solemnity, befitting an event of such momentous interest to a vast number of the young men of America, the draft numbers were drawn by lot at Washington, on July 20 and 21 of the significant figures. The Ipswich Chronicle of July 27, 1017, published the first 85 numbers that touched the Ipswich registrants. Ipswich was included in the 21st Draft District.

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