Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Monroe's Celebration of Armistice Began at 4 a.m. after Charles Iceman Phoned Charlotte for Latest News, 1918

From the Monroe Journal, Nov. 12, 1918

Monroe Celebrates

Everybody in Monroe, from baby, who has just learned to crawl, to grandpa, who hasn’t walked without the aid of a cane for a score of years, began a giddy dance of joy at a quarter before 4 o’clock yesterday morning, when the tidings were received by wire that the provisional German government had signed the armistice, and continued it through the day far into the night.

Mr. Charles Iceman, phoning to Charlotte for news concerning the latest development in Europe, at 3:30 was informed that the armistice had been signed. He at once notified his friends over the city. The keeper of the power house was informed and at once the fire whistle was set going. A few minutes later the church bells of the city began to wring and were quickly joined in the work of spreading the good word by the iron voices of every locomotive at the round house.

People fell out of bed, threw their clothes on and rushed uptown to begin a day’s celebration. The cooks arrived a little late to start breakfast to find that the men of the house condemned the bread pan and rolling pin as needed in a more essential occupation that preparing food and had at once drafted them, while every tin bucket in the house had been appropriated by some youngster. The old house cannon which hadn’t been seen or heard of since the burglar attempted to break in in ’96 was fished out and fired hilariously into the air. Father and mother sought each other’s arms for the first time since the honeymoon. The whistles and the bells, and the bells and the whistles continued to vie with each other throughout the morning.

A colored preacher would undoubtedly have been awarded the prize, had there been one, for rapid dressing stunt. He rushed up Church street about 4 minutes after the bells and whistles had begun their work, shouting in a voice plainly heard above, and putting to naught, the deafening din, “Hurrah for President Wilson; he is the best man in the world!”

Before dawn had chased away the darkness of night, automobiles filled with shouting people and with cow bells and every other imaginable noise factory tied behind them, began to rush through the streets. People collected in crowds in the main part of town, shouted themselves hoarse and then tried it again. Farmers from the surrounding country, awakened by the blowing of the whistles, rushed to town to take part in the demonstration.

With the coming of dawn the stores opened for a few minutes and then the clerks went out to make a day of it. The mills closed and the Icemorlee band came up town and rendered a concert on the courthouse square. The round house force marched through the main streets putting out a choice brand of din that was the envy of every other combination taking part in the performance, and doing it in true railroad man style.

Amid the rejoicing and celebration the members of the colored race did their full share. Mag Davis, about 65 years old, whose son, Will, is fighting at the front, pranced up town like a two-year-old before daylight. Meeting a man with a horse pistol (the man said he raised it from a Colt), she executed a few choice ballet steps and then announced that she had never shot one of “them things,” but she believed she could do it now. The man delivered the weapon into her hands and sure enough she did, and then continued on her way.

In the future it will not be hard to remember the date on which the armistice was prepared by the representatives of the allied nations was accepted by Germany. All a fellow will have to do is think of the date he had to stuff cotton in his ears to protect them from his own noise.

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